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Willem Barents Searches for the Northeast Passage and Finds Svalbard Instead: An entry from Gale's Science and Its Times [HTML] [Digital]

Judson Knight

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Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

The sixteenth century saw the rise of two new Western European powers, England and Holland, each of which had hopes of building international trading empires. Both, however, recognized that Spanish and Portuguese dominance prevented them from plying the routes to the Americas, Africa, and Asia already claimed by the Iberian powers; thus was born the idea of finding a northern passage to Cathay or China. England was the first to send expeditions, both along the northeastern and later the northwestern routes. Each of these efforts was doomed to failure, and finally England gave up the quest....

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