History Browser

Search Results

Subject > Armed Forces > Naval Forces and Merchant Navy

Date > 1700 > 1790-1799 > 1792

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

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

During their expeditions the Spanish sometimes had to use their muskets and cannons to keep the Amerindian at bay

Type: Image

This 1792 drawing shows an incident during the Spanish expedition sent to map Vancouver Island. The Europeans are using their muskets and cannon fire from their ship to keep the Natives at bay. (Museo Naval, Madrid)

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

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

The Pacific Coast

Type: Document

Along the Pacific coast, British and American interests clashed throughout the first half of the 19th century. Britain claimed the whole coast, increasing American settlement eventually lead to the Oregon crisis of 1845. This prompted the birth of a British colony on Vancouver Island.

Site: National Defence

Vancouver and Bodega Y Quadra

Type: Document

Britain and Spain sent ships to Nootka in 1792 for negotiations. The captains, Vancouver and Bodega y Quadra, were unable to come to an agreement, but maintained good relations. Vancouver's survey proved there was no Northwest Passage on the British Columbia coast.

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