King William Island

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King William Island,

part of the Arctic Archipelago, in the Arctic Ocean, Nunavut Territory, Canada, between Boothia Peninsula and Victoria Island. The northern coast of the island was explored (1831) by Sir James C. RossRoss, Sir James Clark,
1800–1862, British polar explorer and rear admiral. In 1818 he accompanied his uncle, Sir John Ross, in search of the Northwest Passage and commanded the Erebus.
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. In 1837, Thomas Simpson of the Hudson's Bay Company traced the southern coast. The ships of the expedition of Sir John FranklinFranklin, Sir John,
1786–1847, British explorer in N Canada whose disappearance caused a widespread search of the Arctic. Entering the navy in 1801, he fought in the battle of Trafalgar.
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 were wrecked off the west coast, and the island was further explored by searchers for Franklin, notably John RaeRae, John,
1813–93, Scottish arctic explorer, b. Orkney Islands. A physician in the employ of the Hudson's Bay Company in N Canada, Rae made (1846–47) a journey of exploration from Fort Churchill to the Gulf of Boothia, which he described in his
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 and Sir Francis L. McClintockMcClintock, Sir Francis Leopold,
1819–1907, British arctic explorer. As a lieutenant in the navy he was assigned to his first arctic service in 1848, when Sir James Clark Ross went in search of the lost expedition of Sir John Franklin.
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. Roald AmundsenAmundsen, Roald
(Roald Engelbregt Grauning Amundsen) , 1872–1928, Norwegian polar explorer; the first person to reach the South Pole. He served (1897–99) as first mate on the Belgica
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 wintered there in 1903–4 while on his way through the Northwest Passage.


See P. F. Cooper, Island of the Lost (1961).

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