Alcalá-Galiano, Officer Dionisio
b. 1762
d. 1805-10-21
Dionisio Alcalá-Galiano was a Spanish naval officer and explorer. He was sent to the Northwest Coast by the Spanish Crown in 1791/1792 to search for the fabled Northwest Passage, which he did not discover, because it does not exist.1
After spending time in Friendly Cove on Nootka Island in the spring of 1792, he completed the first European circumnavigation of Vancouver Island, and while charting the region, he encountered Captain George Vancouver,2 with whom he collaborated by comparing notes and eating a very hearty breakfast that might have included sturgeon.3 A report of his journey was published in 1802,4 and though Galiano's conclusions about the economic potential of the area were generally positive, the Spanish government declined a massive colonial effort there, since Galiano did not find the Northwest Passage.5 He thus concluded his naval career in other parts of the world, with which these despatches are not concerned.6
Several local landmarks are named after Galiano, including, most notably, Galiano Island; others include Galiano Gallery and Alcala Point—there is also a Galiano Bay in Nootka Sound. All of these landmarks were named by 19th and 20th century British and Canadian surveyors, in honour of Galiano.7
Mentions of this person in the documents