The Artic Voyages of Martin Frobisher: An Elizabethan Adventure

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 ...
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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: 9780773531550
  • Publisher: McGill-Queens University Press
  • Publication date: 7/28/2006
  • Series: McGill-Queen's Native and Northern Series
  • Pages: 212
  • Sales rank: 1,017,513
  • Product dimensions: 8.88 (w) x 8.14 (h) x 0.50 (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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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Frobishers Folly

    An interesting update of one of England's less than glorious steps towards a world empire. To review - Frobisher lead three expeditions to the southern end Baffin Island. The large bay on the southern side carries his name to this day. The 2nd and 3rd trips to the area were primarily to recover more "ore" for transport back to England to be smelted to extract gold, although the search for the Northwest Passage as another stated purpose of his explorations. Except there was no gold on Baffin Island, not then and not now. The author updates the story of this fiasco with research into oral tales of the local Inuit that have survived since the 16th century was well as recent archeological studies and satellite images. The author also explains, without any modern sanctimony injected, the English racist views of the Inuit at the time. Today one can find some of the "ore" that came from the Canadian Arctic still in use as a lovely country wall in England.

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