Though used as a bird-hunting ground by Hoh Native American Indians prior to this, the first European contact on this island was in 1775, when a crew of Spanish explorers were brutally massacred by the natives.
Today, Destruction Island has been made a wildlife reserve, and is thus uninhabited. It is known for its lighthouse, rare bird species, wildlife, and as a boating day trip destination.
People Born on Destruction Island
Destruction Island in People's Lives
Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra: My crew and other ships landed on this island in 1775, after some difficulties with the rocks and shallow waters surrounding it. My men erected a large cross on the beach and claimed the land for Spain, which was witnessed by the Quinault Native American Indians, who were at the time inhabiting the island. They soon attacked mercilessly, massacring "a great number" of my men. I was shocked, and eager to go back ashore and wipe the indians out, avenging the deaths of my crew. However, I was overruled by my superior, who pointed out that we were on a voyage of discovery and should not concentrate on starting battles. Also, my commanding officer was so shaken by what had happened, he decided to abandon the exploration and return to New Spain. I refused, wanting to keep going. Our men split, and I continued onward with the men that chose to remain with me, now the head commander of the voyage. I named this place "Isla de Dolores," meaning "Island of Sorrows," and we sailed north.