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Date > 1700 > 1790-1799

Subject > Politics and Society > War Art, Literature and Music > Paintings and Drawings

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

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

Spanish fort at Nootka in 1793

Type: Image

This watercolour by artist Sigismund Bacstrum is based on a sketch made 20 February 1793. It shows the presido at Nootka with the red and yellow Spanish flag flying over the battery at left, and the soldiers' barracks at right. (Parks Canada)

Site: National Defence

Real Stories - Our Past in Miniatures - Basilique-Benjamin Trottier Desrivières Beaubien - Miniature Portrait - 1792

Type: DocumentImage

Miniature portrait of Basilique-Benjamin Trottier Desrivières Beaubien, French Canadian lawyer who was involved in the militia. Includes access to descriptive archival record for the artwork.

Site: Library and Archives Canada

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

HMS Asia in Halifax harbour, 1797

Type: Image

This watercolour of the 64-gun ship of the line HMS Asia in Halifax harbour is the work of Royal Navy lieutenant George Gustavus Lennock. Britain always maintained a strong naval presence in the American side of the North Atlantic. Warships based in Halifax insured the security of sea lanes and protected fishing fleets against mostly American and French privateers and the occasional pirate. In wartime, they would also be deployed in raids on the American coast or as far as the French West Indies. (Library and Archives Canada, C-151103)

Site: National Defence

Coteau-du-Lac National Historic Site of Canada: A Multi-Purpose Structure

Type: Document

The site at Coteau-du-Lac represented a major point of transit for British military logistics efforts. Between 1781 and 1814, the army developed large-scale infrastructures on the site, which testify to the importance the colonial authorities attached to improving and protecting transportation and communications along the route linking Montréal and Kingston.

Site: Parks Canada

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