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VALERIANOS, Apostolos, known as JUAN DE FUCA

VALERIANOS, Apostolos, known as JUAN DE FUCA, Greek navigator, born in Cephalonia in 1531: died in Zante in 1602. For thirty years he served as a sailor and pilot in the Spanish possessions of America. In 1590 he sailed as pilot with a commander that had been sent by the viceroy of Mexico with three ships to discover the fabulous Strait of Anianu but on the coast of California the crew mutinied, and the officers were forced to return to Acapulco.

In 1592 Fuca was sent again on the same errand by the viceroy Luis de Velaseo, with one caravel and an armed sloop. In latitude 48 north he found a wide inlet, through which he sailed for twenty days, and discovered many islands. To the northwest of the entry to the straits he discovered a promontory formed by high pyramidical rocks, and, on landing, found natives clad in furs. Through the northern mouth of the straits, nearly 100 miles wide, he entered the Pacific ocean again, and, judging that his commission had been fulfilled, he returned to Acapulco.

Having vainly waited for several years for the just recompense of his services, he left the Spanish colonial service, and after his return, about 1596, he spoke of his discovery, in Venice, to an English officer, John Douglass, who afterward gave Fuca's diary, "Relación del viaje de Juan de Fuca y descubrimiento del estrecho de Anian," to Michael Locke, formerly English consul in Aleppo, by whom it was published (London, 1604).

This account of his voyage was mingled with such romantic and improbable tales that it was generally disbelieved and taken for a skilful imposition, until the trading vessels that frequent this coast in the fur-trade rediscovered the inlet and proved the general correctness of Fuca's description. His name was given to the strait which connects the Pacific with the Gulf of Georgia.

An account of Fuca's exploration is also given in the 3d volume of Purchas's "Pilgrimes." Duflot de Mofras, in his "Explorations de l'Oregon et des Californies " (Paris, 1844), and Navarrete in his "Historia de la Naútica," also mention Fuca's discovery.

Edited Appletons Encyclopedia by John Looby, Copyright © 2001 StanKlos.comTM

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