They endured the torments of scurvy and the vagaries of deep fogs, adverse winds, and contrary currents. They suffered through appalling quarters and rotting food. They spent years away from their homes and families, never knowing whether they would return. Their orders from Spain might well arrive long after they were needed, six months or longer into the journey. For more than two centuries, Spaniards ranged the coast of the Americas, penetrating almost to the Bering Strait from their bases in Mexico and charting the convoluted coastline of the Pacific Northwest. Yet they persevered, establishing relationships with the native peoples and negotiating disputes with rival explorers from other countries, jubilant in their discoveries, saddened by their losses. And they did it all for the honour of their homeland, the glory of God, and the promise of gain. In the end, Spain would not prevail on the Northwest Coast, but the story of their efforts is one well worth telling—and reading.
About the Author
Rosemary Neering was born in Croyden, England, grew up in Brantford, Ontario, and has been a resident of British Columbia for over thirty years. She is the author of more than forty non-fiction books for adults, teens, and children, most of which focus on Canadian history and travel with an emphasis on the lives of ordinary people. Her writing has won a number of awards, including a BC Book Prize for Non-Fiction for Down the Road: Journeys through Small-Town British Columbia and a VanCity Book Prize for Wild West Women: Travellers, Adventurers and Rebels. A full-time freelance writer since 1981, she lives in Victoria, British Columbia.