Welcome to the Dictionary of Island Terms. Its purpose is to pin down the patois of Vancouver Island by recording its toponyms, nicknames, phenomena, slang, personalities and places. Explore the ever-growing A-Z here.
Terra nullius | colonialism | Literally “Nobody’s Land” in Latin. A farcical legal concept of the Colonial Era that gave cover to European powers as they claimed, sold and leased lands that were never ceded to them. Here in BC (and the rest of Canada) it allowed for the Crown’s assumptions of sovereignty over Indigenous lands. The concept is similar to the Roman Catholic Church’s 15th century Doctrine of Discovery and the ‘finders keepers’ excuse of thieves.
Usage: “Despite its fancy Latin name, the doctrine of Terra nullius was of a calibre of argument typically employed by kindergarten bullies.”