Captain George Vancouver

For Norfolk or Suffolk
                  Wildlife Parks and Nature Reserves - Click the What to
                  do Link.On the 24th October 2000 the Duke of Edinburgh visited Kings Lynn to unveil a statue of a Captain George Vancouver at the Customs House, King's Lynn.

George Vancouver was born in New Conduit Street at Kings Lynn on 22nd June in 1757.  He joined the Royal Navy in 1771 and sailed with Captain James Cook as a mid-shipman on his second and third voyage and was with Cook when he was killed in Hawaii. 

In 1791 the Admiralty put Vancouver in charge of an expedition to map the northwest coast of America and to look for a Northwest Passage, ie a navigable waterway between the North Pacific and the interior of the American continent, which Europe had been looking for this since the early 1600’s.  

He left England in April 1791 in his ship Discovery that had a crew of 100.  It took him 4 years and 9 months to chart the Pacific Coast and he did not return to England until October 1795.  He beat the American ships to the northwest coast of America and declared the land as ‘British Columbia’. He also proved that Vancouver Island (which was named after him) was an island by circumnavigating it in the year of 1792.  At the end of his survey he had proved that there was no Northwest Passage.  He died in 1798 at the age of 41, a morose man who did not get the recognition he deserved during his lifetime.