Orcas Island Directory
History of the San Juan Islands
Historical Geology and Geography, Natural and Cultural History of the San Juan Islands Washington Map, Museums, Historical Sites and Places. Local Island History and Washington Ancestors. Events that changed the course of history. The bizarre conflicts and confrontations.
History and Lore of the 172 San Juan Islands
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San Juan Islands Geology
The land which makes up the San Juan Islands is much older than the mainland. The San Juan Islands is a chunk of an ancient continent which attached itself to the mainland millions of years ago. Overview of Geologic Forces Worn down by glaciers and weathering the sedimentary rocks exposed on the San Juan Islands range from Paleozoic era (540 to 250 million years ago) 320 million years of Paleozoic era saw development of most invertebrate groups, evolution of fish, reptiles, insects, vascular plants, and at least two ice ages. Paleozoic era
San Juan Islands History; Early Inhabitants
Coast Salish people inhabited the area for more than 11,000 years. There is very little visible evidence remaining of their long occupation of the land, much has disappeared as the result of nature and development. Archaeologists did find locations in the San Juan Islands that had nearly 100,000 prehistoric and historic artifacts - most of them shells, charcoal and fish bone. There where "summer camps" occupied for about 4,000 years where people fished and harvested shellfish and "winter village" sites used by native people for about 2,000 years up to the historic period. Archaeologists know Paleo-Indian people were in Western Washington. Clovis points (stone blades used by people around 11,500 years ago) were found in Puget Sound. Record is hard to find here due to the present dense forest cover, erosion and sea level fluctuations that occurred when the glaciers retreated 13,000 years ago. Recent history; the Lummi Indians were year round inhabitants of San Juan Island. They lived on the North side of the island before migrating to Orcas Island and later Gooseberry Point near Bellingham Washington. Lummi and Coast Salish Villages of the San Juan Islands and Puget Sound. Map of the known permanent village sites of the Coast Salish people who lived--and still live--in the Puget Sound San Juan Islands area of Washington State
Coast Salish People of Puget Sound Washington State .... Map, Pictures, Old Stories and Myths
San Juan Islands History;
Explorers and Early Settlers
At one time the northwest country was claimed by four nations ? England, Spain, Russia and United States.
Apostolos Valerianos (called Juan de Fuca) was a Greek sea captain who sailed the Pacific in the late 1500's for the Spanish. He claimed to have discovered on one of his trips the northwest coast of the United States, a "broad inlet of sea" he found land and waterways in almost every direction of the compass. Widespread information circulated of the existence of what became called de Fuca's strait. The first European record of a landing on the Washington coast was by Spanish Captain Don Bruno de Heceta in 1775 on board the Santiago, part of a two-ship flotilla with the Sonora. They claimed all the coastal lands up to the Russian possessions in the north for Spain. In 1778, British explorer Captain James Cook sighted Cape Flattery, at the entrance to the Strait of Juan de Fuca, but the straits would not be explored until 1789 by Captain Charles W. Barkley. Barkley explored the entrance to a broad strait off the northwest coast. Barkley supposed he had found Juan de Fuca's strait and gave it that name. He did not enter far enough to see the San Juan Islands. The first man to do so was Manuel Quimper, a Spanish explorer, he saw the islands however he mistook the islands for a part of the mainland to the north. The San Juan Islands archipelago was first explored by Europeans in late 1700's. Francisco de Eliza of Spain. As commander of the expedition, Eliza had the responsibility of charting the region and the honor of naming what was found. He claimed the archipelago for Spain and named it the San Juans. The Spanish explorers left their mark on the land with names like San Juan and Orcas. However the actual first settlement was founded by Americans and British. There was border disputes between Canada and the United States. In 1872 a German arbitrator ( Kaiser Wilhelm) awarded the San Juan Islands to the USA.
Spain British USA Canada
British and USA Conflict - San Juan Island Pig War
An American settler and Fraser River gold miner named Lyman Cutlar settled on San Juan Island and his actions nearly brought on a war between the Americans and British. This is the jest of the story; Lyman Cutler had a farm and patch of garden near the (HBC) Hudson Bay Co. post overlooking Griffin Bay. British Charles Griffin appointed Justice of the Peace by the Governor of Vancouver Island and manager of the HBC post had a pig. The pig broke into Cutlar's garden one too many times. Cutlar shot the pig. Cutlar had to row 15 miles across the Strait of Juan de Fuca to the Olympic Peninsula a few times to get the seed for his crops and lost most of his crops more than once due to Griffin's porker pigging out on it. Cutlar did admit to killing the pig, but refused to be brought to trial by the British and sought protection from the United States. Tensions mounted, both countries established garrisons, tensions did calm down.
