Privateer and adventurer Martin Frobisher undertook the search for a northwestern route to Asia under orders from Queen Elizabeth I. A few days after enduring a terrifying storm in July 1576, Frobisher sighted the most easterly outlier of Arctic North America and for the first time England became aware of this vast northern region. Over the next three summers it would be the scene of an adventure involving the fruitless search for a northwest passage, the first attempt by the British to establish a settlement in the New World, and the first major gold-mining fraud in North American history. Over 1200 tons of rock were mined from Baffin Island and shipped to England, where they were found to contain not an ounce of gold. Yet Frobisher's claim of possession established British interest in northern North America and was the first step in the eventual establishment of British sovereignty over the northern half of the American continent. 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 venture. The story ends on an ironic note--the capital of the new Territory of Nunavut, which restores to the Inuit a measure of the sovereignty claimed for England by Frobisher, lies at the head of the bay named after him, where over four centuries ago the English first ventured into Arctic America.
History, Americas, Canada,