Point Roberts
Point Roberts juts into the Strait of Georgia, though politically it is part of Washington State. Its border speaks to the complicated nature of the boundary dispute, which was settled in part through the Oregon Treaty of 1846: since Point Roberts fell below the 49th parallel, it was annexed to the United States.1
Captain Vancouver named the point in 1792 in honour of a sailing comrade, Captain Henry Roberts, who was initially set to command the Discovery, with Vancouver as second in command.2 However, because of pressures at Nootka Sound, the British Navy jostled its fleet to meet the potential threat of the Spanish, should they mass a presence in response to the Nootka tensions.3 In the shuffle to make the “The Spanish Armament”, Roberts was relocated to the Caribbean, so Vancouver was assigned command of the Discovery mission, whose purpose, beyond scientific and navigational observation, was to reassert command over the lands the Spanish had apparently seized.4
In this despatch Douglas writes to Lytton that it is reasonable to infer that the intention of the [boundary commission] negociators must have been to carry on the line of Boundary along the 49th Parallel to the middle of the channel which separates the land of Point Roberts from the land shewn in the charts of that day as the East Coast of Vancouver's Island.
  • 1. John T. Walbran, British Columbia Coast Names (Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre, 1971), 425.
  • 2. Ibid., 425-426.
  • 3. Ibid., 425.
  • 4. Ibid.
Mentions of this place in the documents