British Columbia History

British Columbia Historical News 2001

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 British Columbia
Historical News
Journal of the British Columbia Historical Federation
Volume 34, No. 4
Fall 2001
ISSN 1195-8294
Our Spanish Heritage
Mexican Base
A Unique Friendship
Sailing in Northern Waters
Deception at Mud Bay
Uncovering Malaspina
Detail from a 1791 drawing by Jose Cardero— artist on the Malaspina Expedition— of
the battery of San Miguel built in 1789 at the entry to Friendly Cove. At that time some
75 soldiers were stationed at Yuquot. Not all went well: "... it seems that Spanish
officials struggled to control their troops. Spain's five-year sojourn at Nootka Sound
was peppered with incidents of violence. Spanish troops chased Native women for sex
and took house boards from Native villages." (Quotation from p 106 of David W.
Clayton's Islands of Trulh., reviewed in this issue by Phyllis Reeve.)
Special Issue
Spanish presence
on BC's coast British Columbia Historical News
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ISSN 1195-8294
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Historical News
Journal of the British Columbia Historical Federation
Volume 34, No. 4
Fall 2001
ISSN 1195-8294
2 A Spanish Heritage for British Columbia
by Robin Inglis
4 British Columbia's Mexican Connection: The Naval
Base at San Bias 1768-1810
by Nick Doe
8 Chief Maquinna and Bodega y Quadra
by Freeman M. Tovell
15 Jacinto Caamano: A Spaniard in BC's Northern Waters
by fohn Crosse
21 Translating Malaspina
by Andrew David
23 Fraudulent Bay: Spanish Explorations of Boundary Bay
by Nick Doe
29 Reports: A Narrative From Friendly Cove
by Robert Eberle
45 Archives and Archivists
British Columbia's Moving Past, Preserved
by Dennis f. Duffy
44 Token History: Two Diaries
by Ronald Greene
20        The Alexandro Malaspina Research Centre
by fohn Black
32        Book Reviews
40        Family History by Brenda L. Smith
38 WEB-SITE FORAYS by Gwen Szychter
45 Innovation & Imagination by Patrick A. Dunae
46 News and Notes
48        Federation News
Revelstoke 2002
"Any country worthy of a future should be interested in its past.
W. Kaye Lamb, 1937
A Precious Spanish Heritage.
In her book On Stormy Seas, B. Guild
Gillespie recalls the mysterious disappearance
of the words "It was Dawn for Britain, but
Twighlight for Spain" from a plaque on the
Spanish Banks hill inVancouver.The plaque
commemorates the first friendly meeting of
the captains Vancouver, Galiano, and Valdes
on the waters off Point Grey.That "correction" ofthe plaque happened just before the
Spanish Monarchs visited Vancouver in
March 1984. The removal of the wording
was an act of courtesy and diplomacy.
In this issue we like to think about the
friendly encounter on the waters off Spanish Banks, not in the context of an international European confrontation but with an
emphasis on the spirit of co-operation of
those mariners as well as awareness of this
briefly shared past of British Columbians,
Native and non-Native, and Spain.
Our precious Spanish heritage is remembered mostly by a multitude of geographical names; names respected by contemporary and later explorers, mariners, British, and
British Columbian.Those names give proof
of the pioneering work done by these people in exploring and describing our coastal
regions and those who lived here.\es, there
is much history to be told about the Spanish
voyages and presence and fortunately there
are now an increasing number of British
Columbians and historians elsewhere actively
involved in the research of that part of BC's
In 1971, in the fourth year of BC Historical News, founder of the journal and editor
Philip Yandle published a 10-page article by
Tomas Bartroli, then at UBC, on the Spanish presence on the Northwest Coast. Near
nothing else was published on the subject in
the following thirty years.This issue should
correct that omission.. .somewhat. A warm
gracias to the authors. THE EDITOR
1 A Spanish Heritage for British Columbia
by Robin Inglis
Robin Inglis is director
of the North Vancouver
Museum and Archives
and president of
Vancouver's Spanish
Pacific Historical
Society. In 1991, as
director of the Vancouver Maritime Museum,
he and author and
historian John
Kendrick, developed
the major exhibition,
"Enlightened Voyages,"
and an international
symposium to celebrate the bicentennial
of the visit of the
Malaspina Expedition
to the Northwest Coast
of America. Robin
Inglis edited the
papers given at this
symposium, which
were published by the
Vancouver Maritime
Museum in the following year under the title
Spain and the North
Pacific Coast. He has
lectured widely on the
subject of early
exploration, with
particular reference to
the Spanish, and has
published a number of
articles from papers
delivered internationally. He contributed a
number of entries in
the recently published
Encyclopaedia of British
AT THE end of the fifteenth century, a papal division of the world encouraged and
Lsanctioned the expansion of Europe by
dividing the world between Spain and Portugal.
Spanish conquests in the Americas were thus legitimized, and Spain claimed the entire Pacific
coast of North and South America.Vast distances
and adverse sailing conditions, however, combined
with the demands of Spain's Central and South
American empire, to thwart Spanish exploration
of the coast beyond southern California, with
the result that the Northwest Coast (Oregon,
Washington, British Columbia and Alaska) was
the last temperate region to be confirmed on the
world map.
Spanish exploration in the late eighteenth century was motivated by concern over a Russian
approach to New Spain (Mexico), and later by a
search for the Northwest Passage. As early as the
1740s Russian traders were advancing northeast
along the Aleutian Islands and Vitus Bering
reached the Alaskan coast at about 60° North. In
1774 Juan Perez left the naval base of San Bias in
command ofthe Santiago. On 18 July he sighted
the northern end ofthe Queen Charlotte Islands
and encountered a number of Haida who came
offshore Langara Island in canoes and engaged in
trade. But Perez did not land. Later he anchored
off Nootka Sound on the west coast ofVancouver Island—Surgidero de San Lorenzo—and there
was more trade with local natives. But again he
neither landed nor officially took possession of
the area for Spain. Nevertheless, these first contacts between Europeans and First Nations people on the coast resulted in the first descriptions
of native culture. In 1775 Juan Francisco de la
Bodega y Quadra in the Sonora reached 58°30'
and explored Bucareli Bay off Prince of Wales
Island in Alaska. At the end ofthe 1770s, learning
of James Cook's plan to search for the Pacific
opening of the long-dreamed-about Northwest
Passage—a navigable waterway between the Atlantic and Pacific—Spanish authorities launched
a third expedition, which, although a year late to
intercept the English explorer, sailed again under
the command of Bodega y Quadra in 1779 as far
as Cook Inlet, also in Alaska.
Following Spanish involvement in the American War of Independence, the arrival of traders
in the North Pacific and the threatening visit of
La Perouse's French expedition to the Northwest Coast in 1786 led to renewed Spanish activity. Esteban Jose Martinez explored the Alaskan
coast north and west to Unalaska Island in 1788,
returning to Mexico with information that suggested a Russian plan to occupy Nootka. The
Spanish decided to move first and in 1789
Martinez led an expedition to Vancouver Island
where they established themselves on the site of
the Mowachaht village of Yuquot in Friendly
Cove. Here Martinez seized British fur trading
vessels, which had arrived to set up a trading post
in the wake of the Cook expedition's discovery
of the high value of sea otter furs in China.This
action touched off the Nootka Sound Crisis that
nearly led to a war in Europe.
The Spanish withdrew from Nootka in the
Fall of 1789 but in 1790,just as the authorities in
Madrid were preparing to cede to Britain the
right to trade on the coast, Francisco Eliza returned to occupy the site more permanently,
along with a garrison of soldiers under the command of Pedro Alberni. While construction of a
fort and settlement proceeded, the Spanish embarked upon three years of feverish exploration
in the region and Manuel Quimper explored into
the Strait ofjuan de Fuca.The Spanish wintered
at Nootka and in the summer of 1791 Eliza continued this exploration with Jose Maria Narvaez,
in command of the tiny schooner Santa Saturnina,
becoming the first European to enter the Strait
of Georgia— Canal de Nuestra Senora del Rosario—
off present-day Vancouver. That summer, also,
Nootka Sound was visited, explored and described by scientists attached to the major expedition commanded by Alejandro Malaspina who
had earlier searched, without success, with his
ships Descubierta and Atrevida for the Northwest
Passage along the Alaskan coast.
When Spain and Great Britain reached a diplomatic settlement over Nootka Sound, Bodega
y Quadra was sent to negotiate the details of a
handover of the site of the Spanish establishment
with George Vancouver, the great English navi-
BC HISTORICAL NEWS -Vol.34 No.4 Left: The Sutil and
Mexicana under the
command of Dionisio
Alcala Galiano and
Cayetano Valdes passing
through the San Juan
Islands in the summer of
1792, enroute into the
Gulf of Georgia and a
historic meeting with
George Vancouver's
expedition off Point Grey.
Mount Baker is in the
background of this drawing
by ]ose Cardero, who made
two trips to the Northwest
Coast in 1791 and 1792
Cardero left us with more
drawings of the area and
its people than any other
artist of the exploration
gator who meticulously explored the Northwest
Coast during three summers, 1792-1794.
Bodega's Expedition de Limites during the summer of 1792 also involved a search in northern
British Columbia waters by Jacinto Caamano for
the Strait of Fonte, another suspected but wholly
mythical passage to the Atlantic.
When Malaspina returned to Mexico in the
fall of 1791 he learned the details of the explorations into and beyond the Strait ofjuan de Fuca
and persuadedViceroy Revilla Gigedo to dispatch
two of his officers, Dionisio Alcala Galiano and
Cayetano Valdes, in the Sutil and Mexicana to continue the search for a passage to the Atlantic during the summer of 1792. After visiting Bodega y
Quadra at Nootka, they entered the strait and,
off Point Grey in late June, encountered Vancouver, himself exploring in the waters behind Vancouver Island en route to Nootka for his meetings with Bodega. For two weeks the Spanish
and British explorers sailed together sharing information as they worked their way into the islands that we now know separate Vancouver Island from the mainland. After parting from the
British, Galiano and Valdes took a route into
Queen Charlotte Strait and, via Goletas Channel, entered the Pacific and proceeded to Nootka,
completing the first circumnavigation ofVancouver Island by Europeans. That fall Bodega y
Quadra and Vancouver failed to settle the competing Spanish and British claims and the Nootka
affair was ultimately resolved in Europe. In 1795
Spain ended her occupation ofYuquot and, following one final expedition in 1796, withdrew
from further maritime activity north of California.
The charts, drawings, journals, and collections
of botanical specimens and artifacts from these
early Spanish voyages are today housed principally in the Museo de America, the Museo Naval and the archives of the Real Jardin Botanico
in Madrid .They are a treasured legacy ofthe "first
contact" period between the vibrant native cultures of the Northwest Coast and European explorers and traders. Recent scholarship, publications, conferences, and exhibitions, precipitated
primarily by the bicentennial of the Malaspina
Expedition in 1991, have served to rescue the
story of British Columbia's Spanish history from
the shadow ofthe nineteenth-century emergence
of an English-speaking United States and the
evolution of Western Canada and British Columbia into the British Empire.Those who live
in this part of the world today are the beneficiaries of an increased understanding and appreciation of the fact that, in addition to an English
and American past, they also have an important
link with Spain and a precious Spanish
Information on the
Vancouver Spanish
Pacific Historical
Society can be found
on page 47.
BC HISTORICAL NEWS - FALL 2001 British Columbia's Mexican Connection
The Naval Base at San Bias 1768-1810
by Nick Doe
Nick Doe,a former
resident of White Rock,
now lives on Gabriola
Island. His interest is in
the history of coastal
1 San Bias is in the state of
Nayarit, Mexico at
21°32'N, 105°17'W
3394 km fromVictoria BC.
2 The task of a visitador-
general in Spanish
dominions was to
implement royal policies.
They reported directly to
the viceroy and were given
wide-ranging powers to
appoint officials, proclaim
new regulations, manage
financial matters, etc.They
regularly visited provinces
to confer with local
authorities, inspect, and
report on conditions,
resolve problems, and direct
the activities of the
provincial administrators.
3 Spanish cedar was an
important wood in tropical
America; aromatic, strong,
easily worked, resistant to
dry rot and insect damage,
it has now gone from many
areas where it once grew.
Some of the vessels built at
San Bias were constructed
"keel to masthead" using
Spanish cedar (Antonio de
4 Other trees known to
have been used include the
rubber tree (Castilla elastka),
a soft lightweight wood
used for construction;
mesquite (Prosopisjulitlora),
tough and strong, used for
posts and furniture; lead
tree (Leucaena glauca), a hard
heavy wood used for
MANY of the Spanish
ships that visited the
coast of British Columbia in the late eighteenth
century sailed from the port of
San Bias. Nowadays, asked to describe exactly where San Bias is,
one would probably have to
reach for an atlas.1 Yet, this small
and congenial Mexican town,
which is as far south ofVictoria
as Toronto is east, was for forty
years the headquarters of the
Spanish navy in the north Pacific. Here, in a belated effort to
maintain their claim to all the
lands of the Pacific Rim, the
Spanish established shipbuilding
yards, warehouses, and a fortified
harbour. In what the historian
Warren Cook has called the
flood tide of empire, Spanish
ships sailed from San Bias to establish Franciscan missions in
Upper California, naval bases at
San Diego and Monterey, and
naval outposts at Neah Bay on
the Olympic Peninsula and at
Nootka Sound off the west coast
ofVancouver Island.
To reach San Bias from Puerto
Vallarta, you drive north for
about three hours on the main
Mazatlan highway, and then,just
north ofTepic, take the road that
wanders down to the coast
through green, tropical countryside. If you go in winter, the
streets will be dry and dusty, and
the weather pleasant, but in the
summertime it often rains.
The land around San Bias is
flat.As you move inland, the barrier beaches give way to mangrove swamps, followed by fresh-
Above: Map ofthe coast of N.America
showing Spanish attempts at controlling
the whole of the Pacific coast of North
America using ships built and manned
by the Naval Department at San Bias.
water marshes and lakes, and
then the alluvial plain. From
the air, the land to the north
looks as though it has been
furrowed by the fingers of a
giant's hand, leaving long,
narrow lagoons running parallel to the sea.
Two rivers emerge from
the mangrove swamps on either side of the town: the San
Cristobal to the east, and El
Pozo (formerly El Arsenal) to
the west. Over the years, surrounding jungle has been
cleared to make way for papaya, mango, and banana orchards, and near-by lagoons
are used as shrimp ponds. But
development is not rampant.
Today's population, although
growing, is not much greater
than what it was at the height
of the Spanish activities.The
only buildings at the edges of
the long, sandy beaches are
palapas (a shelter made of
sticks and palm fronds),
where you can drink coconut juice, eat ceviche or grilled
pescado, and watch Mexican
families enjoying the sun.
Little is known of the early
colonial history of San Bias
and no structures dating from
that period remain. Sometime early in the seventeenth
century Franciscans founded
a mission here and urged the
Indians to give up their semi-
nomadic hunting life style in
the hills to the south and east
where they were difficult to
reach. Most of those that did
so quickly succumbed to
BC HISTORICAL NEWS -Vol.34 No.4 newly introduced diseases, or fell ill as the result
of trading their healthy climate for that of the
hot and humid river estuaries.There are reports
of pearl fishing; salt was shipped from San Bias
and from Matanchen a few miles to the south;
Manila galleons bound for Acapulco sometimes
sheltered here from summer storms; Jesuits sailed
for Baja California; and there were, no doubt,
many unrecorded visits by pirate ships.There,the
history of this remote and sparsely-populated settlement might have remained unremarkable were
it not for events in the northernmost reaches of
the Pacific Ocean.
In 1741, Bering and Chirikov reached Alaska
from the Kamchatka Peninsula, and in the ensuing years, Russian fur traders, with the active
encouragement ofthe Empress Catherine II, rapidly expanded their activities into the region. By
1760, all of the Aleutian Islands were supplying
pelts of sea otters, blue foxes, and fur seals, together with walrus tusks from mainland Alaska,
to the markets of China. Plans were made to push
farther south, and the Spanish, who for more than
a hundred years had been content to leave unexplored the vast northern territories that they
claimed by virtue of having discovered the Pacific, were alarmed. In 1768, the visitador-general,2
Jose de Galvez, responded to the crisis in "Northern California" by ordering the establishment of
a new naval base to control operations there.
San Bias was chosen because of its high latitude and sheltered harbour, its copious supplies
of fresh water, salt, and wood, and for its access to
the agricultural produce ofthe interior highlands.
Many ofthe raw materials required for shipbuilding were obtained locally. Spanish cedar (Cedrela
odorata) was the most extensively used construction timber.3 Other trees, such as guapinole
(Hymenaea courbarii) whose sap was used to make
varnish, and lignumvitae (Guaiacum sanctum), whose
heavy, fine-grained wood was ideal for making
blocks, tackles, and bearings, were also necessary
and in good supply4 Indians from near-by
Tequepexpan were contracted to gather pitch and
tar; and vitamin-C-rich guavas, the favoured fruit
for the treatment of scurvy, were gathered from
the local forests.5
By the mid-1770s, packet boats6 built in the
San Bias shipyards were plying regularly between
the coast of Nueva Galicia and missions in Alta
California,7 carrying essential supplies of food,
tools, manufactured goods, and barrels of sweet
wine for celebrating Mass. It was from here that
Juan Jose Perez Hernandez sailed the San Bias-
Left: Part of a chart of San
Bias made in 1822,
shortly after Mexican
independence. Not a lot
has changed. The Spanish
naval headquarters on the
hill are marked "old
monas(tr)y" and the hilltop
town as "in ruins''.
machinery components',
tamarind (Tamarindus indica)
for the charcoal used in
making gun-powder;
chicharron (Comocladia
dodonaea), a shrub with a
sap that stains, used for
paints and rouge dyes; silk-
cotton tree (Ceiba pentandra)
for silk stuffing material;
and white mangrove
(Laguncularia racemosa) for
firewood. A local
correspondent of the
author, Manuel Lomeli, had
no difficulty in identifying
over 50 species of
indigenous trees growing in
the immediate vicinity of
San Bias.
5 Other trees and plants
used for refreshment and
medicinal purposes
included oranges, limes,
tamarinds (candy, preserves,
and seasonings), sapodilla
(Manilkara zapota) (chewing
gum), cacao (cocoa and
chocolate), bitterbush
(Picramnia pentandra) for
treating fever, gumbolimbo
(Busera simaruba) for
dysentery, and margarita
(common daisy) used as a
tonic and possibly as a
treatment for nightsweats.
6 A packet boat (Sp.
paquebote) was basically a
frigate (200 tons) with
stowage space in place of
heavy armaments.
7 A late-eighteenth century
list of missions in California
being supplied from San
Bias include:  Purisima
Concepcion, San Antonio
de Padua, Santa Barbara,
San Buena Ventura, San
Carlos, Santa Clara, San
Diego, San Francisco, San
Gabriel Arcangel, San Juan
de Capistrano, and San Luis
BC HISTORICAL NEWS - FALL 2001 8 A complete list of ships
built at San Bias known to
have visited British
Columbia in the eighteenth
century includes the
brigantine Activa (213 tons),
the frigates Princesa (189
tons) and Santiago (225
tons), and the schooners
Sutil and Mexicana
(46 tons). Another
schooner, the Santa Saturina
(32 tons), which was used
in the first European
exploration of the Strait of
Georgia, was assembled at
Nootka, probably from a
kit of parts made at San
Bias. It returned to San Bias
in 1791 where it was used
for many years for local
traffic and deliveries.
9 Also known as Cerro de
Contaduria, literally "hill of
the counting-house
10 In 1791, the staff of
officers, clerks, and other
employees at the base
numbered 772.
11 One arch of the chapel in
particular has little
curvature and is known as
"the flat arch of San Bias."
12 The Spanish name for the
Strait of Georgia was later
given to the Rosario Strait,
which separates mainland
Washington from the San
Juan Islands. Nuestra Senora
del Rosario was also a
seldom-used alias of the
frigate Princesa.
13 The exact age of the
Customs House is not
known to the author. It was
probably built before
Mexico became
independent in 1821.
Thurman 1967 has a
photograph of the ruin in
his book captioned " Inner
Dock and Warehouse" but
he makes no reference to it
in his text. In the 1930s, it
was being used as a
coconut-oil factory.
built frigate Santiago north to the Queen Charlotte Islands and Nootka Sound in 1774, to become the first European to have visited the native peoples of British Columbia. It was from here
that Esteban Jose Martinez sailed to Alaska in 1788
to meet the Russian intruders along the shores
of the "Spanish lake" as the Pacific was sometimes called. And it was from here, in 1792, that
the San Bias-built schooners Sutil and Mexicana
set out on their historic circumnavigation ofVancouver Island, the first European vessels to do
To reach the ruins of the old Spanish headquarters, you walk towards the bridge that crosses
the San Cristobal estuary at the entrance to the
town and climb the steep, cobbled road, full of
playing children, up past the town cemetery onto
the flat-topped hill known as the Cerro de
Basilio.9The cerro has the peaceful air of an abandoned garden. A broad path leads past the old
chapel to the ruins on the bluff where neatly-
painted cannon point out over the palm trees
towards the sea.
Most of the buildings on the cerro were built
of wood and of them, nothing remains to be seen,
but here on the highest point of the hill stand
the massive walls of the contaduria. Half of this
building was the administrative headquarters of
the port; the other half contained shipping and
receiving offices and a large warehouse, which
ran the length ofthe building.10 It was completed
in 1779.The walls are about seven metres high
and were made from volcanic rock, which was
quarried from the hill on which they stand. Here
and there, the roots of trees and shrubs are slowly
prying the walls apart and the wooden roof has
long since gone. At the southern corner there is,
appropriately, a full-grown Spanish cedar tree.
The cannon along the cliff edge mark the site
of early clashes in the Mexican War of Independence 1810-18 21. Although the contaduria is now
sometimes called a fortress (fuerte), the main defences of the base were actually located below.
These comprised several gunboats, a substantial
garrisoned fort (El Castillo de la Entrada) on the
site of the present lighthouse overlooking the
Pozo (Arsenal) estuary, and a smaller battery at El
Borrego at the mouth ofthe San Cristobal.They
were not much used. Pirate attacks on galleons
from the Philippines had declined considerably
by the time the naval base was built, and no hostile warship ever approached San Bias in colonial
The chapel lower down the slope was built
with the same heavy stones as the contaduria. It is
a strangely cold ruin—cold both physically and
spiritually. Its wooden roof too has gone, although
the narrow, grey-black stone arches, that once
supported it still span the ten-metre wide nave.11
After independence, the bronze bells, at least one
of them cracked, were taken down to the town,
where for a time they were mounted in a wooden
frame only a metre or so high. It was a report of
this that inspired the American poet Henry W
Longfellow's final work: The Bells of San Bias
At least one of the chaplains that served here
went north. Lummi Bay, near Bellingham in the
state ofWashington, was known to the Spanish as
Ensenada de Loera (Loera's Bay) and was so named
in 1791 by the commandant of Nootka after his
ship's chaplain Nicolas de Loera of San Bias.The
chapel too has a northern namesake; it was dedicated to Nuestra Senora del Rosario la Marinera,
which is the name given by the Spanish to the
stretch of water between Vancouver Island and
mainland British Columbia, now known as the
Strait of Georgia.12
Within the chapel, there are no signs of the
icons, crucifixes, and flowers that usually adorn
holy places in catholic countries. Clearly the
much-frequented, patched-up old church in the
town square below has the affection ofthe townspeople, and perhaps always did. Plans for a permanent church on the hilltop were first mooted
in 1772, but by 1779 only one wall had been
completed and further work was held up for lack
of money. The priorities were elsewhere—a
much-needed hospital and a barracks for the local troops were both completed in the intervening years. Since the hilltop community was largely
abandoned in the early 1800s, the active lifespan
of the chapel must have been brief indeed.
The naval dockyards and its associated facilities, including some housing less prestigious than
that on the hill, were down by the town's inner
harbour. If you stand in the old Customs House
(Aduana), you cannot be far from where the carpenters, blacksmiths, coopers, rope-makers, mast-
makers, and caulkers once had their workshops.
Close-by, along the riverbank, there was an arsenal, surrounded by a stockade, where tools, lumber, and firearms were stored. The Aduana is a
two-storey building with a Roman-like arcade
in the Renaissance-style, probably built in the
early-nineteenth century.13 Only its shell remains,
BC HISTORICAL NEWS -Vol.34 No.4 and because of silting, a perennial problem on
the Pozo River, its wharf is now a few minutes
walk from the inner harbour. Here, where many
ships once went about the business of empire,
flocks of pelicans perform their ever-amusing
antics amidst the moored fishing fleet ofthe town.
Birds abound in and around San Bias—over
three hundred species have been seen in a Christmas bird count, twice the number usually recorded in Victoria or Boundary Bay. In the
evening that I wandered amongst the ruins on
the cerro, the bushes were full of rambunctious
kiskadee flycatchers, and from the depths of the
woods came the startling cry of a mottled owl.
But even more abundant than birds are insects. Where else but San Bias would ladies be
driven to use tequila to sooth the mosquito and
jejen (no-see-um) bites on their legs? At the end
of the dry season, high-ranking Spanish naval
officers and their families moved inland to the
highlands around Tepic to escape the heat, humidity, contaminated water, and disease-bearing
insect infestations of the summer months.
Alejandro Malaspina stopped briefly at San Bias
in October 1791 on his voyage around the world,
and his account leaves no doubt why proposals
to relocate the port were popular:
... It would be impossible to give a full idea of
the really pitiful spectacle presented at that
time by the seamen and other inhabitants of
those parts. Pallid of face, enervated, ragged,
and careless in their attire, forced to find in destructive vices the only alleviation of their
woes, making in all, a singular contrast with
the healthy and happy appearance of our
men.... the heat was insufferable and such were
the swarms of mosquitoes, and such the putrid
vapors arising from the immense sheets of
stagnant water scattered over the flats, that in
addition to discomfort, such excursions
[ashore] were dangerous.
Above from left to right: (1) The west corner ofthe administrative building and warehouse
at San Bias, built in 1 779. This was the control centre for operations in "the Californias ", a
coastline stretching from Cabo San Lucas to the Aleutian Islands. (2) The chapel and graveyard, built between 1 772 and 1792. The chapel was struck by lightning in 1793 and was
abandoned in the early 1800s. (3) Inside the chapel. It had a timber roof, almost certainly of
Spanish cedar. Most of the Spanish and Mexican explorers of the BC coast took Holy
Communion here immediately before sailing north.
The decline of the naval base at San Bias after 1800 was as rapid as its
ascent. Upper California became self-sufficient.The North American coast
swarmed with foreign commercial vessels in uncontrollable numbers. Key
naval personnel returned to Napoleon's Europe. And the concessions made
to the British at Nootka Sound, and to the Russians in Alaska, fatally weakened Spanish territorial claims in the north.
Captain William Broughton, who surveyed the Pacific northwest coast
under the command of George Vancouver in the early 1790s, describes the
town in 1796 as having "a very noble and picturesque appearance," but
when the trader Richard Cleveland visited the port in 1802, he was struck
more by the lack of military discipline and the manifest signs of discontent
and insubordination of the inhabitants. Finally, in 1810, a small band of
rebels captured El Castillo from the unprotected landward side, and eleven
years later, Mexico had won its War of Independence; the buildings on the
hilltop were in ruins; and the short, but eventful, history of the Spanish
naval base was at an end.^^-*
Selected Sources
British Admiralty Chart 1876. 1828. Sinaloa-Mazatlan Harbour: Port San Bias (insert
dated 1822). HMS Conway (Captain Basil Hall).
