The true story of the first European in West Canada, the life and the adventures of the Greek navigator Ioannis-Apostolos Focas-Valerianos whose Spanish name – Juan de Fuca - was given to the straits between the southern part of Vancouver island and the north of the Olympic Peninsula, somewhere in the faraway boundaries between Canada and the U.S.A.
He was born in Kefallonia, Greece, around 1532. Enchanted by the sea at an early age, he soon became an excellent navigator and sailed to Spain through Venice, where he decided to stay. He then changed his name to Juan de Fuca and enlisted in the Spanish Navy around 1556 in which he served over forty years.
On December 5, 1578 he was captured by the English corsair Francis Drake who used him as a pilot on his ship to guide him to unknown territories and in 1588, Juan de Fuca was captured once more, this time by Thomas Cavendish.
The Viceroy of Mexico proposed him to explore the northern shores of America and discover the mythical “Straits of Anian” that would enable the Spanish to safely transport their treasures and promised him a generous compensation -which never was given-.
His first attempt in the spring of 1589 was unsuccessful. But in 1592 he discovered the Straits which today separate Vancouver Island and the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State.
In 1594 he decided to set sail for his native country. In 1596 he found himself in Venice where he met Michael Lok, English Consul in Aleppi, in Syria. Disillusioned and saddened by the Spanish, Juan de Fuca shared his story with Michael Locke (Lok) and asked if he could act as a mediator between himself and the English by proposing to lead them to the “Straits of Anian”.
In 1596 when Juan de Fuca reached his native island, Kefallonia, he maintained a correspondence with Lok for five years. When Lok finally obtained the necessary funds to finance the expedition, he immediately went to Zakynthos and tried to contact his friend. Unfortunately, the long awaited news never reached de Fuca for he had passed away, sometime around 1602.
Παρακαλώ, συμπληρώστε το email σας και πατήστε αποστολή.