English and Russian activities.—Continued rumors of Russian and English activities had by now led to a new series of explorations which gave Spain claim to the Pacific Coast for nearly a thousand miles beyond the points reached by Cabrillo and Vizcaíno. In 1773 came rumors that an English expedition was about to attempt to pass through the Northern Strait to California, and that Russia was planning an expedition from Kamtchatka to the American coast.
Pérez.—Accordingly, in 1774 Viceroy Bucarely sent Juan Pérez north in the Santiago with orders to take formal possession of the country as far as 60°. Sailing from San Bias, and taking on Fathers Crespi and Peña at Monterey as diarists, Pérez sailed to 55°, exploring Nootka Sound on the way.
Heçeta and Bodega.—Pérez having failed to reach 60°, another expedition was sent from San Bias in 1775 in two vessels, under Heçeta and Bodega y Quadra. Heçeta reached 49°, discovering Trinidad Bay and the mouth of the Columbia River on the way (1776). Bodega, in his thirty-six foot schooner, reached 58°, and on the way discovered Bodega Bay.
Arteaga and Bodega.—No Russians had been found, but news had come of the preparations being made by the English captain, James Cook, for a voyage to the northwest coast in search of the strait. Accordingly, another expedition was ordered by the King of Spain to explore to 70°. Through delays it was 1779 before Arteaga and Bodega, in the Favorita and the Princesa, left San Blas. Meanwhile Cook had made his famous voyage to Nootka Sound. Arteaga's expedition reached 60°, where it was forced to return because of scurvy among the crews.
Next: Louisiana Under Spain 1762-1783
Previous: The Founding Of Alta California