Cardenas de la Pena, Enrique. 1968. San Bias de Nayarit. Mexico: Secretaria de Marina.
Castillo Ledon, Luis. 1945. El Puerto de San Bias—Su Fundacion y su Historia. Boletin de
la Sociedad Mexicana de Geografia y Estadistka, 60, pp.583-595.
Cleveland, Richard J. 1850. Voyages and Commercial Enterprises. Boston: Charles H. Peirce.
Cook.Warren L. 1973. FloodTide of Empire-Spain and the Pacific Northwest 1543-1819.
New Haven:Yale University Press.
Gulick, Howard E. 1965. Nayarit, Mexico:A Traveler's Guidebook. Glendale California:
Arthur H. Clark.
Gutierrez Camarena, Marcial. 1956. San Bias y las Californias—Estudio Historico del Puerto.
Mexico: Editorial Jus.
Inskeep, Edward L.April 1963. San Bias, Nayarit: An Historical and Geographic Study.
lournal of the West: 133-144.
Longstaff, EV 1952. Spanish Naval Bases and Ports on the Pacific Coast of Mexico,
British Columbia Historical Quarterly XVI, 3 & 4, pp.181-189.
Robinson, Carl, trans. 1934. Politico-Scientific Voyage around the World... 1789-1794 (by
Alejandro Malaspina) .Vancouver BC. Originally published 1885, Madrid.
Thurman, Michael E. 1967. The Naval Department of San Bias 1767-1798. Glendale
California: Arthur H. Clark.
7 Chief Maquinna and Bodega y Quadra
by Freeman M.Tovell
Freeman M.Tovell has
a long interest in
maritime exploration,
and since coming to
British Columbia in
1978, in the Spanish
exploration of and
presence in the Pacific
Northwest. Mr. Tovell
hasjust completed a
biography of Bodega y
Quadra, the research
for which was done in
various archives in
Spain, Mexico,and the
United States.
"Maquinna is the same as Quadra and Quadra is the same as Maquinna." So
did Maquinna, the chief of the Mowachaht1 people of the Nuu-chah-nulth
confederacy, describe his unique relationship with Juan Francisco de la
Bodega y Quadra, in command of the Spanish establishment at Yuquot
(Friendly Cove) in Nootka Sound.
Above: Tomas de Suria's pencil portrait of Chief
Maquinna, executed during the visit to Yuquot of the
Malespina expedition in 1871.
'he small establishment, which existed
from 1789 to 1795, was a constant irritant in the relations between the Spanish
and the Mowachaht. Its occupation by the Spanish forced Maquinna s displacement to less desirable locations, especially Tahsis, twenty miles inland at the end of the Tahsis Inlet. At the time of
contact,Yuquot was the largest Mowachaht village and there is archaeological evidence that the
site has been occupied
for over 4,300 years. It
was the capital of the
Yuquot-Tahsis confederacy and here were
held ritual feasts and
festivities. As it was the
best cove at the entrance to Nootka
Sound, access to the
ocean was easy for fishing and whaling, vital
to the people's livelihood. Although the
Spanish establishment
protected the
Mowachaht from
Maquinna's more powerful neighbours,
Wickaninnish of
Clayoquot Sound and
Cleaskinah ("Captain
Hanna"), the chief of
the Ahousaht group, it
also represented a barrier to Chief Maquinna's exercise of his authority over his villages
outside the Sound.
From the beginning
there were clashes and
tension.The Spanish conducted occasional raids
into the Native villages to collect planks from
supposedly abandoned houses, and periodically
the Indians carried out nocturnal incursions to
steal barrel staves and hoops. Invariably the response led to loss of life on both sides.The worst
occurrence was the murder, whether deliberate
or accidental, of Maquinna's relative and a prominent sub-chief, Callicum,2 when Esteban Jose
Martinez was setting up the establishment. It was
a black cloud that hung over the Spanish for the
entire five years of their presence.
Not surprisingly, there were frequent inquiries when the Spanish would be leaving. As early
as 1791, in his report to Viceroy Revilla Gigedo
on the character and customs of the Natives, the
second commandant, Francisco de Eliza, reported:
"The place where we are anchored is the best
there is in this grand port of Nuca. For this reason the [Natives] do not cease to come daily and
ask me when we are leaving. 3
At no time did the Spanish consider the
Mowachaht as subjects ofthe king of Spain.There
was no formal treaty to bind or control them,
nor was any attempt made to enlist them as allies
to force out other nationalities. There was no
formal cession of the land to Spain and no part
of it was donated or sold. Occupancy was based
solely on Chief Maquinna's verbal consent beginning with Martinez in 1789, ratified with
Francisco de Eliza in 1790 and Alejandro
Malaspina during the latter's brief visit in 1791,
and confirmed to Bodega y Quadra in 1792Tenancy was always limited in time to the Spanish
occupation ofthe site. As continued tenancy depended on Maquinna, constant manifestations of
friendship and recognition of his paramountcy
in the confederacy were essential.
According to Jose Mariano Mozino, the multi-
talented scientist who accompanied Bodega y
BC HISTORICAL NEWS -Vol.34 No.4 Quadra to Nootka, the Maquinna known to the
Spanish is believed to have inherited the
chieftainship when his father was killed in a war
against theTlaumases4 in 1778, the same year that
James Cook visited Nootka Sound. As Cook
makes no mention of any chief by name, it is not
known for certain whether the Maquinna with
whom we are concerned was the chief at that
Nor do we know Maquinna's age at the time
of Bodega y Quadra's four months residence in
1792.The English fur trader John Meares, who
visited Nootka Sound in May 1788, recorded that
the chief "appeared to be about thirty years."6
Alejandro Malaspina, who followed three years
later, estimated that "the age of this not
over thirty years."7 If Meares' estimate is correct,
Maquinna would have been in his mid-thirties
when Bodega y Quadra arrived in April 1792.
Meares described Maquinna as "of middle size,
but extremely well made, and possessing a countenance that was formed to interest all who saw
him."8 Malaspina portrayed him as "of short stature and ill-formed in the lower half of his body,
but he makes up for these deficiencies with a
spiritual air, full of majesty and nobility, with
which he inspires naturally a respect for his per-
But if Maquinna was strong and vigorous in
his youth, two years later Malaspina found him
"short and thin, although of a nervous disposition and soft musculature." He complained that
he no longer enjoyed the robustness of his youth,
largely because he had been compelled to move
away from Yuquot, his whaling village, to Tahsis.
There, food was not so plentiful and he became
weak and thin. He recalled to Malaspina the
"happy time when his strength allowed him to
harpoon a whale single-handedly."10 Ten years
later, in 1801, John Jewitt, a survivor of the Boston massacre, had a different impression. He described Maquinna as "a man of dignified aspect,
about six feet in height, and extremely strait and
well proportioned... [He] had an air of savage
The geographic extent of Maquinna's authority and influence cannot be defined with any
precision. According to Mozino, it stretched north
from Nootka Sound up the western coast ofVancouver Island as far as Cape Cook. In addition to
Yuquot, it included the villages of Coopti,12
Marvinas and those in the Tahsis Inlet, the greater
part of Nootka Island, the waters around Bligh
Island, Tlupana Inlet, five
miles into Muchalat Inlet,
and, possibly, the south
coast from the entrance to
Nootka Sound as far as
Breakers Point.13 A few
chiefs whose villages were
outside this realm were in
varying degrees subordinate to Maquinna. To the
north were the
Kwakwaka'wakw, called by
the Spanish the Nuchimases,
who occupied the north
coast ofVancouver Island,
possibly as far north as
Laredo Sound, and with
whom Maquinna's people
traded peacefully.
Bodega y Quadra says nothing in his journal of
Maquinna's character, but Malaspina does. He
The character of Maquinna is difficult to decipher. His personality seems simultaneously
fierce, suspicious and intrepid. The natural tendency of his inclinations is probably much disturbed on one hand by the desire of the Europeans to cultivate his friendship, the treasure
he has accumulated in a few years and the discord between the Europeans themselves, and
perhaps their attempts to obtain a monopoly
of the fur trade; and on the other, the weakness
of his forces, the skirmishes suffered, the usefulness of the trade, and the too frequent presence of European ships in these parts.14
Visitors to Nootka Sound at this time testify to
Maquinna's continuing suspicion of foreigners.
From the outset of the Spanish occupation of
Yuquot and the arrival ofthe English and American fur traders, he had been compelled to play a
largely passive role, but one he performed with
consummate skill to accumulate considerable
wealth and prestige.With Bodega y Quadra's arrival in April 1792, Maquinna would acquire a
central position in the events of the next six
In Mexico City, Viceroy Revilla Gigedo had
firm views on how his officers should conduct
relations with the Natives. No longer were they
to be treated as inferior as in Mexico and Peru.
His strict instructions called upon his commanders to maintain vigilance over their men not to
"insult the Indians," even over trifling matters.
Above: There is no
likeness of Bodega.
On the occasion ofthe
launching of Canadian
Coast Guard Ship Quadra
in 1966, the Spanish
government presented the
Canadian Coast Guard
with a medallion of which
a detail is shown here.
When the vessel was
decommissioned a few years
ago, the medallion was
removed and it now hangs
in the Coast Guard
headquarters in Victoria.
Notes start on page 10
9 1 Following their recent amalgamation, they are known
today as the Mowachaht/Muchalat people.
2 Because of the phonetic system of spelling used by early
explorers, Callicum is variously spelt Ke-le-kum,
Quelequem, Calacan, etc.
3 Author's translation. Eliza to Revilla Gigedo. N/d.
" Costumbres de los Naturales del Puerto de San Lorenzo
de Nuca, propuestas para su Conquista y Utilidades que
comprendo puede producir." Archivo General de la
Nacion (Mexico), Ramo Historia, 69, ff. 10-16. Hereafter
cited as AGN.
4 Noticias de Nutka, trans, and ed. Iris H.Wilson Engstrand.
(Toronto: 1970, reprinted Seattle and Vancouver: 1991),
31. Hereafter cited as Mozino Noticias. He added that" I
have not been able to determine in what area this nation
resides... [Maquinna] avenged his death; going in person
to the enemy villages, he took them by surprise and
carried out a frightful massacre."
5 In their oral history, however, the Nuu-chah-nulth say
that Captain Cook was welcomed by " Chief Maquinna."
6 John Meares, Voyages made in theYears 1788 and 1789
from China to the West Coast of America, (London:
Logographic Press, 1790), 113. Hereafter cited as Meares.
7 Viaje cientifico y politico alrededor del mundo por las corbetas
DESCUBIERTA y ATREVIDA, ed. Pedro Novo y Colson
(Madrid: 1885), 354. Hereafter cited as Malaspina, Novo
y Colson.
8 Meares, 113.
9 Quoted by Cutter, Malaspina and Galiano: Spanish Voyages
to the Northwest Coast, 1791 & 1792, (Vancouver: Douglas
and Mclntyre, 1991), 90. Hereafter cited as Cutter,
Malaspina and Galiano.
10 Author's translation. Ricardo Cerezo Martinez, Diario
General del Viaje, vol. II, La Expedition Malaspina (Madrid:
Ministerio de Defensa, Museo Naval, Lunwerg Editores,
1992), 349.
11 The Adventures and Sufferings of John R. Jewitt, Captive of
Maquinna, ed. Hilary Stewart, (Vancouver: Douglas &
Mclntyre, 1987), 42.
12 Also spelt Kupti and on some modern maps Coopetee.
13 Mozino, Noticias, 41.
14 Author's translation. Malaspina, Nova y Colson, 354.
The remarkable charcoal portrait done by Malaspina's
artist,Tomas de Suria, reflects the same sad, even wistful
mood. Carmen Sotos, Los Pintores de la Expedition
Malaspina, vol. II (Madrid: 1982), fig.606.
15 For a detailed analysis of Maquinna's role during the
years of the Spanish occupation ofYuquot, see Robin
Inglis, "Maquinna of Nootka: Portrait of an Indian Chief
on the Edge of the Empire,"  a paper delivered at the
Ateneo de Madrid, 4 October 1993. Published in the series
II Jornadas sobre Espana y las Expeditiones Cientifkas a
America y Filipinas, in De la Cientia Ilustrada del Cientia
Romantka, ed. DiezTorre, Alejandro Mallo,Tomas y
Pacheco Fernandez Daniel (Madrid: 1995).
16 Articles 15 and 23 of Revilla Gigedo s instructions to
Francisco Mourelle, printed in Henry R.Wagner, Spanish
Explorations of the Strait of Juan de Fuca (Santa Ana: 1933),
17 Revilla Gigedo s instructions to Alcala Galiano and
Valdes, printed in John Kendrick, The Voyage ofthe Sutil
and Mexkana:The Last Spanish Exploration of the Northwest
Coast of America (Spokane: 1991), 53.
18 "Viaje a la Costa Noroeste de la America Septentrional
por Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra del orden de
Santiago, Capitan de Navio de la Real Armada y
Comandante del Departamento de San Blas...Ano de
They were to "leave behind a cemented friendship," never use their arms
except in self-defence, never take from the Indians anything unless offered
by hand, and so forth.16 In another instruction he wrote that "Good treatment and harmony with the Indians is of the first importance to establish
in this way a solid friendship with them so that our visits should not be as
distressing as those of other voyages to the detriment of humanity and the
national credit. [The] use of superiority opposed to
The viceroy's expansive phrases were not mere platitudes. His policy
was in tune with the Age of Enlightenment and more than a superficial
concern for native people as human beings.The policy was also dictated by
the need to recruit native support for Spanish sovereignty. Not only was
the viceroy anxious to avoid occurrences that would poison relations with
the Natives, but Spain's presence in the Pacific Northwest demanded stability. Without it, exploration and any eventual settlement would be impossible. It was not always easy to follow the viceroy's policy to the letter.
Francisco de Eliza, who reopened the establishment in 1790 after Martinez'
recall, had some success in gaining the trust of the Indians and Maquinna
in particular.There were some violent incidents in the two years he was in
command, but on the whole he managed to create a modicum of trust on
which Bodega y Quadra could build.
Implementation of the viceroy's policy was a top priority for Bodega y
Quadra and he would prove to be the right instrument to carry it out.
Bodega, who earlier had made a name for himself as a maritime explorer of
the north Pacific and was now serving as commandant of the naval department of San Bias, Mexico, had been appointed Spanish commissioner by
the viceroy to meet with his English counterpart, Captain George Vancouver, to arrange the handing over of the Spanish establishment under the
terms of the Nootka Convention of 1790. Immediately upon his arrival,
Bodega made it clear he intended to carry out the viceroy's enlightened
policy. He told the captains and officers of the ships of his command and
the garrison ashore that he "would view with displeasure the conduct of
anyone who did not show the greatest friendship and harmony towards
the natives."18
Bodega's relations with Maquinna got off to a good start. Very shortly
after his arrival, Maquinna came to Yuquot to welcome him and invite him
to a potlatch he wanted to hold in his honour. Bodega reciprocated with a
standing invitation to Maquinna and his sub-chiefs to dine with him in the
commandant's house.
Unlike his predecessors, Bodega travelled frequently outside the bounds
of the Spanish establishment to make regular visits to the chiefs and sub-
chiefs in their villages and present them gifts of blue cloth, abalone shells
and especially much prized copper plates.They in turn responded to Bodega's
openness by offering potlatches in his honour. Tlupananutl, the chief of
Bligh Island and Tlupana Inlet and Maquinna's principal rival, and Quio-
comasia, the chief of the Ehattesaht group, were prominent in this respect.19 Tlupananutl, a frequent guest at the commandant's house, constantly sought Bodega's support for his claim to higher status and vied with
Maquinna for his favours. Bodega was not swayed by such attentions and
was able to discern the games they were playing, perhaps even amused by
Bodega y Quadra not only recognized and respected the ranking order
jt Ji-
5                 0
■ i i i	
I-..     .:.!...
of the chiefs in the Sound, but he did so in
such a way as to reinforce Maquinna's primacy.
In his Viaje, he wrote that
I constantly treat Maquinna as a friend, singling him out among all with the clearest
demonstrations of esteem. He always occupies the place of honour at my table and I
myself take the trouble to serve him. I favour
him with anything that might give him
pleasure and he boasts of my friendship and
very much appreciates my visits to his villages.20
Bodega's desire to substantiate Maquinna's primacy was particularly manifest in the "state visit"
he suggested that he and George Vancouver pay
Maquinna at his residence at Tahsis. After travelling the twenty miles from Yuquot with their
officers in the ships' long boats, they witnessed
elaborate entertainments and dancing (includ
ing a solo dance by the chief), and exchanged
gifts. They partook in a great feast, the Natives
dining on tuna and dolphin stew. As previously
arranged, the European visitors would enjoy the
"drinkables" brought by Vancouver and the "eatables" prepared by Bodega's cooks, and served on
his silver plate. In a farewell speech, Maquinna
correctly interpreted the evening as recognition
of his senior status in the region. He remarked to
Vancouver that" neitherWacaninish, nor any other
chief, had ever received such a mark of respect
and attention from any visitors."21
Summing up the success he had achieved in
improving relations with the Natives, Bodega
I can say with assurance that it is not possible
to mistake the confidence they have in me and
the affection that not only the common people declare they have for me, but the chiefs as
Left: Map showing
Nootka Island and the
surounding area as well as
the location of Yuquot,
Marvina, Cooptee, and
Tahsis. Cooptee (modern)
is spelt in many different
ways such as Copti,
Kupti, and Coopetee
1792." Archives of the
Spanish Ministry of
Foreign Affairs, Ms. 145;
photocopy in British
Columbia Archives and
Records Service,Victoria.
Hereafter cited as Bodega,
19 See Yvonne Marshall,
" Dangerous Liaisons:
Maquinna, Quadra and
Vancouver in Nootka
Sound, 1790-5,"   in From
Maps to Metaphors: The
Pacific World of George
Vancouver, ed. Robin
Fisher and Hugh Johnston
(Vancouver: 1993).
Hereinafter cited as
Marshall, Dangerous
20 Author's translation.
Bodega, Viaje. As
Maquinna came to dinner
frequently, when he was
not occupying one of the
bedrooms in the
commandant's house, he
must have occasionally
taken up residence at his
villages closer toYuquot,
possibly either Marvinas or
21 A Voyage of Discovery to
the North Pacific Ocean and
Round the World, 1791-
1795, ed.WKaye Lamb
(London: Hakluyt Society,
1984), 672. Hereafter cited
as Lamb,
11 22 Author's Translation.
Bodega, Viaje.
23 Lamb, 662.
24 Joseph Ingraham s Journal
of the Brigantine Hope on a
voyage to the Northwest
Coast of America, ed. Mark
D. Kaplanoff, (Barre,
Massachusetts, 1971).
Entry for 4 August 1792.
Hereafter cited as
Ingraham, Journal.
25 The ceremony was
described in detail by
Mozino, Noticias, 34-37
and formed the subject of
a wash drawing by
Bodega's artist, Atanasio
26 Marshall, Dangerous
Liaisons, 165.
29 Richard Inglis, "The
Spanish on the North
Pacific Coast: An
alternative view from
Nootka Sound," in Spain
and the North Pacific Coast:
Essays in Recognition of the
Bicentennial of the Malaspina
Expedition, 1791-1792, ed.
Robin Inglis, (Vancouver:
Vancouver Maritime
Museum, 1992).
well since they frequently sleep at night with
the satisfaction that perhaps they would not
have in the houses of their most intimate relatives. Thus I have no difficulty in establishing
with them a human relationship towards
which my nature inclines.22
Bodega y Quadra's claim is substantiated by other
witnesses. Thus George Vancouver wrote:
I could not help observing with a mixture of
surprise and pleasure how much the Spaniards
had succeeded in gaining the good opinion
and confidence of the people; together with
the very orderly behaviour, so conspicuously
evident in their conduct toward the Spaniards
on all occasions.23
The Boston fur trader, Joseph Ingraham, and master of the Hope, echoed Vancouver:
" These people can never expect to have
among them a better friend than Don Quadra.
Nothing can exceed his attention and kindness
to them, and they all seem sensible of it and
are extravagantly fond of him."24
Bodega y Quadra never lost an opportunity to
present Maquinna with much valued gifts such
as copper. One special gift, which the chief would
wear on special occasions, was a beautifully embroidered coat of mail made of leaves of tin plate
in the shape of scales. Maquinna reciprocated with
gifts of prime-quality sea otter skins. He also paid
Bodega y Quadra a very special honour by inviting him and some of his people to a celebration
at Coopti to honour his daughter, Apenas, who
was entering into puberty and thus acquiring a
"new status in the tribe, that of entering into
womanhood".25 As festivities and ceremonies,
exchanges of gifts and reciprocated hospitality
were fundamental aspects of native culture,
Bodega was demonstrating respect for their customs and cultural practices. Moreover, as Marshall
has observed,
[Bodega y] Quadra's hospitality, especially the
importance he attached to rituals involving the
serving of food, the attention he paid to placing people at his table according to rank, and
his policy of housing high-ranking guests in
his own quarters, again placing them according to rank, closely paralleled local notions of
appropriate chiefly behaviour.26
It should not be concluded that all was sweetness
and light during Bodega's four months at Nootka.
Accounts of cruel incidents are still to be found
in Mowachaht oral history.Though many of these
are undoubtedly exaggerated, Mozino gives them
some credibility:
The sailors, either as a result of their almost
brutal upbringing or because they envied the
humane treatment the commander and other
officers always gave the natives, insulted them
at various times, crippled some and wounded
others, and did not fail to kill several.27
Bodega y Quadra acknowledged that he was not
always successful and he never hesitated to punish members of his crews who committed what
he called "excesses," both "to serve as a warning
and to give the Indians an idea of our justice." In
his view it was important politically that visitors
of other nationalities observe the extent to which
the Spanish had succeeded in ingratiating themselves with the native community and the manner in which the Mowachaht demonstrated their
support for Spanish sovereignty.
Mozino defended the Natives:
It causes me inexpressible wonder to hear
various bitter criticisms of the reputation of
the natives, when not one example can be
cited which could ever serve as proof of their
perversity. During the five months we were
living among them, we did not experience
one offence on their part. They filled the
house of the commandant day and night.
Maquinna slept in his bedroom; Quio-comasia
and Nana-quius did the same in mine. There
were many times when more than fifty remained in the living room.The occasions on
which some small thefts were noticed were
very few although there were at hand several
articles that would have been very convenient
for them to possess. Many of our officers went
alone and without arms to visit a number of
villages, conducted in the savages' own canoes.
They always returned impressed by the affection and gentleness they had observed in everyone.28
More measured is the view of ethnologist Richard Inglis, who has noted, is clear from the historical record that the
officers lived up to the spirit of the Spanish
policy, and when they transgressed, they were
reprimanded. But it appears they were unable
to control the behaviour of the sailors and the
soldiers who were often brutal in their treatment of the native people. At the level of officers and chiefs the official Spanish policy was a
reality, but at the level of sailors, soldiers and
commoners there was a different reality. And it
is this reality that has been passed down in the
oral traditions of the Mowachaht people.29
That Bodega meant his warning on arrival about
the conduct of his people vis-a-vis the Natives is
BC HISTORICAL NEWS -Vol.34 No.4 evident from his sharp reprimand of Salvador
Fidalgo at Neah Bay, who, in retaliation for the
murder of one of the Spanish officers, Antonio
Serantes, and fearing an attack on his ship, ordered his guns to fire at a passing canoe, killing
all but two of the occupants.
This incident acquired special significance as
word spread quickly and Wickaninnish, Tatoosh
and Hanna met to plan a combined assault on
the Spanish settlement at Friendly Cove and on
English and American fur traders trading in the
A joint attack on the Spanish establishment at
that moment would have been devastating if not
catastrophic. Anticipating the turning over ofthe
establishment to Vancouver, Bodega had considerably reduced his forces.The Santa Gertrudis, his
most powerful ship, had been sent back to San
Bias with a good part of the garrison and the
Aranzazu under Caamano was absent, exploring
to the north.The only vessel on hand to defend
the port was his flag ship, the Activa, and the remaining Catalonian Volunteers would have
amounted to only a corporal's guard to defend
against any land attack.
Maquinna went to see Wickaninnish to attempt
to defuse the situation, but he,Tatoosh and Hanna
in turn attempted to persuade him to join them.31
The Mowachaht chief defended the Spanish and
persuaded Hanna to go to Yuquot to speak to
Bodega y Quadra. He did so, and after being exposed for two days to Bodega's charm, the plot
was called off. The tense situation, which could
have had bloody consequences, had been defused
by the diplomacy and joint action of Maquinna
and Bodega.
A number of inferences may be drawn from
this affair. In a general sense, the constant tension
between the Natives and non-Natives was never
far from the surface. It also confirms the high
regard in which Bodega was held, not only by
Maquinna, but by the other chiefs of the region.
As well, the incident provides important evidence
of the high extent to which Maquinna and
Bodega were dependent on each other. While it
would be misleading to say that the mutual respect the chief and the commandant had for each
other "deepened into friendship" ,32 each realized
that their fortunes were inextricably connected.
Bodega y Quadra depended on Maquinna for
the safety and security of the settlement and
Above: "Friendly Cove,
Nootka Sound,"Engraving of a sketch by Harry
Humphreys, 1792
30 Another motive was the
coincidental brutal killing
by the fur trader, William
Brown, of a number of
Natives in Clayoquot
31 The four chiefs were
inter-related by blood and
32 Marshall, Dangerous
Liaisons; 165.
13 33Christon I.Archer,
"Seduction before
Sovereignty: Spanish
Efforts to manipulate the
Natives in their Claims to
the Northwest Coast," in
From Maps to Metaphors: the
Pacific World of George
Vancouver, ed. Robin Fisher
and Hugh Johnston
(Vancouver: 1993), 157.
34 Mozino, Noticias, 56-57.
35 Possibly the Hesquiats
who resided on Estevan
Point at the southern
entrance to Nootka
36 Bodega, Viaje.
37 Ingraham journal, entry
for September 18. See also
Mozino, Noticias, 55.
38 Royal Order #162;
AGN, Reales Cedulas
#154, f.209.
39 Bodega, Viaje.
40 Viana's Diario, cited by
Cutter, Malaspina and
Galiano, 105.
Maquinna depended on Bodega for support of
his senior rank in the hierarchy over the more
powerful neighbouring chiefs. It should not be
assumed, however, that Bodega's policy was not
without purpose. As Christon Archer has observed,
Bodega made seduction and good treatment of
the Natives...into key elements in building
Spanish claims to sovereignty...If Quadra manipulated Maquinna to bolster Spanish claims
to sovereignty, the Nootka chief proved himself equally adept at using the Spanish to
strengthen his own diplomatic position.33
On the eve of Bodega's departure from Nootka,
there occurred a gruesome incident that illustrates how Bodega y Quadra respected
Maquinna's jurisdiction over his people and refused to intervene in incidents between the Natives and his people unless Spanish guilt could be
established conclusively.The body of a fourteen-
year-old cabin boy on the Activa was found in
the woods, horribly butchered. Bodega's immediate reaction was to ask Maquinna to find the
guilty party. There was much speculation about
who might have committed the crime. One rumour, reportedly initiated by Bodega himself,
placed the blame on Maquinna who, hearing of
it, sought out Bodega.
