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´╗┐Title: A Book of Discovery - The History of the World's Exploration, From the Earliest Times to the Finding of the South Pole
Author: Synge, M. B. (Margaret Bertha), -1939
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A Book of Discovery - The History of the World's Exploration, From the Earliest Times to the Finding of the South Pole" ***

150. From the first printed edition of 1472 (the first book to have
printed maps) and the famous Rome edition of 1508. It is only necessary
to compare this map with the mythical geography represented in a
mediaeval map such as the Hereford map of the world, made _eleven
centuries_ later to recognise the extraordinary accuracy and
scientific value of Ptolemy's geography.]


By M. B. SYNGE, F.R.Hist.S.


[Illustration: THE _GOLDEN HIND_ (_From the Chart of "Drake's



"Hope went before them, and the world was wide."

Such was the spirit in which the exploration of the world was
accomplished. It was the inspiration that carried men of old far beyond
the sunrise into those magic and silent seas whereon no boat had ever
sailed. It is the incentive of those to-day with the wander-thirst
in their souls, who travel and suffer in the travelling, though there
are fewer prizes left to win. But

   "The reward is in the doing,
    And the rapture of pursuing
    Is the prize."

"To travel hopefully," says Stevenson, "is a better thing than to
arrive." This would explain the fact that this Book of Discovery has
become a record of splendid endurance, of hardships bravely borne,
of silent toil, of courage and resolution unequalled in the annals
of mankind, of self-sacrifice unrivalled and faithful lives laid
ungrudgingly down. Of the many who went forth, the few only attained.
It is of these few that this book tells.

"All these," says the poet in Ecclesiastes--"all these were honoured
in their generation, and were the glory of their times ... their name
liveth for evermore."

But while we read of those master-spirits who succeeded, let us never
forget those who failed to achieve.

   "Anybody might have found it, but the Whisper came to Me."

Enthusiasm too was the secret of their success. Among the best of crews
there was always some one who would have turned back, but the world
would never have been explored had it not been for those finer spirits
who resolutely went on--even to the death.

This is what carried Alexander the Great to the "earth's utmost verge,"
that drew Columbus across the trackless Atlantic, that nerved Vasco
da Gama to double the Stormy Cape, that induced Magellan to face the
dreaded straits now called by his name, that made it possible for men
to face without flinching the ice-bound regions of the far North.

"There is no land uninhabitable, nor sea unnavigable," asserted the
men of the sixteenth century, when England set herself to take
possession of her heritage in the North. Such an heroic temper could
overcome all things. But the cost was great, the sufferings intense.

"Having eaten our shoes and saddles boiled with a few wild herbs, we
set out to reach the kingdom of gold," says Orellana in 1540.

"We ate biscuit, but in truth it was biscuit no longer, but a powder
full of worms,--so great was the want of food, that we were forced
to eat the hides with which the mainyard was covered; but we had also
to make use of sawdust for food, and rats became a great delicacy,"
related Magellan, as he led his little ship across the unknown Pacific.

Again, there is Franklin returning from the Arctic coast, and stilling
the pangs of hunger with "pieces of singed hide mixed with lichen,"
varied with "the horns and bones of a dead deer fried with some old

The dangers of the way were manifold.

For the early explorers had no land map or ocean chart to guide them,
there were no lighthouses to warn the strange mariner of dangerous
coast and angry surf, no books of travel to relate the weird doings
of fierce and inhospitable savages, no tinned foods to prevent the
terrible scourge of sailors, scurvy. In their little wooden sailing
ships the men of old faced every conceivable danger, and surmounted
obstacles unknown to modern civilisation.

   "Now strike your Sails ye jolly Mariners,
    For we be come into a quiet Rode."

For the most part we are struck with the light-heartedness of the olden
sailor, the shout of gladness with which men went forth on these
hazardous undertakings, knowing not how they would arrive, or what
might befall them by the way, went forth in the smallest of wooden
ships, with the most incompetent of crews, to face the dangers of
unknown seas and unsuspected lands, to chance the angry storm and the
hidden rock, to discover inhospitable shores and savage foes. Founded
on bitter experience is the old saying--

   "A Passage Perilous makyth a Port Pleasant."

For the early navigators knew little of the art of navigation.

Pytheas, who discovered the British Isles, was "a great
mathematician." Diego Cam, who sailed to the mouth of the Congo, was
"a knight of the King's household." Sir Hugh Willoughby, "a most
valiant gentleman." Richard Chancellor, "a man of great estimation
for many good parts of wit in him." Anthony Jenkinson, a "resolute
and intelligent gentleman." Sir Walter Raleigh, an Elizabethan
courtier, and so forth.

It has been obviously impossible to include all the famous names that
belong to the history of exploration. Most of these explorers have
been chosen for some definite new discovery, some addition to the
world's geographical knowledge, or some great feat of endurance which
may serve to brace us to fresh effort as a nation famous for our seamen.
English navigators have been afforded the lion's share in the book,
partly because they took the lion's share in exploring, partly because
translations of foreign travel are difficult to transcribe. Most of
these stories have been taken from original sources, and most of the
explorers have been allowed to tell part of their own story in their
own words.

Perhaps the most graphic of all explorations is that written by a native
of West Australia, who accompanied an exploring party searching for
an English lad named Smith, who had been starved to death.

"Away, away, away, away; we reach the water of Djunjup; we shoot game.
Away, away, away through a forest away, through a forest away; we see
no water. Through a forest away, along our tracks away; hills ascending,
then pleasantly away, away, through a forest away. We see a
water--along the river away--a short distance we go, then away, away,
away through a forest away. Then along another river away, across the
river away. Still we go onwards, along the sea away, through the bush
away, then along the sea away. We sleep near the sea. I see Mr. Smith's
footsteps ascending a sandhill; onwards I go regarding his footsteps.
I see Mr. Smith dead. Two sleeps had he been dead; greatly did I weep,
and much I grieved. In his blanket folding him, we scraped away the
earth. The sun had inclined to the westward as we laid him in the

The book is illustrated with reproductions from old maps--old
primitive maps, with a real Adam and Eve standing in the Garden of
Eden, with Pillars of Hercules guarding the Straits of Gibraltar, with
Paradise in the east, a realistic Jerusalem in the centre, the island
of Thule in the north, and St. Brandon's Isles of the Blest in the

Beautifully coloured were the maps of the Middle Ages, "joyous charts
all glorious with gold and vermilion, compasses and crests and flying
banners, with mountains of red and gold." The seas are full of
ships--"brave beflagged vessels with swelling sails." The land is
ablaze with kings and potentates on golden thrones under canopies of
angels. While over all presides the Madonna in her golden chair.

The Hereford Mappa Mundi, drawn in the thirteenth century on a fine
sheet of vellum, circular in form, is among the most interesting of
the mediaeval maps. It must once have been gorgeous, with its gold
letters and scarlet towns, its green seas and its blue rivers. The
Red Sea is still red, but the Mediterranean is chocolate brown, and
all the green has disappeared. The mounted figure in the lower
right-hand corner is probably the author, Richard de Haldingham. The
map is surmounted by a representation of the Last Judgment, below which
is Paradise as a circular island, with the four rivers and the figures
of Adam and Eve. In the centre is Jerusalem. The world is divided into
three--Asia, "Affrica," and Europe. Around this earth-island flows
the ocean. America is, of course, absent; the East is placed at Paradise
and the West at the Pillars of Hercules. North and South are left to
the imagination.

And what of the famous map of Juan de la Cosa, once pilot to Columbus,
drawn in the fifteenth century, with St. Christopher carrying the
infant Christ across the water, supposed to be a portrait of
Christopher Columbus carrying the gospel to America? It is the first
map in which a dim outline appears of the New World.

The early maps of "Apphrica" are filled with camels and unicorns, lions
and tigers, veiled figures and the turrets and spires of strange

   "Geographers in Afric maps
    With savage pictures fill their gaps."

"Surely," says a modern writer,--"surely the old cartographer was less
concerned to fill his gaps than to express the poetry of geography."

And to-day, there are still gaps in the most modern maps of Africa,
where one-eleventh of the whole area remains unexplored. Further, in
Asia the problem of the Brahmaputra Falls is yet unsolved; there are
shores untrodden and rivers unsurveyed.

"God hath given us some things, and not all things, that our successors
also might have somewhat to do," wrote Barents in the sixteenth century.
There may not be much left, but with the words of Kipling's _Explorer_
we may fitly conclude--

   "Something hidden. Go and find it. Go and look behind the Ranges--
    Something lost behind the Ranges. Lost and waiting for you. Go!"

Thanks are due to Mr. S. G. Stubbs for valuable assistance in the
selection and preparation of the illustrations, which, with few
exceptions, have been executed under his directions.


   CHAP.                                                         PAGE
      I. A LITTLE OLD WORLD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   1
     II. EARLY MARINERS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  10
    III. IS THE WORLD FLAT? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  19
     IV. HERODOTUS--THE TRAVELLER . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  26
      V. ALEXANDER THE GREAT EXPLORES INDIA . . . . . . . . . . .  35
     VI. PYTHEAS FINDS THE BRITISH ISLES  . . . . . . . . . . . .  48
    VII. JULIUS CAESAR AS EXPLORER  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  54
   VIII. STRABO'S GEOGRAPHY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  61
     IX. THE ROMAN EMPIRE AND PLINY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  68
      X. PTOLEMY'S MAPS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  74
     XI. PILGRIM TRAVELLERS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  77
    XII. IRISH EXPLORERS  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  83
   XIII. AFTER MOHAMMED . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  88
    XIV. THE VIKINGS SAIL THE NORTHERN SEAS . . . . . . . . . . .  93
     XV. ARAB WAYFARERS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  98
    XVI. TRAVELLERS TO THE EAST . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 107
   XVII. MARCO POLO . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 115
  XVIII. THE END OF MEDIAEVAL EXPLORATION . . . . . . . . . . . . 126
    XIX. MEDIAEVAL MAPS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 133
     XX. PRINCE HENRY OF PORTUGAL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 138
   XXII. CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 155
  XXIII. A GREAT NEW WORLD  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 165
   XXIV. VASCO DA GAMA REACHES INDIA  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 171
    XXV. DISCOVERY OF THE SPICE ISLANDS . . . . . . . . . . . . . 180
   XXVI. BALBOA SEES THE PACIFIC OCEAN  . . . . . . . . . . . . . 190
  XXVII. MAGELLAN SAILS ROUND THE WORLD . . . . . . . . . . . . . 195
   XXIX. EXPLORERS IN SOUTH AMERICA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 215
    XXX. CABOT SAILS TO NEWFOUNDLAND  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 224
   XXXI. JACQUES CARTIER EXPLORES CANADA  . . . . . . . . . . . . 228
  XXXII. SEARCH FOR A NORTH-EAST PASSAGE  . . . . . . . . . . . . 235
   XXXV. DAVIS STRAIT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 259
  XXXVI. BARENTS SAILS TO SPITZBERGEN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 265
 XXXVII. HUDSON FINDS HIS BAY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 273
XXXVIII. BAFFIN FINDS HIS BAY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 280
     XL. CHAMPLAIN DISCOVERS LAKE ONTARIO . . . . . . . . . . . . 290
    XLI. EARLY DISCOVERERS OF AUSTRALIA . . . . . . . . . . . . . 296
   XLII. TASMAN FINDS TASMANIA  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 302
  XLIII. DAMPIER DISCOVERS HIS STRAIT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 306
   XLIV. BEHRING FINDS HIS STRAIT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 312
    XLV. COOK DISCOVERS NEW ZEALAND . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 319
   XLVI. COOK'S THIRD VOYAGE AND DEATH  . . . . . . . . . . . . . 330
  XLVII. BRUCE'S TRAVELS IN ABYSSINIA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 339
 XLVIII. MUNGO PARK AND THE NIGER . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 348
   XLIX. VANCOUVER DISCOVERS HIS ISLAND . . . . . . . . . . . . . 357
      L. MACKENZIE AND HIS RIVER  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 362
     LI. PARRY DISCOVERS LANCASTER SOUND  . . . . . . . . . . . . 365
    LII. THE FROZEN NORTH . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 372
   LIII. FRANKLIN'S LAND JOURNEY TO THE NORTH . . . . . . . . . . 382
    LIV. PARRY'S POLAR VOYAGE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 388
     LV. THE SEARCH FOR TIMBUKTU  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 391
  LVIII. FLINDERS NAMES AUSTRALIA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 410
    LIX. STURT'S DISCOVERIES IN AUSTRALIA . . . . . . . . . . . . 419
   LXII. DAVID LIVINGSTONE  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 440
  LXIII. BURTON AND SPEKE IN CENTRAL AFRICA . . . . . . . . . . . 450
    LXV. EXPEDITION TO VICTORIA NYANZA  . . . . . . . . . . . . . 460
   LXVI. BAKER FINDS ALBERT NYANZA  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 467
  LXVII. LIVINGSTONE'S LAST JOURNEY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 474
 LXVIII. THROUGH THE DARK CONTINENT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 486
    LXX. THE EXPLORATION OF TIBET . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 511
   LXXI. NANSEN REACHES FARTHEST NORTH  . . . . . . . . . . . . . 521
  LXXII. PEARY REACHES THE NORTH POLE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 530
 LXXIII. THE QUEST FOR THE SOUTH POLE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 536

         DATES OF CHIEF EVENTS  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 545
         INDEX  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 549


Ptolemy's Map of the World about A.D. 150 . . . . . .  _Frontispiece_
    Taken from the first printed edition of 1472 and the Rome
      edition of 1508.

                                                          FACING PAGE
The Polos leaving Venice for their Travels to the Far East  . . . 118
    From a Miniature at the head of a late 14th century MS. of the
      _Travels of Marco Polo_, in the Bodleian Library, Oxford.

The Hereford Mappa Mundi of 1280  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 134
    The original, made by RICHARD DE HALDINGHAM, Prebendary of
      Hereford, hangs in the Chapter House Library, Hereford

Map of the World drawn in 1500, the first to show America . . . . 168

The Dauphin Map of the World  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 234
    Made by PIERRE DESCELLIERS 1546, by order of Francis I. for
      the Dauphin (Henri II.) of France.

Barents's Ship among the Arctic Ice . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 270
    From a coloured woodcut in Barents's _Three Voyages_
     (De Veer), published in 1598.

Ross's Winter Quarters in Felix Harbour . . . . . . . . . . . . . 404

The First Communication With Eskimos at Boothia Felix, 1830 . . . 404
    From Drawings by ROSS in the _Narrative of his Expedition to
      the North Magnetic Pole, A Second Voyage in Search of a
      North-West Passage_, 1829-33.

Shackleton's Ship, the _Nimrod_, among the Ice in McMurdo Sound . 538
    From _The Heart of the Antarctic_ (published by Heinemann), by
      kind permission of Sir ERNEST SHACKLETON.


                                                          FACING PAGE
The Unrolling of the Clouds: the World as known at the time of
    Homer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  18

The Unrolling of the Clouds: the World as known at the time of
    Ptolemy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  74

The Unrolling of the Clouds: the World as known at the end of
    the 13th century  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 120

The Best Portrait of Columbus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 158
    From the original Painting by an unknown artist in the Naval
      Museum, Madrid.

The Unrolling of the Clouds: the World as known at the time of
    Columbus  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 166

Amerigo Vespucci  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 170
    From the Sculpture by GRAZZINI at the Uffizi Gallery,

Ferdinand Magellan, the first Circumnavigator . . . . . . . . . . 198
    From the Engraving by FERDINAND SELMA.

Sir Francis Drake, the first Englishman to sail round the World . 252
    After the Engraving attributed to HONDIUS.

The Unrolling of the Clouds: the World as known at the time of
    Drake . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 258

Karakakova Bay, where Captain Cook was murdered . . . . . . . . . 334
    From the Engraving in the Atlas to COOK'S _Voyages_.

The Unrolling of the Clouds: the World as known at the time of
    Cook  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 336

Mungo Park  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 350
    From the Engraving in PARK'S _Travels into the Interior of
      Africa_, 1799.

Search for a North-West Passage: Parry's Ships cutting through
    the Ice into Winter Harbour, 1819 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 370
    From a Drawing by WILLIAM WESTALL, A.R.A., of a Sketch by
      Lieut. BEECHEY, a member of the expedition. From PARRY'S
      _Journal of a Voyage for the Discovery of the North-West

Lhasa and the Potala  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 520
    From a Photograph by a member of Younghusband's Expedition to

At the North Pole . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 534
    From the Photograph in Admiral PEARY'S book _The North Pole_.

Captain Roald Amundsen taking Sights at the South Pole  . . . . . 544
    From a Photograph.

Acknowledgment is due to the courtesy of Mr. John Murray and the
_Illustrated London News_ for the photograph taken at the South Pole,
facing page 544; to Admiral Peary for that taken at the North Pole,
facing page 534; and to Sir Ernest Shackleton and Mr. Heinemann for
the colour-plate of the _Nimrod_. Permissions have also been granted
by Mr. John Murray (for illustrations from Livingstone's books and
Admiral McClintock's _Voyage of the Fox_); by Messrs. Macmillan (for
the colour-plate of the Polos leaving Venice, from the Bodleian); and
by Messrs. Sampson, Low, Marston, & Co. (for illustrations from Sir
H. M. Stanley's books).


The Garden of Eden with its Four Rivers . . . . . . . . . . . . .   2
    From the Hereford Map of the World.

Babylonian Map of the World on Clay . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
    In the British Museum.

The oldest known Ships: between 6000 and 5000 B.C.  . . . . . . .   4
    From a pre-Egyptian Vase-painting.

Egyptian Ship of the Expedition to Punt, about 1600 B.C.  . . . .   7
    From a Rock-carving at Der el Bahari.

The Ark on Ararat, and the Cities of Nineveh and Babylon  . . . .   8
    From LEONARDO DATI'S Map of 1422.

A Phoenician Ship, about 700 B.C. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  11
    From a Bas-relief at Nineveh.

Map of the Voyage of the Argonauts  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  14

The Pillars of Hercules, as shown in a Mediaeval Map  . . . . . .  20
    HIGDEN'S Map of the World. 1360 A.D.

The Pillars of Hercules, as shown in the Anglo-Saxon Map of the
    World, 10th century . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  22

A Greek Galley, about 500 B.C.  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  23
    From a Vase-painting.

Jerusalem, the Centre of the World  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  24
    From the Hereford Map of the World, 13th century.

A Merchant-Ship of Athens, about 500 B.C. . . . . . . . . . . . .  28
    From a Vase-painting.

The Coast of Africa, after Ptolemy (Mercator's Edition), showing
    Hanno's Voyage  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  31

A Sketch Map of Alexander's Chief Exploratory Marches from Athens
    to Hyderabad and Gaza . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  42

Alexandria in Pizzigani's Map, 14th century . . . . . . . . . . .  44

North Britain and the Island of Thule . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  52
    From MERCATOR'S edition of Ptolemy's Map.

A Portion of an old Roman Map of the World, showing the roads
    through the Empire  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  62
    From the Peutinger Table.

The World-Island according to Strabo, 18 A.D. . . . . . . . . . .  65

Hull of a Roman Merchant-Ship . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  71
    From a Roman model at Greenwich.

A Roman Galley, about 110 A.D.  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  73
    From Trajan's Column at Rome.

The First Stages of a Mediaeval Pilgrimage, London to Dover . . .  78
    From MATTHEW OF PARIS'S _Itinerary_, 13th century.

Jerusalem and the East  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  81
    From MATTHEW OF PARIS'S _Itinerary_, 13th century.

Ireland and St. Brandon's Isle  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  85
    From the Catalan Map, 1375.

The Mysterious Isle of St. Brandon  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  87
    From MARTIN BEHAIM'S Map, 1492.

The World-Map of Cosmas, 6th century  . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  89
    The oldest Christian Map.

The Mountain of Cosmas  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  91

A Viking Ship . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  95
    From Professor MONTELIUS'S book on Scandinavian archaeology.

A Khalif on his Throne  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  99
    From the Ancona Map, 1497.

A Chinese Emperor giving Audience, 9th century  . . . . . . . . . 100
    From an old Chinese MS. at Paris.

The Scene of Sindbad's Voyages  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 103
    From EDRISI'S Map, 1154.

Sindbad's Giant Roc . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105
    From an Oriental Miniature Painting.

Jerusalem and the Pilgrims' Ways to it, 12th century  . . . . . . 109
    From a Map of the 12th century at Brussels.

Two Emperors of Tartary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 110
    From the Catalan Map, 1375.

A Tartar Camp . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 111
    From the Borgian Map, 1453.

Initial Letter from the MS. of Rubruquis at Cambridge . . . . . . 113

How the Brothers Polo set out from Constantinople with their
    nephew Marco for China  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 116
    From a Miniature Painting in 14th century _Livre des

Marco Polo lands at Ormuz . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 117
    From a Miniature in the _Livre des Merveilles_.

Kublai Khan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 119
    From an old Chinese Encyclopaedia at Paris.

Marco Polo  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 123
    From a Woodcut in the first printed edition of MARCO POLO'S
      _Travels_, 1477.

A Japanese Fight against the Chinese at the time when Marco Polo
    first saw the Japanese  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 125
    From an ancient Japanese Painting.

Sir John Mandeville on his Travels  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 127
    From a MS. in the British Museum.

An Emperor of Tartary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 129
    From the Map ascribed to SEBASTIAN CABOT, 1544.

A Caravan in Cathay . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 131
    From the Catalan Map, 1375.

The Turin Map of the World, 8th century . . . . . . . . . . . . . 134

A T-map, 10th century . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 135

A T-map, 13th century . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 135

The Kaiser holding the World  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 136
    From a 12th-century MS.

The "Anglo-Saxon" Map of the World, drawn about 990 A.D.  . . . . 137
    From the Cotton MSS. in the British Museum.

Africa--from Ceuta to Madeira . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 141
    From FRA MAURO'S Map, 1457.

The Voyage to Cape Blanco from Cape Bojador . . . . . . . . . . . 142
    From FRA MAURO'S Map, 1457.

A Portion of Africa illustrating Cadamosto's Voyage beyond Cape
    Blanco  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 146
    From FRA MAURO'S Map, 1457.

Sketch of Africa  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 147
    From FRA MAURO'S Map of the World, 1457.

Negro Boys  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 151
    From CABOT'S Map, 1544.

The West Coast of Africa  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 153
    From MARTIN BEHAIM'S Map, 1492.

The Parting of Columbus with Ferdinand and Isabella, 3rd August
    1492  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 156
    From DE BRY'S account of the _Voyages to India_, 1601.

Columbus's Ship, the _Santa Maria_  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 158
    From a Woodcut of 1493, supposed to be after a Drawing by

Columbus landing on Hispaniola  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 160
    From a Woodcut of 1494.

The first Representation of the People of the New World . . . . . 163
    From a Woodcut published at Augsburg between 1497 and 1504.

The Town of Isabella and the Colony founded by Columbus . . . . . 166
    From a Woodcut of 1494.

Vasco da Gama . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 173
    From a contemporary Portrait.

Africa as it was known after da Gama's Expeditions  . . . . . . . 175
    From JUAN DE LA COSA'S Map of 1500.

Calicut and the Southern Indian Coast . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 177
    From JUAN DE LA COSA'S Map, 1500.

The Malabar Coast . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 183
    From FRA MAURO'S Map.

A Ship of Albuquerque's Fleet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 185
    From a very fine Woodcut in the British Museum.

A Ship of Java and the China Seas in the 16th century . . . . . . 187
    From LINSCHOTEN'S _Navigatio ac Itinerarium_, 1598.

One of the first Maps of the Pacific  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 193
    From DIEGO RIBERO'S Map, 1529.

Magellan's Fleet  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 197
    From MERCATOR'S _Mappe Monde_, 1569.

A Ship of the 16th century  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 199
    From AMORETTI'S translation of _Magellan's Voyage round the

"Hondius his Map of the Magellan Streight"  . . . . . . . . . . . 201
    From a Map by JODOCUS HONDIUS, about 1590.

The first Ship that sailed round the World  . . . . . . . . . . . 203
    Magellan's _Victoria_, from HULSIUS'S _Collection of Voyages_,

Hernando Cortes, Conqueror of Mexico  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 207
    After the original Portrait at Mexico.

The Battles of the Spaniards in Mexico  . . . . . . . . . . . . . 213
    From an ancient Aztec Drawing.

Pizarro . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 217
    From the Portrait at Cuzco.

Peru and South America  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 219
    From the Map of the World, 1544, usually ascribed to SEBASTIAN

Peruvian Warriors of the Inca Period  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 223
    From an ancient Peruvian Painting.

Part of North America, showing Sebastian Cabot's Voyage to
    Newfoundland  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 225
    From the Map of 1544, usually ascribed to CABOT.

Jacques Cartier . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 229
    From an old Pen-drawing at the Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris.

Canada and the River St. Lawrence, showing Quebec . . . . . . . . 231
    From LESCARBOT'S _Histoire de la Nouvelle France_, 1609.

New France, showing Newfoundland, Labrador, and the St. Lawrence  233
    From JOCOMO DI GASTALDI'S Map, about 1550.

Ivan Vasiliwich, King of Muscovie . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 239
    From an old Woodcut.

Anthony Jenkinson's Map of Russia, Muscovy, and Tartary . . . . 242-3
    Published in 1562.

Greenlanders as seen by Martin Frobisher  . . . . . . . . . . . . 247
    From Captain BESTE'S Account of Frobisher's _Voyages_, 1578.

Sir Francis Drake . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 249
    From HOLLAND'S _Heroologia_, 1620.

The Silver Map of the World . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 252
    From Medallion in British Museum.

The Silver Map of the World . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 253
    From Medallion in British Museum.

The _Golden Hind_ at New Albion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 255
    From the Chart of Drake's _Voyages_.

The _Golden Hind_ at Java . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 257
    From the Chart of Drake's _Voyages_.

An Eskimo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 261
    From a Water-colour Drawing by JOHN WHITE, about 1585.

A Ship of the late 16th century . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 266
    From Ortelius, 1598.

Nova Zembla and the Arctic Regions  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 267
    From a Map in DE BRY'S _Grands Voyages_, 1598.

Barents in the Arctic--"Hut wherein we wintered"  . . . . . . . . 269
    From DE VEER'S Account of the _Voyages of Barents_, 1598.

Hudson's Map of his Voyages in the Arctic . . . . . . . . . . . . 275
    From his Book published in 1612.

A Ship of Hudson's Fleet  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 277
    From his _Voyages_, 1612.

Baffin's Map of his Voyages to the North  . . . . . . . . . . . . 283
    From original MS., drawn by BAFFIN, in the British Museum.

Sir Walter Raleigh  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 287

Raleigh's Map of Guinea, El Dorado, and the Orinoco Coast . . . . 289
    From the original Map, drawn by RALEIGH, in British Museum.

The first Settlement at Quebec  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 291
    From CHAMPLAIN'S _Voyages_, 1613.

The Defeat of the Iroquois by Champlain . . . . . . . . . . . . . 293
    From a Drawing in CHAMPLAIN'S _Voyages_, 1613.

An early Map of "Terra Australis" called "Java la Grande" . . . . 297
    From the "Dauphin" Map of 1546.

The Wreck of Captain Pelsart's Ship, the _Batavia_, on the Coast
    of New Holland  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 301
    From the Dutch account of PELSART'S _Voyages_, 1647.

Van Diemen's Land and two of Tasman's Ships . . . . . . . . . . . 304
    From the Map drawn by TASMAN in his "Journal."

Dampier's Ship, the _Cygnet_  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 309
    From a Drawing in the Dutch edition of his _Voyage Round the
      World_, 1698.

Dampier's Strait and the Island of New Britain  . . . . . . . . . 311
    From a Map in DAMPIER'S _Voyages_, 1697.

Chart of Behring's Voyage from Kamtchatka to North America  . . . 317
    From a Chart drawn in 1741 by Lieut. WAXELL.

The Island of Otaheite, or St. George . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 321
    From a Painting by WILLIAM HODGES.

A Maori Fort on the Coast between Poverty Bay and Cape Turnagain  323
    From an Engraving in the Atlas to COOK'S first _Voyage_.

Captain Cook's Vessel beached at the Entrance of Endeavour River  327
    From an Engraving in the Atlas to COOK'S first _Voyage_.

Captain James Cook  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 333
    From the Painting by DANCE in the Gallery of Greenwich

Port Jackson and Sydney Cove  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 337
    From the Atlas to the _Voyage de l'Astrolabe_.

A Nile Boat, or Canja . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 341
    From BRUCE'S _Travels to Discover the Source of the Nile_.

An Arab Sheikh  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 343
    From BRUCE'S _Travels_.

The Camp of Ali, the Mohammedan Chief, at Benown  . . . . . . . . 353
    From a Sketch by MUNGO PARK.

Kamalia, a Native Village near the Southern Course of the Niger . 355
    From a Sketch by MUNGO PARK.

A Native Woman washing Gold in Senegal  . . . . . . . . . . . . . 356
    From a Sketch by MUNGO PARK, made on his last expedition.

Vancouver's Ship, the _Discovery_, on the Rocks in Queen
    Charlotte's Sound . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 360
    From a Drawing in VANCOUVER'S _Voyage_, 1798.

Parry's Ships, the _Hecla_ and _Griper_, in Winter Harbour  . . . 369
    From a Drawing in PARRY'S _Voyage for the North-West Passage_,

The North Shore of Lancaster Sound  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 371
    From a Drawing in PARRY'S _Voyage for the North-West Passage_,

A Winter View of Fort Enterprise  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 375
    From a Drawing, by WILLIAM BACK, in Franklin's _Journey to the
      Polar Sea_, 1823.

Franklin's Expedition to the Polar Sea on the Ice . . . . . . . . 377
    From a Drawing, by WILLIAM BACK, in Franklin's _Journey to the
      Polar Sea_, 1823.

An Eskimo watching a Seal Hole  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 379
    From a Drawing in PARRY'S _Second Voyage for a North-West
      Passage_, 1824.

Fort Franklin, on the Great Bear Lake, in the Winter  . . . . . . 383
    From a Drawing in FRANKLIN'S _Second Expedition to the Polar
      Sea_, 1828.

Franklin's Expedition crossing Back's Inlet . . . . . . . . . . . 385
    From a Drawing, by Lieut. BACK, in Franklin's _Second
      Expedition to the Polar Sea_, 1828.

The Boats of Parry's Expedition hauled up on the Ice for the
    Night . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 389
    From a Drawing in PARRY'S _Attempt to Reach the North Pole_,

Major Denham and his Party received by the Sheikh of Bornu  . . . 393
    From a Drawing by Major DENHAM.

The first European Picture of Timbuktu  . . . . . . . . . . . . . 397
    From a Drawing in CAILLE'S _Tomboctou_, 1829.

Richard and John Lander paddling down the Niger . . . . . . . . . 401
    From a Drawing in the account of LANDER'S _Travels_, 1835.

The Rosses on their Journey to the North Magnetic Pole  . . . . . 407
    From a Drawing in ROSS'S _Second Voyage for a North-West
      Passage_, 1835.

"Somerset House," Ross's Winter Quarters on Fury Beach  . . . . . 409
    From a Drawing in ROSS'S _Second Voyage for a North-West
      Passage_, 1835.

Matthew Flinders  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 411

Cape Catastrophe  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 415
    From FLINDERS' _Voyages_.

The Huts of the Crew of the _Porpoise_ on the Sandbank, Wreck
    Reef  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 418
    From FLINDERS' _Voyages_.

Captain Sturt at the Junction of the Rivers Darling and Murray  . 423
    From the _Narrative of Sturt's Expedition_.

The Burke and Wills Expedition leaving Melbourne, 1860  . . . . . 425
    From a Drawing by WILLIAM STRUTT, an acquaintance of Burke.

Burke and Wills at Cooper's Creek . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 426
    From a Woodcut in a contemporary Australian account of the

Part of the Great Southern Ice Barrier  . . . . . . . . . . . . . 431
    From ROSS'S _Voyage in the Antarctic Regions_.

Eskimos at Cape York watching the approach of the _Fox_ . . . . . 434
    From McCLINTOCK'S _Voyage in Search of Franklin_.

The Three Graves on Beechey Island  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 435
    From McCLINTOCK'S _Voyage in Search of Franklin_.

Exploring Parties starting from the _Fox_ . . . . . . . . . . . . 437
    From McCLINTOCK'S _Voyage in Search of Franklin_.

Livingstone, with his Wife and Family, at the Discovery of Lake
    Ngami . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 441
    From LIVINGSTONE'S _Missionary Travels_.

The "Smoke" of the Zambesi (Victoria) Falls . . . . . . . . . . . 447
    After a Drawing in LIVINGSTONE'S _Missionary Travels_.

Burton in a Dug-out on Lake Tanganyika  . . . . . . . . . . . . . 451
    After a Drawing by BURTON.

Burton and his Companions on the march to Victoria Nyanza . . . . 453
    From a Humorous Sketch by BURTON.

The _Ma-Robert_ on the Zambesi  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 457
    After a Drawing in LIVINGSTONE'S _Expedition to the Zambesi_.

M'tesa, King of Uganda  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 462
    From SPEKE'S _Journey to Discover the Source of the Nile_.

The Ripon Falls on the Victoria Nyanza  . . . . . . . . . . . . . 463
    From SPEKE'S _Journey to Discover the Source of the Nile_.

Captains Speke and Grant  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 465

Baker and his Wife crossing the Nubian Desert . . . . . . . . . . 469
    From BAKER'S _Travels_.

Baker's Boat in a Storm on Lake Albert Nyanza . . . . . . . . . . 471
    From BAKER'S _Albert Nyanza_.

The Discovery of Lake Bangweolo, 1868 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 479
    From LIVINGSTONE'S _Last Journals_, by permission of Mr. John

Livingstone at Work on his Journal  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 481
    From a Sketch by H. M. STANLEY.

Livingstone entering the Hut at Ilala on the Night that he Died . 483
    From LIVINGSTONE'S _Last Journals_, by permission of Mr. John

The last Entries in Livingstone's Diary . . . . . . . . . . . . . 484

Susi, Livingstone's Servant . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 485
    From a Sketch by H. M. STANLEY.

Stanley and his Men marching through Unyoro . . . . . . . . . . . 489
    From a Sketch, by STANLEY, in _Through the Dark Continent_.

"Towards the Unknown": Stanley's Canoes starting from Vinya
    Njara . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 495
    From _Through the Dark Continent_.

The Seventh Cataract--Stanley Falls . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 496
    From _Through the Dark Continent_.

The Fight below the Confluence of the Aruwimi and Livingstone
    Rivers  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 497
    From a Sketch, by STANLEY, in _Through the Dark Continent_.

Nordenskiold's Ship, the _Vega_, saluting Cape Chelyuskin . . . . 505
    From a Drawing in HOVGAARD'S _Nordenskiold's Voyage_.

Menka, Chief of the Chukches  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 507

The _Vega_ frozen in for the Winter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 509
    From a Drawing in HOVGAARD'S _Nordenskiold's Voyage_.

The Potala at Lhasa . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 513
    From KIRCHER'S _China Illustrata_.

Dr. Nansen  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 525
    After a Photograph.

The Ship that went Farthest North: the _Fram_ . . . . . . . . . . 527
    From a Photograph.




No story is complete unless it begins at the very beginning. But where
is the beginning? Where is the dawn of geography--the knowledge of
our earth? What was it like before the first explorers made their way
into distant lands? Every day that passes we are gaining fresh
knowledge of the dim and silent past.

Every day men are patiently digging in the old heaps that were once
the sites of busy cities, and, as a result of their unwearying toil,
they are revealing to us the life-stories of those who dwelt therein;
they are disclosing secrets writ on weather-worn stones and tablets,
bricks and cylinders, never before even guessed at.

Thus we read the wondrous story of ancient days, and breathlessly
wonder what marvellous discovery will thrill us next.

For the earliest account of the old world--a world made up apparently
of a little land and a little water--we turn to an old papyrus, the
oldest in existence, which tells us in familiar words, unsurpassed
for their exquisite poetry and wondrous simplicity, of that great
dateless time so full of mystery and awe.

"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth
was waste and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep: and
the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.... And God said,
Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide
the waters from the waters. And God ... divided the waters which were
under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament....
And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered into one
place, and let the dry land appear.... And God called the dry land
Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas."

Thus beautifully did the children of men express their earliest idea
of the world's distribution of land and water.

And where, on our modern maps, was this little earth, and what was
it like? Did trees and flowers cover the land? Did rivers flow into
the sea? Listen again to the old tradition that still rings down the

"And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden ... and a river
went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted,
and became four heads. The name of the first is Pison ... and the name
of the second river is Gihon; the name of the third river is Hiddekel
(Tigris). And the fourth river is Euphrates."

Hereford Map of the World.]

Now look at a modern map of Asia. Between Arabia and Persia there is
a long valley watered by the Tigris and Euphrates, rivers which rise
in Armenia and flow into the Persian Gulf. This region was the
traditional "cradle of the human race." Around and beyond was a great
world, a world with great surging seas, with lands of trees and flowers,
a world with continents and lakes and bays and capes, with islands
and mountains and rivers.

There were vast deserts of sand rolling away to right and to left;
there were mountains up which no man had climbed; there were stormy
seas over which no ship had ever sailed. But these men of old had never
explored far. They believed that their world was just a very little
world with no other occupants than themselves. They believed it to
be flat, with mountains at either end on which rested a solid metal
dome known as the "firmament."

In this shining circle were windows, in and out of which the sun would
creep by day and the moon and stars by night. And the whole of this
world was, they thought, balanced on the waters. There was water above,
the "waters that be above the firmament," and water below, and water
all round.

[Illustration: BABYLONIAN MAP OF THE WORLD ON CLAY. Showing the ocean
surrounding the world and the position of Babylon on the Euphrates.
In the British Museum.]

Long ages pass away. Let us look again at the green valley of the
Euphrates and Tigris. It has been called the "nursery of
nations"--names have been given to various regions round about, and
cities have arisen on the banks of the rivers. Babylonia, Mesopotamia,
Chaldea, Assyria--all these long names belonged to this region, and
around each centres some of the most interesting history and legend
in the world.

Rafts on the river and caravans on the land carried merchandise far
and wide--men made their way to the "Sea of the Rising Sun," as they
called the Persian Gulf, and to the "Sea of the Setting Sun," as they
called the Mediterranean. They settled on the shores of the Caspian
Sea, on the shores of the Black Sea, on the shores of the Red Sea.
They carried on magnificent trade--cedar, pine, and cypress were
brought from Lebanon to Chaldea, limestone and marble from Syria,
copper and lead from the shores of the Black Sea.

And these dwellers about Babylonia built up a wonderful civilisation.
They had temples and brick-built houses, libraries of tablets
revealing knowledge of astronomy and astrology; they had a literature
of their own. Suddenly from out the city of Ur (Kerbela), near the
ancient mouth of the Euphrates, appears a traveller. There had
doubtless been many before, but records are scanty and hard to piece
together, and a detailed account of a traveller with a name is very

"Abram went ... forth to go into the land of Canaan.... And Abram
journeyed, going on still toward the South. And there was a famine
in the land. And Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there." He would
have travelled by the chief caravan routes of Syria into Egypt. Here
about the fertile mouth of the Nile he would have found an ancient
civilisation as wonderful as that to which he was accustomed in
Babylonia. It was a grain-growing country, and when there was famine
in other lands, there was always "corn in Egypt"--thanks to the mighty
life-giving Nile.

But we must not linger over the old civilisation, over the wonderful
Empire governed by the Pharaohs or kings, first from Memphis (Cairo)
and then from the hundred-gated Thebes; must not linger over these
old pyramid builders, the temple, sphinxes, and statues of ancient
Egypt. Before even Abram came into their country we find the Egyptians
famous for their shipping and navigation. Old pictures and tombs
recently discovered tell us this.

[Illustration: THE OLDEST KNOWN SHIPS: BETWEEN 6000 AND 5000 B.C. From
a pre-Egyptian vase-painting.]

On the coast of the Red Sea they built their long, narrow ships, which
were rowed by some twenty paddlers on either side, and steered by three
men standing in the stern. With one mast and a large sail they flew
before the wind. They had to go far afield for their wood; we find
an Egyptian being sent "to cut down four forests in the South in order
to build three large vessels ... out of acacia wood."

Petrie tells us of an Egyptian sailor who was sent to Punt or Somaliland
"to fetch for Pharaoh sweet-smelling spices." He was shipwrecked on
the way, and this is the account of his adventures--

"'I was going,' he relates, 'to the mines of Pharaoh and I went down
on the sea on a ship with a hundred and fifty sailors of the best of
Egypt, whose hearts were stronger than lions. They had said that the
wind would be contrary, or that there would be none. But as we
approached the land the wind rose and threw up high waves. As for me,
I seized a piece of wood; but those who were in the vessel perished,
without one remaining. A wave threw me on an island; after that I had
been three days alone without a companion beside my own heart, I laid
me in a thicket, and the shadow covered me. I found figs and grapes,
all manner of good herbs, berries and grain, melons of all kinds, fishes
and birds. I lighted a fire and I made a burnt-offering unto the gods.
Suddenly I heard a noise as of thunder, which I thought to be that
of a wave of the sea. The trees shook and the earth was moved. I
uncovered my eyes and I saw that a serpent drew near; his body was
as if overlaid with gold, and his colour as that of true lazuli.'

"'What has brought thee here, little one, to this isle, which is in
the sea and of which the shores are in the midst of the waves?' asked
the serpent.

"The sailor told his story kneeling on his knees, with his face bowed
to the ground.

"'Fear not, little one, and make not thy face sad,' continued the
serpent, 'for it is God who has brought thee to this isle of the blest,
where nothing is lacking and which is filled with all good things.
Thou shalt be four months in this isle. Then a ship shall come from
thy land with sailors, and thou shalt go to thy country. As for me,
I am a prince of the land of Punt. I am here with my brethren and children
around me; we are seventy-five serpents, children and kindred.'

"Then the grateful sailor promised to bring all the treasures of Egypt
back to Punt, and 'I shall tell of thy presence unto Pharaoh; I shall
make him to know of thy greatness,' said the Egyptian stranger.

"But the strange prince of Punt only smiled.

"'Thou shalt never more see this isle,' he said; 'it shall be changed
into waves.'"

Everything came to pass as the serpent said. The ship came, gifts were
lavished on the sailor from Egypt, perfumes of cassia, of sweet woods,
of cypress, incense, ivory tusks, baboons, and apes, and thus laden
he sailed home to his own people.

B.C. From a rock-carving at Der el Bahari.]

Long centuries after this we get another glimpse at the land of Punt.
This time it is in the reign of Queen Hatshepsu, who sent a great trading
expedition into this famous country. Five ships started from Thebes,
sailing down the river Nile and probably reaching the Red Sea by means
of a canal. Navigation in the Red Sea was difficult; the coast was
steep and inhospitable; no rivers ran into it. Only a few fishing
villages lay along the coasts used by Egyptian merchants as markets
for mother-of-pearl, emeralds, gold, and sweet-smelling perfumes.
Thence the ships continued their way, the whole voyage taking about
two months. Arrived at Punt, the Egyptian commander pitched his tents
upon the shore, to the great astonishment of the inhabitants.

"Why have ye come hither unto this land, which the people of Egypt
know not?" asked the Chief of Punt. "Have ye come through the sky?
Did ye sail upon the waters or upon the sea?"

Presents from the Queen of Egypt were at once laid before the Chief
of Punt, and soon the seashore was alive with people. The ships were
drawn up, gang-planks were very heavily laden with "marvels of the
country of Punt." There were heaps of myrrh, resin, of fresh myrrh
trees, ebony and pure ivory, cinnamon wood, incense, baboons, monkeys,
dogs, natives, and children. "Never was the like brought to any king
of Egypt since the world stands." And the ships voyaged safely back
to Thebes with all their booty and with pleasant recollections of the
people of Somaliland.

From Leonardo Dati's map of 1422.]

In spite of these little expeditions the Egyptian world seemed still
very small. The Egyptians thought of the earth with its land and sea
as a long, oblong sort of box, the centre of which was Egypt. The sky
stretched over it like an iron ceiling, the part toward the earth being
sprinkled with lamps hung from strong cables lighted by night and
extinguished by day. Four forked trunks of trees upheld the sky roof.
But lest some storm should overthrow these tree trunks there were four
lofty peaks connected by chains of mountains. The southern peak was
known as the "Horn of the Earth," the eastern, the "Mountain of Birth,"
the western, the "Region of Life," the northern was invisible. And
why? Because they thought the Great Sea, the "Very Green," the
Mediterranean, lay between it and Egypt. Beyond these mountain peaks,
supporting the world, rolled a great river, an ocean stream, and the
sun was as a ball of fire placed on a boat and carried round the ramparts
of the world by the all-encircling water.

So we realise that the people living in Babylonia about the river
Euphrates, and those living in Egypt about the river Nile, had very
strange ideas about the little old world around them.



The law of the universe is progress and expansion, and this little
old world was soon discovered to be larger than men thought.

Now in Syria--the highway between Babylonia and Egypt--dwelt a tribe
of dusky people known as Phoenicians. Some have thought that they were
related to our old friends in Somaliland, and that long years ago they
had migrated north to the seacoast of that part of Syria known as

Living on the seashore, washed by the tideless Mediterranean, they
soon became skilful sailors. They built ships and ventured forth on
the deep; they made their way to the islands of Cyprus and Crete and
thence to the islands of Greece, bringing back goods from other
countries to barter with their less daring neighbours. They reached
Greece itself and cruised along the northern coast of the Great Sea
to Italy, along the coast of Spain to the Rock of Gibraltar, and out
into the open Atlantic.

How their little sailing boats lived through the storms of that great
ocean none may know, for Phoenician records are lost, but we have every
reason to believe that they reached the northern coast of France and
brought back tin from the islands known to them as the Tin Islands.
In their home markets were found all manner of strange things from
foreign unknown lands, discovered by these master mariners--the
admiration of the ancient world.

[Illustration: A PHOENICIAN SHIP, ABOUT 700 B.C. From a bas-relief
at Nineveh.]

"The ships of Tarshish," said the old poet, "did sing of thee in thy
market, and thou wast replenished and made very glorious in the midst
of the seas; thy rowers have brought thee into great waters; the east
wind hath broken thee in the midst of the seas."

All the world knew of the Phoenician seaports, Tyre and Sidon. They
were as famous as Memphis and Thebes on the Nile, as magnificent as
Nineveh on the Tigris and Babylon on the Euphrates. Men spoke of the
"renowned city of Tyre," whose merchants were as princes, whose
"traffickers" were among the honourable of the earth. "O thou that
art situate at the entry of the sea," cries the poet again, when the
greatness of Tyre was passing away, "which art a merchant of the people
from many isles.... Thy borders are in the midst of the seas; thy
builders have perfected thy beauty. They have made all thy ship-boards
of fir trees ... they have taken cedars of Lebanon to make masts for
thee. Of the oaks of Basan have they made thy oars.... Fine linen with
broidered work from Egypt was that which thou spreadest forth to be
thy sail.... The inhabitants of Sidon ... were thy mariners; thy wise
men were thy pilots."

As time goes on, early groups round the Euphrates and the Nile continue,
but new nations form and grow, new cities arise, new names appear.
Centuries of men live and die, ignorant of the great world that lies
about them--"Lords of the eastern world that knew no west."

England was yet unknown, America undreamt of, Australia still a
desolate island in an unknown sea. The burning eastern sun shone down
on to vast stretches of desert-land uninhabited by man, great rivers
flowed through dreary swamps unrealised, tempestuous waves beat
against their shores, and melancholy winds swept over the face of
endless ocean solitudes.

And still, according to their untutored minds, the world is flat, the
world is very small and it is surrounded by ever-flowing waters, beyond
which all is dark and mysterious.

Around the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, revealed by the boundless
energy and daring skill of the Phoenicians, there were colonies along
the coasts of Africa and Europe, though they were not yet called by
their names. They have discovered and explored, but they have kept
their information to themselves, and they have specially refused to
divulge their voyages to the Greeks.

A story is told at a later date than this of a Phoenician shipmaster
who was bound for the Tin Islands, when he suddenly discovered that
he was being followed by a strange ship evidently bent on finding out
where these unknown islands lay. The Phoenician purposely ran his ship
on to a shoal in order to keep the secret of the discovery. When he
returned home his conduct was upheld by the State!

But though the Phoenicians have left us no record of their travels
and voyages, they had been the carriers of knowledge, and it was from
them that the Greeks learnt of "the extreme regions of the world" and
of the dim "far west." Indeed, it is highly probable that from the
Phoenicians they got material for their famous legend of the Argonauts
and their adventures in the Black Sea. Though the story is but legendary,
and it has been added to with the growing knowledge of the world, yet
it gives an idea of the perils that beset the sailors of those remote
ages and of their limitations.

And again we must remind ourselves that both the Phoenicians and early
Greeks had, like the Egyptians and Babylonians, childish ideas as to
the form of the earth. To them it was a circular plane, encircled by
the ocean, which they believed to be a broad, deep-running river
flowing round and round the world. Into this ocean stream ran all the
rivers and seas known to them. Over the earth was raised a solid
firmament of bronze in which the stars were set, and this was supported
on tall pillars "which kept the heaven and the earth asunder."

The whole delightful story of the Argonauts can be read in Kingsley's
"Heroes." It is the story of brave men who sailed in the ship _Argo_,
named after the great shipbuilder Argos, to bring back the Golden
Fleece from Colchis in the Black Sea.

Nowhere in all the history of exploration have we a more poetical
account of the launching of a ship for distant lands: "Then they have
stored her well with food and water, and pulled the ladder up on board,
and settled themselves each man to his oar and kept time to Orpheus'
harp; and away across the bay they rowed southward, while the people
lined the cliffs; and the women wept while the men shouted at the
starting of that gallant crew." They chose a captain, and the choice
fell on Jason, "because he was the wisest of them all"; and they rowed
on "over the long swell of the sea, past Olympus, past the wooded bays
of Athos and the sacred isle; and they came past Lemnos to the
Hellespont, and so on into the Propontis, which we call Marmora now."
So they came to the Bosphorus, the "land then as now of bitter blasts,
the land of cold and misery," and a great battle of the winds took

[Illustration: A MAP OF THE VOYAGE OF THE ARGONAUTS. Drawn according
to the principal classical traditions. The voyage through the ocean
which, according to the ancient idea, surrounded the world will be
especially noted.]

Then the Argonauts came out into the open sea--the Black Sea. No Greek
had ever crossed it, and even the heroes, for all their courage, feared
"that dreadful sea and its rocks and shoals and fogs and bitter freezing
storms," and they trembled as they saw it "stretching out before them
without a shore, as far as the eye could see."

Wearily they sailed on past the coast of Asia; they passed Sinope and
the cities of the Amazons, the warlike women of the east, until at
last they saw the "white snow peaks hanging glittering sharp and bright
above the clouds. And they knew that they were come to Caucasus at
the end of all the earth--Caucasus, the highest of all mountains, the
father of the rivers of the East. And they rowed three days to the
eastward, while the Caucasus rose higher hour by hour, till they saw
the dark stream of Phasis rushing headlong to the sea and, shining
above the treetops, the golden roofs of the Child of the Sun."

How they reached home no man knows. Some say they sailed up the Danube
River and so came to the Adriatic, dragging their ship over the snowclad
Alps. Others say they sailed south to the Red Sea and dragged their
ship over the burning desert of North Africa. More than once they gave
themselves up for lost, "heartbroken with toil and hunger," until the
brave helmsman cried to them, "Raise up the mast and set the sail and
face what comes like men."

After days and weeks on the "wide wild western sea" they sailed by
the coast of Spain and came to Sicily, the "three-cornered island,"
and after numerous adventures they reached home once more. And they
limped ashore weary and worn, with long, ragged beards and sunburnt
cheeks and garments torn and weather-stained. No strength had they
left to haul the ship up the beach. They just crawled out and sat down
and wept, till they could weep no more. For the houses and trees were
all altered, and all the faces which they saw were strange; and their
joy was swallowed up in sorrow while they thought of their youth and
all their labour, and the gallant comrades they had lost. And the people
crowded round and asked them, "Who are you that sit weeping here?"

"We are the sons of your princes, who sailed away many a year ago.
We went to fetch the Golden Fleece and we have brought it back." Then
there was shouting and laughing and weeping, and all the kings came
to the shore, and they led the heroes away to their homes and bewailed
the valiant dead. Old and charming as is the story of the Argonauts,
it is made up of travellers' tales, probably told to the Greeks by
the Phoenicians of their adventures on unknown seas.

The wanderings of Ulysses by the old Greek poet Homer shows us that,
though they seldom ventured beyond the Mediterranean Sea, yet the
Greeks were dimly conscious of an outer world beyond the recognised
limits. They still dreamt that the earth was flat, and that the ocean
stream flowed for ever round and round it. There were no maps or charts
to guide the intrepid mariners who embarked on unknown waters.

The siege of Troy, famous in legend, was over, and the heroes were
anxious to make their way home. Ulysses was one of the heroes, and
he sailed forth from Asia Minor into the AEgean Sea. But contrary winds
drove him as far south as Cape Malea.

"Now the gatherer of the clouds," he says, in telling his story,
"aroused the North Wind against our ships with a terrible tempest,
and covered land and sea alike with clouds, and down sped night from
heaven. Thus the ships were driven headlong, and their sails were torn
to shreds by the might of the wind. So we lowered the sails into the
hold in fear of death, and rowed the ships landward apace."

Throughout all ages Cape Malea has been renowned for sudden and violent
storms, dreaded by early mariners as well as those of later times.

"Thence for nine whole days was I borne by ruinous winds over the
teeming deep; but on the tenth day we set foot on the land of the
lotus-eaters who eat a flowery food."

Now ten days' sail to the south would have brought Ulysses to the coast
of North Africa, and here we imagine the lotus-eaters dwelt. But their
stay was short. For as soon as the mariners tasted the "honey-sweet
fruit of the lotus" they forgot their homes, forgot their own land,
and only wanted to stay with the "mild-eyed melancholy lotus-eaters."

   "They sat them down upon the yellow sand,
    Between the sun and moon upon the shore;
    And sweet it was to dream of Fatherland,
    Of child, and wife, and slave; but evermore
    Most weary seem'd the sea, weary the oar,
    Weary the wandering fields of barren foam.
    Then someone said: 'We will return no more';
    And all at once they sang, 'Our island home
    Is far beyond the wave; we will no longer roam.'"

"Therefore," said Ulysses, "I led them back to the ships, weeping and
sore against their will, and dragged them beneath the benches. Soon
they embarked and, sitting orderly, they smote the grey sea water with
their oars. Thence we sailed onward, stricken at heart. And we came
to the land of the Cyclops."

No one knows exactly where the land of the Cyclops is. Some think it
may be Sicily and the slopes of Mount Etna facing the sea.

The famous rock of Scylla and whirlpool of Charybdis, known to the
ancients as two sea-monsters, near the Straits of Messina, next
claimed his attention. Let us see how Ulysses passed them.

"We began to sail up the narrow strait," he says, lamenting. "For on
the one side lay Scylla and on the other mighty Charybdis sucking down
the salt sea water. Like a cauldron on a great fire she would seethe
up through all her troubled deeps, and overhead the spray fell on the
top of either cliff--the rock around roared horribly, and pale fear
gat hold on my men. Toward her, then, we looked, fearing destruction;
but Scylla meanwhile caught from out my hollow ships six of my company.
They cried aloud in their agony, and there she devoured them shrieking
at her gates, they stretching forth their hands to me in their death
struggles. And the most pitiful thing was this, that mine eyes have
seen of all my travail in searching out the paths of the sea."

Some have thought that the terrifying stories of Scylla, Charybdis,
and the Cyclops were stories invented by the Phoenicians to frighten
travellers of other nations away from the sea that they wished to keep
for themselves for purposes of trade.

It would take too long to tell of the great storm that destroyed the
ships and drowned the men, leaving Ulysses to make a raft on which
he drifted about for nine days, blown back to Scylla and Charybdis
and from thence to the island of Ogygia, "in the centre of the sea."
Finally he reached his home in Ithaca so changed, so aged and
weather-worn, that only his dog Argus recognised him.

This, very briefly, is Homer's world-picture of a bygone age, when
those who were seized with a thirst for travel sailed about the
Mediterranean in their primitive ships, landing on unnamed coasts,
cruising about unknown islands, meeting strange people, encountering
strange adventures.

It all reads like an old fairy tale to us to-day, for we have our maps
and charts and know the whereabouts of every country and island about
the tideless Mediterranean.

[Illustration: "THE UNROLLING OF THE CLOUDS"--I. The world as known
at the time of Homer.]



Still, although the men of ancient time were learning fast about the
land and sea, they were woefully ignorant. Hesiod, a Greek poet, who
lived seven hundred and fifty years before the Christian era, declared
that the world was flat, and the ocean stream or the "perfect river,"
as he called it, flowed round and round, encompassing all things.

Still, there was something beyond the water--something dim,
mysterious, unknowable. It might be the "Islands of the Blest"; it
might be the "sacred isle." One thing he asserted firmly: "Atlas
upholds the broad Heaven ... standing on earth's verge with head and
unwearied hands," while the clear-voiced Hesperides guarded their
beautiful golden apples "beyond the waters of Ocean."

   "Hesperus and his daughters three
    That sung about the golden tree."

But who thinks now of the weary Titan doomed for ever to support the
ancient world on his head and hands, when the atlas of to-day is brought
forth for a lesson in geography?

About this time comes a story--it may be fact or it may be fiction--that
the Phoenicians had sailed right round Africa. The voyage was arranged
by Neco, an enterprising Egyptian king, who built his ships in the
Red Sea in the year 613 B.C. The story is told by Herodotus, the Greek
traveller, many years afterwards.

"Libya," he says, "is known to be washed on all sides by the sea, except
where it is attached to Asia. This discovery was first made by Neco,
the Egyptian king, who sent a number of ships manned by Phoenicians
with orders to make for the Pillars of Hercules (now known as the
Straits of Gibraltar), and return to Egypt through them and by the
Mediterranean Sea. The Phoenicians took their departure from Egypt
by way of the Erythraean Sea, and so sailed into the Southern Ocean.
When autumn came (it is supposed they left the Red Sea in August) they
went ashore, wherever that might happen to be, and, having sown a tract
of land with corn, waited until the grain was fit to cut. Having reaped
it, they set sail, and thus it came to pass that two whole years went
by, and it was not till the third year that they doubled the Pillars
of Hercules and made good their voyage home. On their return they
declared (I, for my part, says Herodotus, do not believe them, but
perhaps others may) that in sailing round Libya they had the sun upon
their right hand. In this way was the extent of Libya first discovered."

Higden's Map of the World, 1360 A.D.]

To modern students, who have learnt more of Phoenician enterprise,
the story does not seem so incredible as it did to Herodotus; and a
modern poet, Edwin Arnold, has dreamed into verse a delightful account
of what this voyage may have been like.

Ithobal of Tyre, Chief Captain of the seas, standing before Neco,
Pharaoh and King, Ruler of Nile and its lands, relates the story of
his two years' voyage, of the strange things he saw, of the hardships
he endured, of the triumphant end. He tells how, with the help of
mechanics from Tarshish, Tyre, and Sidon, he built three goodly ships,
"Ocean's children," in a "windless creek" on the Red Sea, how he loaded
them with cloth and beads, "the wares wild people love," food-flour
for the ship, cakes, honey, oil, pulse, meal, dried fish and rice,
and salted goods. Then the start was made down the Red Sea, until at
last "the great ocean opened" east and south to the unknown world and
into the great nameless sea, by the coast of that "Large Land whence
none hath come" they sailed.

Ithobal had undertaken no light task; contrary winds, mutiny on board,
want of fresh water, all the hardships that confront the mariner who
pilots his crews in search of the unknown. Strange tribes met them
on the coast and asked them whither they went.

                "We go as far as the sun goes
    As far as the sea rolls, as far as the stars
    Shine still in sky. To find for mighty Pharaoh what his world
    Holds hidden."

South and ever south they sailed, "day after day and night succeeding
night, close clinging to the shore." New stars appeared, lower and
lower sank the sun, moons rose and waned, and still the coast stretched
southwards till they reached a "Cape of Storms" and found the coast
was turning north. And now occurred that strange phenomenon mentioned
by Herodotus, that while sailing westwards the sun was on their right
hand. "No man had seen that thing in Syria or in Egypt."

A year and a half had now passed away since they left home, but onward
to the north they now made their way, past the mouth of the golden
waters (Orange River), past the Congo, past the Niger, past the island
of Gorillas described by Hanno, who explored the west coast under Neco
either before or after this time, until at last the little Phoenician
ships sailed peacefully into the Mediterranean Sea.

         "Here is the Ocean-Gate. Here is the Strait
    Twice before seen, where goes the Middle Sea
    Unto the Setting Sun and the Unknown--
    No more unknown, Ithobal's ships have sailed
    Around all Africa. Our task is done.
    These are the Pillars, this the Midland Sea.
    The road to Tyre is yonder. Every wave
    Is homely. Yonder, sure, Old Nilus pours
    Into this Sea, the Waters of the World,
    Whose secret is his own and thine and mine."

It will ever remain one of the many disputed points in early geography
whether or not Africa was circumnavigated at this early date. If the
Phoenicians did accomplish such a feat they kept their experiences
a secret as usual, and the early maps gave a very wrong idea of South
Africa. On the other hand, we know they had good seaworthy ships in
advance of their neighbours.


"I remember," says Xenophon, "I once went aboard a Phoenician ship,
where I observed the best example of good order that I ever met with;
and especially it was surprising to observe the vast numbers of
implements which were necessary for the management of such a small
vessel. What numbers of oars, stretchers, ship-hooks, and spikes were
there for bringing the ship in and out of the harbour! What numbers
of shrouds, cables, ropes, and other tackling for the ship! What a
vast quantity of provisions were there for the sustenance and support
of the sailors!" Captain and sailors knew where everything was stowed
away on board, and "while the captain stood upon the deck, he was
considering with himself what things might be wanting in his voyage,
what things wanted repair, and what length of time his provisions would
last; for, as he observed to me, it is no proper time, when the storm
comes upon us, to have the necessary implements to seek, or to be out
of repair, or to want them on board; for the gods are never favourable
to those who are negligent or lazy; and it is their goodness that they
do not destroy us when we are diligent."

[Illustration: A GREEK GALLEY ABOUT 500 B.C. From a vase-painting.]

There is an old story which says that one day the Greeks captured a
Phoenician ship and copied it. However this may be, the Greeks soon
became great colonisers themselves, and we have to thank a Greek
philosopher living in Miletus, on the coast of Asia Minor, for making
the first map of the ancient world. Of course, the Babylonians and
Egyptians had made maps thousands of years before this, but this
Greek--Anaximander introduced the idea of map-making to the
astonished world about the year 580 B.C. What was the map like? It
was "a bronze tablet, whereupon the whole circuit of the Earth was
engraved with all its seas and rivers."

This is all we know. But this map-making Greek was famous for another
idea in advance of his time. He used to study the heavens and the earth,
and after much study he made up his mind that the earth was round and
not flat. He taught that the world hung free in the midst of the universe,
or rather in the midst of the waters. The centre of the earth was at
Delphi. In the world of legend there was a reason for this. Two eagles
had been let loose, one from the eastern extremity of the world, the
other from the west, and they met at Delphi--hence it was assumed that
Delphi was at the centre of the world. And Delphi at this time was
such a wonderful city. On the slopes of Mount Parnassus it stood high
on a rock--on the heights stood the temple of Apollo with its immense
riches, its golden statue of the great god, and its ever-smoking fire
of wood.

[Illustration: JERUSALEM, THE CENTRE OF THE WORLD. From the Hereford
Map of the World, thirteenth century.]

In the same way, in those days of imperfect geography, as we hear of
Delphi being the centre of the Greek world, so we hear of Jerusalem
being considered the central point of the world.

"This is Jerusalem," says Ezekiel, "in the midst of the nations and
countries that are round about her." In the Mappa Mundi (thirteenth
century) in Hereford Cathedral, Jerusalem is still the centre of the

Following close on these ideas came another. It, too, came from Miletus,
now famous for its school of thought and its searchers after truth.

A _Tour of the World_ is the grand-sounding title of the work of
Hecataeus, who wrote it about 500 years B.C. It contains an account
of the coast and islands of the Mediterranean Sea and an outline of
all the lands the Greeks thought they knew. In the fragments that have
come down to us, the famous old geographer divides both his work and
the world into two parts. One part he calls Europe, the other Asia,
in which he includes Africa bounded by the river Nile. He held that
these two parts were equal. They were divided from one another by the
Mediterranean Sea, the Black Sea, and the Caspian Sea, while round
the whole flat world still flowed the everlasting ocean stream.



The greatest traveller of olden times now comes upon the
scene--Herodotus, the Greek, the "Father of History."

He is a traveller as well as a writer. He has journeyed as one eager
for knowledge, with a "hungry heart" and a keen, observant eye. He
tells us what he has seen with his eyes, what he has heard with his
ears. He insists that the world is flat, he acknowledges that it is
divided into two parts--Europe and Asia; but he can afford to laugh
at those who draw maps of the world "without any sense to guide them,"
in which they make the whole world round as if drawn with a pair of
compasses, with the ocean stream running round it, making Europe and
Asia of equal size.

His first journey is to Egypt.

"I speak at length about Egypt," he says, "because it contains more
marvellous things than any other country--things too strange for words.
Not only is the climate different from that of the rest of the world
and the rivers unlike any other rivers, but the people also, in most
of their manners and customs, reverse the common practice of mankind.
The women are employed in trade and business, while the men stay at
home to spin and weave. Other nations in weaving throw the woof up
the warp, but an Egyptian throws it down. In other countries, sons
are constrained to make provision for their parents; in Egypt it is
not only the sons, but the daughters. In other countries the priests
have long hair; in Egypt their heads are shaven. Other nations fasten
their ropes and hooks to the outside of their sails, but the Egyptians
to the inside. The Greeks write and read from left to right, but the
Egyptians from right to left."

After sailing for some seven hundred miles up the river Nile from the
coast, past Heliopolis, the once famous city of Ancient Egypt, past
Memphis, the old capital, past Thebes, with its hundred gates, to
Elephantine, the "ivory island," opposite to what is now Assuan, he
is more than ever puzzled about its course and the reason of its
periodical floods.

"Concerning the nature of the river, I was not able to gain any
information from the priests. I was particularly anxious to learn from
them why the Nile, at the commencement of the summer solstice, begins
to rise and continues to increase for a hundred days--and why, as soon
as that number is past, it forthwith retires and contracts its stream,
continuing low during the whole of the winter until the summer solstice
comes round again. On none of these points could I obtain any
explanation from the inhabitants, though I made every inquiry."

The sources of the Nile entirely baffled Herodotus as they baffled
many another later explorer long years after he had passed away. "Of
the sources of the Nile no one can give any account, since the country
through which it passes is desert and without inhabitants," he
explains, his thirst for knowledge unsatisfied. Some priest
volunteers this explanation. On the frontiers of Egypt are two high
mountain-peaks called Crophi and Mophi; in an unfathomable abyss
between the two rose the Nile. But Herodotus does not believe in Crophi
and Mophi; he inclines to the idea that the Nile rises away in the
west and flows eastward right across Libya.

He travelled a little about Libya himself, little realising the size
of the great continent of Africa through which he passed. Many a strange
tale of these unknown parts did he relate to his people at home. He
had seen the tallest and handsomest race of men in the world, who lived
to the age of one hundred and twenty years--gold was so abundant that
it was used even for the prisoners' chains--he had seen folks who lived
on meat and milk only, never having seen bread or wine.

[Illustration: A MERCHANT-SHIP OF ATHENS, ABOUT 500 B.C. From a

Some thirty days' journey from the land of the lotus-eaters he had
found tribes who hunted with four-horse chariots and whose oxen walked
backwards as they grazed, because their horns curve outwards in front
of their heads, and if they moved forwards these horns would stick
in the ground.

Right across the desolate sandy desert of the north, Herodotus seems
to have made his way. The "region of the wild beasts" must have been
truly perilous, "for this is the tract," he says, "in which huge
serpents are found, and the lions, the elephants, the bears, and the
horned asses."

He also tells us of antelopes, gazelles, asses, foxes, wild sheep,
jackals, and panthers. There is no end to the quaint sights he records.
Here is a tribe whose wives drive the chariots to battle, here another
who paint themselves red and eat honey and monkeys, another who grow
their hair long on the right side of their heads and shave it close
on the left. Back through Egypt to Syria went our observant traveller,
visiting the famous seaport of Tyre on the way. "I visited the temple
of Hercules at that place and found two pillars, one of pure gold,
the other of emerald, shining with great brilliancy at night." That
temple was already two thousand three hundred years old.

Herodotus makes some astounding statements about various parts of the
world. He asserts that a good walker could walk across Asia Minor,
from north to south, in five days, a distance we know now to be three
hundred miles! He tells us that the Danube rises in the Pyrenees
Mountains and flows right through Europe till it empties its waters
into the Black Sea, giving us a long and detailed account of a country
he calls Scythia (Russia) with many rivers flowing into this same Black

But here we must leave the old traveller and picture him reading aloud
to his delighted hearers his account of his discoveries and
explorations, discussing with the learned Greeks of the day the size
and wonders of the world as they imagined it.

News travelled slowly in these bygone days, and we know the Phoenicians
were very fond of keeping their discoveries secret, but it seems
strange to think that Herodotus never seems to have heard the story
of Hanno the Carthaginian, who coasted along the west of North Africa,
being the first explorer to reach the place we know as "Sierra Leone."

Hanno's "Periplus," or the "Coasting Survey of Hanno," is one of the
few Phoenician documents that has lived through the long ages. In it
the commander of the expedition himself tells his own story. With an
idea of colonising, he left Carthage--the most famous of the
Phoenician colonies--with sixty ships containing an enormous number
of men and women.

"When we had set sail," says Hanno shortly, "and passed the pillars
(of Hercules) after two days' voyage, we founded the first city. Below
this city lay a great plain. Sailing thence westward we came to a
promontory of Libya thickly covered with trees. Here we built a temple
to the Sea-god and proceeded thence half a day's journey eastward,
till we reached a lake lying not far from the sea and filled with
abundance of great reeds. Here were feeding elephants and a great
number of other wild animals. After we had gone a day's sail beyond
the lakes we founded cities near to the sea."

Making friends with the tribes along the coast, they reached the
Senegal River. Here they fell in with "savage men clothed with the
skins of beasts," who pelted them with stones so that they could not
land. Past Cape Verde they reached the mouth of the Gambia, "great
and broad and full of crocodiles and river-horses," and thence coasted
twelve days to the south and again five days to the south, which brought
them to Sierra Leone--the Lion Mountain as it was called long years
after by the Portuguese.

Here Hanno and his party landed, but as night approached they saw flames
issuing from the island and heard the sound of flutes and cymbals and
drums and the noise of confused shouts.

"Great fear then came upon us; we sailed therefore quickly thence much
terrified, and passing on for four days found at night a country full
of fire. In the middle was a lofty fire, greater than all the rest,
so that it seemed to touch the stars. When day came on we found that
this was a great mountain which they called the chariot of the gods."
They had a last adventure before they turned homewards at what they
called the Isle of Gorillas. Here they found a "savage people"
(Gorillas) whom they pursued, but were unable to catch. At last they
managed to catch three. "But when these, biting and tearing those that
led them, would not follow us, we slew them and, flaying off their
skins, carried them to Carthage."

Then abruptly this quaint account of the only Phoenician voyage on
record stops. "Further," says the commander, "we did not sail, for
our food failed us."

EDITION). This map shows the extent of Hanno's voyage from the Pillars
of Hercules, past the Equator, to what is now called Sierra Leone.]

Further knowledge of the world was now supplied by the Greeks, who
were rapidly asserting themselves and settling round the coast of the
Mediterranean as the Phoenicians had done before them. As in more
ancient days Babylonians and Egyptians had dominated the little world,
so now the power was shifting to the Greeks and Persians. The rise
of Persia does not rightly belong to this story, which is not one of
conquest and annexation, but of discovery, so we must content
ourselves by stating the fact that Persia had become a very important
country with no less than fifty-six subject States paying tribute to
her, including the land of Egypt. Efforts to include Greece had failed.

In the year 401 B.C. one Artaxerxes sat on the throne of Persia, the
mighty Empire which extended eastwards beyond the knowledge of Greeks
or Phoenicians, even to the unknown regions of the Indus. He had reigned
for many years, when Cyrus, his brother, a dashing young prince,
attempted to seize the throne. Collecting a huge army, including the
famous Ten Thousand Greeks, he led them by way of Phrygia, Cilicia,
and along the banks of the Euphrates to within fifty miles of the gates
of Babylon. The journey took nearly five months, a distance of one
thousand seven hundred miles through recognised tracks. Here a battle
was fought and Cyrus was slain.

It was midwinter when the Ten Thousand Greeks who had followed their
leader so loyally through the plains of Asia Minor found themselves
friendless and in great danger in the very heart of the enemy's country.

How Xenophon--a mere Greek volunteer, who had accompanied the army
from the shores of Asia Minor--rose up and offered to lead his
countrymen back to Greece is a matter of history. It would take too
long to tell in detail how they marched northward through the Assyrian
plains, past the neighbourhood of Nineveh, till they reached the
mountain regions which were known to be inhabited by fierce fighters,
unconquered even by the powerful Persians.

Up to this time their line of retreat had followed the "royal road"
of merchants and caravans. Their only chance of safety lay in striking
north into the mountains inhabited by this warlike tribe who had held
out amid their wild and rugged country against the Persians themselves.
They now opposed the Greeks with all their might, and it took seven
days of continuous fighting to reach the valley which lay between them
and the high tableland of Armenia. They crossed the Tigris near its
source, and a little farther on they also crossed the Euphrates not
far from its source, so they were informed by the Armenians. They now
found themselves some five or six thousand feet above sea-level and
in the midst of a bitter Armenian winter. Snow fell heavily, covering
all tracks, and day after day a cold north-east wind, "whose bitter
blast was torture," increased their sufferings as they ploughed their
way on and on through such depths of snow as they had never seen before.

Many died of cold and hunger, many fell grievously sick, and others
suffered from snow-blindness and frostbite.

But Xenophon led his army on, making his notes of the country through
which they were toiling, measuring distances by the day's march, and
at last one day when the soldiers were climbing a steep mountain, a
cry, growing louder and more joyous every moment, rent the air--

"Thalassa! Thalassa! The sea! The sea!"

True enough, on the distant horizon, glittering in the sunlight, was
a narrow silver streak of sea--the Black Sea--the goal of all their
hopes. The long struggle of five months was over; they could sail home
now along the shores of the Black Sea. They had reached the coast near
the spot Colchis, where the Argonauts landed to win the Golden Fleece
long centuries before.

In a work known as the _Anabasis_, Xenophon wrote the adventures of
the Ten Thousand Greeks, and no geographical explorer ever recorded
his travels through unknown countries more faithfully than did the
Greek leader of twenty-three hundred years ago.



Still greater light was shed on the size of the world by Alexander
the Great on his famous expedition to India, by which he almost doubled
the area of the world known to the people of his time. It was just
sixty years after Xenophon had made his way right across Asia to the
shores of the Black Sea when Alexander resolved to break, if possible,
the power of the Persians.

The great Persian Empire extended from the shores of the Mediterranean
right away to the east, far beyond the knowledge of the Greeks. Indeed,
their knowledge of the interior of Asia was very imperfect, and
Alexander's expedition was rather that of an explorer than of a
conqueror. How he overthrew the Persians and subdued an area as large
as Europe in the space of twelve years reads like a romance rather
than fact, and it is not for us to tell the story in detail. Rather
let us take up the story, after Alexander has fought and conquered
the Persians twice, besieged Tyre, taken the Phoenician fleet,
occupied Egypt, marched across the desert and crossed the Euphrates,
passed over the plain and followed the Tigris to near Nineveh, where
he crossed that river too, fought another famous battle over the
Persians, which decided the fate of King and Monarchy and opened to
him the capitals of Babylon and Susa, wherein the immense treasures
of the Persian Empire were stored. King of all Asia, he sat on the
throne of the Persian kings under a golden canopy in the palace of

So far the whole expedition was over country known, if imperfectly,
to the Greeks. Now we have to follow the conquering hero more closely
as he leads us into an unknown land away to the east, known as "the
farthest region of the inhabited world towards the east, beyond which
lies the endless sandy desert void of inhabitants." And all the while
the great land of India lay beyond, and beyond again was China, and
away far over the ocean sea lay America--and they knew it not.

