Spanish Galleons Along
Western American Coast!
Pirate Sir Francis Drake 1578-79 liked to chase Spanish Galleons into beaching themselves. Galleons hitting rocks sunk –treasure chest and All!
Drake would allow any surviving Spanish Sailors to abandon ship for shore and row into floating stranded ship to collect treasures. They lit a long fuse into gunpowder kegs below deck and a torch on deck; before quickly escaping to their ship – The Pelican or later called “Golden Hind”.
This actual Spanish Galleon (“Bergantin Siglo XVII”) model was staged and photographed by the author to depict a Galleon stranded in a mythical American Pacific coast cove. The photo was doctored to depict the Galleon smoking – just before blowing up!
We don’t typically see Galleons along our Pacific Coast today!
Walking along a remote Oregon, Washington or California Pacific Ocean beach, one’s mind tends to wander in amazement. Your body is involved in processing the bird sounds, waves washing up and your eyes overwhelmed watching birds soaring, waves disappearing in the distant sea horizon, oh, and the smell of fresh sea air.
Television and video games can’t capture this natural feeling and a subtle part of our collective human ancestry.
Being imaginative as a youth, I used to strain to envision back to a time when legendary Spanish Galleons sailed or floated just off the North American Pacific Coast and battleship cannons firing red glows at another pirate ship, as it attacks.
However, this momentary mind excursion rarely worked as I was not really sure exactly what even a Spanish Galleon looked like! As I got older, I wonder what truth actually existed to prove Jack Sparrow the Pirate King, actually existed or was this just another “Santa Claus” to amuse little children’s minds & engage wonder and curiosity.
As an adult, I took the time to learn more about Spanish Galleons in the ancient past (circa 1500 to 1800s) and the real story behind pirates. I share this research with you now!
First, this is a real model of an actual type of Spanish Galleon:
This is a replica of a Spanish Galleon Battle Ship “BERGANTIN SIGLO XVIII” and it did have five cannons mounted below deck on both sides of the ship – to fight pirates!
It is logical to assume, with cannons below deck, Battle ships did not haul a lot of cargo or gold and jewels. The Spanish had a smaller version of this called a “Frigate” that stored all the trade goods. A Battle ship was always sent out with a load of trade goods and one or more Frigates.
Spanish Galleons did exist!
Now was there any truth to the story of Spanish Galleons along North America’s Pacific coast line?
We all recall “In 1492, “Columbus sailed the seas of blue” from early school!
Prior to 1492, the world view of the “known world” was the relatively easy travelable land mass of the Asian & European & African land masses. This Old World View knew these people and places existed because you could trade well with these people all across the known world. The prevalent Old World view seen the known world as flat as a dinner plate!
Columbus and other thinkers of this time thought this flat concept was wrong. The Earth must be like an apple – round? This debate would probably go on today; except the Queen of Spain asked Columbus to prove his grand round theory by heading west, into the setting sun, from Spain into the totally unknown Atlantic Ocean. Seasoned traders always traveled east from Spain along ancient land or Mediterranean Sea routes to trade historically?
The Queen may have hoped Columbus would fall off the known world and disappear; as a lot of ships traveling west have done. However, she was smart enough to realize – if true – Columbus may discover a shorter route for Spain’s merchants to trade with the fabulously wealthy people of India and Chinese – who made soft silk fabric somehow.
Spain’s world trade & wealth would surely grow!
Long story short, Columbus left the known world or “Old World” in 1492 and he was surprised to find a “New World”. He called these local people “Indians”; but they were not the people of India hoped for!
Of course, we in America now think this whole idea was silly; but generally people don’t think outside their immediate realities – unless challenged to do so!
I wish I could have been in the Queen’s court when Columbus explained what he actually found! However, the Queen was no fool; she figured this “New World” might make Spain rich still- maybe even a world power.
She later sent out military officers called “Conquistadors” out to explore this New World from where Columbus had landed near Cuba. They later discovered the Aztec people in central Mexico had operating gold mines and even later, the Inca people of South America had working silver mines! They befriended local peoples in the New World and asked them what they knew about their New World of the America’s!
