Arctic Voyages of Martin Frobisher: An Elizabethan Venture

Arctic Voyages of Martin Frobisher: An Elizabethan Venture

by Robert McGhee
     
 


Under orders from Queen Elizabeth I, Gabriel's captain B privateer and adventurer Martin Frobisher B took up the search for a northwestern route to Asia. A few days after enduring the storm of 14 July 1576, Frobisher sighted the most easterly outlier of Arctic North America and for the first time England became aware of this vast northern region. Over the next… See more details below

Overview


Under orders from Queen Elizabeth I, Gabriel's captain B privateer and adventurer Martin Frobisher B took up the search for a northwestern route to Asia. A few days after enduring the storm of 14 July 1576, Frobisher sighted the most easterly outlier of Arctic North America and for the first time England became aware of this vast northern region. Over the next three summers it would be the scene of an adventure involving the fruitless search for a northwest passage, the first attempt by the British to establish a settlement in the New World, and the first major gold-mining fraud in North American history. Over 1,200 tons of rock were mined from Baffin Island and shipped to England, where they were found to contain not an ounce of gold. Yet Frobisher's claim of possession established British interest in northern North America and was the first step in the eventual establishment of British sovereignty over the northern half of the American continent.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Robert McGhee's The Arctic Voyages of Martin Frobisher conclusively demonstrates that human venality and cupidity four centuries ago was well up to modern standards. McGhee casts new light upon one of the most controversial of all arctic ventures - a colossal mining scam perpetrated by Martin Frobisher and his associates in the late sixteenth century - which McGhee tellingly likens to the infamous Bre-X fraud of our own times." Farley Mowat
Library Journal
This starkly written and fast-moving book by McGhee, curator of Arctic archaeology at the Canadian Museum of Civilization, compares favorably with two recent publications, James McDermott's Martin Frobisher: Elizabethan Privateer and Robert Ruby's Unknown Shore: The Lost History of England's Arctic Colony. Despite his having started out on the land-locked dales of Yorkshire, Frobisher spent much of his life at sea. His Arctic expeditions were bracketed by a stint as a privateer a pirate for the Crown and a knighthood after battling the Spanish Armada. Commissioned in 1576 to find the Northwest Passage to China, Frobisher returned to London claiming to have found not only the way to the East but a treasure trove of valuable minerals on what is now Baffin Island. Neither turned out to be true. After three voyages, numerous travails, and skirmishes with Inuit, the ore was retrieved but turned out to be without value, and Frobisher was disgraced. Elizabethan financier Michael Lok and the court "wizard" John Dee also play major roles in and add vibrant color to McGhee's story. McGhee finishes by drawing parallels to the Bre-X gold scandal of the 1990s; these contemporary similarities show how Frobisher illustrates a type driven by ambition, greed, and a love of adventure. Recommended for all libraries. Gail Benjafield, St. Catharines P.L., Ont. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780773522350
Publisher:
McGill-Queens University Press
Publication date:
11/28/2001
Pages:
212
Product dimensions:
9.45(w) x 8.66(h) x (d)

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