In 1790, Sub-Lt Don Manuel Quimper of the Spanish navy anchored his ship the Princesa Real there and claimed the territory for Carlos IV. He called the roads Rada de Valdes y Bazan. Royal Roads was given the name Royal Bay by Captain Henry Kellett of the British survey ship HMS Herald. An 1861 map of Victoria by Joseph Despard Pemberton shows Royal Roads labelled "Royal Bay". Walbran describes "Roads" as an "area frequented by shipping, being a convenient and free rendezvous for vessels seeking freight or waiting orders.":432
Esquimalt Lagoon is a beach and wildlife preserve with a view of Hatley Castle, Royal Roads University in the background. A small plaque on a concrete cairn in the shore of the Esquimalt Lagoon outlines its history. "Royal Roads - To seaward lies an anchorage or roadstead first used in 1790 by the Spanish and named in 1846 for its location between Albert Head and Victoria. Unloading place for large vessels serving Victoria in days of sail, it was once a scene of disaster. On April 1, 1883 a southeasterly gale swept the haven, beaching the ships Southern Chief, Gettysburg, Connaught and Tiger. Province of British Columbia. Erected by the Thermopylae Club 1973."
- Harris, Stephen. "Military and Staff Colleges". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2009-02-06.
- Pemberton, J. Despard (7 January 1861). Town of Victoria, Vancouver Island from the official map. London: Royal British Columbia Museum. Archived from the original on 10 March 2010. Retrieved 2010-02-03.
- Walbran, Captain John T. (1971). British Columbia Place Names, Their Origin and History (Facsimile reprint of 1909 ed.). Vancouver/Toronto: Douglas & McIntyre. ISBN 0-88894-143-9. Archived from the original on 2016-03-03.
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