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Subject > Armed Forces > Military Life

Resource Type > Image

Date > 1700 > 1790-1799

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

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

The billeted soldier's departure, circa 1790

Type: Image

In 18th century Canada, a good many soldiers were ‘billeted’ (lodged) in private houses rather than in barracks.

Site: National Defence

Militiamen raising the May pole in front of their captain’s house

Type: Image

The tradition of raising the May pole in front of the Militia captain's house, which began in the era of New France, went on in French Canada until the middle of the 19th century.

Site: National Defence

Commander Dionisio Alcalá-Galiano, Marina real, circa 1792.

Type: Image

Dionisio Alcalá-Galiano (1762-1805) was the Spanish officer commanding the schooner Sutil when that vessel took part in a mapping expedition to the Strait of Juan de Fuca in 1792. This contemporary portrait shows him wearing the uniform of a commander (literally, a 'frigate captain') of the Marina real (the Spanish navy). Alcalá-Galiano died in the famous battle of Trafalger in 1805, commanding the 74-gun ship-of-the-line Bahama. (Museo Naval, Madrid)

Site: National Defence

Officers and midshipmen, Royal Navy, 1787-1812

Type: Image

This early-20th century print shows the development of Royal Navy officers' uniforms during the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars. The grouping to the left has the 1787-1795 uniforms, that at right the 1795-1812 uniforms. The officer in scarlet belongs to the Royal Marines, circa 1795. The Admiral (fourth from the right) is Horatio Nelson, Viscount Nelson (1758-1805). To the left stands a captain, to his right a lieutenant. Second from right is a midshipmen (naval officer in training) with the distinctive white collar patches of his rank. (Library of the Canadian Department of National Defence)

Site: National Defence

Soldier, Compañía Fija de San Blas, 1794-1795

Type: Image

The Compañía Fija de San Blas (or 'fixed [i.e. garrison] company of San Blas') was raised in Mexico in 1788 to stand guard at the Spanish naval base at San Blas. A detachment of the unit took over as the garrison at Nootka during 1794-1795. The blue and yellow uniform worn by this man is completed by white gaiter-trousers and a white waistcoat, which records say were issued to the company. The berries this man is enjoying were not an official issue... Reconstruction by David Rickman. (Parks Canada)

Site: National Defence

'Cat of nine tails' whip

Type: Image

The ‘cat of nine tails’ was a whip used to flog soldiers. This one was used in the British 83rd Regiment of Foot. The length of the wooden stick was 43cm (1' 5"), its tails 53cm (1' 9"), and it weighed 141,75 g. (5 ounces). (Library of the Canadian Department of National Defence)

Site: National Defence

Captain Alejandro Malaspina, Marina real, circa 1795

Type: Image

This 1795 portrait shows Alejandro Malaspina (1754-1810) wearing the dress uniform of a captain in the Marina real (or Spanish navy). Malaspina was a noted scientist, and commanded the Spanish 1789-1795 expedition that circled the globe. Malaspina's ships visited Nootka on the British Columbia coast in August of 1791. Court intrigue in the corrupt Spanish court led to Malaspina's arrest for treason in 1796, and the explorer's career ended prematurely. (Museo Naval, Madrid)

Site: National Defence

Iroquois chief, 1760-1790

Type: Image

This Iroquois leader wears the mixture of native and European items that was used by eastern woodland cultures during the 18th century. Note, for instance, the European linen shirt, worn as an overall smock. Around this man's neck hangs a gorget - a gilded crescent worn by European officers when on duty. Gorgets were considered one of the more desirable gifts an Amerindian chief could receive. Among the particularly North American items seen here are the leggings (known as 'mitasses'), the scalp hair lock decorated by feathers with other hair removed from the head, the face paint and the moccasins. The result is colourful and impressive. Reconstruction by G. A. Embleton. (Parks Canada)

Site: National Defence