British Pig War USA
English Camp and American Camp National Historical Parks
San Juan Islands Rock, Minerals and Fossils
The oldest rocks in the San Juan Islands are Devonian limestone, argillite, black shale, siltstone, and andesite tuff. The early Pennsylvanian is represented by rocks containing limestone lenses and beds. Fossils help identify the age. Volcanic rock and chert of Jurassic age. Rocks and Minerals
San Juan Islands Wildlife and Marine life
Approximately 83 islands in the San Juan Islands archipelago are designated as National Wildlife Refuges. The San Juan Islands hosts over 250 different species of birds. "Bald Eagle" the San Juan Islands have the largest breeding population in the continental United States. Bird watching: You are very likely to see Bald Eagles, Hawk, Ospreys, Owls, Swans, Woodpeckers, Geese, Blue Heron, Oystercatcher, Turnstones, Pelagic Cormorants, Marbled Murrelets, Puffins, Guillemots, Chickadee, Hummingbird, Shorebirds including Snow Geese and Trumpeter Swan migration. Marine life: It is notably stated that the inland waters of Washington is one the richest marine environment in the world. There are three resident Orca Whale pods (J, K, & L) they inhabit the waters April -September. A subspecie of the resident Orcas, called transients they inhabit the area and are seen year round. These whales are smaller in size. "Minke Whale" a small baleen whale is seen Summer - Autumn. Grey Whales and Humpback Whales are known to pass through the area as well. A common mammal sighted in the islands is the "Dall Porpoise" The dall porpoise is often mistaken for an Orca Whale, due to being black & white in color, they only grow to about six feet. "Harbor Seal" the most common mammal in the islands spend a lot of time lounging "hauled-out" on rocks, basking in the sun and that is where they give birth to their young. The harbor seal is small and are mostly white and spotted with gray and black. "Steller sea lions" Male Steller sea lions can weigh over 2000 lbs."River Otter" brown river otters. Other Creatures: Deer, Rabbits, Raccoons and Squirrels.
San Juan Islands Wildlife and Marine Life Pictures
San Juan Islands Museums, Historical Societies and Historic Places
San Juan County, Washington
San Juan County encompasses the range of islands north of Whidbey Island.
Established 1873. Land area, 175 (square miles) Consists of 172 named islands. (100's more at lower tide). The nearest major population centers are Victoria BC, Vancouver BC and Seattle WA. The San Juan Islands that have Washington State Ferry Service; Lopez, Shaw, Orcas and San Juan Island.
Lopez Island Museum and Historical Society - - - Orcas Island Museum and Historical Society
San Juan Island Museum and Historical Society
National Register of Historic Places
San Juan Islands Map and Pictures from around the San Juan Islands.
San Juan Islands and Puget Sound Washington Historical Map: Birds Eye View
Vancouver Island BC Historical Map for orientation to the San Juan Islands View
Island maps, pictures, aerial photos and information.
Spieden Island - Stuart Island - Henry Island - Jones Island - James Island - Waldron Island Sucia Island - Matia Island - Patos Island - Lummi Island - Clark Island - Barnes Island - Sinclair Island Cypress Island - Cone Islands opening scene of the movie Free Willy filmed there. And the Washington State ferry serviced islands; Shaw Island, Lopez Island, Orcas Island and San Juan Island.
Maps, Pictures, Aerial Photos and Marine Parks .... San Juan Islands Washington Information
Current Washington State Ferry Schedule
San Juan Islands Ferry Schedules
Lopez Island, Shaw Island, Orcas Island, San Juan Island Ferry Schedule.
View Pictures of San Juan Islands Ferries, Ferry Route Map, Ferry Terminal Cams, GPS and More!
When you purchase your WSF ticket you are paying for a round trip ticket. On your way back to Anacortes (eastbound) you can get off and visit any island for as long as you want. As long as you are going Eastbound there is no charge to get on and off the Ferry. San Juan Islands Ferrry Schedule
Records Search. Do you have Washington Ancestors?
The Secretary of State has embarked on a project that will allow people to search for their Washington ancestors online Ancestor Search
Chief Seattle's Speech
In 1851 Seattle, chief of the Suquamish and other Indian tribes around Washington's Puget Sound, in my opinion delivered one of the most beautiful environmental statements ever made. The city of Seattle is named for the chief.
Famous Picture of Chief Seattle
My favorite part of Chief Seattle's speech.
You must teach your children that the ground beneath their feet is the ashes of your grandfathers, so that they will respect the land, tell your children that the earth is rich with the lives of our kin, whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of the earth, if men spit upon the ground, they spit upon themselves, The earth does not belong to man; man belongs to the earth.
Orcas Island Directory
Orcas Island Visitor Information and Business Directory w/links.
Find lodging, dining, boating, whale watching, real estate, transportation,
WA. ferry schedules, attractions and activities in the San Juan Islands
San Juan Islands Washington information at you finger tips.
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