On Monday, January 22, 1906, the coastal passenger liner SS Valencia, en route from San Francisco to Seattle with 108 passengers and 65 crew aboard, passes the entrance to the Strait of Juan de Fuca in foul weather, and runs aground on the southwest coast of Vancouver Island. The ship is on a reef, trapped between sheer rock cliffs and pounding breakers. Uncharted rocks and fierce storms make it impossible for rescue vessels to approach the Valencia from seaward. Scores of passengers drown when their lifeboats are wrecked or capsize in the surf. Over the next 36 hours, terrified people huddle on the hurricane deck or cling to the rigging as huge waves slowly break the ship apart. Finally, as rescuers watch, horrified and powerless, a huge wave sweeps the remaining passengers and crew into the sea. There are 37 survivors, but 136 persons perish in one of the most tragic maritime disasters in Pacific Northwest history.
Sources:HistoryLink.org Online Encyclopedia of Washington State History, "Wreck of the SS Valencia (1906)" (by Daryl C. McClary), http://www.historylink.org/ (accessed July 12, 2005).
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.
Major Support for HistoryLink.org Provided
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