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William Baffin: Arctic Cartographer

William Baffin (1584-1622) was a British navigator and map maker who piloted two expeditions to the Arctic. Following Henry Hudson's voyage of 1610-1611, "The Company of Merchants of London, Discoverers of the North West Passage" was formed to explore the Arctic, and the company sent Baffin and Robert Bylot to try to find the Northwest Passage.

Baffin mapped the entire bay that was named after him (Baffin Bay), and the detailed charts greatly aided future exploration (Baffin Island is also named after him). However, he was convinced that there was no Northwest Passage and recommended a more southerly search.

This conclusion was generally accepted and it was not until two centuries later that the Arctic would again attract interest.

Picture: A navigator of Baffin's time.

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