The Journey to the Polar Sea
At the end of the Napoleonic wars in 1815, the British Admiralty converted a number of small, sturdy vessels for exploration and survey duty. The ... Show synopsis At the end of the Napoleonic wars in 1815, the British Admiralty converted a number of small, sturdy vessels for exploration and survey duty. The most famous - and ultimately tragic - exploration of this era was John Franklin's journey across Canada's polar region between 1819-22. On the recommendation of the Lord Commissioners of the Admiralty, Franklin was handed the task of determining the latitudes and longitudes of the poorly chartered northern coasts of the North American continent, and was to erect "conspicuous marks at places where ships might enter". He was also to measure air temperature three times a day, and record any other meteorological phenomenon encountered. Assisted by a small team, Franklin was also to sketch the landscape, anthropologically study the native Indians, and record the area's natural history. Franklin wrote this account of his expedition, which also contains narratives from other people involved. His story makes for interesting reading, both as an adventure and as a 19th-century record of the culture and history of North America's polar region. Franklin encountered numerous hardships and deprivations, and the mission was destined to end in failure. Despite this, Franklin's journey was a landmark in polar exploration.