Fuca, Juan de

Juan de Fuca, pilot, apocryphal explorer of the NORTHWEST COAST (b at Valeriano, Cephalonia I, Greece; d there c 1602). Other than what Michael Lok, an English promoter of geographical discovery, reported in 1596, little is known about Fuca. According to his own story, he was a pilot in Spain's Pacific maritime service. He claimed to have led a 1592 voyage of discovery north from Mexico that encountered a passage leading to the "North Sea" (possibly the Arctic Ocean) between 47° and 48° lat. Fuca told Lok that he sailed through the broad passage before retracing his course to Mexico. The discovery much later of the strait now bearing Fuca's name at 48° 30´lat gave credence to his story and suggested the possibility of a 16th-century Spanish voyage to the northwest coast. More likely, Fuca told Lok an exciting tale in order to obtain financial compensation. Spanish archival sources and published works offer no evidence for this.