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The Military Art of the American Northwest

Type: Document

War in the Pacific Northwest centred around the canoe, which could be up to 20 metres long. Flotillas of canoes would attack enemy villages, hoping to capture prisoners to keep as slaves. Coastal forts of cedar logs were to be found, used to help control and tax maritime trade.

Site: National Defence

Formidable Fighters

Type: Document

The peoples of the Pacific coast were formidable fighters during the 18th and 19th centuries. Their warriors used bows and javelins, carried clubs and bone-bladed daggers, and could wear wooden armour. They preferred a mass assault, but treachery during 'friendly' meetings were not rare.

Site: National Defence

A Series of Amerindian Nations

Type: Document

During the eighteenth century, the northwest Pacific coast was home to a series of Amerindian nations, including the Tlingit, Haida, Tsimshian, Nootka and Salish. These were maritime cultures - excellent sailors and fishermen who depended on the sea's resources

Site: National Defence

Punitive Expeditions

Type: Document

During the 1850s the Royal Navy mounted expeditions to punish Amerindians who murdered or enslaved Europeans. Attempts were made to punish guilty individuals rather than whole communities, but when there was resistance, it was met with overwhelming force.

Site: National Defence

Early Explorations of the Northwest Coast

Type: Document

In 1774, moved by worry about the Russians, the Viceroy of New Spain ordered a Spanish frigate to sail north along the Pacific coast, mapping as it went. This first European venture into these waters encountered the Haida and Nootka nations in cautious but cordial meetings.

Site: National Defence

Exploration and Skirmishes Continue

Type: Document

Nootka served as the base of operations for further Spanish naval explorations in 1791 and 1792, and several of these were marred by skirmishes and hostile incidents with the locals.

Site: National Defence