North American Exploration - Vol. 1

By John Logan Allen | Go to book overview

6 /
The Northwest Passage in Theory and Practice

DAVID BEERS QUINN

One of the obsessions of sixteenth-century geographers and cartographers, a debate that was carried over into later centuries, was whether or not there was a water channel between Europe and Asia in northern latitudes. After the discovery of the Americas, this question had practical implications for the English and, later, the Dutch and to some extent the Norwegians. A passage in high latitudes, but one not too firmly impeded by ice, opened the possibility of rapid and short access to Asia, which could undercut the long-route access established by the Portuguese round the Cape of Good Hope and by the Spanish through the Strait of Magellan (or more effectively through contacts between Mexico and the Far East). In the projects of the period through the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, the Northeast Passage was almost as frequently discussed and attempted as the Northwest Passage, and thinking and acting about both were intertwined, but it is the search for the Northwest Passage that primarily concerns the exploration of North America.

It is not possible here to separate theory, cartography, and exploration into sharply separate spheres. Each was involved with the other, but it was theory, and the maps emerging from it, that kept exploration going in its early stages especially, just as it was theory that revived the attempts at exploration in the later eighteenth century.1 For medieval cartographers, in both the pre-Ptolemaic and the pre-portolan maps, there was no problem. For Christians the unity of the earth's surface was assumed; its central point was Jerusalem, and the medieval world map was a demonstration not so much of cartography as of the sacred character of the earth's surface revealed by Scripture and predestined to be encompassed as a whole, in the near or distant future, by Christian Europe. The medieval maps might show a "world island" surrounded by water, but the character of the oceanic part was rarely a matter for discussion or of relevance to those who

-292-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
North American Exploration - Vol. 1
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 540

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.