Talk:History of the west coast of North America

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Archived discussions November 2006 and earlier


does this article add any info that is not already in other articles? does pulling this info together into one place serve any purpose? notice the few links to this article. Hmains 20:05, 10 December 2006 (UTC)

Actually, I like it. It's been on my to-do list to tidy up (which it needs), and to make it less of an orphan. My view is that you really can't understand the history of California, Oregon, etc. without understanding the history of the whole West Coast. The fact that the Spanish and British narrowly averted hostilities over British Columbia affects events in California, Oregon, etc., but by compartmentalizing the history to just one part of the coast means that connection is missed.
We are certainly used to having an article entitled History of Europe or History of the United States to deal with regional issues. This article is a bit more inventive than most, but can actually be useful (after I've worked on it a bit).
My to-do list includes expanding it to all the West Coast, including the Spanish-speaking countries, adding citations and better Wikilinks, and then linking the specific local histories to this article.
So, I think that the article can be made more useful, and actually be an interesting approach to a regional history. NorCalHistory 20:53, 10 December 2006 (UTC)

First phase of major re-write concluded - other editors invited[edit]

I've finished the heavy lifting phase of adapting text from other articles and placing them here, plus adding linkage, context, and connection information. I will also now add "See also" links in the appropriate articles.

At this point (although I will likely continue to tinker), I will cheerfully pass the baton to other editors to expand the material that is here, and to work on the last part of the article; hopefully, we can get this article up to GA standards! NorCalHistory 00:20, 12 December 2006 (UTC)

New Spanish Exploration material[edit]

Certain of these new paragraphs are taken (at this point) verbatim (or nearly verbatim) from the PD Etext cited, which I understand to be a permissible use of this PD material. If other editors disagree, they are welcome to edit these paragraphs to ameliorate the issue, or to remove these paragraphs; if you do disagree, please provide support for your disagreement. NorCalHistory 05:56, 28 December 2006 (UTC)

I'm back/here[edit]

Been monitoring this page for a while, and not done much because I hate writing stuff with a reference book cribbed open on my knee. Your density of coverage for the southerly Spanish explorations is really great and I'll try and bring in some more details on the BC Coast information regarding same; I think the period (no real fixed termination date), though, might best be put as "the Marine Fur Trade and Imperial Rivalry" instead of "Spanish vs. British" or whatever that title is as not only the Spanish and Brits were involved, and the marine fur trade is why they were there; and also why the Boston traders were there. The details of Meares' tiny outpost at Nootka Sound, vs. the effective presidio of the Spanish, I'll dig out of Akrigg and Pethick later today. Recommended books on this era, if you're interested, are by Derek Pethick: First Voyages to the Northwest Coast and The Nootka Connection. He has other books (search Amazon); those two cross over each other's contents as they're compilations/analyses of the various ship captain's logs and anything else known at the time of writing. Another great author on coastal/marine history is James Delgado, formerly head of the Maritime Museum in Vancouver but not relocated to Florida or somewhere. Meares was an upstart and a bit of a rascal, and there's debates as to whether his "trading post" was ever anything more than a hut; Spanish internment of him and seizure of his assets, and various visiting ships as I recall, is what triggered off the Nootka Crisis; it's important to note that the Nootka Conventions opened the door for American claims on the region (Spanish claims were not given up, just reduced from monopoly to the precursor to "joint occupancy", which is how the American inheritance of the Spanish claims/rights in the region was translated into dealing with Britain's largely fallow claims...Pethick and others note that if the Napoleonic Wars hadn't broken out, Vancouver's proposal to turn Puget Sound and the Columbia into a transplantation colony would have wound up seeing the Newgate accent transplanted here instead of Australia....and American claims to the area would have been marginalized and/or easily dismissed...Lots more to be done on this page; I was going to try and draw up a roster of shipwrecks, also, for Graveyard of the Pacific, but I'd need Delgado's books for that. Your map of Anian I can come up with better for, provided I get my scanner working (see if your library has Derek Hayes' Historical Atlas of British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest; it's amazing...); also there's a couple of ancient theses from BC universities pertaining to early history that I'll dig up the LoC numbers for; you should be able to get them, or copies of them, from interlibrary loans....Skookum1 22:13, 1 January 2007 (UTC)

Name change/move?[edit]

Any have any strong feelings one way or the other about changing the name (i.e, moving) the article from "History of the west coast of North America" to "History of the West Coast of North America"? NorCalHistory 22:46, 28 January 2007 (UTC)

