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HISTORY OF CANADA.   139

lieutenant in the British navy, arrived at Nootka with two ships and ninety men, including European artisans and Chinese smiths and carpenters, "shipped as an experiment." A grant of land was obtained from the chief of the Indian village near by, and upon this land a " two-story " house was constructed "sufficiently spacious to contain all the party intended to be left at the Sound." Captain Meares, after describing with evident pride this first house put up in British Columbia, says : "On the whole, our house, though it was not built to satisfy a lover of architectural beauty, was admirably well calculated for the purpose to which it was destined, and appeared to be a structure of uncommon magnificence to the natives of King George's Sound." Around it a strong breastwork was constructed, and a cannon was mounted to command the cove and village of Nootka. During the summer a forty-tun vessel was built, the North-West America, which was launched that same fall, amid loud cheers and booming cannon.

Spaniards Capture Nootka. Spain at this time claimed the entire Pacific coast, although her most northerly settlement in California did not extend beyond San Francisco. She still, too, held Louisiana, that indefinite region west of the Mississippi which France had ceded to her in 1763, and she claimed that the northern part of this territory extended to the Pacific Ocean. In assertion of this claim, a Spanish ship of war "from the port of San Blas in the province of Mexico " sailed into Nootka Sound in 1789, captured Captain Meares' ships, confiscated the cargoes, and took possession of the post on shore. Great Britain and Spain nearly came to blows over this affihir. Finally, in 1790, Spain abandoned her claim to exclusive ownership and agreed to surrender the post, as well as to indemnify Captain Meares for his losses. Thereafter the subjects of either power were to be at liberty to settle upon unoccupied territory.

Captain Ge+brge Vancouver.—Captain George Vancouver was sent out by Great Britain to receive possession of Nootka. Instructions to the Spanish captain inn command there did not arrive in time to allow Vancouver to carry out this part of his mission. He was, however, also under orders to make a close examination of the coast, and this he did during the years 1792, '93, '94, returning to England in October, 1795. His survey extended from the Columbia River to beyond the north end of


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