It is estimated that there were at least fifty thriving Haida villages throughout Haida Gwaii at the time of European contact (c.1774).
Contact with Europeans, beginning in the late 1700s had a devastating impact on the Haida population. Several epidemics of smallpox ravaged the Haida villages. The most severe of these was recorded in 1862. It is estimated that approximately 95 percent of the Haida population was wiped out by disease. A census conducted by the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1885 counted only 800 Haida. By 1915, the population had dropped further to 588. In spite of this incredible calamity and the further effects of residential schools, Haida culture survived. Today, the Haida population has rebounded to 4000.
The Haida Gwaii Community