History Day Award Winner: Vancouver's Exploration of the North Pacific, 1791-1795 by Emily Miller

  • By Emily Miller
  • Posted 6/23/2004
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 10767

George Vancouver's voyage of 1791-1795 was about the exploration of a new world and staking England's claim there; about cultural encounters and exchanges of knowledge and ideas. But in terms of looking at the bigger picture, his discoveries and explorations were about peeling back the layers of an unknown territory and satiating man's hungry desire to discover the unknown and expand human understanding. Note: This essay by Emily Miller, age 14, of Coupeville, won top honors in the junior division of the 2004 Washington History Day competition, and earned a $100 supplemental prize from History Ink/HistoryLink for focusing on a subject in Washington state history. 

George Vancouver's Exploration of the North Pacific, 1791-1795

"In contemplating the rapid progress of improvement in the sciences, and the general diffusion of knowledge since the commencement of the eighteenth century, we are unavoidably led to observe, with admiration, that active spirit of discovery bymeans of which the remotest regions of the earth have been explored ..." ("Introduction," A Voyage of Discovery).
George Vancouver’s voyage of 1791-1795 was about the exploration of a new world and staking England’s claim there; about cultural encounters and exchanges of knowledge and ideas. But in terms of looking at the bigger picture, his discoveries and explorations were about peeling back the layers of an unknown territory and satiating man’s hungry desire to discover the unknown and expand human understanding.

Vancouver was born in King’s Lynn, Norfolk, on June 22, 1757, to Bridget and Jasper Vancouver, the youngest of six children. Up until the age of 14 he attended school, learning to read French and Latin proficiently. In 1771 young Vancouver left school and signed on to sail with Captain James Cook to be trained as a seaman, on what would prove to be a three-year voyage that circumnavigated the globe.

Sailing with Cook was a learning experience that Vancouver was fortunate to receive. At that time, positions for young boys on sailing vessels were difficult to secure and it was probably through his father’s political acquaintances that Vancouver was able to set sail with Cook. He effectively went to “school” to become the explorer he later became. His training aboard the Resolution was demanding but thorough, including how to handle the sails, steer the ship, and operate weaponry. The most valuable lessons he received, arguably, were from William Wales, astronomer for the voyage and one of the foremost scientists at that time. Wales instructed Vancouver and the other boys in observing, surveying, and drawing; skills employed during Cook’s voyages and later in charting the northwest coast of America. In 1776, just one year after his first voyage, Vancouver again sailed with Cook; this time to America in search of the infamous Northwest Passage.

During the voyage Vancouver got his first glimpse of Nootka Sound, a place he would later visit as the captain of his own expedition. While they were there Cook recorded as many words from the native language as he could in an effort to ease communication in future trading deals with natives from other parts of the coast.

This exchange of ideas also aided Vancouver on his future voyage. Unfortunately for Cook, however, this voyage would prove to be his last, claiming his life in a quarrel with natives over stolen property in the Sandwich [Hawaiian] Islands.

With the death of Cook, Vancouver returned to London in October 1780 and passed his examination to become a Lieutenant in the Royal Navy. Two months after attaining his new rank Vancouver sailed aboard the Martin, and spent about a year patrolling the English Channel and North Sea. He then set sail for the West Indies and in March, 1782 arrived in the Caribbean. This nine-year tour of duty in the navy prepared him for the exploration he would soon be called upon to lead.

Exploration was often stimulated by political conflict and exchange, an objective performed in conjunction with diplomacy. Such was the case with George Vancouver and his exploration of the Pacific Northwest. In May 1788, English captain John Meares sailed into Nootka Sound aboard his ship the Felice, along with the Iphigenia and North West America. Meares, a man in the fur trading business, went to Nootka seeking trade with the natives. While there he purchased “a spot of ground, whereon he built a house for his occasional residence”(Meares to Wyndam, April 30, 1790). Due to the coming of winter, though, Meares and his companions left soon after for the warmer climate of the Sandwich Islands. 