Alexander was a young man yet, only twenty-six. It was four years since
he had left Europe, and in that short time he had done wonders. He
had conquered the whole western half of the Persian Empire. Now he
resolutely turned his face to the unknown east and started forth on
an expedition of exploration.

Following the main highway from Media, which to-day leads from Teheran,
capital of modern Persia, into the land of the Turkomans and the borders
of Russia, he found himself between the great salt desert and the
mountains, which to-day mark the frontier of Persia. Suddenly, to his
great surprise, the Caspian Sea came into sight. It seemed about the
same size as the Black Sea, and he concluded it was connected with
the Sea of Azof, though the men of his day were certain enough that
it was the most northern of four great gulfs connected with the outer
ocean which flowed round the world.

Onwards towards the east he marched with his great army. To conciliate
the tribes through which he passed, he adopted Persian dress. This
annoyed his Greek countrymen, but, "as they admired his other virtues,
they thought he might be suffered to please himself a little and enjoy
his vanity."

Arrived at the modern boundary between Persia, Afghanistan, and Russia,
he and his men pushed on across Afghanistan, by the caravan route that
had long existed from the shores of the Caspian, by modern Herat,
Kandahar,[1] which still bears the conqueror's name, and Kabul to
India. Their way lay through deep snow, deeper than they had ever seen
before; and by the time they had reached the mountains of Kabul it
was midwinter.

[Footnote 1: Kandahar = Alexandria in a modern form.]

Between Alexander and India still lay the lofty range of the Hindu
Koosh or Indian Caucasus. But before going south toward India, he
turned northwards to explore the unknown country which lay about the
river Oxus. They found the Oxus, a mighty stream, swollen with melting
snows. There were no boats and no wood to build them, so Alexander
pioneered his men across in "life-preservers" made out of their
leather tent coverings and stuffed with straw. This river impressed
the Greeks even more than the Euphrates and Tigris, as it impressed
many an explorer and poet since these early days. Let us recall Matthew
Arnold's famous description of the Oxus, now seen for the first time
by the Greeks.

   "But the majestic river floated on,
    Out of the mist and hum of that low land,
    Into the frosty starlight, and there moved

           *       *       *       *       *

    Brimming, and bright, and large; then sands begin
    To hem his watery march and dam his streams,
    And split his currents; that for many a league
    The shorn and parcell'd Oxus strains along
    Through beds of sand and matted rushy isles--
    Oxus, forgetting the bright speed he had,
    In his high mountain-cradle in Pamere,
    A foil'd circuitous wanderer--till at last
    The long'd for dash of waves is heard, and wide
    His luminous home of waters opens, bright
    And tranquil, from whose floor the new-bathed stars
    Emerge, and shine upon the Aral Sea."

Here in this valley the Greeks met more determined opposition than
they had yet encountered since entering Asia, and over two years were
occupied in reducing this single district (now Bokhara and Turkestan)
to submission, though it was only some three hundred and fifty miles
square, and in one single year Alexander had conquered a kingdom over
one thousand miles in width.

It was not till the spring of 327 B.C. that he was ready to cross the
Hindu Koosh and begin the great expedition into India. The night before
the start Alexander discovered that his troops were now so heavily
laden with spoils that they were quite unfit for the long march. So
in the early morning, when they were all ready to start, he suddenly
set fire to his own baggage, and, giving orders that all his men were
to do the same, the army started for the passes of the lofty mountain
range. And--

   "... as a troop of pedlars from Kabul
    Cross underneath the Indian Caucasus,
    That vast sky neighbouring mountain of milk snow;
    Crossing so high, that, as they mount, they pass
    Long flocks of travelling birds dead on the snow,
    Choked by the air, and scarce can they themselves
    Slake their parch'd throats with sugar'd mulberries--
    In single file they move, and stop their breath,
    For fear they should dislodge the o'erhanging snows."

The banks of the river of Kabul were reached at last. Sending part
of the army by the now famous Kyber Pass toward the Indus, Alexander
himself undertook to subdue the mountain tribes and get control of
the Chitral passes. The shepherds of this region opposed him
vigorously, but swiftly and pitilessly the King of Asia sacked their
peaceful homes, and city after city fell to him as he advanced towards
the boundaries of Kashmir.

At last the valley of the Indus was reached. A bridge of boats was
hastily thrown over, and Alexander and his army passed to the other

Porus, the ruler of the country between the Indus and the river Hydaspes
(Jehlam), sent presents of welcome to the invader, including three
thousand animals for sacrifice, ten thousand sheep, thirty elephants,
two hundred talents of silver, and seven hundred horsemen. The new
king was also greeted with presents of ivory and precious stones. Even
from far Kashmir came greetings to Alexander, whose fame was spreading
rapidly. He now entered the Punjab, the "Land of the Five Rivers."
But on the other side of the river Hydaspes a different reception
awaited him.

There the king (Porus) had assembled a sturdy, well-disciplined troop
to dispute the passage of the river, which still separated the new
King of Asia from his territory. But under cover of a mighty
thunderstorm Alexander contrived to cross, though the river was
rushing down yellow and fierce after the rains. Secretly the Greeks
put together their thirty-oared galleys hidden in a wood, and utterly
surprised Porus by landing on the other side. In their strange
wanderings the Greeks had fought under varying conditions, but they
had never faced elephants before. Nevertheless, they brilliantly
repulsed an onslaught of these animals, who slowly retreated, "facing
the foe, like ships backing water, and merely uttering a shrill, piping
sound." Despite the elephants the old story was repeated, civilised
arms triumphed over barbarians, and the army of Porus was annihilated,
his chariots shattered, and thirty-three thousand men slain.

The kingdom beyond the Hydaspes was now Alexander's. Ordering a great
fleet of rafts and boats to be built for his proposed voyage to the
mouth of the Indus, he pushed on to complete the conquest of the Five
Stream Land, or the Punjab--the last province of the great Persian
Empire. This was India--all that was known at this time. The India
of the Ganges valley was beyond the knowledge of the Western world--the
Ganges itself unknown to the Persians. And Alexander saw no reason
to change his mind.

"The great sea surrounds the whole earth," he stoutly maintained.

But when he reached the eastern limit of the Punjab and heard that
beyond lay a fertile land "where the inhabitants were skilled in
agriculture, where there were elephants in yet greater abundance and
men were superior in stature and courage," the world stretched out
before him in an unexpected direction, and he longed to explore farther,
to conquer new and utterly unknown worlds!

But at last his men struck. They were weary, some were wounded, some
were ill; seventy days of incessant rain had taken the heart out of

"I am not ignorant, soldiers," said Alexander to the hesitating troops,
"that during the last few days the natives of this country have been
spreading all sorts of rumours to work upon your fears. The Persians
in this way sought to terrify you with the gates of Cilicia, with the
plains of Mesopotamia, with the Tigris and Euphrates, and yet this
river you crossed by a ford and that by means of a bridge. By my troth,
we had long ago fled from Asia could fables have been able to scare
us. We are not standing on the threshold of our enterprise, but at
the very close. We have already reached the sunrise and the ocean,
and unless your sloth and cowardice prevent, we shall thence return
in triumph to our native land, having conquered the earth to its
remotest bounds. I beseech you that ye desert not your king just at
the very moment when he is approaching the limits of the inhabited

But the soldiers, "with their heads bent earthwards," stood in silence.
It was not that they _would_ not follow him beyond the sunset; they
_could_ not. Their tears began to flow, sobs reached the ears of
Alexander, his anger turned to pity, and he wept with his men.

"Oh, sir," at last cried one of his men, "we have done and suffered
up to the full measure of the capacity of mortal nature. We have
traversed seas and lands, and know them better than do the inhabitants
themselves. We are standing now almost on the earth's utmost verge,
and yet you are preparing to go in quest of an India unknown even to
the Indians themselves. You would fain root out, from their hidden
recesses and dens, a race of men that herd with snakes and wild beasts,
so that you may traverse as a conqueror more regions than the sun
surveys. But while your courage will be ever growing, our vigour is
fast waning to its end. See how bloodless be our bodies, pierced with
how many wounds and gashed with how many scars! Our weapons are blunt,
our armour worn out! We have been driven to assume the Persian dress!
Which of us has a horse? We have conquered all the world, but are
ourselves destitute of all things."

The conqueror was at last conquered. The order to turn back was
reluctantly given by the disappointed king and leader. It was received
with shouts of joy from the mixed multitudes of his followers, and
the expedition faced for home. Back they marched through the new lands
where no less than two thousand cities had owned his sway, till they
came to the banks of the river where the ships were building. Two
thousand boats were ready, including eighty thirty-oared galleys.

It was now September 326 B.C.

Nearchus from Crete was made Admiral of the new fleet, which at dawn
one October morning pushed out upon the river Hydaspes and set sail
downstream towards the unknown sea, Alexander standing proudly on the
prow of the royal galley. The trumpets rang out, the oars moved, and
the strange argosy, "such as had never been seen before in these parts,"
made its way down the unknown river to the unknown sea. Natives swarmed
to the banks of the river to wonder at the strange sight, marvelling
specially to see horses as passengers on board! The greater part of
the army followed the ships on land, marching along the shores. At
last the waters of the Hydaspes mingled with those of the Indus, and
onwards down this great river floated the Persian fleet. Alexander
had no pilots, no local knowledge of the country, but with his
"unquenchable ambition to see the ocean and reach the boundaries of
the world," he sailed on, "ignorant of everything on the way they had
to pass." In vain they asked the natives assembled on the banks how
far distant was the sea; they had never heard of the sea! At last they
found a tide mixing its salt waters with the fresh. Soon a flood-tide
burst upon them, forcing back the current of the river, and scattering
the fleet. The sailors of the tideless Mediterranean knew nothing of
the rise and fall of tides. They were in a state of panic and
consternation. Some tried to push off their ships with long poles,
others tried to row against the incoming tide; prows were dashed
against poops, oars were broken, sterns were bumped, until at last
the sea had flowed over all the level land near the river mouth.

Suddenly a new danger appeared! The tide turned and the sea began to
recede. Further misfortunes now befell the ships. Many were left high
and dry; most of them were damaged in some way or another. Alexander
sent horsemen to the seashore with instructions to watch for the return
of the tide and to ride back in haste so that the fleet might be

Thus they got safely out to sea on the next high tide.

Alexander's explorations were now at an end. Leaving Nearchus to
explore the seacoast at the mouth of the Indus, he left the spot near
where the town of Hyderabad now stands, and turned his face toward
the home he was never to reach. We must not linger over his terrible
coast journey through the scorching desert of Beluchistan the billows
of sand, the glare of the barren sea, the awful thirst, the long hungry
marches of forty miles a day under the burning Eastern sun.

FROM ATHENS TO HYDERABAD AND GAZA. The dotted line shows the course
of Nearchus' voyage down the river Indus, along the northern shores
of the Indian Ocean, and up the Persian Gulf to Babylonia.]

Our story is one of discovery, and we must turn to Nearchus, Admiral
of the fleet, left behind at the mouth of the Indus to explore the
coast to the Persian Gulf, where he was to meet Alexander if possible.
Shortly after the fleet had emerged from the mouth of the Indus a
violent south-west monsoon began to blow and Nearchus was obliged to
seek shelter in a harbour, which he called the port of Alexander, but
which to-day is known as Karachi, the most western seaport of India.
The waters of the Indian Ocean were quite unknown to the Greeks, and
they could only coast along in sight of land, anchoring at different
points for the men to land and get water and food. Past the wild barren
shores of Beluchistan they made their way; the natives subsisted on
fish entirely even as they do to-day--even their huts being made of
fish bones and their bread of pounded fish.

They had but one adventure in their five months' cruise to the Persian
Gulf, but we have a graphic account of how the terrified Greeks met
a shoal of whales and how they frightened the whales away. Here is
the story. One day towards daybreak they suddenly saw water spouting
up from the sea, as if being violently carried upwards by whirlwinds.
The sailors, feeling very frightened, asked their native guides what
it meant. The natives replied that it was caused by whales blowing
the water up into the air. At this explanation the Greek sailors were
panic-stricken and dropped the oars from their hands. Nearchus saw
that something must be done at once. So he bade the men draw up their
ships in line as if for battle and row forward side by side towards
the whales, shouting and splashing with their oars. At a given signal
they duly advanced, and when they came near the sea-monsters they
shouted with all their might and blew their trumpets and made all
possible noise with their oars. On hearing which, says the old story,
"the whales took fright and plunged into the depths, but not long after
came to the surface again close to the sterns of the vessels and once
more spouted great jets of water. Then the sailors shouted aloud at
their happy and unlooked-for escape," and Nearchus was cheered as the
saviour of the fleet. It is not uncommon to-day for steamers bound
from Aden to Bombay to encounter what is called a "school of whales"
similar to those which alarmed the fleet of Nearchus in the year 323

The expedition was completely successful and Nearchus pioneered his
fleet to the mouth of the Euphrates.

But the death of Alexander the Great and the confusion that followed
set back the advance of geographical discovery in this direction for
some time.

river with the buildings on its bank is the Nile.]

Alexandria--one of the many towns founded by Alexander--had become
the world centre of the learned from Europe, Asia, and Africa. Its
position was unrivalled. Situated at the mouth of the Nile, it
commanded the Mediterranean Sea, while by means of the Red Sea it held
easy communication with India and Arabia. When Egypt had come under
the sway of Alexander, he had made one of his generals ruler over that
country, and men of intellect collected there to study and to write.
A library was started, and a Greek, Eratosthenes, held the post of
librarian at Alexandria for forty years, namely, from 240-196 B.C.
During this period he made a collection of all the travels and books
of earth description--the first the world had ever known--and stored
them in the Great Library of which he must have felt so justly proud.
But Eratosthenes did more than this. He was the originator of
Scientific Geography. He realised that no maps could be properly laid
down till something was known of the size and shape of the earth.

By this time all men of science had ceased to believe that the world
was flat; they thought of it as a perfect round, but fixed at the centre
in space. Many had guessed at the size of the earth. Some said it was
forty thousand miles round, but Eratosthenes was not content with
guessing. He studied the length of the shadow thrown by the sun at
Alexandria and compared it with that thrown by the sun at Syene, near
the first cataract of the Nile, some five hundred miles distant, and,
as he thought, in the same longitude. The differences in the length
of these two shadows he calculated would represent one-fiftieth of
the circumference of the earth which would accordingly be twenty-five
thousand miles. There was no one to tell him whether he had calculated
right or wrong, but we know to-day that he was wonderfully right. But
he must know more. He must find out how much of this earth was habitable.
To the north and south of the known countries men declared it was too
hot or too cold to live. So he decided that from north to south, that
is, from the land of Thule to the land of Punt (Somaliland), the
habitable earth stretched for some three thousand eight hundred miles,
while from east to west--that is, from the Pillars of Hercules (Straits
of Gibraltar) to India--would be some eight thousand miles. All the
rest was ocean. Ignoring the division of the world into three
continents, he divided it into two, north and south, divided by the
Mediterranean and by a long range of mountains intersecting the whole
of Asia.

Then the famous librarian drew a map of the world for his library at
Alexandria, but it has perished with all the rest of the valuable
treasure collected in this once celebrated city. We know that he must
have made a great many mistakes in drawing a map of his little island
world which measured eight thousand miles by three thousand eight
hundred miles. It must have been quaintly arranged. The Caspian Sea
was connected with a Northern Ocean, the Danube sent a tributary to
the Adriatic, there was no Bay of Biscay, the British Isles lay in
the wrong direction, Africa was not half its right size, the Ganges
flowed into the Eastern Ocean, Ceylon was a huge island stretching
east and west, while across the whole of Asia a mountain chain stretched
in one long unbroken line. And yet, with all his errors, he was nearer
the truth than men three centuries later.



For some centuries past men had been pushing eastward, and to west,
vast lands lay unexplored, undreamt of, amongst them a little far-off
island "set in a silver sea." Pytheas was the first explorer to bring
the world news of the British Isles.

About the time that Alexander was making his way eastward through
Persia, Pytheas was leaving the Greek colony of Marseilles for the
west and north. The Phoenicians, with their headquarters at Carthage,
had complete command of the mineral trade of Spain--the Mexico of the
ancient world. They knew where to find the gold and silver from the
rivers--indeed, they said that the coast, from the Tagus to the
Pyrenees, was "stuffed with mines of gold and silver and tin." The
Greeks were now determined to see for themselves--the men of Carthage
should no longer have it all their own way. Where were these tin islands,
kept so secret by the master-mariners of the ancient world?

A committee of merchants met at Marseilles and engaged the services
of Pytheas, a great mathematician, and one who made a study of the
effect of the moon on the tides. All sorts of vague rumours had reached
the ears of Pytheas about the northern regions he was about to visit.
He would discover the homes of the tin and amber merchants, he would
find the people who lived "at the back of the north wind," he would
reach a land of perpetual sunshine, where swans sang like nightingales
and life was one unending banquet.

So Pytheas, the mathematician of Marseilles started off on his
northern trip. Unfortunately, his diary and book called _The Circuit
of the Earth_ have perished, and our story of geographical discovery
is the poorer. But these facts have survived.

The ships first touched at Cadiz, the "Tyre of the West," a famous
port in those days, where Phoenician merchants lived, "careless and
secure" and rich. This was the limit of Greek geographical knowledge;
here were the Pillars of Hercules, beyond which all was dim and
mysterious and interesting. Five days' sail, that is to say, some three
hundred miles along the coast of Spain, brought Pytheas to Cape St.

He thought he was navigating the swift ocean river flowing round the
world. He was, therefore, surprised to find as he rounded the Cape
that the current had ceased, or, in his own words, the "ebb came to
an end." Three days more and they were at the mouth of the Tagus. Near
this part of the coast lay the Tin Islands, according to Greek ideas,
though even to-day their exact locality is uncertain. Pytheas must
have heard the old tradition that the Cassiterides were ten in number
and lay near each other in the ocean, that they were inhabited by people
who wore black cloaks and long tunics reaching to the feet, that they
walked with long staves and subsisted by their cattle. They led a
wandering life; they bartered hides, tin, and lead with the merchants
in exchange for pottery, salt, and implements of bronze.

That these islands had already been visited by Himilco the
Carthaginian seems fairly certain. He had started from Cadiz for the
north when Hanno started for the south. From the Tin Islands his fleet
had ventured forth into the open sea. Thick fogs had hidden the sun
and the ships were driven south before a north wind till they reached,
though they did not know it, the Sargasso Sea, famous for its vast
plains of seaweed, through which it was difficult to push the ships.

"Sea animals," he tells us, "crept upon the tangled weed." It has been
thought that with a little good fortune Himilco might have discovered
America two thousand years before the birth of Columbus. But Himilco
returned home by the Azores or Fortunate Islands, as they were called.

Leaving the Tin Islands, Pytheas voyaged on to Cape Finisterre,
landing on the island of Ushant, where he found a temple served by
women priests who kept up a perpetual fire in honour of their god.
Thence Pytheas sailed prosperously on up the English Channel till he
struck the coast of Kent. Britain, he announced, was several days'
journey from Ushant, and about one hundred and seventy miles to the
north. He sailed round part of the coast, making notes of distances,
but these are curiously exaggerated. This was not unnatural, for the
only method of determining distance was roughly based on the number
of miles that a ship could go in an hour along the shore. Measuring
in this primitive fashion, Pytheas assures us that Britain is a
continent of enormous size, and that he has discovered a "new world."
It is, he says, three cornered in shape, something like the head of
a battleaxe. The south side, lying opposite the coast of France, is
eight hundred and thirty-five miles in length, the eastern coast is
sixteen hundred and sixty-five miles, the western two thousand two
hundred and twenty-two--indeed, the whole country was thought to be
over four thousand miles in circumference. These calculations must
have been very upsetting to the old geographers of that age, because
up to this time they had decided that the whole world was only three
thousand four hundred miles long and six thousand eight hundred broad.

He tells us that he made journeys into the interior of Britain, that
the inhabitants drink mead, and that there is an abundance of wheat
in the fields.

"The natives," he says, "collect the sheaves in great barns and thrash
out the corn there, because they have so little sunshine that an open
thrashing-place would be of little use in that land of clouds and rain."
He seems to have voyaged north as far as the Shetland Islands, but
he never saw Ireland.

Having returned from the north of the Thames, Pytheas crossed the North
Sea to the mouth of the Rhine, a passage which took about two and a
half days. He gives a pitiable account of the people living on the
Dutch coast and their perpetual struggle with the sea. The natives
had not learnt the art of making dykes and embankments. A high tide
with a wind setting toward the shore would sweep over the low-lying
country and swamp their homes. A mounted horseman could barely gallop
from the rush and force of these strong North Sea tides.

But the Greek geographers would not believe this; they only knew the
tideless Mediterranean, and they thought Pytheas was lying when he
told of the fierce northern sea. Pytheas sailed past the mouth of the
Elbe, noting the amber cast upon the shore by the high spring tides.
But all these interesting discoveries paled before the famous land
of Thule, six days' voyage north of Britain, in the neighbourhood of
the frozen ocean. Grand excitement reigned among geographers when they
heard of Thule, and a very sea of romance rose up around the name.
Had Pytheas indeed found the end of the world? Was it an island? Was
it mainland? In the childhood of the world, when so little was known
and so much imagined, men's minds caught at the name of Thule--Ultima
Thule--far-away Thule, and weaved round it many and beautiful legends.
But to-day we ask: Was it Iceland? Was it Lapland? Was it one of the
Shetland Isles?

[Illustration: NORTH BRITAIN AND THE ISLAND OF THULE. From Mercator's
edition of Ptolemy's map.]

"Pytheas said that the farthest parts of the world are those which
lie about Thule, the northernmost of the Britannic Isles, but he never
said whether Thule was an island or whether the world was habitable
by man as far as that point. I should think myself"--the speaker is
Strabo, a famous Greek traveller who wrote seventeen books of
geography--"I should think myself that the northern limit of habitude
lies much farther to the south, for the writers of our age say nothing
of any place beyond Ireland, which is situate in front of the northern
parts of Britain." Pytheas said that Thule was six days' sail north
of Britain. "But who in his senses would believe this?" cries Strabo
again. "For Pytheas, who described Thule, has been shown to be the
falsest of men. A traveller, starting from the middle of Britain and
going five hundred miles to the north, would come to a country somewhere
about Ireland, where living would be barely possible."

The first account of the Arctic regions likewise reads like pure
romance to the ignorant and untravelled. "After one day's journey to
the north of Thule," says Pytheas, "men come to a sluggish sea, where
there is no separation of sea, land, and air, but a mixture of these
elements like the substance of jelly-fish, through which one can
neither walk nor sail." Here the nights were very short, sometimes
only two hours, after which the sun rose again. This, in fact, was
the "Sleeping Palace of the Sun."

With all this wealth of discovery, Pytheas returned home by the Bay
of Biscay to the mouth of the Gironde; thence he sailed up the Garonne,
and from the modern town of Bordeaux he reached Marseilles by an
overland journey.



Our next explorer is Julius Caesar. As Alexander the Great had combined
the conqueror with the explorer, so now history repeats itself, and
we find the Roman Caesar not only conquering, but exploring. It was
Caesar who first dispelled the mist that lay over the country about
the French Seine, the German Rhine, the English Thames--Caesar who
gives us the first graphic account of crossing the English Channel
from France to England. Pytheas had hinted at the fog-bound lands of
the north--Caesar brought them into the light of day.

Since the days of Alexander the centre of Empire had shifted from Greece
to Rome, and Rome was now conquering and annexing land, as Persia had
done in the olden days. Hence it was that Julius Caesar was in the
year 58 B.C. appointed Governor of a new province recently brought
under Roman sway, stretching from the Alps to the Garonne and northward
to the Lake of Geneva, which at this time marked the frontier of the
Roman Empire. Caesar made no secret of his intentions to subdue the
tribes to the north of his province and bring all Gaul under the
dominion of Rome. His appointment carried with it the command of four
legions, including some twenty thousand soldiers. His chance soon came,
and we find Caesar, with all the ability of a great commander, pushing
forward with his army into the very heart of France one hundred and
fifty miles beyond the Roman frontier.

On the banks of the river Saone he defeated a large body of Celtic
people who were migrating from Switzerland to make their homes in the
warmer and roomier plains at the foot of the Pyrenees.

While the defeated Celts returned to their chilly homes among the
mountains, victorious Caesar resolved to push on at the head of his
army toward the Rhine, where some German tribes under a "ferocious
headstrong savage" threatened to overrun the country. After marching
through utterly unknown country for three days, he heard that fresh
swarms of invaders had crossed the Rhine, intending to occupy the more
fertile tracts on the French side. They were making for the town we
now call Besancon--then, as now, strongly fortified, and nearly
surrounded by the river Doubs. By forced marches night and day, Caesar
hastened to the town and took it before the arrival of the invaders.

Accounts of the German tribes even now approaching were brought in
by native traders and Gaulish chiefs, until the Roman soldiers were
seized with alarm. Yes, said the traders, these Germans were "men of
huge stature, incredible valour, and practised skill in wars; many
a time they had themselves come across them, and had not been able
to look them in the face or meet the glare of their piercing eyes."

The Romans felt they were in an unknown land, about to fight against
an unknown foe. Violent panic seized them, "completely paralysing
every one's judgment and nerve." Some could not restrain their tears;
others shut themselves up in their tents and bemoaned their fate. "All
over the camp men were making their wills," until Caesar spoke, and
the panic ceased. Seven days' march brought them to the plain of Alsace,
some fifty miles from the Rhine. A battle was fought with the German
tribes, and "the enemy all turned tail and did not cease their flight
until they reached the Rhine." Some swam across, some found boats,
many were killed by the Romans in hot pursuit.

For the first time Romans beheld the German Rhine--that great river
that was to form a barrier for so long between them and the tribes
beyond. But Caesar's exploration was not to end here. The following
year found him advancing against the Belgae--tribes living between
the Rhine and the Seine. In one brilliant campaign he subdued the whole
of north-eastern Gaul from the Seine to the Rhine. Leaving Roman
soldiers in the newly conquered country, he returned to his province,
and was some eight hundred miles away when he heard that a general
rebellion was breaking out in that part we now know as Brittany. He
at once ordered ships to be built on the Loire, "which flows into the
ocean," oarsmen to be trained, seamen and pilots assembled.

The spring of 56 B.C. found Caesar at the seat of war. His ships were
ready on the Loire. But the navy of the Veneti was strong. They were
a sea-going folk, who knew their own low rocky coast, intersected by
shallow inlets of the sea; they knew their tides and their winds. Their
flat-bottomed boats were suitable to shallows and ebbing tides. Bows
and stern stood high out of the water to resist heavy seas and severe
gales; the hulls were built of oak. Leather was used for sails to
withstand the violent ocean storms. The long Roman galleys were no
match for these, and things would have gone badly had not Caesar devised
a plan for cutting the enemy's rigging with hooks "sharpened at the
end and fixed to long poles." With these, the Romans cut the rigging
of the enemy's ships forming the fleet of Brittany; the sails fell
and the ships were rendered useless. One after another they were easily
captured, and at sunset the victory lay with the Romans.

The whole of Gaul, from the Rhine to the Pyrenees, seemed now subdued.
Caesar had conquered as he explored, and the skill of his
well-disciplined army triumphed everywhere over the untrained courage
of the barbarian tribes.

Still, the German tribes were giving trouble about the country of the
Rhine, and in the words of the famous _Commentaries_, "Caesar was
determined to cross the Rhine, but he hardly thought it safe to cross
in boats. Therefore, although the construction of a bridge presented
great difficulties on account of the breadth, swiftness, and depth
of the stream, he nevertheless thought it best to make the attempt
or else not cross at all." Indeed, he wanted to impress the wild German
people on the other side with a sense of the vast power of the Roman
Empire. The barbarian tribes beyond must, indeed, have been impressed
with the skill of the Roman soldier. For in ten days the bridge was
completed: timber had been hewn from the forest, brought to the banks
of the Rhine, worked into shape, piles driven into the bed of the river,
beams laid across. And Caesar led his army in triumph to the other
side. They stood for the first time in the land of the Germans, near
the modern town of Coblenz, and after eighteen days on the farther
side, they returned to Gaul, destroying the bridge behind them.

Caesar had now a fresh adventure in view. He was going to make his
way to Britain. The summer of 55 B.C. was passing, and "in these parts,
the whole of Gaul having a northerly trend, winter sets in early,"
wrote Caesar afterwards. There would be no time to conquer, but he
could visit the island, find out for himself what the people were like,
learn about harbours and landing-places, "for of all this the Greeks
knew practically nothing. No one, indeed, readily undertakes the
voyage to Britain except traders, and even they know nothing of it
except the coast."

Caesar summoned all the traders he could collect and inquired the size
of the island, what tribes dwelt there, their names, their customs,
and the shortest sea passage. Then he sent for the ships which had
vanquished the fleet of Brittany the previous year; he also assembled
some eighty merchant ships on the northern coast of Gaul, probably
not very far from Calais.

It was near the end of August, when soon after midnight the wind served
and he set sail. A vision of the great Roman--determined,
resolute--rises before us as, standing on the deck of the galley, he
looks out on to the dark waters of the unknown sea bound for the coast
of England. After a slow passage the little fleet arrived under the
steep white cliffs of the southern coast about nine o'clock next
morning. Armed forces of barbarians stood on the heights above Dover,
and, finding it impossible to land, Caesar gave orders to sail some
seven miles farther along the coast, where they ran the ships aground
not far from Deal.

But the visit of the Romans to Britain on this occasion lasted but
three days, for a violent storm scattered the ships with the horses
on board.

"The same night," says Caesar, "it happened to be full moon, which
generally causes very high tides in the ocean, a fact of which our
men were not aware."

Indeed, we may well believe that a night of full moon and an unusually
high tide would be a mystery to those children of the Mediterranean.
Their ships had been beached and were lying high and dry when the
rapidly rising tide overwhelmed them. Cables were broken, anchors lost,
panic ensued.

But Caesar's glory lay in overcoming obstacles, and it is well known
how he got his troops and ships safely back across the Channel, and
how preparations were hurried on in Gaul for a second invasion of
Britain. This is not the place for the story of his campaign. He was
the first to raise the curtain on the mysterious islands discovered
by Pytheas.

   "Far to the west, in the ocean wide,
    Beyond the realm of Gaul, a land there lies,
    Sea-girt it lies, where giants dwelt of old."

Caesar's remarks on this new-found land are interesting for us to-day.
He tells us of "a river called the Thames, about eight miles from the
sea." "The interior of Britain," he says, "is inhabited by a people
who, according to tradition, are aboriginal. The population is
immense; homesteads closely resembling those of the Gauls are met with
at every turn, and cattle are very numerous. Gold coins are in use,
or iron bars of fixed weight. Hares, fowls, and geese they think it
wrong to taste; but they keep them for pastime or amusement. The climate
is more equable than in Gaul, the cold being less severe. The island
is triangular in shape, one side being opposite Gaul. One corner of
this side, by Kent--the landing-place for almost all ships from
Gaul--has an easterly, and the lower one a westerly, aspect. The extent
of this side is about five hundred miles. The second trends off towards
Spain. Off the coast here is Ireland, which is considered only half
as large as Britain. Halfway across is an island called 'Man,' and
several smaller islands also are believed to be situated opposite this
coast, in which there is continuous night for thirty days. The length
of this side is eight hundred miles. Thus the whole island is two
thousand miles in circumference. The people of the interior do not,
for the most part, cultivate grain, but live on milk and flesh-meat,
and clothe themselves with skins. All Britons, without exception,
stain themselves with woad, which produces a bluish tint. They wear
their hair long."

Caesar crossed the Thames. "The river can only be forded at one spot,"
he tells us, "and there with difficulty." Farther he did not go. And
so this is all that was known of Britain for many a long year to come.



Strabo wrote his famous geography near the beginning of the Christian
era, but he knew nothing of the north of England, Scotland, or Wales.
He insisted on placing Ireland to the north, and scoffed at Pytheas'
account of Thule.

And yet he boasted a wider range than any other writer on geography,
"for that those who had penetrated farther towards the West had not
gone so far to the East, and those on the contrary who had seen more
of the East had seen less of the West."

Like Herodotus, Strabo had travelled himself from Armenia and western
Italy, from the Black Sea to Egypt and up the Nile to Philae. But his
seventeen volumes--vastly important to his contemporaries--read like
a romance to us to-day, and a glance at the map laid down according
to his descriptions is like a vague and distorted caricature of the
real thing. And yet, according to the men of his times, he "surpasses
all the geographical writings of antiquity, both in grandeur of plan
and in abundance and variety of its materials."

Strabo has summed up for us the knowledge of the ancient world as it
was in the days of the Emperor Caesar Augustus of the great Roman Empire,
as it was when in far-off Syria the Christ was born and the greater
part of the known earth was under the sway of Rome.

A wall-map had already been designed by order of Augustus to hang in
a public place in Rome--the heart of the Empire--so that the young
Romans might realise the size of their inheritance, while a list of
the chief places on the roads, which, radiating from Rome, formed a
network over the Empire, was inscribed on the Golden Milestone in the

SEAS. This is a portion--a few inches--taken from the famous Peutinger
Table, a long strip map on parchment, of the fourth century, derived
from Augustan maps according to the measurements of Caesar Augustus
Agrippa. It will be noticed how the roads, beginning with the Twelve
Ways, which start from Rome in the centre, go in straight lines over
all obstacles to the towns of the Empire. Distances are marked in stadia
(about 1/9 mile).]

We may well imagine with what keen interest the schoolmen of Alexandria
would watch the extension of the Roman Empire. Here Strabo had studied,
here or at Rome he probably wrote his great work toward the close of
a long life. He has read his Homer and inclines to take every word
he says as true. Herodotus he will have none of.

"Herodotus and other writers trifle very much," he asserts, "when they
introduce into their histories the marvellous like an interlude of
some melody."

In like manner he disbelieves poor Pytheas and his accounts of the
land of Ultima Thule and his marvellous walks through Britain, while
he clings to the writings of Eratosthenes.

But in common with them all Strabo believes the world to be one vast
island, surrounded on all sides by ocean into which the rivers flow,
and the Caspian Sea and Persian Gulf are but inlets. So is also the
Mediterranean or "Our Sea," as he prefers to call it. This earth-island
reaches north to south, from Ireland, "barely habitable on account
of the cold," to the cinnamon country (Somaliland), "the most
southerly point of the habitable earth." From west to east it stretches
from the Pillars of Hercules right "through the middle of Our Sea"
to the shores of Asia Minor, then across Asia by an imaginary chain
of mountains to an imaginary spot where the Ganges, lately discovered,
emptied its waters into the world-surrounding ocean stream.

[Illustration: THE WORLD-ISLAND ACCORDING TO STRABO, 18 A.D. The blank
space within the circle is one vast sea surrounding the world.]

The breadth of the habitable earth is three thousand miles, the length
about seven thousand--a little world, indeed, with the greater world
lying all around it, still undreamt of by the old student of geography
and the traveller after truth.

He begins his book with a detailed account of southern Spain. He tells
of her two hundred towns. "Those best known are situated on the rivers,
estuaries, and seas; but the two which have acquired the greatest name
and importance are Cordova and Cadiz. After these Seville is the most
noted.... A vast number of people dwell along the Guadalquivir, and
you may sail up it almost a hundred and twenty miles from the sea to
Cordova and the places a little higher up. The banks and little inlets
of this river are cultivated with the greatest diligence. The eye is
also delighted with groves and gardens, which in this district are
met with in the highest perfection. For fifty miles the river is
navigable for ships of considerable size, but for the cities higher
up smaller vessels are employed, and thence to Cordova river-boats.
These are now constructed of planks joined together, but they were
formerly made out of a single trunk. A chain of mountains, rich in
metal, runs parallel to the Guadalquivir, approaching the river,
sometimes more, sometimes less, toward the north."

He grows enthusiastic over the richness of this part of southern Spain,
famous from ancient days under the name of Tartessus for its wealth.
"Large quantities of corn and wine are exported, besides much oil,
which is of the first quality, also wax, honey, and pitch ... the
country furnishes the timber for their shipbuilding. They have
likewise mineral salt and not a few salt streams. A considerable
quantity of salted fish is exported, not only from hence, but also
from the remainder of the coast beyond the Pillars. Formerly they
exported large quantities of garments, but they now send the
unmanufactured wool remarkable for its beauty. The stuffs
manufactured are of incomparable texture. There is a superabundance
of cattle and a great variety of game, while on the other hand there
are certain little hares which burrow in the ground (rabbits). These
creatures destroy both seeds and trees by gnawing their roots. They
are met with throughout almost the whole of Spain. It is said that
formerly the inhabitants of Majorca and Minorca sent a deputation to
the Romans requesting that a new land might be given them, as they
were quite driven out of their country by these animals, being no longer
able to stand against their vast multitudes." The seacoast on the
Atlantic side abounds in fish, says Strabo. "The congers are quite
monstrous, far surpassing in size those of Our Sea. Shoals of rich
fat tunny fish are driven hither from the seacoast beyond. They feed
on the fruit of stunted oak, which grows at the bottom of the sea and
produces very large acorns. So great is the quantity of fruit, that
at the season when they are ripe the whole coast on either side of
the Pillars is covered with acorns thrown up by the tides. The tunny
fish become gradually thinner, owing to the failure of their food as
they approach the Pillars from the outer sea."

He describes, too, the metals of this wondrous land--gold, silver,
copper, and iron. It is astonishing to think that in the days of Strabo
the silver mines employed forty thousand workmen, and produced
something like 900 pounds a day in our modern money!

But we cannot follow Strabo over the world in all his detail. He tells
us of a people living north of the Tagus, who slept on the ground,
fed on acorn-bread, and wore black cloaks by day and night. He does
not think Britain is worth conquering--Ireland lies to the north, not
west, of Britain; it is a barren land full of cannibals and wrapped
in eternal snows--the Pyrenees run parallel to the Rhine--the Danube
rises near the Alps--even Italy herself runs east and west instead
of north and south. His remarks on India are interesting.

"The reader," he says, "must receive the accounts of this country with
indulgence. Few persons of our nation have seen it; the greater part
of what they relate is from report. Very few of the merchants who now
sail from Egypt by the Nile and the Arabian Gulf to India have proceeded
as far as the Ganges."

He is determined not to be led astray by the fables of the great size
of India. Some had told him it was a third of the whole habitable world,
some that it took four months to walk through the plain only. "Ceylon
is said to be an island lying out at sea seven days' sail from the
most southerly parts of India. Its length is about eight hundred miles.
It produces elephants."

Strabo died about the year 21 A.D., and half a century passed before
Pliny wrote _An Account of Countries, Nations, Seas, Towns, Havens,
Mountains, Rivers, Distances, and Peoples who now Exist or Formerly
Existed_. Strange to say, he never refers in the most distant way to
his famous predecessor Strabo. He has but little to add to the
earth-knowledge of Strabo. But he gives us a fuller account of Great
Britain, based on the fresh discoveries of Roman generals.



In the year 43 A.D. the Emperor Claudius resolved to send an expedition
to the British coast, lying amid the mists and fog of the Northern

A gigantic army landed near the spot where Caesar had landed just a
hundred years before. The discovery and conquest of Britain now began
in real earnest. The Isle of Wight was overrun by Romans; the south
coast was explored. Roman soldiers lost their lives in the bogs and
swamps of Gloucestershire. The eastern counties, after fierce
opposition, submitted at the last. The spirit of Caractacus and
Boadicea spread from tribe to tribe and the Romans were constantly
assailed. But gradually they swept the island. They reached the banks
of the river Tyne; they crossed the Tweed and explored as far as the
Firths of Clyde and Forth. From the coast of Galloway the Romans beheld
for the first time the dim outline of the Irish coast. In the year
83 A.D. Agricola, a new Roman commander, made his way beyond the Firth
of Forth.

"Now is the time to penetrate into the heart of Caledonia and to
discover the utmost limits of Britain," cried the Romans, as they began
their advance to the Highlands of Scotland. While a Roman fleet
surveyed the coasts and harbours, Agricola led his men up the valley
of the Tay to the edge of the Highlands, but he could not follow the
savage Caledonians into their rugged and inaccessible mountains. To
the north of Scotland they never penetrated, and no part of Ireland
ever came under Roman sway, in that air "the Roman eagle never
fluttered." The Roman account of Britain at this time is interesting.
"Britain," says Tacitus, "the largest of all the islands which have
come within the knowledge of the Romans, stretches on the east towards
Germany, on the west towards Spain, and on the south it is even within
sight of France.... The Roman fleet, at this period first sailing round
this remotest coast, gave certain proof that Britain was an island,
and at the same time discovered and subdued the Orkney Islands, till
then unknown. Thule was also distinctly seen, which winter and eternal
snow had hitherto concealed.... The sky in this country is deformed
by clouds and frequent rains; but the cold is never extremely rigorous.
The earth yields gold and silver and other metals--the ocean produces

The account of Ireland is only from hearsay. "This island," continues
Tacitus, "is less than Britain, but larger than those of Our Sea.
Situated between Britain and Spain and lying commodiously to the Bay
of Biscay, it would have formed a very beneficial connection between
the most powerful parts of the Empire. Its soil, climate, and the
manners and dispositions of its inhabitants are little different from
those of Britain. Its ports and harbours are better known from the
concourse of merchants for the purposes of commerce."

Not only the British Isles, but a good deal of the wild North Sea and
the low-lying coast on the opposite side were explored by Roman ships
and Roman soldiers. Caesar had crossed the Rhine; he had heard of a
great forest which took a man four months to cross, and in 16 A.D.
a Roman general, Drusus, penetrated into the interior of Germany.
Drusus crossed the Rhine near the coast, made his way across the river
Weser, and reached the banks of the Elbe. But the fame of Drusus rests
mainly on his navigation of the German Ocean or North Sea in a Roman
fleet. Near the mouth of the Rhine a thousand ships were quickly built
by expert Romans. "Some were short, with narrow stern and prow and
broad in the middle, the easier to endure the shock of the waves; some
had flat bottoms that without damage they might run aground; many were
fitted for carrying horses and provisions, convenient for sails and
swift with oars."

The Roman troops were in high spirits as they launched their splendid
fleet on the Northern Ocean and sailed prosperously to the mouth of
the Elbe, startling the Frisians into submission. But no friendliness
greeted them on the farther side of the river. The Germans were ready
to defend their land, and further advance was impossible. Returning
along the northern coast, the Romans got a taste of the storms of this
northern ocean, of which they were in such complete ignorance.

"The sea, at first calm," says Tacitus, "resounded with the oars of
a thousand ships; but presently a shower of hail poured down from a
black mass of clouds, at the same time storms raging on all sides in
every variety, the billows rolling now here, now there, obstructed
the view and made it impossible to manage the ships. The whole expanse
of air and sea was swept by a south-west wind, which, deriving strength
from the mountainous regions of Germany, its deep rivers and boundless
tract of clouded atmosphere, and rendered still harsher by the rigour
of the neighbouring north, tore away the ships, scattered and drove
them into the open ocean or upon islands dangerous from precipitous
rocks or hidden sandbanks. Having got a little clear of these, but
with great difficulty, the tide turning and flowing in the same
direction as that in which the wind blew, they were unable to ride
at anchor or bale out the water that broke in upon them; horses, beasts
of burthen, baggage, even arms were thrown overboard to lighten the
holds of the ships, which took in water at their sides, and from the
waves, too, running over them. Around were either shores inhabited
by enemies, or a sea so vast and unfathomable as to be supposed the
limit of the world and unbounded by lands. Part of the fleet was
swallowed up; many were driven upon remote islands, where the men
perished through famine. The galley of Drusus or, as he was hereafter
called, Germanicus, alone reached the mouth of the Weser. Both day
and night, amid the rocks and prominences of the shore, he reproached
himself as the author of such overwhelming destruction, and was hardly
restrained by his friends from destroying himself in the same sea.
At last, with the returning tide and a favouring gale, the shattered
ships returned, almost all destitute or with garments spread for

[Illustration: HULL OF A ROMAN MERCHANT-SHIP. From a Roman model in
marble at Greenwich.]

The wreck of the Roman fleet in the North Sea made a deep impression
on the Roman capital, and many a garbled story of the "extreme parts
of the world" was circulated throughout the Empire.

Here was new land outside the boundaries of the Empire--country great
with possibilities. Pliny, writer of the _Natural History_, now arises
and endeavours to clear the minds of his countrymen by some account
of these northern regions. Strabo had been dead some fifty years, and
the Empire had grown since his days. But Pliny has news of land beyond
the Elbe. He can tell us of Scandinavia, "an island of unknown extent,"
of Norway, another island, "the inhabitants of which sailed as far
as Thule," of the Seamen or Swedes who lived in the "northern half
of the world."

"It is madness to harass the mind with attempts to measure the world,"
he asserts, but he proceeds to tell us the size of the world as accepted
by him. "Our part of the earth, floating as it were in the ocean, which
surrounds it, stretching out to the greatest extent from India to the
Pillars at Cadiz, is eight thousand five hundred and sixty-eight
miles ... the breadth from south to north is commonly supposed to be
half its length."

But how little was known of the north of Europe at this time is shown
by a startling statement that "certain Indians sailing from India for
the purposes of commerce had been driven by tempests into Germany."

"Thus it appears," concludes Pliny, "that the seas flow completely
round the globe and divide it into two parts."

How Balbus discovered and claimed for the Empire some of the African
desert is related by Pliny. He tells us, too, how another Roman general
left the west coast of Africa, marched for ten days, reached Mt. Atlas,
and "in a desert of dark-coloured sand met a river which he supposed
to be the Niger."

The home of the Ethiopians in Africa likewise interested Pliny.

"There can be no doubt that the Ethiopians are scorched by their
vicinity to the sun's heat, and that they are born like persons who
have been burned, with beard and hair frizzled, while in the opposite
and frozen parts of the earth there are nations with white skins and
long light hair."

Pliny's geography was the basis of much mediaeval writing, and his
knowledge of the course of the Niger remained unchallenged, till Mungo
Park re-discovered it many centuries after.

[Illustration: A ROMAN GALLEY, ABOUT 110 A.D. From Trajan's Column
at Rome.]



And so we reach the days of Ptolemy--the last geographer of the Pagan
World. This famous Greek was born in Egypt, and the great Roman Empire
was already showing signs of decay, while Ptolemy was searching the
great Alexandrian library for materials for his book. Alexandria was
now the first commercial city of the world, second only to Rome. She
supplied the great population in the heart of the Empire with Egyptian
corn. Ships sailed from Alexandria to every part of the known world.
It was, therefore, a suitable place for Ptolemy to listen to the yarns
of the merchants, to read the works of Homer, Herodotus, Eratosthenes,
Strabo, Pliny, and others, to study and observe, and finally to write.

He begins his great geography with the north-west extremities of the
world--the British Isles, Iverna, and Albion as he calls Ireland and
England. But he places Ireland much too far north, and the shape of
Scotland has little resemblance to the original.[2] He realised that
there were lands to the south of Africa, to the east of Africa, and
to the north of Europe, all stretching far away beyond his ken. He
agrees with Pliny about the four islands in the neighbourhood of
Scandinavia, and draws the Volga correctly, He realises, too, that
the Caspian is an inland sea, and unconnected with the surrounding

[Footnote 2: If Ptolemy's longitudes are adjusted, he becomes
extraordinarily correct.]


Perhaps the most remarkable part of Ptolemy's geography is that which
tells us of the lands beyond the Ganges. He knows something of the
"Golden Chersonese" or Malay Peninsula, something of China, where "far
away towards the north, and bordering on the eastern ocean, there is
a land containing a great city from which silk is exported, both raw
and spun and woven into textures."

The wonder is that Ptolemy did not know more of China, for that land
had one of the oldest civilisations in the world, as wondrous as those
of Assyria and Egypt. But China had had little or no direct intercourse
with the West till after the death of Ptolemy. Merchants had passed
between China and India for long centuries, and "the Indians had made
journeys in the golden deserts in troops of one or two thousand, and
it is said that they do not return from these journeys till the third
or fourth year." This was the Desert of Gobi, called golden because
it opened the way to wealth.

But perhaps the most interesting part of this great geography, which
was to inform the world for centuries yet to come, was the construction
of a series of twenty-six maps and a general map of the known world.

This was one of the most important maps ever constructed, and forms
our frontispiece from mediaeval copies of the original. The twelve
heads blowing sundry winds on to the world's surface are
characteristic of the age. The twenty-six maps are in sections. They
are the first maps to be drawn with lines of latitude and longitude.
The measurements are very vague. The lines are never ruled; they are
drawn uncertainly in red; they are neither straight nor regular,
though the spaces between the lines indicate degrees of fifty miles.
The maps are crowded with towns, each carefully walled in by little
red squares and drawn by hand. The water is all coloured a sombre,
greeny blue, and the land is washed in a rich yellow brown. A copy
can be seen at the British Museum.

It is only by looking back that we can realise the progress made in
earth-knowledge. Ptolemy wrote just a thousand years after Homer, when
the little world round the Mediterranean had become a great Empire
stretching from the British Isles to China.

Already the barbaric hordes which haunted the frontiers of the Roman
Empire were breaking across the ill-defended boundaries, desolating
streams were bursting over the civilised world, until at last the storm
broke, the unity of the Empire was ended, commerce broken up, and the
darkness of ignorance spread over the earth.

During this time little in the way of progress was made, and for the
next few centuries our only interest lies in filling up some of the
shadowy places of the earth, without extending its known bounds.



Meanwhile a new inspiration had been given to the world, which affected
travelling to no small extent.

In far-off Roman province of Syria, the Christ had lived, the Christ
had died. And His words were ringing through the land: "Go ye and make
disciples of all the nations, preach the gospel to every creature."
Here at once was a new incentive to travel, a definite reason for men
to venture forth into the unknown, to brave dangers, to endure hardship.
They must carry their Master's words "unto the ends of the world."
The Roman Empire had brought men under one rule; they must now be
brought to serve one God. So men passed out of Syria; they landed on
the islands in the Mediterranean, they made their way to Asia Minor
and across to Greece, until in the year 60 A.D. we get the graphic
account of Paul the traveller, one of the first and most famous of
the missionaries of the first century.

Jerusalem now became, indeed, the world centre. A very stream of
pilgrim travellers tramped to the Holy City from far-away lands to
see for themselves the land where the Christ had lived and died.

The pilgrim age begins with the journey of a woman--the beautiful and
learned daughter of the King of Britain, Helena, mother of the Emperor
Constantine. She was a student of divinity and a devoted Christian.
In the year 326 she undertook the difficult journey to Jerusalem, where
she is reported to have discovered the "true cross," which had been
buried, with Pilate's inscription in "Hebrew and Greek and Latin."
When the news of her discovery was noised abroad a very rush of pilgrims
took place from every part of the world. Indeed, one pilgrim--his name
is unknown--thought it worth while to write a guide-book for the
benefit of his fellow-travellers. His _Itinerary from Bordeaux to
Jerusalem_ is very interesting, being the first Christian guide-book
and one of the earliest travel-documents ever written for the use of
travellers. This ancient "Bradshaw" has been translated into English
and throws light on fourth-century travelling. Enthusiastic indeed
must these early pilgrims have been to undertake the long and toilsome

DOVER. From Matthew of Paris's _Itinerary_, thirteenth century.]

The guide-book takes them, save for crossing the Bosphorus, entirely
by land. It leads them from the "city of Bordeaux, where is the river
Garonne in which the ocean ebbs and flows for one hundred leagues more
or less," to Arles, with thirty changes and eleven halts in three
hundred and seventy-two miles. There were milestones along the Roman
roads to guide them, and houses at regular intervals where horses were
kept for posting. From Arles the pilgrim goes north to Avignon, crosses
the Alps, and halts at the Italian frontier. Skirting the north of
Italy by Turin, Milan, and Padua, he reaches the Danube at Belgrade,
passes through Servia and Bulgaria and so reaches Constantinople--the
great new city of Constantine. "Grand total from Bordeaux to
Constantinople, two thousand two hundred and twenty-one miles, with
two hundred and thirty changes and one hundred and twelve halts."

"From Constantinople," continues the guide-book, "you cross the
strait and walk on through Asia Minor, passing the spot where lies
King Hannibal, once King of the Africans." Thus onward through the
long dreary miles to Tarsus, where "was born the Apostle Paul," till
Syria is reached at last.

Then the "Bradshaw" becomes a "Baedeker." Long and detailed accounts
are given of the country through which the pilgrim has to pass. From
Caesarea he is led to Jezreel by the spot "where David slew Goliath,"
by "Job's country house" to Sichem, "where Joseph is laid," and thence
to Jerusalem. Full accounts follow of the Holy City and Mount Sion,
"the little hill of Golgotha where the Lord was crucified," the Mount
of Olives, Jericho, Jordan, Bethlehem, and Hebron. "Here is a monument
of square form built of stone of wondrous beauty," in which lie Abraham,
Isaac, Jacob, Sara, Rebecca, and Leah.

"From Constantinople to Jerusalem is one thousand one hundred and
fifty-nine miles, with sixty-nine changes and fifty-eight halts."

Here the guide-book ends abruptly with a brief summary of distances.
Thither then flocked the pilgrims, some by land and some by sea, men
and women from all parts of the world.

"Even the Briton, separated from our world, leaves the setting sun
and seeks a place known to him only by fame and the narrative of the

One of the earliest was Paula of Rome--a weak, fragile woman accustomed
to a life of luxury and ease, but, fired with the enthusiasm of her
religion, she resolved to brave the dangers and hardships of a journey
to the East. Her travels were written by St. Jerome.

"When the winter was spent and the sea was open," he writes, "she longed
and prayed to sail.... She went down to the harbour, accompanied by
her brother, her relatives, her connections and, more than these, by
her children, who strove to surpass the affection of the kindest of
mothers. Soon the sails were swelling in the breeze, and the ship,
guided by the oars, gained the open sea. Little Lexotinus piteously
stretched forth his hands from the shore. Rufina, a grown-up girl,
by her tears silently besought her mother to stay until she was married.
Yet she herself, without a tear, turned her eyes heavenward,
overcoming her love for her children by her love for God.... Meanwhile
the ship was ploughing the sea--the winds were sluggish and all speed
slow." But the ship passed between Scylla and Charybdis and reached
Antioch in safety. From this spot she followed the guide-book
directions until she arrived at Jerusalem. How Paula and one of her
young daughters walked over the rough ground, endured the hardships
of desert-life, and finally lived twenty years at Bethlehem, would
take too long to tell. And she was but one of many.

[Illustration: JERUSALEM AND THE EAST. From Matthew of Paris's
_Itinerary_, thirteenth century.]

Sylvia of Aquitaine, travelling at the same time, wrote a strangely
interesting account of her travels. The early part of her manuscript
is lost, and we find her first in Arabia. All was new and strange.

"Meanwhile as we walked we arrived at a certain place, where the
mountains between which we were passing opened themselves out and
formed a great valley, very flat and extremely beautiful; and beyond
the valley appeared Sinai, the holy mount of God.... This is the same
great and flat valley in which the children of Israel waited during
the days when holy Moses went up into the Mount of God.... It was late
on the Sabbath when we came to the mountain, and, arriving at a certain
monastery, the kindly monks who lived there entertained us, showing
us all kindliness." Sylvia had to ascend the mountain on foot "because
the ascent could not be made in a chair," but the view over "Egypt
and Palestine and the Red Sea and the Mediterranean which leads to
Alexandria, also the boundless territory of the Saracens, we saw below
us, hard though it is to believe, all of which things these holy men
pointed out to us."

But we must not follow her to Jerusalem, or to Mesopotamia, where she
saw "the great river Euphrates, rushing down in a torrent like the
Rhine, but greater." She reached Constantinople by the guide-book
route, having spent four years in travel, and walked two thousand miles
to the very "limit of the Roman Empire." Her boundless energy is not
exhausted yet. "Ladies, my beloved ones," she writes, "whilst I
prepare this account for your pious zeal, it is already my purpose
to go to Asia."

But we must turn away for a moment from the stream of pilgrim travellers
wending their weary way from Britain, France, Spain, and the east to
Jerusalem, to follow the travels of St. Patrick through the wilds of



Patrick had been a pilgrim to Rome from the banks of the Clyde, where
he lived, and, having seen the Pope, he had returned to Ireland by
sea, landing on the Wicklow coast in the year 432. Hungry and tired
after the long voyage, he tried to get some fish from the fishermen,
but they replied by throwing stones at him, and he put out to sea again
and headed north. Past Bray Head, past the Bay of Malahide he sailed,
but he could get neither fish nor food till he reached a spot between
the Liffey and the Boyne, where he built his first Christian church.

Now in the fifth century, when light first breaks over Ireland, it
breaks over a land torn by perpetual tribal strife, a land in the chaos
of wild heathendom. It was reserved for St. Patrick to save her from
increasing gloom.

Patrick and his companions now sailed on past Louth, by the low-lying
shore with long stretches of sandy flats, on under the shadow of great
peaks frowning over the sea. He landed near Downpatrick, founded
another church, and spent the winter in these parts, for the autumn
was far advanced. Spring found him sailing back to the Boyne and
attacking the fierce heathen king at Tara, the capital of Ireland.
From Tara five great roads led to different parts of the island. St.
Patrick now made his way through Meath to the very heart of the country,
building churches as he went. Thence he crossed the Shannon, entered
the great plain of Roscommon, passed by Mayo, and at length reached
the western sea. He had now been eight years in Ireland, eight laborious
years, climbing hills, wading through waters, camping out by night,
building, organising, preaching. He loved the land on the western sea,
little known as yet.

                   "I would choose
    To remain here on a little land,
    After faring around churches and waters.
    Since I am weary, I wish not to go further."

St. Patrick climbed the great peak, afterwards called Croaghpatrick,
and on the summit, exposed to wind and rain, he spent the forty days
of Lent. From here he could look down on to one of the most beautiful
bays in Ireland, down on to the hundred little islands in the glancing
waters below, while away to the north and south stretched the rugged
coast-line. And he tells us how the great white birds came and sang
to him there. It would take too long to tell how he returned to Tara
and started again with a train of thirteen chariots by the great
north-western road to the spot afterwards known as Downpatrick Head;
he passed along the broken coast to the extreme north where the great
ocean surf breaks on the rugged shore, returning again to the Irish
capital. He travelled over a great part of Ireland, founded three
hundred and fifty churches, converted heathen tribes to Christianity
and civilisation, and finally died at Armagh in 493. His work was
carried on by St. Columba, a native of Ireland, who, "deciding to go
abroad for Christ," sailed away with twelve disciples to a low rocky
island off the west coast of Scotland, where he founded the famous
monastery of Iona, about 563. Thence he journeyed away to the Highlands,
making his way through rugged and mountainous country that had stayed
the warlike Romans long years before. He even sailed across the stormy
northern sea to the Orkney Islands.

Let us picture the Scotland of the sixth century in order to realise
those long lonely tramps of St. Columba and his disciples across the
rough mountains, through the dense forests, across bleak moors and
wet bogs, till after dreary wanderings they reached the coast, and
in frail ships boldly faced the wild seas that raged round the northern

"We can see Columba and his disciples journeying on foot, as poor and
as barely provided as were Christ and His disciples, with neither
silver nor gold nor brass in their purses, and over a wilder country
and among a wilder people."

[Illustration: IRELAND AND ST. BRANDON'S ISLE. From the Catalan map,

These pilgrims tramped to and fro clad in simple tunics over a monkish
dress of undyed wool, bound round the waist by a strong cord, all their
worldly goods on their backs and a staff in their hands. The hermit
instinct was growing, and men were sailing away to lonely islands where
God might be better served apart from the haunts of men. Perhaps it
was this instinct that inspired St. Brandon to sail away across the
trackless ocean in search of the Island of Saints reported in the
western seas. His voyage suggests the old expedition of Ulysses. A
good deal of it is mythical, some is added at a later date, but it
is interesting as being an attempt to cross the wide Atlantic Ocean
across which no man had yet sailed. For seven years St. Brandon sailed
on the unknown sea, discovering unknown islands, until he reached the
Island of Saints--the goal of his desires. And the fact remains that
for ten centuries after this an island, known as Brandon's Isle, was
marked on maps somewhere to the west of Ireland, though to the end
it remained as mysterious as the island of Thule.

Here is the old story. Brandon, abbot of a large Irish monastery
containing one thousand monks, sailed off in an "osier boat covered
with tanned hides and carefully greased," provisioned for seven years.
After forty days at sea they reached an island with steep sides, where
they took in fresh supplies. Thence the winds carried the ship to
another island, where they found sheep--"every sheep was as great as
an ox."

"This is the island of sheep, and here it is ever summer," they were
informed by an old islander.

This may have been Madeira. They found other islands in the
neighbourhood, one of which was full of singing-birds, and the passing
years found them still tossing to and fro on the unknown sea, until
at last the end came. "And St. Brandon sailed forty days south in full
great tempest," and another forty days brought the ship right into
a bank of fog. But when the fog lifted "they saw the fairest country
eastward that any man might see, it was so clear and bright that it
was a heavenly sight to behold; and all the trees were charged with
ripe fruit." And they walked about the island for forty days and could
not find the end. And there was no night there, and the climate was
neither hot nor cold.

"Be ye joyful now," said a voice, "for this is the land ye have sought,
and our Lord wills that you laden your ship with the fruit of this
land and hie you hence, for ye may no longer abide here, but thou shalt
sail again into thine own country."

MAP, 1492. As geographical knowledge increased, map-makers were
compelled to put Brandon's Isle farther and farther away from Ireland,
until here we find it off the coast of Africa and near the Equator.]

So the monks took all the fruit they could carry, and, weeping that
they might stay no longer in this happy land, they sailed back to
Ireland. Hazy, indeed, was the geography of the Atlantic in the sixth
century. Nor can we leave St. Brandon's story without quoting a modern
poet, who believed that the voyage was to the Arctic regions and not
in the Atlantic.

   "Saint Brandon sails the Northern Main,
    The brotherhood of saints are glad.
    He greets them once, he sails again:
    So late! Such storms! The saint is mad.
    He heard across the howling seas
    Chime convent bells on wintry nights;
    He saw, on spray-swept Hebrides,
    Twinkle the monastery lights:
    But north, still north, Saint Brandon steered,
    And now no bells, no convents more,
    The hurtling Polar lights are reached,
    The sea without a human shore."

Some three hundred years were to pass away before further discoveries
in these quarters revealed new lands, three hundred years before the
great energy of the Vikings brought to light Iceland, Greenland, and
even the coast of America.



So once more we turn back to the East. Jerusalem is still the centre
of the earth. But a change has passed over the world, which influenced
not a little the progress of geography. Mohammed in the seventh century
lived and died in Arabia. "There is but one God, and Mohammed is His
prophet," proclaimed his followers, the Arabs or Saracens as they were
called. And just as men had travelled abroad to preach Christianity
to those who knew it not, so now the Mohammedans set forth to teach
the faith of their Lord and Master. But whereas Christianity was taught
by peaceful means, Mohammedanism was carried by the sword. The Roman
provinces of Syria and Egypt had been conquered by the Arabs, and the
famous cities of Jerusalem and Alexandria were filled with teachers
of the new faith. The Mohammedans had conquered Spain and were pressing
by Persia towards India.

What deep root their preaching took in these parts is still evident.
Still the weary fight between the two religions continues.

The first traveller of note through this distracted Europe was a
Frenchman named Arculf, a Christian bishop. When he had visited the
Holy Land and Egypt his ship was caught in a violent storm and driven
on to the west coast of Scotland. After many adventures Arculf found
himself at the famous convent of Iona, made welcome by an Irish monk
Adamnan, who was deeply interested in Arculf's account of his
wanderings, and wrote them down at his dictation, first on waxed
tablets, copied later on to parchment. How tenderly the two monks dwell
on all the glories of Jerusalem. "But in that beautiful place where
once the Temple had been, the Saracens now frequent a four-sided house
of prayer, which they have built, rudely constructing it by raising
boards and great beams on some remains of ruins, which house can hold
three thousand men at once." And Arculf draws on the waxed tablet the
picture of some church or tomb to make his narrative clearer to his
friend Adamnan.

Perhaps the most interesting part of all the travels is the account
of the lofty column that Arculf describes in the midst of Jerusalem.

"This column," he says, "as it stands in the centre of the heaven,
shining straight down from above, proves that the city of Jerusalem
is situated in the middle of the earth."

Arculf's journey aroused great interest among the newly converted
Christians of the north, and Willibald, a high-born Englishman,
started off in 721 to explore farther. But the road through Europe
was now full of danger. The followers of Mohammed were strong, and
it required true courage to face the perils of the long journey.
Willibald was undaunted, and with his father and two brothers he sailed
from Southampton, crossed to France, sailed up the Seine to Rouen,
and reached Italy. Here the old father died. Willibald and his brothers
travelled on through "the vast lands of Italy, through the depths of
the valleys, over the steep brows of the mountains, over the levels
of the plains, climbing on foot the difficult passes of the Alps, over
the icebound and snow-capped summits," till they arrived at Rome.
Thence they made their way to Syria, where they were at once thrown
into prison by Mohammedan conquerors. They were brought before the
ruler of the Mohammedan world, or Khalif, whose seat was at Damascus.
He asked whence they came.

"These men come from the western shore, where the sun sets: and we
know not of any land beyond them, but water only," was the answer.

Such was Britain to the Mohammedans. They never got a footing in that
country: their Empire lay to the east, and their capital was even now
shifting to Bagdad.

[Illustration: THE WORLD-MAP OF COSMAS, SIXTH CENTURY. This is the
oldest Christian map. It shows the flat world surrounded by the ocean,
with the four winds and the four sacred rivers running out of the
terrestrial Paradise; beyond all is the "terra ultra oceanum," "the
world beyond the ocean, where men dwelt before the flood."]

But before turning to their geographical discoveries we must see how
Cosmas, the Egyptian merchant-monk, set the clock back by his quaint
theories of the world in the sixth century. Cosmas hailed from
"Alexander's great city." His calling carried him into seas and
countries remote from home. He knew the Mediterranean Sea, the Persian
Gulf, and the Red Sea. He had narrowly escaped shipwreck in the Indian
Ocean, which in those days was regarded with terror on account of its
violent currents and dense fogs. As the ship carrying the merchant
approached this dread region, a storm gathered overhead, and flocks
of albatross, like birds of ill-omen, hovered about the masts.

"We were all in alarm," relates Cosmas, "for all the men of experience
on board, whether passengers or sailors, began to say that we were
near the ocean and called out to the pilot: 'Steer the ship to port
and make for the gulf, or we shall be swept along by the currents and
carried into the ocean and lost.' For the ocean rushing into the gulf
was swelling with billows of portentous size, while the currents from
the gulf were driving the ship into the ocean, and the outlook was
altogether so dismal that we were kept in a state of great alarm."

That he eventually reached India is clear, for he relates strange
things concerning Ceylon. "There is a large oceanic island lying in
the Indian Sea," he tells us. "It has a length of nine hundred miles
and it is of the like extent in breadth. There are two kings in the
island, and they are at feud the one with the other. The island, being
as it is in a central position, is much frequented by ships from all
parts of India, and from Persia and Ethiopia, and from the remotest
countries, it receives silk, aloes, cloves, and other products ...
farther away is the clove country, then Tzinista (China), which
produces silk. Beyond this there is no other country, for the ocean
surrounds it on the east."

Cosmas was the first to realise that China was bounded on the east
by the ocean. He tells us a good story about the "Lord of India," who
always went to war with two thousand elephants. "Once upon a time this
king would lay siege to an island city of the Indians, which was on
every side protected by water. A long while he sat down before it,
until, what with his elephants, his horses, and his soldiers, all the
water had been drunk up. He then crossed over to the city dryshod and
took it."


But, strange as are the travels and information of Cosmas, still
stranger is his _Christian Topography_. His commercial travelling
done he retired, became a devout Christian monk, and devoted his
leisure time in trying to reconcile all the progress of geographical
knowledge with old Biblical ideas.

He assures us that the world is flat and not round, and that it is
surrounded by an immense wall supporting the firmament. Indeed, if
we compare the maps of Cosmas in the sixth century with those of the
Babylonians thousands of years before, there is mighty little
difference. With amazing courage he refutes all the old theories and
draws the most astounding maps, which, nevertheless, are the oldest
Christian maps which survive.



A more interesting force than the pilgrim travellers now claims our
attention, and we turn to the frozen north, to the wild region at the
back of the north wind, for new activity and discovery. Out of this
land of fable and myth, legend and poetry, the fierce inhabitants of
Scandinavia begin to take shape. Tacitus speaks of them as "mighty
in fame," Ptolemy as "savage and clothed in the skins of wild beasts."

From time to time we have glimpses of these folk sailing about in the
Baltic Sea. They were known to the Finns of the north as "sea-rovers."
"The sea is their school of war and the storm their friend; they are
sea-wolves that live on the pillage of the world," sang an old Roman
long years ago. The daring spirit of their race had already attracted
the attention of Britons across the seas. The careless glee with which
they seized either sword or oar and waged war with the stormy seas
for a scanty livelihood, raiding all the neighbouring coasts, had
earned them the name of Vikings or creek men. Their black-sailed ships
stood high out of the water, prow and stern ending in the head and
tail of some strange animal, while their long beards, their loose
shirts, and battleaxe made them conspicuous. "From the fury of the
Northmen save us, Lord," prayed those who had come in contact with
these Vikings.

In the ninth century they spring into fame as explorers by the discovery
of Iceland. It was in this wise. The chief of a band of pirates, one
Naddod, during a voyage to the Faroe Islands was driven by a storm
upon the eastern coast of an unknown land. Not a soul was to be seen.
He climbed a high mountain covered with snow and took a look round,
but though he could see far and wide, not a human being could he detect.
So he named it Snow-land and sailed home to relate his adventures.

A few years later another Viking, Gardar, bound for the west coast
of Scotland, was likewise blown by a storm on to the coast of Snow-land.
He sailed right round and found it to be an island. Considering that
it was unsafe to navigate the icy northern seas in winter, he built
himself a hut on the island, lived there till the spring, and returned
home. His account of the island fired the enthusiasm of an old Viking
called Floki, who sailed away, meaning to take possession of the newly
discovered country. At the Faroe Islands he let fly three ravens. The
first returned, the second came back to the ship, the third guided
the navigator to the island which he sought. He met a quantity of drift
ice about the northern part of the island and called it Ice-land, the
name it has borne ever since. But amid the Arctic ice he spent a desolate
winter; the island seemed full of lofty mountains covered with eternal
snow. His companions, however, were delighted with the climate and
the soil.

"Milk drops from every plant and butter from every twig," they said;
"this was a land where men might live free from the tyranny of kings."
Free, indeed, for the island was totally uninhabited.

[Illustration: A VIKING SHIP. A reconstruction (from Prof.
Montelius's book on Scandinavian archaeology) of an actual Viking ship
found, almost complete, at Gokstad, Norway.]

Iceland soon became a refuge for pirates and other lawless characters.
Among these was a young Viking called Erik the Red. He was too lawless
even for Iceland, and, being banished for three years, he sailed away
in 985 in search of new lands. At the end of his three years he returned
and reported that he had discovered land with rich meadows, fine woods,
and good fishing, which he had named Green-land. So glowing was his
description that soon a party of men and women, with household goods
and cattle, started forth in twenty-five ships to colonise the new
land. Still the passion for discovery continued, and Erik's son Lief
fitted out a vessel to carry thirty-five men in quest of land already
sighted to the west.

It was in the year 1000 that they reached the coast of North America.
It was a barren and rocky shore to which Lief gave the name of Rock-land.
Sailing farther, they found a low coast wooded to its edge, to which
they gave the simple name of Woody-land. Two days later an island
appeared, and on the mainland they discovered a river up which they
sailed. On low bushes by the banks of the river they found sweet berries
or wild grapes from which a sort of wine was made, so Lief called the
land Vin-land. It is now supposed that Vinland and Woodyland are really
Newfoundland and Labrador on the shores of North America. After this,
shipload followed shipload from Iceland to colonise Vinland. But
without success.

So the Viking discoveries in these cold and inhospitable regions were
but transitory. The clouds lifted but for a moment to settle down again
over America, till it was rediscovered some five hundred years later.

Before leaving these northern explorers let us remind ourselves of
the old saga so graphic in its description of their ocean lives--

   "Down the fiord sweep wind and rain;
    Our sails and tackle sway and strain;
        Wet to the skin
        We're sound within.
    Our sea-steed through the foam goes prancing,
    While shields and spears and helms are glancing
        From fiord to sea,
        Our ships ride free,
    And down the wind with swelling sail
    We scud before the gathering gale."

Now, while these fierce old Vikings were navigating unknown seas,
Alfred the Great was reigning over England. Among his many and varied
interests he was deeply thrilled in the geography of the world. He
was always ready to listen to those who had been on voyages of discovery,
and in his account of the geography of Europe he tells us of a famous
old sea captain called Othere, who had navigated the unknown seas to
the north of Europe.

"Othere told his lord, King Alfred, that he dwelt northmost of all
Northmen, on the land by the western sea. He said that the land is
very long thence to the north; but it is all waste save that in a few
places here and there Finns reside. He said that he wished to find
out how far the land lay right north, or whether any man dwelt to the
north of the waste. Then he went right north near the land, and he
left all the way the waste land on the right and the wide sea on the
left for three days. There was he as far north as the whale-hunters
ever go. He then went yet right north, as far as he could sail in the
next three days. After sailing for another nine days he came to a great
river; they turned up into the river, but they durst not sail beyond
it on account of hostility, for the land was all inhabited on the other
side. He had not before met with any inhabited land since he came from
his own home, for the land was uninhabited all the way on his right
save by fishermen, hunters, and fowlers, and they were all Finns, and
there was always a wide sea on his left."

And as a trophy of distant lands and a proof of his having reached
farthest north, Othere presented the King with a "snow-white walrus

But King Alfred wanted his subjects to know more of the world around
them, and even in the midst of his busy life he managed to write a
book in Anglo-Saxon, which sums up for us the world's knowledge some
nine hundred years after Ptolemy--nine hundred barren years as far
as much geographical progress was concerned. Alfred does not even
allude to Iceland, Greenland, or Vinland. The news of these
discoveries had evidently not reached him. He repeats the old legend
of Thule to the north-west of Ireland, "which is known to few, on
account of its very great distance."

So ends the brief but thrilling discoveries of the Northmen, who knew
not fear, and we turn again to landsmen and the east.



And now we leave the fierce energy of the Northmen westwards and turn
to another energy, which was leading men toward the east, to the lands
beyond the Euphrates, to India, across central Asia, even into far

These early travellers to the east were for the most part Arabs.
Mohammed had bidden his followers to spread his teaching far and wide;
this teaching had always appealed more to the eastern than to the
western mind. So farther and farther to the east travelled the Arabs,
converting the uncivilised tribes that Christianity had not reached.

What a contrast are these Arabs to the explorers of the vigorous north.
They always travelled by land and not by that sea which was life to
the Viking folk. To the Arabs the encircling ocean was a very "Sea
of Darkness"; indeed, the unknown ocean beyond China was called the
"Sea of Pitchy Darkness." Their creed taught that the ocean was
boundless, so that ships dared not venture out of sight of land, for
there was no inhabited country beyond, and mariners would assuredly
be lost in mists and fogs. So, while the Vikings tossed fearlessly
about the wild northern seas, the Arab wayfarers rode eastward by
well-known caravan tracks, trading and teaching the ways of Mohammed.
Arabic enterprise had pushed on far beyond Ptolemy's world. The Arab
centre lay in the city of Bagdad, the headquarters of the ruler or
Khalif of the Mohammedan world. They had already opened up a
considerable trade with the rapidly rising Mongol Empire, which no
European had yet reached.

[Illustration: A KHALIF ON HIS THRONE. From the Ancona map, 1497.]

But as this country was to play a large part in the travels of the
near future, it will be interesting to hear the account given by two
Mohammedan friends who journeyed thither in the year 831, just four
hundred years before Marco Polo's famous account. The early part of
their story is missing, and we raise the curtain when they have arrived
in the land of China itself, then a very small empire compared with
what it is now.

