CHAPTER 6: The Royal Navy, Ruler of the Seas
The Royal Navy Patrols the West Coast
Royal Navy Polices the Coast
Rating raising signal flags, Royal Navy, 1892
(Click image to enlarge)
The Royal Navy also played a policing role along the coast of British Columbia. The proud Amerindians of the west coast, those "Vikings of the North Pacific," were not always keen to see Europeans arrive, especially since more and more of them were building small settlements here and there. There were sometimes deadly incidents on both sides. From the Royal Navy's standpoint, such domestic wars, murders, piracy and slavery among the Natives had to end, and they would have to submit, willingly or not, to British law and order. It would appear to have generally been effected willingly, for the elimination of intertribal conflicts and slavery was probably well received by these people. On the other hand, the piracy and murder continued, and a few merchant ships met a tragic end. In such cases, the Royal Navy used force as a means of intimidation. Misdeeds invariably brought a warship to the area where they had been committed, to track down those responsible. The detroits and bays along the coast, many of which were inaccessible to sailing ships, sometimes made the chase difficult, but this situation changed with the introduction of steamships.