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Sir Martin Frobisher.
|Sir Martin Frobisher.|
|© National Maritime Museum, London|
|Repro ID: PU4572|
|Description: During the 1570s and 1580s adventurers searched for a North-East and North-West Passage to open up new markets in the East. Licensed by Elizabeth I, backed by the Muscovy Company and tutored in navigation by John Dee, explorer and privateer Martin Frobisher (1535-94) led the search for a North-West Passage above present-day Canada. Elizabeth and her government took a lively interest in the undertaking, and early in June 1576, Frobisher sailed from Deptford with two vessels of only 25 tons each and a pinnace of ten tons. When the little flotilla passed by the palace at Greenwich, the queen, who was watching from an open window, leaned out and waved her hand toward the commander in token of her good-will and a farewell. Frobisher and his men eventually made three voyages between 1576 and 1578, sailing across the Atlantic Ocean and landing on Baffin Island in northern Canada. The land was claimed for Elizabeth, who named it 'Meta Incognita' (unknown boundary). With the discovery on the first trip of black stone which was believed to contain gold and silver, the mission of the expedition was diverted from exploration to mining. North America's first gold rush was on and Elizabeth herself invested £1000 in it. Mines were built and around 1400 tons of black ore was taken back to London. The ore proved worthless, the venture collapsed and investors were bankrupted.|
|Credit line: National Maritime Museum, London||