In the mid-nineteenth century, the northern coastline of North America was of particular interest to the Hudson's Bay Company as it was believed to hold the key to the elusive North-West Passage, a trade route from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Recruited to lead a team to survey part of this forbidding region, the Scottish explorer John Rae (1813-93) undertook his first expedition during 1846-7. It was remarkable not only for its success, but also because Rae's was the first crew to overwinter in the Arctic. Unlike other Victorian explorers, Rae embraced the culture of the Inuit and learnt to live off the land like them, which enabled him to complete his survey. First published in 1850, this journal relates the details of his journey as well as how he and his men survived the extreme conditions. It remains a valuable document in the history of Arctic exploration.
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