The Northwest Passage: Navigating Old Beliefs and New Realities
One of the greatest stories of exploration and discovery is the quest for the Northwest Passage, an oceanic shortcut from the Atlantic to the Pacific across the top of North America. Tempted with the prospect of wealth and glory, countless seafarers gambled—and occasionally lost—their lives in pursuit of a route through the frozen bays and rivers at the farthest reaches of Arctic North America. Early interest in the Northwest Passage was spurred by the allure of trade goods from regions accessible via the Pacific Ocean, such as China and Spice Islands. Given the Spanish and Portuguese control of the trade routes around the tips of South America and Africa, the search for Northern passages to the Pacific was an obvious undertaking for European countries like Great Britain and the Netherlands.
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