Penelakut Island, Trincomali Channel


Penelakut Island, Trincomali Channel

by | Sep 6, 2020

Penelakut Island is located in the southern Gulf Islands between Vancouver Island and the mainland, about 40 miles (65 km) north-northwest of Victoria and 32 miles (52 km) southwest of Vancouver, British Columbia. The island was formerly known as Kuper Island and renamed in 2010 in honor of the Penelakut First Nation people. The island has an area of 86,506 acres (865 ha) and is separated from Thetis Island at Telegraph Harbour by a tide flat.

In 1851, Captain Augustus Leopold Kuper of the Royal Navy, in command of HMS Thetis, a 36-gun frigate, cruised into a group of five islands in the Strait of Georgia, and declaring the colonial name of the two largest islands to be Kuper and Thetis. Kuper continued to survey the island from 1851–53 while based out of the Pacific Station at Esquimalt.

In 1861, about 300 warriors from the Bella Bella staged a surprise attack and reputedly about 225 Penelakuts were massacred. Two years later, on April 20, 1863, the British gunboat HMS Forward attacked the Penelakut village for harboring individuals of the Lamalchi tribe involved in recent assaults in the Gulf Islands in which three Europeans had been killed in combat. The gunboat fired on the village but later withdrew with one casualty. Following the event, the colonial government responded with a large military assault, subsequently gaining control of the region. Read more here and here. Explore more of Penelakut Island here.

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