Sir Martin Frobisher


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Frobisher, Sir Martin

(frō`bĭshər), 1535?–1594, English mariner. He went to sea as a boy, and spent much of his youth in the African trade. He later gained the friendship of Sir Humphrey GilbertGilbert, Sir Humphrey,
1537?–1583, English soldier, navigator, and explorer; half-brother of Sir Walter Raleigh. Knighted (1570) for his service in the campaigns in Ireland, he later (1572) served in the Netherlands.
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, through whom he became interested in the Northwest PassageNorthwest Passage,
water routes through the Arctic Archipelago, N Canada, and along the northern coast of Alaska between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. Even though the explorers of the 16th cent.
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. Licensed by Queen Elizabeth I and backed by a group of merchant adventurers, Frobisher made three voyages (1576, 1577, and 1578) to the ArcticArctic, the
northernmost area of the earth, centered on the North Pole. The arctic regions are not coextensive with the area enclosed by the Arctic Circle (lat. 66°30'N) but are usually defined by the irregular and shifting 50°F; (10°C;) July isotherm that closely
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 in search of the passage. On his first voyage he sailed into Frobisher Bay to S Baffin Island, and from its shores brought back some black ore thought to contain gold and an Eskimo to prove his belief that he had actually reached fabled Cathay. Returning to Baffin Island on his next two journeys, he explored Frobisher Bay to its head and penetrated a short distance up Hudson Strait. Since his geographical discovery was slight and no gold was revealed in his cargoes of ore, Frobisher's name was discredited for a time. In 1585, however, he won glory as commander of a ship in Sir Francis DrakeDrake, Sir Francis,
1540?–1596, English navigator and admiral, first Englishman to circumnavigate the world (1577–80). Early Career

He was born in Devonshire, the son of a yeoman, and was at an early age apprenticed to a ship captain.
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's expedition to the West Indies and was knighted for his services with Drake and Sir John HawkinsHawkins or Hawkyns, Sir John,
1532–95, English admiral. In 1562–63 and in 1564–65 he led extremely profitable expeditions that captured slaves on the W African coast, shipped them across the Atlantic,
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 in the defeat of the Spanish Armada (see Armada, SpanishArmada, Spanish
, 1588, fleet launched by Philip II of Spain for the invasion of England, to overthrow the Protestant Elizabeth I and establish Philip on the English throne; also called the Invincible Armada.
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) in 1588. He died as the result of wounds received at Brest during an English campaign against the Spanish. The narratives of his voyages, first published in 1578, have passed through several editions. The Three Voyages of Martin Frobisher by George Best was edited from the original 1578 text by Vilhjalmur Stefansson (1937).

Bibliography

See biography by J. McDermott (2001); study by R. Ruby (2001).