"The Emperor of China reckons himself next after the King of the Arabs,
who they all allow to be the first and beyond all dispute the most
powerful of kings, because he is the head of a great religion. In this
great kingdom of China they tell us there are over two hundred cities;
each city has four gates, at each of which are five trumpets, which
the Chinese sound at certain hours of the day and of the night. There
are also within each city ten drums, which they beat at the same time
as a public token of their obedience to the Emperor, as also to signify
the hour of the day and of the night, to which end they also have dials
and clocks with weights.

"China is a pleasant and fruitful country; the air is much better than
the Indian provinces: much rain falls in both these countries. In India
are many desert tracts, but China is inhabited and peopled throughout
its whole extent. The Chinese are handsomer than the Indians, and come
nearer the Arabs, not only in countenance, but in dress, in their way
of riding, in their manners, and in their ceremonies. They wear long
garments and girdles in form of belts. The Chinese are dressed in silk
both winter and summer, and this kind of dress is common to the prince
and the peasant. Their food is rice, which they often eat with a broth
which they pour upon the rice. They have several sorts of fruits, apples,
lemons, quinces, figs, grapes, cucumbers, walnuts, almonds, plums,
apricots, and cocoanuts."

an old Chinese MS. at Paris, showing an Emperor of the dynasty that
was ruling when the two Mohammedans visited China in 831.]

Here, too, we get the first mention of tea, which was not introduced
into Europe for another seven hundred years, but which formed a Chinese
drink in the ninth century. This Chinese drink "is a herb or shrub,
more bushy than the pomegranate tree an of a more pleasant scent, but
somewhat bitter to the taste. The Chinese boil water and pour it in
scalding hot upon this leaf, and this infusion keeps them from all

Here, too, we get the first mention of china ware. "They have an
excellent kind of earth, wherewith they make a ware of equal fineness
with glass and equally transparent."

There is no time here to tell of all the curious manners and customs
related by these two Mohammedans. One thing struck them as indeed it
must strike us to-day. "The Chinese, poor and rich, great and small,
learn to read and write. There are schools in every town for teaching
the poor children, and the masters are maintained at public charge....
The Chinese have a stone ten cubits high erected in the public squares
of their cities, and on this stone are engraved the names of all the
medicines, with the exact price of each; and when the poor stand in
need of physic they go to the treasury where they receive the price
each medicine is rated at."

It was out of such travels as these that the famous romance of "Sindbad
the Sailor" took shape--a true story of Arab adventures of the ninth
and tenth centuries in a romantic setting. As in the case of Ulysses,
the adventures of many voyages are ascribed to one man and related
in a collection of tales which bears the title of _The Arabian Nights_.

Of course, Sindbad was a native of Bagdad, the Arab centre of everything
at this time, and of course he journeyed eastwards as did most

"It occurred to my mind," says Sindbad, "to travel to the countries
of other people; then I arose and collected what I had of effects and
apparel and sold them, after which I sold my buildings and all that
my hand possessed and amassed three thousand pieces of silver. So I
embarked in a ship, and with a company of merchants we traversed the
sea for many days and nights. We had passed by island after island
and from sea to sea and land to land, and in every place we sold and
bought and exchanged merchandise. We continued our voyage until we
arrived at an island like one of the gardens of Paradise."

Here they anchored and lit fires, when suddenly the master of the ship
cried aloud in great distress: "Oh, ye passengers, come up quickly
into the ship, leave your merchandise and flee for your lives, for
this apparent island, upon which ye are, is not really an island, but
it is a great fish that hath become stationary in the midst of the
sea, and the sand hath accumulated upon it and trees have grown upon
it, and when ye lighted a fire it felt the heat, and now it will descend
with you into the sea and ye will all be drowned." As he spoke the
island moved and "descended to the bottom of the sea with all that
were upon it, and the roaring sea, agitated with waves, closed over

Let Sindbad continue his own story: "I sank in the sea with the rest.
But God delivered me and saved me from drowning and supplied me with
a great wooden bowl, and I laid hold upon it and gat into it and beat
the water with my feet as with oars, while the waves sported with me.
I remained so a day and a night, until the bowl came to a stoppage
under a high island whereupon were trees overhanging the sea. So I
laid hold upon the branch of a lofty tree and clung to it until I landed
on the island. Then I threw myself upon the island like one dead."

After wandering about he found servants of the King of Borneo, and
all sailed together to an island beyond the Malay Peninsula. And the
King of Borneo sent for Sindbad and heaped him with honours. He gave
him costly dress and made him superintendent of the seaport and adviser
of affairs of state. And Sindbad saw many wonders in this far-distant
sea. At last "one day I stood upon the shore of the sea, with a staff
in my hand, as was my custom, and lo! a great vessel approached wherein
were many merchants." They unloaded their wares, telling Sindbad that
the owner of their goods, a man from Bagdad, had been drowned and they
were selling his things.

"What was the name of the owner of the goods?" asked Sindbad.

"His name was Sindbad of the Sea."

Then Sindbad cried: "Oh, master, know that I am the owner of the goods
and I am Sindbad of the Sea."

Then there was great rejoicing and Sindbad took leave of this King
of Borneo and set sail for Bagdad--the Abode of Peace.

MAP, 1154. The romance of "Sindbad the Sailor" is really a true story
of Arab adventures at sea during the ninth and tenth centuries, put
into a romantic setting and ascribed to one man. In the above map,
which is a portion of the map of the world made by the famous Arab
geographer, Edrisi, in 1154 A.D., many of the places to which Sindbad's
story relates have been identified. Their modern names are as

Kotroba is (probably) Socotra.       Rami, the "Island of Apes,"
Koulam Meli is Coulan, near Cape         is Sumatra.
    Comorin.                         Maid Dzaba, the "island with the
HIND is INDIA.                           volcano," is Banca.
Serendib is Ceylon.                  Senf is Tsiampa, S. Cochin--China.
Murphili (or Monsul), the "Valley    Mudza (or Mehrage) is Borneo.
    of Diamonds," is Masulipatam.    Kamrun is Java.
Roibahat, the "Clove Islands," are   Maid, the Camphor Island, is
    the Maldive Islands.                  Formosa.
  Edrisi's names are those which are used in the _Arabian Nights_.]

But the spirit of unrest was upon him and soon he was off again. Indeed,
he made seven voyages in all, but there is only room here to note a
few of the most important points in each. This time he sailed to the
coast of Zanzibar, East Africa, and, anchoring on the beautiful island
of Madagascar, amid sweet-smelling flowers, pure rivers, and warbling
birds, Sindbad fell asleep. He awoke to find the ship had sailed away,
leaving him without food or drink, and not a human being was to be
seen on the island.

"Then I climbed up into a lofty tree and began to look from it to the
right and left, but saw nothing save sky and water and trees and birds
and islands and sands."

At last he found an enormous bird. Unwinding his turban, he twisted
it into a rope and, tying one end round his wrist, tied the other to
one of the bird's great feet. Up flew the giant bird high into the
sky and Sindbad with it, descending somewhere in India in the Valley
of Diamonds. This bird was afterwards identified as an enormous eagle.

"And I arose and walked in that valley," says Sindbad, "and I beheld
its ground to be composed of diamonds, with which they perforate
minerals and jewels, porcelain, and the onyx, and it is a stone so
hard that neither iron nor rock have any effect upon it. All that valley
was likewise occupied by serpents and venomous snakes."

Here Sindbad found the camphor trees, "under each of which trees a
hundred men might shade themselves." From these trees flowed liquid
camphor. "In this island, too, is a kind of wild beast, called
rhinoceros--it is a huge beast with a single horn, thick, in the middle
of its head, and it lifteth the great elephant upon its horn."

Thus, after collecting heaps of diamonds, Sindbad returned to
Bagdad--a rich man.

[Illustration: SINDBAD'S GIANT ROC. From an Oriental miniature

Again his soul yearns for travel. This time he starts for China, but
his ship is driven out of its course and cast on the Island of Apes,
probably Sumatra. These apes, "the most hideous of beasts, covered
with hair like black felt," surrounded the ship. They climbed up the
cables and severed them with their teeth to Sindbad's great alarm.
He escaped to the neighbouring islands known as the Clove Islands,
and again reached Bagdad safely. Again and yet again he starts forth
on fresh adventures. Now he is sailing on the seas beyond Ceylon, now
his ship is being pursued by a giant roc whose young have been killed
and eaten by Sindbad. Sindbad as usual escapes upon a plank, and sails
to an island, where he meets the "Old Man of the Sea," probably a huge
ape from Borneo. On he passed to the "Island of Apes," where, every
night, the people who reside in it go forth from the doors of the city
that open upon the sea in their fear of the apes lest they should come
down upon them in the night from the mountains. After this we find
Sindbad trading in pepper on the Coromandel coast of modern India and
discovering a wealth of pearls by the seashore of Ceylon. But at last
he grew tired of seafaring, which was never congenial to Arabs.

   "Hateful was the dark blue sky,
    Vaulted o'er the dark blue sea;
    Sore task to heart, worn out by many wars;
    And eyes grown dim with gazing on the pilot stars."

So he leaves private adventuring alone and is appointed by the Khalif
of Bagdad to convey a letter and present to the Indian prince of
Ceylon--an expedition that lasts him twenty-seven years. The presents
were magnificent. They included a horse worth ten thousand pieces of
gold, with its saddle adorned with gold set with jewels, a book, a
splendid dress, and some beautiful white Egyptian cloth, Greek carpets,
and a crystal cup. Having duly delivered these gifts, he took his leave,
meaning to return to his own country. But the usual adventures befell
him. This time his ship was surrounded by a number of boats on board
of which were men like little devils with swords and daggers. These
attacked the ship, captured Sindbad, and sold him to a rich man as
a slave. He set him to shoot elephants from a tree with bows and arrows.
At last, after many other adventures and having made seven long voyages,
poor Sindbad reached his home.



But if the Sindbad saga is based on the stories of Mohammedan travellers
and sum up Arab adventure by sea in the tenth century, we must turn
to another Arab--Massoudy by name--for land travel of the same period.
Massoudy left his home at Bagdad very young and seems to have penetrated
into every Mohammedan country from Spain to farther India. In his
famous _Meadows of Gold_, with its one hundred and thirty-two chapters,
dedicated to "the most illustrious Kings," he describes the various
lands through which he has travelled, giving us at the same time a
good deal of incorrect information about lands he has never seen.

   "I have gone so far towards the setting sun
    That I have lost all remembrance of the east,
    And my course has taken me so far towards the rising sun
    That I have forgotten the very name of west."

One cannot but look with admiration on the energetic Arab traveller,
when one remembers the labour of travel even in the tenth century.
There were the long, hot rides through central Asia, under a burning
sun, the ascent of unknown mountains, the crossing of unbridged rivers.
From his lengthy work we will only extract a few details. Though he
had "gone so far toward the setting sun," his knowledge of the West
was very limited, and while Vikings tossed on the Atlantic westwards,
Massoudy tells us that it is "impossible to navigate beyond the Pillars
of Hercules, for no vessel sails on that sea; it is without cultivation
or inhabitant, and its end, like its depth, is unknown." Such was the
"Green Sea of Darkness" as it was called by the Arabs. Massoudy is
more at home when he journeys towards the rising sun to the East, but
his descriptions of China, the "Flowery Land," the "Celestial
Country," were to be excelled by others.

We must pass over Edrisi, who in 1153 wrote on "The going abroad of
a curious Man to explore all the Wonders of the World," which wonders
he explored very imperfectly, though he has left us a map of the world,
which may be seen to-day at the Bodleian Library at Oxford.

But we cannot pass over Benjamin of Tudela in so few words. "Our
Benjamin" he is called by Pinkerton, who in the eighteenth century
made a wonderful collection of voyages and travels of all ages. "Our
Benjamin" was a Jew hailing from Tudela in Spain, and he started forth
on his travels with a view to ascertaining the condition and numbers
of Jews living in the midst of the great Mohammedan Empire. Benjamin
made his way in the year 1160 to the "exceeding great city" of
Constantinople, which "hath none to compare with it except Bagdad--the
mighty city of the Arabs." With the great temple of St. Sophia and
its pillars of gold and silver, he was immensely struck. In wrapt
admiration he gazed at the Emperor's palace with its walls of beaten
gold, its hanging crown suspended over the Imperial throne, blazing
with precious stones, so splendid that the hall needed no other light.
No less striking were the crimson embroidered garments worn by the
Greeks, who rode to and from the city like princes on horseback.
Benjamin turns sadly to the Jewish quarter. No Jew might ride on
horseback here. All were treated as objects of contempt; they were
herded together, often beaten in the streets.

CENTURY. From a map of the twelfth century at Brussels.]

From the wealth and luxury of Constantinople Benjamin makes his way
to Syria. At Jerusalem he finds some two hundred Jews commanding the
dyeing trade. And here we must remind ourselves that the second crusade
was over and the third had not yet taken place, that Jerusalem, the
City of Peace, had been in the hands of the Mohammedans or Saracens
till 1099, when it fell into the hands of the Crusaders. From Jerusalem,
by way of Damascus, Benjamin entered Persia, and he gives us an
interesting account of Bagdad and its Khalifs. The Khalif was the head
of the Mohammedans in the same way that the Pope was the head of the
Christians. "He was," says "Our Benjamin," "a very dignified personage,
friendly towards the Jews, a kind-hearted man, but never to be seen."
Pilgrims from distant lands, passing through Bagdad on their way to
Mecca, prayed to be allowed to see "the brightness of his face," but
they were only allowed to kiss one end of his garment. Now, although
Benjamin describes the journey from Bagdad to China, it is very
doubtful if he ever got to China himself, so we will leave him
delighting in the glories of Bagdad, with its palm trees, its gardens
and orchards, rejoicing in the statistics of Jews, and turn to the
adventures of one, Carpini, who really did reach Tartary.

This Carpini, or Friar John, was a Franciscan who was chosen by the
Pope to go to the Great Khan of the Mongol Empire, which was threatening
to overrun Christendom. On 16th April 1245, Friar John left the
cloister for the unknown tract of country by which he had to pass into
China. By way of Bohemia he passed into Russia, and, having annexed
Brother Benedict in Poland and Brother Stephen in Bohemia, together
with a guide, Carpini made his way eastwards. It was mid-winter; the
travellers had to ride on Tartar horses, "for they alone could find
grass under the snow, or live, as animals must in Tartary, without
hay or straw." Sometimes Friar John fell so ill that he had to be placed
in a cart and carried through the deep snow.

[Illustration: TWO EMPERORS OF TARTARY. From the Catalan map, 1375.]

It was Easter 1246, just a year after their start, that Friar John
and his companions began the last section of their journey beyond the
Volga, and "most tearfully we set out," not knowing whether it was
"for life or for death." So thin had they all become that not one of
them could ride. Still they toiled on, till one July day they entered
Mongolia and found the headquarters of the Great Khan about half a
day's journey from Karakorum. They arrived in time to witness the
enthronement of the new Khan in August. Here were crowds of ambassadors
from Russia and Persia as well as from outlying parts of the growing
Mongol Empire. These were laden with gifts--indeed, there were no less
than five hundred crates full of silks, satins, brocades, fur, gold
embroidery. Friar John and his companions had no gifts to offer save
the letter from the Pope.

Impressive, indeed, in the eyes of the once cloistered friar must have
been this first sight of Eastern splendour. High on a neighbouring
hill stood the Khan's tent, resting on pillars plated with gold, top
and sides covered with silk brocades, while the great ceremony took
place. But the men of the West were not welcomed by the new Emperor
of the East. It was supposed that he intended shortly to unfurl his
Standard against the whole of the Western world, and in November Friar
John and his companions found themselves formally dismissed with a
missive from the Great Khan to the Pope, signed and sealed by the Khan

[Illustration: A TARTAR CAMP. From the Borgian map, 1453.]

The return journey was even more trying; winter was coming on, and
for nearly seven months the Pope's faithful envoys struggled on across
the endless open plains of Asia towards Russia, resting their eyes
on vast expanses of snow. At last they reached home, and Friar John
wrote his _Book of the Tartars_, in which he informs us that Mongolia
is in the east part of the world and that Cathay is "a country in the
east of Asia." To the south-west of Mongolia he heard of a vast desert,
where lived certain wild men unable to speak and with no joints in
their legs. These occupy themselves in making felt out of camel's hair
for garments to protect them from the weather.

Again Carpini tells us about that mythical character figuring in the
travel books of this time--Prester John. "The Mongol army," he says,
"marched against the Christians dwelling in the greater India, and
the king of that country, known by the name of Prester John, came forth
with his army to meet them. This Prester John caused a number of hollow
copper figures to be made, resembling men, which were stuffed with
combustibles and set upon horses, each having a man behind on the horse,
with a pair of bellows to stir up the fire. At the first onset of the
battle these mounted figures were sent forward to the charge; the men
who rode behind them set fire to the combustibles and then strongly
blew with the bellows; immediately the Mongol horses and men were burnt
with wild-fire and the air was darkened with smoke."

We shall hear of Prester John again. For within a few years of the
return of Friar John, another Franciscan friar, William de Rubruquis,
was sent forth, this time by the French king, Louis, to carry letters
to the Great Khan begging him to embrace Christianity and acknowledge
the supremacy of the Pope. William and his chosen companions had a
painful and difficult journey of some months before they reached the
camps on the Volga of one of the great Mongol lords. Indeed, "if it
had not been for the grace of God and the biscuit which we brought
with us, we had surely perished," remarks the pious friar in the history
of his adventures. Never once did they enjoy the shelter of a house
or tent, but passed the nights in the open air in a cart. At last they
were ordered to appear at the Court of the great ruler with all their
books and vestments.

"We were commanded to array ourselves in our sacred vestments to appear
before the prince. Putting on, therefore, our most precious ornaments,
I took a cushion in my arms, together with the Bible I had from the
King of France and the beautiful Psalter which the Queen bestowed upon
me: my companion at the same time carried the missal and a crucifix;
and the clerk, clothed in his surplice, bore a censer in his hand.
In this order we presented ourselves ... singing the Salve Regina."
It is a strange picture this--the European friars, in all the vestments
of their religion, standing before the Eastern prince of this far-off
country. They would fain have carried home news of his conversion,
but they were told in angry tones that the prince was "not a Christian,
but a Mongol."

Probably representing the friars starting on their journey.]

They were dismissed with orders to visit the Great Khan at Karakorum.
Resuming their journey early in August, the messengers did not arrive
at the Court of the Great Khan till the day after Christmas. They were
miserably housed in a tiny hut with scarcely room for their beds and
baggage. The cold was intense. The bare feet of the friars caused great
astonishment to the crowds of onlookers, who stared at the strange
figures as though they had been monsters. However, they could not keep
their feet bare long, for very soon Rubruquis found that his toes were

Chanting in Latin the hymn of the Nativity, the visitors were at last
admitted to the Imperial tent, hung about with cloth of gold, where
they found the Khan. He was seated on a couch--a "little man of moderate
height, aged about forty-five, and dressed in a skin spotted and glossy
like a seal." The Mongol Emperor asked numerous questions about the
kingdom of France and the possibility of conquering it, to the
righteous indignation of the friars. They stayed in the country till
the end of May, when they were dismissed, having failed in their mission,
but having gained a good deal of information about the great Mongol
Empire and its somewhat mysterious ruler.

But while the kingdoms in Europe trembled before the growing expansion
of the Mongol Empire and the dangers of Tartar hordes, the merchants
of Venice rejoiced in the new markets which were opening for them in
the East.



Now Venice at this time was full of enterprising merchants--merchants
such as we hear of in Shakspere's _Merchant of Venice_. Among these
were two Venetians, the brothers Polo. Rumours had reached them of
the wealth of the mysterious land of Cathay, of the Great Khan, of
Europeans making their way, as we have seen, through barren
wildernesses, across burning deserts in the face of hardships
indescribable, to open up a highway to the Far East.

So off started Maffio and Niccolo Polo on a trading enterprise, and,
having crossed the Mediterranean, came "with a fair wind and the
blessing of God" to Constantinople, where they disposed of a large
quantity of their merchandise. Having made some money, they directed
their way to Bokhara, where they fell in with a Tartar nobleman, who
persuaded them to accompany him to the Court of the Great Khan himself.
Ready for adventure, they agreed, and he led them in a north-easterly
direction; now they were delayed by heavy snows, now by the swelling
of unbridged rivers, so that it was a year before they reached Pekin,
which they considered was the extremity of the East. They were
courteously received by the Great Khan, who questioned them closely
about their own land, to which they replied in the Tartar language
which they had learnt on the way.

Now since the days of Friar John there was a new Khan named Kublai,
who wished to send messengers to the Pope to beg him to send a hundred
wise men to teach the Chinese Christianity. He chose the Polo brothers
as his envoys to the Pope, and accordingly they started off to fulfil
his behests. After an absence of fifteen years they again reached
Venice. The very year they had left home Niccolo's wife had died, and
his boy, afterwards to become the famous traveller, Marco Polo, had
been born. The boy was now fifteen.

THEIR NEPHEW MARCO FOR CHINA. From a miniature painting in the
fourteenth century _Livre des Merveilles_.]

The stories told by his father and uncle of the Far East and the Court
of the greatest Emperor on earth filled the boy with enthusiasm, and
when in 1271 the brothers Polo set out for their second journey to
China, not only were they accompanied by the young Marco, but also
by two preaching friars to teach the Christian faith to Kublai Khan.

[Illustration: MARCO POLO LANDS AT ORMUZ. From a miniature in the
_Livre des Merveilles_.]

Their journey lay through Armenia, through the old city of Nineveh
to Bagdad, where the last Khalif had been butchered by the Tartars.
Entering Persia as traders, the Polo family passed on to Ormuz, hoping
to take ship from here to China. But, for some unknown reason, this
was impossible, and the travellers made their way north-eastwards to
the country about the sources of the river Oxus. Here young Marco fell
sick of a low fever, and for a whole year they could not proceed.
Resuming their journey at last "in high spirits," they crossed the
great highlands of the Pamirs, known as the "roof of the world," and,
descending on Khotan, found themselves face to face with the great
Gobi Desert. For thirty days they journeyed over the sandy wastes of
the silent wilderness, till they came to a city in the province of
Tangut, where they were met by messengers from the Khan, who had heard
of their approach. But it was not till May 1275 that they actually
reached the Court of Kublai Khan after their tremendous journey of
"one thousand days." The preaching friars had long since turned
homewards, alarmed at the dangers of the way, so only the three
stout-hearted Polos were left to deliver the Pope's message to the
ruler of the Mongol Empire.

EAST. From a miniature which stands at the head of a late 14th century
MS. of the _Travels of Marco Polo_ (or the Book of the Grand Khan)
in the Bodleian Library, Oxford. The drawing shows the Piazzetta at
Venice, with the Polos embarking, and in the foreground indications
of the strange lands they visited.]

"The lord of all the earth," as he was called by his people, received
them very warmly. He inquired at once who was the young man with them.

"My lord," replied Niccolo, "he is my son and your servant."

"Then," said the Khan, "he is welcome. I am much pleased with him."

So the three Venetians abode at the Court of Kublai Khan. His summer
palace was at Shang-tu, called Xanadu by the poet Coleridge--

   "In Xanadu did Kublai Khan
    A stately pleasure dome decree,
    Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
    Through caverns measureless to man
    Down to a sacred sea.
    So twice five miles of fertile ground,
    With walls and towers were girdled round:
    And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,
    Where blossom'd many an incense-bearing tree;
    And here were forests ancient as the hills,
    Enfolding sunny spots of greenery."

So the three Venetians abode at the Court of the Chinese Emperor for
no less than seventeen years. Young Marco displayed so great
intelligence that he was sent on a mission for the Khan some six months'
journey distant; and so well did he describe the things he had seen
and the lands through which he had passed, that the Khan heaped on
him honours and riches. Let us hear what Marco says of his lord and

[Illustration: KUBLAI KHAN. From an old Chinese Encyclopaedia at

"The Great Khan, lord of lords, named Kublai, is of middle stature,
neither too full nor too short: he has a beautiful fresh complexion,
his colour is fair, his eyes dark."

The capital of the Empire, Pekin, two days' journey from the sea, and
the residence of the Court during the months of December, January,
and February, called out the unbounded enthusiasm of the Polos. The
city, two days' journey from the ocean, in the extreme north-east of
Cathay, had been newly rebuilt in a regular square, six miles on each
side, surrounded by walls of earth and having twelve gates.

"The streets are so broad and so straight," says Marco, "that from
one gate another is visible. It contains many beautiful houses and
palaces, and a very large one in the midst, containing a steeple with
a large bell which at night sounds three times, after which no man
must leave the city. At each gate a thousand men keep guard, not from
dread of any enemy, but in reverence of the monarch who dwells within
it, and to prevent injury by robbers."

This square form of Pekin, the great breadth of the straight streets,
the closing of the gates by sound of a bell--the largest in the
world--is noted by all travellers to this far-eastern city of Cathay.

But greater even than Pekin was the city of Kin-sai (Hang-tcheou-fou),
the City of Heaven, in the south of China. It had but lately fallen
into the hands of Kublai Khan.

"And now I will tell you all its nobleness," says Marco, "for without
doubt it is the largest city in the world. The city is one hundred
miles in circumference and has twelve thousand stone bridges, and
beneath the greater part of these a large ship might pass. And you
need not wonder there are so many bridges, because the city is wholly
on the water and surrounded by it like Venice. The merchants are so
numerous and so rich that their wealth can neither be told nor believed.
They and their ladies do nothing with their own hands, but live as
delicately as if they were kings. These females also are of most angelic
beauty, and live in the most elegant manner. The people are idolaters,
subject to the Great Khan, and use paper money. They eat the flesh
of dogs and other beasts, such as no Christian would touch for the
world. In this city, too, are four thousand baths, in which the citizens,
both men and women, take great delight and frequently resort thither,
because they keep their persons very cleanly. They are the largest
and most beautiful baths in the world, insomuch that one hundred of
either sex may bathe in them at once. Twenty-five miles from thence
is the ocean, and there is a city (Ning-po) which has a very fine port,
with large ships and much merchandise of immense value from India and
other quarters."

[Illustration: "THE UNROLLING OF THE CLOUDS"--III. The world as known
at the end of the thirteenth century after the travels of Marco Polo
and his contemporaries.]

But though Marco revels in the description of wonderful cities, he
is continually leading us back to the Great Khan himself. His festivals
were splendid. The tables were arranged so that the Emperor sat higher
than all the others, always with his face to the south. His sons and
daughters were placed so that their heads were on a level with his
feet. Some forty thousand people feast on these occasions, but the
Khan himself is served only by his great barons, their mouths wrapped
in rich towels embroidered in gold and silver, that their breath might
not blow upon the plates. His presents were on a colossal scale; it
was no rare occurrence for him to receive five thousand camels, one
hundred thousand beautiful horses, and five thousand elephants
covered with cloth of gold and silver.

"And now I will relate a wonderful thing," says Marco. "A large lion
is led into his presence, which, as soon as it sees him, drops down
and makes a sign of deep humility, owning him its lord and moving about
without any chain."

His kingdom was ruled by twelve barons all living at Pekin. His
provinces numbered thirty-four, hence their method of communication
was very complete.

"Messengers are sent to divers provinces," says Marco, "and on all
the roads they find at every twenty-five miles a post, where the
messengers are received. At each is a large edifice containing a bed
covered with silk and everything useful and convenient for a
traveller ... here, too, they find full four hundred horses, whom the
prince has ordered to be always in waiting to convey them along the
principal roads.... Thus they go through the provinces, finding
everywhere inns and horses for their reception. Moreover, in the
intervals between these stations, at every three miles are erected
villages of about forty houses inhabited by foot-runners also employed
on these dispatches. They wear large girdles set round with bells,
which are heard at a great distance. Receiving a letter or packet,
one runs full speed to the next village, when his approach being
announced by bells, another is ready to start and proceed to the next,
and so on. By these pedestrian messengers the Khan receives news in
one day and night from places ten days' journey distant; in two days
from those twenty off, and in ten from those a hundred days' journey
distant. Thus he sends his messengers through all his kingdoms and
provinces to know if any of his subjects have had their crops injured
through bad weather; and, if any such injury has happened, he does
not exact from them any tribute for that season--nay, he gives them
corn out of his own stores to subsist on."

This first European account of China is all so delightful that it is
difficult to know where to stop. The mention of coal is interesting.
"Throughout the whole province of Cathay," says Marco, "are a kind
of black stones cut from the mountains in veins, which burn like logs.
They maintain the fire better than wood. If you put them on in the
evening they will preserve it the whole night, and it will be found
burning in the morning. Throughout the whole of Cathay this fuel is
used. They have also wood, but the stones are much less expensive."

Neither can we pass over Marco's account of the wonderful stone bridge
with its twenty-four arches of pure marble across the broad river,
"the most magnificent object in the whole world," across which ten
horsemen could ride abreast, or the Yellow River (Hoang-ho), "so large
and broad that it cannot be crossed by a bridge, and flows on even
to the ocean," or the wealth of mulberry trees throughout the land,
on which lived the silkworms that have made China so famous for her

Then there are the people famous for their manufacture of fine
porcelain ware. "Great quantities of porcelain earth were here
collected into heaps and in this way exposed to the action of the
atmosphere for some forty years, during which time it was never
disturbed. By this process it became refined and fitted for
manufacture." Such is Marco's only allusion to china ware. With regard
to tea he is entirely silent.

But he is the first European to tell us about the islands of Japan,
fifteen hundred miles from the coast of China, now first discovered
to the geographers of the West.

"Zipangu," says Marco, "is an island situated at a distance from the
mainland. The people are fair and civilised in their manners--they
possess precious metals in extraordinary abundance. The people are
white, of gentle manners, idolaters in religion under a king of their
own. These folk were attacked by the fleet of Kublai Khan in 1264 for
their gold, for the King's house, windows, and floors were covered
with it, but the King allowed no exportation of it."

[Illustration: MARCO POLO. From a woodcut in the first printed edition
of Marco Polo's _Travels_, Nuremburg, 1477.]

Thus Marco Polo records in dim outline the existence of land beyond
that ever dreamed of by Europeans--indeed, denied by Ptolemy and other
geographers of the West. In the course of his service under Kublai
Khan he opened up the eight provinces of Tibet, the whole of south-east
Asia from Canton to Bengal, and the archipelago of farther India. He
tells us, too, of Tibet, that wide country "vanquished and wasted by
the Khan for the space of twenty days' journey"--a great wilderness
wanting people, but overrun by wild beasts. Here were great Tibetan
dogs as large as asses. Still on duty for Kublai Khan, Marco reached
Bengal, "which borders upon India." But he was glad enough to return
to his adopted Chinese home, "the richest and most famous country of
all the East."

At last the Polo family wearied of Court honours, and they were anxious
to return to their own people at Venice. However, the Khan was very
unwilling to let them go. One day their chance came. The Persian ruler
was anxious to marry a princess of the house of Kublai Khan, and it
was decided to send the lady by sea under the protection of the trusted
Polos, rather than to allow her to undergo the hardships of an overland
journey from China to Persia.

So in the year 1292 they bade farewell to the great Kublai Khan, and
with the little princess of seventeen and her suite they set sail with
an escort of fourteen ships for India. Passing many islands "with gold
and much trade," after three months at sea they reached Java, at this
time supposed to be the greatest island in the world, above three
thousand miles round. At Sumatra they were detained five months by
stress of weather, till at last they reached the Bay of Bengal. Sailing
on a thousand miles westwards, they reached Ceylon--"the finest island
in the world," remarks Marco. It was not till two years after their
start and the loss of six hundred sailors that they arrived at their
destination, only to find that the ruler of Persia was dead. However,
they gave the little bride to his son and passed on by Constantinople
to Venice, where they arrived in 1295.

MARCO POLO FIRST SAW JAPANESE. From an ancient Japanese painting.]

And now follows a strange sequel to the story. After their long absence,
and in their travel-stained garments, their friends and relations
could not recognise them, and in vain did they declare that they were
indeed the Polos--father, son, and uncle--who had left Venice
twenty-four long years ago. It was no use; no one believed their story.
So this is what they did. They arranged for a great banquet to be held,
to which they invited all their relations and friends. This they
attended in robes of crimson satin. Then suddenly Marco rose from the
table and, going out of the room, returned with the three coarse,
travel-stained garments. They ripped open seams, tore out the lining,
and a quantity of precious stones, rubies, sapphires, diamonds, and
emeralds poured forth. The company were filled with wonder, and when
the story spread all the people of Venice came forth to do honour to
their famous fellow-countrymen.

Marco was surnamed Marco of the Millions, and never tired of telling
the wonderful stories of Kublai Khan, the great Emperor who combined
the "rude magnificence of the desert with the pomp and elegance of
the most civilised empire in the Old World."



The two names of Ibn Batuta and Sir John Mandeville now conclude our
mediaeval period of travel to the Eastward. Both the Arab and the
Englishman date their travels between the years 1325 and 1355; but
while Ibn Batuta, the traveller from Tangiers, adds very valuable
information to our geographical knowledge, we have to lay the travel
volumes of Sir John Mandeville aside and acknowledge sadly that his
book is made up of borrowed experiences, that he has wantonly added
fiction to fact, and distorted even the travel stories told by other
travellers. And yet, strange to say, while the work of Ibn Batuta
remains entirely disregarded, the delightful work of the Englishman
is still read vigorously to-day and translated into nearly every
European language. In it we read strange stories of Prester John, "the
great Emperor of India, who is served by seven kings, seventy-two dukes,
and three hundred and sixty earls"; he speaks of the "isle of Cathay":
he repeats the legend of the island near Java on which Adam and Eve
wept for one hundred years after they had been driven from Paradise;
he speaks of giants thirty feet high, and of Pigmies who came dancing
to see him.

[Illustration: SIR JOHN MANDEVILLE ON HIS TRAVELS. From a MS. in the
British Museum.]

We turn to the Arab traveller for a solid document, which rings more
true, and we cannot doubt his accounts of shipwreck and hardships
encountered by the way. Ibn Batuta left Tangiers in the year 1324 at
the early age of twenty-one on a pilgrimage to Mecca. He made his way
across the north of Africa to Alexandria. Here history relates he met
a learned and pious man named Imam.

"I perceive," said Imam, "that you are fond of visiting distant

"That is so," answered Ibn Batuta.

"Then you must visit my brother in India, my brother in Persia, and
my brother in China, and when you see them present my compliments to

Ibn Batuta left Alexandria with a resolve to visit these three persons,
and indeed, wonderful to say, he found them all three and presented
to them their brother's compliments.

He reached Mecca and remained there for three years, after which he
voyaged down the Red Sea to Aden, a port of much trade. Coasting along
the east coast of Africa, he reached Mombasa, from which port, so soon
to fall into the hands of the Portuguese, he sailed to Ormuz, a "city
on the seashore," at the entrance to the Persian Gulf. Here he tells
us of the head of a fish "that might be compared to a hill: its eyes
were like two doors, so that people could go in at one eye and out
at the other." Crossing central Arabia and the Black Sea, he found
himself for the first time in a Christian city, and was much dismayed
at all the bells ringing. He was anxious to go north through Russia
to the Land of Darkness, of which he had heard such wonderful tales.
It was a land where there were neither trees, nor stones, nor houses,
where dogs with nails in their feet drew little sledges across the
ice. Instead he went to Constantinople, arriving at sunset when the
bells were ringing so loud "that the very horizon shook with the noise."
Ibn was presented to the Emperor as a remarkable traveller, and a letter
of safe conduct was given to him.

He then made his way through Bokhara and Herat, Kandahar and Kabul,
over the Hindu Koosh and across the Indus to Delhi, "the greatest city
in the world." But at this time it was a howling wilderness, as the
inhabitants had fled from the cruelty of the Turkish Emperor. Into
his presence our traveller was now called and graciously received.

"The lord of the world appoints you to the office of judge in Delhi,"
said the Emperor; "he gives you a dress of honour with a saddled horse
and a large yearly salary."

Ibn held this office for eight years, till one day the Emperor called
him and said: "I wish to send you as ambassador to the Emperor of China,
for I know you are fond of travelling in foreign countries."

The Emperor of China had sent presents of great value to the Emperor
of India, who was now anxious to return the compliment. Quaint, indeed,
were the gifts from India to China. There were one hundred high-bred
horses, one hundred dancing girls, one hundred pieces of cotton stuff,
also silk and wool, some black, some white, blue-green or blue. There
were swords of state and golden candlesticks, silver basins, brocade
dresses, and gloves embroidered with pearls. But so many adventures
did Ibn Batuta have on his way to China that it is certain that none
of these things ever reached that country, for eighty miles from Delhi
the cavalcade was attacked and Ibn was robbed of all he had. For days
he wandered alone in a forest, living on leaves, till he was rescued
more dead than alive, and carried back to Delhi. The second start was
also unfortunate. By a circuitous route he made his way to Calicut
on the Malabar coast, where he made a stay of three months till the
monsoons should permit him to take ship for China. The harbour of
Calicut was full of great Chinese ships called junks. These junks
struck him as unlike anything he had seen before. "The sails are made
of cane reed woven together like a mat, which, when they put into port,
they leave standing in the wind. In some of these vessels there will
be a thousand men, sailors and soldiers. Built in the ports of China
only, they are rowed with large oars, which may be compared to great
masts. On board are wooden houses in which the higher officials reside
with their wives."

[Illustration: AN EMPEROR OF TARTARY. From the map ascribed to
Sebastian Cabot, 1544.]

The time of the voyage came; thirteen huge junks were taken, and the
imperial presents were embarked. All was ready for a start on the morrow.
Ibn stayed on shore praying in the mosque till starting-time. That
night a violent hurricane arose and most of the ships in the harbour
were destroyed. Treasure, crew, and officers all perished, and Ibn
was left alone and almost penniless. He feared to return to Delhi,
so he took ship, which landed him on one of a group of a thousand islands,
which Ibn calls "one of the wonders of the world." The chief island
was governed by a woman. Here he was made a judge, and soon became
a great personage. But after a time he grew restless and set sail for
Sumatra. Here at the court of the king, who was a zealous disciple
of Mohammed, Ibn met with a kind reception, and after a fortnight,
provided with provisions, the "restless Mohammedan" again voyaged
northwards into the "Calm Sea," or the Pacific as we call it now. It
was so still, "disturbed by neither wind nor waves," that the ship
had to be towed by a smaller ship till they reached China.

"This is a vast country," writes Ibn, "and it abounds in all sorts
of good things--fruit, corn, gold, and silver. It is traversed by a
great river--the Waters of Life--which runs through the heart of China
for a distance of six months' journey. It is bordered with villages,
cultivated plains, orchards, and markets, just like the Nile in

Ibn gives an amusing account of the Chinese poultry. "The cocks and
hens are bigger than our geese. I one day bought a hen," he says, "which
I wanted to boil, but one pot would not hold it and I was obliged to
take two. As for the cocks in China, they are as big as ostriches."

"'Pooh,' cried an owner of Chinese fowls, 'there are cocks in China
much bigger than that,' and I found he had said no more than the truth."

"Silk is very plentiful, for the worms which produce it require little
attention. They have silk in such abundance that it is used for clothing
even by poor monks and beggars. The people of China do not use gold
and silver coin in their commercial dealings. Their buying and selling
is carried on by means of pieces of paper about the size of the palm
of the hand, carrying the seal of the Emperor." The Arab traveller
has much to say about the superb painting of China. They study and
paint every stranger that visits their country, and the portrait thus
taken is exposed on the city wall. Thus, should a stranger do anything
to make flight necessary, his portrait would be sent out into every
province and he would soon be discovered.

"China is the safest as well as the pleasantest of all the regions
on the earth for a traveller. You may travel the whole nine months'
journey to which the Empire extends without the slightest cause to
fear, even if you have treasure in your charge. But it afforded me
no pleasure. On the contrary, my spirit was sorely troubled within
me to see how Paganism had the upper hand."

[Illustration: A CARAVAN IN CATHAY. From the Catalan map, 1375.]

Troubles now broke out among the Khan's family, which led to civil
wars and the death of the Great Khan. He was buried with great pomp.
A deep chamber was dug in the earth, into which a beautiful couch was
placed, on which was laid the dead Khan with his arms and all his rich
apparel, the earth over him being heaped to the height of a large hill.

Batuta now hurried from the country, took a junk to Sumatra, thence
to Calicut and by Ormuz home to Tangier, where he arrived in 1348.
He had done what he set forth to do. He had visited the three brothers
of Imam in Persia, India, and China. In addition he had travelled for
twenty-four years and accomplished in all about seventy-five thousand

With him the history of mediaeval exploration would seem to end, for
within eighty years of his death the modern epoch opens with the
energies and enthusiasm of Prince Henry of Portugal.

For the last few centuries we have found all travel undertaken more
or less as a religious crusade.

So far during the last centuries, travel had been for the most part
by land. Few discoveries had been made by sea. Voyages were too
difficult and dangerous. The Phoenicians had ventured far with
intrepid courage. The Vikings had tossed fearlessly over their stormy
northern seas to the yet unknown land of America, but this was long
ago. Throughout the Middle Ages hardly a sail was to be seen on the
vast Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, no ships ventured on what was held
to be the Sea of Darkness, no man was emboldened to risk life and money
on the unknown waters beyond his own safe home.



We cannot pass from the subject of mediaeval exploration without a
word on the really delightful, if ignorant, maps of the period, for
they illustrate better than any description the state of geography
at this time. The Ptolemy map, summing up all the Greek and Roman
learning, with its longitudes and latitudes, with its shaped
continents and its many towns and rivers, "indicates the high-water
mark of a tide that was soon to ebb."

With the decline of the Roman Empire and the coming of Christianity
we get a new spirit inspiring our mediaeval maps, in which Jerusalem,
hitherto totally obscure, dominates the whole situation.

The _Christian Topography_ of Cosmas in the sixth century sets a new
model. Figures blowing trumpets representing the winds still blow on
to the world, as they did in the days of Ptolemy, but the earth is
once more flat and it is again surrounded by the ocean stream. Round
this ocean stream, according to Cosmas, is an outer earth, the seat
of Paradise, "the earth beyond the ocean where men dwelt before the

Although these maps of Cosmas were but the expression of one man's
ideas, they served as a model for others.

There is, at Turin, a delightful map of the eighth century with the
four winds and the ocean stream as usual. The world is divided into
three--Asia, Africa, and Europe. Adam and Eve stand at the top; to
the right of Adam lies Armenia and the Caucasus; to the left of Eve
are Mount Lebanon, the river Jordan, Sidon, and Mesopotamia. At their
feet lie Mount Carmel, Jerusalem, and Babylon.


In Europe we find a few names such as Constantinople, Italy, France.
Britannia and Scotland are islands in the encircling sea. Africa is
suitably represented by the Nile.

Of much the same date is another map known as the Albi, preserved in
the library at Albi in Languedoc. The world is square, with rounded
corners; Britain is an island off the coast of Spain, and a beautiful
green sea flows round the whole.

An example of tenth-century map-making, known as the Cottoniana or
Anglo-Saxon map, is in the British Museum. Here is a mixture of Biblical
and classical knowledge. Jerusalem and Bethlehem are in their place
and the Pillars of Hercules stand at the entrance of the Mediterranean
Sea. The British Isles are still distorted, and quantities of little
unnamed islands lie about the north of Scotland. In the extreme east
lies an enormous Ceylon; in the north-east corner of Asia is drawn
a magnificent lion with mane and curling tail, with the words around
him: "Here lions abound." Africa as usual is made up of the Nile,
Alexandria at its mouth, and its source in a lake.

[Illustration: A T-MAP, TENTH CENTURY.]


There is another form of these early maps. They are quite small and
round. They are known as T-maps, being divided into three
parts--Europe, Asia, and Africa. Jerusalem is always in the centre,
and the ocean stream flows round.

[Illustration: THE HEREFORD MAPPA MUNDI OF 1280. Drawn by Richard de
Haldingham and Lafford, who was Prebendary of Lincoln (hence his name
Lafford) before 1283, and Prebendary of Hereford in 1305. The original
map hangs in the Chapter House Library of Hereford Cathedral. In it
the original green of the seas reproduced here as green has become
a dark brown by age.]

After the manner of these, only on a very large scale, is the famous
_Mappa Mundi_, by Richard of Haldingham, on the walls of the Hereford
Cathedral of the thirteenth century. Jerusalem is in the centre, and
the Crucifixion is there depicted. At the top is the Last Judgment,
with the good and bad folk divided on either side. Adam and Eve are
there, so are the Pillars of Hercules, Scylla and Charybdis, the Red
Sea coloured red, the Nile and the Mountains of the Moon, strange beasts
and stranger men.

With the Hereford map came in that pictorial geography that makes the
maps of the later Middle Ages so delightful.

[Illustration: THE KAISER HOLDING THE WORLD. From a twelfth-century

"This is indeed the true way to make a map," says a modern writer.
"If these old maps erred in the course of their rivers and the lines
of their mountains and space, they are not so misleading as your modern
atlas with its too accurate measurements. For even your most primitive
map, with Paradise in the east--a gigantic Jerusalem in the
centre--gives a less distorted impression than that which we obtain
from the most scientific chart on Mercator's projection."

A.D. This map, which is found in one of the Cotton MSS. in the British
Museum, is a geographical achievement remarkable in the age which
produced it. It may perhaps be the work of an Irish scholar-monk. It
shows real knowledge and scientific insight in one of the gloomiest
of the "dark ages" of Europe.]



But now a new era was about to begin--a new age was dawning--and we
open a wonderful chapter in the history of discovery, perhaps the most
wonderful in all the world. In Portugal a man had arisen who was to
awaken the slumbering world of travel and direct it to the high seas.

And the name of this man was Henry, a son of King John of Portugal.
His mother was an Englishwoman, daughter of "John of Gaunt,
time-honoured Lancaster." The Prince was, therefore, a nephew of Henry
IV. and great-grandson of Edward III. of England. But if English blood
flowed in his veins he, too, was the son of the "greatest King that
ever sat on the throne of Portugal," and at the age of twenty he had
already learned something of the sea that lay between his father's
kingdom and the northern coast of Africa. Thus, when in the year 1415
King John planned a great expedition across the narrow seas to Ceuta,
an important Moorish city in North Africa, it fell to Prince Henry
himself to equip seven triremes, six biremes, twenty-six ships of
burden, and a number of small craft. These he had ready at Lisbon when
news reached him that the Queen, his mother, was stricken ill. The
King and three sons were soon at her bedside. It was evident that she
was dying.

"What wind blows so strongly against the side of the house?" she asked

"The wind blows from the north," replied her sons.

"It is the wind most favourable for your departure," replied Philippa.
And with these words the English Queen died.

This is not the place to tell how the expedition started at once as
the dead Queen had wished, how Ceuta was triumphantly taken, and how
Prince Henry distinguished himself till all Europe rang with his fame.
Henry V. of England begged him to come over and take command of his
forces. The Emperor of Germany sent the same request. But he had other
schemes for his life. He would not fight the foes of England or of
Germany, rather would he fight the great ocean whose waves dashed high
against the coast of Portugal. He had learned something of inland
Africa, of the distant coast of Guinea, and he was fired with the idea
of exploring along this west coast of Africa and possibly reaching
India by sea.

Let us recall what was known of the Atlantic only six centuries ago.
"It was," says an old writer, "a vast and boundless ocean, on which
ships dared not venture out of sight of land. For even if the sailors
knew the direction of the winds they would not know whither those winds
would carry them, and, as there is no inhabited country beyond, they
would run great risk of being lost in mist and vapour. The limit of
the West is the Atlantic Ocean."

The ocean was a new and formidable foe, hitherto unconquered and
unexplored. At last one had arisen to attempt its conquest. As men
had lifted the veil from the unknown land of China, so now the mists
were to be cleared from the Sea of Darkness.

On the inhospitable shores of southern Portugal, amid the "sadness
of a waste of shifting sand, in a neighbourhood so barren that only
a few stunted trees struggled for existence, on one of the coldest,
dreariest spots of sunny Portugal," Prince Henry built his naval
arsenal. In this secluded spot, far from the gaieties of Court life,
with the vast Atlantic rolling measureless and mysterious before him,
Prince Henry took up the study of astronomy and mathematics. Here he
gathered round him men of science; he built ships and trained
Portuguese sailors in the art of navigation, so far as it was known
in those days.

Then he urged them seawards. In 1418 two gentlemen of his household,
Zarco and Vaz, volunteered to sail to Cape Bojador towards the south.
They started off and as usual hugged the coast for some way, but a
violent storm arose and soon they were driven out to sea. They had
lost sight of land and given themselves up for lost when, at break
of day, they saw an island not far off. Delighted at their escape,
they named it Porto Santo and, overjoyed at their discovery, hastened
back to Portugal to relate their adventures to Prince Henry. They
described the fertile soil and delicious climate of the newly found
island, the simplicity of its inhabitants, and they requested leave
to return and make a Portuguese settlement there. To reward them,
Prince Henry gave them three ships and everything to ensure success
in their new enterprise. But unfortunately he added a rabbit and her
family. These were turned out and multiplied with such astonishing
rapidity that in two years' time they were numerous enough to destroy
all the vegetation of the island.

So Porto Santo was colonised by the Portuguese, and one Perestrello
was made Governor of the island; and it is interesting to note that
his daughter became the wife of Christopher Columbus. But the original
founders, Zarco and Vaz, had observed from time to time a dark spot
on the horizon which aroused their curiosity. Sailing towards it, they
found an island of considerable size, uninhabited and very attractive,
but so covered with woods that they named it Madeira, the Island of

But although these two islands belong to Portugal to-day, and although
Portugal claimed their discovery, it has been proved that already an
Englishman and his wife had been there, and the names of the islands
appear on an Italian map of 1351.

BOJADOR. From Fra Mauro's map, 1457.]

The story of this first discovery is very romantic. In the reign of
Edward III. a young man named Robert Machin sailed away from Bristol
with a very wealthy lady. A north-east wind carried them out of their
course, and after thirteen days' driving before a storm they were cast
on to an island. It was uninhabited and well wooded and watered. But
the sufferings and privations proved too much for the poor English
lady, who died after three days, and Machin died a few days later of
grief and exposure. The crew of the ship sailed away to the coast of
Africa, there to be imprisoned by the Moors. Upon their escape in 1416
they made known their discovery.

So Zarco and Vaz divided the island of Madeira, calling half of it
Funchal (the Portuguese for fennel, which grew here in great
quantities) and the other half Machico after the poor English
discoverer Machin. The first two Portuguese children born in the
island of Madeira were called Adam and Eve.

Year after year Prince Henry launched his little ships on the yet
unknown, uncharted seas, urging his captains to venture farther and
ever farther. He longed for them to reach Cape Bojador, and bitter
was his disappointment when one of his squires, dismayed by
travellers' tales, turned back from the Canary Islands.

"Go out again," urged the enthusiastic Prince, "and give no heed to
their opinions, for, by the grace of God, you cannot fail to derive
from your voyage both honour and profit."

Mauro's map, 1457.]

And the squire went forth from the commanding presence of the Prince
resolved to double the Cape, which he successfully accomplished in
1434. Seven years passed away, till in 1441 two men--Gonsalves, master
of the wardrobe (a strange qualification for difficult navigation),
and Nuno Tristam, a young knight--started forth on the Prince's
service, with orders to pass Cape Bojador where a dangerous surf,
breaking on the shore, had terrified other navigators. There was a
story, too, that any man who passed Cape Bojador would be changed from
white into black, that there were sea-monsters, sheets of burning
flame, and boiling waters beyond. The young knight Tristam discovered
the white headland beyond Cape Bojador, named it Cape Blanco, and took
home some Moors of high rank to the Prince. A large sum was offered
for their ransom, so Gonsalves conveyed them back to Cape Blanco and
coasted along to the south, discovering the island of Arguin of the
Cape Verde group and reaching the neighbourhood of Sierra Leone,
reached by Hanno many centuries before this.

Here he received some gold dust, and with this and some thirty negroes
he returned to Lisbon, where the strange black negroes "caused the
most lively astonishment among the people." The small quantity of gold
dust created a sensation among the Portuguese explorers, and the
spirit of adventure grew. No longer had the Prince to urge his
navigators forth to new lands and new seas; they were ready and willing
to go, for the reward was now obvious. The news was soon noised abroad,
and Italians, then reckoned among the most skilful seamen of the time,
flocked to Portugal, anxious to take service under the Prince.

"Love of gain was the magic wand that drew them on and on, into unknown
leagues of waters, into wild adventures and desperate affrays."

The "Navigator" himself looked beyond these things. He would find a
way to India; he would teach the heathen to be Christians. He was always
ready to welcome those with superior knowledge of navigation; so in
1454 he sent an Italian, known to history as Cadamosto, to sail the
African seas. The young Venetian was but twenty-one, and he tells his
story simply.

"Now I--Luigi Ca da Mosto--had sailed nearly all the Mediterranean
coasts, but, being caught by a storm off Cape St. Vincent, had to take
refuge in the Prince's town, and was there told of the glorious and
boundless conquests of the Prince, the which did exceedingly stir my
soul--eager it was for gain above all things else. My age, my vigour,
my skill are equal to any toil; above all, my passionate desire to
see the world and explore the unknown set me all on fire with

In 1455 Cadamosto sailed from Portugal for Madeira, now "thickly
peopled with Portuguese." From Madeira to the Canaries, from the
Canaries to Cape Blanco, "natives black as moles were dressed in white
flowing robes with turbans wound round their heads." Here was a great
market of Arab traders from the interior, here were camels laden with
brass, silver, and gold, as well as slaves innumerable.

But Cadamosto pushed on for some four hundred miles by the low, sandy
shore to the Senegal River. The Portuguese had already sailed by this
part of the coast, and the negroes had thought their ships to be great
birds from afar cleaving the air with their white wings. When the crews
furled their sails and drew into shore the natives changed their minds
and thought they were fishes, and all stood on the shore gazing stupidly
at this new wonder.

Cadamosto landed and pushed some two hundred and fifty miles up the
Senegal River, where he set up a market, exchanging cotton and cloth
for gold, while "the negroes came stupidly crowding round me,
wondering at our white colour, which they tried to wash off, our dress,
our garments of black silk and robes of blue cloth."

Joined by two other ships from Portugal, the Italian explorer now
sailed on to Cape Verde, so called from its green grass.

"The land here," he tells us, "is all low and full of fine, large trees,
which are continually green. The trees never wither like those in
Europe; they grow so near the shore that they seem to drink, as it
were, the water of the sea. The coast is most beautiful. Many countries
have I been in, to East and West, but never did I see a prettier sight."

But the negroes here--big, comely men--were lawless and impossible
to approach, shooting at the Portuguese explorers with poisoned arrows.
They discovered that the capital of the country was called Gambra,
where lived a king, but the negroes of the Gambra were unfriendly;
there was little gold to be had; his crews fell sick and ill, and
Cadamosto turned home again. But he had reached a point beyond all
other explorers of the time, a point where "only once did we see the
North Star, which was so low that it seemed almost to touch the sea."
We know that he must have been to within eleven degrees of the Equator,
and it is disappointing to find the promising young Italian
disappearing from the pages of history.


And now we come to the last voyage planned by Prince Henry, that of
Diego Gomez, his own faithful servant. It followed close on
Cadamosto's return.

No long time after, the Prince equipped a ship called the _Wren_ and
set over it Diego Gomez, with two other ships, of which he was
commander-in-chief. Their orders were to go as far as they could. Gomez
wrote his own travels, and his adventures are best told in his own
words. We take up his story from the far side of Cape Blanco.

"After passing a great river beyond Rio Grande we met such strong
currents in the sea that no anchor could hold. The other captains and
their men were much alarmed, thinking we were at the end of the ocean,
and begged me to put back. In the mid-current the sea was very clear,
and the natives came off from the shore and brought us their merchandise.
As the current grew even stronger we put back and came to a land, where
were groves of palms near the shore, with their branches broken. There
we found a plain covered with hay and more than five thousand animals
like stags, but larger, who showed no fear of us. Five elephants with
two young ones came out of a small river that was fringed by trees.
We went back to the ships, and next day made our way from Cape Verde
and saw the broad mouth of a great river, which we entered and guessed
to be the Gambia. We went up the river as far as Cantor (some five
hundred miles). Farther than this the ships could not go, because of
the thick growth of trees and underwood. When the news spread through
the country that the Christians were in Cantor, they came from Timbuktu
in the north, from Mount Gelu in the south. Here I was told there is
gold in plenty, and caravans of camels cross over there with goods
from Carthage, Tunis, Fez, Cairo, and all the land of the Saracens.
I asked the natives of Cantor about the road to the gold country. They
told me the King lived in Kukia and was lord of all the mines on the
right side of the river of Cantor, and that he had before the door
of this palace a mass of gold just as it was taken from the earth,
so large that twenty men could hardly move it, and that the King always
fastened his horse to it. While I was thus trafficking with these
negroes, my men became worn out with the heat, and so we returned
towards the ocean."

1457. In the African portions of Fra Mauro's map which have already
been given they are shown exactly as Fra Mauro drew them, with the
north at the _bottom_ and the south at the _top_, as is nearly always
the case in mediaeval maps. In this outline of Africa, which is
generally supposed to show the results of Prince Henry's labours, the
map has been put the right way up. It was prepared between 1457 and

But Diego Gomez had succeeded in making friends with the hostile
natives of this part. He left behind him a better idea of Christian
men than some of the other explorers had done. His own account of the
conversion of the Mohammedan King who lived near the mouth of the river
Gambia, which was visited on the return voyage, is most interesting.

"Now the houses here are made of seaweed, covered with straw, and while
I stayed here (at the river mouth) three days, I learned all the
mischief that had been done to the Christians by a certain King. So
I took pains to make peace with him and sent him many presents by his
own men in his own canoes. Now the King was in great fear of the
Christians, lest they should take vengeance upon him. When the King
heard that I always treated the natives kindly he came to the river-side
with a great force, and, sitting down on the bank, sent for me. And
so I went and paid him all respect. There was a Bishop there of his
own faith, who asked me about the God of the Christians, and I answered
him as God had given me to know. At last the King was so pleased with
what I said that he sprang to his feet and ordered the Mohammedan Bishop
to leave his country within three days."

So when the Portuguese returned home, Prince Henry sent a priest and
a young man of his own household to the black King at the mouth of
the Gambia. This was in 1458.

"In the year of our Lord 1460, Prince Henry fell ill in his town on
Cape St. Vincent," says his faithful explorer and servant, Diego Gomez,
"and of that sickness he died."

Such was the end of the man who has been called the "originator of
modern discovery." What had he done? He had inspired and financed the
Portuguese navigators to sail for some two thousand miles down the
West African coast. "From his wave-washed home he inspired the courage
of his men and planned their voyages, and by the purity of his actions
and the devotion of his life really lived up to his inspiring motto,
'Talent de bien faire.'" And more than this. For each successive
discovery had been carefully noted at the famous Sagres settlement,
and these had been worked up by an Italian monk named Fra Mauro into
an enormous wall-map over six feet across, crammed with detail--the
work of three years' incessant labour.



But though Prince Henry was dead, the enthusiasm he had aroused among
Portuguese navigators was not dead, and Portuguese ships still stole
forth by twos and threes to search for treasure down the West African
coast. In 1462 they reached Sierra Leone, the farthest point attained
by Hanno of olden days. Each new headland was now taken in the name
of Portugal: wooden crosses already marked each successive discovery,
and many a tree near the coast bore the motto of Prince Henry carved
roughly on its bark. Portugal had officially claimed this "Kingdom
of the Seas" as it was called, and henceforth stone crosses some six
feet high, inscribed with the arms of Portugal, the name of the
navigator, and the date of discovery, marked each newly found spot.

It was not until 1471 that the navigators unconsciously crossed the
Equator, "into a new heaven and a new earth." They saw stars unknown
in the Northern Hemisphere, and the Northern Pole star sank nearly
out of sight. Another thirteen years and Diego Cam, a knight of the
King's household, found the mouth of the Congo and erected a great
Portuguese pillar on the famous spot. It was in the year 1484 that
Diego Cam was ordered to go "as far to the south as he could." He crossed
the Equator, which for past years had been the limit of knowledge,
and, continuing southwards he reached the mouth of the mighty river
Congo, now known as the second of all the African rivers for size.
The explorer ascended the river, falling in with peacefully inclined
natives. But they could not make themselves understood, so Cam took
back four of them to Portugal, where they learned enough Portuguese
to talk a little. They were much struck with Portugal and the kind
treatment they received from the King, who sent them back to their
country laden with presents for their black King at home. So with Diego
Cam they all sailed back to the Congo River. They were received by
the King in royal state. Seated on a throne of ivory raised on a lofty
wooden platform, he could be seen from all sides, his "black and
glittering skin" shining out above a piece of damask given to him to
wear by the Portuguese explorer. From his shoulder hung a dressed
horse's tail, a symbol of royalty; on his head was a cap of palm leaves.

It was here in this Congo district that the first negro was baptized
in the presence of some twenty-five thousand heathen comrades. The
ceremony was performed by Portuguese priests, and the negro King
ordered all idols to be destroyed throughout his dominions. Here, too,
a little Christian church was built, and the King and Queen became
such earnest Christians that they sent their children to Portugal to
be taught.

[Illustration: NEGRO BOYS, FROM CABOT'S MAP, 1544.]

But even the discoveries of Diego Cam pale before the great achievement
of Bartholomew Diaz, who was now to accomplish the great task which
Prince Henry the Navigator had yearned to see fulfilled--the rounding
of the Cape of Storms.

The expedition set sail for the south in August 1486. Passing the spot
where Diego Cam had erected his farthest pillar, Diaz reached a
headland, now known as Diaz Point, where he, too, placed a Portuguese
pillar that remained unbroken till about a hundred years ago. Still
to the south he sailed, struggling with wind and weather, to Cape Voltas,
close to the mouth of the Orange River. Then for another fortnight
the little ships were driven before the wind, south and ever south,
with half-reefed sails and no land in sight. Long days and longer nights
passed to find them still drifting in an unknown sea, knowing not what
an hour might bring forth. At last the great wind ceased to blow and
it became icy cold. They had sailed to the south of South Africa.
Steering north, Diaz now fell in with land--land with cattle near the
shore and cowherds tending them, but the black cowherds were so alarmed
at the sight of the Portuguese that they fled away inland.

We know now, what neither Diaz nor his crew even suspected, that he
had actually rounded, without seeing, the Cape of Good Hope. The coast
now turned eastward till a small island was reached in a bay we now
call Algoa Bay. Here Bartholomew Diaz set up another pillar with its
cross and inscription, naming the rock Santa Cruz. This was the first
land beyond the Cape ever trodden by European feet. Unfortunately the
natives--Kafirs--threw stones at them, and it was impossible to make
friends and to land. The crews, too, began to complain. They were worn
out with continual work, weary for fresh food, terrified at the heavy
seas that broke on these southern shores. With one voice they protested
against proceeding any farther. But the explorer could not bear to
turn back; he must sail onwards now, just three days more, and then
if they found nothing he would turn back. They sailed on and came to
the mouth of a large river--the Great Fish River. Again the keen
explorer would sail on and add to his already momentous discoveries.
But the crews again began their complaints and, deeply disappointed,
Diaz had to turn. "When he reached the little island of Santa Cruz
and bade farewell to the cross which he had there erected, it was with
grief as intense as if he were leaving his child in the wilderness
with no hope of ever seeing him again." To him it seemed as though
he had endured all his hardships in vain. He knew not what he had really
accomplished as yet. But his eyes were soon to be opened. Sailing
westward, Diaz at last came in sight of "that remarkable Cape which
had been hidden from the eyes of man for so many centuries."

[Illustration: THE WEST COAST OF AFRICA. From Martin Behaim's map,

Remembering their perils past, he called it "the Stormy Cape" and
hastened home to the King of Portugal with his great news. The King
was overjoyed, but he refused to name it the Cape of Storms. Would
not such a name deter the seamen of the future? Was not this the
long-sought passage to India? Rather it should be called the Cape of
Good Hope, the name which it has held throughout the centuries. In
the course of one voyage, Diaz had accomplished the great task which
for the past seventy years Prince Henry had set before his people.
He had lifted for the first time in the history of the world the veil
that had hung over the mysterious extremity of the great African
continent. The Phoenicians may have discovered it some seventeen
hundred years before Diaz, but the record of tradition alone exists.

Now with the new art of printing, which was transforming the whole
aspect of life, the brilliant achievement of Bartholomew Diaz was made
known far and wide.

It was shortly to be followed by a yet more brilliant feat by a yet
more brilliant navigator, "the most illustrious that the world has
seen." The very name of Christopher Columbus calls up the vision of
a resolute man beating right out into the westward unknown seas and
finding as his great reward a whole new continent--a New World of whose
existence mankind had hardly dreamt.



Every event in the eventful life of Christopher Columbus is of supreme
interest. We linger over all that leads up to the momentous start
westwards: we recall his birth and early life at Genoa towards the
middle of the fifteenth century, his apprenticeship to his father as
a weaver of cloth, his devotion to the sea, his love of the little
sailing ships that passed in and out of the busy Genoese harbour from
all parts of the known world. At the age of fourteen the little
Christoforo went to sea--a red-haired, sunburnt boy with bright blue
eyes. He learnt the art of navigation, he saw foreign countries, he
learnt to chart the seas, to draw maps, and possibly worked with some
of the noted Italian draughtsmen. At the age of twenty-eight, in 1474,
he left Genoa for Portugal, famous throughout the world for her recent
discoveries, though as yet the Stormy Cape lay veiled in mystery.
Columbus wanted to learn all he could about these discoveries; he made
voyages to Guinea, Madeira, and Porto Santo. He also went to England
and "sailed a hundred leagues to the island of Thule in 1477."

He was now a recognised seaman of distinction, with courteous manners
and fine appearance. He set himself to study maps and charts at Lisbon,
giving special attention to instruments for making observations at
sea. For many long years he had been revolving a scheme for reaching
India by sailing westward instead of the route by Africa. The more
he studied these things the more convinced he became that he was right.

   "What if wise men had, as far back as Ptolemy,
    Judged that the earth like an orange was round.
    None of them ever said, 'Come along, follow me,
    Sail to the West and the East will be found.'"

It was not till the year 1480 that Columbus proposed to the King of
Portugal his idea of sailing westwards. He explained his reasons: how
there were grounds for thinking there was an unknown land to the west,
how artistically sculptured pieces of wood had been driven across the
ocean by the west wind, suggesting islands not yet discovered, how
once the corpses of two men with broad faces, unlike Europeans, had
been washed ashore, how on the west coast of Ireland seeds of tropical
plants had been discovered.

The King listened and was inclined to believe Columbus. But his
councillors persuaded him to get from the Genoese navigator his plans,
and while they kept Columbus waiting for the King's answer they sent
off some ships privately to investigate the whole matter. The ships
started westward, encountered a great storm, and returned to Lisbon,
scoffing at the scheme of the stranger. When this news reached his
ears, Columbus was very angry. He would have nothing more to do with
Portugal, but left that country at once for Spain to appeal to the
King and Queen of that land.

Ferdinand and Isabella were busy with affairs of state and could not
give audience to the man who was to discover a New World. It was not
till 1491 that he was summoned before the King and Queen. Once more
his wild scheme was laughed at, and he was dismissed the Court. Not
only was he again indignant, but his friends were indignant too. They
believed in him, and would not rest till they had persuaded the Queen
to take up his cause. He demanded a good deal. He must be made Admiral
and Viceroy of all the new seas and lands he might discover, as well
as receiving a large portion of his gains. The Queen was prevailed
on to provide means for the expedition, and she became so enthusiastic
over it that she declared she would sell her own jewels to provide
the necessary supplies. Columbus was created Admiral of the Ocean in
all the islands and continents he might discover; two little ships
were made ready, and it seemed as though the dream of his life might
be fulfilled. The explorer was now forty-six; his red hair had become
grey with waiting and watching for the possibility of realising his
great scheme.

3RD AUGUST 1492. From De Bry's account of the _Voyages to India_, 1601.]

At last the preparations were complete. The _Santa Maria_ was to lead
the way with the Admiral on board; she was but one hundred tons' burden,
with a high poop and a forecastle. It had been difficult enough to
find a crew; men were shy about venturing with this stranger from Genoa
on unknown seas, and it was a motley party that finally took service
under Columbus. The second ship, the _Pinta_, was but half the size
of the flagship; she had a crew of eighteen and was the fastest sailer
of the little squadron, while the third, the _Nina_ of forty tons,
also carried eighteen men.

[Illustration: COLUMBUS'S SHIP, THE _SANTA MARIA_. From a woodcut of
1493 supposed to be after a drawing by Columbus himself.]

On 3rd August 1492 the little fleet sailed forth from Spain on a quest
more perilous perhaps than any yet on record. No longer could they
sail along with a coast always in sight; day after day and night after
night they must sail on an unknown sea in search of an unknown land.
No one ever expected to see them again. It has well been said that,
"looking back at all that has grown out of it in the four centuries
that have elapsed, we now know that the sailing of those three little
boats over the bar was, since the Fall of Rome, the most momentous
event in the world's history." The ships steered for the Canary Islands,
and it was not till 9th September that the last land faded from the
eyes of that daring little company.

[Illustration: THE BEST PORTRAIT OF COLUMBUS. From the original
painting (by an unknown artist) in the Naval Museum at Madrid.]

Something of a panic among the sailors ensued when they realised their
helpless position; some even burst into tears, begging to be taken
home. The days passed on. By the 16th they had come within the influence
of the trade winds.

"The weather was like April," says Columbus in his journal. Still
westward they sailed, eagerly looking for signs of land. Now they see
two pelicans, "an indication that land was near," now a large dark
cloud to the north, another "sign that land is near."

As the days pass on, their hopes die away and "the temper of the crews
was getting uglier and uglier as the three little vessels forged
westward through the blue weed-strewn waters." On 9th October hope
revives; all night they hear birds passing through the still air.

On the evening of the 11th a light was seen glimmering in the distance;
from the high stern deck of the _Santa Maria_ it could be plainly seen,
and when the sun rose on that memorable morning the low shores of land
a few miles distant could be plainly seen. "Seabirds are wheeling
overhead heedless of the intruders, but on the shore human beings are
assembling to watch the strange birds which now spread their wings
and sail towards the island.

"The _Pinta_ leads and her crew are raising the 'Te Deum.' The crews
of the _Santa Maria_ and the _Nina_ join in the solemn chant and many
rough men brush away tears. Columbus, the two Pinzons, and some of
the men step into the cutter and row to the shore." Columbus, fully
armed under his scarlet cloak, sprang ashore, the unclothed natives
fleeing away at sight of the first white man who had ever stepped on
their shores. Then, unfurling the royal standard of Spain and setting
up a large cross, the great navigator fell on his knees and gave thanks
to God for this triumphant ending to his perilous voyage. He named
the island San Salvador and formally took possession of it for Spain.
It was one of the Bahama group, and is now known as Watling Island

"Thus was the mighty enterprise achieved, mighty in its conception,
still more important in its results."

But Columbus thought he had discovered the Indies, a new route to the
east and the Cathay of Marco Polo. He had done more than this; he had
discovered another continent. He had sailed over three thousand miles
without seeing land, a feat unparalleled in the former history of

He made friends with the natives, who resembled those of the Canary
Islands. "I believe they would easily become Christians," wrote
Columbus. "If it please our Lord at the time of my departure, I will
take six from here that they may learn to speak." He also notes that
they will make good slaves.

[Illustration: COLUMBUS LANDING ON HISPANIOLA. From a woodcut of

From island to island he now made his way, guided by natives. He hoped
to find gold; he hoped to find Cathay, for he had a letter from Ferdinand
and Isabella to deliver to the Great Khan. The charm and beauty of
these enchanted islands were a source of joy to the explorer: "The
singing of the little birds is such that it appears a man would wish
never to leave here, and the flocks of parrots obscure the sun." The
island of Cuba "seemed like heaven itself," but Columbus could not
forget that he was searching for gold, for Oriental spices, for the
land of Marco Polo, as he hastened from point to point, from island
to island. Already the _Pinta_ under Martin Pinzon had gone off
independently in search of a vague land of gold, to the vexation of
the Admiral. A worse disaster was now to befall him. On Christmas Day,
off the island of Hayti, the _Santa Maria_ struck upon a reef and went
over. Columbus and his crew escaped on board the little _Nina_. But
she was too small to carry home the double crew, and Columbus made
a little fortress on the island where the native King was friendly,
and left there a little colony of Spaniards.

He now prepared for the homeward voyage, and one January day in 1493
he left the newly discovered islands and set his face for home in
company with the _Pinta_, which by this time had returned to him. For
some weeks they got on fairly well. Then the wind rose. A violent storm
came on; the sea was terrible, the waves breaking right over the little
homeward-bound ships, which tossed about helplessly for long days and
nights. Suddenly the _Pinta_ disappeared. The wind and sea increased.
The little forty-ton _Nina_ was in extreme peril, and the crew gave
themselves up for lost; their provisions were nearly finished.
Columbus was agonised lest he should perish and the news of his great
discovery should never reach Spain. Taking a piece of parchment, he
noted down as best he could amid the tossing of the ship a brief account
of his work, and, wrapping it in a waxed cloth, he put it into an empty
cask and threw it overboard. Then, while the mountainous seas
threatened momentary destruction, he waited and prayed.

Slowly the storm abated, and on 18th February they reached the Azores.
A few days for refreshment and on he sailed again, feverishly anxious
to reach Spain and proclaim his great news. But on 3rd March the wind
again rose to a hurricane and death stared the crew in the face. Still,
"under bare poles and in a heavy cross-sea," they scudded on, until
they reached the mouth of the Tagus. The news of his arrival soon spread,
and excited crowds hurried to see the little ship that had crossed
the fierce Atlantic. Bartholomew Diaz came aboard the _Nina_, and for
a short time the two greatest explorers of their century were together.
An enthusiastic welcome awaited him in Spain. Was he not the "Admiral
of the Ocean Sea, Viceroy of the Western Indies," the only man who
had crossed the unknown for the sake of a cherished dream?

"Seven months had passed since Columbus had sailed from Spain in the
dim light of that summer morning. Now he was back. Through tempestuous
seas and raging winter gales he had guided his ship well, and Spain
knew how to do him honour. His journey from the coast to the Court
was like a royal progress. The roads were lined with excited people;
the air was rent with shouts of joy."

From a woodcut published at Augsburg between 1497 and 1504. The only
copy known is in the British Museum. The inscription states that the
Americans "eat each other," "become a hundred and fifty years of age,
and have no government."]

On Palm Sunday, 1493, he passed through the streets of Seville. A
procession preceded him in which walked the six natives, or Indians
as they were called, brought home by Columbus; parrots and other birds
with strange and radiant colouring were also borne before the
triumphant explorer, who himself rode on horseback among the mounted
chivalry of Spain. From windows and roofs a dense throng watched
Christopher Columbus as he rode through the streets of Seville. From
here he passed on to Barcelona, to be received by the King and Queen.

                      "The city decked herself
    To meet me, roar'd my name: the king, the queen,
    Bad me be seated, speak, and tell them all
    The story of my voyage, and while I spoke
    The crowd's roar fell as at the 'Peace be still.'
    And when I ceased to speak, the king, the queen,
    Sank from their thrones, and melted into tears,
    And knelt, and lifted hand and heart and voice
    In praise to God who led me thro' the waste.
    And then the great 'Laudamus' rose to heaven."

It is curious to think what a strange mistake caused all their rejoicing.
Not only Spain, but the whole civilised world firmly believed that
Columbus had discovered some islands off the coast of Asia, not far
from the land of the Great Khan, in the Indian seas. Hence the islands
were called the West Indies, which name they have kept to this day.



The departure of Columbus six months later on his second voyage was
a great contrast to the uncertain start of a year ago. The new fleet
was ready by September 1493. The three largest ships were some four
hundred tons' burden, with fourteen smaller craft and crews of fifteen
thousand men. There was no dearth of volunteers this time. High-born
Spaniards, thirsting for the wealth of the Indies, offered their
services, while Columbus took his brother James and a Benedictine monk
chosen by the Pope. They took orange and lemon seeds for planting in
the new islands, horses, pigs, bulls, cows, sheep, and goats, besides
fruit and vegetables.