Fortunately, Central American tribes knew nothing about North America; at least the people to the north had nothing the Spaniards wanted to cash in for quick profits. The only interest in the north was a potential “Northwest Passage” direct to China – bypassing these “islands” in the way!
Jellyfish are a common site along Beach.
1513 Spanish Galleons
By 1513, Spain had pretty well figured out the Americas were like a big island – between Spain and the original goal of trading directly with China and India.
This year, the Spanish Conquistador Vasco Nunez de Balboa walked across the narrow Isthmus of Panama to the Pacific Ocean and planted a cross claiming the entire Pacific Ocean, and all the shores that touched upon it for Spain! I doubt Balboa realized then that China and Japan were along the shores of the Pacific Ocean!
Meanwhile, a small nation of Portugal, next to Spain, was hearing rumors of great wealth coming into Spain from a New World? In 1520-21 the Portugal King sent out Sea Captain Ferdinand Magellan to avoid the Spaniard’s New World; but explore around the “island”. Magellan discovered a south route around the “island” and called it “The Cape Horn”! Magellan then turned north along the Pacific coast of South America, Central America and North America (to a northerly point near Depot Bay, Oregon)– before turning west, into the sunset, to find the trade route to the China and India ports. Magellan was also credited with being the first man to accomplish circumnavigation around the whole world!
Portuguese Explorer Magellan found the Philippine port of Manila traded all around the “FAR EAST” and it was the closest port to the New World. Portugal seems to drop out of our common New World history after mentioning Magellan’s obvious accomplishments
By 1542, The Spanish ships started to look for the fabled “Northwest Passage” or what Spain called the legendary “Strait of Anians” along North America Pacific Shores?
Conquistador Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo in 1542 was the first sea captain officially authorized to go north and look for this legendary Strait along the Northern Pacific coastline.
Cabrillo died in 1543 and he was replaced by Captain Bartolome Ferrelo who sailed north February 18th 1543 to a point near Cape Mendocino in modern day Fort Bragg in Northern California. His diary shows a nor-easter storm came up blowing them back south to San Miguel Island near modern day Santa Barbara in just four days!
The Pacific Ocean wind patterns typically blow from the North during the winter and therefore a strong storm could easily blow Ferrelo’s sail boats way down south in a few days. However, during the summer, the seasonal storms come from the south and Spanish sail boats could have been blown north to Washington or higher within a few days.
From 1543 on many Spanish galleons probably headed north along the California-Oregon Coast looking for this legendary “Strait of Anians”. We have no records of Spaniards exploring above the Columbia River and Washington and points north till the 1600s?
Spain seemed to lose interest in North America gradually; as they were exploiting the wealth of Central and South America; and they had figured out how to sail around southern Cape Horn and reach the port of Manila in the Philippines.
Spain knew by 1540s, Manila was the closest “FAR East Port” to Spain directly. The Manila port was in the “Spice Islands” and its port offered China silks and porcelain, Burma jade and gemstones and other very valuable cargo for Spain.
The prevalent, tropical-west, trade winds quickly pushed Spanish Galleons from Mexico to the Philippines in three months time! This was almost a pleasure cruise back then!
The Spaniard’s problem was they did not know how to return eastward across the Pacific Ocean to the New World?
Photo: Odd Things wash up along beach all the time!
1565: Manila Galleons
By 1565 a Spanish sea captain Miguel Lopez de Legazpi had command of four ships (a battleship and three frigates) leaving Mexico’s Acapulco port with New World Treasures. They left Acapulco, Mexico November 21, 1564 to begin the 9,000 nautical mile trek to Manila. Tropical winds typically carried sail-ships west by January or February; but there was no way to return to Mexico? Before 1565 The Spanish ships went on to India and around Africa’s Cape of Good Hope and into Spain instead.
However, Legazpi group went north as far as Japan and found favorable winds to sail back to the Oregon Coast and then they could sail south to Acapulco – returning October of 1565! Thus, Spanish Sea Captain Legazpi started the lucrative trading route of the “Manila Galleons” back to the New World!
In 1571, a Chinese sail-vessel wrecked on some rocks near the Philippines and Spanish sailors came to their aid.
