Maurelle Island

Feature Type:Island - Land area surrounded by water or marsh.
Name Authority: BC Geographical Names Office
Relative Location: E of N end of Quadra Island, Sayward Land District
Latitude-Longitude: 50°16'53''N, 125°08'37''W at the approximate centre of this feature.
Datum: NAD83
NTS Map: 92K/6
Related Maps: 92K/3

Origin Notes and History:

Adopted by the Geographic Board of Canada 1 March 1904, as identified in British Admiralty Chart #3162, 1902 (Board files OBF 0176, C3521) - the eastern portion of what was formerly Valdes Island.

Source: BC place name cards & correspondence, and/or research by BC Chief Geographer & Geographical Names Office staff.

The three islands now known as Quadra, Sonora and Maurelle Islands were once thought to be a single landmass, identified as "Valdes Island" on British Admiralty Chart #580, 1862. Okisollo Channel and Hole in the Wall (channel) were located and charted during subsequent surveys, and the label was adjusted to "Valdes Islands" (plural), until each island was given its own distinctive name by the Geographic Board.

Source: BC place name cards & correspondence, and/or research by BC Chief Geographer & Geographical Names Office staff.

"Name recommended to the Geographic Board of Canada [by the author] after Francisco Antonio Maurelle, a Spanish naval officer, who in 1775 accompanied Lieutenant Commander Quadra in the Sonora as his lieutenant in his exploring voyage along this coast. Maurelle then held the rank of sub-lieutenant ("alferez de navio"). The results of the voyage were considered by the Spanish government as highly important; a short notice of them was published in the official gazette at Madrid, which was copied with many additions (nearly all of them erroneous) into the London newspapers. Another expedition was ordered, and with this view the Viceroy, Bucareli, had two vessels built in the Pacific coast. Three years were taken up in these preparations when the expedition sailed from San Blas 11 February 1779 under the command of Ignacio Arteaga, who sailed in the Princesa; the other called Favorita, being commanded by Quadra who again had Maurella with him as second in command. The instructions were to examine the coast to 70° north latitude, but this was not attained, the vessels returning from Prince William sound to San Blas, where they arrived 21 November 1779. Maurelle prepared from these voyages several charts of the coast with a book of directions, published in Mexico and London, copies of which Vancouver had with him on his expedition. (Greenhow, "History of Oregon and California" 1844, pp.117-126; Annual Register, 1776, XIX, p.146; Meares' Voyages, "Log of Iphigenia" Appendix XII.) Maurelle's journal of the Sonora's voyage was published in English in Daines Barrington's Miscellanies, 4°, London, 1781, wherein he is styled 'the second pilot of the fleet.' In 1781-1782, Maurelle commanded the frigate Princesa on a voyage from Manilla to San Blas, the narrative of which cruise was transmitted to France by M. de la Peyrouse [sic]. Meares speaks most disparagingly of Maurelle's charts which he apparently had with him on the Felice. (Meares, 4°, Introduction p.LX, Text p.152.)"

Source: Walbran, John T; "British Columbia Coast Names, 1592-1906: Their Origin and History"; published for the Geographic Board of Canada, Ottawa, 1909 (republished for the Vancouver Public Library by J.J. Douglas Ltd, Vancouver, 1971)