Can't say I have strong feelings, but sentence case is the rule for article titles. The Wiki-police would probably get on the case without a justification. Maybe "Pacific Coast" could pass easier as a proper name. Bobanny 03:35, 12 February 2007 (UTC)


Although the descendants of these first people on the west coast of today's Canada and United States are not known to have developed "high civilizations,"

I really want to know what this means? And I'm not sure what these " " are supposed to mean here, but let's cut through it. The Indigenous civilizations of the Pacific Northwest Coast are not savage, and were/are definitely high civilizations. But of course, that opinion and bias. OldManRivers 09:43, 28 April 2007 (UTC)

I agree that the peoples of the Northwest coast were not savage barbarians. The "older" definitions within anthropology usually tied civilization to agriculture, while societies based on fishing (a type of hunting/gathering) were considered tribal. That view has a number of more recent critics (I'll have to find sources), but may have been the source for "high civilizations" as used in the article. Can we agree on another definition or scale of social complexity? Best wishes. WBardwin 10:45, 28 April 2007 (UTC)
After looking at the entire sentence and paragarph, how about swiping this entire part of the sentence?
Many theorize that the population density along the west coast of today's Canada and United States was significantly higher than in the rest of the northern part of the continent; it has been estimated that in 1492, one-third of all Native Americans in the United States were living in California. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by OldManRivers (talkcontribs) 11:00, 28 April 2007 (UTC).
I think that version would be fine. I'll make the change. I would like to really expand this section on native peoples as the article needs the balance of a solid "prehistoric" section. Best........WBardwin 20:25, 28 April 2007 (UTC)

Hui shen[edit]

Think I spelled that right; there's an article on on him; maybe Hoi shin or Hui shin - Hui shen - the Buddhist monk from Kabul who had a commission from the Chinese Emperor to proselytize the faith in the land of jade mountains etc; very apocryphal but as much part of history as Anian or even Juan de Fuca or Drake; my own view is that, being from Kabul (Jilin in Chinese) he actually wasn't Chinese, but there's no knowing his ethnicity given the eclectic and non-national nature of Buddhism in the 5th-6th Centuries or whatever it was; for all anyone knows he might have been a Bactrian Greek. There are even wilder theories about Genghis Khan's fleet making it to the Skeena, but Hoei shin has some credibility at least.

BTW you do know Jonathan Swift placed Brobdingnag to the north of Anian, right? I won't be around to do it, but Legendary history of the Northwest Passage would be rich material; Admirals de Fonte and Maldonado and their lies/maps, the Grand Mer de l'Ouest, Bergi and Cibola as well as Anian, and more....Skookum1 20:41, 28 April 2007 (UTC)

Got the name above wrong; see Fusang.Skookum1 (talk) 13:55, 14 February 2008 (UTC)

Based on the vague memories of a book I read in the 1950s or early 60s, Hoi Shin was supposed to have possibly traveled down the coast from somewhere south of San Francisco to, more reliably (?), the middle of the Western coast of Mexico. The book claimed that figurines have been found in Mexico with definite Oriental features. Also, toys were supposedly found of what appear to be horses with wheels at the bottom of their legs. Both the horse and wheels were otherwise unknown in the Western Hemisphere. The argument that being of foreign origin and being toys resembling unknown animals resulted in the translation of those wheels into useful vehicles understandably less than a certainty. Again, if memory serves, the date was somewhere around 480. There was a long discussion of the differences of Chinese and Japanese junks which made the Chinese ones more suitable for long deep-water voyages. There was also some mention of evidence that some junks in that day were large enough to carry a considerable number of passengers in cabins and also accommodate large numbers of marines for protection. I wish I could remember the title. It may have been something on the order of, They All Discovered America. The book also covered visitors from several other places. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:03, 3 February 2011 (UTC)

redundancy of Spanish sections?[edit]

I'm really impressed by these, but aren't the Spanish interests and Spanish exploration sections redundant. I'll admit to not reading them closely but they seem to cover the same material. Also wanted to add that one of the "new" books about Drake that's around, I think the one by Frank Ney, documents Drake's privateering/raids as he came up the Central American coast - a little buccaneering en route to Nova Albion. I haven't read the text closely to see how the debate about where he landed is covered, althouth that's more the subject that belongs in teh Nova Albion article. Hermosa, if there's an article on it, is a theorized Mexican pirate stronghold that was in Bellingham Bay; it should maybe be mentioned somehow, if only as a speculative bit of history (all literary and circumstantial evidence, plus some oral history from the Similkameen/Okanagan peoples inland).Skookum1 (talk) 13:55, 14 February 2008 (UTC)

