A Perfect Eden Encounters by Early Explorers of Vancouver Island

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2016-10-18
  • Publisher: TouchWood Editions
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List Price: $39.95


In 1842, when famed world explorer James Douglas first encountered the rugged natural paradise that would become Vancouver Island, he described it as "A perfect Eden." He was just one among many European explorers to experience the intense beauty of the Pacific Northwest, most of whom have left fascinating accounts of their encounters with the terrain and the peoples they found, their exploration and settlement of the land there.

Interspersed with maps, illustrations, paintings, and photographs, these first-hand accounts create a captivating tale of discovery and exploration. Starting from before the first known European arrivals, the stories feature Spanish and British naval officers, traders seeking sea otter pelts, colonial surveyors, “Indian” chiefs, soldiers, settlers and adventurers, and end in 1858, when Douglas, by then Sir James, retired as governor of the two colonies — Vancouver Island and British Columbia.

The companion book to Michael Layland’s prizewinning The Land of Heart’s Delight: Early Maps and Charts of Vancouver Island, which traces the cartographic history of this remarkable region, A Perfect Eden paints a vivid picture of what the explorers saw, the people they met, the hazards they faced, and some mysteries, as yet unsolved.

Author Biography

Michael Layland was born and educated in England and trained as an officer and map-maker in the Royal Engineers. He serves as the current president of the Friends of the BC Archives, is a former president of the Victoria Historical Society, and is on the committee of the Historical Map Society of BC. He is also a member of the Society for the History of Discoveries and the International Map Collectors’ Society. His articles on explorers and exploration history have appeared in international encyclopedias, including eight entries in the two-volume The Oxford Companion to World Exploration. He also reviews books for British Columbia History magazine. Michael has lived in British Columbia for some thirty years, for the last twenty in Victoria. A Perfect Eden is a companion to his first book, The Land of Heart's Delight: Early Maps and Charts of Vancouver Island.

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