While the story of Juan de Fuca’s tale of an inland route, later known as the elusive Northwest Passage is of doubtful reliability, the later major sea explorations of the Northwest Coast during the late eighteenth century are well documented.
Noteworthy coastal explorers include Vitus Bering, Dionisio Alcala-Galiano, George Vancouver, Robert Gray. Lewis and Clark, and later David Thompson explored inland. Here are some captivating accounts of their exploits:
Bering: the Russian Discovery of America by O.W.Frost
Vitus Jonassen Bering (1681-1741) made two expeditions journeying from St. Petersburg to Siberia and ultimately to the Northwest coast of America. Frost chronicles the life of this extraordinary explorer in a riveting narrative of adventure and disaster on the high seas.
Voyage of Sutil and Mexicana 1792: the Last Spanish Exploration of the Northwest coast of America. Translated by John Kendrick, the original manuscript most likely by Dionisio Alcala-Galiano
The schooners Sutil and Mexicana sailed along the coast of the Pacific Northwest in 1792, stopping and spending time at Nootka prior to exploring in detail the coastline inside the Strait of Juan de Fuca and north of Vancouver, Canada.
With Vancouver in Inland Washington Waters: Journals of 12 Crewmen, April-June 1792
Editor Richard Blumenthal offers the reader a fascinating firsthand look at the Northwest’s earliest maritime history. The journals include Peter Puget’s observations and explorations of Puget Sound and a detailed description of William Broughton’s passage through the San Juan Islands.
Columbia’s River: the Voyages of Robert Gray, 1787-1793 by J. Richard Nokes
Robert Gray in two trading voyages between 1787 and 1793 circumnavigated the globe and entered and explored the long-sought River of the West, naming it “Columbia’s River” after his ship.
The Way to the Western Sea: Lewis & Clark Across the Continent by David Sievert Lavender
A moving, detailed re-creation of the 1804-06 Lewis & Clark Expedition, which was a risky probe into the continent’s interior. Lavender’s narrative captures the mingled awe, courage and fear of the members of the Corps of Discovery.
Columbia Journals by David Thompson
Thompson (1770-1857), one of the most important surveyors of North America, mapped the Columbia River watershed, traveling the Columbia River from its source to its mouth. Thompson mapped and established trading posts in Northwestern Montana, Idaho and Washington for the Northwest Company.
~ Brenda, Central Library