In 1790. tensions rose between Britain and Spain as they fought for control of the Pacific Northwest. Nootka Sound was a major point of interest for the same reason East India Trading wanted it on “Taboo.” As a sound, it allowed ships to dock in a safe area of water protected from the open ocean, making it the perfect spot for a coastal trading post that allowed easy access to China.
Having long held a claim on the entire Pacific Northwest, Spain established its first settlement on Vancouver Island, Santa Cruz d Nuca, in 1789. The Spanish settlers, led by Esteban Jose Martinez, began fending off and seizing British ships that entered the area attempting to trade with the locals. The British took exception to Spain’s blanket claim to all that unsettled land and sent warships to Vancouver Island, creating a standoff known as the Nootka Crisis.