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Distributed for University of British Columbia Press

From Maps to Metaphors

The Pacific World of George Vancouver

During the summers of 1792-94, George Vancouver and the crew of the British naval ships Discovery and Chatham mapped the northwest coast of North America from Baja California to Alaska. Taking the art and technique of distant voyaging to a new level, Vancouver eliminated the possibility of a northwest passage and his remarkably precise surveys completed the outline of the Pacific. But to map an area is to appropriate it – to begin to bring it under control – and Vancouver’s charts of the northwest coast were part of a process of economic exploitation and cultural disruption. The chapters in this illuminating book are written from a variety of perspectives and provide new insights on many aspects of Vancouver’s voyages, from the technology employed to the complex political and power relationships among European explorers and the Native leadership.

362 pages

Table of Contents

Illustrations and Maps


How the Squamish Remember George Vancouver / Louis Miranda and Philip Joe

Introduction / Robin Fisher and Hugh Johnston

1 James Cook and the European Discovery of Polynesia / Ben Finney

2 Myth and Reality: The Theoretical Geography of Northwest America from Cook to Vancouver / Glyndwr Williams

3 Vancouver’s Survey Methods and Surveys / Andrew David

4 Vancouver’s Chronometers / Alun C. Davies

5 A Notable Absence: The Lateness and Lameness of Russian Discovery and Exploration in the North Pacific, 1639-1803 / James R. Gibson

6 Nootka Sound and the Beginnings of Britain’s Imperialism of Free Trade / Alan Frost

7 Seduction before Sovereignty: Spanish Efforts to Manipulate the Natives in Their Claims to the Northwest Coast / Christon I. Archer

8 Dangerous Liaisons: Maquinna, Quadra and Vancouver in Nootka Sound, 1790-1795 / Yvonne Marshall

9 Art and Exploration: The Responses of Northwest Coast Native Artists to Maritime Explorers and Fur Traders / Victoria Wyatt

10 Kidnapped: Tuki and Huru’s Involuntary Visit to Norfolk Island in 1793 / Anne Salmond

11 Banks and Menzies: Evolution of a Journal / W. Kaye Lamb

12 The Intellectual Discovery and Exploration of Polynesia / K. R. Howe

13 The Burden of Terra Australis: Experiences of Real and Imagined Lands / David Mackay

Appendices: Vancouver’s Instruments, Charts, and Drawings / Andrew David




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