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Banner: Pathfinders and Passageways: The Exploration of Canada About This Site
The Mapmakers: An Essay in Four Parts
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The Pacific Coast

18th Century

While fur traders edged nearer to the Pacific on overland routes, the ships of several different nations had begun to explore the coast by water. The Pacific shore was one of the few in the Americas that was still relatively unknown to Europeans, and where the Native inhabitants had likely never encountered them.

The Russians, approaching from the Arctic, had already sighted the northern reaches of the west coast as early as the 1720's. The Spanish arrived from the south and later began laying claim to parts of the coast, eventually overlapping with Russian and British claims. Only the British produced maps of their findings with any speed, so it was not until they arrived in the 1780's that the world began to see a clear picture of Canada's Pacific region and its inhabitants. With their arrival began the British colonization of the west coast and the finalization of the North American map. By the time of Queen Victoria's ascension to the throne in 1837, the continental outline would be complete.

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