History of Nootka Sound

Nootka Sound separates Vancouver Island from Nootka Island.  Historically known as King George’s Sound, the inlet is part of the traditional territory of the indigenous Nuu-chah-nulth people who referred to the area as Mowichat. Captain James Cook’s vist to Nootka Sound in 1778 was the first known European sighting of Yuquot (Friendly Cove). Later a Spanish naval post, Santa Cruz de Nuca was built and remains the only Spanish settlement ever established in Canada.  It usually was referred to simply as “Nootka”.

Fun Facts

  • Nootka Island
    Nootka is Vancouver Island’s largest offshore island and is 534 km².  Europeans named the island after a Nuu-chah-nulth language word meaning “go around.” The earliest occupation known on the outer coast was revealed by excavations at Yuquot; this site had been used for at least 4300 years. There are caves with Mowachaht and Spanish burial sites. Historical sites are found throughout the island, with the most popular being near the settlement of Friendly Cove
  • Friendly Cove (Yuquot):
    Yuquot became the scene of the historic Nootka Incident. War between Spain and Great Britain over control of the Pacific Northwest was averted by the three Nootka Conventions, signed in 1790, 1793, and 1794.  Spain conceded giving the British rights to establish settlements in any area originally claimed by Spain but never occupied. This agreement effectively allowed a expanded British presence in the Pacific Northwest, including today’s British Columbia, Oregon, and Washington.