The Arctic Voyages of Martin Frobisher: An Elizabethan Adventure

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Using reports from the men who participated in the venture, details preserved in the oral histories of the Inuit, and archaeological information recovered from the sites of Elizabethan activities on Baffin Island, Robert McGhee describes Frobisher's expeditions and offers new insights into this audacious undertaking. How could Martin Frobisher have convinced himself that a narrow bay on the coast of Baffin Island was a northwest passage to the Pacific? What became of the five members of his company who went ...
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Seattle 2001 Hardcover First American Edition New in new jacket N. 196 pages. With b/w & coloured frontispiece, plates, maps & illustrations. Privateer and adventurer Martin ... Frobisher undertook the search for a northwestern route to Asia under orders from Queen Elizabeth I. A few days after enduring a terrifying storm in 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 1200 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 Br Read more Show Less

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Overview

Using reports from the men who participated in the venture, details preserved in the oral histories of the Inuit, and archaeological information recovered from the sites of Elizabethan activities on Baffin Island, Robert McGhee describes Frobisher's expeditions and offers new insights into this audacious undertaking. How could Martin Frobisher have convinced himself that a narrow bay on the coast of Baffin Island was a northwest passage to the Pacific? What became of the five members of his company who went ashore and were never seen again? What role, if any, did Frobisher play in the gold-mining fraud? Some of these questions may never be answered but, despite apparent failure, Martin Frobisher's ventures launched England's long period of intense exploration and discovery in this new land.
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Editorial Reviews

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.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780295981635
  • Publisher: University of Washington Press
  • Publication date: 4/28/2002
  • Pages: 200
  • Product dimensions: 9.50 (w) x 8.75 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Preamble 3
1 Lodestones, Unicorns, and Perpetual Daylight 5
2 A Passage to Cathay 10
3 Martin Frobisher, Pirate and Explorer 25
4 To Arctic America 33
5 The Five Lost Sailors 49
6 A Token of Possession 58
7 Ice, Hostages, and Gold 65
8 Inuit in England 81
9 Creating a Gold Play 89
10 The Gold Fleet 97
11 The Countress of Warwick's Island 113
12 Retreat 134
13 Disgrace 139
14 Kodlunarn Island 150
15 A Final Assay 172
Sources and Selected Readings 189
Index 193
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