American Explorers: Charles Wilkes

In the early years of the 19th century, the young United States developed a self-image as a continental power with interests that stretched to North America’s west coast. After the 1804-1806 Lewis and Clark Expedition, the most important expression of the...

English Explorers: George Vancouver

Of all the early European explorers of the west coast, few have had the long-term impact of Capt. George Vancouver. His expedition of 1791-95 in the ships HMS Discovery and HMS Chatham left an indelible mark on the maritime history of the region. For example, many of...

Spanish Explorers: Bruno de Heceta

In 1775, pressure by British and Russian explorers put greater strain on Spain’s historic claims on the west coast going back to the late 15th century. To strengthen its claims, Spain mounted a series of expeditions from its bases in Mexico to “Nueva Galicia,”...