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An Exploration Tip: Timing is Everything

There are good times to do some things, and then there are some not so good times...

Between 1560 and 1850, Europeans began to seriously search for a Northwest Passage that would link Europe to the Orient through Arctic North America.

Martin Frobisher, John Davis, William Baffin, and Henry Hudson led the way, with expeditions starting in the 1570s. Exploration continued, but dropped off after the Franklin Expedition disappeared (1845), and subsequent searches into the 1850s were unable to find him.

Coincidently, between 1560 and 1850, the climate in Northern North America and Europe was colder than it is at present. This period is known as the "Little Ice Age".

The climate change was so severe that the increased ice kept whales out of the Arctic seas - thereby changing the way of life of native people from whale hunters who lived in permanent settlements to nomads hunting seals on the pack ice.

It seems to have been the worst possible time to embark on expeditions by ship through frigid waters. The ice also kept the ships from getting very far, and many explorers either perished or spent winters, if not years, in the Arctic while their ships were icebound.

PICTURE: Sailors prepare their ice-bound ship for the winter.

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Double-click any unlinked word DICTIONARY: Just "double-click" any unlinked word on this page for the definition from Merriam-Webster's Student Electronic Dictionary at Word Central.
Arctic Library ARCTIC LIBRARY & GLOSSARY: Check this section for an index of the rest of the things you really need to know about the Arctic.
All sorts of Arctic Maps ARCTIC MAPS & WEATHER REPORTS: Maps of the Northwest Passage, explorers' routes, iceberg sources, Nunavut, the Arctic by treeline, temperature...
Links to related sites. ARCTIC LINKS: Even more information! Links to sites related to the Arctic and "Iceberg: the Story of the Throps and the Squallhoots".
A Guide to Arctic Sunrise and Sunset GUIDE TO ARCTIC SUNRISE & SUNSET: How much sunlight or darkness is there in the Arctic on each day of the year?

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