Nootka Sound

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     At the end of the 18th century the Spanish, Russians and British were active in the northern Pacific. One focus of activity was Nootka Sound. The name was given by Captain James Cook in 1778. It was his attempt to pronounce the name of the indigenous people, the Nuu-chah-nulth, meaning “all along the mountains.”   
     It was rumored that the Russians were going to establish a settlement on what is now called Vancouver Island. When Spanish navigators arrived to assert the Spanish claim they found that there was no settlement. A British vessel arrived and claimed the right to build a forth there. The Spanish, under Estaban Jose Martinez, engaged in piratical actions against the British in the area. When the British threatened to retaliate, the Spanish agreed to accept the terms of the Nootka Convention in 1790. Both nations were permitted to use the harbor at Nootka, but neither was allowed to establish a permanent settlement there.
     The chart reproduced on the stamp is based on Plano de la Cala De Los Amigos, Situado en la Parte Occidental de la entrada de Nutka, 1791 by J. Espinosa y Tello, and published in 1802 in Atlas para el Viage de las Goletas Sutil y Mexicana al reconocimiento del Estrecho de Juan de Fuca in 1792. published in 1802.

SCN 1490

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