The Explorations and Surveys of Captain George Vancouver


Captain George Vancouver

Captain George Vancouver

While in the United Kingdom in April of 2013, I slipped away from my studies of David Thompson for an early morning visit to the last resting place of Captain George Vancouver in Petersham, Surrey. I have spent the last few years studying his surveys of the coast of northwestern North America and have completed two of the planned three maps of these surveys as a result of the research.

I researched the movements of HMS Discovery and HMS Chatham over a course of 3 years, and there is no doubt that Vancouver’s 1792-1794 coastal surveys along the Pacific Coast of north western North America would be accomplished in some of the severest marine conditions Captain Vancouver had ever experienced. Like Captain James Cook before him, Vancouver would ultimately conclude that the famous Strait of Anion or the Northwest Passage did not exist.

Captain Vancouver died of a lengthy illness at just 40 years of age in 1798 and it would be over a hundred years later that Vancouver and his crew’s incredible nautical accomplishments would finally be recognized. There can be no doubt that Vancouver’s expedition is perhaps one of the greatest maritime surveys of the 18th century.


Year of SurveySpatial Extent of SurveyDistance Travel by HMS Chatham and HMS DiscoveryDistance Traveled by Survey Boats
179243.60° to 52.33° North Latitude3403 Km5878 Km
179345.00° to 56.79° North Latitude5400 Km5777 Km
179443.49° to 61.49° North Latitude7916 Km5115 Km