In a lengthy discourse, which he described "as
exciting as it was poetic", Mozino recorded that
Maquinna himself did not believe that Bodega
thought him responsible, but asked that he realize that
Maquinna has a thousand obligations to be
your friend.You have given me much copper;
because of you I had many [abalone] shells to
distribute at the celebration of the first menstruation of Apenas.Yours are the cloth, beads,
coat of mail, instruments of iron, glass window
panes, and many other things with which I am
provided. Our mutual trust has reached the
point of our both sleeping alone in the same
room, a place in which you find yourself without arms or people to defend you. I could
have taken your life if my friendship were capable of betrayal. One thinks very lowly of me
and of my dignity if he imagines that, seeking
to break a friendship, I would order the murder of a boy less able to defend himself than if
he were a woman...You would be the first
whose life would be in great danger if we
were enemies...Have not you yourself gone
accompanied by few of your men and found
only that the multitude of my subjects surrounded you with the purpose of making the
liveliest demonstrations of friendship?...Make
all [your men] know that Maquinna is a true
friend that he is far from harming the
Spanish...Maquinna is the same as Quadra and
Quadra is the same as Maquinna.34
As proof of his innocence and esteem for the
commandant, Maquinna asked Bodega y Quadra
for a launch with four or six swivel guns, manned
by Spanish sailors and his own people, to punish
the "treacherous ones of Itz-coac"35 who lived
outside the Sound and who he was certain were
responsible. Though no doubt surprised at the
vehemence of the chief s oration but not swayed
by it, Bodega, true to his policy of refusing to
give arms to the Indians and avoiding involvement in inter-tribal quarrels and jealousies, wisely
declined Maquinna's request. Nevertheless,
Maquinna "offered to search for the aggressors
of the murder of the cabin boy."36
Bodega's refusal to take action, other than to
turn the matter over to Maquinna, puzzled those
present. Even Joseph Ingraham, whose admiration of Bodega was boundless, doubted Bodega's
decision to "choose to look over it than to risk
punishing the innocent" was the right one.37
Similar thoughts were expressed by Vancouver's
people, one or two even advocating seizing
Maquinna as a hostage until the culprit was found.
But Bodega's refusal to take reprisals was supported by the viceroy who saw fit to report the
affair to Madrid. In his reply, the minister of state,
Aranda, reported that the king approved Bodega's
Bodega waited until the next to last day of his
stay to inform Maquinna of his departure. The
chief, he wrote, was so "startled by the news that
I wished I had not told him, but I consoled [him]
with the hope that I would return."39 At the same
time, Bodega told him that Salvador Fidalgo
would be coming from Neah Bay to assume command of the establishment.This, too, would have
shaken the chief, who would not have forgotten
the officer's deplorable cannon blast. Maquinna
would not yet know that Fidalgo, suspicious of
Indians, would not continue Bodega's open policy
but accept him only as an occasional guest at his
table. Under him, the close relationship established by Bodega y Quadra underwent a radical
change. All the proud chief could do was to wait
until 1795, when the Spanish finally left Yuquot,
and recall Malaspina's promise that the cove would
then revert to his people and the commandant's
house would be his.40 ^^
BC HISTORICAL NEWS -Vol.34 No.4 Jacinto Caamano:
A Spaniard in BC's Northern Waters
by John Crosse
EVER since Tomas Bartroli, in the 1960s, re
kindled our curiosity about our Spanish
heritage, interest has been growing. The
Malaspina Symposium held in Vancouver in 1991
went further by introducing Spanish scholars to
our common history. Since that time there have
been many interchanges between our two countries. As a fortunate beneficiary of one of these I
was invited to Cadiz to lecture on Jacinto
Of all the Spanish eighteenth-century explorers and their voyages on our coast we know perhaps the least about Jacinto Caamano and his
expedition to the northern waters of British
Columbia in 1792. Researchers in BC have to
rely mainly on an incomplete 1938 English translation of his 70-page journal.1 More important:
the reproduction of Caamano's principal chart,
originally 28 by 20 inches (72 by 51 centimetres),
was so reduced in size as to become virtually il-
legible.Thus most of us in British Columbia have
really been unable to profit from Caamano's
legacy, and this is a pity because he is eminently
readable.2 Rather than summarizing the 1938
translation I have chosen to highlight a few interesting details of the voyage, applying as it were
a magnifying glass.
It was my good fortune to be able to examine
Caamano's original manuscript, and the full-size
charts, in the archives of the Ministerio deAsuntos
Exteriores in Madrid.3 Here the problems of reproduction become immediately apparent.
Caamano used such a fine quill pen that normal
photographic means do not pick up the details.
Thus both his route and the names he gave to
the many landmarks become indecipherable. In
addition to the main chart, Caamano produced
many smaller charts of particular locations.These
found their way into various libraries. However,
individual copies of these manuscript charts vary,
making interpretation of the journal doubly difficult.4
Jacinto Caamano was the most aristocratic
Spanish naval officer on our coast, not excluding
Bodega y Quadra.5 This may seem of little significance in the egalitarian Canada of today, but
was of much greater import in the Spanish colonial society of the eighteenth century. By virtue
of his birth the young Jacinto had not been required to attend formal training at the Spanish
naval academy, but went to sea first as an aventurero,
a young unpaid gentleman adventurer. Only after proving his worth had he been commissioned
into the navy of Imperial Spain.This lack of formal training accounts for many of the characteristics of his journal and why it is more readable
that those of his brother officers. His lengthy accounts of his encounters with the Haida and
Tsimshian are of particular interest and among
the earliest to describe these nations in any detail.
Caamano's ship was the lumbering old
Aranzazu, a 205 ton frigate, built in Cavite in the
Philippines in 1780, that had proven so slow that
she had been quickly transferred to New Spain,
where she could be usefully employed supplying
the missions of Baja California. Like most Spanish ships of war she had a fuller name, Nuestra
Senora de Aranzazu, Our Lady of theThornbush,
after the shrine of that name in the Basque country behind Picasso's Guernica, where the Virgin
Mary appeared five hundred years ago to a young
shepherd in the mountains.
Due to the need to effect repairs to the
Aranzazu, Caamano was not able to sail from
Nootka until June of 1792, somewhat late in the
season for normal exploration work. His first task
was to re-examine Bucareli Bay on the outer coast
of the Alaska Panhandle about fifty miles north
of today's US/Canadian border. Bucareli Bay had
been extensively surveyed by an earlier Spanish
expedition some thirteen years previously. One
therefore wonders why they were going over the
same old ground again.The answer is that Spain
was concerned about Russian incursion from the
north,6 and also about the possibility that English or American traders had established outposts
in what Spain still considered her own domain.
It was well into July before the Aranzazu's boat
crews had completed their investigations in Alaska.
They had found nothing except the occasional
encounter with Aboriginals. After a week's delay
John Crosse is a marine
historian specializing
in Spanish cartography.
1 Henry R.Wagner and
WA. Newcombe, Eds.
"The Journal of Jacinto
Caamano. Translated by
Capt. Harold Grenfell
R.N.," B.C. Historical
Quarterly,}u\y 1938,189-
222, October 1938, 265-
301. This account is
incomplete.The first part of
the journal, consisting of 18
pages of the ship's log is
missing, as is an appendix
listing artifacts collected.
Lreeman Tovell has drawn
my attention to a possibly
more complete translation
in the BC Archives,
probably Daylton, M.E.,
"Official documents
relating to Spanish and
Mexican voyages of
navigation, exploration and
discovery, made in North
America in the 18th
century." BCA/A/A/10/
There is a Spanish version
in Special Collections at
the UBC Library. Enquire
under "Pamphlets," Call
Number: SPAM 24506:
Colection de Diarios y
Relationes para la Historia de
los Viajes y Descubrimientos,
VII: Comprende los viajes de
Arteaga en 1779 y de
Caamano en 1792, por la
costa NO. de America,
Consejo Superior de
Investigations Cientlficas,
Instituto Historko de Marina,
1975. This publication
includes extensive extracts
from the Caamano journal
in the second half.
2 One notable exception.
See Lreeman M.Tovell,
" Ending the Search for the
Mythical Passage of
Admiral Fonte:The 1792
15 Below: The Spanish Olive
Jar found off Langara
Island in 1986 and
believed to come from the
Caamano Expedition. The
remnant is about 30 inches
high. The original was
possibly 4 feet high.
Voyage of Jacinto
Caamano," BC Studies,
no. 117, Spring 1998,5-26.
3 Harold Grenfell's
translation was made from
the manuscript in the
Archivo General de la
Nacion (AGN) in Mexico
4 For the sake of clarity I
have made tracings of the
relevant details of the charts
necessary for my tale. These
are exact copies with minor
exception, purely to aid
5 All Spanish naval officers,
with the exception of
Pilotes had to be of noble
birth. A relative of
Caamano's was the Marquis
de Villagarcia, Monroy y
Cusano, Conde de
Barrantes y Senor de
Rubianes,Vista Alegra y
Vilanueva, 25th Viceroy of
Peru. By comparison
Revilla Gigedo, the Viceroy
of New Spain, was a mere
6 Alexander Baranof did not
reach Sitka until 1794.
7 BeasleyT., Hunley D.,
Newton, W & Williams, H,
Page 18 >>>
due to bad weather, Caamano headed southwest,
surveying two small bays on the northern side of
Dixon Entrance. On the 20th of July he turned
south, crossing into what are today Canadian
The Spanish Olive Jar off Langara Island
In 1985 two fishermen from Masset, on the north
coast of Haida Gwaii, hauled up in their nets the
lower half of a large earthenware urn—an olive
jar of Spanish origin dating from the eighteenth
century. It was found off the east coast of Langara
Island, a small island on the north coast of the
Queen Charlottes. Thermo-luminescent analysis determined that the jar had been manufactured between 1720 and 1790, and was probably
a botija of Mexican origin.
Although preliminary analysis by theVancouver Maritime Museum7 suggested that it could
have come from the Aranzazu, the origin of this
interesting artifact was never firmly established.
The museum's investigators lacked the copies of
Caamano's charts so essential to locate the track
of the Aranzazu and therefore the evidence of
the likelihood her havingjettisoned this olive jar.
The only other Spanish vessel that had been in
the area was the Santiago in 1774, but it had not
sailed down the east side of Langara Island.8
Judge Howay in the 1930s and Gibson more
recently9 have extensively catalogued all vessels
on the Northwest Coast in the Contact Period,
but no other but a Spanish vessel could have acquired the urn in Mexico and lost it here, since
at that time Spanish ports were closed to foreign
vessels.We are therefore left with no choice of its
origin but the Aranzazu.
In Madrid, I was able to clearly establish that
the Aranzazu had been in the area where the urn
was found (Figure A). In the archives there I found
a more detailed copy of the same chart of the
Port of Floridablanca than is shown by Wagner
& Newcombe.10The Madrid chart actually shows
where the Aranzazu had anchored (Figure B), a
point of critical importance, for the chart traced
in Figure A can only be interpreted as a general
indication of the ship's movements.
Further information is available from the ship's
log. Caamano states in the log that he anchored
at the location shown at 7:30 on the evening of
the twentieth of July. He stayed only two nights,
and sailed at about 11 o'clock on the morning of
the twentysecond with a fresh southwesterly
breeze. Low water had been two hours earlier.11
The flood would therefore have been beginning
to make to the eastward through Parry Sound.
Caamano would have been anxious to stay close
to the Langara Island shore so as to be as far to
the westward as possible when he met the full
force of the flood coming in through the Dixon
Entrance, so that he could pick up easily on his
survey of the Alaska coast. In doing so he passed
over the position where the urn was found.12
It is unlikely that the jar was lost overboard as
they were coming in to anchor, for the crew
would then have been working the sails. A far
more likely possibility is that it was thrown overboard as they were clearing the decks after setting sail. The probability therefore is that, being
broken, the jar was thrown overboard on the
morning of 22 July 1792.
However, further investigation is required before provenance can be firmly established. If the
botija did in fact come from New Spain, there
should be other broken urns of similar manufacture lying around at San Bias, the old Spanish
naval base north of Puerta Vallarta from which
the Aranzazu had originally sailed.
The urn from Haida Gwaii was returned to
Masset, where it has recently been installed in
the newly established Dixon Entrance Maritime
Museum The finding ofthe Langara Island olive
jar, once provenance is established, will mean that
at last we have a Spanish artifact to match Captain George Vancouver's Arnold No. 176 Chronometer, although most British Columbians will
Charts on opposite page >>>
FIGURE A—An extract from Caamano s Piano de los reconocimientos ... showing his route across Dixon Entrance,
Entrada de Dn Juan Perez, to and from Langara Island. (MAE Madrid).
FIGURE B—The area marked on FIGURE A from the MAE copy ofthe Piano de Floridablanca with the anchor—
missing on the Library of Congress copy—marking the place where the ARANZAZU anchored.
FIGURE C—Part of Caamano s track chart. Rose Spit is shown as Pta Ynvisible and the modern port of Prince Rupert
lies behind Las Once MilVirgenes. (Carta Reducida..., MAE Madrid)
FIGURE D—A continuation of Figure 4 showing Caamano's anchorage at San Roque, Zayas's survey of Douglas
Channel (Bocas y brazos de Moninoj, and the ARANZAZU 's eventual escape to the open sea. (Carta Reducida ...
MAE Madrid)
BC HISTORICAL NEWS -Vol.34 No.4 •    -..
%^jju\il lit-  i---
Part oC the chart reproduced in BC HisTORI-
w \-m
v     i
i i
O ,   ?
"    .
)j Mr&rfoJ)
CAL QUARTERLY, 1938, showing the approximate areas covered by tracings made from the
original charts in Madrid.
■ ?
frit    H   \Xrtt   tin   (n-
0 iP
JM     mflll    S.lU.1   MlflT.t-«l.
■■        .    -r.
>•    ,-,^"0;.»L-i
■r- *!—•
^U &**^1-*
rtrtjl*j* X' c/
17 "A Spanish Olive Jar from
the Queen Charlotte
Islands," Vancouver
Maritime Museum, Press
Release, 13 December
8 See H.K. Beals, ed., Juan
Perez on the Northwest Coast:
Six documents of his
expedition in 1774. (Oregon
Historical Society, circa
1989), 70.
9 EW Howay "A List  of
Trading Vessels in the
Maritime FurTrade, 1785-
1825," Royal Society of
Canada, Transactions &
Proceedings Vols XXIV to
XXVIII (1930 to 1934),.
J.R. Gibson, Otter Skins,
Boston Ships, and China
Goods, (McGill-Queen's
University Press, 1992).
10 Piano del Puerto de
Floridablanca ..., a large scale
chart showing the east end
of Parry Sound between
Graham and Langara
Islands. Wagner's copy came
from the Library of
11 Tidal data has been
supplied by Luis Sobrino,
himself a former Spanish
naval officer.
12 I am indebted to David
Stone, Archivist and
Executive Director of the
Underwater Archaeological
Society of British
Columbia for all his help in
the preparation of this
13 EM.Tovell, "Ending the
Search for the Mythical
Passage of Admiral Fonte:
The 1792 Voyage of Jacinto
Caamano," BC Studies,
no. 117, Spring 1998,5-26.
"Fisheries & Oceans, Canada,
Sailing Directions, British
Columbia Coast,Vol. 2
(North Portion), 12th
Edition, (Ottawa 1991),
15 Information from Teresa
Kirschner, Arsenio Pacheco
and Luis Sobrino of the
Vancouver Spanish Pacific
Historical Society.The reef
today is known as the "Tree
Knob Group."
16 Sic. This is in the Spanish
account of the incident.
17 In Robert Galois's
forthcoming edition of
Colnett's previously
have to travel much further to see the jar.
The 11,000 Virgins
One look at the next track chart of the
Aranzazu (Figure C) makes one wonder what
Caamano was doing, but in the days of sail a ship
was dependent on wind and tide as to where she
could go. Unlike a trading vessel, where the master could adjust his route to the weather, a naval
officer had specific orders to obey.
On leaving Langara Island, Caamano had returned to charting the south coast of the Alaska
Panhandle and, meeting contrary winds in
Clarence Strait, had angled south toward his next
assignment of checking out Bartolome de Fonte s
supposed Northwest Passage.13
Coasting down the shoreline, when only four
miles off Prince Leboo Island, the wind had suddenly backed and Caamano found himself in thick
fog. A flood tide was carrying him onto the reefs
inshore. He named the spot Punta de Peligro, Danger Point, and headed back west, but, struck by
heavy squalls and then flat calm, he was forced to
anchor. Heavy rain fell all night long.
Shaken by this ordeal, he coasted back beyond
Rose Spit, on the northeast tip of Graham Island, before renewing his efforts. Off the same
spot where he had anchored two nights previously, he again encountered fickle winds and poor
visibility. At times it would clear and again he
could see a hazardous coast to leeward, a mass of
small islands on which the seas were breaking.
Ocean freighters approaching Prince Rupert
today are warned
Because of the dangers in the approach ... and
the probability that tidal streams will set a vessel towards these dangers, it is essential to be
continually certain of your position before approaching ... If good positioning is not possible it is advisable to keep an offing until conditions improve.14
Caamano had no such navigational advice; there
was no light on Triple Island as there is today. He
named the area Las Once MilVirgenes, The Eleven
Thousand Virgins, a name requiring an explanation.
After his experience with Danger Point,
Caamano was alarmed to see all these rocks on
which the white waves were breaking. As a good
Catholic he was reminded of the fourth-century
legend of Saint Ursula. Saint Ursula was an English princess wanting to marry a pagan prince.
Travelling to Rome to seek dispensation from
the Pope, she took with her eleven young friends.
But on their way home all were massacred at
Cologne by Atilla the Hun. Somehow or other
the Roman figure "M," signifying a thousand in
Latin, got inserted in the story. Thus the eleven
virgins became eleven thousand.15
The approaches to present-day Prince Rupert
seem drab without Caamano's colourful imagination. Perhaps the Board of Geographical Names
ofBC should consider changing names like "Triple Island" and the "Tree Knob Group" to "The
Archipelago ofthe 11,000 Virgins," to attract more
visitors to this economically depressed city. Cruise
ships pass hard by the reef.
Colnett's Northwest Passage
Captain James Colnett was one of the more important players in our early history. In 1787 and
1788 he had been a fur trader on the coast in the
Prince ofWales in company with the Princess Royal,
commanded by Captain Chas. Duncan.
Colnett had returned a year later, this time in
the Argonaut, again with the Princess Royal but
with a different captain. In the intervening period Spain had established an outpost at Friendly
Cove where Colnett had called the commandant, Esteban Martinez, a" God-damn Spaniard,"16
thus precipitating the Nootka Incident and the
Nootka Convention.
Colnett and his ship had been taken as prisoners to San Bias, but after months of captivity they
had been released, and had returned to the Pacific Northwest to continue their fur trading activities. However, the vessel suffered some damage en route and put into Nootka for repairs.
There the new Spanish commandant, Don Francisco de Eliza, rendered every possible assistance.
In gratitude Colnett showed Eliza his chart of
his earlier voyage and Eliza had copied this and
given it to Caamano before his voyage north.This
1787-1788 chart clearly showed that Colnett suspected that there might well be some substance
to de Fonte's tale that there was, at about 53°
North, some connection to a Hudson's Bay Company outpost far to the east.17
Caamano's most important task on this 1792
voyage was to lay to rest, one way or the other,
Colnett's hypothesis. In sending him north,
Bodega y Quadra knew that on his return Captain George Vancouver would be at Friendly Cove
to finalize details of the Nootka Convention. It
was absolutely essential that, if there was indeed a
Northwest Passage, Spain knew of it before the
BC HISTORICAL NEWS -Vol.34 No.4 British. Thus, after some hesitation, Caamano,
following his orders, plunged down the "Princes"
Channel.18   (Figure D)
Colnett and Duncan had spent nearly three
months at Calamity Bay on the southwest tip of
Banks Island, and their ships' boats had made numerous expeditions among the surrounding islands and unexplored inlets. They had reached
about half-way up Douglas Channel, as far as
Kitkatla Inlet. Caamano was determined to explore Douglas Channel—the assumed Fonte
Strait—even farther. He rounded the bottom of
Pitt Island and soon afterwards anchored off a
Tsimshian village called Citiyats.19 There he dispatched his Second Pilot, Don Juan Zayas, with
two of the ship's boats to establish the veracity of
de Fonte s claim.
Upon the boats' return Caamano records:
[Zayas] brought with him a draft of the survey
he had made, and reported that the N.E. Arm
(the main one), up which he had penetrated
for a distance of 18 leagues,... seemed to run
inland for a considerable way; also, although
very deep water, it as well as the others are all
subject to a regular, but extremely sluggish,
semi-diurnal ebb and flow of the tide; and
therefore, in his opinion have little importance.
These reasons, coupled with others that I shall
mention later,20 led me to deprive this region
of its name of Fonte Strait and replace it with
that of Bocasy Brazas de Moniho.21
After Zayas's return Caamano was delayed from
departing by trouble with the Tsimshian. Rowing ashore to do their laundry, some of his crew
had both clothes and boat stolen. Two seamen
were captured, and others fled into the woods. It
was a week before everything was straightened
out again.
Bad weather delayed him further. Though
Caamano did not know it at the time, this confluence of the Inside Passage and Douglas Channel is notorious for its fickle winds. Several times
he tried to depart before having to hurriedly anchor again.22 The old chief Hammisit, who had
always acted as a peacemaker, insisted on a farewell feast. In a ceremony that even outshone
Maquinna's dancing to Vancouver and Quadra at
Tahsis, the 80-year old veteran himself performed
a spectacular display.
Finally, on the thirtieth of July, the wind
changed and Caamano could make his way, via
the Laredo Channel to the open sea and the waters of Queen Charlotte Sound, and home to
Nootka. Dining later with Vancouver, he gave the
good captain a copy of his chart,23 which is why
so many of Caamano's names have been preserved
to this day.
Caamano had laid to rest the ghost of Admiral
de Fonte, and it is with some eagerness that we
await the Robert Galois's forthcoming edition
of Colnett's previously unpublished first voyage.24
Concluding Remarks
A few details of Caamano's subsequent career
are worth adding. In recognition of his work on
this expedition Caamano was, a year later, appointed a knight of the Military Order of
Calatrava, Spain's oldest order of chivalry. For a
short time he was commandant at San Bias. In
1800 he married Francisca de Arleta in Guayaquil.
She bore him eight children. In 1809, at the age
of 50, he retired from the navy and became port
captain of Guayaquil, dying there in the 1830s.
By this time Ecuador, like much of Latin America,
had gained its independence from Spain; a grandson of Caamano was their president in the 1880s.
There are descendants living in Texas today.
My brief time spent in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs's archive in Madrid was insufficient
to garner all the information from Caamano's
larger charts, full-size reproductions of which are
still not available.This is unfortunate because we
are still unable to glean the colour from his imagery, decipher all the names. As an example, the
island of Aristizabal was named after an admiral
with whom he had sailed as a young man, on a
goodwill mission to Constantinople in the old
Ottoman empire, Spain's hereditary enemy.
In Spanish and Mexican archives a great mass
of material relating to the early history of Britsih
Columbia is gathering dust. To the best of my
knowledge, only Tomas Bartroli, Jack Kendrick,
Freeman Tovell, Jim McDowell, and Christon
Archer have seriously penetrated this labyrinth.
Here is an opportunity for anyone interested in
the Spanish part of our history because at least
for research in Spain, scholarships (becas) are available through their cultural attache in Ottawa.
In closing it remains but to thank Marisa Cales,
Mercedes Palau,and Eric Beerman,all Spaniards,
without whom this article would never have been
unpublished first voyage—
due this spring from UBC
Press—Colnett has
recorded, opposite Douglas
Channel: "Prince of Wales
& Sloops Boat overhauld
these Inlets in 1787 &
P[rincess] Royals in 1788.
The openings & Channels
appeard to have no End.
Sound, at the greatest
E[ast]ing they made was 90
fm & then no Bottom. Its
the general Opinion of
Capt. Duncan & of all that
saw those Inlets that they
communicate with Hudson
Bay the nearest Settlement
of the Hudson Bay Coy.
which is Hudson House is
Lat 53° Long [   ] Bears [   ]
West dist. 400 Leagues."
Quoted with the author's
18 Named by Caamano in
honour of Colnett's Prince
ofWales. On a draft chart
Caamano calls it" Canal de
Principe Real." Explorers
frequently miswrite foreign
19 Ksidiya'ats.
20 Only the AHN, Mexican
City copy of the journal,
the one that was used by
Harold Grenfell, carries any
further reflections by
Caamano. As this would
appear to be the earliest
version, it is my belief that
Caamano did not follow up
on his theory, and I have
therefore excluded these
aspects from this paper.
21Monino is the family
name of the Conde de
Floridablanca, the Spanish
prime minister.
22 The area is not named
Squally Channel for
23 I am most grateful to
Andrew David, who
recently located this at the
Admiralty Hydrographic
Office in Taunton, England.
The Call No. is 355/3 on
24Judge Howay had edited
Colnett's journal of the
later, 1789-1791, voyage,
published by The
Champlain Society,
Toronto, 1940.
19 The Alexandro Malaspina Research Centre
Malaspina University College, Nanaimo
IN ITALY, Spain, and Latin America
there exists a lively community of
public and private scholarly researchers into the thoughts, words, and deeds
of Alexandro Malaspina the Italian navigator, one of many such who served the
Spanish Crown.Their interests have been
echoed in maritime history conferences
in various parts of the English-speaking
world, but it is fair to say that nowhere in
Britain, Canada, the United States, or Australia is there a level of scholarly interest
in Malaspina studies which rivals the intense commitment of these investigators.
In an attempt to redress the balance, the
Alexandro Malaspina Research Centre
was created in 1999 at Malaspina University College in Nanaimo.
Not only was Alexandro Malaspina a
pivotal figure in the history of European
contact with First Nations peoples on the
West Coast of North America, but he also
made important contributions to a
number of academic disciplines, including physics, applied astronomy and political philosophy. His achievements were
celebrated in the naming of Malaspina
University College when the institution
was founded three decades ago, and in
opening the Centre the institution has
acknowledged the significance of
Alexandro Malaspina as an explorer ofthe
conceptual as well as ofthe physical world.
The interdisciplinary character of the
research supported by the Centre reflects
both the wide range of its subject's intellectual interests and the reputation for
excellence, which the University College
has gained in recent years through its own
interdisciplinary degree programs. The
Centre also promotes the cordial relations
the University College has with contemporary members of the Malaspina family
and with the corresponding centres of
Malaspina Studies activity in Italy, Spain,
and elsewhere.
Some readers might pause over the
spelling "Alexandro" used for the navigator's first name. The standard Italian
spelling is " Alessandro." The birth record
in Mulazzo, Italy, uses " Allesandro," an archaic variant. He is better known by the
Hispanicization "Alejandro" or
"Alexandro." Malespina himself used
"Alexandro," and that the spelling the
Centre has decided to employ.
Activities of the Centre
The Centre has focused in the first years
of its existence on activities in three areas:
publishing, Web site development, and
public lectures and events. They include:
(1) The translation by Teresa and Don
Kirschner of Dario Manfredi's biography
of Malaspina, previously published in
Spanish in the volume La America Imposible.
