England's first attempt at colonizing the New World was not at Roanoke or Jamestown, but on a mostly frozen small island in the Canadian Arctic. Queen Elizabeth I called that place Meta Incognita -- the Unknown Shore. Backed by Elizabeth I and her key advisors, including the legendary spymaster Sir Francis Walsingham and the shadowy Dr. John Dee, the erstwhile pirate Sir Martin Frobisher set out three times across the North Atlantic, in the process leading what is still the largest Arctic expedition in history. In this forbidding place, Frobisher believed he had discovered vast quantities of gold, the fabled Northwest Passage to the riches of Cathay, and a suitable place for a year-round colony. But Frobisher's dream turned into a nightmare, and his colony was lost to history for nearly three centuries.
In this brilliantly conceived dual narrative, Robert Ruby interweaves Frobisher's saga with that of the nineteenth-century American Charles Francis Hall, whose explorations of this same landscape enabled him to hear the oral history of the Inuit, passed down through generations. It was these stories that unlocked the mystery of Frobisher's lost colony.
Unknown Shore is the story of two men's travels, and of what these men shared three centuries apart. Ultimately, it is a tale of men driven by greed and ambition, of the hard labor of exploration, of the Inuit and their land, and of great gambles gone wrong.
Over the following decade, forty expeditions were launched in an effort to establish the fate of the missing men. But it wasn't until 1854 that traces of their demise were discovered along the western shore of King William Island.
However, without proof, Franklin's wife, Lady Jane, refused to believe that her husband was dead. And so, in 1857, she sponsored a final expedition. Captain Francis Leopold McClintock, a highly regarded Arctic explorer, was given command of the steam yacht Fox, and he and a crew of twenty-five set off in search of evidence. On this quest, the always-adventurous McClintock was the first European to navigate through Bellot Strait and while the Fox was frozen into the ice in winter, he and his men made long and arduous exploratory journeys by dog sled. Eventually the men reached King William Island, where they discovered a cairn at Victory Point. It contained a note, which confirmed not only that Sir John Franklin had died in 1847, but that his crew had, in fact, been the first to discover the Northwest Passage. When this news reached England, Queen Victoria bestowed the Arctic Medal on McClintock and all the officers and men of the Fox.
The Voyage of the 'Fox' in the Arctic Seas is Sir Francis McClintock's own thrilling account of the Fox's journey into the Arctic, and the discovery of the fate of Sir John Franklin and his companions.
Over 100 years ago, in June 1898, Captain Otto Sverdrup and 15 crewmen put out to sea aboard the schooner Fram from the Norwegian city today known as Oslo. When they returned to Norway four years later, they came back with a record of geographic and scientific discovery, the richness of which is unparalleled in the annals of Arctic exploration. The first section of this book is the story of those four heroic years spent in the High Arctic and their impact on Canadas subsequent efforts to ensure Canadian sovereignty in the area of the Norwegian discoveries.
The second section of the book deals with the Canadian Arctic expeditions between 1903 and 1948, led by intrepid men such as A.P. Low, Joseph E. Bernier, Vilhjalmur Stefansson and Henry Larsen.
"For anyone interested in the recent history of the Canadian North and why we even call it the Canadian North Ships of Wood and Men of Iron is a must read. Kenney persuasively nominates a shortlist of new national heroes for a country badly in need of them."
- Randy Boswell, CanWest News Service
"In my view, this book will be an important document about Canada-Norway relations in the North, especially considering the increased international emphasis now on circumpolar relations in the North."
- Shirley Wolff Serafini, Canadian Ambassador to Norway
"This book is a well deserved recognition of one of Norways most famous polar explorers and his invaluable contributions to the exploration and development of science in the Canadian Arctic. Gerard Kenney's book also sheds an interesting new light on the history of the final settlement of Norways territorial claim of the Sverdrup Islands."
- Ingvard Havnen, former Norwegian Ambassador to Canada
Greeted with coast-to-coast acclaim on publication, Fernández-Armesto's ambitious history of world exploration sets a new standard. Presenting the subject for the first time on a truly global scale, Fernández-Armesto tracks the pathfinders who, over the past five millennia, lay down the routes of contact that have drawn together the farthest reaches of the world.
The Wall Street Journal calls it "impressive...a huge story [told] with gusto and panache." To the Washington Post, "Pathfinders is propelled by an Argonaut of an author, indefatigable and daring. It's a wild ride." And in a front-page review, the Seattle Times hails its "tart and elegant presentation...full of surprises. Fernández-Armesto's lively mind, pithy phrasing, and stunningly thorough and diverse knowledge are a constant pleasure."