Looks like Hermosa (pirate stronghold) doesn't have an article yet; my sources for it, Fur and Gold and Indian Wars in the Pacific Northwest, are 4000 miles away in my storage in British Columbia....I think it may crop up in the Ney book or another; I remember seeing something online about it, I'll see what I can find. Hey NorCalHistory, if I haven't mentioned Derek Pethick's books The Nootka Crisis and First Voyages to the Northwest Coast (First Explorations?) I recommend 'em for you....Skookum1 (talk) 14:01, 14 February 2008 (UTC)
I'm not sure the actual content is redundant, but the organization of sections is at least confusing and somewhat redundant. I noticed this yesterday when adding the info on Galiano. I'm not sure offhand out to better organize the page, perhaps the sections do not need to be organized by nationality all the time -- ie, "exploration" by era instead of by nation, at least for the later periods, might make an easier read. I'll try to look more closely later. Pfly (talk) 15:48, 14 February 2008 (UTC)
Well, the narrative in the pacific northwest is clearly joint-timeframe between the Spanish and British; hard to separate them, although it can safely be said the Spanish were around more and involved more ships, at least until the RN made its presence more felt in the area later on (speaking of which teh RN base at Esquimalt - shipyard and naval hospital and the Ft Rupert coaling station - should probably be mentioned somewhere as part of Britain's assertion of its presence in teh pacific as much as also a bulwark against US expansion). But yeah, an easier read is the point; like i saidI didn't read closely to see what was repeated, if anything, but it seems that both sections are covering the sameground....Skookum1 (talk) 20:35, 14 February 2008 (UTC)
Hmm, actually it looks like the main section 2, "European arrival", is about the early, mostly Spanish stuff occurring down in Mexico and Central America (after all the article is about the entire west coast of North America); while section 3, "Settlements and conflicts (1750-1846)", focuses more on the Pacific Northwest (though not entirely), with various nationalities involved. It makes more sense and looks less redundant than I thought at first. Pfly (talk) 21:23, 14 February 2008 (UTC)

First peoples section needs expansion[edit]

I felt that the page is almost entirely devoted to West Coast America post-colonization, largely ignoring it's long history of indigenous peoples. The article also neglects the natural history of the area. These facets of the subject are critical in telling the whole story. If I had the knowledge I would take the responsibility of writing it myself. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:13, 10 October 2010 (UTC)

Other than noting that the Olmec maybe shouldn't be listed, as a non-Pacific Coast MesoAmerican culture, there's other things that caught my eye, or rather which didn't. One thing similar to the mention of California having 1/3 of the Native American population in 1492, there are other estimates that the Pacific Northwest & adjoining Plateau had 1/4 of same (incl. the BC First Nations). The archaeological record both in California and in the Pacific Northwest also begs fleshing out - the finds on the Santa Barbara Islands (?), the pottery culture on teh Lower Columbia (and Kennewick Man) and the very ancient village sites in BC such as Xa:ytem (9000 BP, maybe doesn't have an article yet) and the Fraser Valley Pyramids aka Scowlitz Mounds. Underwater archaeology has also made some interesting old-sea level finds but I don't know how to source these. Something about the warfare and politics of the Contact-era Northwest Coast also seems needed, and about that regional culture in general which is so different from the cultures inland. These are just notes, there's's just that this section seems now to be only about Cailfornia and Central America.....another item which needs an article is the Gitxsan legend of Dimlahamid - what is described as having been a city, wiped out by the Medeek, a grizzly-personification of a natural disaster, apprently a flood/volcanic event which wiped Dimlahamid out; there are similar stories about other places similarly wiped out, especially in the Nass River/Nisga'a territory. Non-legendary analyses of pre-Contact populations and the effects of the various epidemics are documented/theorized extensively in Cole Harris' The Resettlement of British Columbia.Skookum1 (talk) 15:43, 14 February 2008 (UTC)

Mexican Independence[edit]

An editor seems to be on a bit of a well-intended campaign to point out that in the text of the Mexican Declaration of Independence, the newly-independent state initially referred to itself as "América Septentrional" or "Northern America." The name "Mexico" was later adopted. Towards that end, this editor has reverted the sub-title "Mexican independence" to "Northern America independence." I have left a note on his talk page that I think that use of "Northern America" instead of "Mexican" is very confusing to most readers, and have invited him to reply.

