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The Naming of Alaska

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Caamaño, 1792

    Lieut. Don Jacinto Caamaño, in the corvette Aranzazu, was sent out in 1792 by Count de Revillagigedo, Viceroy of Mexico, to explore the northwest coast about Juan de Fuca strait and northward with a view to determining the truth about de Fonte's reported Northwest Passage., Sailing from San Blas on March 20, 1792, he arrived in Bucareli bay on July 12, and then surveyed southward along the southern Alaska coast and British Columbia. He returned to San Blas on February 6, 1793. No general report on this work was published till long afterward. Vancouver met him in the field and apparently obtained copies of some of his maps, especially of places just north of Dixon entrance, which he incorporated in his atlas. For an account of this voyage see Salva (Miguel) y Baranda (Pedro Sainz de), Coleccion de documentos ineditos, etc. 8°, Madrid, 1849, vol. XV, pp. 323-363.

Chernof, 1832-1838

    Ivan Chernof was a pilot in the employment of the Russian American Company and made surveys here and there in Alaska. He surveyed Sviechnikof harbor, in Amlia island, in 1832 and made other surveys in the Rat Island group of the Aleutian islands at about the same period. Lutke, in his Voyage, partie nautique, 1836, p. 327, informs us that knowledge of the Rat Island group at that time, though very incomplete, was due to Ingenstrem and Chernof. The latter collected detailed information about all the islands and rocks of the group, and even wrote out some of these notes. It does not appear that these were ever published. Tebenkof in his notes several times refers to Chernof's work. He is doubtless the same Ivan Chernof who, as a lad, was given by the Indians to the Russians as a hostage in 1804 and returned to them in 1805. He attended the navigation school at Sitka and afterwards was long in the service of the Russian American Company as a pilot. In 1838 he was skipper of the Russian American CoDapany's brig Polyfem, in which Kashevarof explored the Arctic coast. He died in 1877 and his descendents live on Afognak island. See Russian Hydrographic Charts 1378 and 1400 for some of his results.

Clover, 1885

    Lieut. Commander Richardson Clover, U. S. N., in command of the Coast and Geodetic Survey steamer Patterson, made surveys in southeastern Alaska in 1885. The field season was from May 17 to September 16, 1885, during which surveys were made of Clarence strait from Cape Chacon and Dall Head on the south to Narrow point and Union bay on the north, also of the north shore of Dixon entrance from Cape Chacon to Cape Muzon, except Cordova bay. Extracts from his reports were published in Coast Survey report, 1886, pp. 80-81. Coast Survey chart 709, issued in 1886, shows the results of his work. Some of it also appears on Coast Survey charts 706 and 707.

Coast Pilots, 1869, 1883, 1891

    Three Coast Pilots of Alaska have been prepared and published by the Coast Survey. The first one, prepared by Assistant George Davidson, was published in 1869. See Davidson for an account of this. The second was prepared by Assistant William H. Dall, assisted by the present writer, between 1875 and 1882 and was published by the Coast Survey in 1883 under the title Pacific Coast Pilot, Alaska, Part I. An Appendix to this Pilot, devoted to meteorology and bibliography, was also prepared by Dall and Baker and published by the Coast Survey in 1879, the edition being 250. The meteorological tables, the diagrams, the bibliography, and the cartography were prepared by Baker. They were edited by Dall, who wrote the discussions and put the whole through the press.
    The new edition of this Pilot, called third edition, was published by the Coast Survey in 1891. It was prepared by Lieut. Commander H. E. Nichols, who was assigned to this work in 1888. In the summer of that year Nichols visited Alaska and gathered notes for it. He was at Kodiak and Unalaska and visited various points between, also several of the Aleutian islands, the Pribilof islands, and points in Bristol bay. (See Coast Survey Report, 1888, p. 77.) He also visited Alexander archipelago in the autumn of 1888 on the same errand. The manuscript of the new edition was completed before July, 1890, and the volume was issued in 1891. The critical and historical notes in the Pilot of 1883, or "Dall's Coast Pilot," has made it more useful for this dictionary than the edition of 1891, or, as it is often called, "Nichols' Coast Pilot."
    Additional Coast Pilot material has since been published by the Coast and Geodetic Survey. Bulletins 37 and 38 of that survey were prepared by Lieut. Commander J. F. Moser and published in 1899. These relate, the first to Alexander archipelago, the second to Prince William sound, Cook inlet, Kodiak, and westward to Unalaska. Bulletin 40, published in 1900, prepared by the Coast and Geodetic Survey and revised by Lieutenant Jarvis, U. S. Revenue Cutter Service, relates to Bering sea and the Arctic.