A plenitude of illustrations and maps in color and black and white augment this rich history. In Pathfinders we have a definitive treatment of a grand subject.
Ronald Love's engaging narrative chapters guide the reader from Marco Polo's exploration of the Mongol empire to Ferdinand Magellan's circumnavigation of the globe, the search for a Northern Passage, Henry Hudson's voyage to Greenland, the discovery of Tahiti, the perils of scurvy, mutiny, and warring empires, and the eventual extension of Western influence into almost every corner of the globe. Biographies and primary documents round out the work.
This survey uses succinct accounts of the most epic journeys in the premodern world as lenses through which to examine the development of early travel, trade and cultural interchange between China, central Asia, India and southeast Asia, while also discussing themes such as the growth of empires and the spread of world religions.
Complete with maps, this concise and interesting study analyzes how travel pushed and shaped the boundaries of political, geographical and cultural frontiers.
In 1498 a young captain sailed from Portugal, circumnavigated Africa, crossed the Indian Ocean, and discovered the sea route to the Indies and, with it, access to the fabled wealth of the East. It was the longest voyage known to history. The little ships were pushed beyond their limits, and their crews were racked by storms and devastated by disease. However, their greatest enemy was neither nature nor even the sheer dread of venturing into unknown worlds that existed on maps populated by coiled, toothy sea monsters. With bloodred Crusader crosses emblazoned on their sails, the explorers arrived in the heart of the Muslim East at a time when the old hostilities between Christianity and Islam had risen to a new level of intensity. In two voyages that spanned six years, Vasco da Gama would fight a running sea battle that would ultimately change the fate of three continents.
An epic tale of spies, intrigue, and treachery; of bravado, brinkmanship, and confused and often comical collisions between cultures encountering one another for the first time; Holy War also offers a surprising new interpretation of the broad sweep of history. Identifying Vasco da Gama’s arrival in the East as a turning point in the centuries-old struggle between Islam and Christianity—one that continues to shape our world—Holy War reveals the unexpected truth that both Vasco da Gama and his archrival, Christopher Columbus, set sail with the clear purpose of launching a Crusade whose objective was to reach the Indies; seize control of its markets in spices, silks, and precious gems from Muslim traders; and claim for Portugal or Spain, respectively, all the territories they discovered. Vasco da Gama triumphed in his mission and drew a dividing line between the Muslim and Christian eras of history—what we in the West call the medieval and the modern ages. Now that the world is once again tipping back East, Holy War offers a key to understanding age-old religious and cultural rivalries resurgent today.
Ice Ghosts weaves together the epic story of the lost Franklin Expedition of 1845—whose two ships, HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, and their crew of 129 were lost to the Arctic ice—with the modern tale of the scientists, divers, and local Inuit behind the recent incredible discoveries of the wrecks. Paul Watson, a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist who was on the icebreaker that led one of the discovery expeditions, tells a fast-paced historical adventure story and reveals how a combination of faith in Inuit knowledge and the latest science yielded a discovery for the ages.
The four survivors of the Narváez expedition brought nothing back from their sojourn other than their story, but what a tale it was. They had become killers and cannibals, torturers and torture victims, slavers and enslaved. They became faith healers, arms dealers, canoe thieves, spider eaters, and finally, when there were only the four of them left in the high Texas desert, they became itinerate messiahs. They became, in other words, whatever it took to stay alive long enough to inch their way toward Mexico, the only place where they were certain they would find an outpost of the Spanish empire.
The journey of the Cabeza De Vaca expedition is one of the greatest survival epics in the history of American exploration. By drawing on the accounts of the first explorers and the most recent findings of archaeologists and academic historians, Paul Schneider offers a thrilling and authentic narrative to replace a legend of North American exploration.
This book takes seriously the role of form in shaping meaning and its ideological consequences. Young examines, in turn, the representational methodologies, or ‘artes,’ deployed in mapping the ‘whole’ world: illustrating, creating charts for navigation, noting down observations, collecting and cataloguing curiosities, reporting events, formatting materials, and editing and translating old sources. By tracking these methodologies in the lines of beauty and evidence on the page, we can see how early modern producers of knowledge were able to attribute alterity to the ‘southern climes’ of an increasingly complex world, while securing their own place within it.
In this unique history of 1776, Claudio Saunt looks beyond the familiar story of the thirteen colonies to explore the many other revolutions roiling the turbulent American continent. In that fateful year, the Spanish landed in San Francisco, the Russians pushed into Alaska to hunt valuable sea otters, and the Sioux discovered the Black Hills. Hailed by critics for challenging our conventional view of the birth of America, West of the Revolution “[coaxes] our vision away from the Atlantic seaboard” and “exposes a continent seething with peoples and purposes beyond Minutemen and Redcoats” (Wall Street Journal).
