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Subject > Armed Forces > Naval Forces and Merchant Navy

Date > 1700 > 1770-1779 > 1772

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

A Series of Amerindian Nations

Type: Document

During the eighteenth century, the northwest Pacific coast was home to a series of Amerindian nations, including the Tlingit, Haida, Tsimshian, Nootka and Salish. These were maritime cultures - excellent sailors and fishermen who depended on the sea's resources

Site: National Defence

A Russian Challenge

Type: Document

From 1725, Imperial Russia challenged the exclusive Spanish interest in the Pacific. With voyages of exploration, trade and small-scale settlement, the Russians established a presence in Alaska. The Spanish feared they would move south into northern California, too.

Site: National Defence

The Royal Navy

Type: Document

As an island state, Britain gave priority to its navy. The Admiralty (the appointed committee of admirals which made all strategic decisions) governed hundreds of ships worldwide. The Royal Navy used its bases in Canada to help control the Northern Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

Site: National Defence

A Search for the Northwest Passage

Type: Document

Eighteenth century Russian maps showing Alaska as an island, and the report of the Arctic Ocean by explorer Samuel Hearne in 1771 prompted Britain to send Captain James Cook in 1776 to search for and claim sovereignty over any Northwest Passage linking the Atlantic and Pacific.

Site: National Defence

The British Garrison

Type: Document

With peace at hand in 1764, Britain set up a permanent garrison in its new territories in America. Two or three regiments would garrison Canada as far west as Michilimackinac, while others would be stationed in the Maritimes. A strong naval presence centred around Halifax.

Site: National Defence

The Crossing

Type: Document

British troops crossing the Atlantic during the 18th and 19th centuries were never comfortable. Transports were very crowded, with men sleeping 4 to a bunk. If bad weather prevented exercise on deck, epidemics were a real possibility. By sail, the trip took 2 or 3 months.

Site: National Defence

Governed by the Military

Type: Document

Also in 1697, the British colony in Newfoundland began a long period where its governor would be the commander of the British Royal Navy squadron in local waters. This pattern of military government was not unusual - a similar military government was in place in Nova Scotia.

Site: National Defence