From Maps to Metaphors

The Pacific World of George Vancouver

Edited by Robin Fisher and Hugh Johnston

  • $37.95s paperback (9780774828154) Add to Cart
  • hardcover not available
  • Published: 1995. Paperback 2014
  • Subject Listing: History
  • Bibliographic information: 362 pp.
  • Territorial rights: US rights only
  • Distributed for: UBC Press
  • Contents

During the summers of 1792-4 George Vancouver and the crew of the British naval ships Discovery and Chatham mapped the northwest coast of North America from Baja California to Alaska. Vancouver's voyage was the last, and the longest, of the great Pacific voyages of the late eighteenth century. Taking the art and technique of distant voyaging to a new level, Vancouver eliminated the possibility of a northwest passage, and his remarkably precise surveys completed the outline of the Pacific.

But to map an area is to appropriate it - to begin to bring it under control - and Vancouver's charts of the northwest coast were part of a process of economic exploitation and cultural disruption. Although he and the other great navigators of his age exercised no control over the ideas and enterprises spawned by their voyages, their names have come to symbolize the consequences of European expansion - good or bad.

From Maps to Metaphors grew out of the Vancouver Conference on Exploration and Discovery, held to observe the bicentennial of Vancouver's arrival on teh Pacific northwest coast. Its aim is to bring to light much of the new research on the discovery of the Pacific, as well as to illuminate the European and Native experience. The chapters are written from a variety of perspective, and provide new insights on many aspects of Vancouver's voyage - from the technology Vancouver employed to the complex political and power relationships among European explorers and the Native leadership.

While it is no longer possible to 'celebrate' the coming of the European explorers like Vancouver to the northwest coast, their achievements cannot be overlooked. The charts, log books, journals, and specimens from the voyages of Vancouver and his contemporaries are important sources of information essential for the reconstruction of an image of the Pacific region and its peoples in the eighteenth century.
Robin Fisher is a historian and the former provost and vice president academic of Mount Royal University. He is the author of Vancouver's Voyage; Contact and Conflict: Indian-European Relations in British Columbia, 1774-1890; and Duff Pattullo of British Columbia, among other books. Hugh J. M. Johnston is an historian affiliated with Simon Fraser University. He is the author of several books including Jewels of the Qila: The Remarkable Story of an Indo-Canadian Family and The Voyage of the Komagata Maru: The Sikh Challenge to Canada's Colour Bar.
Illustrations and Maps

How the Squamish Remember George Vancouver / Louis Miranda and Philip Joe

Introduction / Robin Fisher and Hugh Johnston

1. James Cook and the European Discovery of Polynesia / Ben Finney

2. Myth and Reality: The Theoretical Geography of Northwest America from Cook to Vancouver / Glyndwr Williams

3. Vancouver's Survey Methods and Surveys / Andrew David

4. Vancouver's Chronometers / Alun C. Davies

5. A Notable Absence: The Lateness and Lameness of Russian Discovery and Exploration in the North Pacific, 1639-1803 / James R. Gibson

6. Nootka Sound and the Beginnings of Britain's Imperialism of Free Trade / Alan Frost

7. Seduction before Sovereignty: Spanish Efforts to Manipulate the Natives in Their Claims to the Northwest Coast / Christon I. Archer

8. Dangerous Liaisons: Maquinna, Quadra and Vancouver in Nootka Sound, 1790-1795 / Yvonne Marshall

9. Art and Exploration: The Responses of Northwest Coast Native Artists to Maritime Explorers and Fur Traders / Victoria Wyatt

10. Kidnapped: Tuki and Huru's Involuntary Visit to Norfolk Island in 1793 / Anne Salmond

11. Banks and Menzies: Evolution of a Journal / W. Kaye Lamb

12. The Intellectual Discovery and Exploration of Polynesia / K. R. Howe

13. The Burden of Terra Australis: Experiences of Real and Imagined Lands / David Mackay

Vancouver's Instruments, Charts, and Drawings / Andrew David