Captain George Vancouver ( 1757 - 1798)

Vancouver was a Royal Navy officer best known for his 1791–1795 expedition, which explored and charted the Hawaiian Islands, the southwest coast of Australia and North America’s northwestern Pacific Coast regions, including the coasts of what are now the Canadian province of British Columbia as well as the US states of Alaska, Washington and Oregon.

Vancouver served on Captain Cook’s second and third voyages, and was stationed in the West Indies for some years before being asked to undertake a hydrographic survey of the northwest coast of America. This followed the signing of the Nootka Sound Convention in 1790 which confirmed the rights of Britain in the region. Between leaving Falmouth in 1791 and returning home in 1795, Vancouver’s two ships sailed about 55,000 miles. ‘This voyage became one of the most important ever made in the interests of geographical knowledge’ (Hill). Over three summer surveying seasons, Vancouver circumnavigated the island subsequently named after him, and disproved the existence of a passage between the Pacific and Hudson’s Bay. His men covered more than 10,000 miles in small boats, and delineated more than 1700 miles of coastline with unerring accuracy. He died before his journal could be published.

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