Origin Notes and History:
Adopted 3 April 1934 on C.340, as labelled on British Admiralty Chart 584, 1863 et seq, and on BC map 2A, 1913.
Source: BC place name cards, or correspondence to/from BC's Chief Geographer or BC Geographical Names Office
Named in 1861 by Captain Richards, RN, after Lieutenant James Colnett, RN, in command of the fur trading snow "Argonaut", one of the prominent seamen in the dispute between England and Spain regarding the right to trade and establish settlements on these shores, 1789-90. Colnett had served in the navy under Captain Cook, having been a midshipman in the "Resolution" on Cook's second voyage around the world, 1772-1775, and previous to taking command in the merchant service, had been many years a lieutenant. Colnett, when on the "Resolution" on 4 September 1774, was the first to sight the large island to which Cook gave the name of New Caledonia, the point seen being named after him Cape Colnett. He first visited this coast in 1787, in command of the ship "Prince of Wales" accompanied by the sloop "Princess Royal".... The voyage was successful, the furs being sold in China... The "Argonaut" was placed in charge of Captain Colnett, and with her consort "Princess Royal" sailed for Nootka in April 1789. [the vessels ] were seized by the Spaniards, the latter claiming sole right to the coast and sea, and the vessels, with officers and crew as prisoners, sent to San Blas. ...several of the crew died during the thirteen months they were prisoners. The British government resented strongly the action of the Spanish authorities, and took such measures that the vessels were restored, a substantial indemnity paid, and Nootka ultimately abandoned [by the Spaniards]. On being released and his ship restored to him...
Source: Walbran, John T; British Columbia Coast Names, 1592-1906: their origin and history; Ottawa, 1909 (republished for the Vancouver Public Library by J.J. Douglas Ltd, Vancouver, 1971)