Soon Spain had a direct trading partner further north in China; as the Chinese would take all the South American silver minted coins (Pezos) available. The Chinese actually incorporated this silver coin into their monetary system! Thus, after 1571, the Spanish Galleons often carried heavy cargos of silver coins to trade in China for jewels, Porcelain and silk and other treasures from China directly to the western shores of the modern USA.
The route back to the New World from Manila or China ideally took 5 to 7 months depending on the more sporadic trade winds. Many galleons were blown off course and at least forty galleons were officially declared ‘Lost” – early on – until that made Spain’s investor’s back home uneasy.
Many other Spanish Galleons were captured or destroyed by pirates with unfriendly ship flags of British and Dutch navies from the Old World.
Pacific Coast Pirates & Spain’s 250 Year Monopoly
Most modern pirate movies show them in the Warm, tropical Caribbean Seas around Central America and that did occur as Spain sent gold home directly from Mexico. However, the Dutch Navy chose Africa’s Cape of Good Hope to lay and wait for Spanish Galleons coming home to Spain from the port of Manila till 1565! The Dutch Pirates probably made off with huge sums of treasure as well as the English pirates; until Spain figured out how to head back to the Americas in 1565. The Spaniards then unloaded Pacific treasures at Navidad and land freighted it over Mexico’s mountains into Mexico City – where they re-loaded sail ships heading directly to Spain using the Caribbean seas & across the Atlantic.
England’s most famous pirate was Francis Drake. He was was raiding Spanish cities in South America before 1578; but after that Drake found capturing Spanish Galleon’s wealth from China & Manila easier off the Oregon and California coasts! The sea took a heavy toll on Spanish Galleon crews during the seven months –AT LEAST- and many Spanish Galleon’s crews died during the journey or at least did not fight for the ship’s treasures.
Drake’s English Galleon was only 150 tons compared to the new 2000 ton Manila Galleons; and Drake easily out maneuvered these huge Spanish freight ships at sea – pushing them toward the coastline & hopefully stranding.
The photograph of the “Golden Hind” comes Terry Shumaker from a replica on display in Astoria’s (OR) “Columbia River Maritime Museum”. Check it out!
WIKIPEDIA (”GOLDEN HIND”) mentions on March 1, 1579, Drake’s English galleon, “The Golden Hind”, forced a Spanish galleon “Nuestra Senora de la Concepcion” to beach itself and it took six days to unload all its floating treasures; before blowing it up. The Concepcion gave up 360,000 freshly minted ‘pesos” from South American Inca silver mines and heading for trade with China.
Another undated, beached Spanish galleon “Cacafuego” gave Drake 80 pounds of gold, 13 chests of “pieces of eight”, 26 tons of silver, jewels &pearls, plus two Spanish Pacific pilot-captives!
By June 1 st, 1579, Drake’s ship was full of loot and he had hoped to find the legendary “Northwest Passage” to take him back home directly to England (50th N. latitude) around this “America island”. By this date, records show he went north to the 48th North latitude, near the Columbia River entrance; but turned around due to a heavy storm that tattered his sails. So Drake’s ship returned to an English settlement he found called “New Albion” along the Oregon Coast for a month of sail mending in a “port”. Wikipedia believes his ‘port” was Whale cove near Depot Bay, Oregon. However, the author believes this spot to open & easy to see a ship anchored and helpless. Spanish Galleons were looking for him by now and would love to sink his ship!
According to legend, Sir Francis Drake’s diaries did mention sailing north by the large Tillamook Bay in northern Oregon in “The Golden Hind” on 1579 and he thought it might make a good pirates hiding port; but at that moment Spanish Galleons were pursuing him!
According to Wikipedia “Sir Francis Drake” website, “His exploits were semi-legendary and made him a hero to the English but to the Spaniards he was a simple pirate. He was known as “El Draque” (from the old Spanish meaning “the Dragon” derived from the Latin draco, meaning ‘serpent’, an obvious play on his family name which in archaic English has the same etymological root) for his actions. King Philip II of Spain was claimed to have offered a reward of 20,000 ducats1 (about US$2 million by modern standards) for his life.”
