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,”...

Spanish Explorers: Juan Perez

In the last quarter of the 18th century, Spain, Great Britain, Russia, and the United States struggled for predominance on the west coast of North America. A common method for claiming territory was the exploratory expedition. In 1774-1775, the Spanish sent a naval...

Spanish Explorers: Juan de Fuca

The story of Juan de Fuca is part fact, part legend. The 16th century explorer employed by the Spanish gave his name to the east-west strait between Washington State and Vancouver Island, but he called it by a different name. For almost 250 years, many disbelieved his...

Spanish Explorers: Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo

Within a half-century after Christopher Columbus’ successful voyage from Spain to the New World, the Spanish conquered the lands they would call New Spain, now Mexico and Central America. Soldiers, such as Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo, expanded Spain imperial...