This copy of the first account of Frobisher's three voyages is by George Best, who sailed with him, is extremely rare in that it contains the two maps.
These maps were published in Best’s A True Discourse of the Late Voyages of Discoverie (1578). It is an account of Martin Frobisher’s expeditions in search of the Northwest Passage. The explorer made three voyages to the region between 1576 and 1578, with the aim of establishing it on a trade route to India and China and to mine valuable ore deposits. Best produced two maps to accompany his account: this depicting the globe and Polar Regions and another showing the newly discovered islands of Meta Incognita (Baffin Island).
On his first Northwest Passage expedition in 1576 Frobisher discovered Frobisher Bay and thought he had found gold, thus prompting further expeditions in 1577 and 1578 that were partly sponsored by Elizabeth I. On the third voyage Frobisher entered Hudson Strait, which he named Mistaken Straightes (as on the map). He would have liked to search for the Northwest Passage but his orders were for mining only. Having built a small house on an island in Frobisher Bay, his ships returned to England with over 1000 tons of useless ore.
This edition of A True Discourse is housed in the Grenville Library.
- Article by:
- Phil Hatfield
- Military and maritime, Science and nature
Arctic ice has long proved a stern adversary to explorers, especially those seeking navigable passages through the polar regions. Dr Philip Hatfield explores the representation of this fearful foe by explorers across the centuries.
- Article by:
- The search for the Northwest Passage
Early voyages for the Northwest Passage include three by the Elizabethan, Martin Frobisher. But after the harrowing experiences of Luke Foxe and Thomas James in the 1630s, the search for a passage would not begin again for nearly 100 years.