So, full of hope and joyful expectation, they set sail; and so well
had Columbus calculated his distance and direction with but imperfect
instruments at his disposal, that he arrived at the islands again on
3rd November. It was another new island, which he named Domenica, as
the day was Sunday. Making for the island of Hayti, where he had left
his little Spanish colony, he passed many islands, naming Guadeloupe,
San Martin, Santa Cruz, and others. Porto Rico was also found, but
they arrived at Hayti to find no trace of Spaniards. Disaster had
overtaken the colony, and the deserted men had been killed by the
natives who had apparently been so friendly. Another spot was selected
by Columbus, and a town was soon built to which he gave the name of

From a woodcut of 1494.]

This is not the place to tell of the miserable disputes and squabbles
that befell the little Spanish colony. We are here concerned with the
fuller exploration of the West Indies by Columbus. Taking three ships
provisioned for six months, with a crew of fifty-two, he set out for
the coast of Cathay. Instead of this, he found the island of Jamaica,
with its low, hazy, blue coast of extreme beauty. Still convinced that
he was near the territory of the Great Khan, he explored the coast
of Cuba, not realising that it was an island. He sailed about among
the islands, till he became very ill, fever seized him, and at last
his men carried him ashore at Isabella, thinking that he must die.
He recovered to find a discontented colony, members of which had
already sent back stories to Spain of the misdeeds of their founder.
Columbus made up his mind to return to Spain to carry a true report
of the difficulties of colonisation in the Indies.

"It was June 1496 before he found himself again in the harbour of Cadiz.
People had crowded down to greet the great discoverer, but instead
of a joyous crew, flushed with new success and rich with the spoils
of the golden Indies, a feeble train of wretched men crawled on
shore--thin, miserable, and ill. Columbus himself was dressed as a
monk, in a long gown girded with a cord. His beard was long and unshaven.
The whole man was utterly broken down with all he had been through."

But after a stay of two years in Spain, Columbus again started off
on his third voyage. With six ships he now took a more southerly
direction, hoping to find land to the south of the West Indies. And
this he did, but he never lived to know that it was the great continent
of South America. Through scorching heat, which melted the tar of their
rigging, they sailed onwards till they were rewarded by the sight of
land at last. Columbus had promised to dedicate the first land he saw
to the Holy Trinity. What, then, was his surprise when land appeared
from which arose three distinct peaks, which he at once named La
Trinidad. The luxuriance of the island pleased the Spaniards, and as
they made their way slowly along the shore their eyes rested for the
first time, and unconsciously, on the mainland of South America. It
appeared to the explorer as a large island which he called Isla Santa.
Here oysters abounded and "very large fish, and parrots as large as
hens." Between the island and the mainland lay a narrow channel through
which flowed a mighty current. While the ships were anchoring here
a great flood of fresh water came down with a great roar, nearly
destroying the little Spanish ships and greatly alarming both Columbus
and his men. It was one of the mouths of the river Orinoco, to which
they gave the name of the Dragon's Mouth. The danger over, they sailed
on, charmed with the beautiful shores, the sight of the distant
mountains, and the sweetness of the air.

[Illustration: "THE UNROLLING OF THE CLOUDS"--IV. The world as known
at the end of the fifteenth century after the discoveries of Columbus
and his age.]

Columbus decided that this must be the centre of the earth's surface,
and with its mighty rivers surely it was none other than the earthly
Paradise with the rivers of the Garden of Eden, that "some of the
Fathers had declared to be situated in the extreme east of the Old
World, and in a region so high that the flood had not overwhelmed it."
The world then, said Columbus, could not be a perfect round, but
pear-shaped. With these conclusions he hastened across to Hayti where
his brother was ruling over the little colony in his absence. But
treachery and mutiny had been at work. Matters had gone ill with the
colony, and Columbus did not improve the situation by his presence.
He was a brilliant navigator, but no statesman. Complaints reached
Spain, and a Spaniard was sent out to replace Columbus. This
high-handed official at once put the poor navigator in chains and
placed him on board a ship bound for Spain. Queen Isabella was
overwhelmed with grief when the snowy-haired explorer once again stood
before her, his face lined with suffering. He was restored to royal
favour and provided with ships to sail forth on his fourth and last
voyage. But his hardships and perils had told upon him, and he was
not really fit to undertake the long voyage to the Indies. However,
he arrived safely off the coast of Honduras and searched for the straits
that he felt sure existed, but which were not to be found till some
eighteen years later by Magellan. The natives brought him cocoanuts,
which the Spaniards now tasted for the first time; they also brought
merchandise from a far land denoting some high civilisation. Columbus
believed that he had reached the golden east, whence the gold had been
obtained for Solomon's temple.

Had Columbus only sailed west he might have discovered Mexico with
all its wealth, and "a succession of splendid discoveries would have
shed fresh glory on his declining age, instead of his sinking amidst
gloom, neglect, and disappointment." At the isthmus of Darien,
Columbus gave up the search. He was weary of the bad weather. Incessant
downpours of rain, storms of thunder and lightning with terrific
seas--these discouraged him. Disaster followed disaster. The food was
nearly finished; the biscuit "was so full of maggots that the people
could only eat it in the dark, when they were not visible." Columbus
himself seemed to be at the point of death. "Never," he wrote, "was
the sea seen so high, so terrific, so covered with foam; the waters
from heaven never ceased--it was like a repetition of the deluge."

He reached Spain in 1504 to be carried ashore on a litter, and to learn
that the Queen of Spain was dead. He was friendless, penniless, and
sick unto death.

"After twenty years of toil and peril," he says pitifully, "I do not
own a roof in Spain."

   "I, lying here, bedridden and alone,
    Cast off, put by, scouted by count and king,
    The first discoverer starves."

And so the brilliant navigator, Christopher Columbus, passed away,
all unconscious of the great New World he had reached. Four centuries
have passed away, but--

   "When shall the world forget
    The glory and the debt,
    Indomitable soul,
        Immortal Genoese?
    Not while the shrewd salt gale
    Whines amid shroud and sail,
    Above the rhythmic roll
    And thunder of the seas."

It has been well said, "injustice was not buried with Columbus," and
soon after his death an attempt was made, and made successfully, to
name the New World after another--a Florentine pilot, Amerigo

AMERICA. By Juan de la Cosa, who is supposed to have been the pilot
of Columbus. At the top, between the two green masses representing
America, La Cosa has drawn Columbus as St. Christopher carrying the
infant Christ, according to the legend.]

It was but natural that when the first discoveries by Columbus of land
to westward had been made known, that others should follow in the track
of the great navigator. Among these was a handsome young Spaniard--one
Hojeda--who had accompanied Columbus on his second voyage. Soon after,
he fitted out an expedition, 1499, reaching the mainland of the yet
unknown continent near the Trinidad of Columbus. With him was Amerigo
Vespucci. Here they found a native village with houses built on tree
trunks and connected by bridges. It was so like a bit of old Venice
that the explorers named it Little Venice or Venezuela, which name
it bears to-day.

Nothing was publicly known of this voyage till a year after the death
of Columbus, when men had coasted farther to the south of Venezuela
and discovered that this land was neither Asia nor Africa, that it
was not the land of Marco Polo, but a new continent indeed.

"It is proper to call it a New World," says Amerigo Vespucci. "Men
of old said over and over again that there was no land south of the
Equator. But this last voyage of mine has proved them wrong, since
in southern regions I have found a country more thickly inhabited by
people and animals than our Europe or Asia or Africa."

[Illustration: AMERIGO VESPUCCI. From the sculpture by Grazzini in
the Uffizi Gallery, Florence.]

These words among others, and an account of his voyages published in
Paris, 1507, created a deep impression. A letter from Columbus
announcing his discoveries had been published in 1493, but he said
nothing, because he knew nothing, of a New World. Men therefore said
that Amerigo Vespucci had discovered a new continent, "wherefore the
new continent ought to be called America from its discoverer Amerigo,
a man of rare ability, inasmuch as Europe and Asia derived their names
from women."



Thus the name of America was gradually adopted for the New World, though
the honour and glory of its first discovery must always belong to
Christopher Columbus.

But while all this wonderful development westwards was thrilling the
minds of men, other great discoveries were being made to the East,
whither the eyes of the Portuguese were still straining. Portugal had
lost Columbus; she could lay no claim to the shores of America
discovered by Spaniards, but the sea-route to India by the East was
yet to be found by one of her explorers, Vasco da Gama. His achievement
stands out brilliantly at this time; for, within a few years of the
discovery of the New World, he had been able to tell the world that
India and the East could be reached by the Cape of Good Hope!

The dream of Prince Henry the Navigator was fulfilled!

How Vasco da Gama was chosen for the great command has been graphically
described by a Portuguese historian, whose words are received with
caution by modern authorities. The King of Portugal--Dom
Manuel--having set his kingdom in order, "being inspired by the Lord,
took the resolution to inform himself about the affairs of India."
He knew that the province of India was very far away, inhabited by
dark people who had great riches and merchandise, and there was much
risk in crossing the wide seas and land to reach it. But he felt it
a sacred duty to try and reach it. He ordered ships to be built according
to a design of Bartholomew Diaz, the Hero of the Cape, "low amidships,
with high castles towering fore and aft; they rode the water like
ducks." The ships ready, the King prayed the Lord "to show him the
man whom it would please Him to send upon this voyage." Days passed.
One day the King was sitting in his hall with his officers when he
raised his eyes and saw a gentleman of his household crossing the hall.
It suddenly occurred to the King that this was the man for his command,
and, calling Vasco da Gama, he offered him the command at once. He
was courageous, resolute, and firm of purpose. On his knees he accepted
the great honour. A silken banner blazing with the Cross of the Order
of Christ was bestowed upon him; he chose the _S. Gabriel_ for his
flagship, appointed his brother to the _S. Raphael_, and prepared for
his departure. Books and charts were supplied, Ptolemy's geography
was on board, as well as the _Book of Marco Polo_. All being ready,
Vasco da Gama and his captains spent the night in the little chapel
by the sea at Belem, built for the mariners of Henry the Navigator.

Next morning--it was July--they walked in solemn procession to the
shore, lighted candles in their hands, priests chanting a solemn
litany as they walked. The beach was crowded with people. Under the
blazing summer sun they knelt once more before taking leave of the
weeping multitudes. Listen to the Portuguese poet, Camoens, who makes
Vasco da Gama the hero of his "Lusiad"--

   "The neighbouring mountains murmur'd back the sound,
    As if to pity moved for human woe;
    Uncounted as the grains of golden sand,
    The tears of thousands fell on Belem's strand."

So the Portuguese embarked, weighed anchor, and unfurled the sails
that bore the red cross of the Order of Christ. The four little ships
started on what was to be the longest and most momentous voyage on
record, while crowds stood on the shore straining their eyes till the
fleet, under full sail, vanished from their sight.

[Illustration: VASCO DA GAMA. From a contemporary portrait.]

After passing Cape Verde, in order to escape the currents of the Gulf
of Guinea, Vasco da Gama steered south-west into an unknown part of
the South Atlantic. He did not know that at one time he was within
six hundred miles of the coast of South America. Day after day, week
after week passed in dreary monotony as they sailed the wide ocean
that surrounds St. Helena, "a lonely, dreary waste of seas and
boundless sky." Everything ends at last, and, having spent ninety-six
days out of sight of land and sailed some four thousand five hundred
miles, they drifted on to the south-west coast of Africa. It was a
record voyage, for even Columbus had only been two thousand six hundred
miles without seeing land. November found them in a broad bay, "and,"
says the old log of the voyage, "we named it St. Helena," which name
it still retains. After a skirmish with some tawny-coloured Hottentots
the explorers sailed on, putting "their trust in the Lord to double
the Cape."

But the sea was all broken with storm, high rolled the waves, and so
short were the days that darkness prevailed. The crews grew sick with
fear and hardship, and all clamoured to put back to Portugal.

With angry words Vasco da Gama bade them be silent, though "he well
saw how much reason they had at every moment to despair of their lives";
the ships were now letting in much water, and cold rains soaked them
all to the skin.

"All cried out to God for mercy upon their souls, for now they no longer
took heed of their lives." At last the storm ceased, the seas grew
calm, and they knew that, without seeing it, they had doubled the
dreaded Cape, "on which great joy fell upon them and they gave great
praise to the Lord."

But their troubles were not yet over. The sea was still very rough,
"for the winter of that country was setting in," and even the pilot
suggested turning back to take refuge for a time. When Vasco da Gama
heard of turning backward he cried that they should not speak such
words, because as he was going out of the bar of Lisbon he had promised
God in his heart not to turn back a single span's breadth of the way,
and he would throw into the sea whosoever spoke such things. None could
withstand such an iron will, and they struggled on to Mossel Bay,
already discovered by Diaz. Here they landed "and bought a fat ox for
three bracelets. This ox we dined off on Sunday; we found him very
fat, and his meat nearly as toothsome as the beef of Portugal"--a
pleasant meal, indeed, after three months of salted food. Here, too,
they found "penguins as large as ducks, which had no feathers on their
wings and which bray like asses."

But there was no time to linger here. They sailed onwards till they
had passed and left behind the last pillar erected by Diaz, near the
mouth of the Great Fish River. All was new now. No European had sailed
these seas, no European had passed this part of the African coast.
On Christmas Day they found land to which, in commemoration of Christ's
Nativity, they gave the name of Natal. Passing Delagoa Bay and Sofala
without sighting them, Vasco da Gama at last reached the mouth of a
broad river, now known as Quilimane River, but called by the weary
mariners the River of Mercy or Good Tokens. Here they spent a month
cleaning and repairing, and here for the first time in the history
of discovery the fell disease of scurvy broke out. The hands and feet
of the men swelled, their gums grew over their teeth, which fell out
so that they could not eat. This proved to be one of the scourges of
early navigation--the result of too much salted food on the high seas,
and no cure was found till the days of Captain Cook. Arrived at
Mozambique--a low-lying coral island--they found no less than four
ocean-going ships belonging to Arab traders laden with gold, silver,
cloves, pepper, ginger, rubies, and pearls from the East.

From Juan de la Cosa's map of 1500.]

There were rumours, too, of a land belonging to Prester John where
precious stones and spices were so plentiful that they could be
collected in baskets. His land could only be reached by camels. "This
information rendered us so happy that we cried with joy, and prayed
God to grant us health that we might behold what we so desired," relates
the faithful journal. But difficulties and delays prevented their
reaching the ever-mythical land of Prester John. Their next
landing-place was Mombasa. Here they were nearly killed by some
treacherous Mohammedans, who hated these "dogs of Christians" as they
called them. And the Portuguese were glad to sail on to Melindi, where
the tall, whitewashed houses standing round the bay, with their
coco-palms, maize fields, and hop gardens, reminded them of one of
their own cities on the Tagus. Here all was friendly. The King of
Melindi sent three sheep and free leave for the strangers to enter
the port. Vasco, in return, sent the King a cassock, two strings of
coral, three washhand basins, a hat, and some bells. Whereupon the
King, splendidly dressed in a damask robe with green satin and an
embroidered turban, allowed himself to be rowed out to the flagship.
He was protected from the sun by a crimson satin umbrella.

Nine days were pleasantly passed in the port at Melindi, and then,
with a Christian pilot provided by the King, the most thrilling part
of the voyage began with a start across the Arabian Gulf to the west
coast of India. For twenty-three days the ships sailed to the
north-east, with no land visible. Suddenly the dim outline of land
was sighted and the whole crew rushed on deck to catch the first glimpse
of the unknown coast of India. They had just discerned the outline
of lofty mountains, when a thunderstorm burst over the land and a
downpour of heavy rain blotted out the view.

la Cosa's map, 1500.]

At last on 21st May--nearly eleven months after the start from
Portugal--the little Portuguese ships anchored off Calicut.

"What has brought you hither?" cried the natives, probably surprised
at their foreign dress; "and what seek ye so far from home?"

"We are in search of Christians and spice," was the ready answer.

"A lucky venture. Plenty of emeralds. You owe great thanks to God for
having brought you to a country holding such riches," was the
Mohammedan answer.

"The city of Calicut," runs the diary, "is inhabited by Christians.
They are of a tawny complexion. Some of them have big beards and long
hair, whilst others clip their hair short as a sign that they are
Christians. They also wear moustaches."

Within the town, merchants lived in wooden houses thatched with palm
leaves. It must have been a quaint sight to see Vasco da Gama,
accompanied by thirteen of his Portuguese, waving the flag of their
country, carried shoulder high through the densely crowded streets
of Calicut on his way to the chief temple and on to the palace of the
King. Roofs and windows were thronged with eager spectators anxious
to see these Europeans from so far a country. Many a scuffle took place
outside the palace gates; knives were brandished, and men were injured
before the successful explorer reached the King of Calicut. The royal
audience took place just before sunset on 28th May 1498. The King lay
on a couch covered with green velvet under a gilt canopy, while Vasco
da Gama related an account of Portugal and his King, the "lord of many
countries and the possessor of great wealth exceeding that of any King
of these parts, adding that for sixty years the Portuguese had been
trying to find the sea-route to India. The King gave leave for the
foreigners to barter their goods, but the Indians scoffed at their
offer of hats, scarlet hoods, coral, sugar, and oil.

"That which I ask of you is gold, silver, corals, and scarlet cloth,"
said the King, "for my country is rich in cinnamon, cloves, ginger,
pepper, and precious stones."

Vasco da Gama left India with a scant supply of Christians and spices,
but with his great news he now hurried back to Portugal. What if he
had lost his brother Paul and over one hundred of his men after his
two years' absence, he had discovered the ocean-route to India--a
discovery more far-reaching than he had any idea of at this time.

"And the King," relates the old historian, "overjoyed at his coming,
sent a Nobleman and several Gentlemen to bring him to Court; where,
being arrived through Crowds of Spectators, he was received with
extraordinary honour. For this Glorious Price of Service, the
Privilege of being called Don was annexed to his Family: To his Arms
was added Part of the King's. He had a Pension of three thousand Ducats
yearly, and he was afterwards presented to greater Honours for his
Services in the Indies, where he will soon appear again."



It was but natural that the Portuguese, flushed with victory, should
at once dispatch another expedition to India.

Was there some vexation in the heart of the "Admiral of India" when
the command of the new fleet was given to Pedro Cabral? History is
silent. Anyhow, in the March of 1500 we find this "Gentleman of Great
Merit" starting off with thirteen powerfully armed ships and some
fifteen hundred men, among them the veteran explorer Bartholomew Diaz,
a party of eight Franciscan friars to convert the Mohammedans, eight
chaplains, skilled gunners, and merchants to buy and sell in the King's
name at Calicut. The King himself accompanied Cabral to the waterside.
He had already adopted the magnificent title, "King, by the Grace of
God, of Portugal, and of the Algarves, both on this side the sea and
beyond it in Africa, Lord of Guinea and of the Conquest, Navigation,
and Commerce of Ethiopia, Arabia, Persia, and India."

Then Cabral, flying a banner with the royal arms of Portugal, started
on a voyage which was to secure for Portugal "an empire destined to
be richer and greater than all her dominions in Asia." Sailing far
to the west, he fell in with the South American continent and was
carried to a new land. The men went on shore and brought word that
"it was a fruitful country, full of trees and well inhabited. The people
were swarthy and used bows and arrows." That night a storm arose and
they ran along the coast to seek a port. Here Mass was said and parrots
exchanged for paper and cloth. Then Cabral erected a cross (which was
still shown when Lindley visited Brazil three hundred years later)
and named the country the "Land of the Holy Cross." This name was,
however, discarded later when the new-found land was identified with
Brazil already sighted by Pinzon in one of the ships of Christopher

Meanwhile, unconscious of the importance of this discovery, Cabral
sailed on towards the Cape of Good Hope. There is no time to tell of
the great comet that appeared, heralding a terrific storm that
suddenly burst upon the little fleet. In the darkness and tempest four
ships went down with all hands--amongst them old Bartholomew Diaz,
the discoverer of the Cape of Good Hope, who thus perished in the waters
he had been the first to navigate.

September found Cabral at last at anchor off Calicut. He found the
King yet more resplendent than Vasco da Gama the year before. The old
historians revel in their descriptions of him. "On his Head was a Cap
of Cloth of Gold, at his Ears hung Jewels, composed of Diamonds,
Sapphires, and Pearls, two of which were larger than Walnuts. His Arms,
from the Elbow to the Wrist and from the knees downwards, were loaded
with bracelets set with infinite Precious Stones of great Value. His
Fingers and Toes were covered with Rings. In that on his great Toe
was a large Rubie of a surprising Lustre. Among the rest there was
a Diamond bigger than a large Bean. But all this was nothing, in
comparison to the Richness of his Girdle, made with precious stones
set in Gold, which cast a Lustre that dazzled every Body's Eyes."

He allowed Cabral to establish a depot at Calicut for European goods,
so a house was selected by the waterside and a flag bearing the arms
of Portugal erected on the top. For a time all went well, but the
Mohammedans proved to be difficult customers, and disputes soon arose.
A riot took place; the infuriated native traders stormed the depot
and killed the Portuguese within. Cabral in revenge bombarded the city,
and, leaving the wooden houses in flames, he sailed away to Cochin
and Cananor on the coast of Malabar. Soon after this he returned home
with only six out of the thirteen ships, and from this time he
disappears from the pages of history.

Just before his return, the King of Portugal, thinking trade was well
established between India and his own country, dispatched a "valiant
gentleman" in command of four ships to carry merchandise to the newly
discovered country. But his voyage and adventures are only important
inasmuch as he discovered the island of Ascension when outward bound
and the island of St. Helena on the way home. So favourable was the
account of this island that all Portugal admirals were ordered for
the future to touch there for refreshments.

The news of Cabral's adventures at Calicut inspired a yet larger
expedition to the East, and Vasco da Gama, now Admiral of the Eastern
seas, was given command of some fifteen ships which sailed from the
Tagus in February 1502. The expedition, though avowedly Christian,
was characterised by injustice and cruelty. Near the coast of Malabar
the Portuguese fleet met with a large ship full of Mohammedan pilgrims
from Mecca. The wealth on board was known to be enormous, and Don Vasco
commanded the owners to yield up their riches to the King of Portugal.
This they somewhat naturally refused to do. Whereupon the Portuguese
fired, standing calmly to watch the blazing ships with their human
freight of men, women, and children. True, one historian declares that
all the children were removed to the Portuguese ship to be converted
into good little Catholics. Another is more nearly concerned with the
money. "We took a Mecca ship on board of which were three hundred and
eighty men and many women and children, and we took from it fully twelve
thousand ducats, with goods worth at least another ten thousand. And
we burned the ship and all the people on board with gunpowder on the
first day of October."

[Illustration: THE MALABAR COAST. From Fra Mauro's map.]

Their instructions to banish every Mohammedan in Calicut was
faithfully obeyed. Don Vasco seized and hanged a number of helpless
merchants quietly trading in the harbour. Cutting off their heads,
hands, and feet, he had them flung into a boat, which was allowed to
drift ashore, with a cruel suggestion that the severed limbs would
make an Indian curry. Once more Calicut was bombarded and Don Vasco
sailed on to other ports on the Malabar coast, where he loaded his
ships with spices taken from poor folk who dared not refuse. He then
sailed home again, reaching Portugal "safe and sound, _Deo gratias_,"
but leaving behind him hatred and terror and a very quaint idea of
these Christians who felt it their duty to exterminate all followers
of Mohammed.

Conquest usually succeeds discovery, and the Portuguese, having
discovered the entire coast of West, South, and a good deal of East
Africa and western coast of India, now proceeded to conquer it for
their own. It was a far cry from Portugal to India in these days, and
the isolated depots on the coast of Malabar were obviously in danger,
when the foreign ships laden with spoil left their shores. True, Vasco
da Gama had left six little ships this time under Sodrez to cruise
about the Indian seas, but Sodrez wanted treasure, so he cruised
northwards and found the southern coasts of Arabia as well as the island
of Socotra. He had been warned of the tempestuous seas that raged about
these parts at certain seasons, but, heeding not the warning, he
perished with all his knowledge and treasure.

Expedition after expedition now left Portugal for the east coast of
Africa and India. There were the two cousins Albuquerque, who built
a strong fort of wood and mud at Cochin, leaving a garrison of one
hundred and fifty trained soldiers under the command of one Pacheco,
who saved the fort and kept things going under great difficulties.
On the return of Albuquerque, the hero of Cochin, the King decided
to appoint a Viceroy of India. He would fain have appointed Tristan
d'Acunha,--the discoverer of the island that still bears his
name,--but he was suddenly struck with blindness, and in his stead
Dom Francisco Almeida, "a nobleman of courage and experience," sailed
off with the title of Viceroy. Not only was he to conquer, but to command,
not only to sustain the sea-power of Portugal, but to form a government.

There is a story told of the ignorance of the men sent to man the ships
under Almeida. So raw were they that they hardly knew their right hand
from their left, still less the difference between starboard and
larboard, till their captain hit on the happy notion of tying a bundle
of garlic over one side of the ship and a handful of onions over the
other, so the pilot gave orders to the helmsman thus: "Onion your helm!"
or "Garlic your helm!"

[Illustration: A SHIP OF ALBUQUERQUE'S FLEET. From a very fine woodcut,
published about 1516, of Albuquerque's siege and capture of Aden. In
the British Museum.]

On the way out, Almeida built a strong fortress near Zanzibar,
organised a regular Portuguese Indian pilot service, and established
his seat of government at Cochin. Then he sent his son, a daring youth
of eighteen, to bombard the city of Quilon, whose people were
constantly intriguing against the Portuguese. Having carried out his
orders, young Lorenzo, ordered to explore the Maldive Islands, was
driven by a storm to an "island opposite Cape Comorin, called Ceylon,
and separated from thence by a narrow sea," where he was warmly received
by the native King, whose dress sparkled with diamonds. Lorenzo
erected here a marble pillar with the arms of Portugal carved thereon
and took possession of the island. He also sent back to Portugal the
first elephant ever sent thither.

Ceylon was now the farthest point which flew the flag of Portugal toward
the east. Doubtless young Lorenzo would have carried it farther, but
he was killed at the early age of twenty-one, his legs being shattered
by a cannon-ball during a sea-fight. He sat by the mainmast and
continued to direct the fighting till a second shot ended his short
but brilliant career. The Viceroy, "whose whole being was centred in
his devotion to his only son, received the tidings with outward
stoicism." "Regrets," he merely remarked, "regrets are for women."

Nevertheless he revenged the death of his son by winning a victory
over the opposing fleet and bidding his captains rejoice over "the
good vengeance our Lord has been pleased, of His mercy, to grant us."

But the days of Almeida were numbered. He had subdued the Indian coast,
he had extended Portuguese possessions in various directions, his term
of office was over, and he was succeeded by the famous Albuquerque,
who had already distinguished himself in the service of Portugal by
his efforts to obtain Ormuz for the Portuguese. Now Viceroy of India,
he found full scope for his boundless energy and vast ambition. He
first attacked Calicut and reduced it to ashes. Then he turned his
attention to Goa, which he conquered, and which became the commercial
capital of the Portuguese in India for the next hundred years. Not
only this, but it was soon the wealthiest city on the face of the earth
and the seat of the government. Albuquerque's next exploit was yet
more brilliant and yet more important.

CENTURY. From Linschoten's _Navigatio ac Itinerarium_, 1598.]

In 1509 he had sent a Portuguese explorer Sequira with a small squadron
to make discoveries in the East. He was to cross the Bay of Bengal
and explore the coast of Malacca. Sequira reached the coast and found
it a centre for trade from east and west, "most rich and populous."
But he had reason to suspect the demonstrations of friendship by the
king of these parts, and refused to attend a festival prepared in his
honour. This was fortunate, for some of his companions who landed for
trade were killed. He sailed about the island of Sumatra, "the first
land in which we knew of men's flesh being eaten by certain people
in the mountains who gild their teeth. In their opinion the flesh of
the blacks is sweeter than that of whites." Many were the strange tales
brought back to Cochin by Sequira from the new lands--rivers of
oil--hens with flesh as black as ink--people with tails like sheep.

Anyhow, Albuquerque resolved that Malacca should belong to the
Portuguese, and with nineteen ships and fourteen hundred fighting men
he arrived off the coast of Sumatra, spreading terror and dismay among
the multitudes that covered the shore. The work of destruction was
short, though the King of Pahang and King Mahomet came out in person
on huge elephants to help in the defence of their city. At last every
inhabitant of the city was driven out or slain, and the Portuguese
plundered the city to their hearts' content. The old historian waxes
eloquent on the wealth of the city, and the laden ships started back,
leaving a fort and a church under the care of Portuguese conquerors.
The amount of booty mattered little, as a violent storm off the coast
of Sumatra disposed of several ships and a good deal of treasure.

The fall of Malacca was one of vast importance to the Portuguese. Was
it not the key to the Eastern gate of the Indian Ocean--the gate through
which the whole commerce of the Spice Islands, the Philippines, Japan,
and far Cathay passed on its road to the Mediterranean? Was it not
one of the largest trade markets in Asia, where rode the strange ships
of many a distant shore? The fame of Albuquerque spread throughout
the Eastern world. But he was not content with Malacca. The Spice
Islands lay beyond--the Spice Islands with all their cloves and
nutmegs and their countless riches must yet be won for Portugal.

Up to this year, 1511, they had not been reached by the Portuguese.
But now Francisco Serrano was sent off from Malacca to explore farther.
Skirting the north of Java, he found island after island rich in cloves
and nutmeg. So struck was he with his new discoveries that he wrote
to his friend Magellan: "I have discovered yet another new world larger
and richer than that found by Vasco da Gama."

It is curious to remember how vastly important was this little group
of islands--now part of the Malay Archipelago and belonging to the
Dutch--to the explorers of the sixteenth century. Strange tales as
usual reached Portugal about these newly found lands. Here lived men
with "spurs on their ankles like cocks," hogs with horns, hens that
laid their eggs nine feet under ground, rivers with living fish, yet
so hot that they took the skin off any man that bathed in their waters,
poisonous crabs, oysters with shells so large that they served as fonts
for baptizing children.

Truly these mysterious Spice Islands held more attractions for the
Portuguese explorers than did the New World of Columbus and Vespucci.
Their possession meant riches and wealth and--this was not the end.
Was there not land beyond? Indeed, before the Spice Islands were
conquered by Portugal, trade had already been opened up with China
and, before the century was half over, three Portuguese seamen had
visited Japan.



It is said that Ferdinand Magellan, the hero of all geographical
discovery, with his circumnavigation of the whole round world, had
cruised about the Spice Islands, but what he really knew of them from
personal experience no one knows. He had served under Almeida, and
with Albuquerque had helped in the conquest of Malacca. After seven
years of a "vivid life of adventure by sea and land, a life of siege
and shipwreck, of war and wandering," inaction became impossible. He
busied himself with charts and the art of navigation. He dreamt of
reaching the Spice Islands by sailing _west_, and after a time he laid
his schemes before the King of Portugal. Whether he was laughed at
as a dreamer or a fool we know not. His plans were received with cold
refusal. History repeats itself. Like Christopher Columbus twenty
years before, Magellan now said good-bye to Portugal and made his way
to Spain.

Since the first discovery of the New World by Spain, that country had
been busy sending out explorer after explorer to discover and annex
new portions of America. Bold navigators, Pinzon, Mendoza, Bastidas,
Juan de la Cosa, and Solis--these and others had almost completed the
discovery of the east coast, indeed, Solis might have been the first
to see the great Pacific Ocean had he not been killed and eaten at
the mouth of the river La Plata. This great discovery was left to Vasco
Nunez de Balboa, who first saw beyond the strange New World from the
Peak of Darien. Now his discovery threw a lurid light on to the
limitation of land that made up the new country and illuminated the
scheme of Magellan.

Balboa was "a gentleman of good family, great parts, liberal education,
of a fine person, and in the flower of his age." He had emigrated to
the new Spanish colony of Hayti, where he had got into debt. No debtor
was allowed to leave the island, but Balboa, the gentleman of good
family, yearned for further exploration; he "yearned beyond the
sky-line where the strange roads go down." And one day the yearning
grew so great that he concealed himself in a bread cask on board a
ship leaving the shores of Hayti. For some days he remained hidden.
When the ship was well out to sea he made his appearance. Angry, indeed,
was the captain--so angry that he threatened to land the stowaway on
a desert island. He was, however, touched by the entreaties of the
crew, and Balboa was allowed to sail on in the ship. It was a fortunate
decision, for when, soon after, the ship ran heavily upon a rock, it
was the Spanish stowaway Balboa who saved the party from destruction.
He led the shipwrecked crew to a river of which he knew, named Darien
by the Indians. He did _not_ know that they stood on the narrow neck
of land--the isthmus of Panama--which connects North and South America.
The account of the Spanish intrusion is typical: "After having
performed their devotions, the Spaniards fell resolutely on the
Indians, whom they soon routed, and then went to the town, which they
found full of provisions to their wish. Next day they marched up the
country among the neighbouring mountains, where they found houses
replenished with a great deal of cotton, both spun and unspun, plates
of gold in all to the value of ten thousand pieces of fine gold."

A trade in gold was set up by Balboa, who became governor of the new
colony formed by the Spaniards; but the greed of these foreigners quite
disgusted the native prince of these parts.

"What is this, Christians? Is it for such a little thing that you
quarrel? If you have such a love of gold, I will show you a country
where you may fulfil your desires. You will have to fight your way
with great kings whose country is distant from our country six suns."

So saying, he pointed away to the south, where he said lay a great
sea. Balboa resolved to find this great sea. It might be the ocean
sought by Columbus in vain, beyond which was the land of great riches
where people drank out of golden cups. So he collected some two hundred
men and started forth on an expedition full of doubt and danger. He
had to lead his troops, worn with fatigue and disease, through deep
marshes rendered impassable with heavy rains, over mountains covered
with trackless forest, and through defiles from which the Indians
showered down poisoned arrows.

At last, led by native guides, Balboa and his men struggled up the
side of a high mountain. When near the top he bade his men stop. He
alone must be the first to see the great sight that no European had
yet beheld. With "transports of delight" he gained the top and, "silent
upon a peak in Darien," he looked down on the boundless ocean, bathed
in tropical sunshine. Falling on his knees, he thanked God for his
discovery of the Southern Sea. Then he called up his men. "You see
here, gentlemen and children mine, the end of our labours."

The notes of the "Te Deum" then rang out on the still summer air, and,
having made a cross of stones, the little party hurried to the shore.
Finding two canoes, they sprang in, crying aloud joyously that they
were the first Europeans to sail on the new sea, whilst Balboa himself
plunged in, sword in hand, and claimed possession of the Southern Ocean
for the King of Spain. The natives told him that the land to the south
was _without end_, and that it was possessed by powerful nations who
had abundance of gold. And Balboa thought this referred to the Indies,
knowing nothing as yet of the riches of Peru.

Ribero's map, 1529.]

It is melancholy to learn that the man who made this really great
discovery was publicly hanged four years later in Darien. But his news
had reached Magellan. There was then a great Southern Ocean beyond
the New World. He was more certain than ever now that by this sea he
could reach the Spice Islands. Moreover, he persuaded the young King
of Spain that his country had a right to these valuable islands, and
promised that he would conduct a fleet round the south of the great
new continent westward to these islands. His proposal was accepted
by Charles V., and the youthful Spanish monarch provided Spanish ships
for the great enterprise. The voyage was not popular, the pay was low,
the way unknown, and in the streets of Seville the public crier called
for volunteers. Hence it was a motley crew of some two hundred and
eighty men, composed of Spaniards, Portuguese, Genoese, French,
Germans, Greeks, Malays, and one Englishman only. There were five
ships. "They are very old and patched," says a letter addressed to
the King of Portugal, "and I would be sorry to sail even for the Canaries
in them, for their ribs are soft as butter."

Magellan hoisted his flag on board the _Trinidad_ of one hundred and
ten tons' burden. The largest ship, _S. Antonio_, was captained by
a Spaniard--Cartagena; the _Conception_, ninety tons, by Gaspar
Quesada; the _Victoria_ of eighty-five tons, who alone bore home the
news of the circumnavigation of the world, was at first commanded by
the traitor Mendoza; and the little _Santiago_, seventy-five tons,
under the brother of Magellan's old friend Serrano.

What if the commander himself left a young wife and a son of six months
old? The fever of discovery was upon him, and, flying the Spanish flag
for the first time in his life, Magellan, on board the _Trinidad_,
led his little fleet away from the shores of Spain. He never saw wife
or child again. Before three years had passed all three were dead.

Carrying a torch or faggot of burning wood on the poop, so that the
ships should never lose sight of it, the _Trinidad_ sailed onwards.

"Follow the flagship and ask no questions."

Such were his instructions to his not too loyal captains.



They had left Seville on 20th September 1519. A week later they were
at the Canaries. Then past Cape Verde, and land faded from their sight
as they made for the south-west. For some time they had a good run
in fine weather. Then "the upper air burst into life" and a month of
heavy gales followed. The Italian count, who accompanied the fleet,
writes long accounts of the sufferings of the crew during these
terrific Atlantic storms.

"During these storms," he says, "the body of St. Anselm appeared to
us several times; one night that it was very dark on account of the
bad weather the saint appeared in the form of a fire lighted at the
summit of the mainmast and remained there near two hours and a half,
which comforted us greatly, for we were in tears only expecting the
hour of perishing; and, when that holy light was going away from us,
it gave out so great a brilliancy in the eyes of each, that we were
like people blinded and calling out for mercy. For without any doubt
nobody hoped to escape from that storm."

Two months of incessant rain and diminished rations added to their
miseries. The spirit of mutiny now began to show itself. Already the
Spanish captains had murmured against the Portuguese commander.

"Be they false men or true, I will fear them not; I will do my appointed
work," said the commander firmly.

It was not till November that they made the coast of Brazil in South
America, already sighted by Cabral and explored by Pinzon. But the
disloyal captains were not satisfied, and one day the captain of the
_S. Antonio_ boarded the flagship and openly insulted Magellan. He
must have been a little astonished when the Portuguese commander
seized him by the collar, exclaiming: "You are my prisoner!" giving
him into custody and appointing another in his place.

Food was now procurable, and a quantity of sweet pine-apples must have
had a soothing effect on the discontented crews. The natives traded
on easy terms. For a knife they produced four or five fowls; for a
comb, fish for ten men; for a little bell, a basket full of sweet
potatoes. A long drought had preceded Magellan's visit to these parts,
but rain now began with the advent of the strangers, and the natives
made sure that they had brought it with them. Such an impression once
made there was little difficulty in converting them to the Christian
faith. The natives joined in prayer with the Spaniards, "remaining
on their knees with their hands joined in great reverence so that it
was a pleasure to see them," writes one of the party.

The day after Christmas again found them sailing south by the coast,
and early in the New Year they anchored at the mouth of the Rio de
la Plata, where Solis had lost his life at the hands of the cannibals
some five years before. He had succeeded Vespucci in the service of
Spain, and was exploring the coast when a body of Indians, "with a
terrible cry and most horrible aspect," suddenly rushed out upon them,
killed, roasted, and devoured them.

Through February and March, Magellan led his ships along the shores
of bleak Patagonia seeking for an outlet for the Spice Islands. Winter
was coming on and no straits had yet been found. Storm after storm
now burst over the little ships, often accompanied by thunder and
lightning; poops and forecastles were carried away, and all expected
destruction, when "the holy body of St. Anselm appeared and
immediately the storm ceased."

[Illustration: AN ATLANTIC FLEET OF MAGELLAN'S TIME. From Mercator's
_Mappe Monde_, 1569, where the drawing is spoken of as "Magellan's

It was quite impossible to proceed farther to the unknown south, so,
finding a safe and roomy harbour, Magellan decided to winter there.
Port St. Julian he named it, and he knew full well that there they
must remain some four or five months. He put the crew on diminished
rations for fear the food should run short before they achieved their
goal. This was the last straw. Mutiny had long been smouldering. The
hardships of the voyage, the terrific Atlantic storms, the prospect
of a long Antarctic winter of inaction on that wild Patagonian
coast--these alone caused officers and men to grumble and to demand
an immediate return to Spain.

But the "stout heart of Magellan" was undaunted.

On Easter Day the mutiny began. Two of the Spanish captains boarded
the _S. Antonio_, seized the Portuguese captain thereof, and put him
in chains. Then stores were broken open, bread and wine generously
handed round, and a plot hatched to capture the flagship, kill Magellan,
seize his faithful Serrano, and sail home to Spain.

The news reached Magellan's ears. He at once sent a messenger with
five men bearing hidden arms to summon the traitor captain on board
the flagship. Of course he stoutly refused. As he did so, the messenger
sprang upon him and stabbed him dead. As the rebellious captain fell
dead on the deck of his ship, the dazed crew at once surrendered. Thus
Magellan by his prompt measures quelled a mutiny that might have lost
him the whole expedition. No man ever tried to mutiny again while he
lived and commanded.

The fleet had been two whole months in the Port S. Julian without seeing
a single native.

"However, one day, without any one expecting it, we saw a giant, who
was on the shore of the sea, dancing and leaping and singing. He was
so tall that the tallest of us only came up to his waist; he was well
built; he had a large face, painted red all round, and his eyes also
were painted yellow around them, and he had two hearts painted on his
cheeks; he had but little hair on his head and it was painted white."

The great Patagonian giant pointed to the sky to know whether these
Spaniards had descended from above. He was soon joined by others
evidently greatly surprised to see such large ships and such little
men. Indeed, the heads of the Spaniards hardly reached the giants'
waists, and they must have been greatly astonished when two of them
ate a large basketful of biscuits and rats without skinning them and
drank half a bucket of water at each sitting.

With the return of spring weather in October 1520, Magellan led the
little fleet upon its way. He was rewarded a few days later by finding
the straits for which he and others had been so long searching.

WORLD. After the engraving by Selma in Navarrete's _Coleccion de los

"It was the straight," says the historian simply, "now cauled the
straight of Magellans."

A struggle was before them. For more than five weeks the Spanish
mariners fought their way through the winding channels of the unknown
straits. On one side rose high mountains covered with snow. The weather
was bad, the way unknown. Do we wonder to read that "one of the ships
stole away privily and returned into Spain," and the remaining men
begged piteously to be taken home? Magellan spoke "in measured and
quiet tones": "If I have to eat the leather of the ships' yards, yet
will I go on and do my work." His words came truer than he knew. On
the southern side of the strait constant fires were seen, which led
Magellan to give the land the name it bears to-day--Tierra del Fuego.
It was not visited again for a hundred years.

[Illustration: A SHIP OF THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY. From Amoretti's
translation of _Magellan's Voyage round the World_.]

At last the ships fought their way to the open sea--Balboa's Southern
Ocean--and "when the Captain Magellan was past the strait and saw the
way open to the other main sea he was so glad thereof that for joy
the tears fell from his eyes."

The expanse of calm waters seemed so pleasant after the heavy tiring
storms that he called the still waters before him the Pacific Ocean.
Before following him across the unknown waters, let us recall the
quaint lines of Camoens--

   "Along these regions, from the burning zone
    To deepest south, he dares the course unknown.
    A land of giants shall his eyes behold,
    Of camel strength, surpassing human mould;
    And, onward still, thy fame his proud heart's guide,
    Beneath the southern stars' cold gleam he braves
    And stems the whirls of land-surrounded waves,
    For ever sacred to the hero's fame,
    These foaming straits shall bear his deathless name.
    Through these dread jaws of rock he presses on
    Another ocean's breast, immense, unknown,
    Beneath the south's cold wings, unmeasur'd, wide,
    Received his vessels, through the dreary tide,
    In darkling shades, where never man before
    Heard the waves howl, he dares the nameless shore."

Three little ships had now emerged, battered and worn, manned by crews
gaunt and thin and shivering. Magellan took a northerly course to avoid
the intense cold, before turning to cross the strange obscure ocean,
which no European had yet realised. Just before Christmas the course
was altered and the ships were turned to the north-west, in which
direction they expected soon to find the Spice Islands. No one had
any idea of the vastness of the Pacific Ocean.

by Jodocus Hondius, about 1590. It gives a particularly clear picture
of the ideas held by the age following Magellan's discovery of the
land which, it was supposed, enveloped the southern point of South

"Well was it named the Pacific," remarks the historian, "for during
three months and twenty days we met with no storm."

Two months passed away, and still they sailed peacefully on, day after
day, week after week, across a waste of desolate waters.

   "Alone, alone, all, all alone,
    Alone on a wide, wide sea."

At last one January day they sighted a small wooded island, but it
was uninhabited; they named it S. Paul's Island and passed on their
way. They had expected to find the shores of Asia close by those of
America. The size of the world was astounding. Another island was
passed. Again no people, no consolation, only many sharks. There was
bitter disappointment on board. They had little food left. "We ate
biscuit, but in truth it was biscuit no longer, but a powder full of
worms. So great was the want of food that we were forced to eat the
hides with which the main yard was covered to prevent the chafing
against the rigging. These hides we exposed to the sun first to soften
them by putting them overboard for four or five days, after which we
put them on the embers and ate them thus. We had also to make use of
sawdust for food, and rats became a great delicacy." No wonder scurvy
broke out in its worst form--nineteen died and thirteen lay too ill
to work.

For ninety-eight days they sailed across the unknown sea, "a sea so
vast that the human mind can scarcely grasp it," till at last they
came on a little group of islands peopled with savages of the lowest
type--such expert thieves that Magellan called the new islands the
Ladrones or isle of robbers. Still, there was fresh food here, and
the crews were greatly refreshed before they sailed away. The food
came just too late to save the one Englishman of the party--Master
Andrew of Bristol--who died just as they moved away. Then they found
the group afterwards known as the Philippines (after Philip II. of
Spain). Here were merchants from China, who assured Magellan that the
famous Spice Islands were not far off. Now Magellan had practically
accomplished that he set out to do, but he was not destined to reap
the fruits of his victory.

With a good supply of fresh food the sailors grew better, and Magellan
preferred cruising about the islands, making friends of the natives
and converting them to Christianity, to pushing on for the Spice
Islands. Here was gold, too, and he busied himself making the native
rulers pay tribute to Spain. Easter was drawing near, and the Easter
services were performed on one of the islands. A cross and a crown
of thorns was set upon the top of the highest mountain that all might
see it and worship. Thus April passed away and Magellan was still busy
with Christians and gold. But his enthusiasm carried him too far. A
quarrel arose with one of the native kings. Magellan landed with armed
men, only to be met by thousands of defiant natives. A desperate fight
ensued. Again and again the explorer was wounded, till "at last the
Indians threw themselves upon him with iron-pointed bamboo spears and
every weapon they had and ran him through--our mirror, our light, our
comforter, our true guide--until they killed him."

Such was the tragic fate of Ferdinand Magellan, "the greatest of
ancient and modern navigators," tragic because, after dauntless
resolution and unwearied courage, he died in a miserable skirmish at
the last on the very eve of victory.

_Victoria_, from Hulsius's _Collection of Voyages_, 1602.]

With grief and despair in their hearts, the remaining members of the
crew, now only one hundred and fifteen, crowded on to the _Trinidad_
and _Victoria_ for the homeward voyage. It was September 1522 when
they reached the Spice Islands--the goal of all their hopes. Here they
took on board some precious cloves and birds of Paradise, spent some
pleasant months, and, laden with spices, resumed their journey. But
the _Trinidad_ was too overladen with cloves and too rotten to
undertake so long a voyage till she had undergone repair, so the little
_Victoria_ alone sailed for Spain with sixty men aboard to carry home
their great and wonderful news. Who shall describe the terrors of that
homeward voyage, the suffering, starvation, and misery of the weary
crew? Man after man drooped and died, till by the time they reached
the Cape Verde Islands there were but eighteen left.

When the welcome shores of Spain at length appeared, eighteen gaunt,
famine-stricken survivors, with their captain, staggered ashore to
tell their proud story of the first circumnavigation of the world by
their lost commander, Ferdinand Magellan.

We miss the triumphal return of the conqueror, the audience with the
King of Spain, the heaped honours, the crowded streets, the titles,
and the riches. The proudest crest ever granted by a sovereign--the
world, with the words: "Thou hast encompassed me"--fell to the lot
of Del Cano, the captain who brought home the little _Victoria_. For
Magellan's son was dead, and his wife Beatrix, "grievously sorrowing,"
had passed away on hearing the news of her husband's tragic end.



One would have thought that the revelation of this immense sheet of
water on the far side of America would have drawn other explorers to
follow, but news was slowly assimilated in those days, and it was not
till fifty-three years later that the Pacific was crossed a second
time by Sir Francis Drake.

In the maps of the day, Newfoundland and Florida were both placed in
Asia, while Mexico was identified with the Quinsay of Marco Polo. For
even while Magellan was fighting the gales of the Atlantic _en route_
for his long-sought strait, another strange and wonderful country was
being unveiled and its unsurpassed wealth laid at the feet of Spain.
The starting-place for further Spanish exploration had been, from the
days of Columbus, the West Indies. From this centre, the coast of
Florida had been discovered in 1513; from here, the same year, Balboa
had discovered the Pacific Ocean; from here in 1517 a little fleet
was fitted out under Francisco Hernando de Cordova, "a man very prudent
and courageous and strongly disposed to kill and kidnap Indians." As
pilot he had been with Columbus on his fourth voyage some fourteen
years before. He suggested that his master had heard rumours of land
to the West, and sure enough, after sailing past the peninsula of
Yucatan, they found signs of the Eastern civilisation so long sought
in vain.

"Strange-looking towers or pyramids, ascended by stone steps, greeted
their eyes, and the people who came out in canoes to watch the ships
were clad in quilted cotton doublets and wore cloaks and brilliant

They had heard of the Spaniards. Indeed, only one hundred miles of
sea divided Yucatan from Cuba, and they were anything but pleased to
see these strangers off their coast.

"Couez cotoche" (Come to my house), they cried, for which reason
Cordova called the place Cape Catoche, as it is marked in our maps
to-day. Along the coast sailed the Spaniards to a place called by the
Indians Quimpeche, now known as Campechy Bay. They were astonished
to find how civilised were these natives, and how unlike any others
they had met in these parts. But the inhabitants resented the landing
of Cordova and his men, and with arrows and stones and darts they killed
or wounded a great number of Spaniards, including the commander
himself, who sent an account of his voyage to the Governor of Cuba
and died a few days later.

His information was interesting and inspiring, and soon young Juan
Grijalva was on his way to the same land, accompanied by "two hundred
and fifty stout soldiers" and the old pilot, Alvarado, who had led
both Columbus and Cordova. Grijalva explored for the first time the
coast of this great new country.

"Mexico, Mexico," repeated the Indians with whom they conversed. Gold,
too, was produced, gold ornaments, gold workmanship, until the young
and handsome Grijalva was fitted out completely with a complete suit
of gold armour. He returned enthusiastic over the new land where lived
a powerful ruler over many cities. Surely this was none other than
the Great Khan of Marco Polo fame, with the riches and magnificence
of an Eastern potentate--a land worthy of further exploration.

The conqueror of Mexico now comes upon the scene--young, bold, devout,
unscrupulous, "a respectable gentleman of good birth"--Hernando
Cortes. Great was the enthusiasm in Cuba to join the new expedition
to the long-lost lands of the Great Khan; men sold their lands to buy
horses and arms, pork was salted, armour was made, and at last Cortes,
a plume of feathers and a gold medal in his cap, erected on board his
ship a velvet flag with the royal arms embroidered in gold and the
words: "Brothers, follow the cross in faith, for under its guidance
we shall conquer."

original portrait at Mexico.]

His address to his men called forth their devotion: "I hold out to
you a glorious prize, but it is to be won by incessant toil. Great
things are achieved only by great exertions, and glory was never the
reward of sloth. If I have laboured hard and staked my all on this
undertaking, it is for the love of that renown, which is the noblest
recompense of man. But if any among you covet riches more, be but true
to me, as I will make you masters of such as our countrymen have never
dreamed of. You are few in number, but strong in resolution; doubt
not but that the Almighty, who has never deserted the Spaniard in his
contest with the infidel, will shield you, for your cause is a just
cause, and you are to fight under the banner of the Cross."

In this spirit of enthusiasm the fleet sailed from the shores of Cuba
on 18th February 1519, and was soon on its way to the land of Mexico.
The pilot Alvarado was with this expedition also. Rounding Cape
Catoche and coasting along the southern shores of Campechy Bay, with
a pleasant breeze blowing off the shore, Cortes landed with all his
force--some five hundred soldiers--on the very spot where now stands
the city of Vera Cruz. "Little did the conqueror imagine that the
desolate beach on which he first planted his foot was one day to be
covered by a flourishing city, the great mart of European and Oriental
trade--the commercial capital of New Spain."

On a wide, level plain Cortes encamped, his soldiers driving in stakes
and covering them with boughs to protect themselves from the scorching
rays of the fierce, tropical sun. Natives came down to the shore,
bringing their beautiful featherwork cloaks and golden ornaments.
Cortes had brought presents for the great King--the Khan as he
thought--and these he sent with a message that he had come from the
King of Spain and greatly desired an audience with the Great Khan.
The Indians were greatly surprised to hear that there was another King
in the world as powerful as their Montezuma, who was more god than
king, who ate from dishes of gold, on whose face none dared look, in
whose presence none dared speak without leave.

To impress the messengers of the King, Cortes ordered his soldiers
to go through some of their military exercises on the wet sands. The
bold and rapid movement of the troops, the glancing of the weapons,
and the shrill cry of the trumpet filled the spectators with
astonishment; but when they heard the thunder of the cannon and
witnessed the volumes of smoke and flame issuing from these terrible
engines, the rushing of the balls as they hissed through the trees
of the neighbouring forest shivering their branches, they were filled
with consternation.

To the intense surprise of the Spaniards, these messengers sketched
the whole scene on canvas with their pencils, not forgetting the
Spanish ships or "water-houses" as they called them, with their dark
hulls and snow-white sails reflected in the water as they swung lazily
at anchor.

Then they returned to the King and related the strange doings of the
white strangers who had landed on their shores; they showed him their
picture-writing, and Montezuma, king of the great Mexican empire which
stretched from sea to sea, was "sore troubled." He refused to see the
Spaniards--the distance of his capital was too great, since the
journey was beset with difficulties. But the presents he sent were
so gorgeous, so wonderful, that Cortes resolved to see for himself
the city which produced such wealth, whatever its ruler might decree.
Here was a plate of gold as large as a coach wheel representing the
sun, one in silver even larger, representing the moon; there were
numbers of golden toys representing dogs, lions, tigers, apes, ducks,
and wonderful plumes of green feathers.

The man who had sailed across two thousand leagues of ocean held lightly
the idea of a short land journey, however difficult, and Cortes began
his preparations for the march to Mexico. He built the little
settlement at Vera Cruz, "The Rich Town of the True Cross," on the
seashore as a basis for operations. Although the wealth allured them,
there were many who viewed with dismay the idea of the long and
dangerous march into the heart of a hostile land. After all they were
but a handful of men pitted against a powerful nation. Murmurs arose
which reached the ears of Cortes. He was equal to the occasion and
resolutely burnt all the ships in the harbour save one. Then panic
ensued. Mutiny threatened.

"I have chosen my part!" cried Cortes. "I will remain here while there
is one to bear me company. If there be any so craven as to shrink from
sharing the dangers of our glorious enterprise, let them go home. There
is still one vessel left. Let them take that and return to Cuba. They
can tell there how they have deserted their commander and their
comrades, and patiently wait till we return loaded with the spoils
of Mexico."

He touched the right chord. Visions of future wealth and glory rose
again before them, confidence in their leader revived, and, shouting
bravely, "To Mexico! to Mexico!" the party started off on their
perilous march. It was 16th August 1519 when the little army, "buoyant
with high hopes and lofty plans of conquest," set forth. The first
part of the way lay through beautiful country rich in cochineal and
vanilla, with groves of many-coloured birds and "insects whose
enamelled wings glistened like diamonds in the blazing sun of the

Then came the long and tedious ascent of the Cordilleras leading to
the tableland of Mexico. Higher and higher grew the mountains. Heavy
falls of sleet and hail, icy winds, and driving rain drenched the little
Spanish party as they made their way bravely upwards, till at last
they reached the level of seven thousand feet to find the great
tableland rolling out along the crest of the Cordilleras.

Hitherto they had met with no opposition among the natives they had
met. Indeed, as the little army advanced, it was often found that the
inhabitants of the country fled awestruck from before them. Now the
reason was this. The Mexicans believed in a god called the Bird-Serpent,
around whom many a legend had grown up. Temples had been built in his
honour and horrible human sacrifices offered to appease him, for was
he not the Ruler of the Winds, the Lord of the Lightning, the Gatherer
of the Clouds? But the bright god had sailed away one day, saying he
would return with fair-skinned men to possess the land in the fulness
of time. Surely, then, the time had come and their god had come again.
Here were the fair-skinned men in shining armour marching back to their
own again, and Cortes at their head--was he not the god himself? The
cross, too, was a Mexican symbol, so Cortes was allowed to put it up
in the heathen temples without opposition.

The inhabitants of Tlascala--fierce republicans who refused to own
the sway of Montezuma--alone offered resistance, and how Cortes fought
and defeated them with his handful of men is truly a marvel.

It was three months before they reached the goal of all their
hopes--even the golden city of Mexico. The hardships and horrors of
the march had been unsurpassed, but as the beautiful valley of Mexico
unfolded itself before them in the early light of a July morning, the
Spaniards shouted with joy: "It is the promised land! Mexico!

"Many of us were disposed to doubt the reality of the scene before
us and to suspect we were in a dream," says one of the party. "I thought
we had been transported by magic to the terrestrial paradise."

Water, cultivated plains, shining cities with shadowy hills beyond
lay like some gorgeous fairyland before and below them. At every step
some new beauty appeared in sight, and the wonderful City of the Waters
with its towers and shining palaces arose out of the surrounding mists.

The city was approached by three solid causeways some five miles long.
It was crowded with spectators "eager to behold such men and animals
as had never been seen in that part of the world."

At any moment the little army of four hundred and fifty Spaniards might
have been destroyed, surrounded as they were by overwhelming numbers
of hostile Indian foes. It was a great day in the history of European
discovery, when the Spaniard first set foot in the capital of the
Western world. Everywhere was evidence of a crowded and thriving
population and a high civilisation. At the walls of the city they were
met by Montezuma himself. Amid a crowd of Indian nobles, preceded by
officers of state bearing golden wands, was the royal palanquin
blazing with burnished gold. It was borne on the shoulders of the nobles,
who, barefooted, walked slowly with eyes cast to the ground.
Descending from his litter, Montezuma then advanced under a canopy
of gaudy featherwork powdered with jewels and fringed with silver.
His cloak and sandals were studded with pearls and precious stones
among which emeralds were conspicuous. Cortes dismounted, greeted the
King, and spoke of his mission to the heathen and of his master, the
mighty ruler of Spain. Everywhere Cortes and his men were received
with friendship and reverence, for was he not the long-lost Child of
the Sun? The Spanish explorer begged Montezuma to give up his idols
and to stop his terrible human sacrifices. The King somewhat naturally
refused. Cortes grew angry. He was also very anxious. He felt the
weakness of his position, the little handful of men in this great
populous city, which he had sworn to win for Spain. The King must go.
"Why do we waste time on this barbarian? Let us seize him and, if he
resists, plunge our swords into his body!" cried the exasperated

This is no place for the pathetic story of Montezuma's downfall.
Prescott's _Conquest of Mexico_ is within the reach of all. It tells
of the Spanish treachery, of the refusal of the Mexican ruler to accept
the new faith, of his final appeal to his subjects, of chains,
degradation, and death. It tells of the three great heaps of gold,
pearls, and precious stones taken by Cortes, of the final siege and

[Illustration: THE BATTLES OF THE SPANIARDS IN MEXICO. From an ancient
Aztec drawing, showing a leader of the Spaniards with his native allies
defeating the Mexicans.]

The news of this immense Mexican Empire, discovered and conquered for
Spain, brought honours from the King, Charles V., to the triumphant

Nor did Cortes stop even after this achievement. As Governor and
Captain-General of Mexico, he sent off ships to explore the
neighbouring coasts. Hearing that Honduras possessed rich mines and
that a strait into the Pacific Ocean might be found, Cortes led an
expedition by land. Arrived at Tabasco, he was provided with an Indian
map of cotton cloth, whereon were painted all the towns, rivers,
mountains, as far as Nicaragua. With this map and the mariner's compass,
he led his army through gloomy woods so thick that no sun ever
penetrated, and after a march of one thousand miles reached the
seacoast of Honduras, took over the country for Spain to be governed
with Mexico by himself.

This enormous tract of country was known to the world as "New Spain."



The success of Cortes and his brilliant conquest of Mexico gave a new
impulse to discovery in the New World. The spirit of exploration
dominated every adventurous young Spaniard, and among those living
in the West Indies there were many ready to give up all for the golden
countries in the West, rumours of which were always reaching their

No sooner had these rich lands been realised than the news of Magellan's
great voyage revealed the breadth of the ocean between America and
Asia, and destroyed for ever the idea that the Spice Islands were near.
Spanish enterprise, therefore, lay in the same direction as heretofore,
and we must relate the story of how Pizarro discovered Peru for the
King of Spain. He had accompanied Balboa to Darien, and had with him
gazed out on to the unknown waters of the Pacific Ocean below. With
Balboa after crossing the isthmus of Darien he had reached Panama on
the South Sea, where he heard of a great nation far to the south. Like
Mexico, it was spoken of as highly civilised and rich in mines of gold
and silver. Many an explorer would have started off straightway for
this new country, but there was a vast tract of dark forest and tangled
underwood between Panama and Peru, which had damped the ardour of even
the most ardent of Spanish explorers.

But Pizarro was a man of courage and dauntless resolution, and he was
ready to do and dare the impossible. He made a bad start. A single
ship with some hundred men aboard left Panama under the command of
Pizarro in 1526. He was ignorant of southern navigation, the Indians
along the shore were hostile, his men died one by one, the rich land
of Peru was more distant than they had thought, and, having at length
reached the island of Gallo near the Equator, they awaited
reinforcements from Panama. Great, then, was the disappointment of
Pizarro when only one ship arrived and no soldiers. News of hardships
and privations had spread through Panama, and none would volunteer
to explore Peru. By this time the handful of wretched men who had
remained with Pizarro, living on crabs picked up on the shore, begged
to be taken home--they could endure no longer. Then came one of those
tremendous moments that lifts the born leader of men above his fellows.
Drawing his sword, Pizarro traced a line on the sand from east to west.
"Friends," he cried, turning to the south, "on that side are toil,
hunger, nakedness, the drenching storm, desertion, and death, and on
this side ease and pleasure. There lies Peru with its riches, here
Panama and its poverty. For my part, I go south."

So saying, he stepped across the line. Twelve stout-hearted men
followed him. The rest turned wearily homewards. The reduced but
resolute little party then sailed south, and a voyage of two days
brought them within sight of the long-sought land of Peru.
Communication with the natives assured them that here was wealth and
fortune to be made, and they hurried back to Panama, whence Pizarro
sailed for Spain, for permission to conquer the empire of Peru. It
is interesting to find Cortes contributing some of his immense wealth
from Mexico towards this new quest.

In February 1531 three small ships with one hundred and eighty soldiers
and thirty-six horses sailed south under Pizarro. It was not till the
autumn of 1532 that he was ready to start on the great march to the
interior. A city called Cuzco was the capital--the Holy City with its
great Temple of the Sun, the most magnificent building in the New World,
had never yet been seen by Europeans. But the residence of the King
was at Caxamalea, and this was the goal of the Spaniards for the

Already the news was spreading through the land that "white and bearded
strangers were coming up from the sea, clad in shining panoply, riding
upon unearthly monsters, and wielding deadly thunderbolts."

[Illustration: PIZARRO. From the portrait at Cuzco.]

Pizarro's march to the heart of Peru with a mere handful of men was
not unlike that of Cortes' expedition to Mexico. Both coveted the rich
empire of unknown monarchs and dared all--to possess. Between Pizarro
and his goal lay the stupendous mountain range of the Andes or South
American Cordilleras, rock piled upon rock, their crests of
everlasting snow glittering high in the heavens. Across these and over
narrow mountain passes the troops had now to pass. So steep were the
sides that the horsemen had to dismount and scramble up, leading their
horses as best they might. Frightful chasms yawned below them,
terrific peaks rose above, and at any moment they might be utterly
destroyed by bodies of Peruvians in overwhelming numbers. It was
bitterly cold as they mounted higher and higher up the dreary heights,
till at last they reached the crest. Then began the
descent--precipitous and dangerous--until after seven days of this
the valley of Caxamalea unrolled before their delighted eyes, and the
little ancient city with its white houses lay glittering in the sun.
But dismay filled the stoutest heart when, spread out below for the
space of several miles, tents as thick as snowflakes covered the ground.
It was the Peruvian army. And it was too late to turn back. "So, with
as bold a countenance as we could, we prepared for our entrance into

The Peruvians must already have seen the cavalcade of Spaniards, as
with banners streaming and armour glistening in the rays of the evening
sun Pizarro led them towards the city. As they drew near, the King,
Atahualpa, covered with plumes of feathers and ornaments of gold and
silver blazing in the sun, was carried forth on a throne followed by
thirty thousand men to meet the strangers. It seemed to the Spanish
leader that only one course was open. He must seize the person of this
great ruler at once. He waved his white scarf. Immediately the cavalry
charged and a terrible fight took place around the person of the ruler
of Peru until he was captured and taken prisoner. Atahualpa tried to
regain his liberty by the offer of gold, for he had discovered--amid
all their outward show of religious zeal--a greed for wealth among
these strange white men from over the stormy seas. He suggested that
he should fill with gold the room in which he was confined as high
as he could reach. Standing on tiptoe, he marked the wall with his
hand. Pizarro accepted the offer, and the Spaniards greedily watched
the arrival of their treasure from the roofs of palace and temple.
They gained a sum of something like three million sterling and then
put the King to death. Pizarro was the conqueror of Peru, and he had
no difficulty in controlling the awestruck Peruvians, who regarded
the relentless Spaniards as supernatural--the Children of the Sun

[Illustration: PERU AND SOUTH AMERICA. From the Map of the World of
1544, usually ascribed to Sebastian Cabot. At the top is shown the
river Amazon, discovered by Orellana in 1541.]

A year later these Children of the Sun entered the old town of
Cuzco--the capital of this rich empire--where they found a city of
treasure surpassing all expectation. Meanwhile Almagro, one of the
most prominent among the Spanish explorers, had been granted a couple
of hundred miles along the coast of Chili, which country he now
penetrated; but the cold was so intense that men and horses were frozen
to death, while the Chilians, clad in skins, were difficult to subdue.
Almagro decided that Cuzco belonged to him, and miserable disputes
followed between him and Pizarro, ending in the tragic end of the
veteran explorer, Almagro.

As the shiploads of gold reached the shores of Spain, more and more
adventurers flocked over to the New World. They swarmed into "Golden
Castile," about the city of Panama, and journeyed into the interior
of the yet new and unknown world. There are terrible stories of their
greed and cruelty to the native Indians. One story says that the Indians
caught some of these Spaniards, tied their hands and feet together,
threw them on the ground, and poured liquid gold into their mouths,
crying, "Eat, eat gold, Christian!"

Amongst other adventurers into South America at this time was Orellana,
who crossed the continent from ocean to ocean. He had accompanied one
of Pizarro's brothers into the land of the cinnamon forests, and with
him had crossed the Andes in search of another golden kingdom beyond
Quito. The expedition under Pizarro, consisting of some three hundred
and fifty Spaniards, half of whom were horsemen, and four thousand
Indians, set forward in the year 1540 to penetrate to the remote regions
in the Hinterland, on the far side of the Andes. Their sufferings were
intense. Violent thunderstorms and earthquakes terrified man and
beast; the earth opened and swallowed up five hundred houses; rain
fell in such torrents as to flood the land and cut off all communication
between the explorers and cultivated regions; while crossing the lofty
ridge of the Andes the cold was so intense that numbers of the party
were literally frozen to death. At length they reached the land of
the cinnamon trees, and, still pushing on, came to a river which must
be crossed to reach the land of gold. They had finished their provisions,
and had nothing to subsist on now save the wild fruit of the country.
After following the course of the river for some way, Pizarro decided
to build a little vessel to search for food along the river. All set
to work, Pizarro and Orellana, one of his chief captains, working as
hard as the men. They set up a forge for making nails, and burnt charcoal
with endless trouble owing to the heavy rains which prevented the
tinder from taking fire. They made nails from the shoes of the horses
which had been killed to feed the sick. For tar they used the resin
from the trees, for oakum they used blankets and old shirts. Then they
launched the little home-made boat, thinking their troubles would be
at an end. For some four hundred miles they followed the course of
the river, but the supply of roots and berries grew scarcer and men
perished daily from starvation. So Pizarro ordered Orellana to go
quickly down the river with fifty men to some inhabited land of which
they had heard, to fill the boat with provisions, and return.

Off started Orellana down the river, but no villages or cultivated
lands appeared; nothing was to be seen save flooded plains and gloomy,
impenetrable forests. The river turned out to be a tributary of a much
larger river. It was, indeed, the great river Amazon. Orellana now
decided to go on down this great river and to desert Pizarro. True,
his men were utterly weary, the current was too strong for them to
row against, and they had no food to bring to their unhappy companions.
There was likewise the possibility of reaching the kingdom of gold
for which they were searching. There were some among his party who
objected strongly to the course proposed by Orellana, to whom he
responded by landing them on the edge of the dense forest and there
leaving them to perish of hunger.

It was the last day of 1540 that, having eaten their shoes and saddles
boiled with a few wild herbs, they set out to reach the kingdom of
gold. It was truly one of the greatest adventures of the age, and
historic, for here we get the word El Dorado, used for the first time
in the history of discovery--the legendary land of gold which was never
found, but which attracted all the Elizabethan sailors to this
romantic country. It would take too long to tell how they had to fight
Indian tribes in their progress down the fast-flowing river, how they
had to build a new boat, making bellows of their leather buskins and
manufacturing two thousand nails in twenty days, how they found women
on the banks of the river fighting as valiantly as men, and named the
new country the Amazon land, and how at long last, after incredible
hardship, they reached the sea in August 1541. They had navigated some
two thousand miles. They now made their rigging and ropes of grass
and sails of blankets, and so sailed out into the open sea, reaching
one of the West India islands a few days later.

And the deserted Pizarro? Tired of waiting for Orellana, he made his
way sorrowfully home, arriving after two years' absence in Peru, with
eighty men left out of four thousand three hundred and fifty, all the
rest having perished in the disastrous expedition. And so we must leave
the Spanish conquerors for the present, still exploring, still
conquering, in these parts, ever adding glory and riches to Spain.
Indeed, Spain and Portugal, as we have seen, entirely monopolise the
horizon of geographical discovery till the middle of the sixteenth
century, when other nations enter the arena.

[Illustration: PERUVIAN WARRIORS OF THE INCA PERIOD. From an ancient
Peruvian painting.]



It was no longer possible for the Old World to keep secret the wealth
of the New World. English eyes were already straining across the seas,
English hands were ready to grasp the treasure that had been Spain's
for the last fifty years. While Spain was sending Christopher Columbus
to and fro across the Atlantic to the West Indies, while Portugal was
rejoicing in the success of Vasco da Gama, John Cabot, in the service
of England, was making his way from Bristol to the New World. News
of the first voyage of Columbus had been received by the Cabots--John
and his son Sebastian--with infinite admiration. They believed with
the rest of the world that the coast of China had been reached by sailing
westward. Bristol was at this time the chief seaport in England, and
the centre of trade for the Iceland fisheries. The merchants of the
city had already ventured far on to the Atlantic, and various little
expeditions had been fitted out by the merchants for possible
discovery westward, but one after another failed, including the "most
scientific mariner in all England," who started forth to find the
island of Brazil to the west of Ireland, but, after nine miserable
weeks at sea, was driven back to Ireland again by foul weather.

Now Columbus had crossed the Atlantic, Cabot got leave from the English
King, Henry VII., "to sail to the east, west, or north, with five ships
carrying the English flag, to seek and discover all the islands,
countries, regions, or provinces of pagans in whatever part of the

Further, the King was to have one-fifth of the profits, and at all
risks any conflict with Spain must be avoided. Nothing daunted, Cabot
started off to fulfil his lord's commands in a tiny ship with eighteen
men. We have the barest outlines of his proceedings. Practically all
is contained in this one paragraph. "In the year 1497 John Cabot, a
Venetian, and his son Sebastian discovered on the 24th of June, about
five in the morning, that land to which no person had before ventured
to sail, which they named Prima Vista or first seen, because, as I
believe, it was the first part seen by them from the sea. The
inhabitants use the skins and furs of wild beasts for garments, which
they hold in as high estimation as we do our finest clothes. The soil
yields no useful production, but it abounds in white bears and deer
much larger than ours. Its coasts produce vast quantities of large
fish--great seals, salmons, soles above a yard in length, and
prodigious quantities of cod."

VOYAGE TO NEWFOUNDLAND. From the Map of 1544, usually ascribed to Cabot.
The names in brackets are inserted in order to make this extract and
its reference to Cabot's discoveries clear.]

So much for the contemporary account of this historic voyage. A letter
from England to Italy describes the effect of the voyage on England.
"The Venetian, our countryman, who went with a ship from Bristol in
quest of new islands, is returned and says that seven hundred leagues
hence he discovered land, the territory of the Great Khan. He coasted
for three hundred leagues and landed; he saw no human beings, but he
has brought hither to the King certain snares which had been set to
catch game and a needle for making nets. He also found some felled
trees. Wherefore he supposed there were inhabitants, and returned to
his ships in alarm. He was there three months on the voyage, and on
his return he saw two islands to starboard, but would not land, time
being precious, as he was short of provisions. He says the tides are
slack and do not flow as they do here. The King of England is much
pleased with this intelligence. The King has promised that in the
spring our countryman shall have ten ships to his order, and at his
request has conceded to him all the prisoners to man his fleet. The
King has also given him money wherewith to amuse himself till then,
and he is now at Bristol with his wife and sons. His name is Cabot,
and he is styled the great Admiral. Vast honour is paid to him; he
dresses in silk, and the English run after him like mad people."

Yet another letter of the time tells how "Master John Cabot has won
a part of Asia without a stroke of the sword." This Master John, too,
"has the description of the world in a chart and also in a solid globe
which he has made, and he shows where he landed. And they say that
it is a good and temperate country, and they think that Brazil wood
and silks grow there, and they affirm that that sea is covered with

But "Master John" had set his heart on something greater. Constantly
hugging the shore of America, he expected to find the island of Cipango
(Japan) in the equinoctial region, where he should find all the spices
of the world and any amount of precious stones.

But after all this great promise Master John disappears from the pages
of history and his son Sebastian continues to sail across the Atlantic,
not always in the service of England, though in 1502 we find him
bringing to the King of England three men taken in the Newfoundland,
clothed in beasts' skins and eating raw flesh, and speaking a language
which no man could understand. They must have been kindly dealt with
by the King, for two years later the poor savages are "clothed like

Though England claimed the discovery of this Newfoundland, the
Portuguese declared that one of their countrymen, Cortereal--a
gentleman of the royal household--had already discovered the "land
of the cod-fish" in 1463. But then had not the Vikings already
discovered this country five hundred years before?



All the nations of Europe were now straining westward for new lands
to conquer. French sailors had fished in the seas washing the western
coast of North America; Verazzano, a Florentine, in the service of
France, had explored the coast of the United States, and a good deal
was known when Jacques Cartier, a Frenchman, steps upon the scene and
wins for his country a large tract of land about the river St. Lawrence.
His object was to find a way across America to Cathay. With two little
ships of sixty tons and sixty-one "chosen men," Cartier left St. Malo
on 20th April 1534. With prosperous weather he tells us he made the
coast of Newfoundland in three weeks, which would mean sailing over
one hundred miles a day. He was a little too early in the season, for
the easterly winds which had helped him on his way had blocked the
east coast of the island with Arctic ice. Having named the point at
which he first touched land Cape Bona Vista, he cruised about till,
the ice having melted, he could sail down the straits of Belle Isle
between the mainland of Labrador and Newfoundland, already discovered
by Breton fishermen. Then he explored the now familiar Gulf of St.
Lawrence--the first European to report on it. All through June the
little French ships sailed about the Gulf, darting across from island
to island and cape to cape. Prince Edward Island appealed to him
strongly. "It is very pleasant to behold," he tells us. "We found
sweet-smelling trees as cedars, yews, pines, ash, willow. Where the
ground was bare of trees it seemed very fertile and was full of wild
corn, red and white gooseberries, strawberries, and blackberries, as
if it had been cultivated on purpose." It now grew hotter, and Cartier
must have been glad of a little heat. He sighted Nova Scotia and sailed
by the coast of New Brunswick, without naming or surveying them. He
describes accurately the bay still called Chaleur Bay: "We named this
the Warm Bay, for the country is warmer even than Spain and exceedingly
pleasant." They sailed up as far as they could, filled with hope that
this might be the long-sought passage to the Pacific Ocean. Hope Cape
they named the southern point, but they were disappointed by finding
only a deep bay, and to-day, by a strange coincidence, the point
opposite the northern shore is known as Cape Despair--the Cap d'Espoir
of the early French mariners. Sailing on to the north amid strong
currents and a heavy sea, Cartier at last put into a shelter (Gaspe
Bay). Here, "on the 24th of July, we made a great cross thirty feet
high, on which we hung up a shield with three fleurs-de-lis, and
inscribed the cross with this motto: 'Vive le roi de France.' When
this was finished, in presence of all the natives, we all knelt down
before the cross, holding up our hands to heaven and praising God."

