William Barents, Dutch explorer, dies while attempting to find a passage to China

(166 words)
  • Editors

Historical Context Note

  • The Literary Encyclopedia. Volume 1.5.1: Dutch and Flemish Writing and Culture, 800-present.

William Barents made several journeys in the North seas with the hopes of finding the Northeast passage above Siberia. In his first journey of 1594 he discovered the Orange Islands and reached the west coast of Novaya Zemlya, having encountered polar bears and walruses. The second expedition was a failure, due to the waters of the Kara Sea being frozen. In the third expedition, they set off on 10 or 15 May; on 9 June they discovered Bear Island, and then Spitsbergen on 17 June. On July 1 they reached Bear Island and the party split in two. Barents continued northeast and reached Novaya Zemlya on 17 July. He intended to sail on but became stuck within icebergs and floes and the team was forced to spend the winter on ice, dealing with …

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Editors. "William Barents, Dutch explorer, dies while attempting to find a passage to China". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 01 January 2010
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=10271, accessed 01 October 2016.]