The author figures Drake’s “port” was actually Tillamook Bay – where Drake could hide out for a month hidden! There is some preliminary archaeological evidence “Nova Albion” was actually laid out in English survey stones near Rockaway Beach – north of Tillamook Bay?
By now, Drake had figured out Spanish Galleons usually left Manila in July to travel north to Japan and China. The Dutch pirates had made the trip around Africa’s Cape of Good Hope too dangerous. From China or Japan, the Spanish Galleons Captains were told favorable easterly trade winds would take them across the Pacific to “Alta California” – when the Galleon captains spotted land or observed seaweeds – turn south for Mexico!
These treasure loaded Spanish and Manila Galleons would reach the Oregon coastline by February or March or later! Those Galleons whose crews died at sea would slam into the Oregon Coastline or at least, the crews did not put up much fight.
However, Drake’s ship was fully loaded and, after repairs, he left his “port” on July 23, 1579 heading due west to China and sailed around the world back to England. Drake arrived home in Plymouth harbor on September 26, 1580.
In April of 1581, Queen Elizabeth of England knighted “SIR Francis Drake” aboard his ship for his bravery and service to England. According to Wikipedia “Golden Hind”, Drake gave the Queen 160,000 (L) pounds; which was enough to pay off her entire foreign debt and still have 40,000 pounds to invest in new pirating adventure along the Oregon coast.
Sir Francis Drake and The Queen probably talked up the benefits of piracy to other sea captains in England. As Drake’s original investors received 4700 Pounds in return for every English Pound they invested originally.
Sadly, Sir Francis Drake’s operations in Northwest were kept quiet; as to not inflame to King of Spain officially. Further, all Drake’s records & Diaries of explorations were burned up accidently in 1698 in a fire in Whitehall Palace?
This loss of records is sad as Drake chose some spot along Oregon Coast and claimed it for English settlement as “Nova Albion” – Latin for “New Britain”. This claim was well recognized in New World and even Spain did not even think of claiming land north of its existing “Alta California” – roughly south of Cape Mendocino near Fort Bragg now.
History is murky; but it shows at least one English sea captain took up the piracy game along the Oregon Coast. Robert Colnett was alongside Oregon from 1789 to 1791 and another English Pirate was known as George Compton was pirating along Pacific coast in 1854?
George must have convinced Drake to try pirating some 20 years later!
Meanwhile, Spanish Investors were working on way to improve their own investment strategies in the Philippines.
From 1565 to 1593, two or three galleons (Spanish-made Battleship and Frigates) would leave Cavite port in Manila headed for Japan and later China for Mexico. After 1593, only two much larger Philippines’ “Manila Galleon-groups” would sail each year from two ports of Acapulco and Manila.
“Because the Manila trade was becoming so lucrative, Spanish merchants back home complained of lost profits and a law was passed in 1593 allowing only two ships to sail each year from either port, with one in reserved in both Acapulco and Manila – while Philippines ship builders made more!
Even the tonnage of the vessels and their cargo was restricted under this new law; but these restrictions were largely ignored and were not enforced. These new Philippine Galleons were the largest the Spanish ever built. In the 16th century, the ships averaged from 1,700 to 2,000 tons and seven hundred to over one thousand people would take passage back to Acapulco on these vessels.
If only two new Manila Galleons left Manila after 1593 till 1815, that would mean, during those 222 years, 444 new ships left Manila’s port alone at this time! However, how many Spanish & Manila galleons actually wrecked or stranded along the Oregon or northern California coast – is a very interesting question, as they were coming across the Pacific from China?
Less than a handful of sunken Galleon’s treasures have been discovered to date!
History says the Galleon “San Sebastian” was chased by English pirate George Compton on January 7th, 1754 into the rocks of Santa Catalina Island near Santa Barbara today; and it reportedly sank in 170-foot of water?
The other known English pirate along the Oregon Coast was Captain James Colnett? He has a diary one could dig deeper into this story?
Consider how confusing the entire story can be?
Remember Drake looted a Galleon named “Nuestra Senora de la Conception” on March 1 1579 – it gave Drake 360,000 pesos?
