HMS Virago in the Pacific, 1851-1855: To the Queen Charlottes and Beyond


209 pages
Contains Photos, Illustrations, Maps, Index
ISBN 1-55039-030-9
DDC 359.3'253'0941





Reviewed by Barry M. Gough

Barry M. Gough is a history professor at Wilfrid Laurier University and
author of The Northwest Coast: British Navigation, Trade, and
Discoveries to 1812.


To this day, men-of-war wearing the white ensign patrol distant islands,
estuaries, and lagoons. Their missions are much the same as those of
yesteryear: showing the flag and protecting the seas for all those who
pass on peaceful occasions.

Through the sharply focused eyes of those aboard the Virago, this book
provides a view of Vancouver Island, the Queen Charlottes, and the
Pacific Coast in the early 1850s, a time when the Hudson’s Bay
Company, though in its last stages of monopoly, reigned supreme. The
authors have little interest in strategy or geopolitics, but are content
to let the passage of their vessel serve the ends of history. As such,
their book will appeal to aficionados of the sea and to readers
interested in travel literature generally.

The work is adequately illustrated and beautifully printed. On the
negative side, it is sparsely footnoted and lacks a bibliography
(although it does contain a serviceable index).


Akrigg, G.P.V., “HMS Virago in the Pacific, 1851-1855: To the Queen Charlottes and Beyond,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 19, 2024,