The completed volume is awaiting publication. (2) The Centre has also published
a chapbook, Proceedings ofthe Inaugural Symposium, October 1999, which, while stocks
last, is available free of charge to readers of
BC Historical News (See page 47 for further information). (3) The Centre's Web
amrc.htm. contains an electronic archive
of images, research materials and articles
pertaining to Alexandro Malaspina and
related figures, as well as news of events,
publications and recent research. (4) A lecture by John Kendrick on his biography
of Malaspina, in April 1999. (5) The Inaugural Symposium, in late 1999, which
brought together scholars from British
Columbia and overseas, First Nations and
Spanish dignitaries, and members of the
local community for an evening of lectures and an exhibition of photographs of
artwork from the Malaspina Expedition.
(See Nick Doe's report in BC Historical
News,Vol. 33/1). (6) The Fall Lecture Series, which in 2000 welcomed John
Gascoigne from Australia and Virginia
Gonzalez Claveran from Mexico as well
as local researchers. The theme ofthe free
public Lecture Series for 2001 is Contact:
FirstVoyages, First Peoples. It begins on nineteen September with a talk by G. Douglas
Inglis, Director and Research Professor of
History at the Texas Tech. University
Center in Sevilla, Spain, entitled "Vested
Interests, an Enlightened Opinion and
Royal Intervention: Imperial Reform
of the Trans-Atlantic Mails."
Aside from the above activities,an important function of the Centre is the
maintenance of liaison with its counterparts overseas, provincial and other archives, maritime historical societies such
as theVancouver Spanish Pacific Historical Society and the Hakluyt Society,
maritime historians such as John Crosse,
Robin Inglis, and John Kendrick, who
have been working on Malaspina for a
number of years, and the Malaspina fam-
The Future
Although the Alexandro Malaspina Research Centre has been especially active
over the last two years and has developed
a virtual location on the Internet, it is
still seeking a physical home on the campus of Malaspina University College. Its
physical archive of secondary scholarship
is growing, and plans are afoot for an expansion ofthe library, which will include
a dedicated research facility.
Among a variety of future research
projects is one close to my own heart:
the translation and compilation of a critical edition of Malaspina's political writings, most notably the Axiomas politicos
sobre la America. Other research associates have been discussing a parallel histories approach to the reconciliation of
the perspectives of European history with
First Nations oral tradition as it concerns
contact on the West Coast. There is much
work to be done, and a great enthusiasm
for doing it!
In all its endeavours, the Centre adheres to what it considers an important
principle: that historical understanding,
so vital to confronting the future, is best
served by collaboration between the academic world and the greater community.
In order to maximize interaction between these two spheres of interest, we
do our best to make the results of our
work as accessible as possible.
John Black, Research Associate
BC HISTORICAL NEWS -Vol.34 No.4 Translating Malaspina
by Andrew David
Andrew David, retired director of the
Admiralty Hydrographic Office,Taunton,
Somerset, is perhaps best known here as
the editor of fhe Charts and Coastal Views
of Captain Cook's Voyages published by the
Hakluyt Society between 1988 and 1997.
WHEN Alejandro Malaspina, an
Italian-born Spanish naval
officer, returned to Cadiz in
the Descubierta on 21 September 1794 at
the end of his five-year scientific, political, and hydrographic voyage to the Pacific, he was granted permission to go to
Madrid to report in person to Antonio
Valdes, the Minister of the Navy. On arrival in the capital Malaspina was taken
by Valdes to El Escorial where he was presented to King Charles IV and Queen
Maria Luisa. Malaspina then settled down
in Madrid where he proceeded to draw
up an ambitious plan to publish his voyage in a number of volumes, which would
surpass in scope the published voyages of
Cook and La Perouse. As well as including his own journal Malaspina planned to
publish the scientific results of the voyage
based on the works of Antonio Pineda,
the chief scientist ,Tadeo Haenke,the naturalist from Prague, and Luis Nee, the expedition's French born botanist. Unfortunately, while he was working on his
journal, Malaspina involved himself unwisely in politics at the highest level, writing to the Queen suggesting that Manuel
Godoy, the chief minister, should be dismissed. Unfortunately the letter fell into
the hands of Godoy with the result that
Malaspina was arrested on 22 November
1795 and tried on a charge of conspiracy.
He was sentenced to imprisonment in the
fortress of San Anton in the harbour of La
Coruna in the north-western province of
Galicia, where he remained for almost
seven years until released through the intervention of Napoleon and exiled to his
native Italy,where he died on 9 April 1810.
Before his arrest Malaspina had completed work on several versions of his journal but its publication was suppressed and
the only one of the volumes planned by
Malaspina to be published in his lifetime
was Relation del viage hecho por las goletas
Sutily Mexicana en el ano de 1 792 the subsidiary voyage to the Strait ofjuan de Fuca
under the overall command of Dionisio
Alcala Galiano.This was published in Madrid in 1802, possibly in response to the
publication ofVancouver's voyage in Lon-
Alejandro Malaspina.
Pastel drawing by Jose Maria Galvan.
don in 1798. All mention of Malaspina by
name in this account was ruthlessly struck
out. However, some softening of the official attitude took place in 1809 when Jose
Espinosa y Tello published Memorias sobre
las observationes astronomicas hechas por los
navegantes espanoles en distintos lugares del
globo, which contains a number of references to Malaspina by name as well as a
number of mentions of his voyage.
In spite of the official embargo on anything to do with Malaspina, a massive archive relating to his voyage was retained
in the Deposito Hidrografico in Madrid,
the forerunner of the present-day Museo
Naval in the same city. In 1823 its director, Felipe Bauza, who had served under
Malaspina during the latter's voyage, himself got into political difficulties and was
forced to flee to London, taking with him
many documents relating to the voyage,
some of which were returned to Spain on
his death, others were dispersed and a few
were purchased by the British Museum
and are now held in the British Library.
The vast majority ofthe Malaspina documents, however, remained in Spain.
At about this time the Russian ambassador in Madrid obtained a copy of one
ofthe versions of Malaspina's journal, enabling the first full account of Malaspina's
voyage to be published unexpectedly in
St Petersburg. The editor appears to have
been Admiral Krusenstern, who had himself commanded a Russian voyage to the
Pacific and around the world between
1803 and 1806. It appears that the journal
was first translated into French before being finally translated into Russian, when
it was published in six lengthy instalments
between 1824 and 1827.
The first relatively full account of the
voyage in Spanish occurred with the publication in 1849 in his native Montevideo
of the journal of Francisco Xavier deViana,
who had served on board the Descubierta
during the voyage. Finally, in 1885 the
Spanish naval historian Pedro Novo y
Colson published in Madrid the first full
account in Spanish of the voyage based
primarily on one version of Malaspina's
journal under the title, Viaje politico cientifico
atededor del mundo por las corbetas Descubierta
yAtrevida, al mando de los capitanes de navio
Don Alejandro Malaspina y Don Jose
However, the vogue for translating such
voyages into English had long passed and
this important voyage remained virtually
unknown amongst English-speaking
scholars.Thus when J. C. Beaglehole published the third edition of his The Exploration of the Pacific in 1966, he dismissed
Malaspina's voyage in just twenty lines,
while Ernest S. Dodge in his Beyond the
Capes: Pacific Exploration from Captain Cook
to the Challenger (1 776-1877), published in
21 1971, does not mention Malaspina at all.
When the American scholar Henry R.
Wagner began researching Spanish voyages to the northwest coast of America in
the 1930s he included a short account of
the Malaspina expedition in his influential Cartography of the Northwest Coast of
America to the Year 1800, commenting
rather unfairly "It cannot be said that
Malaspina achieved any great success."
The Malaspina mantle was taken up in
1960 by Donald C. Cutter when he published Malaspina in California, the first of a
number of books and articles relating to
Malaspina on the northwest coast that he
continues to write. In 1977 the Oregon
Historical Society mounted a small exhibition relating to Malaspina on the northwest coast, borrowing a number of drawings and charts from the Museo Naval and
the Museo de America in Madrid. By this
time interest in Malaspina was awakened
in Spain with the publication in 1982 of
the pictorial record of the Malaspina expedition by Carmen Sotos Serrano in her
Los Pintores de la expedition de Alejandro
Malaspina, followed in 1984 by the publication by the Museo Universal of one of
the versions of Malaspina's journal, Viaje
tien tifico y politico a la America Meridional... en
losanosde 1789, 90, 91, 92, 93y 95...por
los capitanes de navio D.Alejandro Malaspina
y D. Jose Bustamante.The later volume was
edited, with two others, by Mercedes Palau
Baquero of the Ministerio de Asuntos
Exteriores (Ministry of External Affairs),
who has subsequently made a number of
visits to Vancouver Island in connection
with her interest in Malaspina as well as
writing and editing a number of other articles and books and organizing several important conferences.
This renewed interest in Malaspina did
not go unnoticed in London and in particular by members of the Hakluyt Society who had been aware for some years
that the lack of an English translation of
this important Spanish voyage was a major gap in the Society's publications. On
one occasion a proposal to publish such
an edition was put forward by a Spanish
scholar but he was forced to withdraw due
to other commitments. Meanwhile the
Museo Naval had embarked on an ambitious undertaking to publish the earliest
extant version of Malaspina's journal, together with a series of volumes relating to
Malaspina's scientific and political activities. The first volume was published in
1987, followed in 1990 by Malaspina's
journal in two parts, with the series being
completed in 1999 with volume IX, the
journal of Malaspina's second-in-command Jose Bustamante, the series being
coordinated by Maria Dolores Higueras
Rodriguez, Jefe de Investigacion of the
Museo Naval, who edited the final volume and also a number of other articles
and books and, in particular, Catalogo critico
de los documentos de la expedition Malaspina
(1789-1794) del Museo Naval, which contains over 3,500 entries.Thus in the space
of a little more than two decades a considerable corpus of books and articles relating to Malaspina has been published.
The publication by the Museo Naval of
the earliest known version of Malaspina's
journal was also significant as far as the
Hakluyt Society was concerned as it was
clearly the most authentic account of the
voyage. But before the Hakluyt Society
could proceed they had to receive and
evaluate a firm proposal.
In April 1992 Vancouver's Simon Fraser
University hosted a conference to celebrate the bicentenary of Captain George
Vancouver's arrival on the Pacific north
west coast,attended by many scholars from
around the world, a number of whom
were interested in Malaspina's voyage and
others who were members ofthe Hakluyt
Society. During the conference a special
meeting was convened by Professor Glyn
Williams of Queen Mary College London and a vice president of the Hakluyt
Society to gauge what interest and support there would be for an English edition of Malaspina's voyage. The outcome
was universal support for such a proposal,
if a viable proposal could be made. Later
the same year the Spanish Government,
under the auspices of the Ministerio de
Asuntos Exteriores, hosted a major conference on Malaspina, which attracted a
number of important Malaspina scholars
from around the world, followed by a
smaller conference in 1993 in Mulazzo,
Malaspina's birthplace in northern Italy.
The problem now facing the Hakluyt
Society, which is a charitable organization,
is that potential editors proposing the publication of a foreign language journal are
required to translate it themselves or to
edit a translation already made by someone else since the Society does not have
funds to pay for such a translation. Both
Professor Williams and I, who was by now
also a vice-president of the Society, were
eager to propose an English edition of
Malaspina, but neither of us was sufficiently
fluent in Spanish to undertake the translation. At this juncture an English academic, Dr Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, well
known for his publications on Columbus,
joined the proposed editorial team.
Through his Spanish contacts Dr
Femandez-Armesto was able to raise sufficient funds to enable the necessary translation to be undertaken, and so in 1996
the Society agreed to our proposal to publish an English translation of Malaspina.
The search now began to find translators
with suitable qualifications, a task which
proved more difficult than was anticipated.
Fortunately we were assisted in this by one
of the Society's Spanish members, Carlos
Novi, who had been resident in London
for many years and had formerly been employed as the chief Spanish translator to
the International Maritime Organization.
Carlos Novi was elected to the Council
ofthe Hakluyt Society in 1999 and shortly
afterwards was invited to join the editorial team. Through his contacts Carlos
Novi was able to find a number of possible translators and the task of translation
began. Soon a number of translation difficulties became apparent. Letters "b" and
"v" were clearly interchangeable. Certain
words were found to have different meanings in nautical and astronomical contexts.
Thus cuarto de circulo was an astronomical
quadrant and not a quarter of a circle;
pendulo was an astronomical clock, a very
accurate long case clock, not simply a pendulum. Later in the voyage a pendulum
was embarked for conducting gravity experiments, which was designated pendulo
simple or pendulo invariable. These difficulties served to slow the translation process,
but work has now been completed on the
first of three volumes, which the Hakluyt
Society plans to publish later this year, with
the remaining two volumes, hopefully,
within the next three years.^^
BC HISTORICAL NEWS -Vol.34 No.4 Fraudulent Bay
Spanish Explorations of Boundary Bay
by Nick Doe
I ONCE lived in White Rock, in a house on
the hillside overlooking the sea, and it was
here that I first developed an interest in local
history. Perhaps unlike most, I can pinpoint the
time this happened very precisely; it was the afternoon of Saturday, 29 July 1989.That day, the
local newspaper, The Peace Arch News, published
an article by local writer and historian Bill Hastings.
Bill's article was about the Spanish explorations of Boundary Bay and was based on the work
of Major J.S. Mathews, Vancouver's one-time
"crusty but loveable archivist" (as Bill put it)The
article included a brief description of the
" Narvaez Chart of 1791", which is the first chart
ever made of the Strait of Georgia. The chart is
well known among local historians, and much
has been written about it over the years, but I
didn't know that at the time. What particularly
caught my eye that Saturday afternoon was the
annotation Boca de Florida Blanca (see Figure 1).
This, Bill explained, was the Spanish name for
the estuary of the Fraser River.
Now I didn't know much Spanish then, still
don't, but I knew enough to know that, loosely
translated, the annotation meant "inlet of white
floweriness".Being interested in the natural history of the Fraser delta, I spent the next week
walking the dykes, searching in libraries, quizzing local naturalists, trying to figure out what
white flowers could possibly have impressed the
Spanish so.
Had we had the Internet then, the mystery
wouldn't have lasted long; and maybe I never
would have become interested in historical puzzles; and maybe I would never have been writing
this; but I didn't have the Internet then, so it wasn't
until I looked up "Floridablanca" in the Encyclopedia that the mystery was solved. By then, I
was, as the former editor of BC Historical News
would say, a "local history buff".
It turns out, as most historians know, that
"Floridablanca" was just an aristocratic title—
nothing at all to do with the local flora. Jose
Mohino, conde de Floridablanca, was prime minister in Spain from 1776 until he was summarily
Nick Doe is the editor
of SHALE, Journal of
the Gabriola Historical
& Museum Society.
H-*,. *-.
***. J* &„,&: jl^o,,    raautkof
..\ .     5gjnakmim
■     TT^mTmlll...^
f £*#*** d*r f*nm
Figure 1
—The Narvaez Chart
annotated by Major J.S.
Mathews showing
Boundary Bay and the
lower BC mainland. The
"Semiahmoo Indian
Village " is at the site of
present-day White Rock.
Points Roberts and Grey
were perceived as islands.
23 Right:
Figure 2
A small segment of
Galiano s copy of the
Narvaez chart in his book
of sketchmaps. Point
Roberts (Y [Isla] Cepeda)
is on the left shown as an
island. The small dark
rectangular "blob " to the
right ofthe "d" in Cepeda
indicates a major Indian
village, almost certainly the
ruined one at Lily Point.
1 Lor those who love
"interesting facts", Narvaez
was only 23 years old at the
time. We have his chart, but
not his journal.
2 It was Puget incidentally
who makes reference in his
unpublished log to a" white
bluff" while in Semiahmoo
Bay, a reference some have
taken as referring to "the
hump" at White Rock. Alas
for White Rockers, Puget's
accompanying compass
reading makes it plain that
he was in fact referring to
the cliffs at Point Roberts.
3 In Morag Maclachlan's
editorial introduction to
The Fort Langley Journals,
1827-30, p. 12, a further
voyage by the HBC in
1826 is mentioned. After
researching the
whereabouts of McKenzie
and of the vessels available
to him for such a trip, I'm
inclined to believe there
was no such voyage, and
that McLoughlin's "last fall"
was a slip of the pen; he
meant 1825.
4 Later the Alaska Packers
Association Cannery. See
Point Roberts, USA:The
History of a Canadian
Enclave, by Richard E.
5 Deserted villages were
common after smallpox had
killed an estimated two-
thirds of the population in
1782-1783. Which peoples
lived year-round on Point
Roberts before European
contact is not known for
certain.The historical
evidence is that the
dismissed in February 1792, in part because of
his intransigent opposition to the French Revolution. Most Spanish placenames were in fact, like
Captain Vancouver's, the names of important people—saints, politicians, aristocrats, viceroys, naval
bureaucrats, people like that—but there are a few
examples of names
that are descriptive—
the Ballenas Islands
(islands of whales);
Patos Island (island of
ducks); and Rio de las
Grullas (river of
cranes, now Englishman River) .Although
my immediate puzzlement over the
name Florida Blanca
had been resolved,
there is, as it happens,
a further puzzle with
the name, but that required rather more
than a week to resolve
and I'll come back to
it later.
Boundary Bay was visited several times by
European explorers before settlement in the area,
which began with the establishment ofthe Hudson's Bay Company (HBC) trading post at Fort
Langley in the summer of 1827. The explorers
who have left records of their visits include Jose
Narvaez, who came with the Eliza expedition of
1791;1 Dionisio Alcala Galiano who, along with
Cayetano Valdes, circumnavigated Vancouver Island in the Sutil and Mexicana in 1792; Peter Puget
who was with Captain Vancouver's expedition,
also in 1792;2 Francis Annance (of Annacis Island) and John Work, who were clerks on the
HBC canoe expedition to the Fraser River in
the winter of 1824; and furtrader Alexander
McKenzie and ship's surgeon and amateur botanist Dr. John Scouler, who were aboard the HBC
brig William &Ann when it visited Point Roberts
in 1825.3
The Aboriginal people who lived around and
frequented Boundary Bay for the most part spoke
one of two languages, both with several dialects.
The first is called nowadays Straits Salish, and the
second Halq'emeylem. These languages are two
of the five spoken by people belonging to the
fairly loose cultural and linguistic grouping called
Coast Salish. The year-round inhabitants of
Boundary Bay were the Semiahmoo, with villages at the mouth of the little Campbell River,
Drayton Harbor, Birch Bay, and probably others
elsewhere.They spoke Straits Salish. The immediate neighbours ofthe Semiahmoo to the south,
were their Straits-Salish-speaking relatives, the
Lummi, and beyond
them, on Samish and
Guemes Islands, the
The Semiahmoo also
had linguistic relatives
immediately across
from them on Vancouver Island, including the
Sooke (T'Sou-ke), the
Songhees in the Victoria area, the Saanich
(Wsanec), and others.
The people round the
coast from the
Semiahmoo were the
Tsawwassen who
spoke, not Straits, but
the language of the
people who live all
along the Fraser River, Halq'emeylem. According to tradition, the Nicomekl (Snokomish) people, who also spoke Halq'emeylem, formerly occupied a territory extending from Boundary Bay
to the Fraser River, but they were almost completely wiped out by the devastating smallpox
epidemic of 1782-1783.
There once was a very large Indian village on
the shores of Boundary Bay. It stood on the southeast tip of Point Roberts, known today as Lily
Point.This was the site of the Wadhams cannery4
which was built in 1891, the same year as the
Drysdale cannery on Semiahmoo Spit.The cannery has long since gone, and the site has reverted to its natural state.Attention was first drawn
to the old village by Peter Puget, who records in
his log that on the afternoon of 11 June 1792,
...we stopped to dine at a deserted village...
[which] must, by its size, have formerly been
the habitation of near four hundred people,
but was now in perfect ruins and overrun with
nettles and some bushes...5 The body of the
village consists of three rows of houses, each
row divided by a narrow lane and partitioned
off into four or six square houses and every
one large and capacious This frame, the
only remnant of the village, must have given
BC HISTORICAL NEWS -Vol.34 No.4 the Native inhabitants an infinite trouble in
the construction, and it still remains a mystery
to me by what powers of mechanism they
have been able to lift up the heavy and long
logs of timber which are placed on [top of the
One of those trivial curiosities that tend to intrigue local historians is that, conspicuous though
the ruins of the village evidently were, nowhere
in any of the records of the Spanish explorations
of Boundary Bay has anyone managed to find
any reference to it. Both Work and Annance
mention it in their 1824 journals; and when
McKenzie was there in 1825, the ruined village
was being used by some Saanich Indians as a temporary shelter. Well, we can now put that right.
Figure 2 from a previously unpublished sketch
by Galiano supplies the long sought for reference. To be sure, it is a bit obscure to those not
familiar with the Spanish charts of the time, but
be assured that the small rectangle on the east
side of the peninsula, close to the south-eastern
tip, is Galiano's usual symbol for a sizeable Native habitation. It is certainly enough to satisfy
me that Galiano did indeed note the presence of
the village in 1792, even though he was too preoccupied with other things to write about it.
Figure 1 is an often-reproduced segment of a
larger chart (Carta Que Comprehende...),showing
southern Vancouver Island and the adjacent mainland. The segment—here annotated by Major
Matthews— appears to contain what must seem
to anyone not familiar with the countryside
around the Fraser estuary, an appalling error in
Figure 3 A
Segment of "Carta Que
Comprehende," Narvaez s
chart, showing the BC
Lower Mainland and
adjacent coast in Washington State.
25 Right:
Figure 3B
The chart computer
corrected for elementary
scaling and orientation
errors superposed on a
modern chart (lighter
salmon-fishing site at Lily
Point, on the southeastern
tip of the peninsula, was
used seasonally as a
traditional right by all the
Straits-Salish speakers,
particularly the Semiahmoo
and Lummi, and from
Vancouver Island, the
Saanich. Less surely, we can
add to the list of those who
used Lily Point, the people
who used the Eraser-River
fishery, that is, the
speakers: Tsaw wassen,
Kwantlen, Nicomekl, and
fromVancouver Island, the
Nanaimo, Cowichan, and
6 Point Roberts itself is
made up of sediments
deposited in the cool wet
period immediately before
the last ice age.
7 Also not adequately
explained is why Narvaez
would want to make such a
trip and, if he did, why he
couldn't tell the difference
between flooded fields and
the open ocean. Matthews'
account is nevertheless very
entertaining. See Vancouver
Historical Journal, No. 4,
8 Nick Doe," Some
Anomalies in a Spanish
Chart ofVancouver
Island—1791, Lighthouse,
Journal of the Canadian
Hydrographic Association, 56,
Fall 1997, 7-20.
that it shows a large, non-existent body of water
stretching northwards from between Point
Roberts (Isla de Zepeda) and Kwomais Point in
Surrey (Punta de San Rafael) towards the Burrard
Inlet. In fact, this is a perfectly understandable
mistake by Narvaez.The land between the north
arm of the Fraser and Boundary Bay has been
created since the end ofthe last ice age 10,000
years ago, and is still just a few feet above sea
level. Now agricultural land, but formerly wet
meadows and marshes, this land is difficult to see
from any distance away from the shoreline in
Boundary Bay. Explanations for Narvaez's error
include the lowland around Point Roberts being
flooded by the Fraser, being below the horizon,
being shrouded in low-lying mist, or being ob
scured by refraction caused by the sun drying
out and heating up the air above the mudflats at
low tide. All of these phenomena, except flooding, which is prevented by modern dykes, often
give the high ground at Point Roberts, quite strikingly, the appearance of an island, which undoubtedly it was just a few thousand years ago.6
The second feature of interest in Figure 1 is
the apparent continuation of the shoreline from
Boundary Bay almost all the way through to the
Indian Arm of Burrard Inlet (about where it says
Boca de Florida Blanca). This distortion led the
incautious Major J.S. Mathews in his account of
"incidents presumed to have occurred" to go as
far as to assert that the Spanish made an overland
expedition to the Fraser River. This assertion is
BC HISTORICAL NEWS -Vol.34 No.4 still occasionally repeated as fact in local history
publications and pamphlets, but there is no hint
that this might be true in any of the Spanish
This segment of the Carta Que Comprehende...
I find particularly interesting because it nicely
demonstrates two fairly common types of cartographic error. These errors can sometimes be
amusing because they cause endless controversy
and speculation as to what the explorers were up
to, when alas the simple truth is that some anonymous cartographer made a silly arithmetic mistake and misdrew the chart.
Charts and maps of large areas, such as Vancouver Island, had of course to be pieced together
from collections of much smaller field maps. Each
small map represented the work of one or two
days' work by a small surveying crew.The complete chart Carta Que Comprehende... was made
up of about eighteen segments which were rather
hurriedly "pasted" together in the fall of 1791 at
Nootka by Narvaez, Pantoja,Verdia, and Eliza before being sent down to the Spanish naval establishment at San Bias, where Juan Carrasco made
a fair copy. Although most of the individual segments that went into the chart have long been
lost, some years ago I discovered that they could
still be identified in the final version of the chart
by scanning the chart for cartographic errors, and
noting that these errors tended to occur in small
patches. Each "patch" had a characteristic set of
errors that differed from those of adjacent patches;
and there is little doubt in my mind that these
"patches" actually correspond to the original constituent segments from which the chart was assembled.
The three types of error that occur are (i) scaling, (ii) orientation, and (iii) geographic location.8
I won't go into these in detail here, but briefly
these errors arise in the following ways. Each
sketch map of a small part of the coast was likely
originally drawn to its own scale; so the first task
in incorporating the small sketches into a much
larger map, was to redraw all the segments to the
same scale. If this re-scaling was not done correctly, then we had the first type of error, a scaling error. Field maps were very often oriented to
compass (or magnetic) north, which in this part
of the world is about 20 degrees east of geographic (or true) north. Since it is conventional
to use geographic north at the top of published
charts, all the constituent segments with compass north at the top had to be twisted around
clockwise by twenty degrees. A mistake here was
the second type of error, an orientation error.
The third type of error occurred when it came
to adding the latitude and longitude grid to the
final version of the chart. It was quite impractical
for the surveyors to measure their geographic
positions as they worked (no GPS in those
days!)—even a rough longitude determination
required many careful celestial observations to
be made. What was done therefore was to establish the latitude and longitude of just one place
on the chart, and then use the distances, measured by dead reckoning, to construct the rest of
the grid. The problem here was that sometimes
the geographic coordinates of two points on the
chart were known and because of errors in both
distance measurements and coordinate
determinations, the two did not agree. This was
Figure 4
A sketch from Galiano s
book of sketchmaps
showing the soundings
made in the fruitless search
for the Boca de Florida
Blanca in Boundary and
Mud Bays. Point Roberts
is on the left. The annotations are references to low
wooded country.
■* «.
, 1   :.\. /
27 9 Possibly the oversizing is
related to the fact that one
nautical mile is almost
exactly 50 percent more
that one minute of
longitude at these latitudes.
About a third of all the 18
segments of the chart
exhibit this error.
10 Tomas Bartroli, Genesis of
Vancouver City: Explorations
of its Site 1791, 1792 &
1808 Vancouver, 161-163.
11 John Kendrick, The Voyage
of Sutil and Mexicana: 1792,
Spokane 1991, 112.
12 The Gabriola Island
sketches are discussed in
detail in Nick Doe, 'Acala
[sic] Galiano's sketchmaps of
Gabriola," SHALE, Journal
of the Gabriola Historical
& Museum Society, v. 1,
November 2000, 12-21.
sometimes rectified by changing the scaling of
the map in the east-west direction until it agreed
with the longitudes; and similarly scaling in a
north-south direction until it agreed with the
latitudes. Such independent east-west and north-
south scaling distorts the shape of the land if done
incorrectly, as it often was because longitude and
latitude were not easily measured with great accuracy, and such distortion constitutes the third
type of cartographic error.
