Notes on Objects & Places from Call of the Wild

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Call of the Wild Objects/Places

Santa Clara Valley: A region of California located about forty miles south of San Francisco. The largest urban area in the Santa Clara Valley is modern day San Jose. In this region, Judge Miller owns a sizeable estate that includes horses, vineyards, and gardens. It is here that Buck spends the first four years of his life.

Klondike Gold Rush: Begun in 1897 amidst a general economic depression in the Pacific Northwest with high rates of unemployment; huge rush of gold-seeking people from the West Coast moving northward into Alaska and Canada's Yukon Territory to seek gold in Canada's Klondike River. Although the Klondike Gold Rush energized this region until it ended abruptly in 1899, many of the miners' hopes were in vain as they returned home empty-handed, like write Jack London himself. Seattle, Dawson City, Skaguay, and Dyea were a few of the cities that prospered from this sudden, but short-lived, influx of people between the years 1897-1899.

San Francisco: A large city located in northeastern California. Buck is brought to San Francisco by train after Manuel kidnaps him from Judge Miller's house. From San Francisco, he is transported yet again to Seattle, Washington to be sold as a sled dog.

Seattle: Called the 'Gateway to Alaska and the Orient,' Seattle plays a very important role during the Klondike Gold Rush. Located in northwestern Washington, this coastal city is the last stop for many travelers before they enter Alaska, whether it is by train or by boat. Traveling miners bought supplies in Seattle, newly discovered gold capital flowed into the city from the north, and lumber from the rich forests around the city was shipped into Alaska to build new settlements for the miners there. Seattle continued to prosper even when the Gold Rush ended and the influx of people slowed down. Perrault and Francois purchase Buck when he is brought to Seattle after a long train ride. From Seattle, the men travel by boat to Dyea, Alaska.

Narwhal: A ship that carries Perrault, Francois, Buck, and the newly purchased sled dogs from Seattle, Washington to Dyea, Alaska.

Alaska: Originally under Russian control, the Territory of Alaska was sold to the United States of America in 1867. Unlike the Klondike Gold Rush, this land located in the northwest corner of the North American continent was largely undeveloped and unused. However, the sudden influx of people to the region in 1897 spurred on a series of reforms by the American government. Although many gold claims were staked in the nearby Yukon Territory of Canada, miners had to pass through Alaska in order to reach the gold fields, spurring on the growth of such settlements as Skaguay, Dyea, and Circle City along the way. The Chilkoot Pass and the White Pass, which Buck travels many times, lead from Alaska to the lake regions of the Yukon Territory. Alaska officially became the 49th state to join the Union in 1959, over half a century after the Gold Rush ended.

Queen Charlotte Sound: A body of water between Seattle, Washington and along the western coast of British Columbia, located in the Pacific Ocean. The ship Narwhal passes through the Queen Charlotte Sound on its way to Dyea, Alaska.

Dyea, Alaska: A booming town in Alaska built on the banks of the Taiya River located ten miles north of Skaguay. These two towns had always competed for popularity, although the construction of a railroad in Skaguay ultimately causes Dyea to be less favored. The Dyea or Chilkoot Pass, running parallel to the White Pass out of Skagway, transports miners to the lakes region bordering the sought after Klondike River. Buck first arrives at Dyea, Alaska as his sled pulling adventure begins. Today, Dyea is an unpopulated ghost town, with hardly any trace it had ever existed, although one can still hike along the dangerous Chilkoot Pass.

Chilkoot Trail: The Chilkoot Trail or Chilkoot Pass, also called the Dyea Pass, was a dangerous route leading from Dyea, Alaska, to the Yukon Territory's lakes region that led to the coveted Klondike River. The Chilkoot Trail is much more treacherous than the White Pass, as Buck himself experiences with Perrault and Francois, contributing no doubt to the eventual abandonment of Dyea as a point of entry for the Yukon Territory. Modern day visitors can still hike along the Chilkoot Pass, however.

Dawson City, Canada: Located at the mouth of the Klondike River where it meets the Yukon River, Dawson City was named after George Dawson, who explored the region with the Canadian Geological Survey in 1887; nicknamed the 'Paris of the North' due to the bustling activity here that centered greatly upon the mining industry, because of its proximity to the Klondike River. Miners during the Klondike Gold Rush relied on Dawson City as a source of supplies and transportation. Buck pulls the sled many times to Dawson City from locations in Alaska.

Thirty Mile River: The Thirty Mile River (which is the Yukon River) begins where the Chilkoot Pass ends, leading directly to Dawson City, where the Yukon River forms a junction with the gold-rich Klondike River. Buck experiences great difficulty crossing through this region with Perrault and Francois.

Rink Rapids: A rough section of waters in the Yukon River. It is at a small settlement here where Francois and Perrault buy the huskies Teek and Koona.

Skaguay, Alaska: Today known as Skagway, a popular city for miners to gain entry to the Yukon Territory's Klondike region by braving the White Pass, running parallel to the more treacherous Chilkoot Pass to the north. Francois and Perrault leave Buck in Skaguay so that he can haul mail, and later on Buck is sold away here to the abusive American trio. After departing with them, it is the last time he visits this coastal city. The creation of a railroad through Skaguay at the turn of the century brought hordes of people, causing its popularity to quickly rise.

Cassiar Bar: Location of a small settlement in the Yukon Territory directly on the Yukon River. Buck's sled team rests here after traveling for many miles with the Scotch half-breed, hauling heavy loads of mail.

Circle City: A riverside settlement located in northeastern Alaska about two hundred miles way from Dawson City, further up along the Yukon River; named after early settlers who thought Circle City was in the Arctic Circle. Today the small settlement is known simply as Circle, Alaska. During the Klondike Gold Rush, hordes of settlers left Circle City to go further south into the Yukon Territory near Dawson City, where the gold discoveries were most concentrated. Buck defends John Thornton when he is attacked in a saloon at Circle City.

Forty Mile Creek: A dangerous river in the Yukon Territory where John Thornton nearly drowns. Buck comes to the rescue, however, and they are both pulled ashore by John Thornton's partners, Pete and Hans.

Stewart River: A river located in the unsettled regions of the Yukon Territory south of Dawson City, flowing eastward parallel to the Klondike River. The Stewart River branches off of the Yukon River. Thornton follows the Stewart River in search of gold, riding along the river in a raft until it ends, after which he and his companions set off on foot.

Yukon Territory: First explored in 1846 by the Hudson's Bay Company, the Yukon Territory of Canada is located east of Alaska, West of the Northwest Territories, and north of British Columbia; from the Loucheux word 'Yukunah,' meaning 'great river,' because the Yukon River is so large. Originally controlled by the Hudson's Bay Company, the territory was acquired by Canada in 1870, at first as part of the Northwest Territories. The Klondike Gold Rush, centering upon the Klondike River in this region, brought thousands of new settlers and business investors to the Yukon Territory. In 1898, due to this sudden influx of people, the Yukon was made into a separate territory, with Dawson City serving as its capital. Although parts of the Yukon Territory are settled, much of it remains untamed and wild, as Buck soon realizes during his travels.

Hudson's Bay Company: A fur-trading company based in central Canada, established in 1670, still in existence as a corporation in Canada today. A Hudson's Bay Company expedition led by John Bell explored the Yukon in 1845, after which trading posts were established throughout the region to make way for a new wave of business, exporting furs to customers in the east. In 1870, the Hudson's Bay Company was forced to surrender its holdings to Canada which included the Yukon and much of central Canada. John Thornton later discovers an old rifle from the days of the Hudson's Bay Company in a dilapidated old cabin when he is searching for gold deep in the Yukon Territory.

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