When the Nootka Convention was drawn in Europe in 1790, the details of the Nootka Crisis far off in the Pacific were not known. The Convention insisted that property seized by the Spanish be returned to the British and that Spain, Britain, and any other European nation, for that matter, could access and settle the Pacific Northwest. In signing the Nootka Convention, the Spanish gave up what the British thought to be their “pretension” to “exclusive sovereignty, navigation, and commerce” in the Pacific.
It took a few more years before the Convention documents made their way to Nootka Sound. Spanish captains Bodega y Quadra and Malaspina arrived to continue Spanish charting through 1792, and Captain Vancouver was sent to enact the territorial transfer at Nootka. Captain Malaspina, assisted by Captains Galiano and Valdés, circumnavigated the island on which Nootka Sound was located. It was named in honour of Captains Bodega y Quadra and Vancouver, but the island eventually came to be known by Vancouver’s name only. The ultimate result of the Nootka Crisis and Convention was the eventual evacuation of the weakened Spanish and dominance over the region by the British.
Following confirmation that Vancouver Island was indeed an island and the adjacent strait did not provide access to a Northwest Passage, major European exploration came to a close and settlement and colonization under the British began. The Hudson’s Bay Company established trade outposts in the 19th century. In 1846, the Oregon Treaty established the 49th parallel as the border between the American and British territories. The British North America Act in 1848 created an official British colony along the Pacific, and Vancouver Island was made a colony in 1849. Russia sold the state of Alaska to the United States in 1867.
The language most commonly spoken in the Pacific Northwest today is English and the names of captains like Cook and Vancouver can be found on street signs, points of land, and building fronts. The Spanish names can be found, too: the Spanish Banks, Cordova Bay, Gonzales Hill, Hecate Strait, and Quadra Street point to the presence of the Spanish in the Pacific.