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Official Report of the Exploration of the Queen Ch






_Hon. Wm. Smithe,

Chief Commissioner of Lands and Works,

of the Province of British Columbia:


I have the honor to submit herewith my report of the exploration of the Queen Charlotte Islands, made under your direction, for the Government of British Columbia.

Very Respectfully,

Your Obedient Servant,

Newton H. Chittenden.

Victoria, B.C., Nov., 1884._

Geographical Position and Extent.

The Queen Charlotte Islands, the extreme north-western lands of British Columbia, lie in the Pacific Ocean, between fifty-one and fifty-five degrees of north latitude. They comprise over 150 islands, and islets, their length being 156 miles, and greatest width fifty-two miles. Provost, Moresby Graham and North Islands, extending north-westerly in the order mentioned, twelve, seventy-two, sixty-seven and five miles respectively, constitute over eighty per cent, of their entire area. Dixon Entrance on the north, with an average width of thirty-three miles, separates Graham Island from the Prince of Wales group of Alaska. Queen Charlotte Sound, from thirty to eighty miles in width, lies between them and the mainland of the Province. The nearest land is Stephen's Island, thirty-five miles east of Rose Spit Point, the extreme north-eastern part of Graham Island, and also of the whole group. Cape St. James, their most southern point, is one hundred and fifty miles northwest of Cape Scott, the northernmost land of Vancouver Island.

* * * * *

Discovery and Exploration,

The Queen Charlotte Islands were first discovered by Juan Perez, a Spanish navigator, on the 18th of July, 1774, and named by him, Cabo De St. Margarita, and their highest mountains, Sierra de San Cristoval.

La Perouse coasted along their shores in 1786, and first determined their entire separation from the mainland. In 1787, Captain Dixon sailed off and on their north-west shores, with his vessel, the Queen Charlotte, naming the group, also North Island, Cloak Bay, Parry Passage, Hippa Island, Rennell Sound, Cape St. James, and Ibbitson's Sound, now known as Houston Stewart Channel. The first white men known to have landed upon the islands, were a portion of the crew of the _Iphigenia_, under command of Captain William Douglass, who remained about a week in Parry Passage in 1788, trading with the natives. The most extensive explorations made of any portion of the islands, by those early navigators, whose voyages for purposes of discovery, trade and adventure, extended into these northern seas, were those of Captain Etienne Marchand in the French ship _Solide_, who in 1791, examined the shores bordering on Parry Passage, and also about twenty miles of the west coast of Graham Island, from near Frederick Island southward. Since that date, although several parties of prospectors and others have visited various parts of the islands, no systematic effort has hitherto been made for the exploration of the entire group.

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