The country is now commonly known as Mexico, and, in my opinion, the use of his proposed historical name instead will be misleading to readers. Wikipedia typically uses the country name which is in common usage today - rather than any historical name. We can certainly point out in the text (or in a footnote) that the name used in the Mexican Declaration of Independence was "Northern America," but as the article on the topic itself points out, "América Septentrional" is now known as "Mexico."

I'm not going to revert to the modern name (consistent with standard Wikipedia usage) until we hear from this editor, but I do believe that use of the modern country name will be what is indicated here. NorCalHistory (talk) 18:29, 3 March 2008 (UTC)

Well, the name of "Northern America" was unofficially used by the Spaniards to call their colonies in North America (Central America and Caribbean excluded), the New Spain. Northern America was adopted by the separatists, and was the first official name of the country now know as Mexico, the territory that declared thier independence then wasnt the modern Mexico has now, the current Mexican territory is just the half of the territory of "Northen America", after Mexico's won the independence war, the proposed names for the new country were "Northern America" (América Septentrional), "Mexican America" (América Mexicana) and "Mexico" (México).
While the sources for Northern America exist, I'm not agaist to the use of the modern name in the title, however I think that the historical name should be included in the paragraph, such name includes modern Mexico, and the former northern territories lost with the U.S. plus Florida; and the name is part of the "history" of Mexico. JC 13:10, 3 March 2008 (PST)

Thanks for your thoughtful reply. I'll give your suggestion a first try, and let me know if it meets your needs. NorCalHistory (talk) 21:31, 3 March 2008 (UTC)

42nd parallel[edit]

In the section "Conflict between Spain and Great Britain" I just reworded this part: ...Nootka Convention, signed in 1790. ... while still retaining a claim of ownership to the area, Spain allowed British trading posts north of the 42nd parallel (today's boundary between California and Oregon). I've searched on this for a while and it seems to me that the Nootka Convention did not include a precise boundary. The 42nd parallel seems to come from the later Adams-Onís Treaty. As far as I can tell, Britain made no official claims about their southern boundary west of the Rockies until the Oregon boundary dispute era, and even then the British proposed boundaries were all far north of 42 degrees. In other words, the southern British claim was ambiguous while the US and Spain (later Mexico) established the 42nd parallel boundary between themselves.

Just wanted to explain. I'd be curious to know of good sources for more info on this. I searched for the actual text of the 3 Nootka Conventions but failed. Do they still exist? Pfly (talk) 05:29, 14 March 2008 (UTC)

Hmm. It's been a long time since I read Pethick's Nootka Crisis, thought it was in there somewhere, guess I assumed it was in the Nootka Conventions. It may be the Adams-Onis Treaty but that doesn't sound right; there was some pre-extant agreement that delimited Spanish California at the 42nd....maybe it was a Russo-Spanish agreement, I'm sorry I don't have any of my books here (I'm in Halifax NS rather than BC); there was something predicating why the Spanish were willing to sign off north of the 42nd. I thought it was the Nootka Convention, maybe as said it was Russo-Spanish or another Spanish-British item, though I can't recall one.Skookum1 (talk) 12:17, 14 March 2008 (UTC)
There were Russo-Spanish agreements/notes/treaties, that I do remember for sure; still, Russian settlements in California were (maybe) tolerated by this same agreement, despite the 42nd....can't remember why or how....Skookum1 (talk) 12:19, 14 March 2008 (UTC)
Treaty of Saint Petersburg (1825) is one of the Russo-British arrangements; the article linked is just a stub and I added relevant cats and WPs...the Ukase of 1821 engendered this; and there were corollary leases concerning British usage of the mainland Alaska Panhandle (in operative practices also including adjacent islands, such as Etolin Island where Fort Stikine was located). The complicated background to these and other treaties is in the Begg and Scholefield/Howay links I added a day or two ago to Alaska boundary dispute.Skookum1 (talk) 17:19, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

Russian settlements section[edit]

Explorers and fur trappers from the Russian Empire (beginning with the Vitus Bering expedition of 1741) arrived on the Pacific coast of today's Alaska, and after establishing settlements there (beginning in 1784), expanded hunting and trading down the west coast of North America. In the early 1800s, fur trappers of the Russian Empire explored the west coast of North America, hunting for sea otter pelts as far south as San Diego. In 1812, the Russian-American Company set up a fortified trading post at Fort Ross, near present day Bodega Bay some sixty miles north of San Francisco.

