Previous The History of the Dominion of Canada (1897) Next

 

HISTORY OF CANADA.   137

their traffic, but also to explore the interior in order to determine the limits of the territory over which their sway extended. The result was that, through the efforts of the rival explorers of these two companies, the shores of the Arctic and Pacific oceans were reached overland before the century had ended.

Search for a North-West Passage.—Though Europeans had long since found the Southern Seas and China, the way thither around the Cape of Good Hope or Cape Horn was long and difficult. Could not a more direct route be found north of the American continent? This problem occupied the attention of European navigators down to a very recent time. The story of the various expeditions taken to find a "north-west passage," of the noble lives lost, the hardships endured and the difficulties overcome, would fill volumes. It would throw light, however, on the geography rather than on the history of Canada. In the end the passage was found, only to make plain that it was useless as a commercial highway. The practical solution of the question of a short way to the Orient was found by the enterprising traders of the North-Vest Company, who, by various passes of the Rocky Mountains, found their way to the Pacific coast. One of the

routes which they thus opened

up is followed to-day by the Canadian Pacific Railway, the great commercial highway between Europe and Asia.

Captain Cook.—British navigators had again found their way to the Pacific coast of North America some years before this time. On his third voyage, taken with a view to finding a "north-west passage" by sailing in from the Pacific, the celebrated Captain Cook in March, 1778, dropped anchor off Vancouver Island. He called the place King George's Sound,

but it is known to-day by its Indian name, Nootka Sound. Here he remained only so long as was necessary to repair his two ships,

CAPTAIN COOK.

Picture

Previous The History of the Dominion of Canada (1897) Next