George Vancouver, naval officer, explorer (b at King's Lynn, Eng 22 June 1757; d at Petersham, London, Eng 12 May 1798). Vancouver was with James COOK
on his expeditions to the South Seas (1772-75) and the NORTHWEST COAST
(1776-80). In 1790 an expedition was planned to explore that coast. Preparations were delayed by news that the Spaniards had seized British property at NOOTKA SOUND
but were resumed, under Vancouver's command, after a convention had been signed with Spain in Oct. Vancouver was charged with 2 missions: to receive back the properties alleged to have been seized at Nootka and to explore the coast from California to Cook Inlet, Alaska. He reached the coast in Apr 1792. In Aug he met the Spanish commissioner BODEGA Y QUADRA
at Nootka; negotiations were friendly but futile, and the matter of the seized properties had to be referred to London and Madrid. The summers of 1792, 1793 and 1794 were spent exploring the coast, including the intricacies of Puget Sd and the whole of the mainland coast of BC. The intervening winters were spent in the Sandwich Is [Hawaii]. After his return to Eng in Sept 1795 he set about revising his journal, published in 1798 as A Voyage of Discovery to the North Pacific Ocean and Round the World. In it he claimed with justice that his survey, one of the greatest of its kind, had removed "every doubt" about the existence of a NORTHWEST PASSAGE
to the Atlantic "within the limits of our researches."
Vancouver spent the summers of 1792, 1793 and 1794 exploring the intricacies of Puget Sound and the whole of the mainland coast of BC (courtesy BC Archives and Records Service/PDP-2252).
W. KAYE LAMB
Links to Other Sites
A biography of Captain George Vancouver. From the Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online.
A feature on Captain George Vancouver's exploration of the British Columbia coast. From Library and Archives Canada.
The Strait of Anian and British Northwest America: Cook's Third Voyage in Perspective
An article about James Cook's voyages of exploration along the West Coast of North America. From "BC Studies," a University of British Columbia website.