Figures 3A and 3B show the original chart
together with the corrected version.The segment
from Bellingham Bay up to Mud Bay has simply
been drawn fifty percent too large, a common
mistake.9 The segment representing the North
Shore Mountains has simply been drawn with
compass, not geographic north at the top—the
second kind of error. The segment showing the
land between Point Roberts and Point Grey has
also been drawn with the incorrect orientation.
This segment also shows an asymmetric scaling
error, which might be a type-three error; or which
might be a simple error in measuring the distance between the two points. That there was
some confusion over orientation is suggested by
the inscription inserted in Boundary Bay that
reads Declin.0" Observ." NE. 12°30'.This figure is
quite wrong. Although the compass variation, or
declination as it is called here (the difference between compass and true north), does vary by a
few degrees over long periods, there is no evidence that in historical times it fell to as little as
As Figure 3B shows, the extended coastline
heading for Indian Arm actually represents the
border between the 300-feet (90-m) high Sunshine Heights (or Hills) in the District of Delta
and the adjacent Fraser lowland, a natural boundary to suppose that existed between the land and
the sea when seen from a distance to the south in
a small boat.
These simple errors evidently engendered
some excitement when the 1791 expedition reported them to their superiors in Mexico,10 just
as in a later century they were to do among the
local historians in Vancouver. The Boca de Florida
Blanca was evidently in reality no more than a
very vague indication of the perceived presence
of the Fraser Valley, yet in the uncorrected chart
it looked like it might be a significant entrance
to the interior of the continent. In all of the surviving reports and journals ofthe 1791 expedition there is little or no reference to this inlet. A
point at the entrance (probably Stanley Park) was
given the name Punta de la Bodega, after Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra, the then commandant of the naval station at San Bias, an important person without doubt, but nowhere near the
rank of the prime minister of Spain. Somebody
at the top clearly considered this boca to be of the
utmost importance.
The rest ofthe story is really history—in 1792,
the Galiano and Valdes expedition arrived in
Boundary Bay and, with great anticipation headed
northward between Point Roberts (Punta de
Cepeda) and Kwomais Point (Punta de San Rafael).
In no time at all, their boat found itself in shallower and shallower water."In addition...", their
report states, "...we did not see any opening at
the end of the bay; only that it terminates in low
land subject to flooding and covered with trees."
The soundings on Galiano's sketchmap (Figure 4) wonderfully illustrates Galiano's comment
".. .our imagination had been so coloured by the
configuration on the map, and by the word we
had received of the expedition of the previous
year, that we could not shake off the belief that
[the inlet] reached far into the continent..."11 It
was at this juncture no doubt that the disappointed Galiano gave Boundary Bay the name
Ensenada del Engano,"The bay of deceit," and, probably with much lessened optimism, directed that
his ships look elsewhere for the hoped-for northwest passage.
Figures 2 and 4 are two of a series by Galiano
contained in a hand-sewn book covering the passage ofthe Sutil and Mexicana (11-14 June 1792)
from Isla de San Vicente (Cypress Island) to Entrance Island, Gabriola Island, immediately before Cala del Descanso (Pilot Bay, Gabriola). The
sketches were originally in pencil, but someone,
probably in the distant past, has gone over them
in ink and in places the ink has bled through the
page. The book is held by the Museo Naval in
Madrid (Borradores, MS 2456) and is not currently catalogued. Local historians, including
myself, are very grateful to John Crosse ofVancouver who first brought this delightful little book
to our attention. A photographic copy, courtesy
of John Crosse, is now held by the Malaspina
Research Centre at Malaspina University-College in Nanaimo under the direction of Dr. John
Black.12 I would like to thank the Museo Naval
in Madrid for their anticipated consent to further publish these sketchmaps here.^^-*
BC HISTORICAL NEWS -Vol.34 No.4 Reports
A Brief Chronology of the
Re-establishment of a Historical
During the summer fest at Yuquot, in August
2000, Senora Mercedes Palau of the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs of Spain presented to the
Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nations, on behalf
of the Spanish Government, a special photographic display of drawings of Yuquot.
The photographs are primarily of the works
ofthe artists Tomas Suria and Jose Cardero,members of the expeditions visiting Yuquot and the
waters of Nootka Sound in 1791 and 1792.They
include an image of the famous Suria drawing of
Chief Maquinna. The original work comes from
collections housed in the Museo Naval and the
Museo de America, both in Madrid. The presentation of this exhibition to Mowachaht/
Muchalaht First Nations by the Government of
Spain recognizes the re-establishment of a historical relationship.
This re-establishment started in 1991, when a
delegation of Spanish scholars, in Vancouver for
a symposium on Spanish explorers and the opening of the exhibition "Enlightened Voyages" was
invited by then Chief Ambrose Maquinna to visit
Yuquot. A year later, the Spanish Ambassador to
Canada participated in the commemoration of
the 1792 meeting of Maquinna,Bodegay Quadra,
and Vancouver.
In the fall of 1999, the First Nations welcomed
another Spanish delegation which included
Senora Mercedes Palau ofthe Ministry of Foreign
Affairs and Dr. Alex Malaspina, a member of the
family of Alexandro Malaspina, whose expedition, in 1791, brought artists, map makers, and
scientists to Nootka.
In March 2000, Chief Mike Maquinna, accompanied by his daughter Marsha, gave a presentation on Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nations'
culture and heritage in Madrid on the occasion
of a major exhibition of historical and contemporary Northwest Coast art.
In 1998, Chief Mike Maquinna was the guest
of the Spanish and participated at the opening
of an exhibition about Nootka and the Spanish
presence on the west coast ofVancouver Island
at the end of the eighteenth century at the Museum of Ethnology in Barcelona. After that the
exhibition, Nootka regreso a una historia olvidada
(Nootka: return to a forgotten history) toured
through Spain.
It was this collection of photographs that was
donated to the Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nations. Bob Eberele's narrative talks about its installation at Yuquot.
Information supplied by
Margarita James, Director of Cultural & Heritage Resources,
Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nations
A Narrative from Friendly Cove
by Robert Eberle
The MOWACHAHT, a band in the Nuu-chah-nulth Nation, have occupied the
village ofYuquot for at least 4,300 years. Located on a narrow spit of land on
the southern tip of Nootka Island, the village sat between two crescent beaches.
The houses faced the calm waters of Friendly Cove with their backs turned to
the inhospitable winds that pound the outer shore.Yuquot was the Mowachaht s
summer home.The band sought refuge from the winter storms by moving the
entire village to the protected waters of Tahsis. The Mowachaht still retains
ownership of the original village site with each family owning their historic
house sites.
During the late 1700s Spanish explorers spent years charting the northwest
coastal waters of North America. Here they made contact with the local
populations, drew maps of the coastline, kept informative diaries, and sketched
the people and their habitat.Two artists who accompanied the Spanish explor-
ers.Tomas de Suria and Jose Cardero created the original drawings ofthe First
Nations village ofYuquot.
More than two hundred years after the last Spanish ships sailed from these
waters, the government of Spain and the Museum of Ethnology in Barcelona
donated an exhibit of photographic reproductions of the work of de Suria and
Cardero as a gift to the Mowachaht people. After leaving Spain the exhibit had
toured through Mexico and North America before it arrived in Vancouver.
Robin Inglis, director of the NorthVancouver Museum and president of the
Vancouver Spanish Pacific Historical Society was asked to deliver the reproductions to the Mowachaht/Muchalaht, descendants ofthe principle subjects
of the drawings, and to set up the exhibit, packed in three heavy crates, in the
abandoned church at Yuquot.
I was excited to be going to Yuquot with Robin to install the exhibit. At last
I would see Yuquot, home of Chief Maquinna and the Mowachaht. Yuquot,
"where the wind blows from all directions.'Yuquot—known as Friendly Cove
by the overseas visitors—at the entrance to the Muchalaht Inlet and Nootka
Sound, close to Resolution Cove, the site of Captain Cook's first landing on
the NorthWest Coast.Yuquot, the place of first contact, first European settlement, site of the first Spanish fort, first garden, the meeting place of Captain
George Vancouver and Captain Juan de la Bodega y Quadra.The place of the
sea otter traders, the sinking of the ship Boston, the captivity of John Jewitt, and
British Columbia's first national historic site.
On Monday 26 June 2000, driving west from Gold River to the dock we
met the coastal supply ship, the Uchuck III, to arrange transport of the crates to
Friendly Cove.The Uchuck, "Healing Waters" in Nuu-chah-nulth, would depart the next morning and was expected to arrive at Yuquot sometime around
noon. She has served the coastal area for 40 years. Built in 1942 as an American
minesweeper, she has been totally refitted with a coffee shop and comfortable
lounge. Today she carries up to a hundred passengers and a good quantity of
freight.Yuquot was an unscheduled stop for the Uchuck on its way toTahsis, but
the owners of the vessel were anxious to help delivering the exhibit. For our
own personal transportation Margarita James, Director of Cultural and Heritage resources for the Mowachaht-Muchalaht First Nations, arranged transportation with Jim, fishing guide, owner, operator and captain of a small open
fibreglass boat.
After a backbreaking ride over the choppy waters we were not welcomed
by a group of canoes, but still, my first sight of the pebbled crescent of Friendly
29 Cove was a thrill. As Jim slowed the boat I felt that we should be
paddling to the shore. I could see that the magic and charm still
remained, despite the fact that only two houses occupied the beach
where once the longhouses stood. A modern lighthouse is now
perched on Pig Island, called Isla de los Cerdos by the Spanish as
this was where they had kept their pigs. On the adjacent San
Miguel Island, now an extension of Pig Island, the Spanish once
established for a few years a defensive battery. At that time the
beach was lined with the buildings ofthe Spanish garrison. Where
the Spanish commandant's home had once dominated the village, a new two-storey house stood. Further behind the tall
midden-shore that fringed the beach—witness of the long-time
occupation of this site—stood the gleaming white church, complete with belfry and spire. Beyond the beach, the shore, and the
church stretched another shore, with its pebble beach, the Pacific
Ocean, and a long white bank of fog.
We were met by Ray Williams; he and his wife Teresa are the
only remaining members of the band residing full time at Yuquot.
In 1967 the Federal Government moved the inhabitants of the
village to the mainland village of Ahaminaquuis, at the end of
Muchalaht Inlet where we started our journey on the water, and
later to Tsaxana near Gold River. The main source of employment at Yuquot, the cannery, had closed, as had the school, forcing
the band to relocate. Ray and Teresa Williams live in a small two-
room house while they are building the larger two-storey dwelling beside it. The remaining structures were torn down leaving
only the Williams's houses and the church.
The church, a tall wooden structure, is located on a prominent
site seen from the water on both sides of the narrow isthmus.The
first church, constructed in 1889 by Father Augustin Brabant,
burned down in 1954.The existing 1956 building is no longer
used as church; it serves as cultural centre and museum.The building shows signs of recent maintenance, notably a new roof and a
new coat of paint. We climbed the stairs to the front door and
found that from the top of the stairs one gets a wonderful view of
the cove with the coastal mountains rising in the background.
On the walls of the vestibule a small display of photos and
newspaper clippings greeted us and provided an historical introduction. Going through the main door we were met with patterns of coloured light from the stained glass windows on either
side; gifts from the Spanish government. One window depicts the
meeting of Vancouver and Bodega y Quadra, with a few
Mowachaht looking on.The other window shows Spanish Father
Catala preaching.
The inside came as a surprise: a high-arched ceiling, freshly
painted bright white; simple, stained-glass windows emitted a soft,
yellow light.The altar, pulpit, and other signs of its former life as
a Catholic church had been removed and were replaced with two
very striking and colourful totem poles mounted against the wall
where the altar had been. A look back to the choir loft over the
entrance revealed two Maquinna house poles standing on either
side of the doorway with a thunderbird mounted above creating
an archway. The effect of these large, brightly coloured figures
dominating the traditional western church structure was quite
stunning.The band was clearly transforming the building into its
own space. Robin suggested using the choir loft for the Spanish
exhibit, and that is where we worked for three days on its installation.
Top: Margarita James, director of cultural & heritage resources ofthe
Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nations and Robin Inglis, president of the
Spanish Pacific Historical Society showing images of eighteenth-century
residents on the dock atYuquot.
Middle: Robin Inglis putting the finishing touches on the exhibit.
Bottom: The former church atYuquot is used as cultural centre and
BC HISTORICAL NEWS -Vol.34 No.4 Marsha Maquinna,
daughter of Mike
Maquinna, the current
chief, stayed for a short time
atYuquot in the former
priests' living quarters at the
far end of the church. She
was in charge of six rental
cabins that the band had
The cabins, modest two-
room Panabode structures,
are located on a narrow
stretch of land between the
ocean and Spirit Lake, better known as Jewitt Lake
after John R. Jewitt, the
English blacksmith who
survived the capture and
sinking of the American
trading ship Boston. Jewitt,
who was held captive for
more than two years from
1803 to 1805 by Chief
Maquinna, kept a well-
known journal of his stay atYuquot which was published soon after his return to
Boston in 1817.
A small island at the far end of Jewitt Lake blends into the shore. This was the
location of the Mowachaht s sacred Whalers' Shrine. The shrine was a well-kept
secret to Yuquot's many foreign residents including John McKay, the surgeon from
James Strange's trading ship, who lived in Yuquot between 1786 and 1787, John
Meares who built a ship here in 1788, the soldiers in the Spanish establishment
between 1789-1795, and John Jewitt.The first published reports about the shrine's
existence appeared in 1817 when the French explorer Roquefeuil visited the area.
The Nootka Whalers'Washing House has been described as one of the most
significant cultural sites in Canada. Here the whalers would prepare for the dangerous and demanding whale hunt. The surrounding lake was used for cleansing the
body while the shrine with its numerous carvings and human skulls prepared the
spirit. In 1904, during the absence of most of the Mowachaht chiefs, the shrine was
"collected" for a small fee by "salvage anthropologists" and sold to the American
Museum of Natural History in New York. The assembly is so large and complex
that it has never been put on display. People who have recently visited the artifacts
report that it has enormous power.The community atYuquot has requested that it
be returned, although many seem happy to leave it where it is.
Along the beach, past Ray Williams's house, lies an old totem pole now buried
in the grass.This pole was the last one erected atYuquot. It was carved by Chief
Henry Jack and set in place in 1929.The event was witnessed by Canada's Governor General, Lord Willingdon. The pole fell down in the early 1990s during a
winter storm. After much debate it was allowed to return to the earth as all the
poles had before.This left the village with no totems poles, just like Cook and the
Spanish had first found it.The old Henry Jack pole lies here, slowly disintegrating,
covered by ferns and long grass, some growing through its finely carved features.
We were delighted to find a new pole under construction in front of the Williams's
house. Ray's son Sanford had recently returned to Yuquot from Hazelton where he
worked on nine poles as an apprentice and on two of his own as a master. He makes
his living as a carver selling masks in Tofino and Campbell River. Ray was delighted to see the first new totem pole being carved since the Chief Henry Jack's
pole 70 years ago. Sanford told us that he had asked his grandmother to select the
Left: The old Henry Jack pole at rest.
Top right: Pebble beach on the other side ofthe landspit.
Bottom right: The UCHUCK III alongside the dock at
Friendly Cove. In the background the lighthouse on Pig
Island and to the left San Miguel where the Spanish at
one time built a battery.
family images for the new work.
We went to see the 100-foot high lighthouse on
Pig Island to sign the guest book. The Nootka light
station is one of the last on the coast to still have a
keeper and has been cared for by Ed and Pat Kidder
for 30 years.The beam of the light can be seen for 25
kilometres. Signing the book and reading the entries
was a lot of fun. Most visitors were sailors who sounded
happy and sometimes fortunate to be back on land.
For thousands of years the Muchalaht people occupied this land.Viewing the cove from the lighthouse
it was easy to imagine the arrival of the sailing ships,
mainly under the flags of Spain and England, entering
and occupying the protected waters of the harbour.
For a brief moment Nootka became the centre stage
in a dispute between Spain and Britain. Those years
brought together some remarkable personalities, whose
voices are still echoing today in oral tradition and written history, and in the drawings of the artists who came
along. But most of those who were here are now for-
gotten.The original inhabitants and the travellers from
foreign shores who were here only for a brief stay or
for a few years were just absorbed back into the earth;
like that overgrown fallen pole will be one day
31 Book Reviews
Books for review and book reviews should be sent to:
Anne Yandle, Book Review Editor BC Historical News, 3450 West 20th Avenue, Vancouver BC V6S1E4
Daniel W Clayton
Islands ofTruth:The Imperial Fashioning
ofVancouver Island,
reviewed by Phyllis Reeve.
Betty C. Keller
Pender Harbour Cowboy: The Many Lives of
Bertrand Sinclair,
reviewed by Richard J. Lane.
Karen Piffko
The Life and Times of Texas Fosbery:
The Cariboo and Beyond,
reviewed by Donna Jean MacKinnon.
Gordon Hak
Turning Trees into Dollars: The British
Columbia Coastal Lumber Industry, 1858 to
reviewed by Ken Drushka.
Richard Somerset Mackie
Island Timber: A Social History of the Comox
Logging Company, Vancouver Island,
reviewed by Ken Drushka.
Sandra Djwa
Professing English at UBC:The Legacy of
Roy Daniells and Garnett Sedgwick; the
1999 Garnett Sedgwick Memorial Lecture,
reviewed by Phyllis Reeve.
Chris Yorath
A Measure of Value: The Story ofthe
D 'Any Island Leper Colony,
reviewed by Marie Elliott.
Frank Porter Patterson
The Cutting Edge: Reminiscences of Surgery
at the Vancouver General Hospital and the
University of British Columbia,
reviewed by Phyllis Reeve.
Irene Stangoe
History and Happenings in the Cariboo-
Chilcotin'.Pioneer Memories,
reviewed by Esther Darlington.
Joyce and Peter McCart
On the Road with David Thompson,
reviewed by RJ. (Ron) Welwood.
Walter Guppy
A Place for Gold,
reviewed by Werner Kaschel.
Douglas Cole
Franz BoasHhe EarlyYears, 1858-1906,
reviewed by Brian Gobbett.
E.C. Coleman
Captain Vancouver, North-West Navigator,
reviewed by J.E. Roberts
Islands of Truth: The Imperial
Fashioning ofVancouver Island
Daniel W Clayton.Vancouver: UBC Press,
2000. 330 pp., maps. $85 hardcover, $29.95
Reviewed by Phyllis Reeve.
In 1924 UBC historian Walter Sage reported
to the British Columbia Historical
Association on a ceremonial journey to
Friendly Cove and the unveiling of a cairn
commemorating Cook's 1778 discovery of
Nootka Sound. A recent issue of the British
Columbia Historical News (Vol. 33/1 Winter
1999/2000) carried two reports of
commemorative visits to the same area, in
November 1998 by the Society for the
History of Discoveries and in October 1999
by participants in the Inaugural Symposium
of the Alexandro Malaspina Research Centre.
In 1978 and 1992 academic conferences
marked the bicentenaries of Cook's and
Vancouver's arrival on the British Columbia
coast. What exactly do we keep on
Daniel Clayton looks at the 1924
ceremony and leads from it into a new kind
of history, by way of an intensive, complex,
and breathtaking examination of what, who,
why, and whether we celebrate. But before I
alienate my friends who are members of the
worthy bodies mentioned above, be assured
that this is not simplistic or trendy
revisionism. Clayton, who is a "geographer"
rather than a "historian", does not demand
our repudiation of familiar historical
narratives as wrong, wicked, or politically
incorrect. He does want us to unroll those
narratives, shake them thoroughly, and refuse
to return them to their accustomed
Now a teacher in the School of Geography
and Geosciences at St. Andrew's University,
Scotland, Clayton studied at the University
of British Columbia under the mentorship
of Derek Gregory and Cole Harris. He works
"out ofthe critical field of vision developed
by Michel Foucault and Edward Said." But
even a "post-colonial" study begins with
narrative, and Clayton is a skilled narrator.
He discusses events we thought we knew:
Cook's visit to Nootka Sound; the Spanish
presence and Vancouver's circumnavigation
of Vancouver Island; and the Oregon
boundary dispute with the United States.
While unravelling rich historical tales in their
labyrinthine contexts, he critiques the
narrators, from Cook and Vancouver and their
contemporaries to Alan Moorehead, Robin
Fisher, and Marshall Sahlins, and finds that
historians too, and history itself, are within,
and contributors to, the contexts. After a few
chapters Clayton announces "there is no
original or definitive Cook."
But this is not the "end of history" so much
as the beginning of an endless and fascinating
investigation in which investigators are part
of what must be investigated. Identifying
preconceptions, mythologies, agendas, and
oversights, Clayton does not consign them
to oblivion. To trash others' agendas would
be to impose his own.
As a geographer, Clayton directs attention
to the maps made by explorers, traders,
admirals, and diplomats. Outlines and spaces
include and exclude; and what they more
and more excluded as navigators became
discoverers and discoverers became
developers, was evidence of the peoples and
cultures already inhabiting the "new" land.
That evidence still existed for Cook,
whose investigations as a matter of course
included cross-cultural encounters and
interaction. Yet even he, by drawing a map,
imposed his own order on the fluidities of
human contact. By the time Vancouver
arrived, the "invigorating hand of commerce"
was pushing the Native people literally off
the map. His cartography reinvented the
island as empty space at the disposal of
imperial and mercantile initiative.
The clash of Spaniards and Britons at
Nootka in 1790 had more to do with
European politics and revolutions than it did
with Nootka itself. By 1820 Native land title
went unnoticed and irrelevant; Britain and
the United States "constructed the Oregon
Territory as an exclusively Anglo-American
space of geopolitical dispute." Their visions
of permanent occupation allowed no room
for the suggestion that the territory was
already occupied.The territory was" emptied
of its prior significations."
BC HISTORICAL NEWS -Vol. 34 No.4 Maps ofVancouver Island indicated places
on the coastal outline fringing the unknown
interior occupied only by wild animals and
wild men, by Native peoples who
" underutilized" what was already thought of
as "Crown" land.
Clayton concludes: "When I worked
through Cook's sojourn at Nootka Sound
and discovered a diverse field of interaction
and representation a judge's handling of
historical evidence came to mind and led me
towards a wider methodological discussion
of how British Columbians have narrated
their relationship with the land." It is
important to " open up different sides of the
past from different cultural and geographical
positions" and to" simultaneously evaluate the
past and unsettle its implications for the
This book does unsettle, and stimulate,
inform, excite. Research and documentation
are impressive.When Clayton takes issue with
other geographers or historians, he does so
without polemic and as part of his wider
methodological discussion. His publisher
could have served him better by backing
Spell-Check with human readers capable of
retrieving missing prepositions and
correcting typos. A pity5^
Reviewer Phyllis Reeve is a librarian and
bookseller who reads Edward Said.
Pender Harbour Cowboy: The Many
Lives Of Bertrand Sinclair.
Betty C. Keller.Victoria:TouchWood,
2000. 224 pp. Illus. $18.95 paperback
Reviewed by Richard J. Lane
He wrote popular novels and short stories
set in British Columbia that in the main sold
extremely well and are still cherished by
collectors today; he left his name attached to
the Sunshine Coast and the memories of
some of the people who live there; his papers
are deposited at The University of British
Columbia Special Collections Division
where he has been studied by literary critics,
biographers, and historians; and yet it will
still come as a surprise to some readers to
learn that his name is Bertrand William
Sinclair.Who? For a long time, the best place
to find an answer to that question was Laurie
Ricou s Dictionary of Literary Biography entry
(Gale Research, 1990); also a number of other
academic papers have been published about
Sinclair (see BC Historical News 32/3, for
more details). Ricous Dictionary of Literary
Biography entry, while informative, well
researched, well written, and as fast-paced as
a piece of pulp fiction, may have left the
reader asking for more. Now Betty C. Keller
has expanded the available literature on
Sinclair considerably with her new biography,
Pender Harbour Cowboy: The Many Lives of
Bertrand Sinclair. The reference to multiple
lives in the title is important, since Sinclair
brought to his fiction writing diverse
experiences born of an innate restlessness, his
love of the" wild west," the British Columbian
coast, and his attempts to live and learn of
the industries situated in BC that formed
more than the back-drop to his novels
(although his novels can be called "romances"
such industries are also what those novels are
fundamentally about).
Drawing mainly from correspondence
held at UBC Special Collections Division,
as well as referring at times in some depth to
the novels and short stories, Keller starts and
ends with "Sinclair Bay" on the Sunshine
Coast, probably the place where Sinclair was
most at home. The latter may be disputed,
given his love of the" wild west", but as Keller
notes he had "...arrived on the Montana
range just as it was ceasing to be The Old would be a few years before he
realized that he had come too late." (pi5)
Keller fills in the background to these years,
covering the main players in the region, first
with the ranch owners and notorious ranch
hands, the rugged environment, the myths
and legends of the range, and then with the
more literary representation of that
environment, with Sinclair's exasperated
response to texts such as OwenWister's The
Virginian in the form of his own short stories,
starting with "The N-Bar Freak" published
in the Argonaut in 1902. Keller moves on to
two main aspects of Sinclair's literary
development: the powerful relationship
between Sinclair and Bertha Bower (who
would become an extremely successful
western writer) as well as his peripatetic
studies, auditing classes at The University of
Washington and Stanford University. Chapter
Two of the biography is aptly titled" Writing
the Range," covering Sinclair's
transformation into full-time pulp-fiction
author, and his relationships with "cowboy-
artist" Charles Russell, and Bertha Bower
who had by this time left her husband
(Sinclair and Bower were married in 1905).
Keller touches upon some of the strengths
of the relationship with Bower, as well as the
rivalries (her publications were fast making
profits that exceeded Sinclair's)  and the
eventual breakdown of the marriage, but for
a fuller account of this period, additional
research may be needed at the forthcoming
B.M. Bower Archive (which will be a part of
the Western History Collections at The
University of Oklahoma, in Norman, OK).
Eventually, after Sinclair's affair with Bower's
cousin Ruth, the marriage was over; Sinclair
and Ruth headed for Vancouver. The next
six chapters of the biography deal with
Sinclair's long and adventurous life in British
Columbia; this would be the place where his
most successful novels would be written, such
as North of Fifty-Three (1915) and Poor Man's
Rock (1920); this was also where he would
eventually find two simultaneously
permanent homes: in his cabin at Pender
Harbour, and on his boat the Hoo Hoo. Keller
explores Sinclair's Vancouver life, starting with
his arrival in 1911, and his increasing output
of westerns in the form of short stories and
"novelettes"; important early sales included
silent-film rights, as well as material to Popular.
The novelette North of Fifty-Three eventually
became a best selling novel, and Sinclair used
his time well at Harrison Hot Springs
researching the industry that would become
an integral part of his next novel, BigTimber
(1916). Both novels were turned into films.
