Rosario Strait
Rosario Strait runs east of the San Juan Islands, northeast of Puget Sound, Washington State, between the Georgia and Juan de Fuca Straits. At roughly 40 km in length, it seems diminutive compared to its Spanish name, first used in 1791: Gran Canal de Nuestra Senora del Rosario la Marinera.1 It was Captain Kellett who, in 1847, dropped all but Rosario on his charts of the area.2
This was a strait of much consequence during the Oregon Treaty boundary disputes of the latter 19th and early 20th century, which divided the United States from British territory at the middle of the channel which separates the continent from Vancouver's Island.3 Further to this, in this despatch, Douglas argues in his third point to Lytton that it is the Rosario and not the Haro Strait to which the treaty must refer:
In those Despatches I stated the reasons which induced me to assume that the Islands of San Juan, Lopez and Orcas, to which the United States have set up a claim did of right belong to Her Majesty the Queen, and come within the jurisdiction of the Government of Vancouver's Island, or in other words that 'Vancouver's Strait' now more generally known as 'Rosario Strait' is the true channel through which the line of Water Boundary was intended to be carried.
  • 1. Lynn Middleton, Placenames of the Pacific Northwest Coast (Victoria: Elldee Publishing Company, 1969), 178.
  • 2. Ibid.
  • 3. [US] National Park Service, San Juan Island National Historical Park,
Mentions of this place in the documents