Island Stories:

newDanzig Mine
newZeballos Iron Mine
newConuma Peak 1910
Alexandra Peak
Argus Mountain
Bate/Alava Sanctuary
Beaufort Range
Big Interior Mtn
Big Interior Mtn 1913
Part 1
Part 2
Bolton Expedition 1896
Cliffe Glacier
Clinton Wood
Comox Glacier
Comox Glacier 1922
Comox Glacier 1925
Comstock Mtn
Conuma Peak
Copper King Mine
Crown Mtn
Elkhorn 1912
Elkhorn 1949
Elkhorn 1968
Eugene Croteau
Golden Bullets
Golden Hinde 1913/14
Golden Hinde 1937
Golden Hinde 1983
Harry Winstone Tragedy
Jack Mitchell
Jim Mitchell Tragedy
John Buttle
Judges Route
Koksilah's Silver Mine
Landslide Lake
Mackenzie Range
Malaspina Peak
Mariner Mtn
Marjories Load
Matchlee Mountain
Mount McQuillan
Mt. Albert Edward
Mt. Albert Edward 1927
Mt. Albert Edward 1938
Mt. Becher
Mt. Benson 1913
Mt. Benson
Mt. Doogie Dowler
Mt. Colonel Foster
Mt. Hayes/Thistle Claim
Mt. Maxwell
Mt. Sicker
Mt. Tzouhalem
Mt. Whymper
Muqin/Brooks Peninsula
Nine Peaks
Ralph Rosseau 1947
Rosseau Chalet
Ralph Rosseau Tragedy
Rambler Peak
Red Pillar
Rex Gibson Tragedy
Sid's Cabin
Steamboat Mtn
Strathcona Park 1980's
The Misthorns
The Unwild Side
Victoria Peak
Waterloo Mountain 1865
Wheaton Hut/Marble Meadows
William DeVoe
Woss Lake
You Creek Mine
Zeballos Peak

Other Stories:
Sierra de los Tuxtlas
Cerro del Tepozteco
Mt. Roraima
Nevada Alpamayo
Nevada del Tolima
Nevado de Toluca
Pico Bolivar
Uluru/Ayers Rock
Volcan Purace
Volcan San Jose

Island 6000

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Salvador Fidalgo y Lopegarcia

1756 - 1803

Juan Salvador Fidalgo y Lopegarcia was born at la Seu d'Urgell in the province of Lleida, Spain, on August 6, 1756, and was the heir of a noble Basque Navarrese family. He joined the Spanish Navy as a guardiamarina (midshipman) at the Real Colegio de Guardiamarinas in Cádiz and graduated in 1775 where he was given the rank of Alférez de Fragata (Frigate Ensign).

He was chosen to be a member of Vicente Tofiño's team of cartographers working during the 1780s on the first atlas of Spain's ports and coastal waters. He served on various assignments in the Mediterranean and saw action against the British and Portuguese. In 1778 he was promoted to Teniente de Navío (Lieutenant) and assigned to the Spanish naval station at San Blas, Mexico.

The Spanish claim to Alaska and the Pacific Northwest had dated back to a 1493 papal bull and rights contained in the 1494 Treaty of Tordesillas; these two formal acts gave Spain the exclusive rights to colonize all of the Western Hemisphere (excluding Brazil), including the exclusive rights to colonize all of the west coast of North America. The first European expedition to actually reach the west coast of North America was led by the Spaniard Vasco Núñez de Balboa, which achieved the Pacific coast of Panama in 1513. Balboa claimed the Pacific Ocean for the Spanish Crown, as well as the lands touching it, including all of the west coast of North America. This action of Balboa further solidified the Spanish claim of exclusive control over the entire west coast of North America.

The claims unchallenged, the Spanish Empire did not explore or settle the northwest coast of North America in the 250 years after Balboa's claim. By the late 18th century, however, learning of Russian Empire and British arrivals along the Pacific coast, Spain finally grew sufficiently concerned about their claims to the Pacific Northwest and set out to learn the extent of the Russian and British encroachment.

