Quimper at Nootka sound

Quimper’s expedition and Nootka Sound

(cited from: https://www.biografiasyvidas.com/biografia/q/quimper.htm)


After the expeditions to Alaska, two Spanish explorers named Esteban José Martínez and Gonzalo López de Haro were ordered to explore the Nootka Sound. However, since they found out that there are evidence of Russian and British post nearby. So the ultimate mission of this expedition was to occupy the Nootka Sound prior to the others. It was controlled by Martínez in 1789 with La Princesa. Such intense competition Britain and Spain led to an incident during the summer of 1789 called the Nootka Crisis. During this crisis, Martínez sent his pilot José María Narváez to explore the Strait of Juan de Fuca, it turned out to be a better location with larger inlet. Consequently, Nootka Sound was abandoned. As the crisis expanded, establishing permanent Spanish-own base at Nootka Sound was significant to the Viceroy of New Spain, so three ships were ordered to implement. Quimper was the captain of one of the ships called Princesa Real. After settlements were established, he was sent to explore the Strait de Juan de Fuca and many more on order to expand the voyages by Narváez. He was later sent to San Blas for further exploration.


Nootka Crisis:

It was an political incident between Spain (the Spanish Empire) and Britain (the Kingdom of Great Britain) in 1789 at Nootka Sound. This crisis was triggered by a series of intense diplomatic matters regarding to sovereignty claims and legally rightful explorations and trades. It was intensively in between intrusion, grievance, resentment, and rejection. It was resolved without wars but with three agreements generally known as  the Nootka Conventions from 1790 to 1795. The consequence was that Spain had abandoned/surrendered leagues, settlements, and rights to trade (monopoly) to Britain. It is apparently more beneficial to Britain than it is to Spain. 

(cited from: https://opentextbc.ca/preconfederation/chapter/13-3-fur-trade-and-empires/)



La Princesa: (full rigged ship)

(cited from: http://forum.game-labs.net/topic/8340-player-ship-selection-1st-half-201...)

Launched: 1778;

Ownership: Spain;  

Type: frigate or corvette (exact measurement unknown);

Armament: 26 cannons (1789, at Nootka Sound);

Commander: Martínez (1789);

Starting point: San Blas;

Crew: 28 soldiers (from Free Company of Volunteers of Catalonia);

Goal of expedition in 1789: occupation of Nootka Sound;

Consequence of expedition: conflicts with Britain, led to Nootka Crisis.


Princesa Real: (sloop)

(cited from: http://www.cichw1.net/pmprinc.html)

Launched: 1778;

Ownership: previously by U.K.; captured by Spain (Martínez) in 1789;

Armament: 4 cannons and 8 swivel guns;

Importance: matter of negotiation during the first Nootka Convention (eventually returned to Britain in 1791, in Macau, by Quimper);

Expedition (under Spanish control/commanded by Quimper): first full exploration of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the San Juan islands, Haro Strait, Esquimalt Harbour and more for future reference.  


Read the next part of the story: Clayoquot Sound



1. Harper, John L. American Machiavelli: Alexander Hamilton and the Origins of U.S. Foreign Policy. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK;New York;, 2004.

2. Burges, James Bland, Sir, 1752-1824. A Narrative of the Negotiations Occasioned by the Dispute between England and Spain in the Year 1790. vol. no. 17959, , London, 1791.

3. Jessup, David E. At the Far Reaches of the Empire: The Life of Juan Francisco De La Bodega y Quadra. vol. 41, Taylor & Francis Ltd, Washington, 2011. pp. 59, 62, 68, 379.

4. Colnett, James, and Robert Galois. A Voyage to the North West Side of America: The Journals of James Colnett, 1786-89. UBC Press, Vancouver, BC, 2004;2003; pp.9, 11, 17, 62, 99, 263–264, 329.

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