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  Constitution Act 1791 | Guy Carleton | Jay's Treaty | Black Loyalists | Alexander Mackenzie | Simon Fraser | David Thompson | John Graves Simcoe | Captain George Vancouver | The Northwest Company | Prevost's Conciliation | Tecumseh | The War of 1812 | Lord Selkirk | Newfoundland

In many ways the Royal Navy was more of a meritocracy then British Society. Captain George Vancouver was an example of this in that he joined the Royal Navy in 1772 at the age of 13 as an able seaman and was able to work his way up to become a Captain by 1792. After Cook, Vancouver was the greatest British explorer and cartographer to sail the Pacific. He learned many of his skills and gained much knowledge from his experience with Captain Cook in 1775 on the HMS Discovery. It was during this voyage that Vancouver was promoted to midshipman.

In 1780 Vancouver passes his Lieutenants exam and is sent to the Mediterranean where he sees a considerable amount of action against the French who were allied with the Americans. Vancouver's rise in rank proceeds quickly during his service on the HMS Europa while serving in the Caribbean. He is promoted from 3rd Lieutenant to 2nd Lieutenant and then to 1st Lieutenant which put him second in command of the ship. It was during this period that he served with many of the men that he would later take with him to the Pacific Northwest such as Joseph Baker, (Mount Baker Named after him) Peter Puget, (Puget Sound named after him, Zachary Mudge, (Cape Mudge named after him) and Joseph Whidbey (Whidbey Island named after him)

In 1792 Vancouver was chosen as the Captain to lead an expedition to the Pacific Northwest. He was assigned 3 objectives by the admiralty and was expected to act as a diplomat as well as an explorer. He was to meet with the Spaniard Bodega y Quadra on the wets coast of the Island that was to bear his name, Vancouver Island. The exact location for this meeting was  Nootka Sound where the Nootka Indians inhabited the shoreline and the Spanish had built a fort. By the terms of the Nootka Convention which both Spain and England had agreed to, England was to settle damage claims that the Spanish had claimed. Vancouver was also to chart the coastline in the Pacific Northwest from 30 degrees North to Cook's Inlet in Alaska. This was not done in any detail with Cook because he was primarily looking for a passage to the Atlantic. The third objective was to look for that elusive passage which Cook had not found. The discovery of this passage would give the British a huge advantage in this area of the world with direct access via the arctic to the Northern Pacific.

Vancouver meet with the Spanish and he and Quadra became friends in the course of the negotiations. The Spanish recognized the primacy of the British in the area. Vancouver also completed the second task with charts that were so accurate they could be used today. He mapped the intricate, roughed coastline and meet with many of the native groups along the coast. His third objective was a relatively impossible  due to the fact that the great Northwest passage that he and many others were looking for over the centuries was only open at the height of the summer around the Northern tip of Alaska and only during some summer seasons.

Vancouver returned to Britain in 1795 and in 1798 his journals "A Voyage of Discovery to the Pacific Ocean and Round the World in the Year 1790 - 1795: were published posthumously. Vancouver had died on May 12, 1798.

His voyages and the cross continent  journey by Alexander Mackenzie which brought him to the West Coast on July 20th, 1793, were the two actions which opened up the Northern Pacific for the British. Coincidently, Mackenzie and Vancouver missed each other on the West Coast by just 6 weeks.