Polar exploration

Wrap up warm and take a journey to the icy ends of the earth. From the countless attempts to find the fabled North-West Passage in the Arctic Circle, to the race to reach the South Pole, read about the triumphs and the tragedies of history's polar explorers.

Henry Hudson was a well-known English explorer and navigator in the 17th century. He was the third explorer to search for the North-West Passage.

Thomas James’s 1631 voyage to find the North-West Passage became famous thanks to his memoir The Strange and Dangerous Voyage of Captain Thomas James (1633).

Captain James Cook came out of retirement to look for the North-West Passage in 1776. It was to be his last expedition and he never returned home.

In 1615, William Baffin and Robert Bylot searched for the North-West Passage. Baffin pioneered new techniques for calculating longitude.

In 1715 James Knight was the first person to go in search of the North-West Passage in over 80 years, but his efforts were to end in tragedy.

William Edward Parry was a key figure in the discovery of the North-West Passage. On his first voyage he discovered a route through Lancaster Sound. 

Jens Munk was a captain in the Danish navy in the 17th century. He unsuccessfully went in search of the North-West Passage in 1619.

William Edward Parry was a key figure in the discovery of the North-West Passage. He made three voyages to find it and his research was invaluable.

John Davis was the second explorer to look for the North-West Passage, in 1585. He also invented the Davis quadrant, enabling sailors to find their latitude.

In 1741, Anglo-Irish MP Albert Dobbs commissioned William Moor to search for the North-West Passage, in a bid to strengthen Britain’s trade routes.

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