[Illustration: JACQUES CARTIER. From an old pen drawing at the
Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris.]

Storms and strong tides now decided Cartier to return to France. He
knew nothing of the Cabot Strait between Newfoundland and the land
afterwards called Nova Scotia, so he guided his little ships right
through the Straits of Belle Isle, and after being "much tossed by
a heavy tempest from the east, which we weathered by the blessing of
God," he arrived safely home on 5th September, after his six months'
adventure. He was soon commissioned to continue the navigation of
these new lands, and in May 1535 he safely led three ships slightly
larger than the last across the stormy Atlantic. Contrary winds, heavy
gales, and thick fogs turned the voyage of three weeks into five--the
ships losing one another not to meet again till the coast of Labrador
was reached. Coasting along the southern coast, Cartier now entered
a "very fine and large bay, full of islands, and with channels of
entrance and exit in all winds." Cartier named it "Baye Saint Laurens,"
because he entered it on 10th August--the feast of St. Lawrence.

Do any of the English men and women who steam up the Gulf of St. Lawrence
in the great ocean steamers to-day, on their way to Canada, ever give
a thought to the little pioneer French ships that four hundred years
ago thought they were sailing toward Cathay?

"Savages," as Cartier calls the Indians, told him that he was near
the mouth of the great river Hochelaga (now the St. Lawrence), which
became narrower "as we approach towards Canada, where the water is

"On the first day of September," says Cartier, "we set sail from the
said harbour for Canada." Canada was just a native word for a town
or village. It seems strange to read of the "lord of Canada" coming
down the river with twelve canoes and many people to greet the first
white men he had ever seen; strange, too, to find Cartier arriving
at "the place called Hochelaga--twenty-five leagues above Canada,"
where the river becomes very narrow, with a rapid current and very
dangerous on account of rocks. For another week the French explorers
sailed on up the unknown river. The country was pleasant, well-wooded,
with "vines as full of grapes as they would hang." On 2nd October,
Cartier arrived at the native town of Hochelaga. He was welcomed by
hundreds of natives,--men, women, and children,--who gave the
travellers as "friendly a welcome as if we had been of their own nation
come home after a long and perilous absence." The women carried their
children to him to touch them, for they evidently thought that some
supernatural being had come up from the sea. All night they danced
to the light of fires lit upon the shore.

(KEBEC). From Lescarbot's _Histoire de la Nouvelle France_, 1609.]

The next morning Cartier, "having dressed himself splendidly," went
ashore with some of his men. All were well armed, though the natives
seemed peacefully disposed. They marched along a well-beaten track
to the Indian city, which stood in the midst of cultivated fields of
Indian corn and maize. Again the inhabitants met them with signs of
joy and gladness, and the King was carried shoulder high, seated on
a large deer-skin with a red wreath round his head made of the skins
of hedgehogs instead of a crown.

A curious scene then took place. The King placed his crown on the head
of the French explorer, before whom he humbled himself as before a
god. Thus evidently did the people regard him, for they brought to
him their blind, their lame, and their diseased folk that he might
cure them. Touched with pity at the groundless confidence of these
poor people, Cartier signed them with the sign of the cross. "He then
opened a service book and read the passion of Christ in an audible
voice, during which all the natives kept a profound silence, looking
up to heaven and imitating all our gestures. He then caused our trumpets
and other musical instruments to be sounded, which made the natives
very merry."

Cartier and his men then went to the top of the neighbouring mountain.
The extensive view from the top created a deep impression on the French
explorer; he grew enthusiastic over the beauty of the level valley
below and called the place Mont Royal--a name communicated to the busy
city of Montreal that lies below.

Winter was now coming on, and Cartier decided against attempting the
homeward voyage so late in the year; but to winter in the country he
chose a spot between Montreal and Quebec, little thinking what the
long winter months would bring forth. The little handful of Frenchmen
had no idea of the severity of the Canadian climate; they little dreamt
of the interminable months of ice and snow when no navigation was
possible. Before Christmas had come round the men were down with
scurvy; by the middle of February, "out of one hundred and ten persons
composing the companies of our three ships, there were not ten in
perfect health. Eight were dead already. The sickness increased to
such a pitch that there were not above three sound men in the whole
company; we were obliged to bury such as died under the snow, as the
ground was frozen quite hard, and we were all reduced to extreme
weakness, and we lost all hope of ever returning to France." From
November to March four feet of snow lay upon the decks of their little
ships. And yet, shut up as they were in the heart of a strange and
unknown land, with their ships icebound and nought but savages around,
there is no sound of murmur or complaint. "It must be allowed that
the winter that year was uncommonly long" is all we hear.

ST. LAWRENCE. From Jocomo di Gastaldi's Map, about 1550. The "Isola
de Demoni" is Labrador, and "Terra Nuova" and the islands south of
it make up Newfoundland. The snaky-like line represents a sandbank,
which was then thought, and agreed, to be the limit of fishing. Montreal
(Port Real) will be noticed on the coast.]

May found them free once more and making for home with the great news
that, though they had not found the way to Cathay, they had discovered
and taken a great new country for France.

A new map of the world in 1536 marks Canada and Labrador, and gives
the river St. Lawrence just beyond Montreal. A map of 1550 goes further,
and calls the sea that washes the shores of Newfoundland and Labrador
the "Sea of France," while to the south it is avowedly the "Sea of

II. OF FRANCE). This map gives a remarkably clear and interesting view
of geographical knowledge in the first half of the sixteenth century.
(It is to be noted that all objects on one side of the Equinoctial
are reversed.)]



England was now awaking from her sleep--too late to possess the Spice
Islands--too late for India and the Cape of Good Hope--too late, it
would seem, for the New World. The Portuguese held the eastern route,
the Spaniards the western route to the Spice Islands. But what if there
were a northern route? All ways apparently led to Cathay. Why should
England not find a way to that glorious land by taking a northern

"If the seas toward the north be navigable we may go to these Spice
Islands by a shorter way than Spain and Portugal," said Master Thorne
of Bristol--a friend of the Cabots.

"But the northern seas are blocked with ice and the northern lands
are too cold for man to dwell in," objected some.

"_There is no land uninhabitable, nor sea unnavigable_," was the
heroic reply.

"It was in this belief, and in this heroic temper, that England set
herself to take possession of her heritage, the north. But it was not
till the reign of Edward VI. that a Company of Merchant Adventurers
was formed for the discovery of Regions, Dominions, Islands, and
places unknown," with old Sebastian Cabot as its first governor, and
not till the year 1553 that three little ships under Sir Hugh Willoughby
and Richard Chancellor were fitted out for a northern cruise. They
carried letters of introduction from the boy-king of England to "all
Kings, Princes, Rulers, Judges, and Governors of the Earth in all
places under the universal heaven," including those "inhabiting the
north-east parts of the world toward the mighty Empire of Cathay."

Sir Hugh Willoughby, "a most valiant gentleman," hoisted the English
flag on the _Bona Esperanza_, a good little ship of one hundred and
twenty tons. The next in command was Richard Chancellor, "a man of
great estimation for many good parts of wit in him," who sailed the
_Edward Bonadventure_, which though not so fast as the flag-ship, was
slightly larger. So certain were the promoters that the ships would
reach the hot climates beyond Cathay that they had them sheathed with
lead to protect them from worms which had proved so destructive in
the tropics before.

The account of the start of these first English Arctic explorers is
too quaint to be passed in silence. "It was thought best that by the
20th of May the Captains and Mariners should take shipping and depart
if it pleased God. They, having saluted their acquaintance, one his
wife, another his children, another his kinsfolk, and another his
friends dearer than his kinsfolk, were ready at the day appointed.
The greater ships are towed down with boats and oars, and the mariners,
being all apparelled in sky-coloured cloth, made way with diligence.
And being come near to Greenwich (where the Court then lay), the
Courtiers came running out and the common people flocked together,
standing very thick upon the shore: the Privy Council, they looked
out of the windows of the Court, and the rest ran up to the tops of
the towers, and the mariners shouted in such sort that the sky rang
again with the noise thereof. But, alas! the good King Edward--he only
by reason of his sickness was absent from this show."

The ships dropped down to Woolwich with the tide and coasted along
the east coast of England till "at the last with a good wind they hoisted
up sail and committed themselves to the sea, giving their last adieu
to their native country--many of them could not refrain from tears."
Richard Chancellor himself had left behind two little sons, and his
poor mind was tormented with sorrow and care.

By the middle of July the North Sea had been crossed, and the three
small ships were off the shores of Norway, coasting among the islands
and fiords that line that indented kingdom. Coasting still northward,
Willoughby led his ships to the Lofoten Islands, "plentifully
inhabited by very gentle people" under the King of Denmark. They sailed

   "To the west of them was the ocean,
    To the right the desolate shore."

till they had passed the North Cape, already discovered by Othere,
the old sea-captain who dwelt in Helgoland.

A terrible storm now arose, and "the sea was so outrageous that the
ships could not keep their intended course, but some were driven one
way and some another way to their great peril and hazard." Then Sir
Hugh Willoughby shouted across the roaring seas to Richard Chancellor,
begging him not to go far from him. But the little ships got separated
and never met again. Willoughby was blown across the sea to Nova Zembla.

   "The sea was rough and stormy,
      The tempest howled and wailed,
    And the sea-fog like a ghost
      Haunted that dreary coast.
    But onward still I sailed."

The weather grew more and more Arctic, and he made his way over to
a haven in Lapland where he decided to winter. He sent men to explore
the country, but no signs of mankind could be found; there were bears
and foxes and all manner of strange beasts, but never a human being.
It must have been desperately dreary as the winter advanced, with ice
and snow and freezing winds from the north. What this little handful
of Englishmen did, how they endured the bitter winter on the desolate
shores of Lapland, no man knows. Willoughby was alive in January
1554--then all is silent.

And what of Richard Chancellor on board the _Bonadventure_? "Pensive,
heavy, and sorrowful," but resolute to carry out his orders, "Master
Chancellor held on his course towards that unknown part of the world,
and sailed so far that he came at last to the place where he found
no night at all, but a continual light and brightness of the Sun,
shining clearly upon the huge and mighty Sea." After a time he found
and entered a large bay where he anchored, making friends with the
fisher folk on the shores of the White Sea to the north of Russia.
So frightened were the natives at the greatness of the English ships
that at first they ran away, half-dead with fear. Soon, however, they
regained confidence and, throwing themselves down, they began to kiss
the explorer's feet, "but he (according to his great and singular
courtesy) looked pleasantly upon them." By signs and gestures he
comforted them until they brought food to the "new-come guests," and
went to tell their king of the arrival of "a strange nation of singular
gentleness and courtesy."

Then the King of Russia or Muscovie--Ivan Vasiliwich--sent for Master
Chancellor to go to Moscow. The journey had to be made in sledges over
the ice and snow. A long and weary journey it must have been, for his
guide lost the way, and they had travelled nearly one thousand five
hundred miles before Master Chancellor came at last to Moscow, the
chief city of the kingdom, "as great as the city of London with all
its suburbs," remarks Chancellor. Arrived at the King's palace, Master
Chancellor was received by one hundred Russian courtiers dressed in
cloth of gold to the very ankles. The King sat aloft on a high throne,
with a crown of gold on his head, holding in his hand a glittering
sceptre studded with precious stones. The Englishman and his
companions saluted the King, who received them graciously and read
the letter from Edward VI. with interest. They did not know that the
boy-king was dead, and that his sister Mary was on the throne of England.
The King was much interested in the long beards grown by the Englishmen.
That of one of the company was five foot two inches in length, "thick,
broad, and yellow coloured." "This is God's gift," said the Russians.

[Illustration: IVAN VASILIWICH, KING OF MUSCOVIE. From a sixteenth
century woodcut.]

To Edward VI. of England the King sent a letter by the hands of Richard
Chancellor, giving leave readily for England to trade with Russia.

Master Chancellor seems to have arrived home again safely with his
account of Russia, which encouraged the Merchant Adventurers to send
forth more ships to develop trade with this great new country of which
they knew so little.

To this end Anthony Jenkinson, "a resolute and intelligent gentleman,"
was selected, and "with four tall, well-appointed ships he sailed on
12th May 1557 toward the land of Russia." He reached Cape North on
2nd July, and a few days later he passed the spot where Sir Hugh
Willoughby and all his company had perished. Anchoring in the Bay of
St. Nicholas, he took a sledge for Moscow, where he delivered his
letters safely to the King. So icebound was the country that it was
April 1558 before he was able to leave Moscow for the south, to
accomplish, if possible, the orders of the Merchant Adventurers to
find an overland route to Cathay. With letters of introduction from
the Russian King to the princes and kings through whose dominions he
was to pass, Master Jenkinson made his way to the Volga, whence he
continued his voyage with a Russian captain who was travelling south
in great style to take up a command at Astrakan with five hundred boats
laden with soldiers, stores, food, and merchandise.

After three months' travelling, and having passed over some one
thousand two hundred miles, the Englishman reached the south. The city
of Astrakan offered no attractions and no hope of trade, so Jenkinson
boldly took upon himself to navigate the mouth of the Volga and to
reach the Caspian Sea. He was the first Englishman to cross Russia
from the White Sea to the Caspian. Never before on the Caspian had
the red cross of St. George been seen flying from the masthead of a
ship sailed by Englishmen. After three weeks' buffeting by contrary
winds, they found themselves on the eastern shores, and, getting
together a caravan of one thousand camels, they went forward. No sooner
had they landed than they found themselves in a land of thieves and
robbers. Jenkinson hastened to the Sultan of these parts, a noted
robber himself, to be kindly received by the Tartar Prince, who set
before him the flesh of a wild horse and some mare's milk. Then the
little English party travelled on for three weeks through desolate
land with no rivers, no houses, no inhabitants, till they reached the
banks of the Oxus. "Here we refreshed ourselves," says the explorer,
"having been three days without water and drink, and tarried there
all the next day making merry with our slain horses and camels." For
a hundred miles they followed the course of this great river until
they reached another desert, where they were again attacked by bands
of thieves and robbers.

It was Christmas Eve when they at last reached Bokhara, only to find
that the merchants were so poor that there was no hope of any trade
worth following, though the city was full of caravans from India and
the Far East. And here they heard that the way to Cathay was barred
by reason of grievous wars which were going on. Winter was coming on;
so Jenkinson remained for a couple of months before starting on his
long journey home. With a caravan of six hundred camels he made his
way back to the Caspian, and on 2nd September he had reached Moscow
safely with presents of "a white cow's tail of Cathay and a drum of
Tartary" for the King, which seemed to give that monarch the greatest
pleasure. He evidently stayed for a time in Russia, for it is not till
the year 1560 that we find him writing to the Merchant Adventurers
that "at the next shipping I embark myself for England."


While Jenkinson was endeavouring to reach the Far East by land, a
Portuguese named Pinto had succeeded in reaching it by sea. The
discovery of Japan is claimed by three people. Antonio de Mota had
been thrown by a storm on to the island of Nison, called by the Chinese
Jepwen--Japan--in the year 1542. Pinto claims to have discovered it
the same year. It seems that the Japanese were expecting the return
of a god, and as the white men hove in sight they exclaimed: "These
are certainly the Chinchi cogies spoken of in our records, who, flying
over the waters, shall come to be lords of the lands where God has
placed the greatest riches of the world. It will be fortunate for us
if they come as friends."

Now men of the time refused to believe in the travels of Mendex Pinto.
"He should be called Mendax Pinto," said one, "whose book is one
continued chain of monstrous fiction which deserves no credit," while
a hundred and fifty years later Congreve wrote--

   "Ferdinando Mendez Pinto was but a type of thee,
    Thou liar of the first magnitude."



So far the expeditions of Willoughby, Chancellor, and Jenkinson had
all failed to reach the Far East. The Spanish had a way thither by
Magellan's Strait, the Portuguese by the Cape of Good Hope. England
in the middle of the sixteenth century had no way. What about a
North-West Passage leading round Labrador from the Atlantic to the
Pacific? England was waking up to possibilities of future exploration.
She was also ready and anxious to annoy Spain for having monopolised
the riches and wealth of the New World. And so it was that Queen
Elizabeth turned with interest to the suggestions of one of her
subjects--Martin Frobisher--"a mariner of great experience and
ability," when he enthusiastically consulted her on the navigation
of the North-West Passage. For the last fifteen years he had been trying
to collect ships and men for the enterprise. "It is the only thing
in the world left undone whereby a notable mind might be made famous
and fortunate," he affirmed.

But it was not till the year 1576 that he got a chance of fitting out
two small ships--two very small ships--the _Gabriel_ of twenty tons,
the _Michael_ of twenty-five tons, to explore the icy regions of the
north. A wave of the Queen's hand gladdened his heart as he sailed
past the palace of Greenwich, where the Court resided, and he was soon
sailing northward harassed and battered by many storms. His little
ten-ton pinnace was lost, and the same storm that overtook the little
fleet to the north of Scotland so terrified the captain of the _Michael_
that he deserted and turned home with the news that Frobisher had
perished with all hands.

Meanwhile Frobisher, resolute in his undertaking, was nearing the
coast of Greenland--alone in the little _Gabriel_ with a mere handful
of men all inexperienced in the art of navigating the Polar seas.

   "And now there came both mist and snow,
    And it grew wondrous cold"

as Frobisher sailed his storm-beaten ship across the wintry seas. But
"I will sacrifice my life to God rather than return home without
discovering a north-west passage to Cathay," he told his eighteen men
with sublime courage. Passing Cape Farewell, he sailed north-west with
the Greenland current, which brought him to the icebound shores near
Hudson's Bay. He did not see the straits afterwards discovered by
Hudson, but, finding an inlet farther north, he sailed some hundred
miles, in the firm belief that this was the passage for which he was
searching, that America lay on his left and Asia on his right. Magellan
had discovered straits in the extreme south; Frobisher made sure that
he had found corresponding straits to the extreme north, and
Frobisher's Straits they were accordingly named, and as such they
appeared on the maps of the day till they had to be renamed Lumley's
Inlet. The snow and ice made further navigation impossible for this
year, and full of their great news they returned home accompanied by
an Eskimo. These natives had been taken for porpoises by our English
explorers, but later they were reported to be "strange infidels whose
like was never seen, read, or heard of before."

Beste's account of Frobisher's voyages, 1578.]

Martin Frobisher was received with enthusiasm and "highly commended
of all men for his great and notable attempt, but specially famous
for the great hope he brought of the passage to Cathay." Besides the
Eskimo the explorers carried home a black stone, which, when thrown
on the fire by one of the sailor's wives, glittered like gold. The
gold refiners of London were hastily called in, and they reported that
it contained a quantity of gold.

A new incentive was now given to Polar exploration. The Queen herself
contributed a tall ship of some two hundred tons to the new expedition
that was eagerly fitted out, and the High Admiral of all seas and waters,
countries, lands, and isles, as Frobisher was now called, sailed away
again for the icy north, more to search for gold than to discover the
North-West Passage. He added nothing more to the knowledge of the world,
and though he sailed through the strait afterwards known as Hudson's
Strait, he never realised his discovery. His work was hampered by the
quest for gold, for which England was eagerly clamouring, and he
disappears from our history of discovery.

The triumphant return of Francis Drake in 1580 laden with treasure
from the Spice Islands put into the shade all schemes for a north-west
passage for the moment.

Nevertheless, this voyage of Martin Frobisher is important in the
history of exploration. It was the first attempt of an Englishman to
make search amid the ice of the Arctic regions--a search in which so
many were yet to lay down their lives.



   "Call him on the deep sea, call him up the sound,
    Call him when ye sail to meet the foe;
    Where the old trade's plyin' and the old flag flyin',
    They shall find him ware an' wakin', as they found him long ago!"
                                                     HENRY NEWBOLT.

Drake's famous voyage, as it is known to history (1577-1580), was
indeed famous, for although Magellan's ship had sailed round the world
fifty years before, Drake was the first Englishman to do so, and,
further, he discovered for us land to the south of Magellan's Strait
round which washed the waters of Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, showing
that the mysterious land marked on contemporary maps as Terra
Australis and joined to South America was a separate land altogether.
He also explored the coast of America as far north as Vancouver Island,
and disclosed to England the secret of the Spice Islands. The very
name of Drake calls up a vision of thrilling adventure on the high
seas. He had been at sea since he was a boy of fifteen, when he had
been apprenticed to the master of a small ship trading between England
and the Netherlands, and many a time he had sailed on the grey North
Sea. "But the narrow seas were a prison for so large a spirit born
for greater undertakings," and in 1567 we find Drake sailing forth
on board the _Judith_ in an expedition over to the Spanish settlements
in America under his kinsman, John Hawkins. Having crossed the
Atlantic and filled his ships with Spanish treasure from "the Spanish
Main," and having narrowly escaped death from the hands of the
Spaniards, Drake had hurried home to tell of the riches of this new
country still closed to all other nations. Two years later Drake was
off again, this time in command himself of two ships with crews of
seventy-three young men, their modest aim being nothing less than to
seize one of the Spanish ports and empty into their holds the "Treasure
House of the World." What if this act of reckless daring was
unsuccessful? The undertaking was crowned with a higher success than
that of riches, for Drake was the first Englishman to see the waters
of the Pacific Ocean. His expedition was not unlike that of Balboa
some sixty years before, as with eighteen chosen companions he climbed
the forest-clad spurs of the ridge dividing the two great oceans.
Arrived at the top, he climbed up a giant tree, and the Golden Sea
of which he had so often heard--the Pacific Ocean of Magellan, the
waters washing the golden shores of Mexico and Peru--all lay below
him. Descending from the heights, he sank upon his knees and "humbly
besought Almighty God of His goodness to give him life and leave to
sail once in an English ship in that sea."

[Illustration: SIR FRANCIS DRAKE. From Holland's _Heroologia_, 1620.]

Jealously had the Spanish guarded this beautiful Southern Sea, now
her secrets were laid bare, for an Englishman had gazed upon it and
he was not likely to remain satisfied with this alone.

In 1573 Drake came home with his wonderful news, and it was not long
before he was eagerly talking over with the Queen a project for a raid
into this very Golden Sea guarded by the Spaniards. Elizabeth promised
help on condition that the object of the expedition should remain a
secret. Ships were bought for "a voyage to Egypt"; there was the
_Pelican_ of one hundred tons, the _Marygold_ of thirty tons, and a
provision ship of fifty tons. A fine new ship of eighty tons, named
the _Elizabeth_, mysteriously added itself to the little fleet, and
the crews numbered in all some one hundred and fifty men. No expense
was spared in the equipment of the ships. Musicians were engaged for
the voyage, the arms and ammunition were of the latest pattern. The
flagship was lavishly furnished: there were silver bowls and mugs and
dishes richly gilt and engraved with the family arms, while the
commander's cabin was full of sweet-smelling perfumes presented by
the Queen herself. Thus, complete at last, Drake led his gay little
squadron out of Plymouth harbour on 15th November 1577, bound for
Alexandria--so the crews thought.

Little did Drake know what was before him, as, dressed in his seaman's
shirt, his scarlet cap with its gold band on his head, he waved farewell
to England. Who could foresee the terrible beginning, with treachery
and mutiny at work, or the glorious ending when the young Englishman
sailed triumphantly home after his three years' voyage--the world

Having reached the Cape de Verde Islands in safety, the object of the
expedition could no longer remain a secret, and Drake led his squadron
boldly across the Atlantic Ocean.

On 5th April the coast of Brazil appeared, but fogs and heavy weather
scattered the ships and they had to run into the mouth of the La Plata
for shelter. Then for six weary weeks the ships struggled southward,
battered by gales and squalls during which nothing but the daring
seamanship of the English navigators saved the little vessels from
destruction. It was not till 20th June that they reached Port St. Julian
of Magellan fame, on the desolate shores of Patagonia. As they entered
the harbour, a grim sight met their eyes. On that windswept shore was
the skeleton of the man hung by Magellan years before.

[Illustration: THE SILVER MAP OF THE WORLD. From the medallion in the
British Museum, probably struck in 1581, showing the line of Drake's
voyage from England in 1577 westwards through the Magellan Strait to
California and New Albion.]

History was to repeat itself, and the same fate was now to befall an
unhappy Englishman guilty of the same conduct.

Drake had long had reason to suspect the second in command, Doughty,
though he was his dear friend. He had been guilty of worse than
disobedience, and the very success of the voyage was threatened. So
Drake called a council together and Doughty was tried according to
English law. After two days' trial he was found guilty and condemned
to die. One of the most touching scenes in the history of exploration
now took place. One sees the little English crews far away on that
desolate shore, the ships lying at anchor in the harbour, the block
prepared, the altar raised beside it, the two old friends, Drake and
Doughty, kneeling side by side, then the flash of the sword and Drake
holding up the head of his friend with the words, "Lo, this is the
end of traitors."

It was now midwinter, and for six weeks they remained in harbour till
August came, and with three ships they emerged to continue their way
to the Straits of Magellan. At last it was found and boldly they entered.
From the towering mountains that guarded the entry, tempests of wind
and snow swept down upon the "daring intruders." As they made their
way through the rough and winding waters, they imagined with all the
other geographers of their time that the unknown land to the south
was one great continent leading beyond the boundaries of the world.
Fires lit by the natives on this southern coast added terror to the
wild scene. But at the end of sixteen days they found themselves once
more in the open sea. They were at last on the Pacific Ocean. But it
was anything but pacific. A terrible tempest arose, followed by other
storms no less violent, and the ships were driven helplessly southward
and westward far beyond Cape Horn. When they once more reached the
coast they found in the place of the great southern continent an
indented wind-swept shore washed by waves terrific in their height
and strength. In the ceaseless gale the _Marygold_ foundered with all
hands and was never heard of again. A week later the captain of the
_Elizabeth_ turned home, leaving the _Pelican_, now called the _Golden
Hind_, to struggle on alone. After nearly two months of storm, Drake
anchored among the islands southward of anything yet known to the
geographers, where Atlantic and Pacific rolled together in one
boisterous flood. Walking alone to the farthest end of the island,
Drake is said to have laid himself down and with his arms embraced
the southernmost point of the known world.

[Illustration: THE SILVER MAP OF THE WORLD. The reverse half, showing
the route of Drake's voyage home from California in 1579-1580, through
the Spice Islands and the Indian Ocean. The end of the homeward track,
round the Azores, will be seen on the previous Silver Map

He showed that the Tierra del Fuego, instead of being part of a great
continent--the Terra Australis--was a group of islands with open sea
to east, south, and west. This discovery was first shown on a Dutch
silver medallion struck in Holland about 1581, known as The Silver
Map of the world, and may be seen to-day in the British Museum.

THE WORLD. After the engraving attributed to Hondius.]

Remarking that the ocean he was now entering would have been better
called "Mare Furiosum" than "Mare Pacificum," Drake now directed his
course along the western coast of South America. He found the coast
of Chili, but not as the general maps had described it, "wherefore
it appeareth that this part of Chili hath not been truly hitherto
discovered," remarked one on board the _Golden Hind_. Bristling with
guns, the little English ship sailed along the unknown coast, till
they reached Valparaiso. Here they found a great Spanish ship laden
with treasure from Peru. Quickly boarding her, the English sailors
bound the Spaniards, stowed them under the hatches, and hastily
transferred the cargo on to the _Golden Hind_. They sailed on
northwards to Lima and Panama, chasing the ships of Spain, plundering
as they went, till they were deeply laden with stolen Spanish treasure
and knew that they had made it impossible to return home by that coast.
So Drake resolved to go on northward and discover, if possible, a way
home by the north. He had probably heard of Frobisher's Strait, and
hoped to find a western entrance.

As they approached the Arctic regions the weather grew bitterly cold,
and "vile, thick, stinking fogs" determined them to sail southward.
They had reached a point near what we now know as Vancouver Island
when contrary winds drove them back and they put in at a harbour, now
known as San Francisco, to repair the ship for the great voyage across
the Pacific and home by the Cape of Good Hope. Drake had sailed past
seven hundred miles of new coast-line in twelve days, and he now turned
to explore the new country, to which he gave the name of New Albion.
The Indians soon began to gather in large quantities on the shore,
and the King himself, tall and comely, advanced in a friendly manner.
Indeed, he took off his crown and set it on the head of Drake and,
hanging chains about his neck, the Indians made him understand that
the land was now his and that they were his vassals.

[Illustration: THE _GOLDEN HIND_ AT NEW ALBION. From the Chart of
Drake's Voyages. 1589.]

Little did King Drake dream, as he named his country New Albion, that
Californian gold was so near. His subjects were loving and peaceable,
evidently regarding the English as gods and reverencing them as such.
The chronicler is eloquent in his detailed description of all the royal

"Before we left," he says, "our General caused to be set up a monument
of our being there, as also of Her Majesty's right and title to that
kingdom, namely, a plate of brass, fast nailed to a great and firm
post, whereon is engraved Her Grace's name and the day and year of
our arrival here, and of the free giving up of the province, both by
the people and king, into Her Majesty's hands, together with Her
Highness' picture and arms in a piece of sixpence current money. The
Spanish never so much as set foot in this country--the utmost of their
discoveries reaching only to many degrees southward of this place.

"And now, as the time of our departure was perceived by the people,
so did the sorrows and miseries seem to increase upon them--not only
did they lose on a sudden all mirth, joy, glad countenance, pleasant
speeches, agility of body, but with signs and sorrowings, with heavy
hearts and grieved minds, they poured out woeful complaints and moans,
with bitter tears and wringing of their hands, tormenting themselves.
And, as men refusing all comfort, they only accounted themselves as
those whom the gods were about to forsake."

Indeed, the poor Indians looked on these Englishmen as gods, and, when
the day came for them to leave, they ran to the top of the hills to
keep the little ship in sight as long as possible, after which they
burnt fires and made sacrifices at their departure.

Drake left New Albion on 23rd July 1579, to follow the lead of Magellan
and to pass home by the southern seas and the Atlantic Ocean. After
sixty-eight days of quick and straight sailing, with no sight of land,
they fell in with the Philippine Islands, and on 3rd November with
the famous Spice Islands. Here they were well received by the King--a
magnificent person attired in cloth of gold, with bare legs and shoes
of Cordova skins, rings of gold in his hair, and a chain "of perfect
gold" about his neck. The Englishmen were glad enough to get fresh
food after their long crossing, and fared sumptuously on rice, hens,
"imperfect and liquid sugar," sugar-canes, and a fruit they call figo,
with plenty of cloves. On a little island near Celebes the _Golden
Hind_ was thoroughly repaired for her long voyage home. But the little
treasure-laden ship was nearly wrecked before she got away from the
dangerous shoals and currents of these islands.

"Upon the 9th of January we ran suddenly upon a rock, where we stuck
fast from eight of the clock at night till four of the clock in the
afternoon the next day, being, indeed, out of all hope to escape the
danger; but our General, as he had always hitherto showed himself
courageous, so now he and we did our best endeavours to save ourselves,
which it pleased God so to bless, that in the end we cleared ourselves
most happily of the danger."

[Illustration: THE _GOLDEN HIND_ AT JAVA. From the Chart of Drake's

Then they ran across the Indian Ocean, rounded the Cape of Good Hope
in calm weather, abusing the Portuguese for calling it the most
dangerous Cape in the world for intolerable storms, for "This Cape,"
said the English, "is a most stately thing and the finest Cape we saw
in the whole circumference of the earth."

And so they came home. After nearly three years' absence Drake
triumphantly sailed his little _Golden Hind_ into Plymouth harbour,
where he had long ago been given up as lost. Shouts of applause rang
through the land at the news that an Englishman had circumnavigated
the world. The Queen sent for Drake to tell his wonderful story, to
which she listened spellbound. A great banquet was held on board the
little ship, at which Elizabeth was present and knighted Drake, while
she ordered that the _Golden Hind_ should be preserved "as a worthy
rival of Magellan's _Victoria_" and as "a monument to all posterity
of that famous and worthy exploit of Sir Francis Drake." It was
afterwards taken to pieces, and the best parts of wood were made into
a chair at Oxford, commemorated by Cowley's lines--

   "To this great ship, which round the world has run
    And matched in race the chariot of the sun;

       *       *       *       *       *

    Drake and his ship could ne'er have wished from fate
    A happier station or more blest estate;
    For lo, a seat of endless rest is given
    To her in Oxford and to him in Heaven."

Sir Francis Drake died at sea in 1596.

   "The waves became his winding sheet, the waters were his tomb,
    But for his fame the ocean sea was not sufficient room."

[Illustration: "THE UNROLLING OF THE CLOUDS"--V. The world as known
after its circumnavigation by Sir Francis Drake in the years



But even while Drake was sailing round the world, and Frobisher's
search for a north-west passage had been diverted into a quest for
gold, men's minds were still bent on the achievement of reaching Cathay
by some northern route. A discourse by Sir Humphrey Gilbert to prove
the existence of a passage by the north-west to Cathay and the East
Indies, in ten chapters, was much discussed, and the Elizabethan
seamen were still bent on its discovery.

"When I gave myself to the study of geography," said Sir Humphrey,
"and came to the fourth part of the world, commonly called America,
which by all descriptions I found to be an island environed round by
sea, having on the south side of it the Strait of Magellan, on the
west side the Sea of the South, which sea runneth toward the north,
separating it from the east parts of Asia, and on the north side the
sea that severeth it from Greenland, through which Northern Seas the
Passage lieth which I take now in hand to discover."

The arguments of Sir Humphrey seemed conclusive, and in 1585 they chose
John Davis, "a man well grounded in the principles of the art of
navigation," to search for the North-West Passage to China. They gave
him two little ships, the _Sunshine_ of fifty tons, with a crew of
seventeen seamen, four musicians, and a boy, and the _Moonshine_ of
thirty-five tons. It was a daring venture, but the expedition was
ill-equipped to battle with the icebound seas of the frozen north.
The ships left Dartmouth on 7th June, and by July they were well out
on the Atlantic with porpoises and whales playing round them. Then
came a time of fog and mist, "with a mighty great roaring of the sea."
On 20th July they sailed out of the fog and beheld the snow-covered
mountains of Greenland, beyond a wide stream of pack-ice--so gloomy,
so "waste, and void of any creatures," so bleak and inhospitable that
the Englishmen named it the Land of Desolation and passed on to the
north. Rounding the point, afterwards named by Davis Cape Farewell,
and sailing by the western coast of Greenland, they hoped to find the
passage to Cathay. Landing amid the fiords and the "green and pleasant
isles" about the coast, they anchored a while to refresh, and named
their bay Gilbert Sound, after Sir Humphrey and Davis' own little boy,
Gilbert, left at home.

"The people of the country," says Davis, "having espied our ships,
came down unto us in their canoes, holding up their right hand toward
the sun. We doing the like, the people came aboard our ships, men of
good stature, unbearded, small-eyed, and of tractable conditions. We
bought the clothes from their backs, which were all made of seals'
skins and birds' skins, their buskins, their hose, their gloves, all
being commonly sewed and well dressed."

[Illustration: AN ESKIMO. From a water-colour drawing by John White,
about 1585, who may have seen Eskimo either in Frobisher's or Davis's

These simple Greenlanders who worshipped the sun gave Davis to
understand that there was a great and open sea to the north-west, and
full of hope he sailed on. But he soon abandoned the search, for the
season was advancing, and, crossing the open sea, he entered the broad
channel named after him Davis Strait, crossed the Arctic Circle, and
anchored under a promontory, "the cliffs whereof were orient as gold,"
naming it Mount Raleigh. Here they found four white bears of "a
monstrous bigness," which they took to be goats or wolves, till on
nearer acquaintance they were discovered to be great Polar bears.
There were no signs of human life, no wood, no grass, no earth, nothing
but rock, so they coasted southwards, and to their joy they found an
open strait to the west free from ice. Eagerly they sailed the little
_Moonshine_ and _Sunshine_ up the opening, which they called
Cumberland Sound, till thick fogs and adverse winds drove them back.
Winter was now advancing, the six months' provisions were ended, and,
satisfied with having found an open passage westward, Davis sailed
home in triumph to fit out another expedition as soon as spring came
round. His news was received with delight. "The North-West Passage
is a matter nothing doubtful," he affirmed, "but at any time almost
to be passed, the sea navigable, void of ice, the air tolerable, and
the waters very deep."

With this certainty of success the merchants readily fitted out
another expedition, and Davis sailed early in May 1586 with four ships.
The little _Moonshine_ and _Sunshine_ were included in the new fleet,
but Davis himself commanded the _Mermaid_ of one hundred and twenty
tons. The middle of June found him on the west coast of Greenland,
battling his way with great blocks of ice to his old quarters at Gilbert
Sound. What a warm welcome they received from their old Eskimo friends;
"they rowed to the boat and took hold on the oars and hung about with
such comfortable joy as would require a long discourse to be uttered."
Followed by a wondering crowd of natives eager to help him up and down
the rocks, Davis made his way inland to find an inviting country, "with
earth and grass such as our moory and waste grounds of England are";
he found, too, mosses and wild flowers in the sheltered places. But
his business lay in the icy waters, and he boldly pushed forward. But
ice and snow and fog made further progress impossible; shrouds, ropes,
and sails were turned into a frozen mass, and the crew was filled with
despair. "Our men began to grow sick and feeble and hopeless of good
success, and they advised me that in conscience I ought to regard the
safety of mine own life with the preservation of theirs, and that I
should not through my over-boldness leave their widows and fatherless
children to give me bitter curses."

So Davis rearranged his crews and provisions, and with the _Moonshine_
and a selection of his best men he determined to voyage on "as God
should direct him," while the _Mermaid_ should carry the sick and
feeble and fainthearted home. Davis then crossed over the strait
called by his name and explored the coast about Cumberland Sound. Again
he tried here to discover the long-sought passage, but the brief summer
season was almost past and he had to content himself with exploring
the shores of Labrador, unconsciously following the track made by John
Cabot eighty-nine years before.

But on his return home the merchants of London were disappointed. Davis
had indeed explored an immense extent of coast-line, and he had brought
back a cargo of cod-fish and five hundred seal skins, but Cathay seemed
as far off as ever. One merchant prince, Sanderson by name, was still
very keen, and he helped Davis to fit out yet another expedition. With
three ships, the _Sunshine_, the _Elizabeth_, and the _Helen_, the
undaunted Arctic explorer now found himself for the third summer in
succession at his old halting-place, Gilbert's Sound, on the west
coast of Greenland.

Leaving his somewhat discontented crews to go fishing off the coast
of Labrador, he took the little twenty-ton pinnace, with a small party
of brave spirits like his own, and made his way northwards in a free
and open sea. The weather was hot, land was visible on both sides,
and the English mariners were under the impression that they were
sailing up a gulf. But the passage grew wider and wider, till Davis
found himself with the sea all open to west and north. He had crossed
the Arctic Circle and reached the most northerly point ever yet reached
by an explorer. Seeing on his right a lofty cliff, he named it
"Sanderson his Hope," for it seemed to give hope of the long-sought
passage to Cathay.

It was a memorable day in the annals of discovery, 30th June 1587,
when Davis reached this famous point on the coast of Greenland. "A
bright blue sea extended to the horizon on the north and west,
obstructed by no ice, but here and there a few majestic icebergs with
peaks snowy shooting up into the sky." To the eastward were the granite
mountains of Greenland, and beyond them the white line of the mightiest
glacier in the world. Rising immediately above the tiny vessel was
the beetling wall of Hope Sanderson, with its summit eight hundred
and fifty feet above sea-level. At its base the sea was a sheet of
foam and spray. It must have been a scene like fairyland, for, as Davis
remarked, there was "no ice towards the north, but a great sea, free,
large, very salt and blue, and of an unsearchable depth."

But again disappointment awaited him. That night a wind from the north
barred further advance as a mighty bank of ice some eight feet thick
came drifting down toward the Atlantic. Again and again he attempted
to get on, but it was impossible, and reluctantly enough he turned
the little ship southwards.

"This Davis hath been three times employed; why hath he not found the
passage?" said the folk at home when he returned and reported his doings.
How little they realised the difficulties of the way. The commander
of the twenty-ton _Ellen_ had done more than any man had done before
him in the way of Arctic exploration. He had discovered seven hundred
and thirty-two miles of coast from Cape Farewell to Sanderson's Hope;
he had examined the whole coast of Labrador; he had "converted the
Arctic regions from a confused myth into a defined area." "He lighted
Baffin into his bay. He lighted Hudson into his strait. He lighted
Hans Egede to the scene of his Greenland labour." And more than this,
says his enthusiastic biographer: "His true-hearted devotion to the
cause of Arctic discovery, his patient scientific research, his
loyalty to his employers, his dauntless gallantry and enthusiasm form
an example which will be a beacon-light to maritime explorers for all
time to come."

   "And Davis three times forth for the north-west made,
    Still striving by that course t'enrich the English trade;
    And as he well deserved, to his eternal fame,
    There, by a mighty sea, immortalised his name."



With the third failure of John Davis to find the North-West Passage
the English search for Cathay came to an end for the present. But the
merchants of Amsterdam took up the search, and in 1594 they fitted
out an expedition under William Barents, a burgher of Amsterdam and
a practical seaman of much experience. The three voyages of Barents
form some of the most romantic reading in the history of geographical
discovery, and the preface to the old book compiled for the Dutch after
the death of Barents sums up in pathetic language the tragic story
of the "three Voyages, so strange and wonderful that the like hath
never been heard of before." They were "done and performed three
years," says the old preface, "one after the other, by the ships of
Holland, on the North sides of Norway, Muscovy, and Tartary, towards
the kingdoms of Cathay and China, showing discoveries of the Country
lying under 80 degrees: which is thought to be Greenland; where never
any man had been before, with the cruel Bears and other Monsters of
the sea and the unsupportable and extreme cold that is found to be
in these places. And how that in the last Voyage the Ship was enclosed
by the Ice, that it was left there, whereby the men were forced to
build a house in the cold and desert country of Nova Zembla, wherein
they continued ten months together and never saw nor heard of any man,
in most great cold and extreme misery; and how after that, to save
their lives, they were constrained to sail about one thousand miles
in little open boats, along and over the main Seas in most great danger
and with extreme labour, unspeakable troubles, and great hunger."

Surely no more graphic summary of disaster has ever appeared than these
words penned three hundred and fourteen years ago, which cry to us
down the long, intervening ages of privation and suffering endured
in the cause of science.

[Illustration: A SHIP OF THE LATE SIXTEENTH CENTURY. From Ortelius,

In the year 1594, then, four ships were sent forth from Amsterdam with
orders to the wise and skilful pilot, William Barents, that he was
to sail into the North Seas and "discover the kingdoms of Cathay and
China." In the month of July the Dutch pilot found himself off the
south coast of Nova Zembla, whence he sailed as the wind pleased to
take him, ever making for the north and hugging the coast as close
as possible. On 9th July they found a creek very far north to which
they gave the name of Bear Creek, because here they suddenly discovered
their first Polar bear. It tried to get into their boat, so they shot
it with a musket, "but the bear showed most wonderful strength, for,
notwithstanding that she was shot into the body, yet she leapt up and
swam in the water; the men that were in the boat, rowing after her,
cast a rope about her neck and drew her at the stern of the boat, for,
not having seen the like bear before, they thought to have carried
her alive in the ship and to have showed her for a strange wonder in
Holland; but she used such force that they were glad they were rid
of her, and contented themselves with her skin only." This they brought
back to Amsterdam in great triumph--their first white Polar bear. But
they went farther north than this, until they came to a plain field
of ice and encountered very misty weather. Still they kept sailing
on, as best they might, round about the ice till they found the land
of Nova Zembla was covered with snow. From "Ice Point" they made their
way to islands which they named Orange Islands after the Dutch Prince.
Here they found two hundred walrus or sea-horses lying on the shore
and basking in the sun.

[Illustration: NOVA ZEMBLA AND THE ARCTIC REGIONS. From a map in De
Bry's _Grands Voyages_, 1598.]

"The sea-horse is a wonderful strong monster of the sea," they brought
back word, "much bigger than an ox, having a skin like a seal, with
very short hair, mouthed like a lion; it hath four feet, but no ears."
The little party of Dutchmen advanced boldly with hatchets and pikes
to kill a few of these monsters to take home, but it was harder work
than they thought. The wind suddenly rose, too, and rent the ice into
great pieces, so they had to content themselves by getting a few of
their ivory teeth, which they reported to be half an ell long. With
these and other treasures Barents was now forced to return from these
high latitudes, and he sailed safely into the Texel after three and
a half months' absence.

His reports of Nova Zembla encouraged the merchants of Amsterdam to
persevere in their search for the kingdoms of Cathay and China by the
north-east, and a second expedition was fitted out under Barents the
following year; but it started too late to accomplish much, and we
must turn to the third expedition for the discovery which has for ever
made famous the name of William Barents. It was yet early in the May
of 1596 when he sailed from Amsterdam with two ships for the third
and last time, bound once more for the frozen northern seas. By 1st
June he had reached a region where there was no night, and a few days
later a strange sight startled the whole crew, "for on each side of
the sun there was another sun and two rainbows more, the one compassing
round about the suns and the other right through the great circle,"
and they found they were "under 71 degrees of the height of the Pole."

Sighting the North Cape of Lapland, they held on a north-westerly
course till on 9th June they came upon a little island which they named
Bear Island. Here they nearly met their end, for, having ascended a
steep snow mountain on the island to look around them, they found it
too slippery to descend. "We thought we should all have broken our
necks, it was so slippery, but we sat up on the snow and slid down,
which was very dangerous for us, and break both our arms and legs for
that at the foot of the hill there were many rocks." Barents himself
seems to have sat in the boat and watched them with intense anxiety.
They were once more amid ice and Polar bears. In hazy weather they
made their way north till on the 19th they saw land, and the "land
was very great." They thought it was Greenland, but it was really
Spitzbergen, of which he was thus the discoverer.

Many things astonished the navigators here. Although they were in such
high latitudes, they saw grass and leafy trees and such animals as
bucks and harts, while several degrees to the south "there groweth
neither leaves nor grass nor any beasts that eat grass or leaves, but
only such beasts as eat flesh, as bears and foxes."

De Veer's account of the voyages of Barents, 1598.]

By 1st July he had explored the western shore and was sailing south
to Bear Island. He never landed on the coast of Spitzbergen: so we
have no further account of this Arctic discovery. Sailing across the
wide northern sea now known as Barents Sea, he made land again in the
north of Nova Zembla, and, hugging the western shore, came to Ice Point.
Here they were sorely harassed by Polar bears and floating ice and
bitter gales of wind. Still they coasted on till they had rounded the
northern end of Nova Zembla and unexpectedly sailed into a good harbour
where they could anchor. The wind now blew with redoubled vigour, the
"ice came mightily driving in" until the little ship was nearly
surrounded, "and withal the wind began more and more to rise and the
ice still drave harder and harder, so that our boat was broken in pieces
between the ship and the ice, and it seemed as if the ship would be
crushed in pieces too."

As the August days passed on, they tried to get out of their prison,
but it was impossible, and there was nothing for it but to winter "in
great cold, poverty, misery, and grief" in this bleak and barren spot.
The successful pilot was to explore no more, but the rest of the tragic
tale must be shortly told. With the ice heaping high, "as the salt
hills that are in Spain," and the ship in danger of going to pieces,
they collected trees and roots driven on to the desolate shores from
Tartary, "wherewith as if God had purposely sent them unto us we were
much comforted." Through the September days they drew wood across the
ice and snow to build a house for the winter. Only sixteen men could
work and they were none too strong and well.

[Illustration: BARENTS'S SHIP AMONG THE ARCTIC ICE. From a coloured
woodcut in the account of Barents's three voyages by Gerard de Veer,
published in 1598.]

Throughout October and November they were snowed up in their winter
hut, with "foul stormie weather" outside, the wind blowing ceaselessly
out of the north and snow lying deep around. They trapped a few foxes
from day to day to eat, making warm caps out of their fur; they heated
stones and took them into their cabin beds, but their sheets froze
as they washed them and at last their clock froze too.

"They looked pitifully upon one another, being in great fear that if
the extremity of the cold grew to be more and more we should all die
there with the cold." Christmas came and went and they comforted one
another by remembering that the sun was as low as it could go, and
that it must begin to come to them again; but "as the day lengthens,
so the cold strengthens," and the snow now lay deeper until it covered
the roof of their house.

The New Year found them still imprisoned, "with great cold, danger,
and disease." January, February, March, April passed and still the
little ship was stuck fast in the ice. But as the sun began to gain
power, hope revived, and they began to repair their boats, to make
new sails, and repair tackle. They were too weak and ill to do much
work, but by the middle of June the boats were fairly ready and they
could cut a way through the ice to the open sea. This was their only
hope of escape, to leave the ship behind and embark in two little open
boats for the open sea.

"Then William Barents wrote a letter, which he put into a musket's
charge and hanged it up in the chimney, showing how we came out of
Holland to sail to the kingdom of China, and how we had been forced
in our extremity to make that house and had dwelt ten months therein,
and how we were forced to put to sea in two small open boats, for that
the ship lay fast in the ice."

Barents himself was now too ill to walk, so they carried him to one
of the little boats, and on 14th June 1597 the little party put off
from their winter quarters and sailed round to Ice Point. But the pilot
was dying. "Are we about Ice Point?" he asked feebly. "If we be, then
I pray you lift me up, for I must view it once again."

Then suddenly the wind began to rise, driving the ice so fast upon
them "that it made our hair stand upright upon our heads, it was so
fearful to behold, so that we thought verily that it was a foreshadowing
of our last end."

They drew the boats up on to the ice and lifted the sick commander
out and laid him on the icy ground, where a few days later he died--"our
chief guide and only pilot on whom we reposed ourselves next under
God." The rest of the story is soon told.

On 1st November 1597 some twelve gaunt and haggard men, still wearing
caps of white fox and coats of bearskin, having guided their little
open boats all the way from Nova Zembla, arrived at Amsterdam and told
the story of their exploration to the astonished merchants, who had
long since given them up as dead.

It was not till 1871 that Barents' old winter quarters on Nova Zembla
were discovered. "There stood the cooking-pans over the fireplace,
the old clocks against the wall, the arms, the tools, the drinking
vessels, the instruments and the books that had beguiled the weary
hours of that long night, two hundred and seventy-eight years ago."
Among the relics were a pair of small shoes and a flute which had
belonged to a little cabin-boy who had died during the winter.



Henry Hudson was another victim to perish in the hopeless search for
a passage to China by the north. John Davis had been dead two years,
but not till after he had piloted the first expedition undertaken by
the newly formed East India Company for commerce with India and the
East. It was now more important than ever to find a short way to these
countries other than round by the Cape of Good Hope. So Henry Hudson
was employed by the Muscovy Company "to discover a shorter route to
Cathay _by sailing over the North Pole_." He knew the hardships of
the way; he must have realised the fate of Willoughby, the failure
of Frobisher, the sufferings of Barents and his men, the difficulties
of Davis--indeed, it is more than probable that he had listened to
Davis speaking on the subject of Arctic exploration to the merchants
of London at his uncle's house at Mortlake.

Never did man start on a bolder or more perilous enterprise than did
this man, when he started for the North Pole in a little boat of eighty
tons, with his little son Jack, two mates, and a crew of eight men.

"Led by Hudson with the fire of a great faith in his eyes, the men
solemnly marched to St. Ethelburga Church, off Bishopsgate Street,
London, to partake of Holy Communion and ask God's aid. Back to the
muddy water front, opposite the Tower, a hearty God-speed from the
gentlemen of the Muscovy Company, pompous in self-importance and lace
ruffles--and the little crew steps into a clumsy river-boat with
brick-red sails."

After a six weeks' tumble over a waste of waters, Hudson arrived off
the coast of Greenland, the decks of the little _Hopewell_ coated with
ice, her rigging and sails hard as boards, and a north-east gale of
wind and snow against her. A barrier of ice forbade further advance;
but, sailing along the edge of this barrier--the first navigator to
do so--he made for the coast of Spitzbergen, already roughly charted
by Barents. Tacking up the west coast to the north, Hudson now explored
further the fiords, islands, and harbours, naming some of
them--notably Whale Bay and Hakluyt Headland, which may be seen on
our maps of to-day. By 13th July he had reached his Farthest North,
farther than any explorer had been before him, farther than any to
be reached again for over one hundred and fifty years. It was a land
of walrus, seal, and Polar bear; but, as usual, ice shut off all further
attempts to penetrate the mysteries of the Pole, thick fog hung around
the little ship, and with a fair wind Hudson turned southward. "It
pleased God to give us a gale and away we steered," says the old ship
log. Hudson would fain have steered Greenland way and had another try
for the north. But his men wanted to go home, and home they went, through
"slabbie" weather.

But the voice of the North was still calling Hudson, and he persuaded
the Muscovy Company to let him go off again. This he did in the following
year. Only three of his former crew volunteered for service, and one
of these was his son. But this expedition was devoid of result. The
icy seas about Nova Zembla gave no hope of a passage in this direction,
and, "being void of hope, the wind stormy and against us, much ice
driving, we weighed and set sail westward."

book published in 1612.]

Hudson's voyages for the Muscovy Company had already come under the
notice of the Dutch, who were vying with the English for the discovery
of this short route to the East. Hudson was now invited to undertake
an expedition for the Dutch East India Company, and he sailed from
Amsterdam in the early spring of 1609 in a Dutch ship called the
_Half-Moon_, with a mixed crew of Dutch and English, including once
more his own son. Summer found the enthusiastic explorer off the coast
of Newfoundland, where some cod-fishing refreshed the crews before
they sailed on south, partly seeking an opening to the west, partly
looking for the colony of Virginia, under Hudson's friend, Captain
John Smith. In hot, misty weather they cruised along the coast. They
passed what is now Massachusetts, "an Indian country of great hills--a
very sweet land." On 7th August, Hudson was near the modern town of
New York, so long known as New Amsterdam, but mist hid the low-lying
hills and the _Half-Moon_ drifted on to James River; then, driven back
by a heat hurricane, he made for the inlet on the old charts, which
might lead yet east.

It was 2nd September when he came to the great mouth of the river that
now bears his name. He had been beating about all day in gales and
fogs, when "the sun arose and we saw the land all like broken islands.
From the land which we had first sight of, we came to a large lake
of water, like drowned land, which made it to rise like islands. The
mouth hath many shores and the sea breaketh on them. This is a very
good land to fall in with, and a pleasant land to see. At three of
the clock in the afternoon we came to three great rivers. We found
a very good harbour and went in with our ship. Then we took our nets
to fish and caught ten great mullets of a foot and a half long each,
and a ray as great as four men could haul into the ship. The people
of the country came aboard of us, seeming very glad of our coming,
and brought green tobacco--they go in deer skins, well-dressed, they
desire clothes and are very civil--they have great store of maize,
whereof they make good bread. The country is full of great and tall
oaks." To this he adds that the women had red copper tobacco pipes,
many of them being dressed in mantles of feathers or furs, but the
natives proved treacherous. Sailing up the river, Hudson found it a
mile broad, with high land on both sides. By the night of 19th September
the little _Half-Moon_ had reached the spot where the river widens
near the modern town of Albany. He had sailed for the first time the
distance covered to-day by magnificent steamers which ply daily
between Albany and New York city. Hudson now went ashore with an old
chief of the country. "Two men were dispatched in quest of game," so
records Hudson's manuscript, "who brought in a pair of pigeons. They
likewise killed a fat dog and skinned it with great haste with shells.
The land is the finest for cultivation that ever I in my life set foot

Hudson had not found a way to China, but he had found the great and
important river that now bears his name. Yet he was to do greater things
than these, and to lose his life in the doing. The following year,
1610, found him once more bound for the north, continuing the endless
search for a north-west passage--this time for the English, and not
for the Dutch. On board the little _Discovery_ of fifty-five tons,
with his young son, Jack, still his faithful companion, with a
treacherous old man as mate, who had accompanied him before, with a
good-for-nothing young spendthrift taken at the last moment "because
he wrote a good hand," and a mixed crew, Hudson crossed the wide
Atlantic for the last time. He sailed by way of Iceland, where "fresh
fish and dainty fowl, partridges, curlew, plover, teale, and goose"
much refreshed the already discontented crews, and the hot baths of
Iceland delighted them. The men wanted to return to the pleasant land
discovered in the last expedition, but the mysteries of the frozen
North still called the old explorer, and he steered for Greenland.
He was soon battling with ice upon the southern end of "Desolation,"
whence he crossed to the snowy shores of Labrador, sailing into the
great straits that bear his name to-day. For three months they sailed
aimlessly about that "labyrinth without end" as it was called by Abacuk
Prickett who wrote the account of this fourth and last voyage of Henry
Hudson. But they could find no opening to the west, no way of escape.

[Illustration: A SHIP OF HUDSON'S FLEET. From his _Voyages_, 1612.]

Winter was coming on, "the nights were long and cold, and the earth
was covered with snow." They were several hundred miles south of the
straits, and no way had been found to the Pacific; they had followed
the south shore "to the westernmost bay of all," James Bay, but lo!
there was no South Sea. Hudson recognised the fact that he was
land-bound and winter-bound in a desolate region, with a discontented
crew, and that the discontent was amounting to mutiny. On 1st November
they hauled up the ship and selected a wintering place. Ten days later
they were frozen in, and snow was falling continuously every day. "We
were victualled for six months, and of that which was good," runs the
record. For the first three months they shot "partridges as white as
milk," but these left with the advent of spring, and hunger seized
on the handful of Englishmen wintering in this unknown land. "Then
we went into the woods, hills, and valleys--and the moss and the frog
were not spared." Not till the month of May did the ice begin to melt
and the men could fish. The first day this was possible they caught
"five hundred fish as big as good herrings and some trout," which
revived their hopes and their health. Hudson made a last despairing
effort to find a westward passage. But now the men rose in mutiny.
"We would rather be hanged at home than starved abroad!" they cried

So Hudson "fitted all things for his return, and first delivered all
the bread out of the bread room (which came to a pound apiece for every
man's share), and he wept when he gave it unto them." It was barely
sufficient for fourteen days, and even with the fourscore small fish
they had caught it was "a poor relief for so many hungry bellies."

With a fair wind in the month of June, the little _Discovery_ was headed
for home. A few days later she was stopped by ice. Mutiny now burst
forth. The "master" and his men had lost confidence in each other.
There were ruffians on board, rendered almost wild by hunger and
privation. There is nothing more tragic in the history of exploration
than the desertion of Henry Hudson and his boy in their newly discovered
bay. Every detail of the conspiracy is given by Prickett. We know how
the rumour spread, how the crew resolved to turn the "master" and the
sick men adrift and to share the remaining provisions among themselves.
And how in the early morning Hudson was seized and his arms bound behind

"What does this mean?" he cried.

"You will know soon enough when you are in the shallop," they replied.

The boat was lowered and into it Hudson was put with his son, while
the "poor, sick, and lame men were called upon to get them out of their
cabins into the shallop." Then the mutineers lowered some powder and
shot, some pikes, an iron pot, and some meal into her, and the little
boat was soon adrift with her living freight of suffering, starving
men--adrift in that icebound sea, far from home and friends and all
human help. At the last moment the carpenter sprang into the drifting
boat, resolved to die with the captain sooner than desert him. Then
the _Discovery_ flew away with all sail up as from an enemy.

And "the master" perished--how and when we know not.

Fortunately the mutineers took home Hudson's journals and charts.
Ships were sent out to search for the lost explorer, but the silence
has never been broken since that summer's day three hundred years ago,
when he was deserted in the waters of his own bay.



Two years only after the tragedy of Henry Hudson, another Arctic
explorer appears upon the scene. William Baffin was already an
experienced seaman in the prime of life; he had made four voyages to
the icy north, when he was called on by the new Company of Merchants
of London--"discoverers of the North-West Passage"--formed in 1612,
to prepare for another voyage of discovery. Distressed beyond measure
at the desertion of Henry Hudson, the Muscovy Company had dispatched
Sir Thomas Button with our old friend Abacuk Prickett to show him the
way. Button had reached the western side of Hudson's Bay, and after
wintering there returned fully convinced that a north-west passage
existed in this direction. Baffin returned from an expedition to
Greenland the same year. The fiords and islets of west Greenland, the
ice-floes and glaciers of Spitzbergen, the tidal phenomena of Hudson's
Strait, and the geographical secrets of the far-northern bay were all
familiar to him. "He was, therefore, chosen as mate and associate"
to Bylot, one of the men who had deserted Hudson, but who had sailed
three times with him previously and knew well the western seas. So
in "the good ship called the _Discovery_," of fifty-five tons, with
a crew of fourteen men and two boys, William Baffin sailed for the
northern seas. May found the expedition on the coast of Greenland,
with a gale of wind and great islands of ice. However, Baffin crossed
Davis Strait, and after a struggle with ice at the entrance to Hudson's
Strait he sailed along the northern side till he reached a group of
islands which he named Savage Islands. For here were Eskimos
again--very shy and fearful of the white strangers. "Among their
tents," relates Baffin, "all covered with seal skins, were running
up and down about forty dogs, most of them muzzled, about the bigness
of our mongrel mastiffs, being a brindled black colour, looking almost
like wolves. These dogs they used instead of horses, or rather as the
Lapps do their deer, to draw their sledges from place to place over
the ice, their sledges being shod or lined with bones of great fishes
to keep them from wearing out, and the dogs have furniture and collars
very fitting."

The explorers went on bravely till they were stopped by masses of ice.
They thought they must be at the mouth of a large bay, and, seeing
no prospect of a passage to the west, they turned back. When, two
hundred years later, Parry sailed in Baffin's track he named this place
Baffin Land "out of respect to the memory of that able and enterprising

The _Discovery_ arrived in Plymouth Sound by September, _without the
loss of one man_--a great achievement in these days of salt junk and

"And now it may be," adds Baffin, "that some expect I should give my
opinion concerning the Passage. To these my answer must be that
doubtless there _is_ a Passage. But within this Strait, which is called
Hudson Strait, I am doubtful, supposing to the contrary."

Baffin further suggested that if there was a Passage it must now be
sought by Davis Strait.

Accordingly another expedition was fitted out and Baffin had his
instructions: "For your course, you must make all possible haste to
Cape Desolation; and from hence you, William Baffin, as pilot, keep
along the coast of Greenland and up Davis Strait, until you come toward
the height of 80 degrees, if the land will give you leave. Then shape
your course west and southerly, so far as you shall think it convenient,
till you come to the latitude of 60 degrees, then direct your course
to fall in with the land of _Yedzo_, leaving your further sailing
southward to your own discretion: although our desires be if your
voyage prove so prosperous that you may have the year before you that
you go far south as that you may touch the north part of Japan from
whence we would have you bring home one of the men of the country and
so, God blessing you, with all expedition to make your return home

The _Discovery_ had proved a good little ship for exploration, so she
was again selected by Baffin for this new attempt in the far north.
Upon 26th March 1616 she sailed from Gravesend, arriving off the coast
of Greenland in the neighbourhood of Gilbert Sound about the middle
of May. Working against terrible winds, they plied to the northward,
the old ship making but slow progress, till at last they sighted
"Sanderson his Hope," the farthest point of Master Davis. Once more
English voices broke the silence of thirty years. The people who
appeared on the shore were wretchedly poor. They lived on seals' flesh,
which they ate raw, and clothed themselves in the skins. Still
northwards they sailed, cruising along the western coast. Though the
ice was beginning to disappear the weather kept bitterly cold, and
on Midsummer Day the sails and ropes were frozen too hard to be handled.
Stormy weather now forced them into a sound which they named Whale
Sound from the number of whales they discovered here. It was declared
by Baffin to be the "greatest and largest bay in these parts."

But beyond this they could not go; so they sailed across the end of
what we now know as Baffin's Bay and explored the opposite coast of
America, naming one of the greater openings Lancaster Sound, after
Sir James Lancaster of East India Company fame.

"Here," says Baffin pitifully, "our hope of Passage began to grow less
every day."

It was the old story of ice, advancing season, and hasty conclusions.

original MS., drawn by Baffin, in the British Museum.]

"There is no hope of Passage to the north of Davis' Straits," the
explorer further asserts; but he asserts wrongly, for Lancaster Sound
was to prove an open channel to the West.

So he returned home. He had not found the Passage, but he had discovered
the great northern sea that now bears his name. The size of it was
for long plunged in obscurity, and the wildest ideas centred round
the extent of this northern sea. A map of 1706 gives it an indefinite
amount of space, adding vaguely: "Some will have Baffin's Bay to run
as far as this faint Shadow," while a map of 1818 marks the bay, but
adds that "it is not now believed."

For the next two hundred years the icebound regions of the north were
practically left free from invasion, silent, inhospitable,

But while these Arctic explorers were busy battling with the northern
seas to find a passage which should lead them to the wealth of the
East, others were exploring the New World and endeavouring by land
and river to attain the same end.



It is pleasant to turn from the icy regions of North America to the
sunny South, and to follow the fortunes of that fine Elizabethan
gentleman, Sir Walter Raleigh, to "the large, rich, and beautiful
Empire of Guiana and the Great and Golden City of Manoa (which the
Spaniards call El Dorado)." Ever since the conquest of Peru, sixty
years before, there had floated about rumours of a great kingdom
abounding in gold. The King of this Golden Land was sprinkled daily
with gold dust, till he shone as the sun, while Manoa was full of golden
houses and golden temples with golden furniture. The kingdom was
wealthier than Peru; it was richer than Mexico. Expedition after
expedition had left Spain in search of this El Dorado, but the region
was still plunged in romantic mists. Raleigh had just failed to
establish an English colony in Virginia. To gain a rich kingdom for
his Queen, to extend her power and enrich her treasury was now his
greatest object in life. What about El Dorado?

"Oh, unwearied feet, travelling ye know not whither! Soon, soon, it
seems to you, you must come forth on some conspicuous hilltop, and
but a little way further, against the setting sun, descry the spires
of El Dorado."

February 1595 found him ready and leaving England with five ships and,
after a good passage of forty-six days, landing on the island of
Trinidad, and thence making his way to the mouth of the Orinoco. Here
Raleigh soon found that it was impossible to enter the Orinoco with
his English ships, but, nothing daunted, he took a hundred men and
provisions for a month in three little open boats, and started forward
to navigate this most difficult labyrinth of channels, out of which
they were guided by an old Indian pilot named Ferdinando. They had
much to observe. The natives, living along the river-banks, dwelt in
houses all the summer, but in the winter months they constructed small
huts to which they ascended by means of ladders.

These folk were cannibals, but cannibals of a refined sort, who "beat
the bones of their lords into powder" and mixed the powder with their
drinks. The stream was very strong and rapid, and the men rowed against
it in great discomfort, "the weather being extreme hot, the river
bordered with very high trees that kept away the air, and the current
against us every day stronger than the other," until they became, as
Raleigh tells us, "wearied and scorched and doubtful."

The heat increased as they advanced, and the crews grew weaker as the
river "ran more violently against them." But Raleigh refused to return
yet, lest "the world would laugh us to scorn."

Fortunately delicious fruits hung over the banks of the Orinoco, and,
having no bread and for water only the thick and troubled water of
the river, they refreshed themselves gladly. So they rowed on up the
great river, through province after province of the Indians, but no
El Dorado appeared. Suddenly the scene changed as if by magic, the
high banks giving way to low-lying plains; green grass grew close to
the water's edge, and deer came down to feed.

"I never saw a more beautiful country," says Raleigh, "nor more lively
prospects, hills raised here and there over the valleys, the river
winding into different branches, plains without bush or stubble, all
fair green grass, deer crossing our path, the birds towards evening
singing on every tree with a thousand several tunes, herons of white,
crimson, and carnation perching on the riverside, the air fresh with
a gentle wind, and every stone we stooped to pick up promised either
gold or silver." His account of the great cataract at the junction
of the tributary Caroni is very graphic. They had already heard the
roar, so they ran to the tops of some neighbouring hills, discovering
the wonderful "breach of waters" which ran down Caroli, and from that
"mountain see the river how it ran in three parts, about twenty miles
off, and there appeared some ten or twelve overfalls in sight, every
one as high over the other as a church tower, which fell with that
fury that the rebound of waters made it seem as if it had been all
covered over with a great shower of rain; and in some places we took
it at the first for a smoke that had risen over some great town."

[Illustration: SIR WALTER RALEIGH.]

The country was the province of Guiana, but it was not El Dorado, the
object of their quest. And though it was very beautiful, it was
inhabited by cannibals; moreover, winter was advancing, and they were
already some four hundred miles from their ships in little open boats
and in the heart of a strange country.

Suddenly, too, the river began to rise, to "rage and overflow very
fearfully," rain came down in torrents accompanied by great gusts of
wind, and the crews with no change of clothes got wet through, sometimes
ten times a day. "Whosoever had seen the fury of that river after it
began to rise would perchance have turned his back somewhat sooner
than we did if all the mountains had been gold or precious stones,"
remarked Raleigh, who indeed was no coward. So they turned the boats
for home, and at a tremendous rate they spun down the stream, sometimes
doing as much as one hundred miles a day, till after sundry adventures
they safely reached their ships at anchor off Trinidad. Raleigh had
not reached the golden city of Manoa, but he gave a very glowing account
of this country to his Queen.

"Guiana," he tells her, "is a country that hath yet her maidenhood.
The face of the earth hath not been torn, the graves have not been
opened for gold. It hath never been entered by any army of strength,
and never conquered by any Christian prince. Men shall find here more
rich and beautiful cities, more temples adorned with gold, than either
Cortes found in Mexico or Pizarro in Peru, and the shining glory of
this conquest will eclipse all those of the Spanish nation."

But Raleigh had brought back no gold, and his schemes for a conquest
of Guiana were received coldly by the Queen. She could not share his
enthusiasm for the land--

   "Where Orinoco, in his pride,
    Rolls to the main no tribute tide,
    But 'gainst broad Ocean wages far
    A rival sea of roaring war;
    While in ten thousand eddies driven
    The billows fling their foam to heaven;
    And the pale pilot seeks in vain
    Where rolls the river, where the main."

But, besides the Orinoco in South America, there was the St. Lawrence
in North America, still very imperfectly known. Since Jacques Cartier
had penetrated the hitherto undisturbed regions lying about the "river
of Canada," little had been explored farther west, till Samuel
Champlain, one of the most remarkable men of his day, comes upon the
scene, and was still discovering land to the west when Raleigh was
making his second expedition to Guiana in the year 1617.

COAST. From the original map, drawn by Raleigh, in the British Museum.
This map, like so many of the older charts, is drawn upside down, the
South being at the top and the East on the left, while the Panama Isthmus
is at the bottom on the right. The river above the "Lake of Manoa"
is the Amazon.]



To discover a passage westward was still the main object of those who
made their way up the Gulf of the St. Lawrence. This, too, was the
object of Samuel Champlain, known as "the Father of New France," when
he arrived with orders from France to establish an industrial colony
"which should hold for that country the gateway of the Golden East."
He had already ascended the river Saguenay, a tributary of the St.
Lawrence, till stopped by rapids and rocks, and the natives had told
him of a great salt sea to the north, which was Hudson's Bay, discovered
some seven years later, in 1610. He now made his way to a spot called
by the natives Quebec, a word meaning the strait or narrows, this being
the narrowest place in the whole magnificent waterway. He had long
been searching for a suitable site for a settlement, but "I could find
none more convenient," he says, "or better situated than the point
of Quebec, so called by the savages, which was covered with nut trees."
Accordingly here, close to the present Champlain market, arose the
nucleus of the city of Quebec--the great warehouse of New France.

[Illustration: THE FIRST SETTLEMENT AT QUEBEC. From Champlain's
_Voyages_, 1613. The bigger house in front is Champlain's own

Having passed the winter of 1608 at Quebec, the passion of exploration
still on him, in a little two-masted boat piloted by Indians, he went
up the St. Lawrence, towards Cartier's Mont Royal. From out the thick
forest land that lined its banks, Indians discovered the steel-clad
strangers and gazed at them from the river-banks in speechless wonder.
The river soon became alive with Indian canoes, but the Frenchmen made
their way to the mouth of the Richelieu River, where they encamped
for a couple of days' hunting and fishing. Then Champlain sailed on,
his little two-masted boat outstripping the native canoes, till the
unwelcome sound of rapids fell on the silent air, and through the dark
foliage of the islet of St. John he could see "the gleam of snowy foam
and the flash of hurrying waters." The Indians had assured him that
his boat could pass unobstructed through the whole journey. "It
afflicted me and troubled me exceedingly," he tells us, "to be obliged
to return without having seen so great a lake, full of fair islands
and bordered with the fine countries which they had described to me."
He could not bear to give up the exploration into the heart of a land
unvisited by white men. So, sending back his party, accompanied only
by two Frenchmen as brave as himself, he stepped into an Indian canoe
to be carried round the rapids and so continue his perilous
journey--perilous, indeed, for bands of hostile natives lurked in the
primeval forests that clothed the river-banks in dense masses.

As they advanced the river widened out; the Indian canoes carried them
safely over the broad stream shimmering in the summer sun till they
came to a great silent lake over one hundred miles long, hitherto
unexplored. The beauty of the new country is described with enthusiasm
by the delighted explorer, but they were now in the Mohawk country
and progress was fraught with danger. They travelled only by night
and lay hidden by day in the depth of the forest, till they had reached
the far end of the lake, named Lake Champlain after its discoverer.
They were near the rocky promontory where Fort Ticonderoga was
afterwards built, when they met a party of Iroquois; war-cries pealed
across the waters of the lake, and by daybreak battle could no longer
be averted. Champlain and his two companions, in doublet and hose,
buckled on their breastplates, cuisses of steel and plumed helmets,
and with sword and arquebus advanced. Their firearms won the day, but
all hope of further advance was at an end, and Champlain returned to
Quebec with his great story of new lands to the south. It was not till
the spring of 1611 that he was again free to start on another exploring
expedition into the heart of Canada.

ON LAKE CHAMPLAIN. From a drawing in Champlain's _Voyages_, 1613.]

His journey to the rapids of the St. Louis has been well described:
"Like specks on the broad bosom of the waters, two pigmy vessels held
their course up the lonely St. Lawrence. They passed abandoned
Tadoussac, the channel of Orleans, the tenantless rock of Quebec, the
wide Lake of St. Peter with its crowded archipelago, and the forest
plain of Montreal. All was solitude. Hochelaga had vanished, and of
the savage population that Cartier had found sixty-eight years before,
no trace remained."

In a skiff with a few Indians, Champlain tried to pass the rapids of
St. Louis; but oars, paddles, and poles alike proved vain against the
foaming surges, and he was forced to return, but not till the Indians
had drawn for him rude plans of the river above, with its chain of
rapids and its lakes and its cataracts. They were quite impassable,
said the natives, though, indeed, to these white strangers everything
seemed possible.

"These white men must have fallen from the clouds," they said. "How
else could they have reached us through the woods and rapids which
even we find it hard to pass?" Champlain wanted to get to the upper
waters of the Ottawa River, to the land of the cannibal Nipissings,
who dwelt on the lake that bears their name; but they were enemies,
and the natives refused to advance into their country.

