In late June, 1788, the British fur trader Charles Duncan, captain of the Princess Royal entered Milbanke Sound, which was then uncharted waters. He spent a few days trading with the Heiltsuk. He named the sound after Vice Admiral Mark Milbanke. Explorer George Vancouver sailed through the sound a few years later. In 1805, a trading ship from Boston, the Atahualpa, was attacked by a group of Tlingit; the captain and some of the crew were killed.
In 1833 the Hudson's Bay Company established Fort McLoughlin in the Milbanke Sound area.William Fraser Tolmie was stationed there in 1833-1834. Tolmie wrote about the fur trade in the area, saying that it was conducted with the Coast Tsimshians and Heiltsuks, using a pidgin jargon composed of the Kaigani and Tshatshinni dialects of Haida and English. Chinook Jargon, commonly used elsewhere, was not widely known in Milbanke Sound at the time. The fort operated for about ten years, and then was abandoned; the company later opened a small store at the same location.
To improve the safety of the developing travel and shipping lanes, a lighthouse was built in 1898 at Robb Point on Ivory Island.
In recent times archaeological investigations have been carried out in the Milbanke Sound area.
The sound is popular with sports fishing enthusiasts.
^Galois, Robert (2004). Voyage to the Northwest Side of America: The Journals of James Colnett, 1786-89. University of British Columbia (UBC) Press. pp. 9, 11, 17, 62, 99, 263–264, 329. ISBN 978-0-7748-0855-2. online at Google Books
^Wurm, Stephen A.; Peter Mühlhäusler; Darrell T. Tryon (1996). Atlas of Languages of Intercultural Communication in the Pacific, Asia, and the Americas. Mouton de Gruyter. p. 1198. ISBN 3-11-013417-9. online at Google Books
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