While Europe and its dependencies were
going to war, the socialist-leaning Sinclair was
falling in love with a boat! Although an idyllic
lifestyle of cruising, exploring and trolling
followed, Sinclair's anti-war sentiments
caused him problems with the manuscript
of Burned Bridges, eventually published in
1919. Keller does well exploring the
intersecting tensions in Sinclair's life from this
point; his marriage to Ruth was deeply
problematic due to personality clashes, and
later her illness and move to Liver more
Sanatorium; his friendship with daughter
Cherry grew ever stronger as she loved the
lifestyle he sought, especially with their move
to Pender Harbour, and all the time there
was the pressure and contradictions inherent
in Sinclair's desire to write literature with
the overriding need to make money from
romances and pulp fiction. As Keller notes,
the decision Sinclair made was to "...write
wolf-chasers for Popular and literary novels
for Little, Brown." (p.99) What followed was
research into the fishing industry for Poor
Man's Rock, another anti-war novel, The
Hidden Places (1922),and the socialist critique
of The Inverted Pyramid (1924); sales of the
last two novels were poor in comparison to
Sinclair's formula fiction. Financial pressures
33 had increased with Ruth's stay at Liver more
and the break-up of the marriage was some
time coming.The return to successful literary
models was inevitable, thus Wild West (1926)
was born. Keller turns to the Depression years,
the loss of publishing income and a series of
personal disasters, which Sinclair responded
to in an unusual way: he became a salmon
troller.The last sections of the biography are
taken up with this unusual, but somehow
characteristic move of Sinclair's, along with
his new marriage and later companionship
after the death of his third wife, his immense
feats of strength as he continued trolling to
the age of 83, and then the final, long years
of decline.
Keller's biography works well, recovering
this "lost" or forgotten author: his complex
personal relationships, his development as a
writer across genres and in relation to
different environments that make him a
"western" writer in more ways than one, the
contradictions and tensions in his work. But
if we are to take seriously Sinclair's place as a
British Columbian writer then a more
comprehensive biography may be called for
which takes these claims more fully into
account. Maybe all that is needed is some
further critical apparatus, such as a more
comprehensive bibliography of Sinclair's
publications, e.g., the novels and selected
short-stories (which were published in
America, Canada and the UK), a
comprehensive bibliography of critical works
either about, or which mention in significant
ways, Sinclair (for example, Jean Barman
refers to Sinclair in her History of BC, The
West Beyond The West [1991), and perhaps a
guide to the Sinclair archival holdings at
UBC, which are of a fairly extensive nature.
Of course, as with many other obscure or
"forgotten" authors, new material is
constantly coming to light and forthcoming
work on B.M. Bower (including a
forthcoming biography by Kate Baird
Anderson) may add to the Sinclair stockpile
as well as providing a different perspective
on Sinclair's personal and professional
relationships. But it would be foolhardy to
criticize a biography for what might become
available or what might be written in the
future. I for one would like to see either an
expanded edition of Keller's biography, and
a collection of critical essays written by
historians, geographers, literary critics, and
so on, who may have an interest in Sinclair
and the way in which the man and his
writings have become part of the very fabric
of British Columbia. <J==^-'
Note: for more information on the B.M.
Bower Archive, which will be a part of the
Western History Collections at The University
of Oklahoma, please contact: Donald L.
DeWitt, Curator,Western History Collections,
Monet Hall Room 452, University of
Oklahoma, Norman, OK 73019.Telephone
405-325-3641 or 405-325-2611
E-mail: ddewitt@OU.EDU;
I would like to thank Reed Doke for providing
me with this information and for permission to
share it in this review.
Reviewer Richard J. Lane lives and teaches in
The Life and Times of Texas Fosbery:
The Cariboo and Beyond
Karen Piffko. Surrey: Heritage House
Publishing, 2000. 189 pp. Illus., maps.
$16.95 paperback.
Reviewed by Donna Jean MacKinnon.
This true-life recollection of a kind of
quintessential British Columbian takes the
reader from one man's earliest working days
as a cowboy in the Cariboo to prospecting
with his father after the Second World War
in the Yukon, to "driving cat" (Caterpillar) as
an independent contractor in different parts
of the province for the rest of his life.
"You might say the Cariboo is in my
blood," Fosbery is quoted as saying early in
this book, as the often rambling reminiscences
fill the pages with his travels and work-a-day
migrations to numerous BC locations
including Westbank, Big Creek, Stewart
River, Fort Selkirk, Hell's Gate, and Dawson
City, Yukon.
Interspersed with details of working
conditions are recollections of cold winters,
of moving from one town to another, of
accidents and injuries (including a hair-
raising boating accident), and of encounters
with wildlife. Along with the inevitable
tribulations come unique highlights of living
and working in remote environments.
Fosbery speaks with awe of the times he saw
the northern lights and the thrill of travelling
in the Yukon on the "Top of the World"
This book will appeal to those who've
lived in the northern and interior parts of
the province, or who worked in some of the
same occupations as Fosbery. For those
unfamiliar with the time and place, the
writing could use a tighter edit to clarify and
give the reader a sense of being guided from
one point to the next. Even if you miss some
of the details, however, it is hard not to be
caught up in the life of this adventurer who
has obviously carved his place in the life and
work of rural British Columbia.<J==^-'
Reviewer Donna Jean MacKinnon is archivist
for the BCTeachers Federation.
Turning Trees Into Dollars: The British
Columbia Coastal Lumber Industry,
1858 to 1913.
Gordon Hak. Toronto, University of
Toronto Press, 239 pp. Map. $22.95
paperback. $65.00 hardcover.
Island Timber: A Social History of the
Comox Logging Company, Vancouver
Richard Somerset Mackie.Victoria, Sono
Nis Press, 309 pp. Illus., map. $39.95
Reviewed by Ken Drushka.
After decades of neglect, British Columbia
forest history is finally coming into its own.
This is important, not just because the forest
sector is still the primary driver of the
provincial economy, but because BC is almost
entirely forested and the use or misuse of
these forests is a matter of great interest to
most citizens. Unfortunately, most of those
citizens have little or no knowledge of the
history of their forests and of how they have
been used. This is in the process of being
remedied. These two recent books by
professional historians, amid a flood of other
publications on the subject, are worthy of
special regard.
Hak's book is remarkable for the scope of
its subject matter. He is a history professor at
Malaspina College in Nanaimo, but unlike
most academics does not limit himself to a
dry recitation of laboriously unearthed
historical information acquired through
orthodox research methodologies.
He does that task too, of course, and
includes some important new information
on the development of early forest policies,
the corporate structures of the period, and
other contextual material. But he also
includes well researched and written sections
on the logging and sawmiUing sectors, which
give the book a more fully rounded character.
Also, by limiting himself to a brief but
historically important period, Hak has
provided a clear portrayal of an era that can
BC HISTORICAL NEWS -Vol. 34 No.4 be grasped and understood by a wide
audience.This is one of those rare species: an
academically sound book that can be read
and enjoyed equally by readers ranging from
professional historians to loggers and mill
Having said should be noted Hak's
book is not without its problems. His critique
of the forest industry, and the policies that
underlie it, is characterized by a trait common
to most mainstream contemporary Canadian
historians. With rare exceptions, they have
adopted an off-the-shelf left-wing political
perspective that colours their historical
understanding. In Hak's case, this has led him
to give undue attention to a few marginal
forest-sector critics of the period his book
covers, and to ignore some of its major figures.
His book entirely ignores two prominent
North American conservationists who
resided in BC during this period and who
had a profound influence on the development
of forest policies in this province. Sir Henri
Joly de Lotbiniere, who was Lieutenant-
Governor of BC from 1900 to 1906, and
Judson Clark, BC's first professional forester,
were far harsher critics of forest policies up
to that time, and far more influential in
changing those policies, than any ofthe anti-
capitalist critics mentioned.
Nevertheless, Hak's book is only
marginally weakened by such shortcomings
and it is hoped he will produce further
volumes on succeeding periods.
Richard Mackie is one of those rare
individuals holding a doctorate in history
who chooses to work outside the academic
world as a historian and writer. He is a skilled
researcher and author, and his book on
Comox Logging is the most thorough and
engaging of its kind. This is no ordinary
coffee-table history of what, in the final
analysis, is merely a local forest company and
its evolution. Mackie's research is exhaustive
and innovative. He has culled every archival
source imaginable and interviewed about 150
people, some of them several times. As well,
he has brought together a marvellous
collection of photographs that add texture
and clarity to his story.
Comox Logging and its predecessor
companies operated in the rich eastern
Vancouver Island forests around Courtenay
from about 1900 until it was absorbed into a
larger integrated company 50 years later.This
period encompassed what has been called the
Glory Days of coastal logging, when giant
trees were logged, first by hand, then with
monstrous steam-powered machinery and,
finally, with modern logging equipment.
Mackie's story is much more than just an
account of this company, however. He has
successfully woven this story into the broader
account of the region's social and economic
history. His book shows how the Comox
Logging company was central to the lives of
all the people in the Comox region and how
in turn, these people influenced the fortunes
of the company. The advantage of working
outside the often-stifling requirements of
academic publishing is very evident in Island
Timber. It is an eclectic mix of well-written
text, photographs with informative captions,
sidebars, and oral history excerpts. They are
skilfully blended together (and for this the
book's designer, Jim Bennett, deserves credit)
into an intriguing whole.
The book consists of a corporate history,
a detailed account of how the logging and
sawmiUing ends of the operation worked, a
history of the Comox Valley, and personal
histories of a large portion ofthe community's
residents. All these elements have been
brought together into a captivating and
compelling account. No wonder this book
jumped to the head ofthe BC best-seller list,
surpassing even the year's blockbuster
Encyclopedia of BC. Its publisher, Sono Nis
Press, is to be commended for producing such
a unique book.<J==^-'
Ken Drushka is the author of several books on
the B. C. forest industry and writes a weekly
column on forestry for the Vancouver Sun.
Professing English at UBC: the Legacy
of Roy Daniells and Garnett Sedgwick;
the 1999 Garnett Sedgewkk Memorial
Sandra Djwa. Vancouver: Ronsdale Press,
2000. 32 pages. Illus. paperback.
Reviewed by Phyllis Reeve.
From 1920, two years after its founding,until
1948, the Department of English at the University of British Columbia was headed by
Garnett Sedgwick, followed from 1948 to
1966 by another distinguished teacher and
memorable personality, Roy Daniells. During the Department's eightieth anniversary
year 1998-9, Sandra Djwa became the first
woman scholar to give the Sedgwick Memorial Lecture, the text of which is published
in this little book.
Despite the commanding cover photo of
Sedgwick, the discussion has more to say
about Daniells than about Sedgwick, and
more to say about academic politics than
about anything human. No reader will be
overwhelmed by nostalgia. But if you want
to know what happened at UBC in the summer of 1953 while Daniells visited New
Zealand as a visiting lecturer, this is your
opportunity. <J==^-'
Reviewer Phyllis Reeve received her MA in English from UBC in 1965.
A Measure of Value, the Story of the
D'Arcy Island Leper Colony
Chr is Yorath. Victoria: Touchwood
Editions, 2000.176 pp. Illus. $17.95
Reviewed by Marie Elliott.
Until the twentieth Century, leprosy had
been the scourge of mankind, its victims
doomed to a life of poverty and isolation.
Norwegian physician Gerhard Hansen
identified the bacillus in 1874, hence the
name" Hansen's disease," but humane medical
care took several decades to develop in the
western world.
Chris Yorath presents a thoroughly
researched history of how British Columbia
treated victims of leprosy from the 1890s to
1924. Most of the sufferers were Chinese
males,although there was one Caucasian,and
a teenage Chinese girl was detained until her
friends could raise enough money to send
her back to China.Yorath provides medical
descriptions of the disease, and examines the
politics of public medicine that required
municipal, provincial, and federal co-
operation.The city ofVictoria initially carried
the financial burden of providing care but
Vancouver soon took responsibility for its
victims. Although the dominion government
fully supported the only other lazaretto in
Canada, at Trincadi, New Brunswick, it did
not take over British Columbia's facility until
The first victims discovered in Victoria
were transported to D'Arcy Island, located
in Haro Strait, betweenVictoria and Sidney.
The city built accommodation and provided
medical care and food and clothing. Supplies
were transported to the island every three
months and a medical doctor made
infrequent visits. Victims soon arrived from
elsewhere in the province. D'Arcy was used
as a lazaretto from 1891 until 1924, when
new accommodation was built on Bentinck
Island, located offshore from the William
Head quarantine station near Victoria.
35 In attempting to give "A Measure ofValue"
to the victims, and to make their story more
dramatic, Yorath created scenarios and
dialogue. This was not necessary. The
photographs and medical descriptions suffice
to impress most readers. Yorath attempts a
middle road between apologism and anger,
but the latter dominates his vivid descriptions
of the suffering that the men endured.
This is a small book, one of the first in an
attractive new series ofTouchwood Editions,
an imprint of Horsdal & Schubart Publishers
Ltd. It is a welcome addition to British
Columbia's local history, and especially to its
sparse medical history.
Historian Marie Elliott writes profusely on BC
The Cutting Edge: Reminiscences of
Surgery at the Vancouver General
Hospital and the University of British
Columbia 1915-1985
Frank Porter Patterson, M.D.Vancouver:
Hatzic Publishing, 2000. 235 pp. Illus.,
appendices. $44.00 hardcover.
Reviewed by Phyllis Reeve.
Dr. Patterson's book reminds us that, despite
the increasing and distasteful politicization
of medicine and education, the dual purpose
of our hospitals and universities is to mend
bodies and to train new generations of better
menders. Its message will therefore have
importance and meaning for others besides
the health care professionals (and health care
spouses, such as this reviewer), who will
inevitably be its first readers.
Frank Porter Patterson was the second of
that name to practise orthopaedic surgery
with distinction in British Columbia. His
father, after pioneering in his profession,
became leader of the provincial Conservative
Party and leader of the opposition during
the premiership of T.D. Pattullo.
As Head of Orthopaedics from the
beginning ofthe UBC Medical School, and
Head of the Department of Surgery 1973-
1981, Dr. Patterson the Second developed
innovative training programs and fostered
new specialties within his discipline.
According to a note on the jacket and a
newspaper clipping reproduced at the end at
the narrative, he was the originator of joint
reconstruction. But he refers to his personal
life and accomplishments only as they
contribute to the story of surgery at the
teaching hospitals ofVancouver. Within each
decade, he chronicles the surgical specialties
and the outstanding surgeons within each
specialty. He points with pride to the growth
of quality medical training—and therefore
of quality health care—through intern and
residency programs, examinations,
certification, and fellowships. Three
institutions matter particularly in the story:
the medical school at the University of British
Columbia, theVancouver General Hospital
(and other teaching hospitals), and the British
Columbia Medical Association.
This is not a gossipy book, and only as Dr.
Patterson introduces us to one after another
after another do we recognize the pride,
respect, and affection he is revealing for his
colleagues and proteges. He remembers and
reminds us who did what, and when. When
he refers to the province's first kidney
transplant in 1968, he tells us that the man
holding the knife on that particular cutting
edge was the "friendly, conscientious,
concerned" Patrick Moloney, remembered,
not always fondly, for " making ward rounds
in the middle of the night." Of Peter Allen,
who did much of the pioneering research in
cardiac surgery at VGH, we are told: "His
major asset, I think, is his infectious
The list is impressive, all the more so when
we recall that this is only part of the story.
We shall have to look to another writer to
document the non-surgical members of the
medical team.
The only woman given significant
attention is Mrs. Gladys Bealing, first secretary
and subsequent administrative assistant of the
Department of Surgery, 1949-1978. But that
seems to have been the way it was. Women
who trained as surgeons did not then stay to
work at VGH or UBC.
Obstetricians do not enter into the history,
because their specialty was not part of the
Department of Surgery. Ironically, Dr.
Patterson's field, orthopaedics, has since his
retirement acquired its own academic
department and would therefore be ineligible
for inclusion.
Political problems within the medical
administration receive only the most
unavoidable and briefest mention. Dr.
Patterson's book, like his life, testifies to
generations of energies, talents, and
personalities dedicated to medicine, medical
research, and medical education. <J==^-'
Reviewer Phyllis Reeve is a librarian who lives
on Gabriola Island.
History and Happenings in the
Cariboo-Chilcotin: Pioneer Memories
Irene Stangoe. Surrey: Heritage House, 2000.
159 pp. Illus., maps. $14.95 paperback.
Reviewed by Esther Darlington.
Irene Stangoe's third publication, History and
Happenings in the Cariboo-Chilcotin, promises
more in the title than it delivers in the text.
The book should more appropriately be
considered footnotes on some of the history
and events in an area of British Columbia
that has become a legendary country
romanced by numerous writers over the past
half century.
Irene Stangoe knows her region as well as
the back of her hand. She has probably a
mountain of material from which to select
her subject matter. But the production of a
paperback history requires of necessity some
strenuous selectivity.
It is scarcely possible to begin a history of
the Cariboo-Chilcotin without at least a
recap of the salient facts about the gold rush
of 1858. Irene Stangoe's sections on the gold
rush begin interestingly enough, and a few
pages on the pioneer photographer Frederick
Dally seems infinitely appropriate. Dally was
the Matthew Brady of BC interior history.
His pictures reflect more about the colour
and the character of the time than much of
the material that has been produced by
numerous writers. Dally left a legacy of
haunting images ofthe Cariboo during those
formative years.
One would have thought the gold rush
and events around it would have been
contained in a single section of the book.
But this is not the case.The story of the gold
rush is dispersed between sections on Chief
Anahim by Benny Jack, and the Bayliff family
of Redstone, who were early ranchers.There
is also a vignette on Fort Chilcotin.The gold
rush theme is then resumed with the section
titled Barkerville Days. I found this breakup
of theme and geography—and this occurs
throughout the book—makes for a rather
disjointed presentation ofthe region's history.
Sections dealing with stopping houses
such as 150 Mile House Hotel, the stopping
house at Beaver Lake, and hotels in Williams
Lake, and notes on the pioneer operators of
these enterprises make for a good start on
interesting subject matter, particularly those
around Williams Lake, where the author and
her husband Clive produced a very popular
newspaper, the Williams Lake Tribune. But
again, the subject matter is interrupted by a
BC HISTORICAL NEWS -Vol. 34 No.4 section not applicable to the area covered,
and a story about the train robberies at
Mission, BC, and Ducks, near Kamloops,
quite outside the Cariboo-Chilcotin region,
breaks the narrative.
The laying out of a manuscript of a
regional history that includes a large number
of pictures as History and Happenings in the
Cariboo-Chilcotin does, complete with a wide
variety of subject matter, is never a
straightforward business. Very often the
juxtaposition of pictures and text requires
some artful juggling. Nevertheless, the sheer
variety of the subject matter with its
necessarily brief treatment leaves the
impression of a revolving Lazy Susan of
goodies moving too fast for convenient
I felt the sections on Cariboo families like
the Bayliffs, a Chilcotin family who came
from England with all the British genteel
finesse in a wilderness outback, would have
deserved more attention than they received.
Likewise, the Felker family of BlueTent fame
is a family worthy of a book in itself; few
Cariboo Chilcotin families can compare with
the Felkers for color, character, tragedy—you
name it. Also mentioned with little more than
encyclopaedic information, are the
Hamiltons of Beaver Lake, Lord Cecil Martin
and his religious community at 100 Mile
House, the Farwells ofthe Riske Creek area,
and finally, the Durrells ofthe Chilcotin River
valley. I think these illustrious families would
have been served better if their brief histories
had run one after the other, rather than to
have been broken up by other unrelated
material dealing with the growth and
development of the town of Williams Lake.
There are maps, an index, a lengthy
narrative poem by Gwen Pharis
Ringwood—a regional playwright who
made an extremely valuable contribution to
the cultural life of Williams Lake when the
town was little more than a dusty village—
and there is a tribute to Cariboo landscape
artist, Sonia Cornwall, all combining to give
the reader a lively and useful guide to the
Regional histories like Stangoe's generally
have limited appeal.Visiting tourists and of
course the residents ofthe Cariboo-Chilcotin
themselves, some of whom will have family
members mentioned in the book, are the
likely readers. As a research source however,
pocket book histories seldom convey much
fresh material.Very often there is a rehash of
old material. But there is undoubtedly
growing appeal for regional histories, or the
publishers wouldn't be printing them. One
hopes that the standards of the publication
of these pocketbooks relating to layout and
photo reproductions will only improve with
Reviewer Esther Darlington is a resident of Cache
On the Road with David Thompson
Joyce and Peter McCart. Calgary, AB: Fifth
House Ltd., 2000. 260pp. Illus., maps.
$18.95 paperback.
Reviewed by RJ. (Ron) Welwood.
Just over two centuries ago DavidThompson
began his renowned series of ventures into
the Pacific Northwest.Thompson's detailed
journals together with his accurate maps
provide an outstanding exploration and
observation record ofthe British Columbia,
Alberta, Montana, Idaho, Washington, and
Oregon landscape.
However, until now there has been no
connection drawn between Thompson's
travels and today's network of roads. On the
Road with David Thompson makes that
connection. As the authors state in their
introduction," We've written it for travellers
who tour the northwest by car, motorhome,
bicycle, or even on foot, in the hope that
they might enjoy the company of a man who
walked, rode, and canoed the same routes two
centuries ago. For the benefit ofthe armchair
travellers, we've included descriptions ofthe
passing scene—both in Thompson's words
and our own."
This book has certainly achieved that goal
and more.The McCarts have combined their
talents to produce an excellent publication
that is well organized and informative. Joyce's
experience as an editor and technical writing
instructor,and Peter's background in biology
research and field work are evident.
On the Road covers David Thompson's
exploits on behalf of the North West
Company between 1800 and 1811.There is
consistency throughout the book. Each of
the thirteen chapters begins with a cameo-
shaped landscape photograph and an abstract.
On the verso of this page is a map outlining
the watercourses, communities and roads in
close proximity to Thompson's route(s)—a
detailed road map is recommended to
supplement this general map.The text is well
written,fluid,informative and sprinkled with
appropriate Thompson quotations gleaned
from either  his journals  or  narrative.
Endnotes, a comprehensive bibliography, and
a good index are also included.
However, the most impressive ingredient
in this book is the authors' scrupulous,
empirical analysis of Thompson's records.
Nineteenth-century locations are precisely
identified on a twentieth-century map. This
in itself must have been a daunting task
considering the way man has so drastically
altered the landscape with roads, bridges,
dams, and other large-scale projects. By
methodically retracing Thompson's footsteps
and critically analyzing his records, the
McCarts have even managed to correct some
well-known historians who did not, or could
not, do on-site analysis.
This work provides an excellent template
for an On the Road series about long forgotten
explorers of western Canada. On the Road
with David Thompson serves both as a
functional travel guide and, more importantly,
as a valuable history book about David
Reviewer RJ. (Ron) Welwood is a past president
of the British Columbia Historical Federation.
A Place for Gold
Walter Guppy.Tofino: Grassroots Publication,
2000. 164 pp. Map. $15.95 plus mailing,
paperback. Available from Walter Guppy, PO
Box 94,Tofino, BC VOR 2Z0
Reviewed by Werner Kaschel.
Walter Guppy s book, A Place for Gold,
provides the readers with a grassroots
perspective of the placer- and hard-rock
mining history in Vancouver Island from the
1860s to the present day.The author focuses
on all major metal mining explorations and
operations (gold, silver, copper and iron)
found on the island. The book in large part
is a culmination of Guppy s personal
experiences in the mining field that started
in the Bedwell River area in the late 1930s
and some primary research.
The author starts with the small albeit
important placer gold rushes on Vancouver
Island, such as Leech River, China Creek,
and the Bedwell River area. He continues
with hard-rock metal mining on the island,
which started in the 1890s, with copper being
discovered on Mount Sicker in the Cowichan
region. Guppy argues that the mining
industry has been very instrumental in
community development and growth on the
island, especially with such mines as the
Privateer discovered during the depression
37 in Zeballos, the Brynnor Iron Mines of the
1960s, and the Island Copper Mine. The
author recounts one of the most important
was the Western Mines, located within
Strathcona Park, which later became Westmin
Resources. Numerous other companies (see
Appendix I on page 160-63 for listing of
mining companies, years of operation, and
production of metal ores) were influential in
the economy and development ofVancouver
Island as well as certain individuals that
promoted and helped foster the mining
industry—to name a few are John Buttle, Sam
Craig,and Dr. Franc Joubin.Throughout the
mining history, the industry employed
thousands of people from many parts of
Vancouver Island and had great economic
spin-offs. Guppy states that many
communities both directly and indirectly,
such as Zeballos,Tofino, Ucluelet, and Port
Hardy, may not have developed as early or as
significantly as they did if it were not for the
mining industry.
A recurring theme in the book is the
controversy that emerges and develops as time
progresses between the environmentalists and
the mining community, especially in and
around Strathcona Park, after its creation in
1911. He discusses the evolution of new park
acts and legislation affecting mining in
Strathcona Park (see page 97 for an
informative chart describing the additions
and deletions to the park). Being a mining
advocate it is evident to see Guppy's dislike
towards the special interest groups that
formed to protest against mining activities
within the park's boundaries (i.e., the
Wilderness Advisory Committee, Friends of
Strathcona Park, and the Strathcona Park
Advisory Committee). Starting in the 1960s
and up to now environmentalists have been
protesting with the use of road blocks and
rallies against logging and mining,concerned
about a scarred and barren landscape, polluted
water, and a destroyed habitat for animals.
Guppy believes that the economic and
recreational benefits far outweighed any
minor problems created by the mines. He
states that environmental awareness increased
with access to BC's wilderness.This access
to recreational sites in Strathcona Park and
in other regions was provided by the roads
made by mining and logging companies.
Historically, the provincial governments
in British Columbia have supported mining,
especially in the development of roads and
trails to mines. Guppy asserts that increased
mining fees and strict mining legislation (red
tape) introduced by the Barrett.Van der Zalm,
and Harcourt governments restricted and
hindered the development of the mining
industry. As well, special interest groups, such
as the many environmental organizations
existing today and First Nation land claims,
have an influence on what the government
imposes in these resource-based industries.
He deplores that mining activities are
disappearing as mining in some cases in BC
is relegated to the "sidelines." He explains
the reasons for this are high extraction costs
coupled with low metal prices, and special
interest groups with political clout
influencing provincial governments who no
longer support this industry. In this hostile
climate, the author states, mining in the
province has no future. Guppy believes that
BC's governments should have provided
more support to an industry that has
historically been part of the economic
backbone of this province. He asserts that the
governments should provide some assistance
to these mining companies and employees
since they were so influential in the province's
heritage and economy.Yet, he sees the revival
of mining as a vicious circle where the
provincial government may support the
opening or restructuring of mines, then
special interest groups respond by protesting
these developments, thus influencing the
government's final decision. He suggests that
one method to assist existing mines in peril
could consist of subsidizing some of the
operation costs.
The shortcomings of the book are: several
punctuation and spelling errors and
unnecessary repetition of information
throughout the book; too many quotes were
used in the first eight chapters, some being a
page in length.The author does not mention
the source of the historic maps that he
analyzed for the report on the Strathcona
Park boundary survey conducted by Mr. R.
Thomson (p 38) .A bibliography should have
been included for reference of maps, letters,
and other primary documents used. The
author does however cite on some occasions
the source of his information such as book
titles, dates of newspapers, and years of mining
reports. Because geography is an important
factor in mining, it is disappointing to find
no mining maps in the book.Topographical
or more detailed copies of the old mining
maps of the various mining camps or regions
of the island would have been a great visual
aid to this literature, especially when
describing the rich and vibrant mining
history of Vancouver Island. More
information could have been added to the
early placer mining such as the Leech River
and China Creek gold discoveries. A Place
for Gold presents interesting arguments about
the rise and demise of the metal mining
industry onVancouver Island,but the strength
lies in the stories and evolution of mining in
and around Strathcona Provincial Park.
