Robin Inglis - Vancouver Spanish Pacific Historical Society, Discussing the role played by Spanish expeditions in the exploration of the Pacific Northwest
The focus on Captain Cook and George Vancouver's natural outcome of the fact that the West Coast of Canada became British. In fact the earliest voyages were Spanish voyages. The earliest voyage was in 1774, which came to Vancouver island, to the top end of the Queen Charolettes. In 1775 Bodega y Quadra went all the way up into to Alaska. That was before Cook arrived in 1778. Then after the American war, Cook's journal was published, and as result of that there was much more focus upon the North Pacific and the Atlantic fur trade had started. The Russians were active in the North in a big way, and the Spanish were concerned about their sovereignty and their maybe ill-conceived, and now dated idea of that essentially the Pacific was theirs and everyone else was an interloper. But that resulted in a voyage of Martinez to Alaska in 1778. Fidalgo went to Prince William Sound in 1790, Malaspina went to Yacutat bay and Nookta in 1791. And all these voyages left massive amounts of information, because they were formal naval voyages from New Spain, from San Blas in New Spain. Because they were formal naval voyages that means, that of course there were endless reports, and so all these voyages are very well reported, and the interaction, encounters with native people is prevalent through out them all. And of course they make charts, they make little sketch maps of where they went, particularly the great voyages, the Malaspina voyage, those drawings are turned into formal charts.