However, when they returned the next spring they were detained and their ships later seized by the Spaniard in command at Nootka, Captain Don Estevan Joseph Martinez. Doing so in the name of His Catholic Majesty, Martinez took the crew as prisoners aboard his ships, where according to Meares “they were put in irons, and were otherwise ill treated” (Mears). He then sent the seized vessels and their crews as prizes to Mexico. The Spanish officials in Mexico, realizing the implications of Martinez’s actions and not wanting to create an international incident, fully outfitted the ships and released them immediately, paying each sailor for his time.

Meares was greatly unsatisfied with Spain’s actions following the incident. So, after he was allowed to go, Meares sailed straight for England and filed a complaint with Parliament. King George and the British government responded to Meares’ memorial by demanding from the Spanish King payment for the troubles caused at Nootka. Spain, not willing to give in, maintained that Nootka Sound and the land therein contained was theirs by way of the treaty of Utrecht, ancient boundaries guaranteed by England. When Britain threatened and prepared for war, however, Spain finally conceded in the form of the Nootka Convention. In this document, signed October 28, 1790, Spain agreed to give back the land it took in April 1789 and to pay “restitution for any act of violence” administered by Spanish officials while detaining English subjects (“Nootka Convention”). Both nations agreed to equal trade rights to the northwest coast of America.

To ensure that Spain upheld its part of the deal, though, King George needed to send someone to Nootka to officially reaccept control of Britain’s lands. George Vancouver, having previous sailing experience in the Pacific Northwest with Cook on his second and third voyages, was just the man with the needed experience to do the job. Thus Vancouver was appointed commander, a promotion in rank, of the ship Discovery and ordered to Nootka Sound to receive back “the buildings and tracts of land, situated on the north-west coast [of America], or on islands adjacent thereto, of which the subjects of His Britannic Majesty were dispossessed about the month of April, 1789, by a Spanish Officer” (Board of Admiralty to Vancouver, March 8, 1791). Britain’s orders also included searching for the Northwest Passage, specifically between the north latitudes of 30 and 60Ëš, and to chart their travels. Accompanying the Discovery and her crew of 100 was the armed ship Chatham and an additional 45 men.

Vancouver’s expedition to Nootka Sound had several purposes. One, to take back Britain’s lands at Nootka. Two, to explore the area and ascertain Britain’s potential benefits should they control the region, to which they had obtained free access under the Nootka Convention. And three, to find the Northwest Passage. These reasons were substantial enough that the British government put Vancouver’s voyage at the head of their affairs, sending him out promptly on April 1, 1791.

On the way to Nootka Sound, Vancouver began surveying and charting the northwest coast of America and searching for the Northwest Passage, as ordered by the British Admiralty. Beginning near San Francisco Bay and sailing north, his expedition explored every waterway that could potentially lead through the North American continent and connect to the Atlantic Ocean on the other side. Vancouver spent a month navigating Puget Sound and, although unable to find the passage he was looking for, left his mark on the area by giving names to numerous waterways, islands, and mountains; the most notable of those being Puget Sound, Mount Rainer, Mount Hood, and Whidbey Island. While in Puget Sound they encountered native peoples and because of his previous experience on Cook’s third voyage, Vancouver was able to communicate and trade with them peaceably. Continuing northward, the expedition eventually reached Fitzhugh’s Sound where Vancouver decided to take “leave of [that] northern solitary region, whose broken appearance presented a prospect of abundant employment for the ensuing season, in order to make the best ... way towards Nootka” (Lamb, p. 546).

Arriving at Nootka on August 22, 1792, Vancouver’s expedition was greeted by a friendly Señor Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra, commandant of the Spanish forts at St. Blas and California, and emissary to the Spanish king. After exchanging full gun salutes and dining with one another and their crews, Vancouver and Bodega got right to business. As soon as they began their discourse, however, a large problem arose.

Spain, despite having agreed to the Nootka Convention, was still unwilling to cede land to the British. Maintaining the position that Martinez’s actions in seizing English vessels and subjects did not violate the treaty of peace, or were “faulty to the laws of hospitality”, and that Meares’ claim to land at Nootka was empty, Bodega had only peace to offer (Bodega to Vancouver, August 29, 1792).

