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Subject > Armed Forces

Date > 1700 > 1790-1799

Natives going to meet the Spanish navy schooners Sutil and Mexicana in 1792

Type: Image

This painting shows an encounter on 11 June 1792 between native canoes and the Spanish navy schooners Sutil and Mexicana. Mount Baker can be seen in the background. On this date in Guemes Channel (near present day Anacortes, Washington), a Spanish expedition paused to make astronomical observations that would correctly fix their longitude. Their mission was to chart the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and search for the Northwest Passage. The painting is the work of José Cardero, the expedition's official artist. (Museo Naval, Madrid)

Site: National Defence

Weapons

Type: Document

This section illustrates a selection of firearms and bladed weapons used by British and Canadian military units during the 18th and 19th centuries.

Site: National Defence

Drummer, Primera Compañía franca de Voluntarios de Cataluña at Nootka, 1790-1794

Type: Image

There were two drummers on the strength of the Primera Compañía franca de Voluntarios de Cataluña (or '1st independent company of Catalonian volunteers'). This unit of the Spanish colonial army supplied the original garrison at Nootka. After 1760, Spanish army drummers wore the livery of the King of Spain - a blue coat with scarlet collar and cuffs, along with a scarlet waistcoat. Both coat and waistcoat were trimmed with scarlet lace that was embroidered with a white chain pattern. This same pattern of lace had decorated French uniforms before the French Revolution in 1789. The Bourbon kings of Spain were a branch of the French royal family, and adopted a similar livery. Reconstruction by David Rickman. (Parks Canada)

Site: National Defence

The Military Art of the American Northwest

Type: Document

War in the Pacific Northwest centred around the canoe, which could be up to 20 metres long. Flotillas of canoes would attack enemy villages, hoping to capture prisoners to keep as slaves. Coastal forts of cedar logs were to be found, used to help control and tax maritime trade.

Site: National Defence

Military Costumes

Type: Document

This section is a collection of surviving artifacts and period artists' illustrations. Illustrated are uniform coats of officers or enlisted men from a variety of Canadian and British units that served in present-day Canada during the period 1780-1870.

Site: National Defence

Military Bands

Type: Document

The British likely introduced the military band to Canada. These regimental musicians were paid for by individual units. Instrumentation favoured flutes, clarinets and percussion. The bands played a strong role in the social life of garrison towns throughout Canada.

Site: National Defence

Militia of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island

Type: Document

This report discusses the organizational features of the militia of the separate provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island prior to Confederation.

Site: National Defence

Demobilization and Retirement

Type: Document

Before reforms in the mid-19th century, most British soldiers left the army only when their regiment was disbanded in the aftermath of a war. When this occurred in Canada, men were offered land to encourage them to settle in the colony. Pensions were rare, and worth little.

Site: National Defence

Canadian Militia Prior to Confederation

Type: Document

This report discusses the growth and development of the Canadian Militia from its beginnings in early New France until Confederation in 1867.

Site: National Defence

Soldier, Primera Compañía franca de Voluntarios de Cataluña at Nootka, 1790-1794

Type: Image

The Primera Compañía franca de Voluntarios de Cataluña (or '1st independent company of Catalonian volunteers') was a Spanish colonial unit raised in 1767 for service in the Americas. In 1790, it provided men to garrison the Spanish outpost at Nootka. This was the first European military unit posted to present-day British Columbia. Its uniform was broadly that its parent regiment in Spain, the Segundo Regimiento de los Voluntarios de Cataluña (or '2nd Regiment of Catalonian volunteers'), with the same blue coat with yellow collar and cuffs, yellow waistcoat, blue breeches and black tricorne hat with the red cockade of the Bourbon Kings of Spain. Reconstruction by David Rickman. (Parks Canada)

Site: National Defence