Beginning in 1786, Captain John Meares of Great Britain bravely explored and charted routes in the North Pacific, but his bold attempt to dominate the rich new fur trade between the Northwest Coast and Asia was frustrated when the Spanish navy seized his ships off Vancouver Island in 1789. His appeal to Parliament nearly resulted in war between England and Spain. Meares also built the first ship on the Northwest Coast and brought the first Chinese and a Hawaiian prince to the area, but missed the opportunity to explore Puget Sound or discover the Columbia River. Hence, he was “almost a hero.”
Meares’ story is a fascinating glimpse into the period when the great European maritime powers and the newly-established United States vied for geographical knowledge, empire, and control of the Indian fur trade.
Photographs / maps / notes / bibliography / index / 240 pages (1998)