Vancouver, in disagreement with Spain’s interpretation of the Convention, was sent to Nootka to receive back land, not authorized to enter into negotiations with Spain over the aforementioned property. Bodega, “able to justify that the small hut” of Meares did not exist at the time of Martinez’s arrival in Nootka in April 1789, was unable to restore to Vancouver the land Britain requested (Bodega to Vancouver, September 2, 1792). It was at this stalemate that both agreed to let their respective nations decide the outcome, in the interim placing Vancouver in charge of Meares’ small tract of land as well as the buildings surrounding it.

The political reasons for Vancouver's voyage were in up in the air. Thus, he turned to the secondary goals of his expedition and resumed his exploration of the northwest coastline while Britain and Spain negotiated over the land at Nootka. Archibald Menzies, botanist and surgeon for the voyage, also continued his studies. Menzies was an explorer and traveler who had been around the world documenting and collecting plant specimens. So by the time he was appointed to sail with Vancouver, a man 17 years his junior, Menzies expertise was well established.

In commissioning the voyage, the Board of Admiralty considered Menzies’ work an integral part of the expedition and instructed Vancouver as such:

"…as the Service the said Mr. Menzies has been directed to perform is materially connected with some of the most important Objects of the Expedition entrusted to your care, you are hereby required and directed to afford him on all occasions, every degree of assistance in the performance of his Duty, which the Circumstances of the Expedition will admit ..." (Board of Admiralty to Vancouver, March 8, 1791).

Along with Vancouver’s assistance, Menzies had at his disposal a boat to conduct researching excursions, a storage facility for the plants that he collected, and a ready supply of fresh water aboard the Discovery to sustain his specimens.

Menzies’ work on Vancouver’s voyage advanced the knowledge of European botanists. Altogether, he documented 390 new plant species -- 326 varieties of flowering plants, 24 varieties of mosses, 18 varieties of lichens, and 22 varieties of marine algae.

Unfortunately for Menzies, though, when putting together his Flora Americae in 1814, Frederick Pursh put more attention on the findings of Lewis and Clark’s 1804-1806 expedition than those of Menzies. Thus much of the credit of discovery was given to Lewis and Clark, when Menzies had actually discovered many of the species nearly 10 years earlier. Still, Menzies’ work documenting plants species on the northwest coast of America increased European scientific knowledge.

In 1794, the dispute over Nootka Sound was finally resolved. Spain, deciding that they had already spent too much money settling Nootka and could better use those funds in the Straits of Juan de Fuca or in California, and to avoid any future quarreling with England over the territory, finally gave in. On January 11, Spain signed a convention with Britain and both nations officially withdrew from Nootka. After destroying their buildings, Spain handed over the settlement to the British and headed south. Though Britain considered this a victory, neither nation ever returned to Nootka Sound.

George Vancouver’s voyage to the northwest coast of America lasted four and a half years, during which time he represented Britain in its political dealings at Nootka Sound, explored and charted the entire coast from California to Alaska, and brought back drawings and specimens of new plant species as collected by Archibald Menzies. Tracing every foot of the broken coastline in an attempt to find the Northwest Passage, his charts, because he spent so much time on them, were very accurate. Thus they served as guides to the unfamiliar territory for people who came later, like Lewis and Clark on their expedition to the coast in 1804.

Sometimes what one sets out to do and what is actually accomplished are two different things. In Vancouver's case, he was sent to Nootka Sound for diplomatic purposes but in the end was unable do anything to solve the conflict between Britain and Spain. Rather than being a failure, though, this furthered Vancouver’s ability to complete his other objectives by allowing an extended period of time in which to explore and chart the area. Charting, the act of mapping and naming territories, was considered at that time to be the same as a solid claim. Vancouver's charting of the Pacific Northwest eliminated Russian and Spanish claims to the area and set the stage for competition between England and the United States for dominance in the region.

It also marked the unofficial beginnings of British Imperialism, a 70-year period that sought to expand Britain’s borders for the acquisition of raw materials to fuel industry. The knowledge that Vancouver brought back also proved once and for all that there was no Northwest Passage. As to Menzies’ objective, his plant collection was extensive, documenting 390 species previously unknown to Europeans. George Vancouver's voyage left a legacy of geographic place names, new scientific knowledge, and opened up the Pacific Northwest to future exploration.