Reviewer Werner Kaschel teaches Social Studies
in Surrey.
Franz Boas: The Early Years, 1858-1906
Douglas Cole. Vancouver: Douglas &
Mclntyre/Seattle: University ofWashington
Press, 1999. 360 pp. Illus. $45 hardcover.
Reviewed by Brian Gobbett.
Franz Boas was one of the seminal figures in
the early development of North American
anthropology. His output was prodigious:
even as a young scholar he could rightly claim
"that no one here [in North America] has
accomplished as much as I have (p 167)," and
his early influence was felt in projects such as
the anthropological exhibit at the Chicago
World's Fair, the Jesup Expedition, and the
American Museum of Natural History, as well
as in the establishment of several prominent
academic journals. Perhaps as important, he
supervised a cadre of graduate students
(mostly after 1906) .several of whom achieved
enormous prominence within the
anthropological community and beyond.
However, in spite of this obvious and
significant role in American anthropology,
there has been no adequate Boas biography,
a failing that the late Doug Cole long
recognized and lamented. In the first of what
was to become a two-volume study, Franz
Boas: The Early Years is a significant
contribution in filling that void.
Boas's rise to prominence within
American anthropology was not inevitable
of course. Unable to find a university post in
Germany, Boas turned to North America and
the emerging discipline of anthropology in
his search for an academic position. Despite
his scholarly achievements, the theme of
failure was prominent prior to his permanent
appointment at Columbia: early positions at
Science, Clark University, and the Chicago
Fair proved ephemeral, his first lectures in
English were utter failures, and his near-ten-
year association with the American Museum
of Natural History ended in an unsatisfying
fashion. Likewise, in contrast to Edward Sapir,
Margaret Mead, and a host of other successful
BC HISTORICAL NEWS -Vol. 34 No.4 protegees, Boas's first PhD student, A.F.
Chamberlain, a Canadian, proved to be
decidedly mediocre.Though his wife Marie
wrote in loneliness and frustration that she
did "often wish there never had been an
Indian (p 219)," Boas was indefatigable in
his avocation of professional anthropology
and his status within it.The driven nature of
the mature anthropologist becomes more
understandable in light of the enormous
struggle and sacrifice that Boas and his family
underwent in his early career.
Doug Cole was one of the principal
interpreters of the intellectual and cultural
history of the Pacific Northwest. His greatest
scholarly contribution, as a recent issue of
BC Studies dedicated to him makes clear,
was as a historian of anthropology, and
previous studies on the potlatch law (with
Ira Chaikin) and the curio trade were notable
for their massive amounts of research, readable
style, and sometimes controversial
conclusions. Franz Boas: The Early Years
continues in this vein and, in Boasian fashion,
shows the effects of years of meticulous
research on both sides of the Atlantic. Like
Boas, Professor Cole's influence also lives on
in his students: Ira Chaikin and Alex Long,
two former graduate students, obviously
laboured diligently to ensure that this volume
reached publication. The result is a superb
biography of Franz Boas's early life and career
by one of the outstanding historians of our
Reviewer Brian Gobbett, just graduated from the
University of Alberta, now teaches history in
Captain Vancouver, North-West Navigator
E.C. Coleman.Whitby, North Yorkshire:
Caedmon of Whitby, Upgang Lane,Y021
3JJ, England. 152 pp. Illus. £20
Reviewed by J.E. Roberts
During over fifty years of study and research
into the life and work of Captain George
Vancouver, your reviewer held the fervent
hope that one day, someone with a
knowledge of, and experience in, the Royal
Navy would undertake to write a book on
the great surveyor's life which would be
devoid of the purple prose that has infected
much of what has been published to date.
This work, by Lt. E.C. Coleman RN,
(Retd.) has achieved my fondest wish and
stands as the best single-volume work on
Vancouver to date. Lt. Coleman brings an
understanding of eighteenth-century naval
matters that has as its genesis first-hand
experience in today's navy and from actually
partaking in Arctic exploration. In the course
of four trips to the Arctic he has followed
the trail of the Franklin Expedition and has
uncovered previously hidden traces of their
encampments on the fatal trek to find an
At first glance, the lack of endnotes and
an index would suggest that the author was
not serious about telling the story of
Vancouver's life and work, but this is
immediately put to rest when one gets into
reading Coleman's text. What would have
ended up in countless end notes has been
skillfully incorporated into the narrative to
heighten one's interest into knowing what is
coming next. Once one starts reading, it is
hard to put the book down.
The omission of an index and a more
extensive bibliography resulted from cost-
cutting measures by the publisher over the
author's objections. It is to be hoped that a
Canadian publisher can be found to produce
a paper-back edition that should be able to
be marketed at less than half its present cost.
Taking today's rate of exchange and adding
sea postage the cost amounts to around $50;
by air the cost is about $58, which places it
out of the range of the average buyer, no
matter how interested he, or she, may be in
the subject.
I could find only one error of substance
and that was the author's designation of the
village at Cape Mudge as being of Kwakiutl
origin.This is a common error made by many
writers on Vancouver, including Dr. Lamb.
Other errors are mainly on points of
interpretation that enliven discussions
between authors and do not detract from an
enjoyment of adding to one's knowledge by
the reading of a fine piece of literature on
what is often considered such a dry and
boring subject as history.
If one was looking for a scholarly work
one would be better advised to try to obtain
the Hakluyt Society's four-volume work The
Voyage of George Vancouver 1791-1795, edited
by Dr. Kaye Lamb, which is without question
the finest work done on George Vancouver.
Lt. Coleman has distilled 1,752 pages of this
opus into 152 pages of readable and
informative text on Vancouver's life and his
Captain Vancouver, North-West Navigator is a
must read for anyone wishing to learn the
particulars of our maritime heritage.
Reviewer Ted Roberts is one of Captain
Vancouver's best friends.
Books listed here may be reviewed at a
later date. For further information on
any title, please consult book review
editor Anne Yandle.
Captain Cook s World: Maps of the Life
and Voyages of James Cook, R.N. John
Robson. Seattle, University of
Washington Press, 2000.  $59.95
Captain McNeil and His Wife the Nishga
Chief. Robin Percival Smith. Surrey,
Hancock House, 2001. $14.95
High Grade & Hot Springs:A History of
Ainsworth Camp. Edward L.Affleck.
Ainsworth Hot Springs Historical
Society, 2001. Available from Marco
Polo Books,3450West 20th Ave.,
Vancouver, BCV6S 1E4 $22
Naming Canada: Stories about Canadian
Place Names. Alan Rayburn. University ofToronto Press, 2001. $24.95
On the Edge of Empire: Gender, Race, and
the Making of British Columbia,
1849-1871. Adele Perry. University
ofToronto Press, 2001. $24.95
Princeton, ourValley. Princeton History
Book Committee, 2000. Available
from Box 670, Princeton, BC VOX
1WO $80
School Leadership: Essays on the B. C.
Experience, 1872-1995. Thomas
Fleming, ed. Mill Bay, BC, Bendall
Books, 2001. $34
Ships of Steel. T.A..McLaren and Vickie
Jensen. Madeira Park, Harbour
Publishing, 2000. $39.95 hardcover
Steele s Scouts: Samuel Benfield Steele and
the North-West Rebellion.Wayne E
Brown. Surrey, Heritage House,
2001. $16.95 paperback.
Tom Wright: Recollections of a Pioneer
Forester and Tree Farmer. John
Parminter. Forest History Association of BC, 2000. $15 paperback.
39 Family History
by Brenda L.Smith
Trapped in Amber or Placed on the Pyre:
Will researchers ever see original post-1901 Canada Census data?
In the next issue Brenda Smith will
start with a column dedicated to
family history. Brenda's experience
includes time as Community Editor
of the Quesnel Cariboo Observer.
Presently she lives in Maple Ridge,
where she edits the Maple Ridge Historical Society - Family History Newsletter. Brenda presents lectures and
classes on family history research at
institutions throughout the Fraser
"CENSUS RECORDS are the bedrock of
research  for  those  historians  and
genealogists who use population data "
asserts National Archivist, Ian E.Wilson.
According to Wilson " Census records
underlie our country's notion of
democracy and portray a vision of
Canadians to Canadians." He declares:
" Census records are an essential tool for
creating not only a sense of personal
identity but also for forming connections
with their country as the stories of their
ancestors move across the expanse of
Canadians stand to lose the
opportunity to learn about their progress
through the twentieth century in the way
that we have used the data of nineteenth
century census records to learn about
the creation of our country.
Statistics Canada—originally the
Census Bureau created by Wilfred
Laurier's government in 1905—is the
agency charged with responsibility for
collecting census material. The agency,
in accordance with the Statistics Act, uses
the census and resulting survey
information to shed light on emerging
social and economic issues in the form
of selected aggregate reports. These
interpretations inform the established
entitlements of citizens to government
programs and services, parliamentary
representation, and the sharing of tax
revenues with provinces.
Traditionally, after holding the data for
92 years, Statistics Canada surrendered
the full census record to the National
Archives for general release. The 1901
Canada Census primary record was
released for public use, as anticipated, in
1993. Previous releases of these census
enumerator's schedules suggested that in
1998 researchers would see the release
ofthe 1906 western census, and in 2003
we would be able to gain new
perspective on our nation from the 1911
Canada Census. However, to date
Statistics Canada declines to transfer
control to the National Archives of all
post-1901 census material on the
strength of one section of the Statistics
Act that seems to override the
"notwithstanding any other Act of
Parliament" clause of the Access to
Information Act. Section 17 has been
interpreted by privacy advocates to place
a blanket of secrecy over all post-1901
nominative census records.
The National Archives keeps paper
and microfilm returns from the 1825 to
1871 censuses, and all the censuses up to
and including 1901 are freely available.
The paper returns for censuses after 1901,
from 1906 up to 1991, were destroyed
after being microfilmed. These films
remain under the control of Statistics
Canada and are stored by the National
Archives. And the paper records for the
most recent 1991 census have not been
Knowledge is power. The Canadian
government alone controls and interprets
the information that we Canadians are
compelled to reveal to census
enumerators, and therefore reserves for
itself the power to determine our view
of the past.
Facets of the controversy
There are three aspects of the conflict
that drives the present government's
inaction on the question of post-1901
census release. Senator Lowell Murray
expressed the view for non-release when
he said".. .we should be on guard against
the apparent attempts by some historians,
social scientists and journalists to
persuade us that the right to collect and
disseminate information should trump
every other right in the book. ...I
cheerfully acknowledge that what we
have here is a conflict or a clash between
two legitimate principles, one having to
do with access to information and the
other having to do with privacy."
The clash goes to the heart of the
relationship between government and
governed. At the highest levels we find
power struggles between the intent of
the government in office to maintain
secrecy surrounding its decisions and
actions, and Canadian citizens' right to
disclosure. In "The Government Waffles,"
the Ontario Genealogical Society urged
its members to contact Brian Tobin, the
present federal Minister of Industry,
responsible for Statistics Canada. Tobin
was not in Parliament during the last
session, and "therefore may not be aware
of the level of concern this item
generated." However,Tobin's press release
of 15 December 2000 certainly
articulated the government's concerns
regarding release, including the issue of
whether respondents to the 1911 census
had been promised perpetual
confidentiality, the need for further
consultation, and the governments "deep
commitment to privacy."
Information Commissioner, the
Honourable John M. Reid, in his 1999-
2000 Report to Parliament, challenged
the "commitment to privacy", calling it
obstruction in his 16 October 2000 press
release: "This year I'm sending out an
SOS. Hostility in government against the
publics right to know is stronger than
ever before. In this regard the report
singles out the PMO (Prime Ministers
Office), PCO (Privy Council Office),
Treasury Board and Justice for
BC HISTORICAL NEWS -Vol. 34 No.4 In his report regarding
implementation of the Access to
Information Act, Reid detailed many
concerns about the relationship between
the dynamics of the government in
power and his responsibility to facilitate
access to government-held information
by Canadians. He cites the issue of release
of census material as "...a good
illustration of a situation where the
legitimate need for some secrecy (to
protect individual privacy) has not been
adequately balanced against the
legitimate interests in having census
records made available for public use and
The balance Reid identifies lies
between the right of access to
information the government holds about
Canadian citizens, and the right to
privacy of individuals and institutions.
The Canadian government position is
revealed in the words of former Privacy
Commissioner Bruce Phillips. Phillips
stated, while he was charged with
implementation of the Privacy Act, that
he was intent on suppressing, in
perpetuity, all post-1901 census data.
Indeed, he advocated " position
today is consistent with what I have said
in the past. The information in census
returns is collected for a specific, stated
purpose. ...once that purpose has been
achieved, the information should be
Conflict arises between the promise—
implied or otherwise—that what
individuals tell census enumerators
remains private forever, and on the other
hand, the stated intention that census
records will be preserved for the use of
future generations. Senator Murray's
comments exemplify the view for
restricting access: "...I certainly would
not want [historians] Michael Bliss or
Ramsay Cook pawing over all that
information and coming to their own
tendentious and highly prejudicial
interpretations ofthe data. I say long live
Sir Wilfrid Laurier and Bruce Phillips
and to hell with these historians."
In October 2000, Phillips was replaced
as Privacy Commissioner by George
Radwinski. In response to questions
from the Senate Committee of the
Whole he summarized his position as a
" compromise that the census data would
be    made    available    to    qualified
genealogists, or bona fide historians, for
purposes that have been peer reviewed
as being legitimate is
permitting the release only for very
specific and constrained purposes for
individuals who...have to be sworn to
Expert Panel on Access to Historical
Census Records
In November 1999, as part of his
response to the volumes of mail received
by Members of Parliament expressing
support for the release of the 1911
Canada Census, former Minister of
Industry John Manley created the Expert
Panel on Access to Historical Census
Records. In May 2000, the Expert panel,
chaired by Dr. Richard Van Loon,
President of Carleton University,
presented to Minister Manley its
comprehensive report regarding the
implications of providing access to
historical census records. The Panel's
scope of consideration was the public
release of historical census records,
excluding the public release of survey
and administrative data records, and
including "the release of records for all
census periods including the future.'The
two issues it examined were: (1) What
are the elements of the difference of
opinions between Canadians who would
seek to maintain the protection of
personal information and those who
would like to examine personal or
community histories? (2) What options
exist to provide access to historical census
On 15 December 2000," 89 of
the 90-day period within which the
government was required by law to
release the report because of my access
to information request," co-chair of the
Canada Census Committee, Gordon A.
Watts, secured public release of the
Expert Panel's report. The
recommendations of the Expert Panel
fully support the continued timely
release of full census data. In part:".. .the
Panel is firmly convinced of the benefits
ofthe release of historical census records.
The Panel is of the view that with the
passage of time, the privacy implications
of the release of information diminish
and that the passage of 92 years is
sufficient to deal with such concerns."
Canadian Historical Association
(CHA) President Irving Abella and CHA
Abella, Irving and Bill Waiser, 9 February
2000. Canadian Historical Association Brief
to the Expert Panel on Access to Historical
Census Records. Downloaded 19 March
Expert Panel on Access to Historical Census
Records (2000). Downloaded 19 March
Hansard Proceedings of Canada's Senate,
Monday, 16 October 2000.
Industry Canada, 12 November 1999.
"Minister Manley Announces Members of
the Expert Panel on Access to Historical
Census Records." Downloaded 19 March
 15 December 2000. "Minister
Tobin Releases the Report from the Expert
Panel on Access to Historical Census
Records." Downloaded 19 March 2001:
www.statcan. ca/english. census96
McNally, Grant. 2 February 2001. Letter from
Member of Parliament to constituent Hugh
Murray, Hon. Lowell. Issue 7,Tuesday,
November 16, 1999. Debates of the Senate
(Hansard), 2nd Session, 36th Parliament,
Volume 138.
 Issue 6,Tuesday, November 4, 1999.
Debates of the Senate (Hansard), 2nd
Session, 36th Parliament,Volume 138.
Newsleaf Ontario Genealogical Society,
February 2001, "The Government Waffles."
Phillips, Bruce. 9 February 2000.The Census
Returns, Privacy, and Questions of Governance: A submission by the Privacy Commissioner of Canada to the Expert Panel on
Access to Historical Census Records.
Downloaded 19 March 2001:
Reid. John M. 2000. "Annual Report to
Parliament for the Fiscal Year 1999-2000."
The Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada. Downloaded 19 March
Smith, Brenda L. ed. "Census Caught in the
Bind" in Maple Ridge Historical Society Family
History Newsletter, January 2001. In the
January 2001 issue readers were urged to
contact their Members of Parliament to
express concern for the implications of
suppressing the scheduled release of
Watts, Gordon A. "The Post-1901 Census
Project" in Global Gazette Online Family
History Magazine, Volume Y No. 01,4
lanuary 2001. Downloaded 19 March 2001:
www. globalgenealogy. com/Census/
Wilson, Ian E. 9 Pebruary 2000.The Census
Records, Submission to the Expert Panel on
Access to Historical Censuses. Downloaded
19 March 2001:
41 Archives Committee Chair Bill Waiser,
in their submission to the Expert Panel,
asserted that examination of primary
census data is an important exercise of
democratic rights, facilitating the
understanding of "the past lives of
everyday people who made up the fabric
of this country." In the CHA
presentation, Abella and Waiser spoke on
behalf of the Institute d'Histoire de
1'Amerique Francaise, the Writers' Union
of Canada, the Association of Canadian
Archives and genealogical, archival and
heritage organizations. They urged
amendment of Section 17 of the Statistics
Act to make it consistent with existing
Whether the present parliament will
acknowledge the concerns of Canadians
who have petitioned actively for timely
release remains in doubt. According to
advocate Gordon Watts, the Government
of Canada has received at least five
reports recommending public access to
census records since the early 1970s. But
in the House of Commons, the only
discussion that has resulted in a vote
sidesteps the issue of release of the
primary census records created after
In January 2001, Hugh Coleopy
member of the Maple Ridge Historical
Society wrote to his Member of
Parliament, Grant McNally, expressing
his concerns regarding suppression of
census data. Coleopy forwarded copies
of his letter to Minister Tobin and to
Lorna Milne, the Canadian Senator who
has demonstrated vigorous support for
the release. In February, McNally replied
to Coleopy that, in the last Parliament,
he had supported a Canadian Alliance
Private Member's motion passed in
amended form (26 September 2000).
The amended bill read: "That, in the
opinion of this House, the government
should consider taking all necessary steps
to release the 1911 census records once
they have been deposited in the National
Archives in 2003." McNally went on to
say that the "Liberals have made no
indication that they will release such
As historians, we use primary census data
to develop portraits of our ancestors and
their community relationships. The
census enumerators' schedules are
snapshots of individual families,
neighbourhoods, and our nation on the
recording day. Since 1998, the
Government of Canada has released no
historic census material. So far, the
Expert Panels clear recommendations
for release have been ignored. And if
Statistics Canada and the Privacy
Commissioner have their way, no new
primary Canadian census material will
be released, the information could be
destroyed or at least access severely
As on-going beneficiaries of the rich
collection of raw census data, we have
the opportunity to continue to press the
government for amendment of Section
17 of the Statistics Act to make the Act
consistent with existing access and
privacy legislation.
We need to add our voices to
convince the government that its need
for secrecy is outweighed by our right
to information about ourselves. We can:
(1) Accept that the campaign for release
of future census data has returned to
starting position, and that we must renew
advocacy for the timely release of all post
1901 primary census data; (2) Sign and
promote the new petitions to the House
of Commons and Senate of Canada. (3)
Write letters to Industry Minister Brian
Tobin, Heritage Minister Sheila Copps,
Justice Minister Anne McLellan, Senator
Lorna Milne, your Member of
Parliament, and other Members of
Parliament who have not committed to
support release of future censuses.
As of 1 August 2001, one hundred
twenty-seven Members of Parliament
supported release, eight were opposed,
sixty-six are non-committal, and 100 had
failed to respond. Of ninety-six Canadian
Senators, ten are in favour of release, two
are opposed, four are non-committal, and
eighty have failed to respond. To
determine which MPs and Senators can
be applauded for supporting release, and
which need convincing check the
Parliamentary and Senate Score Boards
Models for the letters and petitions
are available on the "Post 1901 Census
Project" Web site at http://
globalgenealogycom/census. You can also
find the petition at some public libraries,
and by contacting local family history
societies.The Report of the Expert Panel
on Access to Historical Census Records
may be obtained from Industry Minister
Brian Tobin's office, Attention: Heidi
Bonnell, Press Secretary.
One more action that you should take
is to keep a personal record of the
information your household submitted
on the May 2001 Census. Even if a gap
develops in the national record, we can
all take responsibility for keeping our
own stories.^^
Further reading
Sager, Eric W "Census Days, Past and
Present." The Beaver, April/May 2001.
Smith, Brenda L. ed. "Census Caught
in the Bind" in Maple Ridge Historical
Society Family History Newsletter,
January 2001.
Waring, Marilyn. (1999) Counting For
Nothing: What Men Value And What
Women Are Worth. Toronto: University
OfToronto Press.
Comments and questions about the
release of post-1901 census records
can be found on an international list
by emailing Canada-Census-Cam- with the
word "subscribe" in the subject line.
BC HISTORICAL NEWS -Vol. 34 No.4 Archives and Archivists
Editor Frances Gundry
British Columbia's Moving Past, Preserved
by Dennis J. Duffy, Archivist, Access Service, British Columbia Archives
One ofthe lesser-known aspects ofthe British Columbia Archives is
its moving image collection. Established in 1979 with an initial
deposit of about 200 items, the collection grew by leaps and bounds
throughout the 1980s and early 1990s. Although the pace of acquisition has slowed in recent years, the archives remains a key repository for British Columbia's film and video heritage. Its holdings
now include more than 2,500 titles, in a variety of formats, spanning
the first century of film history.
When people talk about filmmaking in British Columbia, they
tend to focus on the "Hollywood North" phenomenon—the high-
profile production of feature films and television series. While the
archives has very few feature films, it does hold a rich selection of
other films made in the province. These include travelogues, industrial and promotional films, documentaries, newsreels, educational
films, dramatic and experimental shorts, and family home movies.
They were produced by ministries and agencies of the provincial
and federal governments, crown and private corporations, television
stations, and local production companies, as well as freelance and
amateur cinematographers.
Since the British Columbia Archives is the principal repository
for BC government records, government productions form the backbone of the collection. Major government accessions include material from the departments or ministries of Agriculture, the Environment, Forests, Fisheries, Highways, Lands, Recreation and Conservation, and Tourism, as well as the BC Government Travel Bureau
and the BC Provincial Museum. A number of provincial crown
corporations are also represented—notably, the BC Hydro and Power
Authority, BC Rail, and the Expo 86 Corporation. Many more government productions from the 1980s and 1990s exist in unprocessed
The BC Archives also has substantial holdings of non-government productions. Major collections include films sponsored by the
BC Electric Company, BC Packers, MacMillan Bloedel, Okanagan
Helicopters, and Seaspan International. These films reflect the work
of industrial producers like Leon Shelly and Lew Parry, whose efforts fostered the development of BC's film industry from the 1930s
to the 1960s. Talented amateur cinematographers like E J. Barrow
Alfred Booth, Carleton R Browning, Dorothy and Oscar Burritt,
and Stanley Fox captured many lesser-seen aspects of the province.
VHS reference copies exist for a small percentage of these film
and video items, and may be viewed in the reference room during
regular service hours. Although some collection-level inventories
are available in-house, no moving image catalogues, indexes or finding aids are yet accessible via the BC Archives Web site. However,
the Archives' Emerging and Applied Informationlechnologies group
is now in the process of converting legacy data about the holdings
into an electronic format, which they hope to make available online
by mid-2002.
For now though, there are two published filmographies that list
films made in British Columbia before 1966, including many items
Above: A Vancouver Motion Pictures crew on location for the film Beau
tiful British Columbia, sponsored by the BC Government Travel Bureau. This image is a frame enlargement from another Travel Bureau production, Tourism: a British Columbian Industry (1940) which was
shot by Clarence Ferris and depicts the operations of the bureau.
in the archives' collection. The books can be found in many public
and university libraries.
Motion Picture Production in British Columbia, 1898-1940:A Brief
Historical Background and Catalogue, by Colin Browne. British Columbia Provincial Museum Heritage Record No. 6. Victoria: British Columbia Provincial Museum, 1979.
Camera West: British Columbia on Film, 1941-1965, by Dennis J.
Duffy. Victoria: Provincial Archives of British Columbia, 1986. This
book includes a supplement with updated information on pre-1940
The Archives' collection includes some of the first footage shot in
BC in 1899, as well as glimpses of the first years of the twentieth
century. is the era from 1935 to 1985 that is most strongly
documented. This was a period of tremendous change—not just in
terms of industrial development, but in the domestic and working
lives of British Columbians, in their farms and factories, their large
cities and isolated communities. These facets of BC history, often
captured in no other way, are uniquely documented in the moving
image collection ofthe British Columbia Archives. <J==^-'
Sometime this winter Dennis Duffy will give a talk on the BC Archives film collection and show representative film to the
Friends of the BC Archives. If you are interested in joining the
Friends for the lecture or as a member please call Frances
Gundry or Ron Greene. Their addresses and phone numbers
can be found on the inside cover.
43 Token History: Two Dairies
by Ronald Greene
Arthur Graham Lambrick and Gordon Head Dairy
Arthur Graham Fambrick was born in Cornwall in 1892. In 1911 as a young man he came to
Victoria. He first worked at the Foundation Shipyard and then as a teamster for the City of
Victoria. He told me that he bought himself a cow in 1913 because he did not care for the milk
that was available inVictoria—his father had a dairy in the old country and Arthur knew good
milk. He gradually entered the business as more and more of his neighbours started asking for
In either 1923 or 1924 Mr. Fambrick moved from Kings and Shelbourne out toTorquay Drive
in the Gordon Head district of Saanich where he purchased 44 acres of good farm land. There he
had as many as 60 producing head and was the largest dairy selling raw (unpasteurized) milk in the
Greater Victoria area. He had a passion for the taste and quality of milk and intensely disliked
pasteurized milk. He called it "paralyzed milk'and complained of its lack of taste. Mr. Fambrick
was a strong opponent of the movement for compulsory pasteurization and a list that he compiled
in mid-1935 of producer-vendors to aid in his fight against this process showed almost 130
producer-vendors and another dozen vendors operating inVictoria.
Fambrick was also a public spirited man. He served several terms on Saanich council including
two terms as reeve. He retired from the dairy in February 1966, selling off his herd and equipment at auction. He wanted Saanich to have his property for public and recreational use and sold
it to the municipality for less than he would have received if he had subdivided it for housing.
Today his name is commemorated in Fambrick Park Secondary School and Fambrick Park, both
of which are situated on his old farm. The old farm house was one of the first houses designated
as a heritage structure by Saanich. Arthur Graham Fambrick passed away in October 1967, age
75, leaving Clara, his wife of 53 years, three sons and two daughters.
Mr. Fambrick started using aluminum tokens about 1930 and continued using them until 1952
when he replaced them with plastic tokens. The plastic tokens have the name Gordon Head
Dairy on them, the name under which he had been operating since 1940.
The Mayland Dairy of Saanich
James (Jimmy) Filmer started the dairy in 1912 or 1913 at which time he held a job building the
Douglas Street extension. At first he operated the dairy before and after his regular job, thus
working up to 16 hours a day. Fater on the dairy became his only work and he had as many as 40
head, plus some 2,000 chickens. Mr. Filmer retired in 1942 and had a long retirement, passing
away in 1982 at the age of 93. Filmer Road, off Maplewood inVictoria, where he lived for many
years, was named after him.
