The Indian Country, 1800: A Brilliant Plan for Living
Creators Gifts Men and Women A Vast Network


Vancouver's Voyage

By 1800, European traders were a common presence along the Pacific Coast north of the Spanish settlements in California. Russian fur traders worked the Alaskan and Aleutian coasts, and the British were establishing their claims to modern Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia.

In 1791, the British Royal Navy ordered George Vancouver (1758–1798) to chart the coast from San Francisco northward. Vancouver spent four years at the task.

This scene from that voyage was recorded by the ship’s artist, William Alexander. It shows Vancouver’s ships anchored near what is now Vancouver Island in July 1793. While there, the commander and a small party explored the coastline and met local inhabitants who spoke the Chinook trade jargon and were eager to trade with the British.

William Alexander. “Salmon Cove,” prepared to illustrate George Vancouver’s A Voyage of Discovery to the North Pacific Ocean. Watercolor, 1798.

Click to Enlarge
Newberry Library