Annotated Bibliography

Primary Sources

Books

Lamb, Kaye W, ed. A Voyage of Discovery to the North Pacific Ocean and Round the World.London: The Hakluyt Society, 1984.

Vancouver’s journals gave a detailed account of his discoveries and explorations in the years 1791-1795 and also included primary documents, such as his voyage instructions from the British Admiralty. I was surprised to learn about his and Bodega's friendly relations at Nootka during the controversy; they respected and liked each other a great deal.

Newcombe, C. F., ed. Menzies’ Journal of Vancouver’s Voyage. Victoria: William H. Cullin, 1923.

Menzies, as botanist for Vancouver’s voyage, discovered many new plant species. I found it unfortunate that when it came time to publish his findings credit was given to others like Lewis and Clark who came later.

Documents

“Nootka Claims Convention.” Whitehall: 12 February 1793. The Nootka Sound Controversy, p. 467-8.

Spain agreed to pay $210,000 “to the parties interested” for settling Britain's losses at Nootka when Spanish officers seized English vessels. Spain's one condition was that if Great Britain signed the document they were agreeing to not hold Spain responsible in the future for anything related to the affair.

Official Documents Relating to Spanish and Mexican Voyages of Navigation, Exploration and Discovery Made in North America in the 18th Century. Seattle: Works Progress Administration, 1939.

Bodega's letters dealt with establishing dominance at Nootka by eliminating English, Russian, and American claims to the area. His plan was to decrease those nations' profits in the fur trade by buying the pelts from the natives before they could do so. Bodega believed that a decrease in profit would make the fur traders go elsewhere, leaving Spain in control of Nootka Sound.

Official papers relative to the dispute between the courts of Great Britain and Spain, on the subjects of the ships captured in Nootka Sound, and the negociation that followed thereon, etc. London: J. Debrett, 1790.

Filled with documents and official papers, including a statement of losses, minutes of the House of Commons, the Nootka Convention, and several letters, this volume provided a clear view of Britain’s position on the Nootka Sound controversy.

Letters

Lamb, Kaye W, ed. A Voyage of Discovery to the North Pacific Ocean and Round the World. London: The Hakluyt Society, 1984.

In addition to Vancouver's accounts of his voyage, this book also contained numerous letters. Vancouver and Menzies' correspondences gave me insight into their thoughts and actions while on the four-year voyage. Letters are listed in chronological order under each person's name for easy reference. Some of the key letters follow:

Admiralty, Board of to George Vancouver, London, March 8, 1791, p. 283.

Vancouver was instructed by the Admiralty to sail to the northwest coast of America to acquire "a more complete knowledge" of the territories there and to receive back from Spain the plot of land seized at Nootka in April 1789. The other main goal of the expedition was to look for the illustrious Northwest Passage. Which, of course, he proved didn't exist.

Admiralty, Board of to George Vancouver, London, March 8, 1790, p. 1615.

Vancouver was instructed to aid Menzies in his botany work. Specifically, to allow him a boat, storage space, water, and anything else he might need in the procuring of plant specimens.

Admiralty, Board of to George Vancouver, London, August 10, 1791.

On arriving in England at the conclusion of his voyage, Vancouver was ordered to submit all surveys, drawings, journals, log books, etc. to the British government.

Admiralty, Board of to George Vancouver, London, August 20, 1791, p. 286.

These additional instructions to Vancouver were concerning the transactions to take place at Nootka.

Arrillaga, José Joaquin to George Vancouver, Monterey, November 3, 1793, p. 1593.

In response to Vancouver’s letter dated November 2, 1793, Arrillaga granted Vancouver’s request to enter Spanish ports and conduct his business. The condition was that it be done in a timely manner. Arrillaga tone was friendly, but in a forced sort of way.

Florida Blanca, Count de to George Vancouver, Aranjuez, May 12, 1791.

Florida Blanca confirms Spain’s intentions of restoring to Britain the tracts of land seized by Spanish officials in April 1789. On the chance that the Spaniards in Nootka were unwilling to do so, Vancouver had only to present them with his letter and they were immediately to comply.

