Status: Indexed


names, but Great Britain was honored beyond them all in Hudson, Davis,
Cook, Peary Parry and many others. The search continued hopeful, and for
three centuries the Arctic was in men's minds a potential highway to
the East. But 75 years ago that period of thought came to a full stop ?
with the colossal tragedy of Sir John Franklin. Begin Copying No expedition ever
sailed with higher hopes or equipment more sumptuously and carefully
provided. Yet no one ever returned from the voyage and the story is
known only from the tiniest fragments of documents and from the scattered
bones of a few of those who died.

The white and fearful wilderness which the Greeks had assigned to
the northern portion of their flat world had been banished from men's
minds for three centuries in favor of by a potentially navigable ocean joining
Europe to the coveted East. But the Franklin tragedy gave the lifeless
northern wastes of the ancients their second innings. The world was
still round, but at the "top" of it men now pictured to themselves an
impassably frozen and desert ocean which no longer connected but instead
separated Europe and from China.

Commercial endeavors have their roots in a firm optimism. Men
hope for success, they hope for profit, and that general frame of mind
colors everything they see. The old Norse sagas tell that the discov-
erers of Greenland in 987 named the country so "thinking that colonists would
all the more desire to go there if the land had a fair name”. When
Eric the Red went among his Scandinavian countrymen in search of colon-
ists he certainly told them no tales of hardship and terror for he in-
duced twenty-five ships to follow him towards Greenland in 990, each loaded
with men, women, children, dogs, cattle, horses, sheep, chi poultry and household goods.
They built up on the west coast of Greenland what we would now call a
"dairy industry". Vatican documents show that the Popes of the middle
ages knew that Greenland exported butter, cheese and wool to Europe,
and that they the dignitaries of the church were thankful for the contributions which the Greenlanders

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