This section obviously needs considerable expansion, considering the weight given to Spanish activities in the same area, but I'll hold off until I've gotten at pending articles on the Ukases of 1799 and 1821 and related materials; at least the founding of Sitka/Novo Archangelsk should be here and other major details; I'm not famliar with the dates and personnel, so just making this note; I was hoping to find some scratch-starter material here for the Ukases, as the 1799 one is the one which formalzed Russian claims in North America, i.e. as a province/territory and not just a claim; or that's what I'm reading off it at the moment; it's also the decree that established the 55th Parallel, later amended to 54-40, as a territorial division in the region (later undserscored by the Russoa-emrican Treaty of 1824 and the Russo-British treaty of 1825). It's also important to note, if not already stated in teh Spanish sections, that Russian activities in the North Pacific were what had gotten the curiosity/determination of the Spanish going which led to their northward explorations from San Blas and the Nootka Sound business....I'll be back.....Skookum1 (talk) 01:14, 8 September 2008 (UTC)

The French claim(s) and La Perouse[edit]

Again not sure if this is now in the article; France before the Napoleonic Wars was making noise about claims on the Northwest Coast, and there's the various schemes to obtain California that came up later after him; La Perouse's lost journals were said to contain records of his asserting the French imperial interests in the PacNW through rites of possession but I dno't have a source for that, just something I read, maybe by Delgado.Skookum1 (talk) 01:24, 8 September 2008 (UTC)

A, B, C's of GA to-dos[edit]

I haven't even tried rating this for WP:Canada and WP:History and WP:NorthAmNative yet (which I just added); while certain topics are fleshed out in great detail, particularly and fittingly the Spanish era history, there's other big blocks or parlallel info about theRussians and British and early Americans, and also of coruse First Nations and Native Americans, and the importance of Asian immigration as may be is at "B" class because of the format, citations, layout, etc, but in terms of content I don't see this as anywhere near GA Class, unelss I'm misundersatanding what GA Class is; I gahter that improving stuff up from GA to A is the point of a GA, but GA to me as "good article" should mean that the information in it is relatively complete, well not "complete" but maybe "whole" is a better term; lengthy though it is this article is still just an infrastructure, an outline in need of more meat; like the Cailfornia history articles maybe it needs to be more than one article, also....I have some thoughts about what to add to the Russian and British sections and will try and do up some of that in the next week, but even then they're only "directional expansions" and need more time/work, and I just don't have enough (time, that is)......maybe int he morning I'll come up with some events/issues as a to-do list while I'm having mmy wake up wiki-and-coffee....Skookum1 (talk) 04:00, 23 October 2008 (UTC)

I tend to agree, I would like to see a to-do list established and worked on before giving a "B" rating. However, it is definitely at least a "C" class article. PKT(alk) 18:35, 2 December 2008 (UTC)

Cabot's claims[edit]

Material relating to John Cabot was added by an anonymous editor, without citations. Does anyone have any citations for the Cabot material? If not, I propose removing this material as unsupported. NorCalHistory (talk) 01:16, 3 March 2011 (UTC)

It's a familiar story to me, part of public education in Canada, or used to be - not just Cabot's claim extending across the continent, but also this bit:
This is an important point as Christopher Columbus had previously only discovered the Caribbean Islands for Spain and did not find the mainland until 1498, so the English claim actually preceded the rival Spanish claim.
A point my social studies teachers hammered home, likewise competing US and British dates in the Pacific Northwest; I'm pretty sure, in other words, that it's citable and likely the norm in British history in the New World; maybe Talk:John Cabot would be a good place to ask for the particulars of the claim as stated. Certainly no more improbable a gesture than Columbus' or Balboa's - or any of those maps of the early US showing Massachussetts and other Atlantic states extending in a strip all the way to the Pacific (across areas that had barely been mapped at all). The truth is out there; I don't usually read Atlantic Canadian history but there's lots of works out there to look through; try and try the Newfoundland and Nova Scotia sections.Skookum1 (talk) 01:58, 3 March 2011 (UTC)

Reworked Cabot claims .It' is unclear. Wiki Cabot page John Cabot (known in Italian as Giovanni Gaboto; c. 1450 – c. 1499) was an Italian navigator and explorer whose 1497 discovery of parts of North America is commonly held to have been the first European voyager to travel to the continent of North America since the Norse Vikings in the eleventh century. The official position of the Canadian and United Kingdom governments is that he landed on the island of Newfoundland. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Newsrivers (talkcontribs) 11:07, 5 May 2011 (UTC)