Juan de Fuca Strait
The Juan de Fuca Strait flows primarily between Vancouver Island and Washington State's Olympic Peninsula. Cape Flattery marks the southern entrance to this strait, whose name has mythic provenance for several reasons.
In 1778 James Cook sailed past the roughly 20 km wide entrance to the strait.1 In 1787 Captain Charles William Barkley named it after Greek mariner Apostolos Valerianos, who, while employed as a pilot under the Spanish navy, was called Juan de Fuca.2
Legend has it that Valerianos marked the strait, including several specific geographic features, during his 1590s exploration to discover a sailable passage through North America—a journey detailed in a 1625 book by Samuel Purchas.3 Presumably, Barkley knew of Valerianos's account and trusted it enough to name the strait in his honour.
  • 1. Andrew Scott, The Encyclopedia of Raincoast Place Names (Madeira Park, BC: Harbour Publishing, 2009), 295.
  • 2. Ibid., 296.
  • 3. Ibid., 296.
Mentions of this place in the documents