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Britannia’s Navy on the West Coast of North America 1812 - 1914 (Hardback)

Seaforth: General Seaforth

By Barry Gough
Seaforth Publishing
Pages: 409
ISBN: 9781473881365
Published: 4th October 2016

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The influence of the Royal Navy on the development of British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest was both extensive and effective. Yet all too frequently, its impact has been ignored by historians, who instead focus on the influence of explorers, fur traders, settlers, and railway builders. In this thoroughly revised and expanded edition of his classic 1972 work, naval historian Barry Gough examines the contest for the Columbia country during the War of 1812, the 1844 British response to the aggressive American agenda of President Polk’s Manifest Destiny and cries of ‘Fifty-four forty or fight’, the gold-rush invasion of 30,000 outsiders, and the jurisdictional dispute in the San Juan Islands that spawned the so-called Pig War. The author also looks at the Esquimalt-based fleet in the decade before British Columbia joined Canada and the Navy’s relationship with coastal indigenous peoples over the five decades that preceded the Great War.


‘[Gough’s] research…has been thorough, his presentation is scholarly, and his case fully sustained.’ —The Times Literary Supplement

This updated expansion of Professor Gough’s 1971 publication provides a detailed, scholarly exposition of the influence of sea power on the history of British Columbia, and subsequently on the formation of the Dominion of Canada.

Warship annual, 2018 - reviewed by Ian Sturton

This book is a geopolitical study of sea power in the pursuit of power and profit. All-in-all this book is essential reading for anyone interested in the naval and maritime history of the Northwest Coast and wider Pacific during the century from the outbreak of the war of 1812 until the outbreak of the First World War.

This outstanding work is highly recommended.

Marine News

This type of naval history sheds important light on the nature of the British Empire in the nineteenth century.

The International Journal of Maritime History, Vol. 29(4) - reviewed by Howard J. Fuller University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton, UK

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Julian Stockwin action-adventure historical fiction

A great deal of research has gone in to this book and it provides a fascinating read for students, both of naval and American history.

Scuttlebutt Edition 54

An excellent, absorbing and well-illustrated study that demonstrates once more that the 19th Century was an active period for the Royal Navy in a wide variety of roles, many of which have a highly-modern resonance.

Royal Navy News

About Barry Gough

BARRY GOUGH was professor of history at Wilfrid Laurier University in Ontario until retirement in 2004. An expert on the maritime history of the Pacific Ocean, he has published widely on Anglo-Canadian naval subjects. His dual biography, Historical Dreadnoughts Marder and Roskill, was published by Seaforth in 2010.

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