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Tomás de Suría
|Occupation||Artist, explorer, diarist|
Tomás de Suría (May 1761–1835) was a Spanish artist and explorer. He accompanied Alessandro Malaspina during his expedition along the west coast of North America from 1789 to 1795.
Suría was born in Madrid, Spain in May 1761.He studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando and accompanied his mentor, Jerónimo Antonio Gil, to New Spain at age seventeen. He married in 1788 and lived in Mexico City, where he worked as an engraver in the royal mint. In 1788, he was also involved in the establishment of the Academy of San Carlos.
Despite his wife's strenuous objections,Suria agreed to join the Malaspina Expedition and successfully negotiated the maintenance of his salary, travel expenses, suitable lodgings, and continuance of his seniority when he returned to work. Suría joined Malaspina on the Descubierta on March 27, 1791, at age 30.
Other members of the Malaspina expedition included chief scientist Antonio Piñeda, the French-born botanist Luis Née, and naturalist Thaddäus Haenke from Prague. Haenke was a Bohemian Ph.D. with remarkable facilities as a linguist, musician, physician, mineralogist, botanist, and chemist. The two astronomers, Ciriaco Zevallos and José Espinosa y Tello, are immortalized in the places names for the Vancouver Island town of Zeballos and the nearby Espinoza Inlet.
Another artist on the expedition was José Cardero, a cabin boy from Ecija in southern Spain. Malaspina had originally hired two Spanish artists, José del Pozo of Sevilla and José Guío of Madrid, but the latter had limited himself to scientific drawings and was in poor health. The former was dismissed in Peru where he opened an art studio. Cardero, known as Little Pepe, showed increasing skill, but Malaspina wrote to the Viceroyalty in Mexico City, requesting two more artists to be sent from Spain. Malaspina ended up taking aboard the Mexican engraver Tomás de Suría as a temporary measure.
The journal kept by de Suría was the only private diary of the voyage. Suría wasn't allowed access to authorized accounts to check his facts, but his reportage provides a candid counterpoint to the reportage of Malaspina. Suría describes his first day at Nootka. "The first thing they asked for was shells with the word 'pachitle conchi', alternating this with saying 'Hispania Nutka' and then words which meant alliance and friendship. We were astonished to hear out of their mouths Latin words such as Hispania, but we concluded that perhaps that had learned this word in their trading with Englishmen..."
At Nootka Sound he described the Spanish practice of trading guns for children who were slaves of Maquinna, ostensibly to baptize them and save them from cannibalism. "There was one among them whom the sailors called Primo... He told us that he had been destined to be a victim and to be eaten by Chief Macuina together with many others, and that this custom was practiced with the younger prisoners of war, as well as in the ceremonies which were used in such a detestable and horrible sacrifice."
Mozina described the approach of Spanish sailors in a longboat. These were soldiers who had arrived on the frigate Concepción from San Blas, commanded by Don Pedro de Alberni, after whom the town Port Alberni is named. After completing his service in Nootka Sound with the Catalan Volunteers in New Spain, Alberni became interim governor of California, where he died in 1803.
Upon the expedition's return to Acapulco from Alaska and British Columbia, Suría was given another eight months to prepare his drawings. These were forwarded to Spain. Although Suría's work gained the approval of Malaspina, his rewards were minimal. He remained in his former job as an engraver until his superior Gil died in 1798, whereupon Suría held the position of chief engraver until 1806. He produced some religious art in his later years and died in 1835 in Mexico City.
Most of his original sketches for Malaspina are in the Museo Naval. The original Suría journal is kept at Yale University Library. An English translation was made by the Hispanist scholar Henry Raup Wagner in 1936 for the Pacific Historical Review. This version was translated back into Spanish by Justino Fernández for a short book with added biographical details in 1939.
Alejandro Malaspina was a Tuscan explorer who spent most of his life as a Spanish naval officer. Under a Spanish royal commission, he undertook a voyage around the world from 1786 to 1788, then, from 1789 to 1794, a scientific expedition throughout the Pacific Ocean, exploring and mapping much of the west coast of the Americas from Cape Horn to the Gulf of Alaska, crossing to Guam and the Philippines, and stopping in New Zealand, Australia, and Tonga.
Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra was a Spanish naval officer born in Lima, Peru. Assigned to the Pacific coast Spanish Naval Department base at San Blas, in the Viceroyalty of New Spain, this navigator explored the Northwest Coast of North America as far north as present day Alaska.
Dionisio Alcalá Galiano was a Spanish naval officer, cartographer, and explorer. He mapped various coastlines in Europe and the Americas with unprecedented accuracy using new technology such as chronometers. He commanded an expedition that explored and mapped the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Strait of Georgia, and made the first European circumnavigation of Vancouver Island. He reached the rank of brigadier and died during the Battle of Trafalgar.
Luis Née was a French-born Spanish botanist and prolific collector of plant specimens who accompanied the Malaspina Expedition on its five-year scientific exploration of the Pacific Ocean and surrounding lands. In addition to his botanical work he was a pharmacist with a keen interest in medicinal plants and their applications.
The Malaspina Expedition (1789–1794) was a five-year maritime scientific exploration commanded by Alessandro Malaspina and José de Bustamante y Guerra. Although the expedition receives its name from Malaspina, he always insisted on giving Bustamante an equal share of command. Bustamante however acknowledged Malaspina as the "head of the expedition" since the beginning.
