Survey of Historic Sites and Buildings
This bay was discovered by the Spanish explorer Alférz Manuel Quimper, on July 11, 1790, and named Bodega y Quadra Bay in honor of the famous Spanish explorer. Francisco de Eliza, another Spaniard, used it in 1791 as a temporary base of operations while he explored the San Juan Islands. The following year, during an expedition along the Pacific coast and into the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the English explorer Capt. George Vancouver anchored his vessels, including the Discovery, in the bay and named it Discovery Bay. After a few weeks, he set out eastward in his longboats for a 2-month exploration of the Puget Sound area. Except for present farming uses, the appearance of Discovery Bay has changed little since the 18th century.
The first European settlement on the present Pacific Northwest coast of the United States was made on the shores of this bay. The bay was discovered in 1790 by the Spanish explorer Alférz Manuel Quimper, who called it Bahía de Nuñez Gaona. In May 1792, the Spanish frigate Princesa landed on its shore a group of settlers, led by Lt. Sálvador Fidalgo. The settlers built a fortified village of about 10 houses, which they called Nuñez Gaona, but they abandoned it after about 5 months, when Quimper moved them to Nootka.
The present settlement at Neah Bay, as the bay was later called, was initiated in 1851, when Samuel Hancock, an American wagonmaker, erected a trading post. The appearance of Neah Bay has changed little since the 18th century, except for the small village located there, which is the administrative and trading center of the Makah Indian Reservation and a fishing center. No remains of the early Spanish settlement are visible, but brick and tile used by the Spanish builders are occasionally found and are displayed by the Washington State Historical Society museum in Tacoma.
The Spanish explorers Bruno Heceta and Juan Francisco de Bodega y Quadra anchored their vessels, the Santiago and Sonora, off this point on July 13, 1775. The next day Heceta and 23 of his men landed on the promontory and claimed the area for Spain; these men were apparently the first Europeans to set foot in the present State of Washington. They were ambushed by Indians and seven of them killed. Heceta named the point "Punta de los Martires" in honor of the slaughtered sailors. In 1792, the English explorer Capt. George Vancouver sighted the promontory and renamed it Point Grenville. Little changed since 1775, the point is now utilized for a U.S. Coast Guard Station.
Last Updated: 22-Mar-2005