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Northern lights : the arctic scots

ISBN: 9781780277875
Format: Hardback
Publisher: Birlinn (ADS)
Origin: GB
Release Date: January, 2024

Book Details

Surprisingly, the remarkable story of the Scottish role in the discovery of the Northwest Passage – a long desired trade route connecting the Atlantic and Pacific – has not received a great deal of attention. This book charts the extensive contribution to Arctic exploration made by the Scots, including significant names, such as John Ross from Stranraer, veteran of three Arctic expeditions; his nephew, James Clark Ross, the most experienced Arctic and Antarctic explorer of his generation and discoverer of the Magnetic North Pole; John Richardson of Dumfries, a medical doctor, seasoned explorer and engaging natural historian; and Orcadian John Rae, who discovered evidence of the grisly demise of John Franklin and his crew. The book also pays tribute to many others too: the Scotch Irish, the whalers and not least the Inuit, with whom the Scottish explorers cooperated and generally enjoyed good relations, relying on their knowledge of the environment in many crucial cases. The awakening of the Scots to the magnificence and dread of the hyperborean regions – as places of discovery, of inspiration and, regrettably, of exploitation – is traced, with particular emphasis on the first half of the nineteenth century until the search for the missing Franklin expedition mid-century.