Menzies, Archibald to Sir Joseph Banks, Falmouth, March 20, 1791, p. 1614.

Menzies laments his situation concerning the resting-place of his journals, drawings, etc after the completion of the voyage. Vancouver had clear instructions to submit them to the government, but Menzies was unwilling to do so; his train of thought suggested that he'd hide them somewhere.

Menzies, Archibald to Sir Joseph Banks, Teneriffe, May 5, 1791, p. 1616.

After arriving in Santa Cruz, Menzies explored the region but found little variety of plant life he hadn’t seen before. Also, during their stay a quarrel broke out between members of the expedition and the Spanish guard at the port. The incident didn't help the relations between the countries very much.

Menzies, Archibald to Sir Joseph Banks, Nootka Sound, September 26, 1792, p. 1617.

An incident involving natives claimed the lives of three crewmembers: Lieutenant Hergest, Mr. Gooch, and an able seaman. Also, Menzies was promoted to the rank of surgeon for the remainder of the voyage. I found Menzies' related knowledge of medicine and botany interesting.

Menzies, Archibald to Sir Joseph Banks, Monterey Bay, January 14, 1793, p. 1621.

Menzies asks Banks to secure for Mr. Johnstone the position of commander of the Chatham, the station being made open with the loss of Lieutenant Hergest. He also tells of his plant frame aboard the Discovery, which was similar to a greenhouse.

Menzies, Archibald to Sir Joseph Banks, Nootka Sound, May 23, 1793, p. 1622.

After arriving back at Nootka the expedition met several Spanish ships. At the end of their stay there, Vancouver was headed back to Fitzhugh’s Sound to more thoroughly explore the region.

Menzies, Archibald to Sir Joseph Banks, Nootka Sound, May 23, 1793, p. 1623.

Menzies conveyed his fondness of the Nootka Sound area and asked Banks to be appointed surgeon to the region, should the government start a colony there.

Menzies, Archibald to Sir Joseph Banks, San Diego, December 6, 1793, p. 1623.

In Fitzhugh’s Sound the expedition explored every branch and tributary, concluding in the end that the Spanish Straits de Fonte did not exist. Unfortunately for Menzies the time of the year was not favorable for collecting plants, being that the summer sun had dried them all up, and Vancouver was growing less considerate towards his botanical endeavors. It is apparent that there were some sort of buried feelings between Vancouver and Menzies.

Menzies, Archibald to George Vancouver, California, November 18, 1793, p. 1625.

Opting to write Vancouver rather than speak to him in person, Menzies relates additional needs for his plant frame aboard the Discovery. From Menzies' attitude it's obvious that he and Vancouver had fought on the subject before.

Menzies, Archibald to Sir Joseph Banks, Karakakooa Bay, February 6, 1794, p. 1626.

Menzies relates his successes collecting plants.

Menzies, Archibald to Sir Joseph Banks, Nootka Sound, September 8, 1794, p. 1627.

Upon further examination of Cook’s River, the expedition found that it was actually an inlet. Due to the cold climate there, however, most of Menzies’ live plant specimens died. He replaced them with new ones from that location.

Menzies, Archibald to Sir Joseph Banks, Valparaiso, April 28, 1795, p. 1628.

Vancouver and five of his officers, Menzies’ included, went to Santiago and stayed nine days with the President of Chile where they were treated very well. Unfortunately, their passage to Chile killed more of his plants. As to his journals, Menzies’ planned to seal them up and mail them to Banks for safekeeping.

Menzies, Archibald to Sir Joseph Banks, Shannon, September 14, 1795, p. 1630.

When Vancouver neglected to keep a constant guard over Menzies plant frame, a sudden rain ruined the plants because the door was left open. Menzies, quite mad, complained to Vancouver who then got quite mad himself and put Menzies under arrest. The rift between the two grew deeper.

Bodega y Quadra, Juan Francisco de la to George Vancouver, Nootka Sound, August 29, 1792, p. 1568.

Bodega presents to Vancouver Spain’s position on the situation at Nootka. He maintains that Martinez was not wrong in taking the English vessels, and upon a more “mature examination” all was settled and the ships and their crews were free to go. Spain had nothing to offer or losses to settle at that time.

