Imagens da página

and sailed northward. On the 26th of February, 1543, he discovered a promontory situated in latitude 41 which he named Cabo de Fortunas (Cape of Perils, or Stormy Cape), now called Mendocino. On March the first, he reached the latitude of 44 degrees. Without doubt Ferrelo was the first civilized man to see the coast of Oregon, but he did not chart its coast nor make a landing upon it.

5. The Spanish Galleons. The Spanish nation held full sway on the Pacific for a long time after the voyages of Cabrillo and Ferrelo. Her large ships called galleons sailed back and forth across the Pacific richly laden with precious metals and European merchandise in return for which they brought back silks, spices, porcelain and other oriental products for trade with America or for transportation to Europe. These galleons proceeding from Mexico to India were wafted by the trade winds directly across the ocean, the voyage taking about three months, the return occupying about twice the time. They always made the west coast of California, in consequence of which the lower Pacific coast was well known before the end of the sixteenth century. Their route did not carry them as far north as the limits of the present state of Washington and of this country they knew nothing, but their presence on the Pacific led the navigators of other nations here as we shall see.

6. Voyage of Drake. The time was fast approaching when the flag of the Spanish merchantmen was to disappear from the Pacific. Both England and

France were watching this profitable Spanish trade with jealous eyes. They commissioned privateers to prey upon the commerce of Spain. The most noted of these was Sir Francis Drake. He was nothing but a freebooter and Queen Elizabeth knew it, but favored his enterprise through her hatred for Spain. Drake entered the Pacific through the Strait of Magellan in September, 1578, with one small vessel and sixty men. He proceeded northward, plundering the Spanish settlements and ships on the west coast. Having loaded his vessel with spoils he determined to return to England by sailing northward to search for the Strait of Anian through which to pass to the Atlantic and thus avoid the Spanish. It is alleged that Drake advanced northward beyond the 420 degree and then turned southward, coasting along the shore to a bay in 38 degrees north latitude, supposed to have been San Francisco bay. Here he remained five weeks, repairing his vessel. He went ashore and took possession of the country in the name of his sovereign and named it New Albion. There is no evidence that Drake discovered any land north of the 38th parallel and the discoveries which he did make had long been anticipated by the Spanish.

7. Voyage of Juan de Fuca. It is related by Michael Lock, an Englishman, that an old man named Juan de Fuca, a Greek by birth, by profession a mariner and an ancient pilot of ships, declared that in 1592 he was sent with a small caraval to discover the Strait of Anian and that he followed a northwest course along the coasts of Mexico and California


until he came to the latitude of 47 degrees, and there found the land trended north and northeast, with a broad inlet of the sea between the 47th and 48th degrees of latitude. He claimed to have spent more than twenty days in exploring this inlet and then returned to Acapulco, whence he came. Many historians are disposed to discredit the story of the old Greek pilot, but whether true or false, the name of Juan de Fuca is forever fixed as the name of the strait which connects the waters of Puget Sound with the Pacific.

8. Voyages of Sebastian Viscaino. Viscaino, a distinguished Spanish officer, made two voyages along the northwest coast in 1602 and 1603 by order of Philip III to search for the Strait of Anian. He left Acapulco with three vessels and sailed northward along the coast to latitude 43 degrees, near which he discovered a rapid river, on the banks of which grew ash trees, willows, brambles and other trees of Castile. Viscaino endeavored to enter this river, but could not because of the force of the current, and returned to Acapulco. The stream which he discovered is believed to be the Umpqua, a river of Southern Oregon. Thus discoveries were being made, but the phantom of the Strait of Anian was still beyond the reach of the navigator.

9. The Period From 1608 to 1768. For more than a hundred and sixty years after the voyages of Viscaino, no attempt was made by the Spanish to extend their discoveries in the northwest part of America.

This country during this period remained almost unknown to the civilized world. It was the terra incognitissima.

10. The Voyage of Juan Perez. In 1774 and 1775 two exploring voyages were made by order of the Spanish government, in which the northwest coast of America was examined, as far north as the 58th degree of latitude. These voyages have a direct

a bearing on the early history of the state of Washington. The first was made by Juan Perez accompanied by Estevan Martinez, as pilot. Perez sailed from San Blas northward to the both degree of latitude and then turned southward, surveying the coast as he went. The first land observed was in latitude 54 degrees north at a point on the west side of the island afterwards named Queen Charlotte's Island by the British. Perez also discovered a deep bay in latitude 49 degrees 30 minutes north, at the entrance of which he anchored between two high promontories. He named it Port San Lorenzo, perhaps the same bay to which Captain Cook, four years later, gave the name King George's or Nootka Sound, situated on the southwest side of Vancouver Island. Proceeding southward along the coast, Perez saw in latitude 47 degrees 47 minutes a lofty mountain covered with snow, which he named Sierra de Santa Rosaliaprobably Mount Olympus. Martinez, the pilot, many years after, said that he had observed between the 48th and 49th parallels a wide opening of land, and the Spanish on the strength of this statement have claimed

[ocr errors]

for Martinez the merit of rediscovering the strait of Juan de Fuca.

11. The Voyages of Heceta and Bodega. After the return of Perez to Mexico, the viceroy ordered a second expedition to be made to examine the northwest coast as far north as the 65th degree of latitude. Accordingly Captain Bruno Heceta and Lieutenant Juan de Bodega with two vessels sailed from San Blas northward. They sighted land in latitude 48 degrees 27 minutes north and proceeded to examine the shore southward in search of the strait of Juan de Fuca, which was placed on their chart between the 47th and the 48th degrees of latitude.

Of course they did not find the strait and having satisfied themselves that no such opening existed there, they cast anchor near the shore. Here seven of the crew having gone ashore for water were killed by the natives. The site at which this occurred was named by Heceta Punta de Martires-Martyr's Point. It is now called Point Grenville, in latitude 47 degrees 20 minutes on the west coast of Washington. Just north of this point Heceta discovered an island which for the same reason he named Isla de Dolores—Isle of Sorrows-now called Destruction Island. Afterward Heceta proceeded southward along the shore and in latitude 46 degrees 17 minutes he observed a strong current flowing from an opening in the shore against which he could not enter. Undoubtedly it was the mouth of the mighty Oregon, the great river of the west, but Heceta knew it not and so sailed away and

« AnteriorContinuar »