Two years later he accomplished his desire, and found himself at last
in the land of the Nipissings. He crossed their lake and steered his
canoes down the French river. Days passed and no signs of human life
appeared amid the rocky desolation, till suddenly three hundred
savages, tattooed, painted, and armed, rushed out on them. Fortunately
they were friendly, and it was from them that Champlain learned the
good news that the great freshwater lake of the Hurons was close at

What if the Friar Le Caron, one of Champlain's party, had preceded
him by a few days, Champlain was the first white man to give an account
of it, if not the first to sail on its beautiful waters. For over one
hundred miles he made his way along its eastern shores, until he reached
a broad opening with fields of maize and bright patches of sunflower,
from the seeds of which the Indians made their hair-oil. After staying
a few days at a little Huron village where he was feasted by friendly
natives, Champlain pushed on by Indian trails, passing village after
village till he reached the narrow end of Lake Simcoe. A "shrill clamour
of rejoicing and the screaming flight of terrified children" hailed
his approach. The little fleet of canoes pursued their course along
the lake and then down the chain of lakes leading to the river Trent.
The inhabited country of the Hurons had now given place to a desolate
region with no sign of human life, till from the mouth of the Trent,
"like a flock of venturous wild fowl," they found themselves floating
on the waters of Lake Ontario, across which they made their way safely.

It was a great day in the life of Champlain when he found himself in
the very heart of a hostile land, having discovered the chain of inland
lakes of which he had heard so much. But they were now in the land
of the Iroquois--deadly foes of the Hurons. There was nothing for it
but to fight, and a great battle now took place between the rival tribes,
every warrior yelling at the top of his voice. Champlain himself was
wounded in the fray, and all further exploration had to be abandoned.
He was packed up in a basket and carried away on the back of a Huron
warrior. "Bundled in a heap," wrote the explorer, "doubled and
strapped together after such a fashion that one could move no more
than an infant in swaddling clothes, I never was in such torment in
my life, for the pain of the wound was nothing to that of being bound
and pinioned on the back of one of our savages. As soon as I could
bear my weight, I got out of this prison." How Champlain wintered with
the Hurons, who would not allow him to return to Quebec, how he got
lost while hunting in one of the great forests in his eagerness to
shoot a strange-looking bird, how the lakes and streams froze, and
how his courage and endurance were sorely tried over the toilsome
marches to Lake Simcoe, but how finally he reached Montreal by way
of Nipissing and the Ottawa River, must be read elsewhere. Champlain's
work as an explorer was done. Truly has he been called the Father of
New France. He had founded Quebec and Montreal; he had explored Canada
as no man has ever done before or since. Faithful to the passion of
his life, he died in 1635 at Quebec--the city he had founded and loved.



While the French and English were feverishly seeking a way to the East,
either by the North Pole or by way of America, the Dutch were busy
discovering a new land in the Southern Seas.

And as we have seen America emerging from the mist of ages in the
sixteenth century, so now in the seventeenth we have the great Island
Continent of Australia mysteriously appearing bit by bit out of the
yet little-known Sea of the South. There is little doubt that both
Portuguese and Spanish had touched on the western coast early in the
sixteenth century, but gave no information about it beyond sketching
certain rough and undefined patches of land and calling it Terra
Australis in their early maps; no one seems to have thought this
mysterious land of much importance. The maritime nations of that
period carefully concealed their knowledge from one another. The proud
Spaniard hated his Portuguese neighbour as a formidable rival in the
race for wealth and fame, and the Dutchman, who now comes on the scene,
was regarded by both as a natural enemy by land or sea.

Magellan in 1520 discovered that the Terra Australis was not joined
to South America, as the old maps had laid down; and we find Frobisher
remarking in 1578 that "Terra Australis seemeth to be a great, firm
land, lying under and about the South Pole, not thoroughly discovered.
It is known at the south side of the Strait of Magellan and is called
Terra del Fuego. It is thought this south land about the pole Antarctic
is far bigger than the north land about the pole Arctic; but whether
it be so or not, we have no certain knowledge, for we have no particular
description thereof, as we have of the land about the North Pole."

GRANDE" IN ITS SUPPOSED EASTERN PART. From the "Dauphin" map of 1546.
There was then supposed to be a great mainland of Java, separated from
the island of "Java Minor" by a narrow strait. See the copy of the
whole of this map in colour, where it will be seen that the "Terra
Australis" was supposed to stretch from east to west.]

And even one hundred years later the mystery was not cleared up. "This
land about the straits is not perfectly discovered whether it be
continent or islands. Some take it for continent, esteeming that Terra
Australis or the Southern Continent may for the largeness thereof take
a first place in the division of the whole world."

The Spaniards were still masters of the sea, when one Lieutenant Torres
first sailed through the strait dividing Australia from New Guinea,
already discovered in 1527. As second in command, he had sailed from
America under a Spaniard, De Quiros, in 1605, and in the Pacific they
had come across several island groups. Among others they sighted the
island group now known as the New Hebrides. Quiros supposed that this
was the continent for which he was searching, and gave it the name
of "Terra Australis del Espirito Santo." And then a curious thing
happened. "At one hour past midnight," relates Torres in his account
of the voyage, "the _Capitana_ (Quiros' ship) departed without any
notice given us and without making any signal."

After waiting for many days, Torres at last set sail, and, having
discovered that the supposed land was only an island, he made his way
along the dangerous coast of New Guinea to Manila, thus passing through
the straits that were afterwards named after him, and unconsciously
passing almost within sight of the very continent for which he was

This was the end of Spanish enterprise for the present. The rivals
for sea-power in the seventeenth century were England and Holland.
Both had recently started East India Companies, both were keen to take
a large part in East Indian trade and to command the sea. For a time
the Dutch had it all their own way; they devoted themselves to founding
settlements in the East Indies, ever hoping to discover new islands
in the South Seas as possible trade centres. Scientific discovery held
little interest for them.

As early as 1606 a Dutch ship--the little _Sun_--had been dispatched
from the Moluccas to discover more about the land called by the
Spaniards New Guinea, because of its resemblance to the West African
coast of Guinea. But the crews were greeted with a shower of arrows
as they attempted a landing, and with nine of their party killed, they
returned disheartened.

A more ambitious expedition was fitted out in 1617 by private
adventurers, and two ships--the _Unity_ and the _Horn_--sailed from
the Texel under the command of a rich Amsterdam merchant named Isaac
Le Maire and a clever navigator, Cornelius Schouten of Horn. Having
been provided with an English gunner and carpenter, the ships were
steered boldly across the Atlantic. Hitherto the object of the
expedition had been kept a secret, but on crossing the line the crews
were informed that they were bound for the Terra Australis del Espirito
Santo of Quiros. The men had never heard of the country before, and
we are told they wrote the name in their caps in order to remember
it. By midwinter they had reached the eastern entrance of the Straits
of Magellan, through which many a ship had passed since the days of
Magellan, some hundred years before this. Unfortunately, while
undergoing some necessary repairs here, the little _Horn_ caught fire
and was burnt out, the crews all having to crowd on to the _Unity_.
Instead of going through the strait they sailed south and discovered
Staaten Land, which they thought might be a part of the southern
continent for which they were seeking. We now know it to be an island,
whose heights are covered with perpetual snow. It was named by Schouten
after the Staaten or States-General of Holland. Passing through the
strait which divided the newly discovered land from the Terra del Fuego
(called later the Straits of Le Maire after its discoverer), the
Dutchmen found a great sea full of whales and monsters innumerable.
Sea-mews larger than swans, with wings stretching six feet across,
fled screaming round the ship. The wind was against them, but after
endless tacking they reached the southern extremity of land, which
Schouten named after his native town and the little burnt
ship--_Horn_--and as Cape Horn it is known to-day.

But the explorers never reached the Terra Australis. Their little ship
could do no more, and they sailed to Java to repair.

Many a name on the Australian map to-day testifies to Dutch enterprise
about this time. In 1616, Captain Dirck Hartog of Amsterdam discovered
the island that bears his name off the coast of Western Australia.
A few years later the captain of a Dutch ship called the _Lewin_ or
_Lioness_ touched the south-west extremity of the continent, calling
that point Cape Lewin. Again a few years and we find Captain Nuyts
giving his name to a part of the southern coast, though the discovery
seems to have been accidental. In 1628, Carpentaria received its name
from Carpenter, a governor of the East India Company. Now, one day
a ship from Carpenter's Land returned laden with gold and spice;
and though certain men had their suspicions that these riches had been
fished out of some large ship wrecked upon the inhospitable coast,
yet a little fleet of eleven ships was at once dispatched to reconnoitre
further. Captain Pelsart commanded the _Batavia_, which in a great
storm was separated from the other ships and driven alone on to the
shoals marked as the Abrolhos (a Portuguese word meaning "Open your
eyes," implying a sharp lookout for dangerous reefs) on the west coast
of Australia. It was night when the ship struck, and Captain Pelsart
was sick in bed. He ran hastily on to the deck. The moon shone bright.
The sails were up. The sea appeared to be covered with white foam.
Captain Pelsart charged the master with the loss of the ship, and asked
him "in what part of the world he thought they were."

"God only knows that," replied the master, adding that the ship was
fast on a bank hitherto undiscovered. Suddenly a dreadful storm of
wind and rain arose, and, being surrounded with rocks and shoals, the
ship was constantly striking. "The women, children, and sick people
were out of their wits with fear," so they decided to land these on
an island for "their cries and noise served only to disturb them."
The landing was extremely difficult owing to the rocky coast, where
the waves were dashing high. When the weather had moderated a bit,
Captain Pelsart took the ship and went in search of water, thereby
exploring a good deal of coast, which, he remarked, "resembled the
country near Dover." But his exploration amounted to little, and the
account of his adventures is mostly taken up with an account of the
disasters that befell the miserable party left on the rock-bound
islands of Abrolhos--conspiracies, mutinies, and plots. His was only
one of many adventures on this unknown and inhospitable coast, which
about this time, 1644, began to take the name of New Holland.

THE COAST OF NEW HOLLAND, 1644. From the Dutch account of Pelsart's
_Voyages_, 1647.]



At this time Anthony Van Diemen was governor at Batavia, and one of
his most trusted commanders was Abel Tasman. In 1642, Tasman was given
command of two ships "for making discoveries of the Unknown South
Land," and, hoisting his flag on board the _Sea-Hen_, he sailed south
from Batavia without sighting the coast of Australia. Despite foggy
weather, "hard gales, and a rolling sea," he made his way steadily
south. It was three months before land was sighted, and high mountains
were seen to the southeast. The ship stood in to shore. "As the land
has not been known before to any European, we called it Anthony Van
Diemen's Land in honour of our Governor-General, who sent us out to
make discoveries. I anchored in a bay and heard the sound of people
upon the shore, but I saw nobody. I perceived in the sand the marks
of wild beasts' feet, resembling those of a tiger."

Setting up a post with the Dutch East India Company's mark, and leaving
the Dutch flag flying, Tasman left Van Diemen's Land, which was not
to be visited again for over one hundred years, when it was called
after its first discoverer. He had no idea that he was on an island.
Tasman now sailed east, and after about a week at sea he discovered
a high mountainous country, which he named "Staaten Land." "We found
here abundance of inhabitants: they had very hoarse voices and were
very large-made people; they were of colour between brown and yellow,
their hair long and thick, combed up and fixed on the top of their
heads with a quill in the very same manner that Japanese fastened their
hair behind their heads."

Tasman anchored on the north coast of the south island of New Zealand,
but canoes of warlike Maoris surrounded the ships, a conflict took
place in which several Dutch seamen were killed, the weather grew
stormy, and Tasman sailed away from the bay he named Murderer's
Bay--rediscovered by Captain Cook about a hundred years later.

"This is the second country discovered by us," says 'Tasman. "We named
it Staaten Land in honour of the States-General. It is possible that
it may join the other Staaten Land (of Schouten and Le Maire to the
south of Terra del Fuego), but it is uncertain; it is a very fine country,
and we hope it is part of the unknown south continent." Is it necessary
to add that this Staaten Land was really New Zealand, and the bay where
the ships anchored is now known as Tasman Bay? When the news of Tasman's
discoveries was noised abroad, all the geographers, explorers, and
discoverers at once jumped to the conclusion that this was the same
land on whose coast Pelsart had been wrecked. "It is most evident,"
they said, "that New Guinea, Carpentaria, New Holland, Van Diemen's
Land make all one continent, from which New Zealand seems to be
separated by a strait, and perhaps is part of another continent
answering to Africa as this plainly does to America, making indeed
a very large country."

After a ten months' cruise Tasman returned to Batavia. He had found
Van Diemen's Land and New Zealand, without sighting Australia.

A second expedition was now fitted out. The instructions for the
commodore, Captain Abel Jansen Tasman, make interesting reading. The
orders are detailed and clear. He will start the end of January 1644,
and "we shall expect you in July following attended with good success."

"Of all the lands, countries, islands, capes, inlets, bays, rivers,
shoals, reefs, sands, cliffs, and rocks which you pass in this
discovery you are to make accurate maps--be particularly careful about
longitude and latitude. But be circumspect and prudent in landing with
small craft, because at several times New Guinea has been found to
be inhabited by cruel, wild savages. When you converse with any of
these savages behave well and friendly to them, and try by all means
to engage their affection to you. You are to show the samples of the
goods which you carry along with you, and inquire what materials and
goods they possess. To prevent any other European nation from reaping
the fruits of our labour in these discoveries, you are everywhere to
take possession in the name of the Dutch East India Company, to put
up some sign, erect a stone or post, and carve on them the arms of
the Netherlands. The yachts are manned with one hundred and eleven
persons, and for eight months plentifully victualled. Manage
everything well and orderly, take notice you see the ordinary portion
of two meat and two pork days, and a quarter of vinegar and a
half-quarter of sweet oil per week."

map drawn by Tasman in his "Journal."]

He was to coast along New Guinea to the farthest-known spot, and to
follow the coast _despite adverse winds_, in order that the Dutch might
be sure "whether this land is not divided from the great known South
Continent or not."

What he accomplished on this voyage is best seen in "The complete map
of the Southern Continent surveyed by Captain Abel Tasman," which was
inlaid on the floor of the large hall in the Stadthouse at Amsterdam.
The Great South Land was henceforth known as New Holland.



It was not long before the great stretch of coast-line carefully
charted by Tasman became known to the English, and while the Dutch
were yet busy exploring farther, Dampier--the first Englishman to
visit the country--had already set foot on its shores.

"We lie entirely at the mercy of the Dutch East India Company's
geography for the outline of this part of the coast of New Holland:
for it does not appear that the ships of any other nation have ever
approached it," says an old history of the period.

Some such information as this became known in South America, in which
country the English had long been harassing the Spaniards. It reached
the ears of one William Dampier, a Somersetshire man, who had lived
a life of romance and adventure with the buccaneers, pillaging and
plundering foreign ships in these remote regions of the earth. He had
run across the Southern Pacific carrying his life in his hand. He had
marched across the isthmus of Panama--one hundred and ten miles in
twenty-three days--through deep and swiftly flowing rivers, dense
growths of tropical vegetation full of snakes, his only food being
the flesh of monkeys. Such was the man who now took part in a
privateering cruise under Captain Swan, bound for the East Indies.

On 1st March 1686, Swan and Dampier sailed away from the coast of Mexico
on the voyage that led to Dampier's circumnavigation of the globe.
For fifty days they sailed without sighting land, and when at last
they found themselves off the island of Guam, they had only three days'
food left, and the crews were busy plotting to kill Captain Swan and
eat him, the other commanders sharing the same fate in turn.

"Ah, Dampier," said Captain Swan, when he and all the men had refreshed
themselves with food, "you would have made but a poor meal," for Dampier
was as lean as the Captain was "fat and fleshy." Soon, however, fresh
trouble arose among the men. Captain Swan lost his life, and Dampier
on board the little _Cygnet_ sailed hurriedly for the Spice Islands.

[Illustration: DAMPIER'S SHIP THE _CYGNET_. From a drawing in the
Dutch edition of his _Voyage Round the World_, 1698.]

He was now on the Australian parallels, "in the shadow of a world lying
dark upon the face of the ocean." It was January 1688 when Dampier
sighted the coast of New Holland and anchored in a bay, which they
named Cygnet Bay after their ship, somewhere off the northern coast
of eastern Australia. Here, while the ship was undergoing repairs,
Dampier makes his observations.

"New Holland," he tells us, "is a very large tract of land. It is not
yet determined whether it is an island or a main continent, but I am
certain that it joins neither to Africa, Asia, or America."

"The inhabitants of this country," he tells us, "are the miserablest
people in the world. They have no houses, but lie in the open air without
any covering, the earth being their bed and the heaven their canopy.
Their food is a small sort of fish, which they catch at low tide, while
the old people that are not able to stir abroad by reason of their
age and the tender infants wait their return, and what Providence has
bestowed on them they presently broil on the coals and eat it in common.
They are tall and thin, and of a very unpleasing aspect; their hair
is black, short, and curled, like that of the negroes of Guinea."

This Englishman's first description of the Australian natives cannot
fail to be interesting. "After we had been here a little while, we
clothed some of the men, designing to have some service from them for
it; for we found some wells of water here, and intended to carry two
or three barrels of it aboard. But it being somewhat troublesome to
carry to the canoes, we thought to have made these men to have carry'd
it for us, and therefore we gave them some clothes; to one an old pair
of breeches, to another a ragged shirt, to a third a jacket that was
scarce worth owning. We put them on, thinking that this finery would
have brought them to work heartily for us; and our water being filled
in small, long barrels, about six gallons in each, we brought these
our new servants to the wells and put a barrel on each of their shoulders.
But they stood like statues, without motion, but grinn'd like so many
monkeys staring one upon another. So we were forced to carry the water

They had soon had enough of the new country, weighed anchor, and steered
away to the north. Dampier returned to England even a poorer man than
he had left it twelve years before. After countless adventures and
hairbreadth escapes, after having sailed entirely round the world,
he brought back with him nothing but one unhappy black man, "Prince
Jeoly," whom he had bought for sixty dollars. He had hoped to recoup
himself by showing the poor native with his rings and bracelets and
painted skin, but he was in such need of money on landing that he gladly
sold the poor black man on his arrival in the Thames.

But Dampier had made himself a name as a successful traveller, and
in 1699 he was appointed by the King, William III., to command the
_Roebuck_, two hundred and ninety tons, with a crew of fifty men and
provisions for twenty months. Leaving England in the middle of January
1699, he sighted the west coast of New Holland toward the end of July,
and anchored in a bay they called Sharks Bay, not far from the rocks
where the _Batavia_ was wrecked with Captain Pelsart in 1629. He gives
us a graphic picture of this place, with its sweet-scented trees, its
shrubs gay as the rainbow with blossoms and berries, its many-coloured
vegetation, its fragrant air and delicious soil. The men caught sharks
and devoured them with relish, which speaks of scarce provisions.
Inside one of the sharks (eleven feet long) they found a hippopotamus.
"The flesh of it was divided among my men," says the Captain, "and
they took care that no waste should be made of it, but thought it,
as things stood, good entertainment."

As it had been with Pelsart, so now with Dampier, fresh water was the
difficulty, and they sailed north-east in search of it. They fell in
with a group of small rocky islands still known as Dampier's
Archipelago, one island of which they named Rosemary Island, because
"there grow here two or three sorts of shrubs, one just like rosemary."
Once again he comes across natives--"very much the same blinking
creatures, also abundance of the same kind of flesh-flies teasing them,
with the same black skins and hair frizzled." Indeed, he writes as
though the whole country of New Holland was a savage and worthless
land inhabited by dreadful monsters.

"If it were not," he writes, "for that sort of pleasure which results
from the discovery even of the barrenest spot upon the globe, this
coast of New Holland would not have charmed me much." His first sight
of the kangaroo--now the emblem of Australia--is interesting. He
describes it as "a sort of raccoon, different from that of the West
Indies, chiefly as to the legs, for these have very short fore-legs,
but go jumping upon them as the others do, and like them are very good
meat." This must have been the small kangaroo, for the large kind was
not found till later by Captain Cook in New South Wales.

But Dampier and his mates could not find fresh water, and soon wearied
of the coast of New Holland; an outbreak of scurvy, too, decided them
to sail away in search of fresh foods. Dampier had spent five weeks
cruising off the coast; he had sailed along some nine hundred miles
of the Australian shore without making any startling discoveries. A
few months later the _Roebuck_ stood off the coast of New Guinea, "a
high and mountainous country, green and beautiful with tropical
vegetation, and dark with forests and groves of tall and stately
trees." Innumerable dusky-faced natives peeped at the ship from behind
the rocks, but they were not friendly, and this they showed by climbing
the cocoanut trees and throwing down cocoanuts at the English, with
passionate signs to them to depart. But with plenty of fresh water,
this was unlikely, and the crews rowed ashore, killed and salted a
good load of wild hogs, while the savages still peeped at them from

Thus then they sailed on, thinking they were still coasting New Guinea.
So doing, they arrived at the straits which still bear the name of
the explorer, and discovered a little island which he called New
Britain. He had now been over fifteen months at sea and the _Roebuck_
was only provisioned for twenty months, so Dampier, who never had the
true spirit of the explorer in him, left his discoveries and turned
homewards. The ship was rotten, and it took three months to repair
her at Batavia before proceeding farther. With pumps going night and
day, they made their way to the Cape of Good Hope; but off the island
of Ascension the _Roebuck_ went down, carrying with her many of
Dampier's books and papers. But though many of the papers were lost,
the "Learned and Faithful Dampier" as he is called, the "Prince of
Voyagers," has left us accounts of his adventures unequalled in those
strenuous ocean-going days for their picturesque and graphic details.

a map in Dampier's _Voyages_, 1697.]



In the great work of Arctic exploration during the eighteenth and
nineteenth centuries, it is to England and Russia that we owe our
knowledge at the present day. It is well known how Peter the Great
of Russia journeyed to Amsterdam to learn shipbuilding under the Dutch,
and to England to learn the same art under the English, and how the
Russian fleet grew in his reign. Among the Danish shipbuilders at
Petersburg was one Vitus Behring, already a bold and able commander
on the high seas.

The life of the great Russian Czar was drawing to its close--he was
already within a few weeks of the end--when he planned an expedition
under this same Vitus Behring, for which he wrote the instructions
with his own hands.

"(1) At Kamtchatka two decked boats are to be built. (2) With these
you are to sail northward along the coast and, as the end of the coast
is not known, this land is undoubtedly America. (3) For this reason
you are to inquire where the American coast begins, and go to some
European colony and, when European ships are seen, you are to ask what
the coast is called, note it down, make a landing, and after having
charted the coast return."

Were Asia and America joined together, or was there a strait between
the two? The question was yet undecided in 1725. Indeed, the east coast
of Asia was only known as far as the island of Yezo, while the Pacific
coast of America had been explored no farther than New Albion.

Peter the Great died on 28th January 1725. A week later Behring started
for Kamtchatka. Right across snow-covered Russia to the boundary of
Siberia he led his expedition. March found him at Tobolsk. With rafts
and boats they then made their way by the Siberian rivers till they
reached Yakutsk, where they spent their first winter. Not till the
middle Of June 1726 did Behring reach the capital of East Siberia.
The rest of the journey was through utterly unknown land. It was some
six hundred and eighty-five miles eastwards to Okhotsk through a rough
and mountainous country, cut up by deep and bridgeless streams; the
path lay over dangerous swamps and through dense forest.

The party now divided. Behring, with two hundred horses, travelled
triumphantly, if painfully, to Okhotsk in forty-five days. The town
consisted of eleven huts containing Russian families who lived by
fishing. Snow lay deep on the frozen ground, and the horses died one
by one for lack of food, but the undaunted explorer had soon got huts
ready for the winter, which was to be spent in felling trees and pushing
forward the building of his ship, the _Fortuna_, for the coming voyage
of discovery. Behring himself had made a successful journey to the
coast, but some of the party encountered terrible hardships, and it
was midsummer 1727 before they arrived, while others were overtaken
by winter in the very heart of Siberia and had to make their way for
the last three hundred miles on foot through snow in places six feet
deep. Their food was finished, famine became a companion to cold, and
they were obliged to gnaw their shoes and straps and leathern bags.
Indeed, they must have perished had they not stumbled on Behring's
route, where they found his dead horses. But at last all was ready
and the little ship _Fortuna_ was sailing bravely across the Sea of
Okhotsk some six hundred and fifty miles to the coast of Kamtchatka.
This she did in sixteen days. The country of Kamtchatka had now to
be crossed, and with boats and sledges this took the whole winter.
It was a laborious undertaking following the course of the Kamtchatka
River; the expedition had to camp in the snow, and few natives were
forthcoming for the transport of heavy goods.

It was not till March 1728 that Behring reached his goal, Ostrog, a
village near the sea, inhabited by a handful of Cossacks. From this
point, on the bleak shores of the Arctic sea, the exploring party were
ordered to start. It had taken over three years to reach this
starting-point, and even now a seemingly hopeless task lay before

After hard months of shipbuilding, the stout little _Gabriel_ was
launched, her timber had been hauled to Ostrog by dogs, while the
rigging, cable, and anchors had been dragged nearly two thousand miles
through one of the most desolate regions of the earth. As to the food
on which the explorers lived: "Fish oil was their butter and dried
fish their beef and pork. Salt they were obliged to get from the sea."
Thus supplied with a year's provisions, Behring started on his voyage
of discovery along an unknown coast and over an unknown sea. On 13th
July 1728 the sails of the _Gabriel_ were triumphantly hoisted, and
Behring, with a crew of forty-four, started on the great voyage. His
course lay close along the coast northwards. The sea was alive with
whales, seals, sea-lions, and dolphins as the little party made their
way north, past the mouth of the Anadir River. The little _Gabriel_
was now in the strait between Asia and America, though Behring knew
it not. They had been at sea some three weeks, when eight men came
rowing towards them in a leathern boat. They were the Chukches--a
warlike race living on the north-east coast of Siberia, unsubdued and
fierce. They pointed out a small island in the north, which Behring
named the Isle of St. Lawrence in honour of the day. Then he turned
back. He felt he had accomplished his task and obeyed his orders.
Moreover, with adverse winds they might never return to Kamtchatka,
and to winter among the Chukches was to court disaster. After a cruise
of three months they reached their starting-point again. Had he only
known that the coast of America was but thirty-nine miles off, the
results of his voyage would have been greater. As it was, he ascertained
that "there really does exist a north-east passage, and that from the
Lena River it is possible, provided one is not prevented by Polar ice,
to sail to Kamtchatka and thence to Japan, China, and the East Indies."

The final discovery was left for Captain Cook. As he approached the
straits which he called after Behring, the sun broke suddenly through
the clouds, and the continents of Asia and America were visible at
a glance.

There was dissatisfaction in Russia with the result of Behring's
voyage, and though five years of untold hardship in the "extremest
corner of the world" had told on the Russian explorer, he was willing
and anxious to start off again. He proposed to make Kamtchatka again
his headquarters, to explore the western coast of America, and to chart
the long Arctic coast of Siberia--a colossal task indeed.

So the Great Northern Expedition was formed, with Behring in command,
accompanied by two well-known explorers to help, Spangberg and
Chirikoff, and with five hundred and seventy men under him. It would
take too long to follow the various expeditions that now left Russia
in five different directions to explore the unknown coasts of the Old
World. "The world has never witnessed a more heroic geographical
enterprise than these Arctic expeditions." Amid obstacles
indescribable the north line of Siberia, hitherto charted as a
straight line, was explored and surveyed. Never was greater courage
and endurance displayed. If the ships got frozen in, they were hauled
on shore, the men spent the long winter in miserable huts and started
off again with the spring, until the northern coast assumed shape and

One branch of the Great Northern Expedition under Behring was composed
of professors to make a scientific investigation of Kamtchatka! These
thirty learned Russians were luxuriously equipped. They carried a
library with several hundred books, including _Robinson Crusoe_ and
_Gulliver's Travels_, seventy reams of writing-paper, and artists'
materials. They had nine wagonloads of instruments, carrying
telescopes fifteen feet long. A surgeon, two landscape painters, one
instrument maker, five surveyors accompanied them, and "the convoy
grew like an avalanche as it worked its way into Siberia." Behring
seems to have moved this "cumbersome machine" safely to Yakutsk,
though it took the best part of two years. Having left Russia in 1733,
it was 1741 when Behring himself was ready to start from the harbour
of Okhotsk for the coast of America with two ships and provisions for
some months. He was now nearly sixty, his health was undermined with
vexation and worry, and the climate of Okhotsk had nearly killed him.

On 18th July--just six weeks after the start--Behring discovered the
continent of North America. The coast was jagged, the land covered
with snow, mountains extended inland, and above all rose a peak
towering into the clouds--a peak higher than anything they knew in
Siberia or Kamtchatka, which Behring named Mount St. Elias, after the
patron saint of the day. He made his way with difficulty through the
string of islands that skirt the great peninsula of Alaska. Through
the months of August and September they cruised about the coast in
damp and foggy weather, which now gave way to violent storms, and
Behring's ship was driven along at the mercy of the wind. He himself
was ill, and the greater part of his crew were disabled by scurvy.
At last one day, in a high-running sea, the ship struck upon a rock
and they found themselves stranded on an unknown island off the coast
of Kamtchatka. Only two men were fit to land; they found a dead whale
on which they fed their sick. Later on sea-otters, blue and white foxes,
and sea-cows provided food, but the island was desolate and
solitary--not a human being was to be seen.

AMERICA. From a chart drawn in 1741 by Lieut. Waxell, a member of
Behring's expedition. It is also interesting for the drawing of the
sea-cow, one of the very few authentic drawings of this curious animal,
which has long been extinct, and is only known by these drawings.]

Here, however, the little party was forced to winter. With difficulty
they built five underground huts on the sandy shore of the island now
known as Behring Island. And each day amid the raging snowstorms and
piercing winds one man went forth to hunt for animal food.

Man after man died, and by December, Behring's own condition had become
hopeless. Hunger and grief had added to his misery, and in his sand-hut
he died. He was almost buried alive, for the sand rolled down from
the pit in which he lay and covered his feet. He would not have it
removed, for it kept him warm. Thirty more of the little expedition
died during that bitter winter on the island; the survivors, some
forty-five persons, built a ship from the timbers of the wreck, and
in August 1742 they returned to Kamtchatka to tell the story of
Behring's discoveries and of Behring's death.



But while the names of Torres, Carpenter, Tasman, and Dampier are still
to be found on our modern maps of Australia, it is the name of Captain
Cook that we must always connect most closely with the discovery of
the great island continent--the Great South Land which only became
known to Europe one hundred and fifty years ago.

Dampier had returned to England in 1701 from his voyage to New Holland,
but nearly seventy years passed before the English were prepared to
send another expedition to investigate further the mysterious land
in the south.

James Cook had shown himself worthy of the great command that was given
to him in 1768, although exploration was not the main object of the
expedition. Spending his boyhood in the neighbourhood of Whitby, he
was familiar with the North Sea fishermen, with the colliers, even
with the smugglers that frequented this eastern coast. In 1755 he
entered the Royal Navy, volunteering for service and entering H.M.S.
_Eagle_ as master's mate. Four years later we find him taking his share
on board H.M.S. _Pembroke_ in the attack on Quebec by Wolfe, and later
transferred to H.M.S. _Northumberland_, selected to survey the river
and Gulf of St. Lawrence. So satisfactory was his work that a few years
later he was instructed to survey and chart the coasts of Newfoundland
and Labrador. While engaged on this work, he observed an eclipse of
the sun, which led to the appointment that necessitated a voyage to
the Pacific Ocean. It had been calculated that a Transit of Venus would
occur in June 1769. A petition to the King set forth: "That, the British
nation being justly celebrated in the learned world for their
knowledge of astronomy, in which they are inferior to no nation upon
earth, ancient or modern, it would cast dishonour upon them should
they neglect to have correct observations made of this important
phenomenon." The King agreed, and the Royal Society selected James
Cook as a fit man for the appointment. A stout, strongly built collier
of three hundred and seventy tons was chosen at Whitby, manned with
seventy men, and victualled for twelve months. With instructions to
observe the Transit of Venus at the island of Georgeland (Otaheite),
to make further discoveries in the South Pacific Ocean and to explore
New Zealand if possible, Cook hoisted his flag on H.M.S. _Endeavour_
and started in May 1768.

It was an interesting party on board, joined at the last moment by
Mr. Joseph Banks, a very rich member of the Royal Society and a student
of Natural History. He had requested leave to sail in "the ship that
carries the English astronomers to the new-discovered country in the
South Sea." "No people ever went to sea better fitted out for the
purpose of Natural History, nor more elegantly," says a contemporary
writer. "They have a fine library, they have all sorts of machines
for catching and preserving insects, they have two painters and
draughtsmen--in short, this expedition will cost Mr. Banks 10,000

Their astronomical instruments were of the best, including a portable
observatory constructed for sixteen guineas. But most important of
all was the careful assortment of provisions, to allay, if possible,
that scourge of all navigators, the scurvy. A quantity of malt was
shipped to be made into wort, mustard, vinegar, wheat, orange and lemon
juice and portable soup was put on board, and Cook received special
orders to keep his men with plenty of fresh food whenever this was
possible. He carried out these orders strenuously, and at Madeira we
find him punishing one of his own seamen with twelve lashes for refusing
to eat fresh beef. Hence they left Rio de Janeiro "in as good a condition
for prosecuting the voyage as on the day they left England."

[Illustration: THE ISLAND OF OTAHEITE, OR ST. GEORGE. From a painting
by William Hodges, who accompanied Captain Cook.]

Christmas Day was passed near the mouth of the river Plate, and, early
in the New Year of 1769, the _Endeavour_ sailed through the Strait
of Le Maire. The wealthy Mr. Banks landed on Staaten Island and hastily
added a hundred new plants to his collection. Then they sailed on to
St. George's Island. It had been visited by Captain Wallis in the
_Dolphin_ the previous year; indeed, some of Cook's sailors had served
on board the _Dolphin_ and knew the native chiefs of the island. All
was friendly, tents were soon pitched, a fort built with mounted guns
at either side, the precious instruments landed, and on 3rd June, with
a cloudless sky and in intolerable heat, they observed the whole
passage of the planet Venus over the sun's disk.

After a stay of three months they left the island, taking Tupia, a
native, with them. Among other accomplishments this Tupia roasted dogs
to perfection, and Cook declares that dogs' flesh is "next only to
English lamb."

They visited other islands in the group--now known as the Society
Islands and belonging to France--and took possession of all in the
name of His Britannic Majesty, George III.

All through the month of September they sailed south, till on 7th
October land was sighted. It proved to be the North Island of New
Zealand, never before approached by Europeans from the east. It was
one hundred and twenty-seven years since Tasman had discovered the
west coast and called it Staaten Land, but no European had ever set
foot on its soil. Indeed, it was still held to be part of the Terra
Australis Incognita.

The first to sight land was a boy named Nicholas Young, hence the point
was called "Young Nick's Head," which may be seen on our maps to-day,
covering Poverty Bay. The natives here were unfriendly, and Cook was
obliged to use firearms to prevent an attack. The Maoris had never
seen a great ship before, and at first thought it was a very large
bird, being struck by the size and beauty of its wings (sails). When
a small boat was let down from the ship's side they thought it must
be a young unfledged bird, but when the white men in their
bright-coloured clothes rowed off in the boat they concluded these
were gods.

Cook found the low sandy coast backed by well-wooded hills rising to
mountains on which patches of snow were visible, while smoke could
be seen through the trees, speaking of native dwellings. The natives
were too treacherous to make it safe landing for the white men, so
they sailed out of Poverty Bay and proceeded south. Angry Maoris shook
their spears at the Englishmen as they coasted south along the east
coast of the North Island. But the face of the country was unpromising,
and Cook altered his course for the north at a point he named Cape
Turnagain. Unfortunately he missed the only safe port on the east coast
between Auckland and Wellington, but he found good anchorage in what
is now known as Cook's Bay. Here they got plenty of good fish, wild
fowl, and oysters, "as good as ever came out of Colchester." Taking
possession of the land they passed in the name of King George, Cook
continued his northerly course, passing many a river which seemed to
resemble the Thames at home. A heavy December gale blew them off the
northernmost point of land, which they named North Cape, and Christmas
was celebrated off Tasman's islands, with goose-pie.

BAY AND CAPE TURNAGAIN. From an engraving in the Atlas to Cook's first

The New Year of 1770 found Cook off Cape Maria van Diemen, sailing
south along the western coast of the North Island, till the _Endeavour_
was anchored in Ship Cove, Queen Charlotte's Sound, only about seventy
miles from the spot where Tasman first sighted land.

Here the English explorer landed. The country was thickly wooded, but
he climbed a hill, and away to the eastward he saw that the seas washing
both east and west coasts of the northern island were united. He had
solved one problem. Tasman's Staaten Land was not part of a great
southern continent. He now resolved to push through his newly
discovered straits between the two islands, and, having done this,
he sailed north till he reached Cape Turnagain. And so he proved beyond
a doubt that this was an island. The men thought they had done enough.
But Cook, with the true instinct of an explorer, turned a deaf ear
to the murmurings of his crew for roast beef and Old England, and
directed his course again south. From the natives he had learned of
the existence of two islands, and he must needs sail round the southern
as he had sailed round the northern isle. Storms and gales harassed
the navigators through the month of February as they made their way
slowly southwards. Indeed, they had a very narrow escape from death
towards the end of the month, when in a two days' gale, with heavy
squalls of rain, their foresail was split to pieces and they lost sight
of land for seven days, nearly running on to submerged rocks which
Cook named The Traps.

It was nearly dark on 14th March when they entered a bay which they
suitably christened Dusky Bay, from which they sailed to Cascade Point,
named from the four streams that fell over its face.

"No country upon earth," remarks Cook, "can appear with a more rugged
and barren aspect than this does from the sea, for, as far inland as
the eye can reach, nothing is to be seen but the summit of these rocky
mountains." At last on 24th March they rounded the north point of the
South Island. Before them lay the familiar waters of Massacre Bay,
Tasman Bay, and Queen Charlotte Sound.

"As we have now circumnavigated the whole of this country, it is time
for me to think of quitting it," Cook remarks simply enough.

Running into Admiralty Bay, the _Endeavour_ was repaired for her
coming voyage home. Her sails, "ill-provided from the first," says
Banks, "were now worn and damaged by the rough work they had gone
through, particularly on the coast of New Zealand, and they gave no
little trouble to get into order again."

While Banks searched for insects and plants, Cook sat writing up his
_Journal_ of the circumnavigation. He loyally gives Tasman the honour
of the first discovery, but clearly shows his error in supposing it
to be part of the great southern land.

The natives he describes as "a strong, raw-boned, well-made, active
people rather above the common size, of a dark brown colour, with black
hair, thin black beards, and white teeth. Both men and women paint
their faces and bodies with red ochre mixed with fish oil. They wear
ornaments of stone, bone, and shells at their ears and about their
necks, and the men generally wear long white feathers stuck upright
in their hair. They came off in canoes which will carry a hundred
people; when within a stone's throw of the ship, the chief of the party
would brandish a battleaxe, calling out: 'Come ashore with us and we
will kill you.' They would certainly have eaten them too, for they
were cannibals."

The ship was now ready and, naming the last point of land Cape Farewell,
they sailed away to the west, "till we fall in with the east coast
of New Holland." They had spent six and a half months sailing about
in New Zealand waters, and had coasted some two thousand four hundred

Nineteen days' sail brought them to the eagerly sought coast, and on
28th April, Cook anchored for the first time in the bay known afterwards
to history as Botany Bay, so named from the quantity of plants found
in the neighbourhood by Mr. Banks. Cutting an inscription on one of
the trees, with the date and name of the ship, Cook sailed north early
in May, surveying the coast as he passed and giving names to the various
bays and capes. Thus Port Jackson, at the entrance of Sydney harbour,
undiscovered by Cook, was so named after one of the Secretaries of
the Admiralty--Smoky Cape from smoke arising from native
dwellings--Point Danger by reason of a narrow escape on some
shoals--while Moreton Bay, on which Brisbane, the capital of
Queensland, now stands, was named after the President of the Royal
Society. As they advanced, the coast became steep, rocky, and

"Hitherto," reports Cook, "we had safely navigated this dangerous
coast, where the sea in all parts conceals shores that project suddenly
from the shore and rocks that rise abruptly like a pyramid from the
bottom more than one thousand three hundred miles. But here we became
acquainted with misfortune, and we therefore called the point which
we had just seen farthest to the northward, Cape Tribulation."

It was the 10th of May. The gentlemen had left the deck "in great
tranquillity" and gone to bed, when suddenly the ship struck and
remained immovable except for the heaving of the surge that beat her
against the crags of the rock upon which she lay. Every one rushed
to the deck "with countenances which sufficiently expressed the
horrors of our situation." Immediately they took in all sails, lowered
the boats, and found they were on a reef of coral rocks. Two days of
sickening anxiety followed, the ship sprang a leak, and they were
threatened with total destruction. To their intense relief, however,
the ship floated off into deep water with a high tide. Repairs were
now more than ever necessary, and the poor battered collier was taken
into the "Endeavour" river. Tupia and others were also showing signs
of scurvy; so a hospital tent was erected on shore, and with a supply
of fresh fish, pigeons, wild plantains, and turtles they began to
improve. Here stands to-day the seaport of Cooktown, where a monument
of Captain Cook looks out over the waters that he discovered.

engraving in the Atlas to Cook's first _Voyage_.]

The prospect of further exploration was not encouraging. "In whatever
direction we looked, the sea was covered with shoals as far as the
eye could see." As they sailed out of their little river, they could
see the surf breaking on the "Great Barrier Reef." Navigation now
became very difficult, and, more than once, even Cook himself almost
gave up hope. Great, then, was their joy when they found themselves
at the northern promontory of the land which "I have named York Cape
in honour of His late Royal Highness the Duke of York. We were in great
hopes that we had at last found out a passage into the Indian Seas."
And he adds an important paragraph: "As I was now about to quit the
eastern coast of New Holland, which I am confident no European had
ever seen before, I once more hoisted the English colours, and I now
took possession of the whole eastern coast in right of His Majesty
King George III., by the name of New South Wales, with all the bays,
harbours, rivers, and islands situated upon it."

This part of the new land was called by the name of New South Wales.

So the _Endeavour_ sailed through the straits that Torres had
accidentally passed one hundred and sixty-four years before, and, just
sighting New Guinea, Cook made his way to Java, for his crew were sickly
and "pretty far gone with longing for home." The ship, too, was in
bad condition; she had to be pumped night and day to keep her free
from water, and her sails would hardly stand the least puff of wind.
They reached Batavia in safety and were kindly received by the Dutch

Since leaving Plymouth two years before, Cook had only lost seven men
altogether--three by drowning, two frozen, one from consumption, one
from poisoning--none from scurvy--a record without equal in the
history of Navigation. But the climate of Batavia now wrought havoc
among the men. One after another died, Tupia among others, and so many
were weakened with fever that only twenty officers and men were left
on duty at one time.

Glad, indeed, they were to leave at Christmas time, and gladder still
to anchor in the Downs and to reach London after their three years'
absence. The news of his arrival and great discoveries seems to have
been taken very quietly by those at home. "Lieutenant Cook of the Navy,"
says the _Annual Register_ for 1771, "who sailed round the globe, was
introduced to His Majesty at St. James's, and presented to His Majesty
his _Journal_ of his voyage, with some curious maps and charts of
different places that he had drawn during the voyage; he was presented
with a captain's commission."



Although the importance of his discoveries was not realised at this
time, Cook was given command of two new ships, the _Resolution_ and
_Adventure_, provisioned for a year for "a voyage to remote parts,"
a few months later. And the old _Endeavour_ went back to her collier
work in the North Sea.

Perhaps a letter written by Cook to a friend at Whitby on his return
from the second voyage is sufficient to serve our purpose here; for,
though the voyage was important enough, yet little new was discovered.
And after spending many months in high latitudes, Cook decided that
there was no great southern continent to the south of New Holland and
New Zealand.

"DEAR SIR,"--he writes from London in September 1775--"I now sit down
to fulfil the promise I made you to give you some account of my last
voyage. I left the Cape of Good Hope on 22nd November 1772 and proceeded
to the south, till I met with a vast field of ice and much foggy weather
and large islets or floating mountains of ice without number. After
some trouble and not a little danger, I got to the south of the field
of ice; and after beating about for some time for land, in a sea strewed
with ice, I crossed the Antarctic circle and the same evening (17th
January 1773) found it unsafe, or rather impossible, to stand farther
to the south for ice.

"Seeing no signs of meeting with land in these high latitudes, I stood
away to the northward, and, without seeing any signs of land, I thought
proper to steer for New Zealand, where I anchored in Dusky Bay on 26th
March and then sailed for Queen Charlotte's Sound. Again I put to sea
and stood to the south, where I met with nothing but ice and excessive
cold, bad weather. Here I spent near four months beating about in high
latitudes. Once I got as high as seventy-one degrees, and farther it
was not possible to go for ice which lay as firm as land. Here we saw
ice mountains, whose summits were lost in clouds. I was now fully
satisfied that there was no Southern Continent. I nevertheless
resolved to spend some time longer in these seas, and with this
resolution I stood away to the north."

In this second voyage Cook proved that there was no great land to the
south of Terra Australis or South America, except the land of ice lying
about the South Pole.

But he did a greater piece of work than this. He fought, and fought
successfully, the great curse of scurvy, which had hitherto carried
off scores of sailors and prevented ships on voyages of discovery,
or indeed ships of war, from staying long on the high seas without
constantly landing for supplies of fresh food. It was no uncommon
occurrence for a sea captain to return after even a few months' cruise
with half his men suffering from scurvy. Captain Palliser on H.M.S.
_Eagle_ in 1756 landed in Plymouth Sound with one hundred and thirty
sick men out of four hundred, twenty-two having died in a month. Cook
had resolved to fight this dreaded scourge, and we have already seen
that during his three years' cruise of the _Endeavour_ he had only
to report five cases of scurvy, so close a watch did he keep on his
crews. In his second voyage he was even more particular, with the result
that in the course of three years he did not lose a single man from
scurvy. He enforced cold bathing, and encouraged it by example. The
allowance of salt beef and pork was cut down, and the habit of mixing
salt beef fat with the flour was strictly forbidden. Salt butter and
cheese were stopped, and raisins were substituted for salt suet; wild
celery was collected in Terra del Fuego and breakfast made from this
with ground wheat and portable soup. The cleanliness of the men was
insisted on. Cook never allowed any one to appear dirty before him.
He inspected the men once a week at least, and saw with his own eyes
that they changed their clothing; equal care was taken to keep the
ship clean and dry between decks, and she was constantly "cured with
fires" or "smoked with gunpowder mixed with vinegar."

For a paper on this subject read before the Royal Society in 1776,
James Cook was awarded a gold medal (now in the British Museum).

But although the explorer was now forty-eight, he was as eager for
active adventure as a youth of twenty. He had settled the question
of a southern continent. Now when the question of the North-West
Passage came up again, he offered his services to Lord Sandwich, first
Lord of the Admiralty, and was at once accepted. It was more than two
hundred years since Frobisher had attempted to solve the mystery,
which even Cook--the first navigator of his day--with improved ships
and better-fed men, did not succeed in solving. He now received his
secret instructions, and, choosing the old _Resolution_ again, he set
sail in company with Captain Clerke on board the _Discovery_ in the
year 1776 for that voyage from which there was to be no return. He
was to touch at New Albion (discovered by Drake) and explore any rivers
or inlets that might lead to Hudson's or Baffin's Bay.

After once more visiting Tasmania and New Zealand, he made a prolonged
stay among the Pacific Islands, turning north in December 1777. Soon
after they had crossed the line, and a few days before Christmas, a
low island was seen on which Cook at once landed, hoping to get a fresh
supply of turtle. In this he was not disappointed. Some three hundred,
"all of the green kind and perhaps as good as any in the world," were
obtained; the island was named Christmas Island, and the _Resolution_
and _Discovery_ sailed upon their way. A few days later they came upon
a group of islands hitherto unknown. These they named after the Earl
of Sandwich, the group forming the kingdom of Hawaii--the chief island.
Natives came off in canoes bringing pigs and potatoes, and ready to
exchange fish for nails. Some were tempted on board, "the wildness
of their looks expressing their astonishment." Anchorage being found,
Cook landed, and as he set foot on shore a large crowd of natives pressed
forward and, throwing themselves on their faces, remained thus till
Cook signed to them to rise.

[Illustration: CAPIAIN JAMES COOK. From the painting by Dance in the
gallery of Greenwich Hospital.]

With a goodly supply of fresh provisions, Cook sailed away from the
Sandwich Islands, and after some five weeks' sail to the north the
"longed-for coast of New Albion was seen." The natives of the country
were clad in fur, which they offered for sale. They exacted payment
for everything, even for the wood and water that the strangers took
from their shores. The weather was cold and stormy, and the progress
of the little English ships was slow. By 22nd March they had passed
Cape Flattery; a week later they named Hope Bay, "in which we hoped
to find a good harbour, and the event proved we were not mistaken."
All this part of the coast was called by Cook King George's Sound,
but the native name of Nootka has since prevailed. We have an amusing
account of these natives. At first they were supposed to be dark
coloured, "till after much cleaning they were found to have skins like
our people in England." Expert thieves they were. No piece of iron
was safe from them. "Before we left the place," says Cook, "hardly
a bit of brass was left in the ship. Whole suits of clothes were stripped
of every button, copper kettles, tin canisters, candlesticks, all went
to wreck, so that these people got a greater variety of things from
us than any other people we had visited."

It was not till 26th April that Cook at last managed to start forward
again, but a two days' hard gale drove him from the coast and onwards
to a wide inlet to which he gave the name of Prince William's Sound.
Here the natives were just like the Eskimos in Hudson's Bay. The ships
now sailed westward, doubling the promontory of Alaska, and on 9th
August they reached the westernmost point of North America, which they
named Cape Prince of Wales. They were now in the sea discovered by
Behring, 1741, to which they gave his name. Hampered by fog and ice,
the ships made their way slowly on to a point named Cape North. Cook
decided that the eastern point of Asia was but thirteen leagues from
the western point of America. They named the Sound on the American
side Norton Sound after the Speaker of the House of Commons. Having
passed the Arctic Circle and penetrated into the Northern Seas, which
were never free from ice, they met Russian traders who professed to
have known Behring. Then having discovered four thousand miles of new
coast, and refreshed themselves with walrus or sea-horse, the
expedition turned joyfully back to the Sandwich Islands.

On the last day of November, Cook discovered the island of Owhyhee
(Hawaii), which he carefully surveyed, till he came to anchor in
Karakakooa Bay.

The tragic death of Captain Cook at the hands of these natives is well
known to every child. The reason for his murder is not entirely
understood to-day, but the natives, who had hitherto proved friendly,
suddenly attacked the English explorer and slew him, and "he fell into
the water and spoke no more."

an engraving in the Atlas to _Cook's Voyages_, 1779.]

Such was the melancholy end of England's first great navigator--James
Cook--the foremost sailor of his time, the man who had circumnavigated
New Zealand, who had explored the coast of New South Wales, named
various unknown islands in the Pacific Ocean, and discovered the
Sandwich Islands. He died on 14th February 1779. It was not till 11th
January 1780 that the news of his death reached London, to be recorded
in the quaint language of the day by the _London Gazette_.

"It is with the utmost concern," runs the announcement, "that we inform
the Public, that the celebrated Circumnavigator, Captain Cook, was
killed by the inhabitants of a new-discover'd island in the South Seas.
The Captain and crew were first treated as deities, but, upon their
revisiting that Island, hostilities ensued and the above melancholy
scene was the Consequence. This account is come from Kamtchatka by
Letters from Captain Clerke and others. But the crews of the Ships
were in a very good state of health, and all in the most desirable
condition. His successful attempts to preserve the Healths of his
Crews are well known, and his Discoveries will be an everlasting Honour
to his Country."

_Cook's First Voyages_ were published in 1773, and were widely read,
but his account of the new country did not at once attract Europeans
to its shores. We hear of "barren sandy shores and wild rocky coast
inhabited by naked black people, malicious and cruel," on the one hand,
"and low shores all white with sand fringed with foaming surf," with
hostile natives on the other.

[Illustration: "THE UNROLLING OF THE CLOUDS"--VI. The world as known
after the voyages of Captain Cook (1768-1779).]

It was not till eighteen years after Cook's death that Banks--his old
friend--appealed to the British Government of the day to make some
use of these discoveries. At last the loss of the American colonies
in 1776 induced men to turn their eyes toward the new land in the South
Pacific. Banks remembered well his visit to Botany Bay with Captain
Cook in 1770, and he now urged the dispatch of convicts, hitherto
transported to America, to this newly found bay in New South Wales.

So in 1787 a fleet of eleven ships with one thousand people on board
left the shores of England under the command of Captain Phillip. After
a tedious voyage of thirty-six weeks, they reached Botany Bay in
January 1788.

Captain Phillip had been appointed Governor of all New South Wales,
that is from Cape York to Van Diemen's Land, still supposed to be part
of the mainland. But Phillip at once recognised that Botany Bay was
not a suitable place for a settlement. No white man had described these
shores since the days of Captain Cook. The green meadows of which Banks
spoke were barren swamps and bleak sands, while the bay itself was
exposed to the full sweep of violent winds, with a heavy sea breaking
with tremendous surf against the shore.

"Warra, warra!" (begone, begone), shouted the natives, brandishing
spears at the water's edge as they had done eighteen years before.
In an open boat--for it was midsummer in these parts--Phillip surveyed
the coast; an opening marked Port Jackson on Cook's chart attracted
his notice and, sailing between two rocky headlands, the explorer
found himself crossing smooth, clear water with a beautiful harbour
in front and soft green foliage reaching down to the water's edge.
Struck with the loveliness of the scene, and finding both wood and
water here, he chose the spot for his new colony, giving it the name
of Sydney, alter Lord Sydney, who as Home Secretary had appointed him
to his command.

AND PHILLIP. From the Atlas to the _Voyage de l'Astrolabe_.]

"We got into Port Jackson," he wrote to Lord Sydney, "early in the
afternoon, and had the satisfaction of finding the finest harbour in
the world, in which a thousand sail of the line may ride in perfect

"To us," wrote one of his captains, "it was a great and important day,
and I hope will mark the foundation of an empire."

But, interesting as it is, we cannot follow the fortunes of this first
little English colony in the South Pacific Ocean.

The English had not arrived a day too soon. A few days later the French
explorer, La Perouse, guided hither by Cook's chart, suddenly made
his appearance on the shores of Botany Bay. The arrival of two French
men-of-war caused the greatest excitement among the white strangers
and the black natives.

La Perouse had left France in 1785 in command of two ships with orders
to search for the North-West Passage from the Pacific side--a feat
attempted by Captain Cook only nine years before--to explore the China
seas, the Solomon Islands, and the Terra Australis. He had reached
the coast of Alaska in June 1786, but after six weeks of bad weather
he had crossed to Asia in the early part of the following year.

Thence he had made his way by the Philippine Islands to the coasts
of Japan, Korea, and "Chinese Tartary." Touching at Quelpart, he
reached a bay near our modern Vladivostock, and on 2nd August 1787
he discovered the strait that bears his name to-day, between Saghalien
and the North Island of Japan. Fortunately, from Kamtchatka, where
he had landed, he had sent home his journals, notes, plans, and maps
by Lesseps--uncle of the famous Ferdinand de Lesseps of Suez Canal

On 26th January 1788 he landed at Botany Bay. From here he wrote his
last letter to the French Government. After leaving this port he was
never seen again. Many years later, in 1826, the wreck of his two ships
was found on the reefs of an island near the New Hebrides.



Perhaps one of the strangest facts in the whole history of exploration
is that Africa was almost an unknown land a hundred years ago, and
stranger still, that there remains to-day nearly one-eleventh of the
whole area still unexplored. And yet it is one of the three old
continents that appear on every old chart of the world in ancient days,
with its many-mouthed Nile rising in weird spots and flowing in sundry
impossible directions. Sometimes it joins the mysterious Niger, and
together they flow through country labelled "Unknown" or "Desert" or
"Negroland," or an enterprising cartographer fills up vacant spaces
with wild animals stalking through the land.

The coast tells a different tale. The west shores are studded with
trading forts belonging to English, Danes, Dutch, and Portuguese,
where slaves from the interior awaited shipment to the various
countries that required negro labour. The slave trade was the great,
in fact the only, attraction to Africa at the beginning of the
eighteenth century. In pursuit of this, men would penetrate quite a
long way into the interior, but through the long centuries few
explorers had travelled to the Dark Continent.

Towards the end of the century we suddenly get one man--a young Scottish
giant, named James Bruce, thirsting for exploration for its own sake.
He cared not for slaves or gold or ivory. He just wanted to discover
the source of the Nile, over which a great mystery had hung since the
days of Herodotus. The Mountains of the Moon figure largely on the
Old World maps, but Bruce decided to rediscover these for himself.
Herodotus had said the Nile turned west and became the Niger, others
said it turned east and somehow joined the Tigris and Euphrates. Indeed,
such was the uncertainty regarding its source that to discover the
source of the Nile seemed equivalent to performing the impossible.

James Bruce, athletic, daring, standing six feet four, seemed at the
age of twenty-four made for a life of travel and adventure. His business
took him to Spain and Portugal. He studied Arabic and the ancient
language of Abyssinia. He came under the notice of Pitt, and was made
consul of Algiers. The idea of the undiscovered sources of the Nile
took strong hold of Bruce's imagination.

"It was at this moment," he says, "that I resolved that this great
discovery should either be achieved by me or remain--as it has done
for three thousand years--a defiance to all travellers."

A violent dispute with the old bey of Algiers ended Bruce's consulate,
and in 1765, the spirit of adventure strong upon him, he sailed along
the North African coast, landed at Tunis, and made his way to Tripoli.
On the frontier he found a tribe of Arabs set apart to destroy the
lions which beset the neighbourhood. These people not only killed but
ate the lions, and they prevailed on Bruce to share their repast. But
one meal was enough for the young explorer.

In burning heat across the desert sands he passed on. Once a great
caravan arrived, journeying from Fez to Mecca, consisting of three
thousand men with camels laden with merchandise. But this religious
pilgrimage was plundered in the desert soon after. Arrived at Bengazi,
Bruce found a terrible famine raging, so he embarked on a little Greek
ship bound for Crete. It was crowded with Arabs; the captain was
ignorant; a violent storm arose and, close to Bengazi, the ship struck
upon a rock. Lowering a boat, Bruce and a number of Arabs sprang in
and tried to row ashore. But wave after wave broke over them, and at
last they had to swim for their lives. The surf was breaking on the
shore, and Bruce was washed up breathless and exhausted. Arabs
flocking down to plunder the wreck, found Bruce, and with blows and
kicks stripped him of all his clothes and left him naked on the barren
shore. At last an old Arab came along, threw a dirty rag over him,
and led him to a tent, whence he reached Bengazi once more, and soon
after crossed to Crete.

[Illustration: A NILE BOAT, OR CANJA. From Bruce's _Travels to
Discover the Source of the Nile_.]

It was not till July 1768 that the explorer at last reached Cairo _en
route_ for Abyssinia, and five months later embarked on board a Nile
boat, or canja. His cabin had close latticed windows made not only
to admit fresh air, but to be a defence against a set of robbers on
the Nile, who were wont to swim under water in the dark or on goatskins
to pilfer any passing boats. Then, unfurling her vast sails, the canja
bore Bruce on the first stage of his great journey. The explorer spent
some time in trying to find the lost site of old Memphis, but this
was difficult. "A man's heart fails him in looking to the south," he
says; "he is lost in the immense expanse of desert, which he sees full
of pyramids before him. Struck with terror from the unusual scene of
vastness opened all at once upon leaving the palm trees, he becomes
dispirited from the effect of the sultry climate."

For some days the canja, with a fair wind, stemmed the strong current
of the Nile. "With great velocity" she raced past various villages
through the narrow green valley of cultivation, till the scene changed
and large plantations of sugar-canes and dates began. "The wind had
now become so strong that the canja could scarcely carry her sails;
the current was rapid and the velocity with which she dashed against
the water was terrible." Still she flew on day after day, till early
in January they reached the spot "where spreading Nile parts
hundred-gated Thebes." Solitude and silence reigned over the
magnificent old sepulchres; the hundred gates were gone, robbers
swarmed, and the traveller hastened away. So on to Luxor and Karnac
to a great encampment of Arabs, who held sway over the desert which
Bruce had now to cross. The old sheikh, whose protection was necessary,
known as the Tiger from his ferocious disposition, was very ill in
his tent. Bruce gave him some lime water, which eased his pain, and,
rising from the ground, the old Arab stood upright and cried: "Cursed
be those of my people that ever shall lift up their hand against you
in the desert."

He strongly advised Bruce to return to Kenne and cross the desert from
there instead of going on by the Nile. Reluctantly Bruce turned back,
and on 16th February 1769 he joined a caravan setting out to cross
the desert to the shores of the Red Sea.

"Our road," he says, "was all the way in an open plain bounded by
hillocks of sand and fine gravel--perfectly hard, but without trees,
shrubs, or herbs. There are not even the traces of any living creature,
neither serpent, lizard, antelope, nor ostrich--the usual inhabitants
of the most dreary deserts. There is no sort of water--even the birds
seem to avoid the place as pestilential--the sun was burning hot."
In a few days the scene changed, and Bruce is noting that in four days
he passes more granite, porphyry, marble, and jasper than would build
Rome, Athens, Corinth, Memphis, Alexandria, and half a dozen more.
At last after a week's travel they reached Cossier, the little
mud-walled village on the shores of the Red Sea. Here Bruce embarked
in a small boat, the planks of which were sewn together instead of
nailed, with a "sort of straw mattress as a sail," for the emerald
mines described by Pliny, but he was driven back by a tremendous storm.
Determined to survey the Red Sea, he sailed to the north, and after
landing at Tor at the foot of Mount Sinai, he sailed down the bleak
coast of Arabia to Jidda, the port of Mecca.

[Illustration: AN ARAB SHEIKH. From Bruce's _Travels_.]

By this time he was shaking with ague and fever, scorched by the burning
sun, and weather-beaten by wind and storm--moreover, he was still
dressed as a Turkish soldier. He was glad enough to find kindly English
at Jidda, and after two months' rest he sailed on to the Straits of
Babelmandeb. Being now on English ground, he drank the King's health
and sailed across to Masuah, the main port of Abyssinia. Although he
had letters of introduction from Jidda he had some difficulty with
the chief of Masuah, but at last, dressed in long white Moorish robes,
he broke away, and in November 1769 started forth for Gondar, the
capital of Abyssinia.

It was nearly one hundred and fifty years since any European of note
had visited the country, and it was hard to get any information.

His way led across mountainous country--rugged and steep. "Far above
the top of all towers that stupendous mass, the mountain of Taranta,
probably one of the highest in the world, the point of which is buried
in the clouds and very rarely seen but in the clearest weather; at
other times abandoned to perpetual mist and darkness, the seat of
lightning, thunder, and of storm." Violent storms added to the terrors
of the way, trees were torn up by the roots, and swollen streams rushed
along in torrents.

Bruce had started with his quadrant carried by four men, but the task
of getting his cumbersome instruments up the steep sides of Taranta
was intense. However, they reached the top at last to find a huge plain,
"perhaps one of the highest in the world," and herds of beautiful cattle
feeding. "The cows were completely white, with large dewlaps hanging
down to their knees, white horns, and long silky hair." After
ninety-five days' journey, on 14th February Bruce reached Gondar, the
capital, on the flat summit of a high hill.

Here lived the King of Abyssinia, a supposed descendant of King
Solomon; but at the present time the country was in a lawless and
unsettled condition. Moreover, smallpox was raging at the palace, and
the royal children were smitten with it. Bruce's knowledge of medicine
now stood him again in good stead. He opened all the doors and windows
of the palace, washed his little patients with vinegar and warm water,
sent away those not already infected, and all recovered. Bruce had
sprung into court favour. The ferocious chieftain, Ras Michael, who
had killed one king, poisoned another, and was now ruling in the name
of a third, sent for him. The old chief was dressed in a coarse, dirty
garment wrapped round him like a blanket, his long white hair hung
down over his shoulders, while behind him stood soldiers, their lances
ornamented with shreds of scarlet cloth, one for every man slain in

Bruce was appointed "Master of the King's horse," a high office and
richly paid.

But "I told him this was no kindness," said the explorer. "My only
wish was to see the country and find the sources of the Nile."

But time passed on and they would not let him go, until, at last, he
persuaded the authorities to make him ruler over the province where
the Blue Nile was supposed to rise. Amid great opposition he at last
left the palace of Gondar on 28th October 1770, and was soon on his
way to the south "to see a river and a bog, no part of which he could
take away"--an expedition wholly incomprehensible to the royal folk
at Gondar. Two days' march brought him to the shores of the great Lake
Tsana, into which, despite the fact that he was tremendously hot and
that crocodiles abounded there, the hardy young explorer plunged for
a swim. And thus refreshed he proceeded on his way. He had now to
encounter a new chieftain named Fasil, who at first refused to give
him leave to pass on his way. It was not until Bruce had shown himself
an able horseman and exhibited feats of strength and prowess that leave
was at last granted. Fasil tested him in this wise. Twelve horses were
brought to Bruce, saddled and bridled, to know which he would like
to ride. Selecting an apparently quiet beast, the young traveller

"For the first two minutes," he says, "I do not know whether I was
most in the earth or in the air; he kicked behind, reared before, leaped
like a deer all four legs off the ground--he then attempted to gallop,
taking the bridle in his teeth; he continued to gallop and ran away
as hard as he could, flinging out behind every ten yards, till he had
no longer breath or strength and I began to think he would scarce carry
me to the camp."

On his return Bruce mounted his own horse, and, taking his
double-barrelled gun, he rode about, twisting and turning his horse
in every direction, to the admiration of these wild Abyssinian folk.
Not only did Fasil now let him go, but he dressed him in a fine, loose
muslin garment which reached to his feet, gave him guides and a handsome
grey horse.

"Take this horse," he said, "as a present from me. Do not mount it
yourself; drive it before you, saddled and bridled as it is; no man
will touch you when he sees that horse." Bruce obeyed his orders, and
the horse was driven in front of him. The horse was magic; the people
gave it handfuls of barley and paid more respect to it than to Bruce
himself, though in many cases the people seemed scared by the
appearance of the horse and fled away.

On 2nd November the Nile came into sight. It was only two hundred and
sixty feet broad; but it was deeply revered by the people who lived
on its banks. They refused to allow Bruce to ride across, but insisted
on his taking off his shoes and walking through the shallow stream.
It now became difficult to get food as they crossed the scorching hot
plains. But Bruce was nearing his goal, and at last he stood at the
top of the great Abyssinian tableland. "Immediately below us appeared
the Nile itself, strangely diminished in size, now only a brook that
had scarcely water to turn a mill." Throwing off his shoes, trampling
down the flowers that grew on the mountain-side, falling twice in his
excitement, Bruce ran down in breathless haste till he reached the
"hillock of green sod" which has made his name so famous.

"It is easier to guess than to describe the situation of my mind at
that moment, standing in that spot which had baffled the genius,
industry, and inquiry of both ancients and moderns for the course of
near three thousand years. Kings had attempted this discovery at the
heads of their armies--fame, riches, and honour had been held out for
a series of ages without having produced one man capable of wiping
off this stain upon the enterprise and abilities of mankind or adding
this desideratum for the encouragement of geography. Though a mere
private Briton, I triumphed here over kings and their armies. I was
but a few minutes arrived at the source of the Nile, through numberless
dangers and sufferings, the least of which would have overwhelmed me
but for the continual goodness and protection of Providence. I was,
however, but then half through my journey, and all those dangers which
I had already passed awaited me again on my return. I found a
despondency gaining ground fast upon me and blasting the crown of
laurels I had too rashly woven for myself."

Bruce then filled a large cocoa-nut shell, which he had brought from
Arabia, full of the Nile water, and drank to the health of His Majesty
King George III.



Bruce died in the spring of 1794. Just a year later another Scotsman,
Mungo Park, from Selkirk, started off to explore the great river
Niger--whose course was as mysterious as that of the Nile. Most of
the early geographers knew something of a great river running through
Negroland. Indeed, Herodotus tells of five young men, the Nasamones,
who set out to explore the very heart of Africa. Arrived at the edge
of the great sandy desert, they collected provisions and supplied
themselves with water and plunged courageously into the unknown. For
weary days they made their way across to the south, till they were
rewarded by finding themselves in a fertile land well watered by lakes
and marshes, with fruit trees and a little race of men and women whom
they called pigmies.

And a large river was flowing from west to east--probably the Niger.
But the days of Herodotus are long since past. It was centuries later
when the Arabs, fiery with the faith of Mohammed, swept over the
unexplored lands. "With a fiery enthusiasm that nothing could
withstand, and inspired by a hope of heaven which nothing could shake,
they swept from district to district, from tribe to tribe," everywhere
proclaiming to roving multitudes the faith of their master. In this
spirit they had faced the terrors of the Sahara Desert, and in the
tenth century reached the land of the negroes, found the Niger, and
established schools and mosques westward of Timbuktu.

Portugal had then begun to play her part, and the fifteenth century
is full of the wonderful voyages inspired by Prince Henry of Portugal,
which culminated in the triumph of Vasco da Gama's great voyage to
India by the Cape of Good Hope.

Then the slave trade drew the Elizabethan Englishmen to the shores
of West Africa, and the coast was studded with forts and stations in
connection with it. Yet in the eighteenth century the Niger and
Timbuktu were still a mystery.

In 1778 the African Association was founded, with our old friend Sir
Joseph Banks as an active member inquiring for a suitable man to follow
up the work of the explorer Houghton, who had just perished in the
desert on his way to Timbuktu.

The opportunity produced the man. Mungo Park, a young Scotsman, bitten
with the fever of unrest, had just returned from a voyage to the East
on board an East India Company's ship. He heard of this new venture,
and applied for it. The African Association instantly accepted his
services, and on 22nd May 1795, Mungo Park left England on board the
_Endeavour_, and after a pleasant voyage of thirty days landed at the
mouth of the river Gambia. The river is navigable for four hundred
miles from its mouth, and Park sailed up to a native town, where the
_Endeavour_ was anchored, while he set out on horseback for a little
village, Pisania, where a few British subjects traded in slaves, ivory,
and gold. Here he stayed a while, to learn the language of the country.
Fever delayed him till the end of November, when the rains were over,
the native crops had been reaped, and food was cheap and plentiful.
On 3rd December he made a start, his sole attendants being a negro
servant, Johnson, and a slave boy. Mungo Park was mounted on a strong,
spirited little horse, his attendants on donkeys. He had provisions
for two days, beads, amber, and tobacco for buying fresh food, an
umbrella, a compass, a thermometer and pocket sextant, some pistols
and firearms, and "thus attended, thus provided, thus armed, Mungo
Park started for the heart of Africa."

[Illustration: MUNGO PARK. From the engraving in Park's _Travels into
the Interior of Africa_, 1799.]

Three days' travelling brought him to Medina, where he found the old
king sitting on a bullock's hide, warming himself before a large fire.
He begged the English explorer to turn back and not to travel into
the interior, for the people there had never seen a white man and would
most certainly destroy him. Mungo Park was not so easily deterred,
and taking farewell of the good old king, he took a guide and proceeded
on his way.

A day's journey brought him to a village where a curious custom
prevailed. Hanging on a tree, he found a sort of masquerading dress
made out of bark. He discovered that it belonged to a strange bugbear
known to all the natives of the neighbourhood as Mumbo Jumbo. The
natives or Kafirs of this part had many wives, with the result that
family quarrels often took place. If a husband was offended by his
wife he disappeared into the woods, disguised himself in the dress
of Mumbo Jumbo, and, armed with the rod of authority, announced his
advent by loud and dismal screams near the town. All hurried to the
accepted meeting-place, for none dare disobey. The meeting opened with
song and dance till midnight, when Mumbo Jumbo announced the offending
wife. The unlucky victim was then seized, stripped, tied to a post,
and beaten with Mumbo's rod amid the shouts of the assembled company.

A few days before Christmas, Park entered Fatticonda--the place where
Major Houghton had been robbed and badly used. He therefore took some
amber, tobacco, and an umbrella as gifts to the king, taking care to
put on his best blue coat, lest it should be stolen. The king was
delighted with his gifts; he furled and unfurled his umbrella to the
great admiration of his attendants. "The king then praised my blue
coat," says Park, "of which the yellow buttons seemed particularly
to catch his fancy, and entreated me to give it to him, assuring me
that he would wear it on all public occasions. As it was against my
interests to offend him by a refusal, I very quietly took off my
coat--the only good one in my possession--and laid it at his feet."
Then without his coat and umbrella, but in peace, Park travelled onward
to the dangerous district which was so invested with robbers that the
little party had to travel by night. The howling of wild beasts alone
broke the awful silence as they crept forth by moonlight on their way.
But the news that a white man was travelling through their land spread,
and he was surrounded by a party of horsemen, who robbed him of nearly
all his possessions. His attendant Johnson urged him to return, for
certain death awaited him. But Park was not the man to turn back, and
he was soon rewarded by finding the king's nephew, who conducted him
in safety to the banks of the Senegal River.

Then he travelled on to the next king, who rejoiced in the name of
Daisy Korrabarri. Here Mungo learnt to his dismay that war was going
on in the province that lay between him and the Niger, and the king
could offer no protection. Still nothing deterred the resolute
explorer, who took another route and continued his journey. Again he
had to travel by night, for robbers haunted his path, which now lay
among Mohammedans. He passed the very spot where Houghton had been
left to die of starvation in the desert. As he advanced through these
inhospitable regions, new difficulties met him. His attendants firmly
refused to move farther. Mungo Park was now alone in the great desert
Negroland, between the Senegal and the Niger, as with magnificent
resolution he continued his way. Suddenly a clear halloo rang out on
the night air. It was his black boy, who had followed him to share
his fate. Onward they went together, hoping to get safely through the
land where Mohammedans ruled over low-caste negroes. Suddenly a party
of Moors surrounded him, bidding him come to Ali, the chief, who wished
to see a white man and a Christian. Park now found himself the centre
of an admiring crowd. Men, women, and children crowded round him,
pulling at his clothes and examining his waistcoat buttons till he
could hardly move. Arrived at Ali's tent, Mungo found an old man with
a long white beard. "The surrounding attendants, and especially the
ladies, were most inquisitive; they asked a thousand questions,
inspected every part of my clothes, searched my pockets, and obliged
me to unbutton my waistcoat and display the whiteness of my skin--they
even counted my toes and fingers, as if they doubted whether I was
in truth a human being." He was lodged in a hut made of corn stalks,
and a wild hog was tied to a stake as a suitable companion for the
hated Christian. He was brutally ill-treated, closely watched, and
insulted by "the rudest savages on earth." The desert winds scorched
him, the sand choked him, the heavens above were like brass, the earth
beneath as the floor of an oven. Fear came on him, and he dreaded death
with his work yet unfinished. At last he escaped from this awful
captivity amid the wilds of Africa. Early one morning at sunrise, he
stepped over the sleeping negroes, seized his bundle, jumped on to
his horse, and rode away as hard as he could. Looking back, he saw
three Moors in hot pursuit, whooping and brandishing their
double-barrelled guns. But he was beyond reach, and he breathed again.
Now starvation stared him in the face. To the pangs of hunger were
added the agony of thirst. The sun beat down pitilessly, and at last
Mungo fell on the sand. "Here," he thought--"here after a short but
ineffectual struggle I must end all my hopes of being useful in my
day and generation; here must the short span of my life come to an

a sketch by Mungo Park.]

But happily a great storm came and Mungo spread out his clothes to
collect the drops of rain, and quenched his thirst by wringing them
out and sucking them. After this refreshment he led his tired horse,
directing his way by the compass, lit up at intervals by vivid flashes
of lightning. It was not till the third week of his flight that his
reward came. "I was told I should see the Niger early next day," he
wrote on 20th July 1796. "We were riding through some marshy ground,
when some one called out 'See the water!' and, looking forwards, I
saw with infinite pleasure the great object of my mission--the
long-sought-for majestic Niger glittering to the morning sun, as broad
as the Thames at Westminster, and flowing slowly _to the eastward_.
I hastened to the brink and, having drunk of the water, lifted up my
fervent thanks in prayer to the Great Ruler of all things, for having
thus far crowned my endeavours with success. The circumstance of the
Niger's flowing towards the east did not excite my surprise, for
although I had left Europe in great hesitation on this subject, I had
received from the negroes clear assurances that its general course
was _towards the rising sun_."

