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Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel
Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel  was a German mathematician and astronomer.
29th week in year
22 July 2021

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Alexander Mackenzie reaches the Pacific Ocean 22.7.1793

Wikipedia (10 Jul 2013, 13:04)
Alexander Mackenzie reaches the Pacific Ocean becoming the first recorded human to complete a transcontinental crossing of Canada.


1792-1793 Peace River expedition to the Pacific Ocean

In 1791, Mackenzie returned to Great Britain to study the new advance in the measurement of longitude. Upon his return in 1792, he set out once again to find a route to the Pacific. Accompanied by two native guides (one named Cancre), his cousin Alexander MacKay, and six Canadian voyageurs (Joseph Landry, Charles Ducette, Francois Beaulieux, Baptiste Bisson, Francois Courtois, and Jacques Beauchamp) and a dog simply called "Our Dog". Mackenzie left from Fort Chipewyan on 10 October 1792 and travelled via the Pine River to the Peace River. From there he travelled to a fork on the Peace River arriving 1 November where he and his cohorts built a fortification that they resided in over the winter. This later became known as Fort Fork.

Mackenzie left Fort Fork on 9 May 1793 following the route of the Peace River. He crossed the Great Divide and found the upper reaches of the Fraser River but was warned by the local natives that the Fraser Canyon to the south was unnavigable and populated by belligerent tribes. He was instead directed to follow a grease trail by ascending the West Road River, crossing over the Coast Mountains and descending the Bella Coola River to the sea. He followed this advice and reached the Pacific coast on 20 July 1793 at Bella Coola, British Columbia, on North Bentinck Arm, an inlet of the Pacific Ocean. Thus, he completed the first recorded transcontinental crossing of North America north of Mexico. He had unknowingly missed meeting George Vancouver at Bella Coola by 48 days.

He had wanted to continue westward out of a desire to reach the open ocean, but was stopped by the hostility of the Heiltsuk people. Hemmed in by Heiltsuk war canoes, he wrote a message on a rock near the water's edge of Dean Channel, using a reddish paint made of vermilion and bear grease, and turned back east. The inscription read: "Alex MacKenzie / from Canada / by land / 22d July 1793" (at the time the name Canada was an informal term for the former French territory in what is now southern Quebec.) The words were later inscribed permanently by surveyors. The site is now Sir Alexander Mackenzie Provincial Park and is designated a National Historic Site of Canada.

In his journal Mackenzie recorded the Carrier language for the first time.


   
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