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Subject > Armed Forces > Naval Forces and Merchant Navy

Date > 1700 > 1780-1789

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

Fears of French Fleets

Type: Document

France's 1778 entry into the American Revolutionary War spread fear in several places. The Maritimes worried about a French fleet disrupting shipping in the Gulf of St. Lawrence or attacking Newfoundland. In Quebec, officials worried about Canadian reaction to a French landing.

Site: National Defence

Fort Prince of Wales Captured

Type: Document

Fort Prince of Wales quickly fell to the French in 1782. Built there by the British Hudson's Bay Company after French general d'Iberville's raids in the late seventeenth century, the fort was a very strong stone structure, built in the European fashion. It was, however, very lightly garrisoned.

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

Trouble, and a First European Settlement

Type: Document

In 1789, a Nootka chief was killed while arguing with the Spanish about being allowed to trade with British ships in the region. Despite this and previous troubles, a decision was made to create a permanent base at Nootka, and a presidio, or Spanish frontier fort, was built and garrisoned.

Site: National Defence

A Chance For French Revenge

Type: Document

Isolated diplomatically, Britain began to suffer greatly when other European powers entered American Revolutionary War after 1778. France, followed by Spain and the Netherlands, threw the British on the defensive. British colonies and fleets world-wide suffered capture or defeat.

Site: National Defence

Lapérouse at Hudson Bay

Type: Document

In 1782, as part of a strategy of raids on British colonies, the French sent an expedition of three warships into Hudson Bay. It was commanded by the Comte de Lapérouse, who later became a great Pacific explorer.

Site: National Defence

Plans for a British Colony at Nootka

Type: Document

Late in the 18th century, the British hoped to place a colony on the northwestern coast of North America. In 1789, plans were made for an expedition that would sail to the region, in coordination with an overland expedition from Canada.

Site: National Defence

North to Alaska

Type: Document

Bad weather along the British Columbia coast kept Captain Cook's 1778 expedition out of sight of land until he reached Alaska, preventing confirmation that no Northwest Passage existed south of Alaska.

Site: National Defence

A Relatively Peaceful Decade

Type: Document

The decade 1783-1793 was almost peaceful in North America, compared to the previous American Revolutionary War. Both Britain and the United States disbanded the majority of their armies. Only a small British garrison stayed in North America, backed by the Royal Navy at Halifax.

Site: National Defence