In 1790, at the direction of Juan Vicente de Güemes Padilla Horcasitas y Aguayo, 2nd Count of Revillagigedo, the Viceroy of New Spain, Fidalgo was sent to New Spain's northernmost settlement, San Lorenzo de Nootka, just off today's Vancouver Island. In May 1790, Fidalgo sailed out of Nootka and some weeks later, anchored off present-day Cordova, Alaska. The expedition found no signs of Russian presence, and traded with natives in the area. On June 3, 1790, they put ashore on today's Orca Inlet, and in a solemn ceremony, Fidalgo erected a large wooden cross, re-asserted Spanish sovereignty, and named the area Puerto Córdova. Fidalgo continued along the Alaskan coast, reaching today's Gravina Point, where the same ceremony re-asserting Spanish sovereignty was performed. On June 15, 1790, they discovered a port, which they named Puerto Valdez, after Antonio Valdés, then Minister of the Spanish Navy.

On July 4, 1790, the expedition made their first contact with the Russians, on the southwestern coast of the Kenai Peninsula, which Fidalgo named Puerto Revillagigedo. The expedition pressed on to the main Russian settlement of the time on Kodiak Island, in today's Three Saints Bay. Fidalgo entertained the Russians aboard his ship, and then on July 5, 1790, conducted another ceremony of sovereignty, near the Russian outpost of Alexandrovsk (today's English Bay or Nanwalek, Alaska), southwest of today's Anchorage on the Kenai Peninsula. Fidalgo led the expedition back to San Blas, arriving on November 15, 1790.

In 1792, Salvador Fidalgo was assigned to establish a Spanish post at Neah Bay (the Spanish name was Bahía de Núñez Gaona), on the southwestern coast of the Strait of Juan de Fuca in present-day U.S. state of Washington. He arrived from San Blas on the corvette Princesa on May 28, 1792. The post soon had cleared land for a garden, a livestock enclosure with a number of cows, sheep, hogs, and goats, and a stockade with a small garrison.

The post was established during the Nootka Convention negotiations between Spain and Britain in the wake of the Nootka Crisis. It was uncertain whether the Spanish post at Nootka Sound would be ceded to the British or not. Fidalgo's work at Neah Bay was in preparation for a possible relocation of Spain's Nootka Sound post.

Later during the autumn of 1792 a conflict occurred between the Makah, natives of Neah Bay, and the Spanish. Fidalgo's second in command, Pilot Antonio Serantes, was killed and in retaliation Fidalgo ordered an attack on the Makah, inflicting many casualties. For this action Fidalgo was later reprimanded by his superior officers. The post at Neah Bay was abandoned and Fidalgo was recalled to Nootka Sound.

In 1794 Salvador Fidalgo was promoted to Capitán de Fragata (Frigate Captain or Commander). In 1795 he sailed to the Philippines to deliver diplomatic documents. In 1801 he suppressed a Native American rebellion at the Tiburón Island in the Gulf of California.

He died on September 27, 1803 in Tacubaya, near Mexico City. Fidalgo Island, near Puget Sound, was named in his honour.

Tovell, Freeman M. At the Far Reaches of Empire: The Life of Juan Francisco De La Bodega y Quadra. University of British Columbia Press. Vancouver, B.C. 2008.

Kendrick, John. The Voyage of Sutil and Mexicana, 1792: The Last Spanish Exploration of the Northwest Coast of America. The Arthur H. Clark Company. Spokane, Washington. 1990.

Schwantes, Carlos A. The Pacific Northwest: An Interpretive History. University of Nebraska Press. Lincoln, Nebraska. 1996.

Arias, Bishop David. Spanish-Americans: Lives And Faces. Trafford Publishing. Victoria, B.C. 2005.



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