Another “Nuestra Senora de la Conception” sank off an island near Saipan on Sept. 20, 1638. An American William Mathers located this wreck in 1987 and has since been salvaging many priceless treasures from it? The Ming Dynasty China or porcelain scattered on the ocean bottom helped locate this ship wreck.
Another Galleon sunk in 1690 off Guam, the Nuestra Senora Del Pilar has been discovered the last few years and divers are actively taking treasures from this ship.
The San Agustin has been discovered by world renowned archaeologist/treasure hunter Robert Marx near Drake’s Bay north of San Francisco. It sank in 1690 and now lies off the Point Reyes National Seashore Park. Legal jurisdiction and regulations have delayed further exploration of this Galleon shipwreck. Was it a Manila or Spanish galleon?
Reportedly Philippines fisherman has spotted other Galleons off shore; but no records are kept on these private ventures. The “San Diego Galleon” was discovered in Manila Bay in 1991. It is presently being excavated by divers and has yielded over 28,000 items to date!
Further, the Author knows of one old Oregon Brown History sign commerating a local Indian legend of at least one ancient shipwreck occurred near “Three Rocks” – north of Cascade Head Experimental Forest. Maybe in time, more lost Spanish & Manila Galleon’s treasure’s will be discovered along the coastline of Oregon & California? Washington?
We have actually discovered three Spanish or Manila Galleons – loaded with beeswax near Nehalem Oregon! SEE PAGE 14!
Drake & others pirated an unrecorded number of Spanish galleons returning from the Philippines and China and pocketed the gold & Spanish maps! Others Galleon were lost as simply ship wrecked upon the rocky coastlines!
The Ming and Ching Dynasty China Porcelain probably still lies on the ocean floor; as Drake and other Pacific Coast pirates typically burned pirated Spanish ships after boarding & looting the gold and jewels! Drake didn’t want the Spaniard’s to know how many he actually took for some reason!
Still, the Pacific Ocean was Spain’s biggest threat! Often a great number of sailors died from scurvy and starvation lost wandering in the sea. One example of this perilous voyage was that of the Manila Galleon ‘San Jose”, which was found drifting off the Mexican coast during the mid 17th century, over a year after she left Manila. Not one person was left alive. Another example is that off the “Santa Margarita”. She left Manila in 1600, and battled the ocean for eight long months – until she eventually wrecked with no living soul near an island along the Mexico coast.
No Spanish records shows how many galleons were actually unaccounted for off the Oregon-California coast from 1565 to 1815 during this 250 year trade monopoly?
Spain started building new galleons in the Philippines to quietly produce more ships! One major ship building spot was Cavite Shipyards within Manila Bay and also at “Palantiau”.
Recent Archeologists have found China porcelain to be a great way to date “Manila Galleon” wrecks, by its china manufacture date and the “Manila Galleons” used “Lanang wood” for ship decking – which makes it easy to identify a “Manila made Galleon”.
It would be amazing to see these sail-driven ships off our Pacific Coast again!
One thing is sure; a local Oregon Indian legend says three strange ships “threw smoke and thunder at each other”. Two ships sank and a third beached itself on the sand near Mount Neah-Kah-Nie. Indian Legend says these beached sailors hauled out a Treasure chest from the wrecked ship onto the beach and buried it – after killing a “Kaffir Slave” and burying him atop it. They were told the skeleton would keep local Indians from digging deeper? The dictionary says Kaffir refers to a South African Bantu-speaking person!
Mountain Neah-Kah-Nie today:
A website “MESSAGE IN BEESWAX from a Missing Galleon” mentions a Mrs. Helen Smith, daughter of a Clatsop chief, told a legend of a lone disastrous ship wreck off the beach @ or near Mount Neah-Kah-Nie. She said a score or more sailors survived the wreck and briefly lived among the natives. Apparently, these sailors were killed meddling in tribal marital affairs. Mrs. Smith estimated the wreck happen between 1650 and 1710?
One wonders if these sailors were carrying the “chest”; but I doubt it. This must be another shipwreck near Mount Neah-Kah-Nie.