Bodega y Quadra, Juan Francisco de la to George Vancouver, Nootka Sound, September 2, 1792, p. 1572.

Bodega offers to Vancouver that which he was sent to restore: Meares’ small hut. They both agree to send to their respective courts accounts of the transactions and let them decide what to be done next. Bodega also places Vancouver in charge of the houses, gardens, and offices in the surrounding area.

Vancouver, George to Phillip Stephens, Santa Cruz, May 6, 1791, p. 1564.

Vancouver informs Stephens of their progress of their explorations up to that point.

Vancouver, George to Phillip Stephens, Simon’s Bay, July 17, 1791, p. 1565.

Four men had to be replaced due to “debilitated habits” and several defects in the ships needed to be taken care of.

Vancouver, George to Lord Grenville, Fals Bay, August 9, 1791, p. 1566.

Vancouver wrote Grenville to clarify his instructions on surveying the coast of New Holland; he wanted to proceed northward and not spend too much time there, but had to keep Grenville informed.

Vancouver, George to Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra, Nootka Sound, September 1, 1792, p. 1570.

In response to Bodega’s letter dated August 29, 1792, Vancouver disputes Spain’s interpretation of the Nootka Sound Convention and declines to enter into negotiations with Bodega, on the grounds that he did not have the proper authority to do so.

Vancouver, George to Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra, Nootka Sound, September 10, 1792, p. 1572.

In response to Bodega’s letter dated September 10, 1792, Vancouver accepts the lands being offered to him and thanks Quadra for the copies of his charts.

Vancouver, George to Arthur Phillip, at sea, October 15, 1792, p. 1575.

Vancouver writes to Phillip to inform him of the letters and accounts being sent to him regarding his transactions with Bodega at Nootka Sound. He also tells him of the provisions being taken onboard.

Vancouver, George to the Navy Board, at sea, October 15, 1792, p. 1576.

Damage to their transport ship ruined hammocks, food provisions, and sails. Beds had to be thrown overboard as well.

Vancouver, George to Arthur Phillip, Monterey, December 29, 1792, p. 1577.

Vancouver requests stores and provisions necessary for the remainder of his expedition. He also informs Phillip that Bodega lent some of his men to crew the transport ship. Once again, Bodega extended his friendly hand to Vancouver and showed that the two captains had a sincere friendship.

Vancouver, George to Evan Nepean, Monterey January 7, 1793, p. 1578.

As to his instructions from the Board of Admiralty, Vancouver gave little doubt he would have “proved himself a most consummate fool or a traitor” had he accepted the small plot of land Bodega offered at Nootka. He felt he was “left totally in the dark [as to] what measures to pursue.”

Vancouver, George to Phillip Stephens, Monterey, January 13, 1793, p. 1582.

Vancouver sent his journals and charts from the year 1792 to the Board of Admiralty with Lieutenant Broughton.

Vancouver, George to ____, Toeyah Bay, March 9, 1793, p. 1583.

Vancouver wrote a testimonial of a Hawaiian chief so that explorers who came in contact with the man in the future would know that he was trustworthy. It also included names of other Hawaiian chiefs who were less than friendly.

Vancouver, George to Phillip Stephens, Nootka Sound, May 22, 1793, p. 1585.

Vancouver searched close off the coast of California for a group of islands plotted on a Spanish chart, but found nothing. In response to an inquiry into the deaths of Vancouver’s three crewmembers, the native chief killed three men publicly, alongside the Discovery, in an attempt to prevent such acts happening in the future.

Vancouver, George to José Joaquin Arrillaga, Monterey, November 2, 1793, p. 1590.

Vancouver explains to the Spanish Governor his reasons for being on the coast and asks permission to enter his ports.

Secondary Sources

Books

Beaglehole, J.C. The Life of Captain James Cook. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1974.

This book was a complete guide to the life of Cook so I focused mainly on the sections pertaining to his second and third voyages, on which Vancouver sailed.

Cotterhill, George Fletcher. The climax of a World Quest; the Story of Puget Sound, the Modern Mediterranean of the Pacific. Seattle: Olympic Publishing Company, 1928.

