Willem Barents

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Willem Barentsz
BirthplaceTerschelling, Seventeen Provinces
Known for Exploration of the Arctic

Barents, Willem


(also W. Barendsz). Born circa 1550 in Amsterdam; died June 20, 1597, near the northern end of Novaia Zemlia. Buried in Novaia Zemlia. Dutch navigator.

Between 1594 and 1597, Barents made three trips around the northern Arctic Ocean with the goal of finding a northeastern passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific. The expedition of 1596–97 rediscovered Bear and Spitsbergen islands. Impassable ice forced the expedition to winter on the northeastern coast of the island Novaia Zemlia. On the basis of his observations Barents mapped Novaia Zemlia, was the first to make meteorological observations of an annual cycle, and was the first to make soundings along his ship’s course, in the sea which subsequently was given his name. An island of the Spitsbergen archipelago and the settlement and port of Barentsburg, on Vestspitsbergen Island, were also named in honor of Barents.


Veer. G. de. Plavaniia Barentsa, 1594–1597. Leningrad, 1936.
Pasetskii, V. M. Villem Barents (1550–1597). Moscow, 1956.