Cayetano Valdés y Flores Bazán (1767–1835) was a commander of the Spanish Navy, explorer, and captain general who served in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, fighting for both sides at different times due to the changing fortunes of Spain in the conflict. He took part in a number of naval battles, including the Great Siege of Gibraltar, the Battle of Cape St Vincent, and the Battle of Trafalgar. He was an explorer, most notable in the Pacific Northwest, where he and Dionisio Alcalá Galiano conducted the first circumnavigation of Vancouver Island, in partial cooperation with George Vancouver. Over his long career he achieved the highest ranks in the Spanish Navy, eventually being named Captain General of Cadiz and Captain General of the Spanish Navy.
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Esteban José Martínez Fernández y Martínez de la Sierra, or simply José Esteban Martínez (1742–1798) was a Spanish navigator and explorer, native of Seville. He was a key figure in the Spanish Exploration of the Pacific Northwest.
Francisco de Eliza y Reventa was a Spanish naval officer, navigator, and explorer. He is remembered mainly for his work in the Pacific Northwest. He was the commandant of the Spanish post in Nootka Sound on Vancouver Island, and led or dispatched several exploration voyages in the region, including the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Strait of Georgia.
Don Pedro de Alberni or Pere d'Alberní i Teixidor[ˈpeɾə ðəlβəɾˈni j təʃiˈðoɾ] in Catalan was a Spanish soldier who served the Spanish Crown for almost all his life. He spent most of his military career in colonial Mexico. He is notable for his role in the exploration of the Pacific Northwest in the 1790s, and his later term as ninth Spanish governor of Alta California in 1800.
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The Nootka Crisis, also known as the Spanish Armament, was an international incident and political dispute between the Spanish Empire, the Kingdom of Great Britain, and the fledgling United States of America triggered by a series of events that took place during the summer of 1789 at the Spanish outpost Santa Cruz de Nuca, in Nootka Sound, present-day British Columbia, Canada. The commander of the outpost, Jose Esteban Martínez, seized some British commercial ships which had come for the maritime fur trade and to build a permanent post at Nootka Sound. Public outcry in England led to the mobilization of the British and Spanish navies and the possibility of war. Both sides called upon allies, and although Spain's key ally France also mobilized their navy, they soon announced they would not go to war. Without French help Spain had little hope against the British and their Dutch ally, resulting in Spain seeking a diplomatic solution and making concessions.
Juan Carrasco was a Spanish naval officer, explorer, and navigator. He is remembered mainly for his work in the Pacific Northwest during the late 18th century. He was second in command of the 1791 voyage of José María Narváez, the first European exploration of the Strait of Georgia.
Cordero Channel is a strait in British Columbia, Canada, located between the mainland and Vancouver Island, among the Discovery Islands north of the Strait of Georgia. Cordero Channel runs north of Sonora Island, East Thurlow Island, and part of West Thurlow Island. Its eastern end connects to the mouth of Bute Inlet and to Calm Channel, at Stuart Island. Its west end is marked by the mouth of Loughborough Inlet, beyond which the channel is called Chancellor Channel, which continues west to Johnstone Strait.
José Cardero was a Spanish draughtsman and artist. He was born in 1766 in Écija, Spain. He is most remembered for his work on the expedition of Alessandro Malaspina and the related expedition of Dionisio Alcalá Galiano. During the Galiano voyage Cordero Channel was named in his honor. Other places in British Columbia were later named in his honor as well, including Dibuxante Point, "dibuxante" being Spanish for "draughtsman". Nothing is known about Cardero's life until he sailed with Malaspina in 1789. He was a member of the crew of Malaspina's corvette, the Descubierta, perhaps as a servant. He showed an aptitude for drawing early in the voyage and after Juan del Pozo Bauzá, one of the official artists, was discharged in Peru, Cardero began producing drawings regularly. In 1791, when the expedition was in Acapulco, New Spain (Mexico), Cardero was officially confirmed as an artist and map drawer of the expedition.
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The Descubierta and Atrevida were twin corvettes of the Spanish Navy, custom-designed as identical special exploration and scientific research vessels. Both ships were built at the same time for the Malaspina Expedition. Under the command of Alessandro Malaspina (Descubierta) and José de Bustamante y Guerra (Atrevida) the two vessels sailed from Spain to the Pacific Ocean, conducting a thorough examination of the internal politics of the American Spanish Empire and the Philippines. They explored the coast of Alaska and worked to reinforce Spain's claim to the Pacific Northwest in the aftermath of the Nootka Crisis. After crossing the Pacific Ocean, the government in the Philippines examined. Exploration and diplomatic reconnaissance followed, with stops in China, New Zealand, Australia, and Tonga.
Antonio Pineda was a Spanish naturalist and military officer. He participated in the Malaspina Expedition as leader of the natural history team which included Thaddäus Haenke and Luis Née. His scientific exploration and collecting covered a significant portion of the Pacific basin including the coast of South America, Mexico, and the Philippines. Before his untimely death in the Philippines, Pineda had amassed a huge volume of documents including scientific reports, diaries, and logbooks as well as a significant collection of natural history specimens.