PENA, Tomas de la




Author Tags: 1700-1800, Haida Gwaii, Spanish

Along with Juan Pérez and Juan Crespi, the priest Tomás de la Peña provided evidence of fair-haired, blue-eyed Haida upon making first contact in 1774. The long-held notion that some sailors from Francis Drake’s Golden Hinde might have visited the Haida in the late 16th century was enhanced by a portrait of the Haida chief Cunnyha (among various spellings) painted by Sigismund Bacstrom in 1792 or the spring of 1793. As a sailor on one of two British fur trading ships, Butterworth or Three Brothers, Bacstrom depicted blue-eyed Haida near Langara Island where Tomás de la Peña y Saravia and his fellow Spaniards first met them about 20 years earlier. Born in northern Spain in 1743, at Brizuela, Tomás de la Peña y Saravia entered the Franciscan order at age nineteen. He joined the Juan Pérez expedition at age thirty-three. His records of that momentous voyage are sometimes more detailed than those of Juan Crespi but his writings remain virtually unknown.

BOOK:

Cutter, Donald C. (editor). California Coast (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1969). Contains diaries of both Crespi and de la Peña.

[BCBW 2004] "Missionaries" "Spanish" "QCI" "1700-1800"