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.

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).

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.

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

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.

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. 

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. He made three voyages to find it and his research was invaluable.

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.

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.

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.

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