Further, the Pacific Coast book mentions Alexander Henry of the Northwest Fur Company camped near Mount Neah-Kah-Nie on December 1813 and wrote in his diary: “The Old Clatsop chief arrived with some excellent salmon. There came with him a man about thirty years of age, who had red hair and is the supposed offspring of a survivor of a shipwreck many years ago. Great quantities of beeswax are dug out of the sand near here and the Indians bring it to trade with us.” Given the date, the red-headed was born around 1783?
There is mysterious Beeswax, according to Maxwell, A specimen of the Nehalem wax was displayed at the World’s Columbian Exposition at Chicago in 1893. And author Rick Steber writes, in 1892 Dr. C.E. Linton operated a drugstore in Waldport, Oregon and he collected over two tons of beeswax that had washed ashore after a storm locally.
Maxwell mentions a University of Oregon professor carbon-dates a sample of the dirty amber to gray-white wax and said, “This wax was formed in 1681”.
SCIENCE MAGAZINE JAN 4TH, 2008 ISSUE mentions the Washington State University Archeology Department is investigating a wooden hull of a ship near Mount Neah-Kah-Nie. Project Leader Scott William says, “Beeswax was a big trade item at the time, as the Catholic Church used only that substance for its candles. Because the New World lacked native honey bees, merchants shipped tons of wax made by honey bees in the Philippines”
Apparently, beeswax will indicate a Manila Galleon loaded in Philippines and sent north; whereas porcelain china will indicate a Manila Galleon loaded with cargo from CHINA/Japan. China loaded Manila Galleons did not arrive in Navidad until after 1573! For some reason, Japan ports were closed to outsiders in 1638?
Professor Williams will be using remote sensing in May 2008 to look for the hull of the wooden wrecked ship. He believes it is either the “Sainto Christo be Burgos”, which sank in 1693; or the “San Francisco Xavier” – which disappeared in 1705.
University of Oregon’s Museum of Natural and Cultural History (www.archaeologychannel.org) Director Jon Erlandson will be updating progress at this Spanish galleon wreck site. Jon admires the fact the Beeswax Wreck Project wants to “really scientifically explore it”; rather than ransack this first Oregon Coast Spanish Galleon ship wreck for it treasures alone. (SCIENCE Magazine)
The Galleons “Espiritu Santo” and the “Jesus Maria” Galleons also have been known to be lost along the Oregon coast.
This ongoing modern archaeology field work can be found doing a web search for the “NAGA RESEARCH SERVICE” or “The BEESWAX Wreck Project”. I see there “Donation Link” is under construction!
Another good reference on the “Manila Galleons” was written by William Lytle Schurz – if you want to dig deeper into this fascinating lost period of history?
Now let’s get back to times or Chronology of when Spanish & Manila Galleons, Russian sail boats and English sailboats all were used to explore the Pacific Northwest and when they all started mapping Oregon-Washington State.
1600’s Spain, Russia, English, & Danes Explorers Along Oregon Coastlines!
By 1602 Sebastian Vizcaino sailed from “Navidad” or modern day Acapulco to once again travel up the Pacific Coast looking for ports for Spanish galleons to hide in; as piracy was taking too many Spanish galleons!
He had two Battle ships “San Diego” and “Santo Tomas” and the Frigate “Tres Reyes”. It took him 6 months to find a port in modern day San Diego and later discovered Carmel Bay and named Monterey Bay after the Viceroy of Mexico or “the Count of Monte Rey”. At Monterey, he sent Santo Tomas back with sick sailors and official reports. There were 34 sailors on board heading back to Navidad; but only nine survived the trip back home due to scurvy and beriberi. Remember seawater makes people sick if digested and barrels of fresh water last only so long and they do get contaminated by bacteria over time.
Vizcaino left Monterey Bay on January 7th 1603 and sailed northward to around the modern Oregon border. Vizcaino’s expedition did make a good coastal bay map for Spanish galleons coming over to the New World – once they reached the “Alta California’ shore lines.
Another sea captain Gaspar De Portola left “ San Diego port” in mid-July 1769 to map out hiding ports for Spanish galleons from China and Philippines and discovered Santa Cruz and San Francisco bays before turning back with their own troubles with disease and lack of food.
Here again, in 1775 Spanish sea Captain Bruno de Hecete (HECETA HEAD) and Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra sailed north mapping ports along the Pacific Coast into Oregon and clear into British Columbia – near Vancouver Island. The Russians controlled points north along the coast to Alaska by then.
