Search the Collection
Advanced Search
The Discovery on the rocks in Queen Charlotte's Sound

George Vancouver

English, 1757 - 1798

George Vancouver (1757-1798), naval officer and hydrographer, was born on 22 June 1757 at King's Lynn, Norfolk, England, the youngest of five children of John Jasper Vancouver (d.1773) and his wife Bridget (d.1768), daughter of William Berners whose forbears included Sir Richard Grenville. At 15 Vancouver joined the navy and spent seven years under Captain James Cook during two voyages to the Pacific. In 1780 he became a lieutenant and in 1781-83 served in the West Indies. Under Sir Alan Gardner at Jamaica in 1784-89 he carried out his first independent surveys. At Gardner's suggestion he was chosen to lead an expedition to the South Seas and in 1790 was promoted commander. Instructed to negotiate with the Spaniards at Nootka Sound and to survey the north-west coast of America and well equipped with 'the latest chronometers and scientific instruments', stores and comforts, he left England in April 1791 in the new sloop DISCOVERY, 340 tons, accompanied by the armed tender CHATHAM (Lieutenant William Broughton), 135 tons.