Barrow, Sir John

Barrow, Sir John,

1764–1848, British geographer, promoter of arctic exploration. His early travels as secretary to Earl Macartney (who was ambassador to China and governor of the Cape of Good Hope colony) were recorded in Travels in China (1804) and Travels into … Southern Africa (1806). As second secretary of the admiralty (1804–6, 1807–48), he promoted numerous voyages to further knowledge of geography and navigation. He instigated many arctic expeditions, notably those of John Ross and William Parry. He was a principal founder of the Royal Geographical Society in 1830. Point Barrow, Cape Barrow, and Barrow Strait were named in his honor. He wrote Voyages of Discovery and Research in the Arctic Regions (1846).


See his autobiography (1847); biography by C. Lloyd (1970).