This Spanish-Manila Galleon trade monopoly, between the New and Older Worlds –China & Manila, lasted 250 years from 1565 to around 1815! It was simply getting too crowded along the California, Oregon and Washington Coast after 1815. Spanish galleons had little chance of getting through. The “Magallanes” variety of ship left Manila in 1811 and ran the quantlet north for four more years. Competition with British ships and China made the end of the “Manila Galleons Monopoly” inevitable.
The Russian built “Fort Ross” along the northern California’s Sonoma Coast in 1812. They abandoned it in 1841 and sold it to the American John Sutter of Sacramento Gold Rush Fame.
Meanwhile, Great Britain beefed up its fleet of war and trading ships out along the Oregon-Washington coasts. In between 1776-1780, British sea Captain James Cook’s third expedition into the Pacific Ocean focused upon gathering soft beaver and otter pelts that the Chinese wanted and English gentlemen made into popular beaver hats.
In 1785, British Sea Captain James Hanna started setting up a formal trading network with China involving Pacific Northwest furs.
In 1786, eight British ships sailed to the Northwest coast to trade furs.
In 1787, six more British ships sailed to the Northwest coast to trade furs.
In 1785-94 twenty-five British ships sailed to the Northwest coast to trade furs with China exclusively.
In 1788 American Captain Robert Gray came into the Pacific Northwest on the “Lady Washington” to explore the fur trading business here.
The reader probably already knows the rest of the story of Americans coming over to eventually claim all of North America to the Pacific coast or you can find out – if interested.
I mainly wanted to educate the reader about the real pirates seen in Disney movie actually came from a book set in the Pacific Northwest where a pirate falls in love with a Pacific Northwest Indian maiden!
Pirates of the Oregon Coast (Paperback)
by Brian Benson (Author), Achilles Massahos (Author), Kathleen Seligman (Author), Michael O’Shaughnessy (Author), The Unknown Mariner (Author) A Reader’s Description of the book:
“Between the mid 1500s and the early 1800s, Spain considered the Pacific Ocean to be its own private lake, thanks to Magellan. The Spanish galleons would sail to Manila and fill their ships with looted gems, gold, spices and other valuables, then they’d follow the Great Circle Route across the Pacific to Oregon, on their way back to New Spain (Mexico) and eventually back home to the motherland of Old Spain. British privateer/pirate Sir Francis Drake sailed to the Oregon coast in 1579, and was knighted by Queen Elizabeth I for his plundering of Spanish ships wherever he came across them.
The book Pirates of the Oregon Coast borrows from this history and creates a mysterious adventure story about a renegade pirate crew who came to the Oregon coast in the early 1600s and did battle with Spanish galleons. The book also combines this action with a love story of sorts; between the pirate captain Squint Eye Jack and a native woman named Nenamu, who is the daughter of a powerful shaman and spiritual leader of their tribe. The father does not approve of his daughter’s affection toward the pirate captain and whisks her away to safety, but the pirate captain is relentless in his quest to find her and be with her again. “
Imaging Spanish galleons, English Frigates and Russian sail boats passing pas the pacific coastlines is fun; however things wash up on the shores like logs and other sea creatures that are dead or dying and maybe diseased. Human have gotten sick touching these animal carcasses? Take only memories and hopefully photos! Leave it the way you found it; or better yet pickup any human trash other dropped in an empty plastic sack. “Flotsam” is what the sea brings to the beach; and if organic – Nature has creatures who clean this up.
After reading this, you’ll understand the ocean is a hazardous area for humans. Even along the shores, we must stay clear of stranded logs. You can’t lift them; but waves cause them to float! A floating log can crush a fragile human limb or worse!
There are random things called “Sneaker Waves” – caused by unseen disturbances far out in the sea. They suddenly rise above the normal waves and quickly surround you and carry you back out to sea. Carry a tide table and protect yourself and family and friends. They are not as aware of dangers as you are. Carry a watch to see when high and low tides will be chasing you!
Mainly, YOU have fun and explore; but respect this pure wild Nature Realm!