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138   HISTORY OF CANADA.

the Resolution and the Discovery, and then sailed again to the north. He explored the coast to a point beyond Behring Straits, but was finally obliged to turn hack as solid ice barred further progress. While wintering at the Sandwich Islands he met his death at the hands of the natives.

The Pacific Coast Indians.—Captain Cook reports in his journal that the Indians whom he met at Nootka and along the coast were very friendly and disposed to trade. All sorts of furs were freely offered, particularly that of the sea-otter. In appearance the natives are described as under the common stature, "pretty full and plump, though not muscular." The men and women were so encrusted with paint and dirt that their color could not with certainty be determined, but the children, he says, were nearly as fair as Europeans. These Mongoloids, as they are now termed, were spread in villages all through the coast region. Unlike the Indians of the Atlantic seaboard, they offered but little resistance to the encroachment of the European—largely, however, because they were fairly and kindly treated by the traders of the North-West Company. To-day the Indians of British Columbia number only about twenty-five thousand souls—a decreasing people divided into many tribes.

The Pioneer Traders.—The fame of Captain Cook's discoveries was soon noised abroad, and in 1786 no less than four expeditions were fitted out in different parts of the globe to engage in the new fur trade. British merchants in China and India, as well as in England, were concerned in these ventures, and the flags of the great chartered companies—the East India and South Sea companies—floated over the ships. A British captain, James Hanna, was the first to arrive at Nootka (August, 1785), and it is said that from his season's trade he netted, in China, a profit of $26,000. Others soon followed. The flag of the United States appeared for the first time iethese waters in 1788, a company of Boston merchants having decided to take up the trade. The names of many of these early traders still appear upon the map of British Columbia ; in Cape Scott, Barclay Sound and other localities. Queen Charlotte Islands were visited by Captain Dixon in 1787. They were named after the Queen-consort of England, whose name Dixon's ship also bore.

Captain Meares.---In 1788 Captain Jolnr Meares, formerly a


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