Posted on May 31, 2020
When I read that today is the anniversary of Spanish Peruvian naval officer and cartographer Manuel Quimper beginning, in 1790, to chart the Strait of Juan de Fuca...I got to wondering why the Strait wasn't named the Strait of Quimper!?
I totally get that Quimper wasn't the first person to "discover" this stretch of water now located between the U.S. state of Washington and Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada.
Obviously, Native Americans / First Nations people had seen and traveled and explored this bit of water and probably every single island in the water for thousands of years. But European explorers had a habit of naming claiming and naming places long used and occupied by indigenous people.
|If you for whatever reason want to|
know more about fur trader Charles
Barkley, you'd better include his middle
name (William) in your Google search,
or you will be swamped with links to the
modern basketball player and analyzer
Charles Wade Barkley!
The fact is, Quimper was definitely not the first European person to see or study the strait, and he didn't name it. An English sea captain and fur trader named Charles Barkley named the strait a few years before Quimper charted it - and he named it after Juan de Fuca.
Juan de Fuca was christened either Ioánnis Phokas or Apóstolos Valeriános. This Greek sailor and ship's pilot worked for Spanish King Philip II, and "Juan de Fuca" was a Spanish translation of Ioánnis Phokas. He lived and sailed to the Far East (China, Philippines) and "New Spain" (North America) in the late 1500s, long before Quimper and Barkley were born.
Because of these uncertainties, historians are not certain whether or not Juan de Fuca ever actually traveled to and through the strait named for him.
Also on this date:
Carpet Day in Turkmenistan
(Last Sunday in May)
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