Coast Survey, 1867-1900

    Geographic work in Alaska by the Coast Survey began in the summer of 1867, prior to the purchase of Alaska, made in that year, and with more or less interruption it has continued to the present. The results are set forth in the reports, maps, charts, and other publications of that organization. So far as practicable, in making this dictionary names are accredited to the particular individual who applied them. It has not been possible to do so in all cases, however, and accordingly some of the names are simply recorded as having bee applied or given by the Coast Survey.

Coghlan, 1884

    Commander Joseph B. Coghlan, U. S. N., in command of the U. S. S. Adams, was stationed in southeastern Alaska in 1884 and with his officers made reconnaissance surveys at some of the places where the need was especially great. His surveys were principally in the interior passages north and east from Sitka sound, through Peril strait to Chatham strait, and in and about Barlow cove at the south end of Lynn canal.
    For his results see Coast and Geodetic Survey charts 727 and 728, published in 1885.

Colnett, 1789

    James Colnett, an English fur trader, sailed under instructions from Captain Meares, from China, in command of the Princess Royal and Argonaut, in April and May, 1789, on a trading voyage to northwest America. Colnett did not publish any account of his voyage, but information concerning it is contained in the Appendix to Meares (John) Voyages, etc. 4° London, 1790.

U. S. S. Concord, 1894

    The U. S. S. Comord, in 1894, made surveys in the islands of the Four Mountains, in the Aleutian chain. The results are shown on United States Hydrographic Office chart No. 8, edition of February, 1895.

Cook, 1778

    Eight days after the American colonies had declared themselves free and independent, Capt. James Cook, R. N., the great English navigator, sailed f rom Plymouth, England (July l2, 1776), on his third and last voyage of discovery. He had two ships, the Resolution and Discovery. He commanded the Resolution and Capt. Charles Clerke the Discovery. The ships proceeded to Teneriffe, Cape of Good Hope, Kerguelen Land, Van Dieman's Land, New Zealand, Friendly isles, Tahiti, Christmas island, Hawaiian islands, and to Nootka sound in Vancouver island, where they arrived on March 30, 1778. Between this date and October 3, 1778, Cook cruised northward and westward along the American coast to Icy cape, in the Arctic ocean, and sketched the chief outlines of this coast, hitherto practically unknown. Leaving Unalaska on October 27, 1778, he returned to the Hawaiian islands, where he was killed by the natives on February 14, 1779. The British Admiralty published in 1784-85 an account of this voyage in three quarto volumes and a large atlas.

Coxe, 1780

    Rev. William Coxe, archdeacon of Wilts, spent some time in St. Petersburg prior to 1780 and while there specially interested himself in the discoveries made by the Russians between Asia and America between 1741 and the date of his writing. His results were published in 1780 under the title Account of the Russian Discoveries between Asia and America, etc. This passed through several editions, the third appearing at London in 1787 and the fourth in 1803. Two French translations appeared in 1781 and a German one in 1783. This is an important work for the student of Alaskan exploration and geography. In it are the first published accounts of the voyages of Shalaurof, 1761-1763; Sind, 1764-1768; and Krenitzin and Levashef, 1764-1771.