Fort San Miguel


Fort San Miguel

"For Angola fort, see Fortaleza de São Miguel"

Fort San Miguel was a Spanish fortification built at Friendly Cove in Nootka Sound (now Yuquot), Vancouver Island, by Esteban José Martínez in 1789. It can be considered the first colony in British Columbia.

The fort lay near the home of Maquinna, chief of the Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nations.

On May 15, 1789 Martinez chose the location of his fortification at the entrance of Friendly Cove on Hog Island. Work progressed so that on May 26 they were able to place their artillery followed by the construction of barracks and a powder storeroom. On June 24, 1789 a salvo was fired from the new fort and the Spanish ships in what Martínez considered an official act of possession of Nootka Harbour. On July 4, the American vessels and their captains Gray and Kendrick (who had arrived in the harbour 7 months earlier than Martinez) fired salvos and fireworks in recognition of their recent independence from Britain accompanied by a further salvo from the Spanish fort.Cite book | last =Thurman | first =Michael E. | title =The Naval Department of San Blas, New Spain's Bastion of Alta California and Nootka 1767 to 1798 | place=Glendale, California | publisher =The Arthur H. Clark Company | year =1967 | location =Glendale, California ] rp|288

On July 29, 1789 new orders arrived from Viceroy Flores directing Maritinez to abandon the station and return to San Blas. The artillery from the fort was loaded back aboard the "Princesa" and he left Friendly Cove on October 30, 1789.rp|295

The fort was rebuilt one year later, in 1790, by Pere d'Alberní i Teixidor, a Spanish soldier from Tortosa (Catalonia), who served the Spanish Crown in the First Free Company of Volunteers of Catalonia along with 80 other men of the same origin. They arrived to the region in the Francisco de Eliza's expedition. The Catalan volunteers left the fort in 1792. In 1795 it was finally abandoned after the Nootka Convention came in force. Its remnants, including of its kitchen garden, were still visible when John R. Jewitt, an English captive of Maquinna, lived there in 1803-1805. [ "A Narrative of the Adventures and Sufferings of John R. Jewitt, only survivor of the crew of the ship Boston, during a captivity of nearly three years among the savages of Nootka Sound: with an account of the manners, mode of living, and religious opinions of the natives." [http://www.canadiana.org/ECO/mtq?id=328920feff&doc=90038 digital full text here] ]

ee also

* History of British Columbia
* Nootka Crisis
* Nootka Convention

References

Further reading

* [http://www.vancouverisland.com/Regions/towns/?townID=4060 Information about Friendly Cove and its history] from [http://www.vancouverisland.com VancouverIsland.com]


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