He was now near Sego--the capital of Bambarra--on the Niger, a city
of some thirty thousand inhabitants. "The view of this extensive city,
the numerous canoes upon the river, the crowded population, and the
cultivated state of the surrounding country, formed altogether a
prospect of civilisation and magnificence which I little expected to
find in the bosom of Africa." The natives looked at the poor, thin,
white stranger with astonishment and fear, and refused to allow him
to cross the river. All day he sat without food under the shade of
a tree, and was proposing to climb the tree and rest among its branches
to find shelter from a coming storm, when a poor negro woman took pity
on his deplorable condition. She took him to her hut, lit a lamp, spread
a mat upon the floor, broiled him a fish, and allowed him to sleep.
While he rested she spun cotton with other women and sang: "The winds
roared and the rains fell. The poor white man, faint and weary, came
and sat under our tree. He has no mother to bring him milk, no wife
to grind his corn"; and all joined in the chorus: "Let us pity the
white man, no mother has he."

THE NIGER. From a sketch by Mungo Park.]

Mungo Park left in the morning after presenting his landlady with two
of his last four brass buttons. But though he made another gallant
effort to reach Timbuktu and the Niger, which, he was told, "ran to
the world's end," lions and mosquitoes made life impossible. His horse
was too weak to carry him any farther, and on 29th July 1796 he sadly
turned back. "Worn down by sickness, exhausted by hunger and fatigue,
half-naked, and without any article of value by which I might get
provisions, clothes, or lodging, I felt I should sacrifice my life
to no purpose, for my discoveries would perish with me." Joining a
caravan of slaves, he reached the coast after some nineteen hundred
miles, and after an absence of two years and nine months he found a
suit of English clothes, "disrobed his chin of venerable encumbrance,"
and sailed for home. He published an account of the journey in 1799,
after which he married and settled in Scotland as a doctor. But his
heart was in Africa, and a few years later he started off again to
reach Timbuktu. He arrived at the Gambia early in April 1805. "If all
goes well," he wrote gaily, "this day six weeks I expect to drink all
your healths in the water of the Niger." He started this time with
forty-four Europeans, each with donkeys to carry baggage and food,
but it was a deplorable little party that reached the great river on
19th August. Thirty men had died on the march, the donkeys had been
stolen, the baggage lost. And the joy experienced by the explorer in
reaching the waters of the Niger, "rolling its immense stream along
the plain," was marred by the reduction of his little party to seven.
Leave to pass down the river to Timbuktu was obtained by the gift of
two double-barrelled guns to the King, and in their old canoes patched
together under the magnificent name of "His Majesty's schooner the
_Joliba_" (great water), Mungo Park wrote his last letter home.

[Illustration: A NATIVE WOMAN WASHING GOLD IN SENEGAL. From a sketch
by Mungo Park made on his last expedition.]

"I am far from desponding. I have changed a large canoe into a tolerably
good schooner, on board of which I shall set sail to the east with
a fixed resolution to discover the termination of the Niger or perish
in the attempt; and though all the Europeans who are with me should
die, and though I myself were half-dead, I would still persevere; and
if I could not succeed in the object of my journey, I would at least
die on the Niger."

It was in this spirit that the commander of the _Joliba_ and a crew
of nine set forth to glide down a great river toward the heart of savage
Africa, into the darkness of the unexplored.

The rest is silence.



While Mungo Park was attempting to find the course of the Niger, the
English were busy opening up the great fur-trading country in North
America. Although Captain Cook had taken possession of Nootka Sound,
thinking it was part of the coast of New Albion, men from other nations
had been there to establish with the natives a trade in furs. The
Spaniards were specially vigorous in opening up communications on this
bleak bit of western coast. Great Britain became alarmed, and decided
to send Captain Vancouver with an English ship to enforce her rights
to this valuable port.

Vancouver had already sailed with Cook on his second southern voyage;
he had accompanied him on the _Discovery_ during his last voyage. He
therefore knew something of the coast of North-West America. "On the
15th of December 1790, I had the honour of receiving my commission
as commander of His Majesty's sloop the _Discovery_, then lying at
Deptford, where I joined her," says Vancouver. "Lieutenant Broughton
having been selected as a proper officer to command the _Chatham_,
he was accordingly appointed. At day dawn on Friday the 1st of April
we took a long farewell of our native shores. Having no particular
route to the Pacific Ocean pointed out in my instructions, I did not
hesitate to prefer the passage by way of the Cape of Good Hope."

In boisterous weather Vancouver rounded the Cape, made some
discoveries on the southern coast of New Holland, surveyed part of
the New Zealand coast, discovered Chatham Island, and on 17th April
1792 he fell in with the coast of New Albion. It was blowing and raining
hard when the coast, soon after to be part of the United States of
America, was sighted by the captains and crews of the _Discovery_ and
_Chatham_. Amid gales of wind and torrents of rain they coasted along
the rocky and precipitous shores on which the surf broke with a dull
roar. It was dangerous enough work coasting along this unsurveyed
coast, full of sunken rocks on which the sea broke with great violence.
Soon they were at Cape Blanco (discovered by Martin D'Aguilar), and
a few days later at Cape Foulweather of Cook fame, close to the
so-called straits discovered by the Greek pilot John da Fuca in 1592.
Suddenly, relates Vancouver, "a sail was discovered to the westward.
This was a very great novelty, not having seen any vessel during the
last eight months. She soon hoisted American colours, and proved to
be the ship _Columbia_, commanded by Captain Grey, belonging to Boston.
He had penetrated about fifty miles into the disputed strait. He spoke
of the mouth of a river that was inaccessible owing to breakers." (This
was afterwards explored by Vancouver and named the Columbia River on
which Washington now stands.)

Having examined two hundred and fifteen miles of coast, Vancouver and
his two ships now entered the inlet--Da Fuca Straits--now the boundary
between the United States and British Columbia. All day they made their
way up the strait, till night came, and Vancouver relates with pride
that "we had now advanced farther up this inlet than Mr. Grey or any
other person from the civilised world."

"We are on the point of examining an entirely new region," he adds,
"and in the most delightfully pleasant weather." Snowy ranges of hills,
stately forest trees, vast spaces, and the tracks of deer reminded
the explorers of "Old England." The crews were given holiday, and great
joy prevailed. Natives soon brought them fish and venison for sale,
and were keen to sell their children in exchange for knives, trinkets,
and copper. As they advanced through the inlet, the fresh beauty of
the country appealed to the English captain: "To describe the beauties
of this region will be a very grateful task to the pen of a skilful
panegyrist--the serenity of the climate, the pleasing landscapes, and
the abundant fertility that unassisted nature puts forth, require only
to be enriched by the industry of man with villages, mansions, and
cottages to render it the most lovely country that can be imagined."

A fortnight was spent among the islands of this inlet, which "I have
distinguished by the name of Admiralty Inlet," and on 4th June 1792
they drank the health of the King, George III., in a double allowance
of grog, and on his fifty-fourth birthday took formal possession of
the country, naming the wider part of the strait the Gulf of Georgia
and the mainland New Georgia. The two ships then made their way through
the narrow and intricate channels separating the island of Vancouver
from the mainland of British Columbia, till at last, early in August,
they emerged into an open channel discovered by an Englishman four
years before and named Queen Charlotte's Sound. Numerous rocky islets
made navigation very difficult, and one day in foggy weather the
_Discovery_ suddenly grounded on a bed of sunken rocks. The _Chatham_
was near at hand, and at the signal of distress lowered her boats for
assistance. For some hours, says Vancouver, "immediate and inevitable
destruction presented itself." She grounded at four in the p.m. Till
two next morning all hands were working at throwing ballast overboard
to lighten her, till, "to our inexpressible joy," the return of the
tide floated her once more. Having now satisfied himself that this
was an island lying close to the mainland, Vancouver made for Nootka
Sound, where he arrived at the end of August.

QUEEN CHARLOTTE'S SOUND. From a drawing in Vancouver's _Voyage_,

At the entrance of the Sound he was visited by a Spanish officer with
a pilot to lead them to a safe anchorage in Friendly Cove, where the
Spanish ship, under one Quadra, was riding at anchor. Civilities were
interchanged "with much harmony and festivity. As many officers as
could be spared from the vessel, and myself dined with Senor Quadra,
and were gratified with a repast we had lately been little accustomed
to. A dinner of five courses, consisting of a superfluity of the best
provisions, was served with great elegance; a royal salute was fired
on drinking health to the sovereigns of England and Spain, and a salute
of seventeen guns to the success of the service in which the _Discovery_
and _Chatham_ were engaged." But when the true nature of Vancouver's
mission was disclosed, there was some little difficulty, for the
Spaniards had fortified Nootka, built houses, laid out gardens, and
evidently intended to stay. Vancouver sent Captain Broughton home to
report the conduct of the Spaniards, and spent his time surveying the
coast to the south. Finally all was arranged satisfactorily, and
Vancouver sailed off to the Sandwich Islands. When he returned home
in the autumn of 1794 he had completed the gigantic task of surveying
nine thousand miles of unknown coast chiefly in open boats, with only
the loss of two men in both crews--a feat that almost rivalled that
of Captain Cook.

It has been said that Vancouver "may proudly take his place with Drake,
Cook, Baffin, Parry, and other British navigators to whom England
looks with pride and geographers with gratitude."



Even while Vancouver was making discoveries on the western coast of
North America, Alexander Mackenzie, an enthusiastic young Scotsman,
was making discoveries on behalf of the North-Western Company, which
was rivalling the old Hudson Bay Company in its work of expansion.
His journey right across America from sea to sea is worthy of note,
and it has well been said that "by opening intercourse between Atlantic
and Pacific Oceans and forming regular establishments through the
interior and at both extremes, as well as along the coasts and islands,
the entire command of the fur trade of North America might be obtained.
To this may be added the fishing in both seas and the markets of the
four quarters of the globe."

Mackenzie had already explored the great river flowing through North
America to the Arctic seas in 1789. He had brought back news of its
great size, its width, its volume of water, only to be mistrusted,
till many years later it was found that every word was true, and
tributes were paid not only to his general accuracy, but to his general
intelligence as an explorer.

In 1792 he started off again, and this time he discovered the immense
country that lay hidden behind the Rocky Mountains, known to-day as
British Columbia. He ascended the Peace River, which flows from the
Rocky Mountains, and in the spring of 1793, having made his way with
much difficulty across this rugged chain, he embarked on a river
running to the south-west. Through wild mountainous country on either
side he paddled on; the cold was still intense and the strong mountain
currents nearly dashed the canoes to pieces. His Indian guides were
obstinate, ignorant, and timid. Mackenzie relates some of his
difficulties in graphic language: "Throughout the whole of this day
the men had been in a state of extreme ill-humour, and as they did
not choose to vent it openly upon me, they disputed and quarrelled
among themselves. About sunset the canoe struck upon the stump of a
tree, which broke a large hole in her bottom, a circumstance that gave
them an opportunity to let loose their discontents without reserve.
I left them as soon as we had landed and ascended an elevated bank.
It now remained for us to fix on a proper place for building another
canoe, as the old one was become a complete wreck. At a very early
hour of the morning every man was employed in making preparations for
building another canoe, and different parties went in search of wood
and gum." While the boat was building, Mackenzie gave his crew a good
lecture on their conduct. "I assured them it was my fixed unalterable
determination to proceed in spite of every difficulty and danger."

The result was highly satisfactory. "The conversation dropped and the
work went on."

In five days the canoe was ready and they were soon paddling happily
onwards towards the sea, where the Indians told him he would find white
men building houses. They reached the coast some three weeks later.
The Salmon River, as it is called, flows through British Columbia and
reaches the sea just north of Vancouver Island, which had been
discovered by Vancouver the year before.

Alexander Mackenzie had been successful. Let us hear the end of his
tale: "I now mixed up some vermilion in melted grease, and inscribed
in large characters, on the south-east face of the rock on which we
had slept last night, this brief memorial--'Alexander Mackenzie, from
Canada, by land, the twenty-second of July, one thousand seven hundred
and ninety three.'"



The efforts of Arctic explorers of past years, Frobisher, Davis,
Baffin, Behring, and Cook, had all been more or less frustrated by
the impenetrable barrier of ice, which seemed to stretch across the
Polar regions like a wall, putting an end to all further advance.

Now, early in the nineteenth century, this impenetrable bar of ice
had apparently moved and broken up into detached masses and icebergs.
The news of a distinct change in the Polar ice was brought home by
various traders in the Greenland waters, and soon gave rise to a revival
of these voyages for the discovery of the North Pole and a passage
round the northern coast of America to the Pacific Ocean. For this
coast was totally unknown at this time. Information was collected from
casual travellers, whale-fishers, and others, with the result that
England equipped two ships for a voyage of discovery to the disputed
regions. These were the _Isabella_ (385 tons) and the _Alexander_ (252
tons), Commander Ross being appointed to one and Lieutenant Parry to
the other.

Parry had served on the coast of North America, and had written a little
treatise on the stars in the Northern Hemisphere. He was thinking of
offering his services for African discovery when he caught sight of
a paragraph in a paper about an expedition for the discovery of the
North-West Passage. He wrote at once that "he was ready for hot or
for cold--Africa or the Polar regions." And he was at once appointed
to the latter. The object of the voyage was clearly set forth. The
young explorers were to discover a passage from Davis Strait along
the northern coast of America and through the Behring Strait into the
Pacific Ocean. Besides this, charts and pictures were to be brought
back, and a special artist was to accompany the expedition. Ross
himself was an artist, and he has delightfully illustrated his own
journals of the expedition. The ships were well supplied with books,
and we find the journals of Mackenzie, Hearne, Vancouver, Cook, and
other old travelling friends taken for reference--thirty Bibles and
sixty Testaments were distributed among the crews. For making friends
with the natives, we find a supply of twenty-four brass kettles, one
hundred and fifty butchers' knives, three hundred and fifty yards of
coloured flannel, one hundred pounds of snuff, one hundred and fifty
pounds of soap, forty umbrellas, and much gin and brandy. The
expedition left on 18th April 1818, and "I believe," says Ross, "there
was not a man who did not indulge after the fashion of a sailor in
feeling that its issue was placed in His hands whose power is most
visible in the Great Deep."

Before June had set in, the two ships were ploughing their way up the
west coast of Greenland in heavy snowstorms. They sailed through Davis
Strait, past the island of Disco into Baffin's undefined bay. Icebergs
stood high out of the water on all sides, and navigation was very
dangerous. Towards the end of July a bay to which Ross gave the name
of Melville Bay, after the first Lord of the Admiralty, was passed.
"Very high mountains of land and ice were seen to the north side of
Melville's Bay, forming an impassable barrier, the precipices next
the sea being from one thousand to two thousand feet high."

The ships were sailing slowly past the desolate shores amid these high
icebergs when suddenly several natives appeared on the ice. Now Ross
had brought an Eskimo with him named Sacheuse.

"Come on!" cried Sacheuse to the astonished natives.

"No--no--go away!" they cried. "Go away; we can kill you!"

"What great creatures are these?" they asked, pointing to the ships.
"Do they come from the sun or the moon? Do they give us light by night
or by day?"

Pointing southwards, Sacheuse told them that the strangers had come
from a distant country.

"That cannot be; there is nothing but ice there," was the answer.

Soon the Englishmen made friends with these people, whom they called
Arctic Highlanders, giving the name of the Arctic Highlands to all
the land in the north-east corner of Baffin's Bay. Passing Cape York,
they followed the almost perpendicular coast, even as Baffin had done.
They passed Wolstenholme Sound and Whale Sound; they saw Smith's Sound,
and named the capes on either side Isabella and Alexander after their
two ships. And then Ross gave up all further discovery for the time
being in this direction. "Even if it be imagined that some narrow strait
may exist through these mountains, it is evident that it must for ever
be unnavigable," he says decidedly. "Being thus satisfied that there
could be no further inducement to continue longer in this place, I
shaped my course for the next opening which appeared in view to the
westward." This was the Sound which was afterwards called "Jones

"We ran nine miles among very heavy ice, until noon, when, a very thick
fog coming on, we were obliged to take shelter under a large iceberg."
Sailing south, but some way from land, a wide opening appeared which
answered exactly to the Lancaster Sound of Baffin. Lieutenant Parry
and many of his officers felt sure that this was a strait communicating
with the open sea to westward, and were both astonished and dismayed
when Ross, declaring that he was "perfectly satisfied that there was
no passage in this direction," turned back. He brought his expedition
back to England after a seven months' trip. But, though he was certain
enough on the subject, his officers did not agree with him entirely,
and the subject of the North-West Passage was still discussed in
geographical circles.

When young Lieutenant Parry, who had commanded the _Alexander_ in
Ross' expedition, was consulted, he pressed for further exploration
of the far north. And two expeditions were soon fitted out, one under
Parry and one under Franklin, who had already served with Flinders
in Australian exploration. Parry started off first with instructions
to explore Lancaster's Sound; failing to find a passage, to explore
Alderman Jones Sound, failing this again, Sir Thomas Smith's Sound.
If he succeeded in getting through to the Behring Strait, he was to
go to Kamtchatka and on to the Sandwich Islands. "You are to
understand," ran the instructions, "that the finding of a passage from
the Atlantic to the Pacific is the main object of this expedition."

On board the _Hecla_, a ship of three hundred and seventy-five tons,
with a hundred-and-eighty-ton brig, the _Griper_, accompanying, Parry
sailed away early in May 1819. The first week in July found him crossing
the Arctic Circle amid immense icebergs against which a heavy
southerly swell was violently agitated, "dashing the loose ice with
tremendous force, sometimes raising a white spray over them to the
height of more than a hundred feet, accompanied with a loud noise
exactly resembling the roar of distant thunder."

The entrance to Lancaster Sound was reached on 31st July, and, says
Parry: "It is more easy to imagine than to describe the almost
breathless anxiety which was now visible in every countenance, while,
as the breeze increased to a fresh gale, we ran quickly up the Sound."
Officers and men crowded to the masthead as the ships ran on and on
till they reached Barrow's Strait, so named by them after the Secretary
of the Admiralty.

"We now began to flatter ourselves that we had fairly entered the Polar
Sea, and some of the most sanguine among us had even calculated the
bearing and distance of Icy Cape as a matter of no very difficult

Sailing westward, they found a large island, which they named Melville
Island after the first Lord of the Admiralty, and a bay which still
bears the name of Hecla and Griper Bay. "Here," says Parry, "the ensigns
and pendants were hoisted, and it created in us no ordinary feelings
of pleasure to see the British flag waving, for the first time, in
those regions which had hitherto been considered beyond the limits
of the habitable world."

HARBOUR, DECEMBER 1819. From a drawing in Parry's _Voyage for the
North-West Passage_, 1821.]

Winter was now quickly advancing, and it was with some difficulty that
the ships were forced through the newly formed ice at the head of the
Bay of the Hecla and Griper. Over two miles of ice, seven inches thick,
had to be sawn through to make a canal for the ships. As soon as they
were moored in "Winter Harbour" the men gave three loud and hearty
cheers as a preparation for eight or nine months of long and dreary
winter. By the end of September all was ready; plenty of grouse and
deer remained as food through October, after which there were foxes
and wolves. To amuse his men, Parry and his officers got up a play;
_Miss in her Teens_ was performed on 5th November, the last day of
sun for ninety-six days to come. He also started a paper, _The North
Georgian Gazette and Winter Chronicle_, which was printed in England
on their return. The New Year, 1819, found the winter growing gloomier.
Scurvy had made its appearance, and Parry was using every device in
his power to arrest it. Amongst other things he grew mustard and cress
in boxes of earth near the stove pipe of his cabin to make fresh
vegetable food for the afflicted men. Though the sun was beginning
to appear again, February was the coldest part of the year, and no
one could be long out in the open without being frostbitten. It was
not till the middle of April that a slight thaw began, and the
thermometer rose to freezing point. On 1st August the ships were able
to sail out of Winter Harbour and to struggle westward again. But they
could not get beyond Melville Island for the ice, and after the ships
had been knocked about by it, Parry decided to return to Lancaster
Sound once more. Hugging the western shores of Baffin's Bay, the two
ships were turned homewards, arriving in the Thames early in November
1820. "And," says Parry, "I had the happiness of seeing every officer
and man on board both ships--ninety-three persons--return to their
native country in as robust health as when they left it, after an
absence of nearly eighteen months."

A WINTER HARBOUR, 1819. Drawn by William Westall, A.R.A., after a
sketch by Lieut. Beechey, a member of the expedition.]

Parry had done more than this. He not only showed the possibility of
wintering in these icy regions in good health and good spirits, but
he had certainly discovered straits communicating with the Polar sea.

[Illustration: THE NORTH SHORE OF LANCASTER SOUND. From a drawing in
Parry's _Voyage for the North-West Passage_, 1821.]



Meanwhile Franklin and Parry started on another expedition in the same
month and year. While Parry's orders were to proceed from east to west,
Franklin was to go from west to east, with a chance--if remote--that
they might meet. He was to go by Hudson's Bay to the mouth of the Copper
Mine River and then make his way by sea eastward along the coast.
Franklin had made himself a name by work done in the Spitzbergen waters;
he was to succeed in the end where others had failed in finding the
North-West Passage. The party selected for this work consisted of
Captain Franklin, Dr. Richardson, a naval surgeon, two midshipmen,
Back and Hood, one of whom was afterwards knighted, and an English
sailor named John Hepburn.

Just a fortnight after Parry's start these five English explorers
sailed on board a ship belonging to the Hudson Bay Company, but it
was the end of August before they arrived at the headquarters of the
Company. They were cordially received by the Governor, and provided
with a large boat well stored with food and arms. Amid a salute of
many guns and much cheering the little party, with some Canadian rowers,
started off for Cumberland House, one of the forts belonging to the
Hudson Bay Company. Six weeks' hard travelling by rivers and lakes,
now dragging the boats round rapids, now sleeping in "buffalo-robes"
on the hard ground, brought the party to the first stage of their
journey. Snow was now beginning to fall, and ice was thick on the rivers,
when Franklin resolved to push on to Lake Athabasca that he might have
more time to prepare for the coming voyage in the summer. Leaving
Richardson and Hood at the fort, he started off with Back and the
faithful Hepburn on 18th January 1820, in the very heart of the Arctic
winter. Friends at the fort had provided him with Indian snowshoes
turned up at the toes like the prow of a boat--with dog sledges, furs,
leather trousers, drivers, and food for a fortnight. The snow was very
deep, and the dogs found great difficulty in dragging their heavy
burdens through the snow. But the record was good. A distance of eight
hundred and fifty-seven miles was accomplished in sixty-eight days,
with the thermometer at fifty degrees below zero. The hardships
endured are very briefly recorded: "Provisions becoming scarce; dogs
without food, except a little burnt leather; night miserably cold;
tea froze in the tin pots before we could drink it."

Lake Athabasca was reached on the 26th of March and preparations for
the voyage were pushed forward. Four months later they were joined
by Richardson and Hood. "This morning Mr. Back and I had the sincere
gratification of welcoming our long-separated friends, Dr. Richardson
and Mr. Hood, who arrived in perfect health with two canoes." This
is the simple entry in Franklin's journal.

Everything was now ready. Spring in these northern climates was
enchanting. "The trees quickly put on their leaves after the long,
hard winter months, and the whole vegetable world comes forth with
a luxuriance no less astonishing than agreeable." At the same time
clouds of mosquitoes and stinging sand-flies made the nights horrible.
On 18th July the little party in high glee set forward in canoes rowed
by Canadian boatmen, hoping to reach the Copper Mine River before
winter set in. But the difficulties of the way were great, provisions
were scarce, the boatmen grew discontented, ice appeared early, and
Franklin had to satisfy himself with wintering at a point five hundred
and fifty miles from Lake Athabasca, which he called Fort Enterprise.
Here there was prospect of plenty, for large herds of reindeer were
grazing along the shores of the lake, and from their flesh "pemmican"
was made; but the winter was long and cheerless, and Franklin soon
realised that there was not enough food to last through it. So he
dispatched the midshipman Back to Lake Athabasca for help. Back's
journey was truly splendid, and we cannot omit his simple summary:
"On the 17th of March," he says, "at an early hour we arrived at Fort
Enterprise, having travelled about eighteen miles a day. I had the
pleasure of meeting my friends all in good health, after an absence
of nearly five months, during which time I had travelled one thousand
one hundred and four miles on snow-shoes and had no other covering
at night than a blanket and deer skin, with the thermometer frequently
at forty degrees below zero, and sometimes two or three days without
tasting food." By his courage and endurance he saved the whole party
at Fort Enterprise. By June the spring was sufficiently advanced to
set out for the Copper Mine River, and on July they reached the mouth
after a tedious journey of three hundred and thirty-four miles.

[Illustration: A WINTER VIEW OF FORT ENTERPRISE. From a drawing, by
Wm. Back, in Franklin's _Journey to the Polar Sea_, 1823.]

The real work of exploration was now to begin, and the party embarked
in two canoes to sail along the southern coast of the Polar sea, with
the possibility always of meeting the Parry expedition. But the poor
Canadian boatmen were terrified at the sight of the sea on which they
had never yet sailed, and they were with difficulty persuaded to embark.
Indeed, of the two crews, only the five Englishmen had ever been on
the sea, and it has been well said that this voyage along the shores
of the rock-bound coast of the Arctic sea must always take rank as
one of the most daring and hazardous exploits that have ever been
accomplished in the interest of geographical research. The two canoes
hugged the icy coast as they made their way eastward, and Franklin
named the bays, headlands, and islands for a distance of five hundred
and fifty-five miles, where a point he called Cape Turnagain marks
his farthest limit east. Here is George IV. Coronation Gulf studded
with islands, Hood's River, Back's River, Bathurst's Inlet, named
after the Secretary of State, and Parry Bay after "my friend, Captain
Parry, now employed in the interesting research for a North-West

a drawing, by Wm. Back, in Franklin's _Journey to the Polar Sea_, 1823.]

The short season for exploration was now over; rough weather and want
of food turned them home, only half satisfied with their work. The
worst part of their journey was yet to come. Perhaps never, even in
the tragic history of Arctic exploration, had greater hardships been
endured than Franklin and his handful of men were to endure on their
homeward way. On 22nd August the party left Point Turnagain, hoping
by means of their newly discovered Hood River to reach Fort Enterprise.
The ground was already covered with snow, and their food was reduced
to one meal a day when they left the shores of the Arctic sea for their
long inland tramp. Needless to say, the journey had to be performed
on foot, and the way was stony and barren. For the first few days nothing
was to be found save lichen to eat, and the temperature was far below
freezing-point. An uncooked cow after six days of lichen "infused
spirit into our starving party," relates Franklin. But things grew
no better, and as they proceeded sadly on their way, starvation stared
them in the face. One day we hear of the pangs of hunger being stilled
by "pieces of singed hide mixed with lichen"; another time the horns
and bones of a dead deer were fried with some old shoes and the "putrid
carcase of a deer that had died the previous spring was demolished
by the starving men."

At last things grew so bad that Franklin and the most vigorous of his
party pushed on to Fort Enterprise to get and send back food if possible
to Richardson and Hood, who were now almost too weak and ill to get
along at all. Bitter disappointment awaited them.

"At length," says Franklin, "we reached Fort Enterprise, and to our
infinite disappointment and grief found it a perfectly desolate
habitation. There were no provisions--no Indians. It would be
impossible for me to describe our sensations after entering this
miserable abode and discovering how we had been neglected; the whole
party shed tears, not so much for our own fate as for that of our friends
in the rear, whose lives depended entirely on our sending immediate
relief from this place." A few old bones and skins of reindeer were
collected for supper and the worn-out explorers sat round a fire made
by pulling up the flooring of the rooms. It is hardly a matter of
surprise to find the following entry in Franklin's journal: "When I
arose the following morning my body and limbs were so swollen that
I was unable to walk more than a few yards."

Before November arrived another tragedy happened. Hood was murdered
by one of the party almost mad with hunger and misery. One after another
now dropped down and died, and death seemed to be claiming Franklin,
Richardson, Back, and Hepburn when three Indians made their appearance
with some dried deer and a few tongues. It was not a moment too soon.
The Indians soon got game and fish for the starving men, until they
were sufficiently restored to leave Fort Enterprise and make their
way to Moose Deer Island, where, with the Hudson Bay officers, they
spent the winter recovering their health and strength and spirits.

When they returned to England in the summer of 1822 they had
accomplished five thousand five hundred and fifty miles. They had also
endured hardships unsurpassed in the history of exploration. When
Parry returned to England the following summer and heard of Franklin's
sufferings he cried like a child. He must have realised better than
any one else what those sufferings really were, though he himself had
fared better.

While Franklin had been making his way to the Copper Mine River, Parry
on board the _Fury_, accompanied by the _Hecla_, started for Hudson's
Strait, by which he was to penetrate to the Pacific, if possible. Owing
to bad weather, the expedition did not arrive amid the icebergs till
the middle of June. Towering two hundred feet high, the explorers
counted fifty-four at one time before they arrived at Resolution
Island at the mouth of Hudson Strait. There were already plenty of
well-known landmarks in the region of Hudson's Bay, and Parry soon
made his way to Southampton Island and Frozen Strait (over which an
angry discussion had taken place some hundred years before). He was
rewarded by discovering "a magnificent bay," to which he gave the name
of the "Duke of York's Bay." The discovery, however, was one of little
importance as there was no passage. The winter was fast advancing,
the navigable season was nearly over, and the explorers seemed to be
only at the beginning of their work. The voyage had been dangerous,
harassing, unproductive.

They had advanced towards the Behring Strait; they had discovered two
hundred leagues of North American coast, and they now prepared to spend
the winter in these icebound regions. As usual Parry arranged both
for the health and amusement of his men during the long Arctic
months--even producing a "joint of English roast beef" for Christmas
dinner, preserved "by rubbing the outside with salt and hanging it
on deck covered with canvas." There were also Eskimos in the
neighbourhood, who proved a never-ceasing source of interest.

[Illustration: AN ESKIMO WATCHING A SEAL HOLE. From a drawing in
Parry's _Second Voyage for a North-West Passage_, 1824.]

One day in April--snow had been falling all night, news spread that
the Eskimos "had killed something on the ice." "If the women," says
Parry, "were cheerful before, they were now absolutely frantic. A
general shout of joy re-echoed through the village; they ran into each
others' huts to communicate the welcome intelligence, and actually
hugged one another in an ecstasy of delight. When the first burst of
joy had at last subsided the women crept one by one into the apartment
where the sea-horses had been conveyed. Here they obtained blubber
enough to set all their lamps alight, besides a few scraps of meat
for their children and themselves. Fresh cargoes were continually
arriving, the principal part being brought in by the dogs and the rest
by the men, who tied a thong round their waist and dragged in a portion.
Every lamp was now swimming with oil, the huts exhibited a blaze of
light, and never was there a scene of more joyous festivity than while
the cutting up of the walruses continued." For three solid hours the
Eskimos appeared to be eating walrus flesh. "Indeed, the quantity they
continued to get rid of is almost beyond belief."

It was not till early in July that the ship could be moved out of their
winter's dock to renew their efforts towards a passage. They were not
a little helped by Eskimo charts, but old ice blocked the way, and
it was the middle of August before Parry discovered the Strait he called
after his two ships, "the Strait of the Fury and Hecla," between
Melville Peninsula and Cockburn Island. Confident that the narrow
channel led to the Polar seas, Parry pushed on till "our progress was
once more opposed by a barrier of the same impenetrable and hopeless
ice as before." He organised land expeditions, and reports, "The
opening of the Strait into the Polar sea was now so decided that I
considered the principal object of my journey accomplished."

September had come, and once more the ships were established in their
winter quarters. A second month in among the ice must have been a severe
trial to this little band of English explorers, but cheerfully enough
they built a wall of snow twelve feet high round the _Fury_ to keep
out snowdrifts. The season was long and severe, and it was August before
they could get free of ice. The prospect of a third winter in the ice
could not be safely faced, and Parry resolved to get home. October
found them at the Shetlands, all the bells of Lerwick being set ringing
and the town illuminated with joy at the arrival of men who had been
away from all civilisation for twenty-seven months. On 14th November
1823 the expedition arrived home in England.

Still the restless explorer was longing to be off again; he was still
fascinated by the mysteries of the Arctic regions, but on his third
voyage we need not follow him, for the results were of no great
importance. The _Fury_ was wrecked amid the ice in Prince Regent's
Inlet, and the whole party had to return on board the _Hecla_ in 1825.



The northern shores of North America were not yet explored, and
Franklin proposed another expedition to the mouth of the Mackenzie
River, where the party was to divide, half of them going to the east
and half to the west. Nothing daunted by his recent sufferings,
Franklin accepted the supreme command, and amid the foremost
volunteers for service were his old friends, Back and Richardson. The
officers of the expedition left England in February 1825, and,
travelling by way of New York and Canada, they reached Fort Cumberland
the following June; a month later they were at Fort Chipewyan on the
shores of Lake Athabasca, and soon they had made their way to the banks
of the Great Bear Lake River, which flows out of that lake into the
Mackenzie River, down which they were to descend to the sea. They
decided to winter on the shores of the Bear Lake; but Franklin could
never bear inaction, so he resolved to push on to the mouth of the
Great River with a small party in order to prospect for the coming

So correct had been Mackenzie's survey of this Great River, as it was
called, that Franklin, "in justice to his memory," named it the
Mackenzie River after its "eminent discoverer," which name it has
borne ever since. In a little English boat, with a fair wind and a
swift current, Franklin accomplished three hundred and twelve miles
in about sixty hours. The saltness of the water, the sight of a
boundless horizon, and the appearance of porpoises and whales were
encouraging signs. They had reached the Polar sea at last--the "sea
in all its majesty, entirely free from ice and without any visible
obstruction to its navigation."

On reaching the coast a silken Union Jack worked by Franklin's dying
wife was unfurled. She had died a few days after he left England, but
she had insisted on her husband's departure in the service of his
country, only begging him not to unfurl her flag till he arrived at
the Polar shores. As it fluttered in the breeze of these desolate shores,
the little band of Englishmen cheered and drank to the health of the

"You can imagine," says Franklin, "with what heartfelt emotion I first
saw it unfurled; but in a short time I derived great pleasure in looking
at it."

It was too late to attempt navigation for this year, although the
weather in August was "inconveniently warm," so on 5th September,
Franklin returned to winter quarters on the Great Bear Lake. During
his absence a comfortable little settlement had grown up to
accommodate some fifty persons, including Canadian and Indian hunters
with their wives and children. In honour of the commander it had been
called Fort Franklin, and here the party of explorers settled down
for the long months of winter.

From a drawing in Franklin's _Second Expedition to the Polar Sea_,

"As the days shortened," says Franklin, "it was necessary to find
employment during the long evenings for those resident at the house,
and a school was established from seven to nine for their instruction
in reading, writing, and arithmetic, attended by most of the British
party. Sunday was a day of rest, and the whole party attended Divine
Service morning and evening. If on other evenings the men felt the
time tedious, the hall was at their service to play any game they might
choose, at which they were joined by the officers. Thus the men became
more attached to us, and the hearts and feelings of the whole party
were united in one common desire to make the time pass as agreeably
as possible to each other, until the return of spring should enable
us to resume the great object of the expedition."

April brought warmer weather, though the ground was still covered with
snow, and much boat-building went on. In May swans had appeared on
the lake, then came geese, then ducks, then gulls and singing birds.
By June the boats were afloat, and on the 24th the whole party embarked
for the Mackenzie River and were soon making their way to the mouth.
Here the party divided. Franklin on board the _Lion_, with a crew of
six, accompanied by Back on board the _Reliance_, started westwards,
while Richardson's party was to go eastwards and survey the coast
between the mouth of the Mackenzie River and the Copper Mine. On 7th
July, Franklin reached the sea, and, with flags flying, the _Lion_
and the _Reliance_ sailed forth on the unknown seas, only to ground
a mile from shore. Suddenly some three hundred canoes full of Eskimos
crowded towards them. These people had never seen a white man before,
but when it was explained to them that the English had come to find
a channel for large ships to come and trade with them, they "raised
the most deafening shout of applause." They still crowded round the
little English boats, till at last, like others of their race, they
began to steal things from the boats. When detected they grew furious
and brandished knives, they tore the buttons off the men's coats, and
for a time matters looked serious till the English showed their
firearms, when the canoes paddled away and the Eskimos hid themselves.

With a fair wind the boats now sailed along the coast westward, till
stopped by ice, which drove them from the shore. Dense fogs, stormy
winds, and heavy rain made this Polar navigation very dangerous; but
the explorers pushed on till, on 27th July, they reached the mouth
of a broad river which, "being the most westerly river in the British
dominions on this coast and near the line of demarcation between Great
Britain and Russia, I named it the Clarence," says Franklin, "in honour
of His Royal Highness the Lord High Admiral." A box containing a royal
medal was deposited here, and the Union Jack was hoisted amid hearty

drawing, by Lieut. Back, in Franklin's _Second Expedition to the Polar
Sea_, 1828.]

Still fogs and storms continued; the farther west they advanced, the
denser grew the fog, till by the middle of August, winter seemed to
have set in. The men had suffered much from the hard work of pulling
and dragging the heavy boats; they also endured torments from
countless swarms of mosquitoes. They were now some three hundred and
seventy-four miles from the mouth of the Mackenzie River and only
half-way to Icy Cape; but Franklin, with all his courage and with all
his enthusiasm, dared not risk the lives of his men farther. "Return
Reef" marks his farthest point west, and it was not till long after
that he learnt that Captain Beechey, who had been sent in the _Blossom_
by way of Behring Strait, had doubled Icy Cape and was waiting for
Franklin one hundred and sixty miles away.

On 21st September, Fort Franklin was reached after three months'
absence. Dr. Richardson had already returned after a successful coast
voyage of some eight hundred miles.

When he had left Franklin he had, on board the _Dolphin_, accompanied
by the _Union_, sailed along the unknown coast eastward. Like
Franklin's party, his expedition had also suffered from fogs, gales,
and mosquitoes, but they had made their way on, naming inlets, capes,
and islands as they passed. Thus we find Russell Inlet, Point Bathurst,
Franklin's Bay, Cape Parry, the Union and Dolphin Straits, named after
the two little ships, where the _Dolphin_ was nearly wrecked between
two masses of ice. They had reached Fort Franklin in safety just before
Franklin's party, and, being too late to think of getting home this
year, they were all doomed to another winter at the Fort. They reached
England on 26th September 1827, after an absence of two years and a

Franklin had failed to find the North-West Passage, but he and
Richardson had discovered a thousand miles of North American coast,
for which he was knighted and received the Paris Geographical
Society's medal for "the most important acquisition to geographical
knowledge" made during the year. It was a curious coincidence that
the two Arctic explorers, Franklin and Parry, both arrived in England
the same month from their various expeditions, and appeared at the
Admiralty within ten minutes of one another.



Parry had left England the preceding April in an attempt to reach the
North Pole by means of sledges over the ice. To this end he had sailed
to Spitzbergen in his old ship the _Hecla_, many of his old shipmates
sailing with him. They arrived off the coast of Spitzbergen about the
middle of May 1827. Two boats had been specially built in England,
covered with waterproof canvas and lined with felt. The _Enterprise_
and _Endeavour_ had bamboo masts and paddles, and were constructed
to go on sledges, drawn by reindeer, over the ice.

"Nothing," says Parry, "can be more beautiful than the training of
the Lapland reindeer. With a simple collar of skin round his neck,
a single trace of the same material attached to the sledge and passing
between his legs, and one rein fastened like a halter round his neck,
this intelligent and docile animal is perfectly under the command of
an experienced driver, and performs astonishing journeys over the
softest snow. Shaking the rein over his back is the only whip that
is required."

Leaving the _Hecla_ in safe harbour on the Spitzbergen coast, Parry
and James Ross, a nephew of John Ross, the explorer, with food for
two months, started off in their two boat-sledges for the north. They
made a good start; the weather was calm and clear, the sea smooth as
a mirror--walruses lay in herds on the ice, and, steering due north,
they made good progress.

Next day, however, they were stopped by ice. Instead of finding a smooth,
level plain over which the reindeer could draw their sledges with ease,
they found broken, rugged, uneven ice, which nothing but the keen
enthusiasm of the explorer could have faced. The reindeer were useless,
and they had to be relinquished; it is always supposed that they were
eaten, but history is silent on this point. The little party had to
drag their own boats over the rough ice. They travelled by night to
save snow-blindness, also that they could enjoy greater warmth during
the hours of sleep by day.

FOR THE NIGHT. From a drawing in Parry's _Attempt to Reach the North
Pole_, 1828.]

Parry describes the laborious journey: "Being 'rigged' for
travelling," he says, "we breakfasted upon warm cocoa and biscuit,
and after stowing the things in the boats we set off on our day's journey,
and usually travelled about five and a half hours, then stopped an
hour to dine, and again travelled five or six hours. After this we
halted for the night as we called it, though it was usually early in
the morning, selecting the largest surface of ice we happened to be
near for hauling the boats on. The boats were placed close alongside
each other, and the sails supported by bamboo masts placed over them
as awnings. Every man then put on dry socks and fur boots and went
to supper. Most of the officers and men then smoked their pipes, which
served to dry the awnings. We then concluded our day with prayers and,
having put on our fur dresses, lay down to sleep," alone in the great
ice desert. Progress was slow and very tedious. One day it took them
four hours to cover half a mile. On 1st July they were still labouring
forward; a foot of soft snow on the ground made travelling very
exhausting. Some of the hummocks of ice were as much as twenty-five
feet above sea-level; nothing was to be seen but ice and sky, both
often hidden by dense fog. Still the explorers pushed on, Parry and
Ross leading the way and the men dragging the boat-sledges after. July
12th was a brilliant day, with clear sky overhead--"an absolute
luxury." For another fortnight they persevered, and on 23rd July they
reached their farthest point north. It was a warm, pleasant day, with
the thermometer at thirty-six in the shade; they were a hundred and
seventy-two miles from Spitzbergen, where the _Hecla_ lay at anchor.

"Our ensigns and pendants were displayed during the day, and severely
as we regretted not having been able to hoist the British flag in the
highest latitude to which we had aspired, we shall perhaps be excused
in having felt some little pride in being the bearers of it to a parallel
considerably beyond that mentioned in any other well-authenticated
record." On 27th July they reluctantly turned to the south, and on
21st August they arrived on board the _Hecla_ after an absence of
sixty-one days, every one of the party being in good health. Soon after
they sailed for England, and by a strange coincidence arrived in London
at the same time as Franklin.

Many an attempt was yet to be made to reach the North Pole, till at
last it was discovered by Peary, an American, in 1909.



It is a relief to turn from the icy north to the tropical climate of
Central Africa, where Mungo Park had disappeared in 1805. The mystery
of Timbuktu and the Niger remained unsolved, though more than one
expedition had left the coast of Africa for the "mystic city" lying
"deep in that lion-haunted inland." Notwithstanding disaster, death,
and defeat, a new expedition set forth from Tripoli to cross the great
Sahara Desert. It was under Major Denham, Lieutenant Clapperton, and
Dr. Oudney. They left Tripoli in March 1822. "We were the first English
travellers," says Denham, "who had determined to travel in our real
character as Britons and Christians, and to wear our English dress:
the buttons on our waistcoats and our watches caused the greatest
astonishment." It was the end of November before they were ready to
leave the frontier on their great desert journey. The long enforced
stay in this unhealthy border town had undermined their health; fever
had reduced Denham, Dr. Oudney was suffering from cough and pains in
his chest, Clapperton was shivering with ague--a state of health
"ill-calculated for undertaking a long and tedious journey." A long
escort of men and camels accompanied them into the merciless desert,
with its burning heat and drifting sands--"the Sea of Sahara" as the
old cartographer calls it. December found them still slowly advancing
over the billowy sand, deeply impressed and horrified at the number
of slave skeletons that lay about the wind-swept desert. The new year
brought little relief. "No wood, no water," occurs constantly in
Denham's journal. "Desert as yesterday; high sandhills." Still they
persevered, until, on 4th February 1823, they were rewarded by seeing
a sheet of water, "the great Lake Tchad, glowing with the golden rays
of the sun in its strength." Was this, after all, the source of the
Niger? Its low shores were surrounded with reedy marshes and clumps
of white water-lilies, there were flocks of wild ducks and geese, birds
with beautiful plumage were feeding on the margin of the lake, pelicans,
cranes, immense white spoonbills, yellow-legged plover--all were
dwelling undisturbed in this peaceful spot. And this most remarkable
lake lay eight hundred feet above the Atlantic, between the watersheds
of Nile, Niger, and Congo.

But Lake Tchad was not their goal; they must push on over new country
where no European had been before. A fortnight later they reached
Kukawa, the capital of Bornu, once a great Mohammedan empire. "We were
about to become acquainted with a people who had never seen or scarcely
heard of a European," says Denham, "and to tread on ground, the
knowledge and true situation of which had hitherto been wholly unknown.
We advanced towards the town of Kuka in a most interesting state of
uncertainty, whether we should find its chief at the head of thousands,
or be received by him under a tree, surrounded by a few naked slaves."

Their doubts were soon set at rest by the sight of several thousand
cavalry, drawn up in line. They were received by an Arab general, "a
negro of noble aspect, dressed in a figured silk robe and mounted on
a beautiful horse." They had passed from the region of hidden huts
to one of great walled cities, from the naked pagan to the cultivated
follower of Mohammed, from superstition to mosques and schools, from
ignorance to knowledge. The Sheikh, who received the travellers in
a small room with armed negroes on either side, asked the reason of
their long and painful journey across the desert. "To see the country,"
answered the Englishmen, "and to give an account of its inhabitants,
produce, and appearance, as our sultan was desirous of knowing every
part of the globe."

BORNU. From a drawing by Major Denham.]

The Sheikh's hospitality was overwhelming; he had huts built for them,
"which," says Denham, "were so crowded with visitors that we had not
a moment's peace, and the heat was insufferable." He sent presents
of bullocks, camel-loads of wheat and rice, leather skins of butter,
jars, and honey. The market of Kuka was famous. It was attended by
some fifteen thousand persons from all parts, and the produce sold
there was astonishing. Here Clapperton and Dr. Oudney stayed all
through the summer months, for both were ill, and Oudney was growing
rapidly worse. Denham meanwhile went off on exploring expeditions in
the neighbourhood.

On 14th December, Clapperton and Oudney left the friendly Sheikh and
made their way to Kano. But the rough travelling proved too much for
Oudney; each day found him weaker, but he valiantly journeyed on. On
12th January he ordered the camels to be loaded as usual, and he was
dressed by Clapperton, but he was too ill to be lifted on to his camel,
and a few hours later he died.

Clapperton was now alone "amid a strange people" in a land "hitherto
never trodden by European foot," and very ill himself. But he reached
Kano, the famous trading centre of the Haussas, containing some forty
thousand inhabitants. Here again the market impressed him deeply, so
full was it of cosmopolitan articles from far-distant lands. After
a month's stay at Kano, now the capital of the northern province of
Nigeria of that name, he set out for Sokoto, though very ill and weak
at the time. He was assured of kind treatment by the Sultan. He arrived
on 16th March, and "to impress them with my official importance I
arrayed myself in my lieutenant's coat trimmed with gold lace, white
trousers, and silk stockings, and, to complete my finery, I wore
Turkish slippers and a turban." Crowds collected on his arrival, and
he was conducted to the Sultan, who questioned him closely about Europe.
"I laid before him a present in the name of His Majesty the King of
England, consisting of two new blunderbusses, an embroidered jacket,
some scarlet breeches, cloves and cinnamon, gunpowder, razors,
looking-glasses, snuff-boxes, and compasses."

"Everything is wonderful!" exclaimed the Sultan; "but you are the
greatest curiosity of all! What can I give that is acceptable to the
King of England?"

"Co-operate with His Majesty in putting a stop to the slave trade,"
was Clapperton's answer.

"What, have you no slaves in England?" The Englishman replied, "No!"
to which the Sultan answered: "God is great; you are a beautiful
people." But when Clapperton asked for leave in order to solve the
mystery of the Niger, the Sultan refused, and he was obliged to return
to Kuka, where he arrived on 8th July. A week later he was joined by
Denham. "It was nearly eight months since we had separated," says
Denham, "and I went immediately to the hut where he was lodged; but
so satisfied was I that the sunburnt, sickly person that lay extended
on the floor, rolled in a dark-blue shirt, was not my companion, that
I was about to leave the place, when he convinced me of my error by
calling me by my name. Our meeting was a melancholy one, for he had
buried his companion. Notwithstanding the state of weakness in which
I found Captain Clapperton, he yet spoke of returning to Sudan after
the rains." But this was not to be, and a month later we find the two
explorers turning homewards to Tripoli, where they arrived at the end
of January.

But, with all his long travelling in Africa, Clapperton had not seen
the Niger, and, although the effects of his fever had not worn away,
he spent but two months in England before he was off again. This time
he sailed to the Gulf of Guinea, and from a place on the coast near
the modern Lagos he started by a new and untried route to reach the
interior of the great Dark Continent. It was September 1825 when he
left the coast with his companions. Before the month was over, the
other Europeans had died from the pestilential climate of Nigeria,
and Clapperton, alone with his faithful servant, Richard Lander,
pushed on. At last he saw the great Niger near the spot where Mungo
Park and his companions had perished. At Bussa they made out the tragic
story of his end. They had descended the river from Timbuktu to Bussa,
when the boat struck upon some rocks. Natives from the banks shot at
them with arrows; the white men then, seeing all was lost, jumped into
the river and were drowned. The Niger claimed its explorer in the end,
and the words of Mungo Park must have occurred to Clapperton as he
stood and watched: "Though I myself were half-dead, I would still
persevere; and if I could not succeed in the object of my journey,
I would at least die on the Niger."

From Bussa, Clapperton made his way to Kano and Sokoto; but on 13th
April 1827, broken down by fever, he died in the arms of his faithful
servant. With his master's papers and journal, Lander made his way
home, thus establishing for the first time a direct connection between
Benin and Tripoli, the west coast and the north.

Still the mouth of the Niger had not been found. This discovery was
reserved for this very Richard Lander and his brother John.

Just a year after the death of Clapperton a young Frenchman, Rene Caille,
tempted by the offer of ten thousand francs offered by the French
Geographical Society for the first traveller who should reach that
mysterious city, entered Timbuktu 20th April 1829, after a year's
journey from Sierra Leone. And from his pen we get the first direct
account of the once important city. "At length," he says, "we arrived
safely at Timbuktu, just as the sun was touching the horizon. I now
saw this capital of the Sudan, to reach which had so long been the
object of my wishes. To God alone did I confide my joy. I looked around
and found that the sight before me did not answer my expectations.
I had formed a totally different idea of the grandeur and wealth of
it. The city presented nothing but a mass of ill-looking houses, built
of earth. Nothing was to be seen in all directions but immense plains
of quicksand of a yellowish white colour. The sky was a pale red as
far as the horizon, all nature wore a dreary aspect, and the most
profound silence prevailed: not even the warbling of a bird was to
be heard. The heat was oppressive; not a breath of air freshened the
atmosphere. This mysterious city, which has been the object of
curiosity for many ages, and of whose civilisation, population, and
trade with the Sudan such exaggerated notions have prevailed, is
situated in an immense plain of white sand, having no vegetation but
stunted trees and shrubs, and has no other resources save its trade
in salt."

in Caille's _Tomboctou_, 1829.]

It is curious to note what a burst of interest was aroused in England
at this time with regard to Timbuktu. Thackeray wrote in 1829--

   "In Africa (a quarter of the world)
    Men's skins are black, their hair is crisp and curl'd;
    And somewhere there, unknown to public view,
    A mighty city lies, called Timbuktu."

while the same year Tennyson's poem on Timbuktu won for him the prize
at Cambridge University for the best poem of the year.



Lander, the "faithful attendant of the late Captain Clapperton," as
he is called in his instructions, was burning to be off again to explore
further the mysterious Niger. No pecuniary reward was to be his; he
was a poor man, and just for the love of exploring the unknown he started
off. He had inspired his brother with a desire to solve the great
mystery; so on 22nd February 1830 the two brothers arrived at Cape
Coast Castle and made their way to Bussa, which place they entered
on 18th June. Sitting on a rock overlooking the spot where Mungo Park
had perished, the brothers resolved to "set at rest for ever the great
question of the course and termination of the great Niger."

It was 20th September before preparations were completed for the
eventful voyage from Bussa to the mouth of the Niger. For provisions
they took three large bags of corn and one of beans, a couple of fowls,
and two sheep to last a month, while the king added rice, honey, onions,
and one hundred pounds of vegetable butter. Then in two native canoes
the Landers embarked on the great river, the "Dark Water" as it was
more often called, while the crowds who came down to the riverside
to bid them farewell knelt with uplifted hands, imploring for the
explorers the protection of Allah and their prophet. It was indeed
a perilous undertaking; sunken reefs were an ever-present danger,
while the swift current ran them dangerously near many jagged rocks.
For nearly a month they paddled onward with their native guides in
anxiety and suspense, never knowing what an hour might bring forth.
On 7th October a curious scene took place when the King of the Dark
Water came forth in all his pomp and glory to see the white strangers
who were paddling down the great river. Waiting under the shade of
a tree, for the morning was very hot, the Landers observed a large
canoe paddled by twenty young black men singing as they rowed. In the
centre of the boat a mat awning was erected: in the bows sat four little
boys "clad with neatness and propriety," while in the stern sat
musicians with drums and trumpets. Presently the king stepped forth.
He was coal black, dressed in an Arab cloak, Haussa trousers, and a
cap of red cloth, while two pretty little boys about ten years of age,
acting as pages, followed him, each bearing a cow's tail in his hand
to brush away flies and other insects. Six wives, jet black girls in
neat country caps edged with red silk, accompanied him. To make some
impression on this pompous king, Lander hoisted the "Union flag."
"When unfurled and waving in the wind, it looked extremely pretty,
and it made our hearts glow with pride and enthusiasm as we looked
at the solitary little banner. I put on an old naval uniform coat,
and my brother dressed himself in as grotesque and gaudy a manner as
our resources would afford; our eight attendants also put on new white
Mohammedan robes." Other canoes joined the royal procession and the
little flotilla moved down the river. "Never did the British flag lead
so extraordinary a squadron," remarks Lander. As the King of the Dark
Water stepped on shore the Englishmen fired a salute, which frightened
him not a little till the honour was explained. Having now exchanged
their two canoes for one of a larger size, they continued their journey
down the river.

a drawing in the account of Lander's _Travels_, 1835.]

On 25th October they found the waters of the Niger were joined by
another large river known to-day as the Benue, the Mother of Waters,
flowing in from the east. After this the banks of the river seemed
to grow hilly, and villages were few and far between. "Our canoe passed
smoothly along the Niger, and everything was silent and solitary; no
sound could be distinguished save our own voices and the plashing of
the paddles with their echoes; the song of birds was not heard, nor
could any animal whatever be seen; the banks seemed to be entirely
deserted, and the magnificent Niger to be slumbering in its own

"One can imagine the feelings," says a modern writer, "in such
circumstances of the brothers, drifting they knew not whither, in
intolerable silence and loneliness on the bosom of a river which had
caused the death of so many men who had endeavoured to wrest from it
its secret." Two days later a large village appeared, and suddenly
a cry rang through the air: "Holloa, you Englishmen! You come here!"
It came from a "little squinting fellow" dressed in an English
soldier's jacket, a messenger from the Chief of Bonney on the coast,
buying slaves for his master. He had picked up a smattering of English
from the Liverpool trading ships which came to Bonney for palm-oil
from the river. There was no longer any doubt that the mouth of the
Niger was not far off, and that the many-mouthed delta was well known
to Europeans under the name of the "Oil Rivers" flowing into the Bight
of Benin.

Lander pushed on till he had paddled down the Brass River, as one of
the many branches was called, when he heard "the welcome sound of the
surf on the beach."

The mystery of the Niger, after a lapse of two thousand five hundred
years since its existence had been recorded by Herodotus, was solved
at last.



The first attempt to discover the North-West Passage by means of steam
instead of sail was made by Captain Ross, who, since his expedition
in 1819, had been burning to set off again for the Arctic regions.
The reward of 20,000 pounds held out to the discoverer of a north-west
passage had been repealed, but an old friend, Felix Booth, decided
to finance Ross, the Government having refused. "After examining
various steamships advertised for sale," says Ross, "I purchased the
_Victory_, which had been once employed as a packet." With food and
fuel for one thousand days, and accompanied by his nephew, James Ross,
who had been with Parry on his recent Polar voyage, he left England
the end of May 1829, not to return for many a long year. Disasters
soon began. The _Victory_ began to leak, her engines were defective,
and there was nothing for it but to heave up her paddles and trust
to sail. Sailing to the northward, they found the sea smooth and the
weather so warm that they could dine without a fire and with the
skylights off. Entering Lancaster Sound, they sailed up Prince
Regent's Inlet. They soon discovered the spot where the _Fury_ had
been wrecked four years before and abandoned by Captain Parry with
whom was James Ross, who now found the stores which had been safely
hidden on that occasion. As they made their way up the inlet, strong
currents and vast masses of ice hard and solid as granite more than
once threatened them with destruction.

"Imagine," says Captain Ross, "these mountains hurled through a narrow
strait by a rapid tide, meeting with the noise of thunder, breaking
from each other's precipices huge fragments, till, losing their former
equilibrium, they fall over headlong, lifting the sea around in
breakers and whirling it in eddies."

Escaping these perils, Ross entered a fine harbour. Here he landed,
hoisted the colours, and took possession of the new land he had found,
and, drinking the King's health, called the land Boothia, after his
patron. For the next two months, August and September, he carefully
explored the coast of this newly discovered Boothia for some three
hundred miles, naming points and capes and islands after friends at
home and on board. Heavy squalls of snow and ever-thickening ice
pointed out the necessity of winter quarters, and 1st October found
the _Victory_ imprisoned by thick immovable ice. "The prison door was
shut upon us for the first time," says Ross sadly. "Nothing was to
be seen but one dazzling, monotonous extent of snow. It was indeed
a dull prospect. Amid all its brilliancy, this land of ice and snow
has ever been, and ever will be, a dull, dreary, heart-sinking,
monotonous waste, under the influence of which the very mind is
paralysed. Nothing moves and nothing changes, but all is for ever the
same--cheerless, cold, and still."

The explorers little thought that this was to be their home for the
next three years. They spent a fairly cheerful Christmas with mince
pies and "iced cherry brandy" taken from the stores of the _Fury_,
and early in 1830 the monotony was broken by the appearance of Eskimos.
These were tremendously dressed up in furs, a shapeless mass, and Ross
describes one as resembling "the figure of a globe standing on two
pins." They soon became friendly, taking the Englishmen to see their
snow huts, drawing them charts of Boothia Gulf beyond Felix Harbour,
while in exchange the explorers taught English to the little Eskimo
children and ministered to their ailments, the ship's carpenter even
making a wooden leg for one of the natives.


1829-1833. From drawings by Ross in his _Narrative of a Second Voyage
in Search of a North-West Passage_.]

So the long winter passed away. A few land journeys with sledges only
ended in disappointment, but at last the vessel was free of ice and
joyfully they hoisted her sails. But worse disappointment was in store.
She had sailed for three miles when they met a ridge of ice, and a
solid sea forbade any further advance. In vain did they try to saw
through the ice. November found the poor _Victory_ hopelessly icebound
and her crew doomed to another winter in the same region.

It was not till May that a journey across the land of Boothia to the
west coast was possible. Ross and his nephew had been calculating the
position of the North Magnetic Pole all the long winter, and with signs
of spring they set forth.

"Our journey had a very new appearance. The mother of two Eskimos led
the way with a staff in her hand, my sledge following with the dogs
and one of the children, guided by one of the wives with a child on
her back. After a native sledge came that of Commander Ross, followed
by more Eskimos. Many halts were made, as our burdens were heavy, the
snow deep, and the ice rough."

After a fortnight's travelling past the chain of great lakes--the
woman still guiding them--the Rosses, uncle and nephew, separated.
James Ross now made for the spot where the Magnetic Pole was supposed
to be. His own account shows with what enthusiasm he found it. "We
were now within fourteen miles of the calculated position of the
Magnetic Pole and now commenced a rapid march, and, persevering with
all our might, we reached the calculated place at eight in the morning
of the 1st of June. I must leave it to others to imagine the elation
of mind with which we found ourselves now at length arrived at this
great object of our ambition. It almost seemed as if we had accomplished
everything that we had come so far to see and to do; as if our voyage
and all its labours were at an end, and that nothing remained for us
but to return home and be happy for the rest of our days. Amid mutual
congratulation we fixed the British flag on the spot and took
possession of the North Magnetic Pole and its adjoining territory in
the name of Great Britain and King William IV. We had plenty of
materials for building, and we therefore erected a cairn of some
magnitude under which we buried a canister containing a record of the
interesting fact." Another fortnight found the successful explorers
staggering back to the _Victory_ with their great news, after an
absence of twenty-eight days.

Science has shown that the Magnetic Pole revolves, and that Ross's
cairn will not again mark its exact position for many a long year to

From a drawing in Ross's _Second Voyage for a North-West Passage_,

By the end of August the ice had broken and the _Victory_ was once
more in full sail, but gales of wind drove her into harbour, which
she never left again. Despite their colossal efforts, it soon became
apparent that yet another winter would have to be passed in the frozen
seas. The entries in Ross's journal become shorter and more despondent
day by day. "The sight of ice to us is a plague, a vexation, a torment,
an evil, a matter of despair. Could we have skated, it would not have
been an amusement; we had exercise enough and, worst of all, the ice
which surrounds us obstructed us, imprisoned us, annoyed us in every
possible manner, had become odious to our sight." By October there
was no open water to be seen; "the hopeful did not hope more, and the
despondent continued to despair."

This was their third winter in the ice--food was growing scarce, the
meat was so hard frozen that it had to be cut with a saw or thawed
in warm cocoa. Snow-blindness afflicted many of the men badly. At last
came the summer of 1833, but the _Victory_ was still fast in her winter
quarters, and all attempts to release her had failed. They now decided
to abandon her and to drag their boats over the ice to the wreck of
the _Fury_, replenishing their stores and trusting to some whaler to
take them home. We get a pathetic picture. "The colours were hoisted,"
says Ross, "and nailed to the mast, we drank a parting glass to our
poor old ship, and, having seen every man out, I took my own adieu
of the _Victory_ in the evening. She had deserved a better fate. It
was like parting with an old friend."

On 23rd April the weary explorers began dragging their boats and the
last month's provisions over the ice in the face of wind and snow.
The journey was painful and distressing. They found Barrow's Strait
full of impenetrable ice, and resolved to pass the winter on Fury beach,
which seemed almost like home to the half-starved men. Erecting a house
which they called "Somerset House," they prepared for a fourth winter.
For severity it was unequalled, the crew developed scurvy, and all
were suffering sorely when, in the following August, the unfortunate
party was rescued by the whaler, "_Isabella_ of Hull, once commanded
by Captain Ross." It was the ship in which Ross had made his first
Arctic exploration. At first the mate refused to believe the story
of these "bear-like" men. The explorers and Ross had been lost these
two years. But, almost frantic with delight, the explorers climbed
on board the _Isabella_ to be received with the heartiest of cheers
when their identity was disclosed. "That we were a repulsive-looking
people, none could doubt," says poor Ross, "unshaven since I know not
when, dirty, dressed in rags of wild beasts, and starved to the very
bones, our gaunt and grim looks, when contrasted with those of the
well-dressed and well-fed men around us, made us all feel what we really
were, as well as what we seemed to others." Then followed a wild scene
of "washing, dressing, shaving, eating, all intermingled," while in
the midst of all there were questions to be asked and the news from
England to be heard. Long accustomed to a cold bed on the hard snow
or the bare rock, few of them could sleep that night in the comfort
of the new accommodation.

They were soon safely back in England, large crowds collecting to get
a glimpse of Captain Ross. His own words best end the account of his
travels. "On my arrival in London," he says, "on the 20th of October
1883, it became my first duty to repair to the royal palace at Windsor,
with an account of my voyage, and to lay at the feet of His Majesty
the British flag which had been hoisted on the Magnetic Pole."

From a drawing in Ross's _Second Voyage for a North-West Passage_,



We must now return to Australia, as yet so imperfectly explored, and
take up the story of the young colony at Sydney.

For seven years it thrived under the careful management of Governor
Phillips, who was then replaced by one Hunter. With the new governor
from England arrived two young men destined to distinguish themselves
in the exploration of New South Wales. They were midshipman Matthew
Flinders and surgeon George Bass. The reading of _Robinson Crusoe_
had created in young Flinders a passion for sea-adventure, and no
sooner had the _Reliance_ anchored in Sydney harbour than the two young
friends resolved on an exploring expedition to the south. For there
were rumours afloat that Van Diemen's Land did not join the main
continent of New South Wales. Little enough help was forthcoming for
the expedition, and the friends had to content themselves with a little
boat eight feet long--the _Tom Thumb_--and only a boy to help them.
But with all the eager enthusiasm of youth they sailed from Port Jackson
on 25th March 1796. It is impossible to follow all their adventures
as they attempted the survey of the coast. A storm on the 29th nearly
swallowed up the little _Tom Thumb_ and her plucky sailors.

"At ten o'clock," says Flinders, "the wind, which had been unsettled
and driving electric clouds in all directions, burst out in a gale.
In a few minutes the waves began to break, and the extreme danger to
which this exposed our little bark was increased by the darkness of
the night and the uncertainty of finding any place of shelter. Mr.
Bass kept the sheet of the sail in his hand, drawing in a few inches
occasionally, when he saw a particularly heavy sea following. I was
steering with an oar. A single wrong movement or a moment's inattention
would have sent us to the bottom. After running near an hour in this
critical manner, some huge breakers were distinguished ahead; it was
necessary to determine what was to be done at once, for our bark could
not live ten minutes longer. On coming to what appeared to be the
extremity of the breakers, the boat's head was brought to the wind,
the mast and sail taken down, and the oars taken out. Pulling then
towards the reef during the intervals of the heaviest seas, in three
minutes we were in smooth water--a nearer approach showed us the beach
of a well-sheltered cove in which we anchored for the rest of the night.
We thought Providential Cove a well-adapted name for the place."

[Illustration: MATTHEW FLINDERS.]

Important local discoveries were made by the young explorers, and
their skill and courage earned for them a better equipment for further
exploration. A whale-boat provisioned for six weeks, and a crew of
six, were placed at the disposal of Bass in order that he might discover
whether Van Diemen's Land was joined to the mainland or whether there
was a strait between. Cook had declared that there was no strait.
Flinders now tells the story of his friend's triumphant success in
finding the straits that now bear his name. He tells how Bass found
the coast turning westward exposed to the billows of a great ocean,
of the low sandy shore, of the spacious harbour which "from its relative
position to the hitherto known parts of the coasts was called Port
Western." His provisions were now at an end and, though he was keen
to make a survey of his new discovery, he was obliged to return. This
voyage of six hundred miles in an open boat on dangerous and unknown
shores is one of the most remarkable on record. It added another three
hundred miles of known coast-line, and showed that the shores of New
Holland were divided from Van Diemen's Land. So highly did the
colonists appreciate this voyage of discovery that the whale-boat in
which Bass sailed was long preserved as a curiosity.

A small boat of twenty-five tons, provisioned for twelve weeks, was
now put at the disposal of the two friends, Flinders and Bass, to
complete the survey of Van Diemen's Land, and in October 1798 they
sailed for the south. With gales and strong winds blowing across the
channel now known as Bass Strait, they made their way along the
coast--the northern shores of Van Diemen's Land--till they found a
wide inlet. Here they found a quantity of black swans, which they ate
with joy, and also kangaroos, mussels, and oysters. This inlet they
called Port Dalrymple, after the late hydrographer to the Admiralty
in England. On 9th December, still coasting onward, they passed
Three-Hummock Island and then a whole cluster of islands, to which,
"in honour of His Excellency the Governor of New South Wales, I gave
the title of Hunter's Isles." And now a long swell was noticed from
the south-west. "It broke heavily upon a small reef and upon all the
western shores, but, although it was likely to prove troublesome and
perhaps dangerous, Mr. Bass and myself hailed it with joy and mutual
congratulation, as announcing the completion of our long-wished-for
discovery of a passage into the southern Indian Ocean."

Calling the point where the island coast turned Cape Grime, they sailed
along the western shores, their little boat exposed to the swell of
the southern ocean. Sailing joyfully from point to point and naming
them at will, the two explorers reached the extreme west, which they
called South-West Cape. This had been already sighted by one of Cook's
party in 1773. South Cape and Tasman's Head had been likewise charted
as points at the extreme south of New South Wales. So the explorers
sailed right round the island on which Tasman had landed one hundred
and fifty-six years before, and after an absence of five months they
reached Sydney with their important news. Bass now disappears from
the annals of exploration, but his friend Flinders went off to England
and found in our old friend Banks a powerful friend. He was given a
stout north-country ship, H.M.S. _Investigator_ of three hundred and
thirty-four tons, with orders to return to New Holland and make a
complete survey of the coast, and was off again in July 1801 with young
John Franklin, his nephew, aboard.

The _Investigator_ arrived at Cape Leuwin in December and anchored
in King George's Sound, discovered by Vancouver some ten years before.
By the New Year he was ready to begin his great voyage round the Terra
Australis, as the new country was still called. Indeed, it was Flinders
who suggested the name of Australia for the tract of land hitherto
called New Holland. His voyage can easily be traced on our maps to-day.
Voyaging westward through the Recherches group of islands, Flinders
passed the low, sandy shore to a cape he named Cape Pasley, after his
late Admiral; high, bleak cliffs now rose to the height or some five
hundred feet for a distance of four hundred and fifty miles--the great
Australian Bight. Young Franklin's name was given to one island,
Investigator to another, Cape Catastrophe commemorated a melancholy
accident and the drowning of several of the crew. Kangaroo Island
speaks for itself. Here they killed thirty-one dark-brown kangaroos.
"The whole ship's company was employed this afternoon skinning and
cleaning the kangaroos, and a delightful regale they afforded after
four months' privation from almost any fresh provisions. Half a
hundredweight of heads, forequarters, and tails were stewed down into
soup for dinner, and as much steaks given to both officers and men
as they could consume by day and night."

[Illustration: CAPE CATASTROPHE. From Flinders' _Voyages_.]

In April 1802 a strange encounter took place, when suddenly there
appeared a "heavy-looking ship without any top-gallant masts up,"
showing a French ensign. Flinders cleared his decks for action in case
of attack, but the strangers turned out to be the French ship _Le
Geographe_, which, in company with _Le Naturaliste_, had left France,
1800, for exploration of the Australian coasts.

Now it was well known that Napoleon had cast longing eyes upon the
Terra Australis--indeed, it is said that he took with him to Egypt
a copy of _Cook's Voyages_. Flinders, too, knew of this French
expedition, but he was not specially pleased to find French explorers
engaged on the same work as himself. The commanders met as friends,
and Baudin, the French explorer, told how he had landed also near Cape
Leuwin in May 1801, how he had given the names of his two ships to
Cape Naturaliste and Geographe Bay, and was now making his way round
the coast. Flinders little guessed at this time that the French were
going to claim the south of New South Wales as French territory under
the name of Terra Napoleon, though it was common knowledge that this
discovery was made by Englishmen.

"Ah, captain," said one of the French crew to Flinders, "if we had
not been kept so long picking up shells and catching butterflies at
Van Diemen's Land you would not have discovered this coast before us."

When Baudin put in at Port Jackson a couple of months later, he inquired
of the Governor the extent of British claims in the Pacific.

"The whole of Tasmania and Australia are British territory," was the
firm answer.

After this encounter Flinders discovered and named Port Phillip, at
the head of which stands the famous city of Melbourne to-day, and then
made his way on to Port Jackson. He had managed his crews so well that
the inhabitants of Port Jackson declared they were reminded of England
by the fresh colour of the men amongst the _Investigator_ ship's
company. The Frenchmen had not fared so well. One hundred and fifty
out of one hundred and seventy were down with scurvy and had to be
taken to the hospital at Sydney.

Before the end of July, Flinders was off again, sailing northwards
along the eastern coast of New South Wales. October found him passing
the Great Barrier reefs, and on the 21st he had reached the northernmost
point, Cape York. Three days of anxious steering took the
_Investigator_ through Torres Strait, and Flinders was soon sailing
into the great Gulf of Carpentaria. Still hugging the coast, he
discovered a group of islands to the south of the gulf, which he named
the Wellesley Islands, after General Wellesley, afterwards Duke of
Wellington. Here he found a wealth of vegetation; cabbage palm was
abundant, nutmegs plentiful, and a sort of sandal-wood was growing
freely. He spent one hundred and five days exploring the gulf; then
he continued his voyage round the west coast and back to Port Jackson
by the south. He returned after a year's absence with a sickly crew
and a rotten ship. Indeed, the _Investigator_ was incapable of further
service, and Flinders decided to go back to England for another ship.
As passenger on board the _Porpoise_, early in August 1802, he sailed
from Sydney for the Torres Strait accompanied by two returning
transports. All went well for the first four days, and they had reached
a spot on the coast of Queensland, when a cry of "Breakers ahead!"
fell on the evening air. In another moment the ship was carried amongst
the breakers and struck upon a coral reef. So sudden was the disaster
that there was no time to warn the other ships closely following. As
the _Porpoise_ rolled over on her beam ends, huge seas swept over her
and the white foam leapt high. Then the mast snapped, water rushed
in, and soon the _Porpoise_ was a hopeless wreck. A few minutes later,
one of the transports struck the coral reef: she fell on her side,
her deck facing the sweeping rollers, and was completely wrecked. The
other transport escaped, sailed right away from the scene of disaster,
and was never seen again by the crew of the _Porpoise_. The dawn of
day showed the shipwrecked crew a sandbank, to which some ninety-four
men made their way and soon set sailcloth tents on the barren shore.
They had saved enough food for three months. Flinders as usual was
the moving spirit. A fortnight later in one of the ship's boats, with
twelve rowers and food for three weeks, he left Wreck Reef amid ringing
cheers to get help from Sydney for the eighty men left on the sandbank.

"The reader," says the hero of this adventure, "has perhaps never gone
two hundred and fifty leagues at sea in an open boat or along a strange
coast inhabited by savages; but, if he recollect the eighty officers
and men upon Wreck Reef, and how important was our arrival to their
safety and to the saving of the charts, journals, and papers of the
_Investigator's_ voyage, he may have some idea of the pleasure we felt,
particularly myself, at entering our destined port."

Half-starved, unshaven, deplorable indeed were the men when they
staggered into Sydney, and "an involuntary tear started from the eye
of friendship and compassion" when the Governor learnt how nearly
Flinders and his friends had lost their lives.

WRECK REEF. From Flinders' _Voyages_.]

A few days later Flinders left Sydney for the last time, in a little
home-built ship of twenty-nine tons, the _Cumberland_. It was the
first ship ever built in the colony, and the colonists were glad it
should be of use to the man who had done so much for their country.
With all his papers and his beloved journals, Flinders put to sea
accompanied by a ship to rescue the men left on Wreck Reef. Three months
later, owing to the leaky condition of the ship, he landed at Mauritius.
Here he was taken prisoner and all his papers and journals were seized
by the French. During his imprisonment a French_ Voyage of Discovery_
was issued, Napoleon himself paying a sum of money to hasten
publication. All the places discovered by Flinders, or "Monsieur
Flinedore" as the French called him, were called by French names.
Fortunately before reaching Mauritius, Flinders had sent duplicate
copies of his charts home, and the whole fraud was exposed. Flinders
did not reach home till 1810. A last tragedy awaited him. For he died
in 1814, on the very day that his great book, _The Voyage to Terra
Australis_, was published. Flinders was a true explorer, and as he
lay dying he cried, "I know that in future days of exploration my spirit
will rise from the dead and follow the exploring ship!"



Since the days of Flinders, much discovery had been done in the great
new island-continent of Australia. The Blue Mountains had been crossed,
and the river Macquarie discovered and named after the governor of
that name. But Sturt's famous discovery of the river Darling and his
descent of the Murray River rank among the most noteworthy of a
bewildering number of lesser expeditions.

Captain Sturt landed with his regiment, the 39th, at Sydney in the
year 1827, "to guard the convicts." His first impressions of Sydney
are interesting. "Cornfield and orchard," he says, "have supplanted
wild grass and brush; on the ruins of the forest stands a flourishing
town; and the stillness of that once desert shore is now broken by
the bugle and by the busy hum of commerce. It is not unusual to see
from thirty to forty vessels from every quarter of the globe riding
at anchor at one time."

