Historical Contexts

The murder of William Robinson was a specific event with some very specific causes and effects. But "the past is a different country", and it is impossible to understand it without an understanding of the customs and practices of that time and place. This section allows you to reach out in space and time to see beyond the particular individuals concerned in the murder. The documents contained here will provide you with a wider and deeper understanding of everyday life on Salt Spring Island and in colonial British Columbia. They also speak to other murders, crimes, and hangings that took place around the time of the Robinson murder. Finally, maps and graphs convey much about the social context of the murder, allowing you to put this most violent of crimes in the context of settler life. A greater knowledge of this wider context may change your understanding of why, and perhaps even of who, murdered William Robinson.