An important piece of information that I got from this book was the conflicting claims at Nootka Sound. Spain, England, and Russia all traded furs with the natives and each had substantial claims to the region prior to the seizure of Meares' ship.

Fisher, Robin and Hugh Johnston, ed. From Maps to Metaphors: The Pacific World of George Vancouver. Vancouver: UBC Press, 1993

A collection of writings on George Vancouver, From Maps to Metaphors was written by a variety of historians on a range of topics concerning his famous voyage.

Gifford, Allison. George Vancouver: A Portrait of His Life. Norfolk: St. James Press, 1986.

This book provided me with a comprehensive view of Vancouver's life, from the very beginning in Norfolk to the bitter end before he could complete his journals.

Manning, William R. The Nootka Sound Controversy. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1905.

Manning’s account of the controversy detailed Great Britain and Spain’s positions on the land at Nootka Sound. Each court wanted exclusive sovereignty, but Spain was willing to give in because they thought it more profitable to settle the Straits of Juan de Fuca and their ports on the southern parts of the coast. In the end both nations left, never to return.

Meany, Edmund S. Vancouver's Discovery of Puget Sound. Oregon: Binford & Mort Publishers, 1957.

Meany’s accounts of Vancouver’s voyage dealt mainly with the Puget Sound area, but also covered his life before the famous expedition. The second half of the book is a reproduction of Vancouver’s journals.

Middleton, George. Place Names of the Pacific Northwest. Seattle: Superior Publishing Company, 1969.

Admiralty Inlet, Menzies Bay, Puget Sound, Mt. Baker, Mt. Rainer, Port Townshend, Whidbey Island, these are just a few of the place names bestowed by Vancouver on his voyage of discovery. 


Sources: Allison Gifford, George Vancouver: A Portrait of His Life (Norfolk: St. James Press, 1986); J. C. Beaglehole, The Life of Captain James Cook (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1974); From Maps To Metaphors: The Pacific World of George Vancouver ed. by Robin Fisher and Hugh Johnston (Vancouver: UBC Press, 1993); Edmund S. Meany, Vancouver's Discovery of Puget Sound (Oregon: Binfords and Mort Publishers, 1957); John Meares, "The Memorial of John Mears, Lieutenant in His Majesty's Navy To the Right Honourable William Wyndam, Grenville, one of His Majesty's Principal Secretaries of State," London, April 30, 1790; Count de Florida Blanca, "Memorial of Count de Florida Blanca," Aranjuez, June 13, 1790; Count de Florida Blanca, "Nootka Convention," in Official papers relative to the dispute between the courts of Great Britain and Spain, on the subject of the ships captured in Nootka Sound, and the negociation that followed thereon, etc., (London: J. Debrett, 1790); A Voyage to the North Pacific Ocean and Round the World ed. by Kaye W. Lamb (London: The Hakluyt Society, 1984); Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra to George Vancouver, August 29, 1792; George Vancouver to Bodega y Quadra, September 1, 1792; Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra to George Vancouver, September 2, 1792; Menzies' Journal of Vancouver's Voyage ed. by C. F. Newcombe (Victoria: William H. Cullin, 1923); Board of Admiralty to George Vancouver, London, March 8, 1791 in A Voyage of Discovery to the North Pacific Ocean and Round the World, Appendix 5; William R. Manning, The Nootka Sound Controversy (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1905); "Convention for the mutual abandonment of Nootka," Madrid, January 11, 1794, in The Nootka Sound Controversy.

Related Topics:   Exploration

Licensing: This essay is licensed under a Creative Commons license that encourages reproduction with attribution. Credit should be given to both HistoryLink.org and to the author, and sources must be included with any reproduction. Click the icon for more info. Please note that this Creative Commons license applies to text only, and not to images. For more information regarding individual photos or images, please contact the source noted in the image credit.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License
Major Support for HistoryLink.org Provided By: The State of Washington | Patsy Bullitt Collins | Paul G. Allen Family Foundation | Museum Of History & Industry | 4Culture (King County Lodging Tax Revenue) | City of Seattle | City of Bellevue | City of Tacoma | King County | The Peach Foundation | Microsoft Corporation, Other Public and Private Sponsors and Visitors Like You