This Week in History
John Ross Explores the Arctic
For the week of Monday June 24, 2002
John Ross was born on June 24, 1777, in Scotland. His travels and his survival experiences in the Arctic helped Europeans gather valuable information on this little-known area.
In 1829, Felix Booth, a rich friend of Ross's, financed his second expedition. On board the Victory, the first steamship to sail the Arctic, Ross ventured into Prince Regent Inlet where the ship became icebound. With the help of the Inuit, the crew survived and took advantage of its forced stay to explore the Arctic territory. During an excursion, James Clark Ross, Ross's nephew, located the North Magnetic Pole.
In the spring of 1832, after three winters on Boothia Peninsula, Ross set out to meet the whalers who hunted in Baffin Bay at the time. The men reached Fury Beach on foot, where they recovered ships from a wreck. Unable to cross Lancaster Sound, they were forced to winter there again. On August 26, 1833, having made their way through the ice, they finally caught sight of a sailing vessel. Incredibly, it was the Isabella, the ship Ross had commanded in 1818.
In 1850, John Ross made one last voyage to the Arctic in search of explorer John Franklin. Ross died in 1856. Sir John Ross and Sir James Clark Ross have been designated as persons of national historic significance.
For more information about John Ross and Arctic exploration consult the story about Sir John Franklin from the This Week in History archives: Lost in the Arctic
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