Territorial Timeline

Existence of the Strait of Juan de Fuca confirmed by Captain Charles Barkely; the first white woman sets foot on Washington

In 1787 English fur trader Captain Charles Barkely discovered the Strait of Juan de Fuca. However, Barkely was a trader, not an explorer, so he did not bother to explore the Strait. Instead he passed word of his find onto British explorer and adventurer, Captain John Meares.

Lured to the Pacific Northwest by the promise of furs and wealth, Captain Charles Barkley sought to explore the riches of the area. Although he was English, Barkely sailed under the flag of the Austrian East India Company. On his voyage up the coast, Barkley stopped at the Hoh River where Bodega y Quadra had landed in 1775 and lost seven men in an Indian attack. Barkley sent six men ashore to get water from a sighted river but they are killed too. Consequently, the river was then named “Destruction River.” Of note is that Barkely's wife was along on the voyage and she was the first white woman to set foot on the shores of Washington. In 1787 Barkely found the entrance to the Strait of Juan de Fuca and later told Captain John Meares its location.