In the days of door-to-door delivery there were several advantages for a dairy to use tokens.The
first was that the dairy could get their money upfront, which always helped the cash flow. Secondly, tokens were less likely to be stolen from the milk bottles than cash was. Paper tickets were
also used, but printing was a recurring expense and the tickets tended to stick inside the bottle.
Jimmy Filmer's tokens read "good for one pint of milk." Two tokens could be used for a quart.
BC HISTORICAL NEWS - SPRING 1999 Web-site Forays
by Gwen Szychter
IVE BEEN a historian now for over a decade. In the several years
that I've been exploring the Internet,I've found an ever-increasing number of Web sites that claim to contribute to our understanding of our own history, some of which fail to deliver. However,
one that I've found unfailingly useful is Hugh Armstrong's Web site,
for which the URL is
Although some might consider it primarily a genealogical site, I find
lots of historical gems that fill gaps in my own research on Delta, BC.
Others no doubt might think that the site is too bare-bones plain,
as in "just the facts, ma'am." Since I've already declared myself as not
being a fan of frills, animation and songs to surf by, the plainness suits
me just fine. If anything, it makes the information more readily accessible.
What can we find on this site? A page of lists, extracted from
various documents created by the Provincial Government, including the Sessional Papers of British Columbia, (a highly under-rated
resource, in my opinion) and the British Columbia Gazette (equally
Some of these entries may appear at first glance to be merely a list
of names that primarily genealogists and family historians would
find helpful. I disagree. For example, in scrolling through the list
contained in "Teachers and Trustees, 1888-90", I found an entry for
Delta (what we now think of as "East Delta").That particular item
helped settle a discussion I'd been having only a few days earlier as to
the existence of a school in East Delta in the late 1880s.
Other reports of interest include " Report of Select Committee
on Ogden Point Lands" (now Ross Bay CemeteryVictoria, BC) and
" Places of Interest In and Around Victoria" from Lynch s Ready Guide
to Victoria and B.C.,1892. This latter reference was enough of a tease
that I'll have to look up the book itself to find out what Lynch had
to say about other parts of British Columbia.
Hugh Armstrong's Web site has been around a while, and many
readers may be familiar with it. However, one of its many commendable features is the fact that its owner adds new lists periodically. For instance, in July a searchable database for the 1901 Census
for Victoria appeared at the top of the index, with red lettering to
indicate "New". If you haven't visited in a while, it may be time to
have another look. In this he has included not only the census information that we would expect to find, but some additional bonuses,
such as the list of streets inVictoria at the time of the census, an FAQ
page and other relevant lists.
In addition, Hugh Armstrong has a genealogy site, with information of a more national scope. The URL for that site is http:// I have made use of
it also, and had only one tiny "spot of bother ".There is a page entitled "Canadian Parliamentary Divorces, 1826-1946"relating to divorces granted by the Dominion Government during that period.
In this province, divorce petitions were heard and granted by the
Supreme Court of British Columbia, but there is no direction as to
where this information might be available.
If you have comments on this Web site or my review of it, please
contact me at Feedback is always welcome.<J==^-'
Innovation &
Celebrating the Spirit of
Education in British Columbia,
The 2001-2002 academic year will be a banner year for education
and for history in British Columbia. We'll be marking the 100th
anniversary of advanced education (1901-2001) and the 150th anniversary of public education (1852-2002) We're also marking 65 years
of provincial vocational programs and 20 years of public educational
I'm working with the provincial government on activities and
programs to mark these milestones. We're planning an interactive,
year-long campaign called "Innovation and Imagination: Celebrating the Spirit of Education in British Columbia."
My intention here is to alert readers of the British Columbia Historical News to these anniversaries and to encourage local and regional societies affiliated with the British Columbia Historical Federation to organize anniversary events in their communities.
The Innovation and Imagination campaign will revolve around
two themes—"Achievement" and "Exploration." We want to look
back in history, to acknowledge the contributions of those who have
built our education system (parents, teachers, trustees, administrators, and others); and we want to look forward to the future, to consider how our education system and how our communities might
develop in the years ahead.
During the campaign, we'll be emphasizing the fact that British
Columbia has a tradition of innovation: we were trailblazers in the
use of educational technologies (from school radio broadcasts in the
1930s to computers in the 1960s) and we were pioneers in the fields
of adult education and distance education. British Columbia also led
the way in establishing links between home and school. The first
Parent-Teacher Association in Western Canada was organized at
Craigflower School, near Victoria, in 1915.
We have lots to celebrate during the 2001/2002 school year! And
we're planning lots of celebratory events, including classrooms of the
past at the Royal BC Museum and regional museums, and classrooms of the future at Science World in Vancouver.
Additional information about anniversary events is posted onThe
Homeroom: British Columbia's History of Education Web site: http:/
We intend to create an anniversaries bulletin board, where people
can share ideas and suggestions for local events and activities. Meantime, please feel free to contact me about the campaign and about
the milestones we're celebrating.
Patrick A. Dunae
Innovation & Imagination,"Achievements" Coordinator
phone: 250.380.1633 (Victoria)
250.741.2130 (Nanaimo)
Manuscripts dealing with the history of our education for publication in
BC Historical News are particularly welcome in this year of celebration!
45 News and Notes
Please send information to be published in News and Notes to the editor in Whonnock before 15 August, 15 November, 15 February, and 15 May .
Harris Ridge Designated
R.C. "Bob" Harris, 1922-1998, was an engineer who loved the outdoors. He retraced,
mapped, and wrote about many historic trails,
contributing many articles to BC Historical
News in the 1970s and 1980s. Harris also
planned and conducted summer camps for
the Natural History Society. This year, two
one-week camps for theVancouver Natural
History group were held in early August in
the Cinnabar Basin in the South Chilcotin.
(see Beautiful British Columbia magazine,
Summer 2001). At that time Bob's widow
dedicated a nearby ridge as "Harris Ridge"
and a plaque was set in Camel Pass at a viewpoint beside a major trail.
—Naomi Miller
Procter: Koolenay Storytelling Festival
Procter, a village of three hundred on the
West Arm of Kootenay Lake, hosted its third
annual storytelling festival in July. Members
of its local historical society planned and
organized the festival to share and showcase
Kootenay history using the old schoolhouse
and an old church.The villagers worked very
hard to present a welcoming face that weekend. Gardens and boulevards were groomed;
volunteers directed the parking of cars; food
services were arranged under two big tents;
children's programs were going on adjacent
to the venues; musicians filled the break times
with pleasant tunes; a bookshop and an art
display were set up for browsing and buying. Procter, at the end of a spur road off
Highway 3A, throbbed with friendly activity for the festival weekend.
Guest speakers—each allowed twenty minutes—presented a variety of topics from
Kootenay history. Each spoke three times a
day, in different rooms.Three leading storytellers from the first festival were back with
new stories. Joe Pierre, a young Ktunaxa,
charmed audiences with his "Two Teenage
Warriors." Susan Hulland, of Crawford Bay,
fascinated listeners with "The Risky Life of
Henry Rose," and Carolyn McTaggart followed her fictitious "Gunpowder Gertie"
with the tale of real life photographer, pioneer mine cook, mother, and traveller Mattie
Gunterman. Carolyn has also participated in
storytelling festivals in Whitehorse and San
Francisco and given workshops for would-
be storytellers in the Kootenays.
Other speakers from across the Kootenays
were Anne Edwards of Moyie, Lillian
Corriveau of Kimberley, Naomi Miller of
Wasa, Hank Hastings of Sandon, Mike
Halleran of Meadow Creek, Buddy Devito
(former mayor) of Trail, David Miller of
Procter, and Marilyn James, spokesperson for
the Sinixt people.
Procter found a wonderful way to present
local history to approximately seven hundred
people per weekend.—NAOMI MlLLER
Comments from Readers
Robert Allen's article on Frank Dwight Rice
(BC Historical News 34/3) triggered reactions
from Greg Nesteroff andTed Affleck, keen to
set the record straight.
Greg Nesteroff writes (slightly shortened):
"In the otherwise excellent article on Frank
Dwight Rice, the last sentence of the first
paragraph states: 'The booming community
of Greenwood, where he ended his journey,
was named after Mr. Green, the then mayor,
and Frank Rice's uncle, Robert Wood.' But
Greenwood never had a mayor named Green.
In fact, it was Robert Wood who was mayor
at the time (1898). According to the Akriggs
in British Columbia Place Names,... 'Greenwood was named after another mining camp,
Greenwood in Colorado/The 1958 Boundary Historical Report says that Greenwood
was '[c]alled Greenwood by C. Scott Galloway, one of the founders of the town, owing
to the green nature of the forest which composed and surrounded the new townsite.' In
his book on the tokens of Greenwood and
Phoenix, Ron Greene writes 'Greenwood
grew out ofthe vision of Robert Wood... The
city name derived from the green wooded
hills around the townsite [but] at least one
source indicates that the "wood" part arose
from Robert Wood's name."
Ted Affleck, an expert on BC's steamboats,
commented that in September 1898, Frank
Wright could not have boarded the Sicamous
at Okanagan Landing, because that vessel was
not comissioned till the summer of 1914.
Astute readers like these two keep your editor on his toes. History writers and their editors should question their sources relentlessly;
even if they are primary sources. The information used by Robert Allen came from
Frank Rice's personal papers!—FB
Albert Oliver 1911-2001
Kimberley lost one of its charter members
of its heritage society and volunteer host at
its museum with the death of Albert Oliver.
Albert and his wife were also charter members of the East Kootenay Historical Association who worked hard conducting tours,
preserving rural cemeteries, hosting two
BCHF conferences, and more. Albert concentrated on saving the first mine school-
house then numerous pieces of mine machinery that had been discarded in the bush
as his "retirement" project. He worked on
these restoration projects as long as his health
permitted.—NAOMI MlLLER
Terry Reksten 1942-2001
Just before the official publication date on
British Columbia Day of perhaps her best
book, The Illustrated History of British Columbia, Terry Reksten died. She came to Vancouver's West End in 1947 and graduated
from UBC (History and English) in 1963.
She moved to Oak Bay in 1969 and became
active in local politics and heritage preserva-
tion.Through numerous articles on heritage
and history and through presentations she
helped popularize heritage and local history
in the Victoria area and beyond. Her books
found a wide readership.Terry Reksten's first
book—on Francis Mawson Rattenbury—
published in 1978, received the BC Book
Award. Several other books followed, including books on the Dunsmuirs and the Empress Hotel. Terry Reksten offered an afternoon workshop at the 1997 BCHF Conference in Nelson. She did ".. .a fantastic job
on short notice. She combined the assignment on 'Researching' with 'Writing local
history'... [and] spoke with enthusiasm imparting her experience and expertise." (BC
Historical News 30/3)—FB
BC HISTORICAL NEWS -Vol. 34 No.4 Chief Ambrose Maquinna 1928-2001
Above: Detail of a 1991 photograph showing
Chief Ambrose Maquinna and his son, the present
Chief Michael Maquinna, standing next to the
image of their eighteenth-century ancestor.
Chief Ambrose Maquinna passed away suddenly at the age of 73 on 13 July 2001.
Chief Maquinna was a hereditary chief of the
Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation. He was
the seventh generation to carry the chiefly
name Maquinna, and held the Tyee Hawiih
position (number one chief) in the
Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nation until he
passed it on to his eldest son, Michael, three
years ago at a ceremony atYuquot.
Chief Maquinna worked all his life in the
fishing and forestry industry on the west coast
ofVancouver Island. He retired twelve years
ago, but remained active in political life for
his community. Chief Maquinna was a strong
advocate for Yuquot (Friendly Cove), a place
that he held dear to his heart. He was instrumental in attaining the redesignation of
Yuquot as a national historic site by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada
in 1997, to recognize the thousands of years
of Mowachaht history and the significant role
the Mowachaht played in the fur trade and
international politics of the area during the
late eighteenth century.
As part of his work for recognition ofYuquot,
Chief Maquinna encouraged re-establishing
international relations with Spain and Great
Britain. He strongly supported the Yuquot
celebration, now in its ninth year, where the
Mowachaht/Muchalaht people annually host
dignitaries and guests from around the world.
He also opened the international exhibit.
"Enlightened Voyages: Malaspina and
Galiano on the Northwest Coast" at the
Maritime Museum in Vancouver in 1991.
Chief Maquinna was a respected leader who
was dedicated to his people. He will be
deeply missed by all who knew him.
—Richard Inglis
Ranald MacDonald Day
On 4 August 2001, in Curlew ten miles south
of the USA border at Grand Forks, members of the Boundary Historical Society
joined the Ferry County Historical Society
for the celebration of Ranald MacDonald
Day. Near Curlew is the gravesite of Ranald
MacDonald. Ranald was the son of Archibald
MacDonald (McDonald) and Raven,daughter of Chief Concomly of the Chinooks
(Flathead Indians).The adventurous Ranald
spent almost a year (1848-1849) as a prisoner in Nagasaki, Japan. During this time he
taught English to a few Japanese students.
Later, in 1854, some of these students were
interpreters when Commodore Perry landed
in Japan.
It was wonderful that several representatives
from Rishiri Island in Japan joined in the
celebrations, showing the esteem they still
have for this first teacher of English in Japan.
Rishiri Island is where Ranald came ashore
in 1848.
The narrative of Ranald MacDonald's life,
published in 1923, has been reprinted with a
foreword and afterword by Jean Cole. Jean
Cole is a great-great-granddaughter of
Archibald McDonald and author of Exile in
the Wilderness, a Biography of Archibald
McDonald,and This BlessedWilderness,Archibald
McDonald's Letters from the Columbia, 1822-
4. (See also BC Historical News 32/A).
Also part of the Ranald Macdonald Day in
Curlew was a seminar dealing with the social and economic forces that influenced the
personality and career of Ranald MacDonald.
Those who participated included historian
Jean Cole'.Eiji Nushiya, director ofthe Rishiri
Museum in Japan; Fredrick Schodt, Japanese
translator from San Francisco; Atsumi
Tsukimori.TV personality for the Spokane
Japanese channel; and Wyman MacDonald
from Clarkstonjdaho. Mary Waring, president of the Ferry County Historical Society
was the moderator. Other events were the
Thompson Brigade demonstrating skills of
the fur trader, and members of the Colville
ConfederatedTribes performing their drumming and dancing.—ALICE GLANVILLE
Proceedings—Free for our readers
The Proceedings of the Inaugural Symposium of
the Alexandro Malaspina Research Centre, containing articles on the Malaspina Expedition
and its historical legacy, is made available free
of charge to the readers of BC Historical News.
For information contact John Black, at
Malaspina University College, 900 Fifth
Street, Nanaimo BC V9R 5S5, by e-mail:, or by phone: 250.753-
3245, local 2171.
Vancouver Spanish Pacific
Historical Society
The Vancouver Spanish Pacific Historical
Society is dedicated to the promotion of interest in the activities of Spanish explorers
in the North Pacific at the end of the eighteenth century.
Simon Fraser University and the Society co-
sponsor the"Malaspina Lectures'" with support by the Embassy of Spain in Ottawa.
This year's Malaspina Lecture is to be held
onTuesday, 18 September 2001,at 7:30 RM
at Simon Fraser University Harbour Centre Campus. Lecturer is Dr. Douglas Inglis
from Seville, Spain, an expert on communications within the Spanish Empire. The
lecture is open to everyone free of charge.
(See page 20 for information on the
Nanaimo lecture.)
The Society sponsors the presentation ofthe
exhibition of photographs of work from artists on the Spanish expeditions. The next
showing will be at theVancouver Museum
at the end of January 2002.
For further information visit
or contact the Society by e-mail at or send a letter to the
Vancouver Spanish Pacific Historical Society,
209 West 4th Street, NorthVancouver, BC V7M
1H8. Memberships cost $10 per year.
47 Federation News
Revelstoke 2002
REVELSTOKE Museum and Archives is looking forward to hosting the conference of
the British Columbia Historical Federation on the weekend 9-11 May 2002.
Our theme," Revelstoke-History & Heritage," is taken from the title of Ruby
Nobb's 1998 book on Revelstoke's history. We will be showing delegates why
Revelstoke is now considered a heritage- and cultural- tourism destination.We will
be working with the Revelstoke Railway Museum, Revelstoke Heritage Advisory
Committee, Mt. Revelstoke and Glacier National Parks, Revelstoke Dam, the newly
established B.C. Interior Forestry Museum, and other organizations, to showcase
the best that Revelstoke has to offer.We plan having a panel discussion on different
aspects of Revelstoke's development and future vision as well as sessions highlighting Revelstoke's fascinating history.Tours will include the National Parks (depending on the snow!), Revelstoke Dam, Railway Museum, walking & driving heritage
tours, cemetery tours, and several other possibilities that we are still investigating.
We are very much looking forward to inviting you to Revelstoke in May 2002.
We will leave you with a question, the answer to which we will publish in the
December issue of BC Historical News: A member of the Palliser expedition of the
1860s returned as a visitor to this area in 1903 with his son. The son became ill
while at Glacier House and was brought to Revelstoke, where he died.The son was
buried in Revelstoke and a large memorial stone was erected in his memory.What
is the name of the Palliser expedition member?
-Cathy English, Confererence Co-ordinator
Below: Recently President Wayne Desrochers travelled to Revelstoke to personally pass on "The
Measure " to our 2002-conference host, the Revelstoke and District Historical Association. Wayne is
shown here handing over "The Measure " to Cathy English, Conference Coordinator. A rejoicing witness is standing behind him.
MANUSCRIPTS submitted for publication Should be sent to the Editor of BC Historical News in
Whonnock. Submissions should preferably not exceed 3,500 words. Please send a hard copy and if
possible a disk copy of the manuscript by ordinary mail. Submission by e-mail of the manuscript
and illustrations is also welcome.  All illustrations should have a caption and source information.
It is understood that manuscripts published in BC Historical News will also appear in any electronic version of the journal. Authors publishing a feature article in the BC Historical News for the
first time will receive a one-year complimentary subscription   to the journal.
W. Kaye Lamb
Essay Scholarships
Deadline 15 May 2002
The British Columbia Historical Lederation
awards two scholarships annually for essays
written by students at BC colleges or
universities on a topic relating to British
Columbia history. One scholarship ($500)
is for an essay written by a student in a first-
or second-year course; the other ($750) is
for an essay written by a student in a third-
or fourth-year course.
To apply for the scholarship, candidates
must submit (1) a letter of application; (2)
an essay of 1500-3000 words on a topic
relating to the history of British Columbia;
(3) a letter of recommendation from the
professor for whom the essay was written.
Applications should be submitted before
15 May 2002 to: Lrances Gundry, Chair BC
Historical Lederation Scholarship Committee, PO Box 5254, Station B.Victoria, BC
V8R 6N4.
The winning essay submitted by a third-
or fourth-year student will be published in
BC Historical News. Other submissions may
be published at the editor's discretion.
BC History Web Site Prize
The British Columbia Historical Lederation and David Mattison are jointly sponsoring a yearly cash award of $250 to recognize Web sites that contribute to the understanding and appreciation of British Columbia's past. The award honours individual
initiative in writing and presentation.
Nominations for the BC History Web
Site Prize for 2001 must be made to the
British Columbia Historical Lederation,
Web Site Prize Committee, prior to 31 December 2001. Web site creators and authors
may nominate their own sites.
Prize rules and the online nomination
form can be found on The British Columbia History Web site:  http://
announcements .htlm.
Best Article Award
A Certificate of Merit and fifty dollars
will be awarded annually to the author of
the article, published in BC Historical News,
that best enhances knowledge of British Columbia's history and provides reading enjoyment. Judging will be based on subject
development, writing skill, freshness of material, and appeal to a general readership interested in all aspects of BC history.
BC HISTORICAL NEWS -Vol. 34 No.4 British Columbia Historical Federation
Organized 31 October 1922
Affiliated Groups
Archives Association of British Columbia
British Columbia Genealogical Society
Member Societies
Alberni District Historical Society
PO Box 284, Port Alberni, BC V9Y 7M7
Anderson Lake Historical Society
PO Box 40, D'Arcy BC VON 1L0
Arrow Lakes Historical Society
PO Box 819, Nakusp BC VOG 1R0
Atlin Historical Society
PO Box 111, Atlin BC VOW 1A0
Boundary Historical Society
PO Box 1687, Grand Porks BC VOH 1H0
Bowen Island Historians
PO Box 97. Bowen Island, BC VON 1G0
Bulckley Valley Historical & Museum Society
Box 2615, Smithers BC VOJ 2N0
Burnaby Historical Society
6501 Deer Lake Avenue, Burnaby BC V5G 3T6
Chemainus Valley Historical Society
PO Box 172, Chemainus BC VOR 1K0
Cowichan Historical Society
PO Box 1014, Duncan BC V9L 3Y2
District 69 Historical Society
PO Box 1452, Parksville BC V9P 2H4
East Kootenay Historical Association
PO Box 74, Cranbrook BC VIC 4H6
Linn Slough Heritage & Wetland Society
9480 Dyke Road, Richmond BC V7A 2L5
Galiano Museum Society
20625 Porlier Pass Drive
Galiano Island BC VON 1P0
Gulf Islands Branch BCHP
c/o A. Loveridge S22, Cll, RR # 1
Galiano Island BC VON 1P0
Hedley Heritage Society
PO Box 218, Hedley BC   VOX 1K0
Jewish Historical Society of BC
206-950 West 41st Avenue,
Vancouver BC V5Z 2N7
Kamloops Museum Association
207 Seymour Street, Kamloops BC V2C 2E7
Koksilah School Historical Society
5213 Trans Canada Highway,
Koksilah, BC VOR 2C0
Kootenay Lake Historical Society
PO Box 1262, Kaslo BC VOG 1M0
Langley Centennial Museum
PO Box 800, Port Langley BC VIM 2S2
Lantzville Historical Society
c/o Box 274, Lantzville BC VOR 2H0
London Heritage Parm Society
6511 Dyke Road, Richmond BC V7E 3R3
Maple Ridge Historical Society
22520 116th Ave.,Maple Ridge,BCV2X0S4
Nanaimo & District Museum Society
100 Cameron Road, Nanaimo BC  V9R 2X1
Nanaimo Historical Society
PO Box 933, Nanaimo BC V9R 5N2
Nelson Museum
402 Anderson Street, Nelson BC V1L 3Y3
Nicola Valley Museum Archives Association
PO Box 1262, Merritt BC V1K 1B8
North Shore Historical Society
c/o 1541 Merlynn Crescent,
NorthVancouver BC V7J 2X9
North Shuswap Historical Society
Box 317, Celista BC VOE 1L0
Okanagan Historical Society
PO Box 313,Vernon BC V1T 6M3
Princeton & District Museum & Archives
Box 281, Princeton BC VOX 1W0
Qualicum Beach Historical Society
587 Beach Road,
Qualicum Beach BC V9K 1K7
Revelstoke & District Historical Association
Box 1908, Revelstoke BC VOE 2S0
Richmond Museum Society
Minoru Park Plaza, 7700 Minoru Gate,
Richmond BC V6Y 7M7
Salt Spring Island Historical Society
129 McPhillips Avenue,
Salt Spring Island BC V8K 2T6
Silvery Slocan Historical Society
Box 301, New Denver BC VOG ISO
Surrey Historical Society
Box 34003 17790 #10 Hwy. Surrey BC   V3S 8C4
Terrace Regional Historical Society
PO Box 246,Terrace BC V8G 4A6
Texada Island Heritage Society
Box 122,VanAndaBC VON 3K0
Trail Historical Society
PO Box 405,Trail BC V1R 4L7
Union Bay Historical Society
Box 448, Union Bay, BC VOR 3B0
Vancouver Historical Society
PO Box 3071,Vancouver BC V6B 3X6
Victoria Historical Society
PO Box 43035, Victoria North
Victoria BC   V8X 3G2
Yellowhead Museum
Box 1778, RR# 1, Clearwater BC VOE 1N0
Application for membership received from:
Lions Bay Historical Society
Box 571, Lions Bay BC VON 2E0
The British Columbia
Historical Federation is
an umbrella organization
embracing regional
Local historical societies
are entitled to become
Member Societies of the
BC Historical Federation.
All members of these
local historical societies
shall by that very fact be
members ofthe Federation.
Affiliated Groups are
organizations with
specialized interests or
objects of a historical
Membership fees for
both classes of membership are one dollar per
member of a Member
Society or Affiliated
Group with a minimum
membership fee of $25
and a maximum of $75.
Questions about
membership should be
directed to:
Terry Simpson,
Membership Secretary,
BC Historical Federation,
193 Bird Sanctuary,
Nanaimo BC V9R6G8
Phone: 250.754.5697
Please  keep the  editor  of BC Historical News informed about corrections to be made to this list. Return Address:
British Columbia Historical News
JoelVinge, Subscription Secretary
561 Woodland Drive
Cranbrook,   BC    VIC 6V2
Canadian Publications Mail Product Sales Agreement No. 40025793
Publications Mail Registration No. 09835
We acknowledge the financial support of the   Government of Canada, through the Publications Assistance Program (PAP), toward our mailing costs.
Contact us:
BC Historical News welcomes your
letters and manuscripts on subjects
dealing with the history of British
Columbia and British Columbians.
Please send stories or essays on any
aspect of the rich past of our province to the Editor, BC Historical
News, Fred Braches, PO Box 130,
Whonnock BC, V2W 1V9.
Phone: 604.462.8942
Send books for review and book
reviews directly to the Book Review Editor, BC Historical News,
Anne Yandle, 3450 West 20th
Avenue, Vancouver BC V6S 1E4,
Phone: 604.733.6484
News items for publication in BC
Historical News should be send to
the editor in Whonnock.
Please send correspondence about
subscriptions to the Subscription
Secretary, Joel Vinge
561 Woodland Drive
Cranbrook BC VIC 6V2
Phone/Fax: 250.489.2490
Individual $15.00 per year
Institutional $20.00 per year
For addresses outside Canada add $6.00
The British Columbia Historical Federation
invites submissions of books for the 19™ annual
Competition for Writers of BC History.
Any book presenting any facet of BC history, published in
2001, is eligible. This may be a community history, biography, record of a project or an organization, or personal recollections giving a glimpse of the past. Names, dates and places,
with relevant maps or pictures, turn a story into "history."
Note that reprints or revisions of books are not eligible.
The judges are looking for quality presentations, especially if fresh material is
included, with appropriate illustrations, careful proofreading, an adequate
index, table of contents and bibliography, from first-time writers as well as
established authors.
The Lieutenant-Governor's Medal for Historical Writing will be awarded to an
individual writer whose book contributes significantly to the recorded history of British Columbia. Other awards will be made as recommended by
the judges to valuable books prepared by groups or individuals.
Winners will receive a Certificate of Merit, a monetary award and an invitation to the BCHF annual conference to be held in Revelstoke May 2002.
SUBMISSION REQUIREMENTS: All books must have been published in 2001 and
should be submitted as soon as possible after publication. Two copies of each book
should be submitted. Books entered become property of the BC Historical Federation. Please state name, address and telephone number of sender, the selling price of
all editions of the book, and, if the reader has to shop by mail, the address from which
it may be purchased, including applicable shipping and handling costs.
SEND TO:     BC Historical Federation Writing Competition
c/o Shirley Cuthbertson
#306-225 Belleville Street  Victoria BC    V8V 4T9
DEADLINE: 31 December 2001


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