On a chance visit to Plymouth Rock, Tony Horwitz realizes he's mislaid more than a century of American history, from Columbus's sail in 1492 to Jamestown's founding in 16-oh-something. Did nothing happen in between? Determined to find out, he embarks on a journey of rediscovery, following in the footsteps of the many Europeans who preceded the Pilgrims to America.
An irresistible blend of history, myth, and misadventure, A Voyage Long and Strange captures the wonder and drama of first contact. Vikings, conquistadors, French voyageurs—these and many others roamed an unknown continent in quest of grapes, gold, converts, even a cure for syphilis. Though most failed, their remarkable exploits left an enduring mark on the land and people encountered by late-arriving English settlers.
Tracing this legacy with his own epic trek—from Florida's Fountain of Youth to Plymouth's sacred Rock, from desert pueblos to subarctic sweat lodges—Tony Horwitz explores the revealing gap between what we enshrine and what we forget. Displaying his trademark talent for humor, narrative, and historical insight, A Voyage Long and Strange allows us to rediscover the New World for ourselves.
On January 17, 1913, alone and near starvation, Douglas Mawson, leader of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition, was hauling a sledge to get back to base camp. The dogs were gone. Now Mawson himself plunged through a snow bridge, dangling over an abyss by the sledge harness. A line of poetry gave him the will to haul himself back to the surface.
Mawson was sometimes reduced to crawling, and one night he discovered that the soles of his feet had completely detached from the flesh beneath. On February 8, when he staggered back to base, his features unrecognizably skeletal, the first teammate to reach him blurted out, "Which one are you?"
This thrilling and almost unbelievable account establishes Mawson in his rightful place as one of the greatest polar explorers and expedition leaders. It is illustrated by a trove of Frank Hurley’s famous Antarctic photographs, many never before published in the United States.
In 1494, award-winning author Stephen R. Bown tells the untold story of the explosive feud between monarchs, clergy, and explorers that split the globe between Spain and Portugal and made the world's oceans a battleground.
When Columbus triumphantly returned from America to Spain in 1493, his discoveries inflamed an already-smouldering conflict between Spain's renowned monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella, and Portugal's João II. Which nation was to control the world's oceans? To quell the argument, Pope Alexander VI—the notorious Rodrigo Borgia—issued a proclamation laying the foundation for the Treaty of Tordesillas of 1494, an edict that created an imaginary line in the Atlantic Ocean dividing the entire known (and unknown) world between Spain and Portugal.
Just as the world's oceans were about to be opened by Columbus's epochal voyage, the treaty sought to limit the seas to these two favored Catholic nations. The edict was to have a profound influence on world history: it propelled Spain and Portugal to superpower status, steered many other European nations on a collision course, and became the central grievance in two centuries of international espionage, piracy, and warfare.
The treaty also began the fight for "the freedom of the seas"—the epic struggle to determine whether the world's oceans, and thus global commerce, would be controlled by the decree of an autocrat or be open to the ships of any nation—a distinctly modern notion, championed in the early seventeenth century by the Dutch legal theorist Hugo Grotius, whose arguments became the foundation of international law.
At the heart of one of the greatest international diplomatic and political agreements of the last five centuries were the strained relationships and passions of a handful of powerful individuals. They were linked by a shared history, mutual animosity, and personal obligations—quarrels, rivalries, and hatreds that dated back decades. Yet the struggle ultimately stemmed from a young woman's determination to defy tradition and the king, and to choose her own husband.
Sir Ernest Shackleton’s 1914 Antarctic endeavor is legend, but for sheer heroism and tragic nobility, nothing compares to the saga of the Ross Sea party. This crew of explorers landed on the opposite side of Antarctica from the Endurance with a mission to build supply depots for Shackleton’s planned crossing of the continent. But their ship disappeared in a gale, leaving ten inexperienced, ill-equipped men to trek 1,356 miles in the harshest environment on earth. Drawing on the men’s own journals and photographs, The Lost Men is a masterpiece of historical adventure, a book destined to be a classic in the vein of Into Thin Air.
As María M. Portuondo here shows, this cosmographic knowledge had considerable strategic, defensive, and monetary value that royal scientists were charged with safeguarding from foreign and internal enemies. Cosmography was thus a secret science, but despite the limited dissemination of this body of knowledge, royal cosmographers applied alternative epistemologies and new methodologies that changed the discipline, and, in the process, how Europeans understood the natural world.