Sir Ralph Darling, Governor of New South Wales, soon formed a high
opinion of Sturt's ability, and when an expedition was proposed into
the interior for further exploration, he appointed him leader.

There was a universal opinion in the colony that in the middle of the
unknown continent lay a large inland sea. Oxley had made his way to
a shallow ocean of reeds where the river Macquarie disappeared;
natives spoke of "large waters" containing "great fish." To open up
the country and to ascertain the truth of these rumours were the objects
of this new expedition which left Sydney in November 1828. It consisted
of Hamilton Hume, the first Australian-born explorer, two soldiers,
eight convicts, fifteen horses, ten bullocks, and a small boat on a
wheeled carriage. Across the roadless Blue Mountains they started,
followed the traces of Oxley, who had died just a week before they
started, and about Christmas time they passed his last camp and began
to break new ground. Through thickets of reeds and marshy swamps they
pushed on; the river Macquarie had entirely disappeared, but on 2nd
February they suddenly found a large river some eighty yards broad
enclosing an unbroken sheet of deep water. "Our surprise and delight,"
says Sturt, "are better imagined than described. Our difficulties
seemed at an end. The banks were too steep to allow of watering the
cattle, but the men eagerly descended to quench a thirst increased
by the powerful sun. Never shall I forget their cry of amazement, nor
the terror and disappointment with which they called out that the water
was too salt to drink!" Leaving his party, Sturt pushed on, but no
fresh water was to be found, so he named the river the Darling, after
the Governor, and returned, but not till he had discovered brine
springs in the bed of the river, which accounted for its saltness.
Sturt had found no inland sea, but in the Darling he had discovered
a main channel of the western watershed.

He now proposed to follow the line of the Murrumbidgee, "a river of
considerable size and impetuous current," and to trace it if possible
into the interior. Several of his old party again joined him, and once
more he rode out of Sydney on this new quest.

The journey to the banks of the Murrumbidgee lay through wild and
romantic country, but as they journeyed farther, broad reed belts
appeared by the river, which was soon lost in a vast expanse of reeds.
For a moment or two Sturt was as one stunned; he could neither sleep
nor rest till he had regained the river again. When at last he did
so he found the water was deep, the current rapid, and the banks high.
But he turned on all hands to build the whale-boat which he had designed
at Sydney for the purpose. Early in January he writes home: "I was
checked in my advance by high reeds spreading as far as the eye can
reach. The Murrumbidgee is a magnificent stream. I do not yet know
its fate, but I have taken to the boats. Where I shall wander to God
only knows. I have little doubt, however, that I shall ultimately make
the coast."

By 6th January the boat was ready and Sturt started on his memorable
voyage. After passing the junction of the Lachlan, the channel
gradually narrowed; great trees had been swept down by the floods and
navigation rendered very dangerous. Still narrower grew the stream,
stronger the current. "On a sudden, the river took a general southern
direction. We were carried at a fearful rate down its gloomy banks,
and at such a moment of excitement had little time to pay attention
to the country through which we were passing. At last we found we were
approaching a junction, and within less than a minute we were hurried
into a broad and noble river. It is impossible to describe the effect
upon us of so instantaneous a change. We gazed in silent wonder on
the large channel we had entered."

The Murrumbidgee had joined the great Murray River as Sturt now called
it, after Sir George Murray of the Colonial Department.

To add to the unknown dangers of the way, numbers of natives now
appeared in force on the banks of the river, threatening the white
men with "dreadful yells and with the beating of spears and shields."

Firearms alone saved the little crew, and the rage of the natives was
turned to admiration as they watched the white men paddling on their
great river while some seventy black men swam off to the boat like
"a parcel of seals."

The explorers now found a new and beautiful stream flowing into the
Murray from the north, up which the boat was now turned, natives
anxiously following along the grassy banks, till suddenly a net
stretched across the stream checked their course. Sturt instinctively
felt he was on the river Darling again. "I directed that the Union
Jack should be hoisted, and we all stood up in the boat and gave three
distinct cheers. The eye of every native was fixed upon that beautiful
flag as it waved over us in the heart of a desert."

While they were still watching, Sturt turned the head of the boat and
pursued his way down the great Murray River. Stormy weather at the
end of January set in; though they were yet one hundred and fifteen
miles from the coast, the river increased in breadth, cliffs towered
above them, and the water dashed like sea-waves at their base.

On the 5th of February they were cheered by the appearance of sea-gulls
and a heavy swell up the river, which they knew must be nearing the
sea. On the twenty-third day of their voyage they entered a great lake.
Crossing to the southern shore, they found to their bitter grief that
shoals and sandbanks made it impossible for them to reach the sea.
They found that the Murray flowed into Encounter Bay, but thither they
could not pass. The thunder of the surf upon the shore brought no hope
to the tired explorers. They had no alternative but to turn back and
retrace their way. Terrible was the task that lay before them. On
half-rations and with hostile natives to encounter they must fight
their way against wind and stream. And they did it. They reached the
camp on the Murrumbidgee just seventy-seven days after leaving it;
but to their dismay it was deserted. The river, too, had risen in flood
and "poured its turbid waters with great violence."

AND MURRAY. From the _Narrative of Sturt's Expedition_.]

"For seventeen days," says Sturt, "we pulled against stream with
determined perseverance, but in our short daily journeys we made but
trifling way against it." The effects of severe toil were painfully
evident. The men lost the muscular jerk with the oars. Their arms were
nerveless, their faces haggard, their persons emaciated, their
spirits wholly spent. From sheer weariness they fell asleep at the
oar. No murmur, however, escaped them.

"I must tell the captain to-morrow," said one, thinking that Sturt
was asleep, "that I can pull no more." But when the morrow came he
said no word, but pulled on with his remaining strength. One man went
mad. The last ounce of flour was consumed when relief arrived, and
the weary explorers at last reached Sydney with their great news.

The result of this discovery was soon seen. In 1836 a shipload of
English emigrants arrived off Kangaroo Island, and soon a flourishing
colony was established at the mouth of the Murray River, the site of
the new capital being called Adelaide, after the wife of William IV.

After this Sturt tried to cross Australia from south to north; but
though he opened up a good deal of new country, he failed to reach
the coast. He was rewarded by the President of the Royal Geographical
Society, who described him as "one of the most distinguished explorers
and geographers of our age."

The feat of crossing Australia from south to north, from shore to shore,
was reserved for an Irishman called Burke in the year 1861. The story
of his expedition, though it was successful, is one of the saddest
in the history of discovery. The party left Melbourne in the highest
spirits. No expense had been spared to give them a good outfit; camels
had been imported from India, with native drivers, and food was
provided for a year. The men of Melbourne turned out in their hundreds
to see the start of Burke with his four companions, his camels, and
his horses. Starting in August 1860, the expedition arrived at
Cooper's Creek in November with half their journey done. But it was
not till December that the party divided, and Burke with his companions,
Wills, King, and Gray, six camels, and two horses, with food for three
months, started off for the coast, leaving the rest at Cooper's Creek
to await their return in about three months. After hard going they
reached a channel with tidal waters flowing into the Gulf of
Carpentaria on 28th March, but they could not get a view of the open
ocean because of boggy ground.

From a drawing by Wm. Strutt, an acquaintance of Burke.]

They accomplished their task, but the return journey was disastrous.
Short rations soon began to tell, for they had taken longer than they
had calculated, and no food was to be found by the way. Gray was the
first to fail and to die. Heavy rains made the ground impossibly heavy,
and the camels sank to the ground exhausted. Finally they had to be
killed and eaten. Then the horses went. At long last the three weary
men and two utterly worn-out camels dragged themselves to Cooper's
Creek, hoping to find their companions and the food they had left there
four months ago. It was 21st April. Not a soul was to be seen!

"King," cried Wills, in utter despair, "they are _gone_!"

As the awful truth flashed on them Burke--their leader--threw himself
on to the ground, realising their terrible situation. They looked
round. On a tree they saw the word "Dig." In a bottle they found a
letter: "We leave the camp to-day, 21st April 1861. We have left you
some food. We take camels and horses."

[Illustration: BURKE AND WILLS AT COOPER'S CREEK. From a woodcut in
a contemporary Australian account of the expedition.]

Only a few hours ago the party had left Cooper's Creek! And the
explorers were too weak and tired to follow! They ate a welcome supper
of oatmeal porridge and then, after resting a couple of days; they
struggled on their way, three exhausted men and two tired camels. Their
food was soon finished, and they had to subsist on a black seed like
the natives called "nardoo." But they grew weaker and weaker, and the
way was long. The camels died first. Then Wills grew too ill to walk,
and there was nothing for it but to leave him and push on for help.
The natives were kind to him, but he was too far gone, and he died
before help could arrive. Burke and King sadly pushed on without him,
but a few days later Burke died, and in the heart of Australia the
one white man, King, was left alone. It was not till the following
September that he was found "sitting in a hut that the blacks had made
for him. He presented a melancholy appearance, wasted to a shadow and
hardly to be distinguished as a civilised being except by the remnants
of clothes on him."

So out of that gay party of explorers who left Melbourne in the summer
of 1860 only one man returned to tell the story of success and the
sadder story of suffering and disaster.



Now, while explorers were busy opening up Australian inland, Ross was
leaving the Australian waters for his voyage to the south. Four years
after the return of the Ross polar expedition, Sir John Franklin had
been made Governor of Van Diemen's Land, where he was visited by the
ships sent out from England on the first Antarctic expedition under
the command of Sir James Ross, who had returned to find himself famous
for his discovery of the North Magnetic Pole.

An expedition had been fitted out, consisting of the _Erebus_ and the
_Terror_--ships which later on made history, for did they not carry
Sir John Franklin to his doom in the Arctic regions some years later?
The ships sailed in the autumn of 1839 by way of the Cape of Good Hope,
and excited great interest at Hobart Town, where the commanders, Ross
and Crozier, were warmly received by the Governor. In a bay, afterwards
called Ross Cove, the ships were repaired after the long voyage, while
an observatory was built by the convicts under the personal
supervision of Sir John Franklin. Interesting news awaited the
explorers, too, at Hobart Town. Exploration had taken place in the
southern regions by a French expedition under D'Urville and an
American, Lieutenant Wilkes--both of which had made considerable
discoveries. Ross was somewhat surprised at this, for, as he said,
"England had ever _led_ the way of discovery in the southern as well
as in the northern regions," but he decided to take a more easterly
course, and, if possible, to reach the South Magnetic Pole.

On 5th November 1840 the ships were off again, shaping their course
for Auckland Island, nine hundred miles from Hobart Town. The island
had been discovered in 1806 by Captain Bristow. He had left some pigs,
whose rapid increase filled the explorers with surprise. Christmas
Day found them still sailing south, with strong gales, snow, and rain.
The first iceberg was seen a few days later, and land on 11th January.

"It was a beautifully clear evening," says Ross, "and we had a most
enchanting view of the two magnificent ranges of mountains whose lofty
peaks, perfectly covered with eternal snow, rose to elevations of ten
thousand feet above the level of the ocean." These icy shores were
inhospitable enough, and the heavy surf breaking along its edge
forbade any landing. Indeed, a strong tide carried the ships rapidly
and dangerously along the coast among huge masses of ice. "The ceremony
of taking possession of these newly discovered lands in the name of
our Most Gracious Sovereign Queen Victoria was proceeded with, and
on planting the flag of our country amid the hearty cheers of our party,
we drank to the health, long life, and happiness of Her Majesty and
His Royal Highness Prince Albert."

The end of the month found them farther south than any explorer had
sailed before. Everything was new, and they were suddenly startled
to find two volcanoes, one of which was active; steam and smoke rising
to a height of two thousand feet above the crater and descending as
mist and snow. Mount Erebus and Mount Terror, Ross called them, in
memory of his two ships. They sailed on, but soon were stopped by a
huge barrier of solid ice like a great white wall, one thousand feet
thick and one hundred and eighty feet above sea-level. They knew now
they could get no farther this season--they had reached a point one
hundred and sixty miles from the Pole. Could they but have wintered
here "in sight of the brilliant burning mountain and at so short a
distance from the Magnetic Pole," they might easily have reached it
the following spring,--so they thought,--but reluctantly Ross had to
turn. "Few can understand the deep feelings of regret with which I
felt myself compelled to abandon the perhaps too ambitious hope I had
so long cherished of being permitted to plant the flag of my country
on both Magnetic Poles of our globe."

The whole of the great southern land they had discovered received the
name of Queen Victoria, which name it keeps to-day. They had been south
of the Antarctic Circle for sixty-three days, when they recrossed it
on 4th March. A few days later they narrowly escaped shipwreck. An
easterly wind drove them among some hundreds of icebergs. "For eight
hours," says Ross, "we had been gradually drifting towards what to
human eyes appeared inevitable destruction; the high waves and deep
rolling of our ships rendered towing with boats impossible, and our
situation was the more painful from our inability to make any effort
to avoid the dreadful calamity that seemed to await us. The roar of
the surf, which extended each way as far as we could see, and the dashing
of the ice fell upon the ear with painful distinctness as we
contemplated the awful destruction that threatened in one short hour
to close the world and all its hopes and joys and sorrows upon us for
ever. In this deep distress we called upon the Lord ... and our cry
came before Him. A gentler air of wind filled our sails; hope again
revived, and before dark we found ourselves far removed from every

180 FEET ABOVE SEA-LEVEL, AND 1000 FEET THICK. From Ross's _Voyage
in Antarctic Regions_.]

April found them back again in Van Diemen's land, and though Ross sailed
again the following autumn into southern latitudes, he only reached
a point some few miles farther than before--being again stopped by
a great wall barrier of thick ice. After this he took his ship home
by way of Cape Horn, and "the shores of Old England came into view
on the 2nd of September 1843." After an absence of four years Ross
was welcomed home, and honours were showered on him, including the
award of the Gold Medal of the Royal Geographical Society of Paris.

   "Till then they had deemed that the Austral earth,
    With a long, unbroken shore,
    Ran on to the Pole Antarctic,
    For such was the old sea lore."



The whole coast-line of North America had now been charted, but the
famous North-West Passage, for which so many lives had been laid down,
had yet to be found. Sir John Barrow, "the father of modern Arctic
discovery," Secretary to the Admiralty, now decided to dispatch
another expedition to forge this last link and to connect, if possible,
the chain of all former discoveries.

Many were the volunteers who came forward to serve in the new Arctic
expedition. But Sir John Franklin claimed the command as his special

"No service," he declared, "is nearer to my heart."

He was reminded that rumour put his age at sixty, and that after a
long life of hard work he had earned some rest.

"No, no!" cried the explorer; "I am only fifty-nine!"

This decided the point, and Franklin was appointed to the _Erebus_
and _Terror_, recently returned from the Antarctic expedition of Sir
James Ross. The ships were provisioned for three years, and with a
crew of one hundred and twenty-nine men and several officers, Sir John
Franklin left England for the last time on 19th May 1845. He was never
seen again!

All were in the highest spirits, determined to solve the mystery of
the North-West Passage once and for all! So certain were they of success
that one of the officers wrote to a friend: "Write to Panama and the
Sandwich Islands every six months."

On 4th July the ships anchored near the island of Disco on the west
coast of Greenland. After which all is silence. The rest of the story,
"one of the saddest ever told in connection with Arctic exploration,"
is dovetailed together from the various scraps of information that
have been collected by those who sailed in search of the lost expedition
year by year.

In 1848, Sir James Ross had sailed off in search of his missing friend,
and had reached a spot within three hundred miles of the _Erebus_ and
_Terror_ four months after they had been abandoned, but he returned
with no news of Franklin.

Then Sir John Richardson started off, but found no trace! Others
followed. The Government offered 20,000 pounds, to which Lady Franklin
added 3000 pounds, to any one who should bring news of Franklin. By
the autumn of 1850 there were fifteen ships engaged in the search.
A few traces were found. It was discovered that Sir John Franklin had
spent his first winter (1845-46) at Beechey Island. Captain McClure
sailed along the north coast of America and made his way from the
Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean--thus showing the existence of a
north-west passage, for which he and his men were highly rewarded,
for at this time no one knew that Franklin had already found a passage
though he had not lived to tell the story of triumph and success. But
it was not till after years of silence that the story of the missing
expedition was cleared up. Lady Franklin purchased and fitted out a
little steam yacht, the _Fox_, of one hundred and seventy-seven tons.
The command was given to Captain McClintock, known to be an able and
enthusiastic Arctic navigator. He was to rescue any "possible survivor
of the _Erebus_ and _Terror_, and to try and recover any records of
the lost expedition."

From McClintock's _Voyage in Search of Franklin_.]

The 12th August found the little _Fox_ in Melville Bay made fast to
an iceberg, and a few days later she was frozen firmly into an ice-pack.
For two hundred and forty-two days she was beset, drifting all through
the long, bitter winter with the ice, till on 25th April 1858, after
having been carried over a thousand miles, she was released.
McClintock, undaunted by danger, turned northwards, and by May he had
reached Melville Bay. Thence up Lancaster Sound, he reached Beechey
Island in August and found there three lonely graves of three sailors
from the _Erebus_ and _Terror_. Here the English commander erected
a tablet sent out by Lady Franklin.

[Illustration: THE THREE GRAVES ON BEECHEY ISLAND. From McClintock's
_Voyage in Search of Franklin_.]

On the morning of 16th August, McClintock sailed from Beechey Island,
but the short summer was passing quickly and they had no fresh news
of the Franklin expedition. Half-way through Bellot Strait the _Fox_
was again icebound, and another long winter had to be faced. By the
middle of February 1859 there was light enough to start some sledging
along the west coast of Boothia Felix. Days passed and McClintock
struggled on to the south, but no Eskimos appeared and no traces of
the lost explorers were to be found. Suddenly they discovered four
men walking after them.

A naval button on one of the Eskimos attracted their attention.

"It came," said the Eskimo, "from some white people who were starved
upon an island where there are salmon, but none of them had seen the
white men."

Here was news at last--McClintock travelled on some ten miles to Cape
Victoria, where the Eskimos built him a "commodious snow-hut in half
an hour." Next morning the entire village of Eskimos arrived--some
forty-five people--bringing relics of the white men. There were silver
spoons, part of a gold chain, buttons, knives made of the iron and
wood of the wrecked ships. But none of these people had seen the white
men--one man said he had seen their bones upon the island where they
died, but some were buried. They said a ship "having three masts had
been crushed by the ice out in the sea to the west of King William's
Island." One old man made a rough sketch of the coast-line with his
spear upon the snow; he said it was eight journeys to where the ship

McClintock hastened back to the ship with his news--he had by his
sleigh-journey added one hundred and twenty miles to the old charts
and "completed the discovery of the coast-line of Continental

McClintock's _Voyage of the_ "Fox" _in Search of Franklin_.]

On 2nd April more sledge-parties started out to reach King William's
Island--the cold was still intense, the glare of the sun painful to
their eyes. The faces and lips of the men were blistered and cracked;
their fingers were constantly frostbitten. After nearly three weeks'
travelling they found snow-huts and Eskimos at Cape Victoria. Here
they found more traces of Franklin's party--preserved meat tins, brass
knives, a mahogany board. In answer to their inquiries, they heard
that two ships had been seen by the natives of King William's Island;
one had been seen to sink in deep water, the other was forced on shore
and broken up. "It was in the fall of the year (August or September),"
they said, when the ships were destroyed, that all the white people
went away to the large river, taking a boat with them, and that in
the following winter their bones were found there.

McClintock now made his way to the opposite coast of King William's
Island. Here he found Eskimos with pieces of silver-plate bearing the
crest and initials of Sir John Franklin and some of his officers. They
said it was five days' journey to the wreck, of which little now
remained. There had been many books, said the Eskimos, but they had
been destroyed by the weather. One woman volunteered a statement.
"Many of the white men," she said, "dropped by the way as they went
to the Great River. Some were buried and some were not. Their bodies
were discovered during the winter following." Moving onwards,
McClintock reached the Great Fish River on the morning of 12th May.
A furious gale was raging and the air was heavy with snow, but they
encamped there to search for relics. With pickaxes and shovels they
searched in vain. No Eskimos were to be found, and at last in despair
the little party of explorers faced homewards. McClintock was slowly
walking near the beach, when he suddenly came upon a human skeleton,
lying face downwards, half buried in the snow. It wore a blue jacket
with slashed sleeves and braided edging and a greatcoat of

The old woman was right. "They fell down and died as they walked along."
And now the reward of the explorers was at hand. On the north-west
coast of King William's Island was found a cairn and a blue ship's
paper, weatherworn and ragged, relating in simple language, written
by one of the ship's officers, the fate of the Franklin expedition.
The first entry was cheerful enough. In 1846 all was well. His Majesty's
ships, _Erebus_ and _Terror_, wintered in the ice--at Beechey Island,
after having ascended Wellington Channel and returned to the west side
of Cornwallis Island. Sir John Franklin was commanding the expedition.
The results of their first year's labour was encouraging. In 1846 they
had been within twelve miles of King William's Island, when winter
stopped them. But a later entry, written in April 1848, states that
the ships were deserted on 22nd April, having been beset in ice since
September 1846--that Sir John Franklin had died on 11th June 1847,
and that Captain Crozier was in command.

Then came the last words, "And start to-morrow twenty-sixth for Back's
Fish River." That was all.

After a diligent search in the neighbourhood for journals or relics,
McClintock led his party along the coast, till on 30th May they found
another relic in the shape of a large boat, with a quantity of tattered
clothing lying in her. She had been evidently equipped for the ascent
of the Great Fish River. She had been built at Woolwich Dockyard; near
her lay two human skeletons, a pair of worker slippers, some watches,
guns, a _Vicar of Wakefield_, a small Bible, New Testament, and Prayer
Book, seven or eight pairs of boots, some silk handkerchiefs, towels,
soap, sponge, combs, twine, nails, shot, and cartridges, needle and
thread cases, some tea and chocolate, and a little tobacco.

Everything was carefully collected and brought back to the ship, which
was reached on 19th June. Two months later the little _Fox_ was free
from ice and McClintock reached London towards the end of September,
to make known his great discovery.

The rest of the story is well known. Most of us know the interesting
collection of Franklin relics in the United Service Institution in
London, and the monument in Waterloo Place to "the great navigator
and his brave companions who sacrificed their lives in completing the
discovery of the North-West Passage."

It was acknowledged "that to Sir John Franklin is due the priority
of discovery of the North-West Passage--that last link to forge which
he sacrificed his life."

And on the marble monument in Westminster Abbey, Tennyson, a nephew
of Sir John Franklin, wrote his well-known lines--

   "Not here, the white north hath thy bones, and thou,
        Heroic Sailor Soul,
    Art passing on thy happier voyage now
        Towards no earthly pole."



"I shall open up a path to the interior or perish."

Such were the words of one of the greatest explorers of Africa in the
nineteenth century. Determination was the keynote of his character
even as a young boy. At the age of ten he was at work in a cotton factory
in Scotland: with his first week's wages he bought a Latin grammar.
Fourteen hours of daily work left little time for reading, but he
educated himself, till at nineteen he was resolved to be a medical

"In the glow of love which Christianity inspires, I resolved to devote
my life to the alleviation of human misery." He was accepted for service
by the London Missionary Society, and in the year 1840 he sailed for
South Africa. After a voyage of three months he arrived at Cape Town
and made his way in a slow ox-waggon seven hundred miles to Kuruman,
a small mission station in the heart of Bechuanaland where Dr. Moffat
had laboured for twenty years. He did well, and two years later he
was sent north to form another mission station at Mabotsa (Transvaal).
Having married Moffat's daughter Mary, he worked in these parts till
June 1849, when, with his wife and three children, he started with
oxen and waggon for a journey northwards. Across the great Kalahari
Desert moved the exploring family, till they came to the river called
Zouga, which, said the natives, led to a large lake named Lake Ngami.
In native canoes, Livingstone and his little family ascended this
beautifully wooded river, "resembling the river Clyde above Glasgow,"
till on 1st August 1849, Lake Ngami appeared, "and for the first time,"
says Livingstone, "this fine sheet of water was beheld by Europeans."
The lake was two thousand eight hundred feet above the sea, but the
climate was terribly unhealthy. The children grew feverish, and
mosquitoes made life a misery to them, while the tsetse fly made further
exploration for the moment impossible. So the family journeyed back
to headquarters for a time. But Livingstone was unsatisfied, and once
more in 1851 we find him starting again with wife and children to seek
the great river Zambesi, known to exist in central Africa, though the
Portuguese maps represented it as rising far to the east of
Livingstone's discovery.

OF LAKE NGAMI. From Livingstone's _Missionary Travels_.]

"It was the end of June 1851," he tells us, "that we were rewarded
by the discovery of the Zambesi in the centre of the continent. This
was an important point, for that river was not previously known to
exist there at all. As we were the very first white men the inhabitants
had ever seen, we were visited by prodigious numbers of Makololo in
garments of blue, green, and red baize." Livingstone wanted to know
more of this unknown river, but he now decided that exploring with
a wife and family was not only perilous, but difficult, so he returned
to the coast, put them on a homeward-bound ship for England, and
returned to central Africa to continue his work of exploration alone.

It was 11th November 1853 when Livingstone left the town of Linyanti
in the very heart of central Africa for his great journey to the west
coast to trace the course of the Zambesi.

   "The Zambesi. Nobody knows
    Whence it comes and whither it goes."

So ran an old canoe-song of the natives.

With twenty-seven faithful black Makololos, with "only a few biscuits,
a little tea and sugar, twenty pounds of coffee and three books," with
a horse rug and sheepskin for bedding and a small gipsy tent and a
tin canister, fifteen inches square, filled with a spare shirt,
trousers, and shoes for civilised life, and a few scientific
instruments, the English explorer started for a six months' journey.
Soon his black guides had embarked in their canoes and were making
their way up the Zambesi. "No rain has fallen here," he writes on 30th
November, "so it is excessively hot. The atmosphere is oppressive both
in cloud and sunshine." Livingstone suffered badly from fever during
the entire journey. But the blacks took fatherly care of him. "As soon
as we land," he says, "the men cut a little grass for my bed, while
the poles of my little tent are planted. The bed is made and boxes
ranged on each side of it, and then the tent pitched over all. Two
Makololos occupy my right and left both in eating and sleeping as long
as the journey lasts, but my head boatman makes his bed at the door
of the tent as soon as I retire."

As they advanced up the Barotse valley, rains had fallen and the woods
had put on their gayest hue. Flowers of great beauty grew everywhere.
"The ground begins to swarm with insect life, and in the cool, pleasant
mornings the place rings with the singing of birds."

On 6th January 1854 they left the river and rode oxen through the dense
parts of the country through which they had now to pass. Through heavy
rains and with very little food, they toiled on westward through miles
and miles of swamp intersected by streams flowing southward to the
Zambesi basin. One day Livingstone's ox, Sindbad, threw him, and he
had to struggle wearily forward on foot. His strength was failing.
His meagre fare varied by boiled zebra and dried elephant, frequent
wettings and constant fever, were reducing him to a mere skeleton.
At last on 26th March he arrived at the edge of the high land over
which he had so long been travelling. "It is so steep," he tells us,
"that I was obliged to dismount, and I was so weak that I had to be
led by my companions to prevent my toppling over in walking down. Below
us lay the valley of the Kwango in glorious sunlight." Another
fortnight and they were in Portuguese territory. The sight of white
men once more and a collection of traders' huts was a welcome sight
to the weary traveller. The commandant at once took pity on Livingstone,
but after a refreshing stay of ten days the English explorer started
off westward to the coast. For another month he pursued his way. It
was 31st May 1854. As the party neared the town of Loanda, the black
Makololos began to grow nervous. "We have stood by each other hitherto
and will do so to the last," Livingstone assured them, as they all
staggered into the city by the seashore. Here they found one Englishman
sent out for the suppression of the slave trade, who at once gave up
his bed to the stricken and emaciated explorer. "Never shall I forget,"
he says, "the luxury I enjoyed in feeling myself again on a good English
bed after six months' sleeping on the ground."

Nor were the Makololos forgotten. They were entertained on board an
English man-of-war lying off the coast. Livingstone was offered a
passage home, but he tells us: "I declined the tempting offers of my
friends, and resolved to take back my Makololo companions to their
Chief, with a view of making a path from here to the east coast by
means of the great river Zambesi."

With this object in view, he turned his back on home and comfort, and
on 20th September 1854 he left Loanda and "the white man's sea," as
the black guides called the Atlantic Ocean that washes the shores of
West Africa. Their way lay through the Angola country, rich in wild
coffee and cotton plantations. The weather was as usual still and
oppressive, but slowly Livingstone made his way eastward. He suffered
badly from fever as he had done on the outward journey. It had taken
him six months to reach Loanda from central Africa; it took a year
to complete the return journey, and it was September 1855 before
Linyanti was again reached. Waggons and goods left there eighteen
months before were safe, together with many welcome letters from home.
The return of the travellers after so long an absence was a cause of
great rejoicing. All the wonderful things the Makololos had seen and
heard were rehearsed many times before appreciative audiences.
Livingstone was more than ever a hero in their eyes, and his kindness
to his men was not forgotten. He had no difficulty in getting recruits
for the journey down the Zambesi to the sea, for which he was now making

On 3rd November he was ready to resume his long march across Africa.
He was much better equipped on this occasion; he rode a horse instead
of an ox, and his guide, Sekwebu, knew the river well. The first night
out they were unfortunately caught in a terrific thunderstorm
accompanied by sheet-lightning, which lit up the whole country and
flooded it with torrents of tropical rain.

A few days' travelling brought the party to the famous Zambesi Falls,
called by the natives "where smoke sounds," but renamed by Livingstone
after the Queen of England, Victoria. The first account of these now
famous Falls is very vivid. "Five columns of vapour, appropriately
named smoke, bending in the direction of the wind, appeared to mingle
with the clouds. The whole scene was extremely beautiful. It had never
been seen before by European eyes. When about half a mile from the
Falls, I left the canoe and embarked in a lighter one with men well
acquainted with the rapids, who brought me to an island in the middle
of the river and on the edge of the lip over which the water rolls.
Creeping with care to the verge, I peered down into a large rent which
had been made from bank to bank of the broad Zambesi. In looking down
into the fissure one sees nothing but a dense white cloud; from this
cloud rushed up a great jet of vapour exactly like steam, and it mounted
two or three hundred feet high."

drawing in Livingstone's _Missionary Travels_.]

Livingstone now continued his perilous journey with his hundred men
along the Zambesi, the country once densely populated, now desolate
and still. The Bakota tribes, "the colour of coffee and milk," were
friendly, and "great numbers came from all the surrounding villages
and expressed great joy at the appearance of a white man and harbinger
of peace." They brought in large supplies of food, and expressed great
delight when Livingstone doctored their children, who were suffering
from whooping-cough. As they neared the coast, they became aware of
hostile forces. This was explained when they were met by a Portuguese
half-caste "with jacket and hat on," who informed them that for the
last two years they had been fighting the natives. Plunging thus
unconsciously into the midst of a Kafir war rendered travelling
unpleasant and dangerous. In addition, the party of explorers found
their animals woefully bitten by the tsetse fly, rhinoceroses and
elephants were too plentiful to be interesting, and the great white
ant made itself tiresome.

It was 3rd March before Livingstone reached Tete, two hundred and sixty
miles from the coast. The last stages of the journey had been very
beautiful. Many of the hills were of pure white marble, and pink marble
formed the bed of more than one of the streams. Through this country
the Zambesi rolled down toward the coast at the rate of four miles
an hour, while flocks of water-fowl swarmed upon its banks or flew
over its waters. Tete was the farthest outpost of the Portuguese.
Livingstone was most kindly received by the governor, but fever again
laid him low, and he had to remain here for three weeks before he was
strong enough to start for the last stage of his journey to the coast.
He left his Makololos here, promising to return some day to take them
home again. They believed in him implicitly, and remained there three
years, when he returned according to his word. Leaving Tete, he now
embarked on the waters of the Zambesi, high with a fourth annual rise,
which bore him to Sena in five days. So swift is the current at times
that twenty-four hours is enough to take a boat from Tete to Sena,
whereas the return journey may take twenty days.

"I thought the state of Tete quite lamentable," says Livingstone, but
that of Sena was ten times worse. "It is impossible to describe the
miserable state of decay into which the Portuguese possessions here
have sunk."

Though suffering badly from fever, Livingstone pushed on; he passed
the important tributary of the Zambesi, the Shire, which he afterwards
explored, and finally reached Quilimane on the shores of the Indian
Ocean. It was now 20th May 1856, just four years after he had left
Cape Town on his great journey from west to east, since when he had
travelled eleven thousand miles. After waiting six weeks on the "great
mud bank, surrounded by extensive swamps and rice grounds," which form
the site of Quilimane, Livingstone embarked on board a gunboat, the
_Frolic_, for England. He had one Makololo with him--the faithful
Sekwebu. The poor black man begged to be allowed to follow his master
on the seas.

"But," said Livingstone, "you will die if you go to such a cold country
as mine."

"Let me die at your feet," pleaded the black man.

He had not been to Loanda, so he had never seen the sea before. Waves
were breaking over the bar at Quilimane and dashing over the boat that
carried Sekwebu out to the brig. He was terribly alarmed, but he lived
to reach Mauritius, where he became insane, hurled himself into the
sea, and was drowned!

On 12th December 1856, Livingstone landed in England after an absence
of sixteen years. He had left home as an obscure missionary; he returned
to find himself famous. The Royal Geographical Society awarded him
its gold medal; France and Scotland hastened to do him honour. Banquets
and receptions were given for him, and finally this "plain,
single-minded man, somewhat attenuated by years of toil, and with his
face tinged by the sun of Africa," was received by the Queen at Windsor.
The enthusiasm aroused by this longest expedition in the history of
African travel was unrivalled, and the name of Livingstone was on every
lip. But meanwhile others were at work in central Africa, and we must
turn from the discoveries of Livingstone for the moment.



Livingstone had just left Loanda and was making his way across Africa
from west to east, when an English expedition set forth to find the
Great Lakes still lying solitary and undiscovered, although they were
known to exist. If we turn to the oldest maps of Africa, we find, rudely
drawn and incorrectly placed, large inland waters, that may
nevertheless be recognised as these lakes just about to be revealed
to a wondering world. Ptolemy knew of them, the Arabs spoke of them,
Portuguese traders had passed them, and a German missionary had caught
sight of the Mountains of the Moon and brought back strange stories
of a great inland lake.

The work of rediscovering the lakes was entrusted to a remarkable man
named Richard Burton, a man whose love of adventure was well known.
He had already shown his metal by entering Mecca disguised as a Persian,
and disguised as an Arab he had entered Harar, a den of slave traders,
the "Timbuktu of Eastern Africa." On his return he was attacked by
the Somalis; one of his companions was killed, another, Speke, escaped
with terrible spear-wounds, and he himself was badly wounded.

Such were the men who in 1856 were dispatched by the Royal Geographical
Society for the exploration of the mysterious lakes in the heart of
central Africa. Speke gives us an idea of the ignorance prevailing
on this subject only fifty-six years ago: "On the walls of the Society's
rooms there hung a large diagram constructed by two missionaries
carrying on their duties at Zanzibar. In this section map, swallowing
up about half of the whole area of the ground included in it, there
figured a lake of such portentous size and such unseemly shape,
representing a gigantic slug, that everybody who looked at it
incredulously laughed and shook his head--a single sheet of sweet
water, upwards of eight hundred miles long by three hundred broad,
equal in size to the great salt Caspian."

It was April 1857 before Burton and Speke had collected an escort and
guides at Zanzibar, the great slave market of East Africa, and were
ready to start for the interior. "We could obtain no useful information
from the European merchants of Zanzibar, who are mostly ignorant of
everything beyond the island," Burke wrote home on 22nd April.

At last on 27th June, with thirty-six men and thirty donkeys, the party
set out for the great malarious coast-belt which had to be crossed
before Kaze, some five hundred miles distant, could be reached. After
three months' arduous travelling--both Burton and Speke were badly
stricken with fever--they reached Kaze. Speke now spread open the map
of the missionaries and inquired of the natives where the enormous
lake was to be found. To their intense surprise they found the
missionaries had run three lakes into one, and the three lakes were
Lake Nyassa, Tanganyika, and Victoria Nyanza. They stayed over a month
at Kaze, till Burton seemed at the point of death, and Speke had him
carried out of the unhealthy town. It was January before they made
a start and continued their journey westward to Ugyi.

"It is a wonderful thing," says Drummond, "to start from the
civilisation of Europe, pass up these mighty rivers, and work your
way alone and on foot, mile after mile, month after month, among strange
birds and beasts and plants and insects, meeting tribes which have
no name, speaking tongues which no man can interpret, till you have
reached its sacred heart and stood where white man has never trod

[Illustration: BURTON IN A DUG-OUT ON LAKE TANGANYIKA. After a drawing
by Burton.]

As the two men tramped on, the streams began to drain to the west and
the land grew more fertile, till one hundred and fifty miles from Kaze
they began to ascend the slope of mountains overhanging the northern
half of Lake Tanganyika. "This mountain mass," says Speke, "I consider
to be the True Mountains of the Moon." From the top of the mountains
the lovely Tanganyika Lake could be seen in all its glory by Burton.
But to Speke it was a mere mist. The glare of the sun and oft-repeated
fever had begun to tell on him, and a kind of inflammation had produced
almost total blindness. But they had reached the lake and they felt
sure they had found the source of the Nile. It was a great day when
Speke crossed the lake in a long canoe hollowed out of the trunk of
a tree and manned by twenty native savages under the command of a
captain in a "goatskin uniform." On the far side they encamped on the
opposite shore, Speke being the first white man to cross the lake.

Having retired to his hut for the night, Speke proceeded to light a
candle and arrange his baggage, when to his horror he found the whole
interior swarming with black beetles. Tired of trying to brush them
away, he put out his light and, though they crawled up his sleeves
and down his back, he fell asleep. Suddenly he woke to find one crawling
into his ear, and in spite of his frantic efforts it crept in farther
and farther till it reached the drum, which caused the tired explorer
intense agony. Inflammation ensued, his face became drawn, he could
with difficulty swallow a little broth, and he was quite deaf. He
returned across the lake to find his companion, Burton, still very
ill and unfit for further exploration.

So Speke, although still suffering from his ear, started off again,
leaving Burton behind, to find the great northern lake spoken of as
the sea of Ukerewe, where the Arabs traded largely in ivory. There
was a great empire beyond the lake, they told him, called Uganda.

But it was July 1858 when the caravan was ready to start from Kaze.
Speke himself carried Burton's large elephant gun. "I commenced the
journey," he says, "at 6 p.m., as soon as the two donkeys I took with
me to ride were caught and saddled. It was a dreary beginning. The
escort who accompanied me were sullen in their manner and walked with
heavy gait and downcast countenance. The nature of the track increased
the general gloom.

"For several weeks the caravan moved forward, till on 3rd August it
began to wind up a long but gradually inclined hill, until it reached
its summit, when the vast expanse of the pale blue waters of the Nyanza
burst suddenly upon my eyes! It was early morning. The distant sea-line
of the north horizon was defined in the calm atmosphere, but I could
get no idea of the breadth of the lake, as an archipelago of islands,
each consisting of a single hill rising to a height of two or three
hundred feet above the water, intersected the line of vision to the
left. A sheet of water extended far away to the eastward. The view
was one which even in a well-known country would have arrested the
traveller by its peaceful beauty. But the pleasure of the mere view
vanished in the presence of those more intense emotions called up by
the geographical importance of the scene before me. I no longer felt
any doubt that the lake at my feet gave birth to that interesting river
(Nile), the source of which has been the subject of so much speculation
and the object of so many explorers. This is a far more extensive lake
than Tanganyika; it is so broad that you could not see across it, and
so long that nobody knew its length. This magnificent sheet of water
I have ventured to name Victoria after our gracious sovereign."

NYANZA. From a humorous sketch by Burton.]

Speke returned to Kaze after his six weeks' eventful journey, having
tramped no less than four hundred and fifty-two miles. He received
a warm welcome from Burton, who had been very uneasy about his safety,
for rumours of civil war had reached him. "I laughed over the matter,"
says Speke, "but expressed my regret that he did not accompany me,
as I felt quite certain in my mind I had discovered the source of the

Together the two explorers now made their way to the coast and crossed
to Aden, where Burton, still weak and ill, decided to remain for a
little, while Speke took passage in a passing ship for home.

When he showed his map of Tanganyika and Victoria Nyanza to the
President of the Royal Geographical Society in London, Sir Roderick
Murchison was delighted.

"Speke, we must send you there again," he said enthusiastically.

And the expedition was regarded as "one of the most notable discoveries
in the annals of African discovery."



Burton and Speke had not yet returned from central Africa, when
Livingstone left England on another expedition into the interior, with
orders "to extend the knowledge already attained of the geography of
eastern and central Africa and to encourage trade." Leaving England
on 10th March 1858, he reached the east coast the following May as
British Consul of Quilimane, the region which lies about the mouth
of the Zambesi. Livingstone had brought out with him a small
steam-launch called by the natives the _Ma-Robert_ after Mrs.
Livingstone, the mother of Robert, their eldest child. In this little
steam-launch he made his way up the Shire River, which flows into the
Zambesi quite near its mouth. "The delight of threading out the
meanderings of upwards of two hundred miles of a hitherto unexplored
river must be felt to be appreciated," says Livingstone in his diary.
At the end of this two hundred miles further progress became impossible
because of rapids which no boat could pass. "These magnificent
cataracts we called the Murchison Cataracts, after one whose name has
already a world-wide fame," says Livingstone. Leaving their boat here,
they started on foot for the Great Lake described by the natives. It
took them a month of hard travelling to reach their goal. Their way
lay over the native tracks which run as a network over this part of
the world. "They are veritable footpaths, never over a foot in breadth,
beaten as hard as adamant by centuries of native traffic. Like the
roads of the old Romans, they run straight on over everything, ridge
and mountain and valley."

[Illustration: THE _MA-ROBERT_ ON THE ZAMBESI. After a drawing in
Livingstone's _Expedition to the Zambesi_.]

On 18th April, Lake Shirwa came into sight, "a considerable body of
bitter water, containing leeches, fish, crocodiles, and hippopotami.
The country around is very beautiful," adds Livingstone, "and clothed
with rich vegetation, and the waves breaking and foaming over a rock,
added to the beauty of the picture. Exceedingly lofty mountains stand
near the eastern shore."

No white man had gazed at the lake before. Though one of the smaller
African lakes, Shirwa is probably larger than all the lakes of Great
Britain put together. Returning to Tete, the explorer now prepared
for his journey to the farther Lake Nyassa. This was to be no new
discovery. The Portuguese knew the locality of Lake Shirwa, and at
the beginning of the seventeenth century Nyassa was familiar to them
under another name. Landing at the same spot on the Shire banks as
before, Livingstone, with thirty-six Makololo porters and two native
guides, ascended the beautiful Shire Highlands, some twelve hundred
feet above sea-level, and crossed the range on which Zomba, the
residence of the British Commissioner for Nyassaland, now stands. When
within a day's march of their goal they were told that no lake had
ever been heard of in the neighbourhood, but, said the natives, the
river Shire stretched on, and it would take two months to reach the
end, which came out of perpendicular rocks which towered almost to
the skies.

"Let us go back to the ship," said the followers; "it is no use trying
to find the lake."

But Livingstone persevered, and he was soon rewarded by finding a sheet
of water, which was indeed the beginning of Lake Nyassa. It was 16th
September 1859.

"How far is it to the end of the lake?" he asked.

"The other end of the lake? Who ever heard of such a thing? Why, if
one started when a mere boy to walk to the other end of the lake, he
would be an old grey-headed man before he got there," declared one
of the natives. Livingstone knew that he had opened up a great waterway
to the interior of Africa, but the slave trade in these parts was
terrible, gangs being employed in carrying the ivory from countries
to the north down to the east coast. The English explorer saw that
if he could establish a steamer upon this Lake Nyassa and buy ivory
from the natives with European goods he would at once strike a deadly
blow at the slave trade. His letters home stirred several missionaries
to come out and establish a settlement on the banks of the Shire River.
Bishop Mackenzie and a little band of helpers arrived on the river
Shire two years later, and in 1862 Mrs. Livingstone joined them,
bringing out with her a little new steamer to launch on the Lake Nyassa.
But the unhealthy season was at its height, and "the surrounding low
land, rank with vegetation and reeking from the late rainy season,
exhaled the malarious poison in enormous quantities." Mrs.
Livingstone fell ill, and in a week she was dead. She was buried under
a large baobab tree at Shapunga, where her grave is visited by many
a traveller passing through this once solitary region first penetrated
by her husband.

The blow was a crushing one for Livingstone, and for a time he was
quite bewildered. But when his old energy returned he superintended
the launching of the little steamer, the _Lady Nyassa_. But
disappointment and failure awaited him, and at last, just two years
after the death of his wife, he took the _Lady Nyassa_ to Zanzibar
by the Rovuma River and set forth to reach Bombay, where he hoped to
sell her, for his funds were low.

On the last day of April 1864 he started on his perilous journey. Though
warned that the monsoon would shortly break, he would not be deterred.
And after sailing two thousand five hundred miles in the little boat
built only for river and lake, "a forest of masts one day loomed through
the haze in Bombay harbour," and he was safe. After a brief stay here,
Livingstone left his little launch and made his way to England on a

But no one realised at this time the importance of his new discoveries.
No one foresaw the value of "Nyassaland" now under British
protectorate. Livingstone had brought to light a lake fifteen hundred
and seventy feet above the sea, three hundred and fifty miles long
and forty broad, up and down which British steamers make their way
to-day, while the long range of mountains lining the eastern bank,
known as the Livingstone range, testify to the fact that he had done
much, even if he might have done more.



While Livingstone was discovering Lake Nyassa, Speke was busy
preparing for a new expedition to find out more about the great sheet
of water he had named Victoria Nyanza and to solve the vexed question:
Was this the source of the Nile?

In April 1860, accompanied by Captain Grant, an old friend and brother
sportsman, he left England, and by way of the Cape reached Zanzibar
some five months later. The two explorers started for their great
inland journey early in October, with some hundred followers, bound
for the great lake. But it was January 1861 before they had covered
the five hundred miles between the coast and Kaze, the old
halting-station of Burton and Speke. Through the agricultural plains
known as Uzarana, the country of Rana, where many negro porters
deserted, because they believed the white men were cannibals and
intended to eat them when safe away from the haunts of men; through
Usagara, the country of Gara, where Captain Grant was seized with
fever; through Ugogo's great wilderness, where buffalo and rhinoceros
abounded, where the country was flooded with tropical rains, on to
the land of the Moon, three thousand feet above sea-level, till the
slowly moving caravan reached Kaze. Here terrible accounts of famine
and war reached them, and, instead of following Speke's route of 1858,
they turned north-west and entered the Uzinza country, governed by
two chieftains of Abyssinian descent. Here Speke was taken desperately
ill. His cough gave him no rest day or night; his legs were "reduced
to the appearance of pipe-sticks." But, emaciated as he was, he made
his way onwards, till the explorers were rewarded by finding a
"beautiful sheet of water lying snugly within the folds of the hills,"
which they named the Little Windermere, because they thought it was
so like "our own English lake of that name. To do royal honours to
the king of this charming land, I ordered my men," says Speke, "to
put down their loads and fire a volley."

The king, whom they next visited, was a fine-looking man, who, with
his brother, sat cross-legged on the ground, with huge pipes of black
clay by their sides, while behind them, "squatting quiet as mice,"
were the king's sons, six or seven lads, with little dream-charms under
their chins! The king shook hands in true English fashion and was full
of inquiries. Speke described the world, the proportions of land and
water, and the large ships on the sea, and begged to be allowed to
pass through his kingdom to Uganda. The explorers learnt much about
the surrounding country, and spent Christmas Day with a good feast
of roast beef. The start for Uganda was delayed by the serious illness
of Grant, until at last Speke reluctantly decided to leave him with
the friendly king, while he made his way alone to Uganda and the Lake
Victoria Nyanza. It was the end of January 1861 when the English
explorer entered the unknown kingdom of Uganda. Messengers from the
king, M'tesa, came to him. "Now," they said, "you have really entered
the kingdom of Uganda, for the future you must buy no more food. At
every place that you stop for the day, the officer in charge will bring
you plantains."

[Illustration: M'TESA, KING OF UGANDA. From Speke's _Journey to
Discover the Source of the Nile_.]

The king's palace was ten days' march; the way lay along the western
coast of the Lake Victoria Nyanza, the roads were "as broad as our
coach roads cut through the long grass straight over the hills and
down through the woods. The temperature was perfect. The whole land
was a picture of quiescent beauty, with a boundless sea in the

On 13th February, Speke found a large volume of water going to the
north. "I took off my clothes," he says, "and jumped into the stream,
which I found was twelve yards broad and deeper than my height. I was
delighted beyond measure, for I had, to all appearance, found one of
the branches of the Nile's exit from the Nyanza."

But he had not reached the Nile yet. It was not till the end of July
that he reached his goal.

"Here at last," he says, "I stood on the brink of the Nile, most
beautiful was the scene, nothing could surpass it--a magnificent
stream from six hundred to seven hundred yards wide, dotted with islets
and rocks, the former occupied by fishermen's huts, the latter by
crocodiles basking in the sun. I told my men they ought to bathe in
the holy river, the cradle of Moses."

Marching onwards, they found the waterfall, which Speke named the
Ripon Falls, "by far the most interesting sight I had seen in Africa."
The arm of the water from which the Nile issued he named "Napoleon
Channel," out of respect to the French Geographical Society for the
honour they had done him just before leaving England in presenting
their gold medal for the discovery of Victoria Nyanza.

_Journey to Discover the Source of the Nile_.]

The English explorers had now spent six months in Uganda. The
civilisation in this country of M'tesa's has passed into history.
Every one was clothed, and even little boys held their skin-cloaks
tightly round them lest their bare legs might by accident be seen!
Everything was clean and orderly under the all-powerful ruler M'tesa.
Grant, who arrived in the end of May, carried in a litter, found Speke
had not yet obtained leave from the king to "open the country to the
north, that an uninterrupted line of commerce might exist between
England and Uganda by means of the Nile." But at last on 3rd July he
writes with joy: "The moment of triumph has come at last and suddenly
the road is granted."

The explorers bid farewell to M'tesa. "We rose with an English bow,
placing the hand on the heart, whilst saying adieu; and whatever we
did M'tesa in an instant mimicked with the instinct of a monkey."

In five boats of five planks each tied together and caulked with rags,
Speke started with a small escort and crew to reach the palace of the
neighbouring king, Kamrasi, "father of all the kings," in the province
of Unyoro. After some fierce opposition they entered the palace of
the king, a poor creature. Rumours had reached him that these two white
men were cannibals and sorcerers. His palace was indeed a contrast
to that of M'tesa. It was merely a dirty hut approached by a lane
ankle-deep in mud and cow-manure. The king's sisters were not allowed
to marry; their only occupation was to drink milk from morning to night,
with the result that they grew so fat it took eight men to lift one
of them, when walking became impossible. Superstition was rife, and
the explorers were not sorry to leave Unyoro _en route_ for Cairo.
Speke and Grant now believed that, except for a few cataracts, the
waterway to England was unbroken. The Karuma Falls broke the monotony
of the way, and here the party halted a while before plunging into
the Kidi wilderness across which they intended to march to save a great
bend of the river. Their path lay through swampy jungles and high grass,
while great grassy plains, where buffaloes were seen and the roar of
lions was heard, stretched away on every side.


Suddenly they reached a huge rock covered with huts, in front of which
groups of black men were perched like monkeys, evidently awaiting the
arrival of the white men. They were painted in the most brilliant
colours, though without clothes, for the civilisation of Uganda had
been left far behind. Pushing on, they reached the Madi country, where
again civilisation awaited them in the shape of Turks. It was on 3rd
December that they saw to their great surprise three large red flags
carried in front of a military procession which marched out of camp
with drums and fifes playing.

"A very black man named Mohammed, in full Egyptian regimentals, with
a curved sword, ordered his regiment to halt, and threw himself into
my arms endeavouring to kiss me," says Speke. "Having reached his huts,
he gave us two beds to sit upon, and ordered his wives to advance on
their knees and give us coffee."

"I have directions to take you to Gondokoro as soon as you come," said

Yet they were detained till 11th January, when in sheer desperation
they started off, and in two days reached the Nile. Having no boats,
they continued their march overland till 15th February, when the masts
of Nile boats came in sight, and soon after the two explorers walked
into Gondokoro. Then a strange thing happened. "We saw hurrying on
towards us the form of an Englishman, and the next moment my old friend
Baker, famed for his sports in Ceylon, seized me by the hand. What
joy this was I can hardly tell. We could not talk fast enough, so
overwhelmed were we both to meet again. Of course we were his guests,
and soon learned everything that could be told. I now first heard of
the death of H.R.H. the Prince Consort. Baker said he had come up with
three vessels fully equipped with armed men, camels, horses, donkeys,
and everything necessary for a long journey, expressly to look after
us. Three Dutch ladies also, with a view to assist us (God bless them!),
had come here in a steamer, but were driven back to Khartum by sickness.
Nobody had dreamt for a moment it was possible we could come through."

Leaving Baker to continue his way to central Africa, Speke and Grant
made their way home to England, where they arrived in safety after
an absence of three years and fifty-one days, with their great news
of the discovery of Uganda and their further exploration of Victoria
Nyanza. When Speke reached Alexandria he had telegraphed home: "The
Nile is settled." But he was wrong. The Nile was not settled, and many
an expedition was yet to make its way to the great lakes before the
problem was to be solved.



Baker had not been long at Gondokoro when the two English explorers
arrived from the south.

"In March 1861," he tells us, "I commenced an expedition to discover
the sources of the Nile, with the hope of meeting the East African
expedition of Captains Speke and Grant that had been sent by the English
Government from the south _via_ Zanzibar for that object. From my youth
I had been innured to hardship and endurance in tropical climates,
and when I gazed upon the map of Africa I had a wild hope that I might
by perseverance reach the heart of Africa."

These are the opening lines of the published travels of Samuel Baker,
famous as an elephant-hunter in Ceylon and engineer of the first
railway laid down in Turkey. Like Livingstone, in his early
explorations, Baker took his wife with him. "It was in vain that I
implored her to remain, and that I painted the difficulties and perils
still blacker than I supposed they really would be; she was resolved
to share all dangers and to follow me through each rough footstep of
the wild life before me."

On 15th April 1861, Baker and his wife left Cairo to make their way
southward to join the quest for the source of the Nile. They reached
Korosko in twenty-six days, and crossed the Nubian desert on camels,
a "very wilderness of scorching sand, the simoon in full force and
the thermometer in the shade standing at 114 degrees Fahr." By Abu
Hamed and Berber they reached Atbara. It now occurred to Baker that
without some knowledge of Arabic he could do little in the way of
exploration, so for a whole year he stayed in northern Abyssinia, the
country explored by Bruce nearly ninety years before.

Baker's _Travels_.]

It was therefore 18th December 1862 before he and Mrs. Baker left
Khartum for their journey up the Nile through the slave-driven Sudan.
It was a fifty days' voyage to Gondokoro. In the hope of finding Speke
and Grant, he took an extra load of corn as well as twenty-two donkeys,
four camels, and four horses. Gondokoro was reached just a fortnight
before the two explorers returned from the south.

Baker's account of the historical meeting between the white men in
the heart of Africa is very interesting: "Heard guns firing in the
distance--report that two white men had come from the sea. Could they
be Speke and Grant? Off I ran and soon met them; hurrah for Old England.
They had come from the Victoria Nyanza from which the Nile springs.
The mystery of ages solved! With a heart beating with joy I took off
my cap and gave a welcome hurrah as I ran towards them! For the moment
they did not recognise me; ten years' growth of beard and moustache
had worked a change, and my sudden appearance in the centre of Africa
appeared to them incredible. As a good ship arrives in harbour battered
and torn by a long and stormy voyage, so both these gallant travellers
arrived in Gondokoro. Speke appeared to me the more worn of the two.
He was excessively lean; he had walked the whole way from Zanzibar,
never having ridden once during that wearying march. Grant was in rags,
his bare knees projecting through the remnants of trousers."

Baker was now inclined to think that his work was done, the source
of the Nile discovered, but after looking at the map of their route,
he saw that an important part of the Nile still remained undiscovered,
and though there were dangers ahead he determined to go on his way
into central Africa.

"We took neither guide nor interpreter," he continues. "We commenced
our desperate journey in darkness about an hour after sunset. I led
the way, Mrs. Baker riding by my side and the British flag following
close behind us as a guide for the caravan of heavily laden camels
and donkeys. And thus we started on our march in central Africa on
the 26th of March 1863."

It would take too long to tell of their manifold misfortunes and
difficulties before they reached the lake they were in search of on
16th March 1864. How they passed through the uncivilised country so
lately traversed by Speke and Grant, how in the Obbo country all their
porters deserted just a few days before they reached the Karuma Falls,
how Baker from this point tried to follow the Nile to the yet unknown
lake, how fever seized both the explorer and his wife and they had
to live on the common food of the natives and a little water, how
suddenly Mrs. Baker fell down with a sunstroke and was carried for
seven days quite unconscious through swamp and jungle, the rain
descending in torrents all the time, till Baker, "weak as a reed,"
worn out with anxiety, lay on the ground as one dead.

It seemed as if both must die, when better times dawned and they
recovered to find that they were close to the lake.

Baker's diary is eloquent: "The day broke beautifully clear, and,
having crossed a deep valley between the hills, we toiled up the
opposite slope. I hurried to the summit. The glory of our prize burst
suddenly upon me! There, like a sea of quicksilver, lay far beneath
us the grand expanse of water, a boundless sea-horizon on the south
and south-west, glittering in the noonday sun, while at sixty miles'
distance, blue mountains rose from the lake to a height of about seven
thousand feet above its level. It is impossible to describe the triumph
of that moment; here was the reward for all our labour! England had
won the sources of the Nile! I looked from the steep granite cliff
upon those welcome waters, upon that vast reservoir which nourished
Egypt, upon that great source so long hidden from mankind, and I
determined to honour it with a great name. As an imperishable memorial
of one loved and mourned by our gracious Queen, I called this great
lake 'the Albert Nyanza.' The Victoria and the Albert Lakes are the
two sources of the Nile."

Weak and spent with fever, the Bakers descended tottering to the
water's edge. "The waves were rolling upon a white pebbly beach. I
rushed into the lake and, thirsty with heat and fatigue, I drank deeply
from the sources of the Nile. My wife, who had followed me so devotedly,
stood by my side pale and exhausted--a wreck upon the shores of the
great Albert Lake that we had long striven to reach. No European foot
had ever trod upon its sand, nor had the eyes of a white man ever scanned
its vast expanse of water."

Baker's _Albert Nyanza_.]

After some long delay, the Bakers procured canoes, "merely single
trees neatly hollowed out," and paddled along the shores of the newly
found lake. The water was calm, the views most lovely. Hippopotami
sported in the water; crocodiles were numerous. Day after day they
paddled north, sometimes using a large Scotch plaid as sail. It was
dangerous work. Once a great storm nearly swamped them. The little
canoe shipped heavy seas; terrific bursts of thunder and vivid
lightning broke over the lake, hiding everything from view. Then down
came the rain in torrents, swept along by a terrific wind. They reached
the shore in safety, but the discomforts of the voyage were great,
and poor Mrs. Baker suffered severely. On the thirteenth day they found
themselves at the end of the lake voyage, and carefully examined the
exit of the Nile from the lake. They now followed the river in their
canoe for some eighteen miles, when they suddenly heard a roar of water,
and, rounding a corner, "a magnificent sight suddenly burst upon us.
On either side of the river were beautifully wooded cliffs rising
abruptly to a height of three hundred feet and rushing through a gap
that cleft the rock. The river pent up in a narrow gorge roared
furiously through the rock-bound pass, till it plunged in one leap
of about one hundred and twenty feet into a dark abyss below. This
was the greatest waterfall of the Nile, and in honour of the
distinguished President of the Royal Geographical Society I named it
the Murchison Falls." Further navigation was impossible, and with oxen
and porters they proceeded by land. Mrs. Baker was still carried in
a litter, while Baker walked by her side. Both were soon attacked again
with fever, and when night came they threw themselves down in a wretched
hut. A violent thunderstorm broke over them, and they lay there utterly
helpless, and worn out till sunrise. Worse was to come. The natives
now deserted them, and they were alone and helpless, with a wilderness
of rank grass hemming them in on every side. Their meals consisted
of a mess of black porridge of bitter mouldy flour "that no English
pig would notice" and a dish of spinach. For nearly two months they
existed here, until they became perfect skeletons.

"We had given up all hope of Gondokoro," says Baker, "and I had told
my headman to deliver my map and papers to the English Consul at

But they were not to die here. The king, Kamrasi, having heard of their
wretched condition, sent for them, treated them kindly, and enabled
them to reach Gondokoro, which they did on 23rd March 1865, after an
absence of two years. They had long since been given up as lost, and
it was an immense joy to reach Cairo at last and to find that, in the
words of Baker, "the Royal Geographical Society had awarded me the
Victoria Gold Medal at a time when they were unaware whether I was
alive or dead and when the success of my expedition was unknown."



In the year 1865 "the greatest of all African travellers" started on
his last journey to central Africa.

"I hope," he said, "to ascend the Rovuma, and shall strive, by passing
along the northern end of Lake Nyassa and round the southern end of
Lake Tanganyika, to ascertain the watershed of that part of Africa."

Arrived at Zanzibar in January 1866, he reached the mouth of the Rovuma
River some two months later, and, passing through dense thickets of
trees, he started on his march along the northern bank. The expedition
consisted of thirteen sepoys from Bombay, nine negroes from one of
the missions, two men from the Zambesi, Susi, Amoda, and others
originally slaves freed by Livingstone. As beasts of burden, they had
six camels, three Indian buffaloes, two mules, four donkeys, while
a poodle took charge of the whole line of march, running to see the
first man in the line and then back to the last, and barking to hasten
him up.

"Now that I am on the point of starting on another trip into Africa,"
wrote Livingstone from Rovuma Bay, "I feel quite exhilarated. The mere
animal pleasure of travelling in a wild, unexplored country is very
great. Brisk exercise imparts elasticity to the muscles, fresh and
healthy blood circulates through the brain, the mind works well, the
eye is clear, the step firm, and a day's exertion makes the evening's
repose thoroughly enjoyable."

But misfortunes soon began. As they marched along the banks of the
Rovuma the buffaloes and camels were badly bitten by the tsetse fly,
and one after another died. The cruelty of the followers to the animals
was terrible. Indeed, they were thoroughly unsatisfactory.

One day a party of them lagged behind, killed the last young buffalo,
and ate it. They told Livingstone that it had died and tigers had come
and devoured it.

"Did you see the stripes of the tiger?" asked Livingstone.

Yes; all declared that they had seen them distinctly--an obvious lie,
as there are no striped tigers in Africa.

On 11th August, Livingstone once more reached Lake Nyassa. "It was
as if I had come back to an old home I never expected again to see,
and pleasant it was to bathe in the delicious waters again. I feel
quite exhilarated."

Having sent word to the Arab chief of Kota-Kota on the opposite coast,
and having received no reply to his request to be ferried across the
lake, he started off and marched by land round the southern end,
crossing the Shire River at its entrance. He continued his journey
round the south-western gulf of Lake Nyassa, till rumours of Zulu raids
frightened his men. They refused to go any farther, but just threw
down their loads and walked away. He was now left with Susi and Chuma
and a few boys with whom he crossed the end of a long range of mountains
over four thousand feet in height, and, pursuing a zigzag track,
reached the Loangwa River on 16th December 1866, while his unfaithful
followers returned to the coast to spread the story that Livingstone
had been killed by the Zulus!

Meanwhile the explorer was plodding on towards Lake Tanganyika. The
beauty of the way strikes the lonely explorer. The rainy season had
come on in all its force, and the land was wonderful in its early green.
"Many gay flowers peep out. Here and there the scarlet lily, red, yellow,
and pure white orchids, and pale lobelias. As we ascended higher on
the plateau, grasses which have pink and reddish brown seed-vessels
were grateful to the eye."

Two disasters clouded this month of travel. His poor poodle was drowned
in a marsh and his medicine-chest was stolen. The land was famine-bound
too; the people were living on mushrooms and leaves. "We get some
elephants' meat, but it is very bitter, and the appetite in this country
is always very keen and makes hunger worse to bear, the want of salt
probably making the gnawing sensation worse."

On 28th January, Livingstone crossed the Tshambezi, "which may almost
be regarded as the upper waters of the Congo," says Johnstone, though
the explorer of 1867 knew it not.

"Northwards," says Livingstone, "through almost trackless forest and
across oozing bogs"; and then he adds the significant words, "I am
frightened at my own emaciation." March finds him worse. "I have been
ill of fever; every step I take jars in my chest, and I am very weak;
I can scarcely keep up the march." At last, on 1st April, "blue water
loomed through the trees." It was Lake Tanganyika lying some two
thousand feet below them. Its "surpassing loveliness" struck
Livingstone. "It lies in a deep basin," he says, "whose sides are nearly
perpendicular, but covered well with trees, at present all green; down
some of these rocks come beautiful cascades, while buffaloes,
elephants, and antelopes wander and graze on the more level spots,
and lions roar by night. In the morning and evening huge crocodiles
may be observed quietly making their way to their feeding-grounds,
and hippopotami snort by night."

Going westwards, Livingstone met a party of Arabs amongst whom he
remained for over three months, till he could make his way on to Lake
Meoro, reported to be only three days' journey. It took him sixteen
days to reach it. "Lake Meoro seems of goodly size," he says, "and
is flanked by ranges of mountains on the east and west. Its banks are
of coarse sand and slope gradually down to the water. We slept in a
fisherman's cottage on the north shore."

After a stay of six weeks in the neighbourhood, Livingstone returned
to the Arabs, until the spring of 1868, when he decided to explore
the Lake Bangweolo. In spite of opposition and the desertion of more
men, he started with five attendants and reached this--one of the
largest of the central African lakes--in July. Modestly enough he
asserts the fact. "On the 18th I saw the shores of the lake for the
first time. The name Bangweolo is applied to the great mass of water,
though I fear that our English folks will bogle at it or call it
Bungyhollow. The water is of a deep sea-green colour. It was bitterly
cold from the amount of moisture in the air."

This moisture converted the surrounding country into one huge bog or
sponge, twenty-nine of which Livingstone had to cross in thirty miles,
each taking about half an hour to cross.

THE LAKE WITH HIS MEN. From Livingstone's _Last Journals_, by
permission of Mr. John Murray.]

The explorer was still greatly occupied on the problem of the Nile.
"The discovery of the sources of the Nile," he says, "is somewhat akin
in importance to the discovery of the North-West Passage." It seemed
to him not impossible that the great river he found flowing through
these two great lakes to the west of Tanganyika might prove to be the
Upper Nile.

It was December before he started for Tanganyika. The new year of 1868
opened badly. Half-way, he became very ill. He was constantly wet
through; he persistently crossed brooks and rivers, wading through
cold water up to his waist. "Very ill all over," he enters in his diary;
"cannot walk. Pneumonia of right lung, and I cough all day and all
night. I am carried several hours a day on a frame. The sun is vertical,
blistering any part of the skin exposed, and I try to shelter my face
and head as well as I can with a bunch of leaves."

On 14th February 1869 he arrived on the western shores of the lake,
and after the usual delay he was put into it canoe for Ujiji. Though
better, he was still very ill, and we get the pathetic entry, "Hope
to hold out to Ujiji."

At last he reached the Arab settlement on the eastern shores, where
he found the goods sent to him overland from Zanzibar, and though much
had been stolen, yet warm clothes, tea, and coffee soon revived him.
After a stay of three months he grew better, and turned westwards for
the land of the Manyuema and the great rivers reported to be flowing

He was guided by Arabs whose trade-route extended to the great Lualaba
River in the very heart of Africa some thousand miles west of Zanzibar.
It was an unknown land, unvisited by Europeans when Livingstone
arrived with his Arab escort at Bambarra in September 1869.

"Being now well rested," he enters in his diary, "I resolved to go
west to Lualaba and buy a canoe for its exploration. The Manyuema
country is all surpassingly beautiful. Palms crown the highest heights
of the mountains, and the forests about five miles broad are
indescribable. Climbers of cable size in great numbers are hung among
the gigantic trees, many unknown wild fruits abound, some the size
of a child's head, and strange birds and monkeys are everywhere."

With the Arab caravan he travelled almost incessantly zigzagging
through the wonderful Manyuema country until, after a year's wandering,
he finally reached the banks of the Lualaba (Congo) on 31st March 1871.

It was a red-letter day in his life. "I went down," he says, "to take
a good look at the Lualaba here. It is a mighty river at least three
thousand yards broad and always deep. The banks are steep; the current
is about two miles an hour away to the north." Livingstone was gazing
at the second-largest river in the world--the Congo. But he thought
it was the Nile, and confidently relates how it overflows all its banks
annually as the Nile does.

At Nyangwe, a Manyuema village, Livingstone stayed for four months.
The natives were dreadful cannibals. He saw one day a man with ten
human jaw-bones hung by a string over his shoulder, the owners of which
he had killed and eaten. Another day a terrible massacre took place,
arising from a squabble over a fowl, in which some four hundred perished.
The Arabs too disgusted him with their slave-raiding, and he decided
that he could no longer travel under their protection. So on 20th July
1871 he started back for Ujiji, and after a journey of seven hundred
miles, accomplished in three months, he arrived, reduced to a skeleton,
only to find that the rascal who had charge of his stores had stolen
the whole and made away.

But when health and spirit were failing, help was at hand. The meeting
of Stanley and Livingstone on the shores of the Lake Tanganyika is
one of the most thrilling episodes in the annals of discovery. Let
them tell their own story: "When my spirits were at their lowest ebb,"
says Livingstone, "one morning Susi came running at the top of his
speed and gasped out, 'An Englishman! I see him!' and off he darted
to meet him. The American flag at the head of a caravan told of the
nationality of the stranger. Bales of goods, baths of tin, huge kettles,
and cooking-pots made me think, 'This must be a luxurious traveller
and not one at his wits' end, like me.'"

It was Henry Morton Stanley, the travelling correspondent of the _New
York Herald_, sent at an expense of more than 4000 pounds to obtain
accurate information about Dr. Livingstone if living, and if dead to
bring home his bones.

[Illustration: LIVINGSTONE AT WORK ON HIS JOURNAL. From a sketch by
H. M. Stanley.]

And now Stanley takes up the story. He has entered Ujiji and heard
from the faithful Susi that the explorer yet lives. Pushing back the
crowds of natives, Stanley advanced down "a living avenue of people"
till he came to where "the white man with the long grey beard was

"As I advanced slowly towards him," says Stanley, "I noticed he was
pale, looked worried, wore a bluish cap with a faded gold band round
it, had on a red-sleeved waistcoat and a pair of grey tweed trousers.
I walked deliberately to him, took off my hat, and said, 'Dr.
Livingstone, I presume?'

"'Yes,' said he, with a kind smile, lifting his cap slightly.

"Then we both grasp hands and I say aloud, 'I thank God, Doctor, I
have been permitted to see you.'

"'You have brought me new life--new life,' murmured the tired
explorer," and for the next few days it was enough for the two
Englishmen to sit on the mud verandah of Livingstone's house, talking.
Livingstone soon grew better, and November found the two explorers
surveying the river flowing from the north of Tanganyika and deciding
that it was not the Nile.

Stanley now did his best to persuade Livingstone to return home with
him to recruit his shattered health before finishing his work of
exploration. But the explorer, tired and out of health though he was,
utterly refused. He must complete the exploration of the sources of
the Nile before he sought that peace and comfort at home for which
he must have yearned.

So the two men parted--Stanley to carry Livingstone's news of the
discovery of the Congo back to Europe, Livingstone to end his days
on the lonely shores of Lake Bangweolo, leaving the long-sought
mystery of the Nile sources yet unsolved.

On 25th August 1872 he started on his last journey. He had a
well-equipped expedition sent up by Stanley from the coast, including
sixty men, donkeys, and cows. He embarked on his fresh journey with
all his old eagerness and enthusiasm, but a few days' travel showed
him how utterly unfit he was for any more hardships. He suffered from
intense and growing weakness, which increased day by day. He managed
somehow to ride his donkey, but in November his donkey died and he
struggled along on foot. Descending into marshy regions north of Lake
Bangweolo, the journey became really terrible. The rainy season was
at its height, the land was an endless swamp, and starvation threatened
the expedition. To add to the misery of the party, there were swarms
of mosquitoes, poisonous spiders, and stinging ants by the way. Still,
amid all the misery and suffering, the explorer made his way on through
the dreary autumn months. Christmas came and went; the new year of
1873 dawned. He could not stop. April found him only just alive, carried
by his faithful servants. Then comes the last entry in his diary, 27th
April: "Knocked up quite. We are on the banks of R. Molilamo."

HE DIED. From Livingstone's _Last Journals_, by permission of Mr. John


They laid him at last in a native hut, and here one night he died alone.
They found him in the early morning, just kneeling by the side of the
rough bed, his body stretched forward, his head buried in his hands
upon the pillow. The negroes buried his heart on the spot where he
died in the village of Ilala on the shores of Lake Bangweolo under
the shadow of a great tree in the still forest. Then they wrapped his
body in a cylinder of bark wound round in a piece of old sailcloth,
lashed it to a pole, and a little band of negroes, including Susi and
Chuma, set out to carry their dead master to the coast. For hundreds
of miles they tramped with their precious burden, till they reached
the sea and could give it safely to his fellow-countrymen, who conveyed
it to England to be laid with other great men in Westminster Abbey.

   "He needs no epitaph to guard a name
    Which men shall praise while worthy work is done.
    He lived and died for good, be that his fame.
    Let marble crumble: this is living-stone."

[Illustration: SUSI, LIVINGSTONE'S SERVANT. From a sketch by H. M.



The death of Livingstone, the faithfulness of his native servants in
carrying his body and journals across hundreds of miles of wild country
to the coast, his discovery of the great river in the heart of Africa,
and the great service in Westminster Abbey roused public interest in
the Dark Continent and the unfinished work of the great explorer.
"Never had such an outburst of missionary zeal been known, never did
the cause of geographical exploration receive such an impetus."

The dramatic meeting between Livingstone and Stanley on the shores
of Lake Tanganyika in 1871 had impressed the public in England and
America, and an expedition was now planned by the proprietors of two
great newspapers, the _London Daily Telegraph_ and the _New York
Herald_. Stanley was chosen to command it. And perhaps there is hardly
a better-known book of modern travels than _Through the Dark
Continent_, in which he has related all his adventures and discoveries
with regard to the Congo. Leaving England in August 1874 with three
Englishmen and a large boat in eight sections, the _Lady Alice_, for
the navigation of lake and river, the little exploring party reached
Zanzibar a few weeks later and started on their great inland journey.
The way to Victoria Nyanza lay through what is now known as German
East Africa. They reached Ugogo safely and turned to the north-west,
entering an immense and silent bush-field, where no food was
obtainable. On the eighth day five people died of starvation and the
rest of the expedition was only saved by the purchase of some grain
from a distant village. But four more died and twenty-eight miles under
a hot sun prostrated one of the white men, who died a few days later.
Thus they entered Ituru, "a land of naked people, whose hills drained
into a marsh, whence issue the southernmost waters of the Nile."

Here they were surrounded by angry savages on whom they had to fire,
and from whose country they were glad to escape.

On 27th February 1875, after tramping for one hundred and three days,
they arrived at their destination. One of the white men who was striding
forward suddenly waved his hat, and with a beaming face shouted out,
"I have seen the lake, sir; it is grand."

Here, indeed, was the Victoria Nyanza, "which a dazzling sun
transformed into silver," discovered by Speke sixteen years before,
and supposed to be the source of the Nile. The men struck up a song
of triumph--

   "Sing, O friends, sing; the journey is ended.
    Sing aloud, O friends; sing to the great Nyanza.
    Sing all, sing loud, O friends, sing to the great sea;
    Give your last look to the lands behind, and then turn to the sea.
    Lift up your heads, O men, and gaze around.
    Try if you can to see its end.
    See, it stretches moons away,
    This great, sweet, fresh-water sea."

"I thought," says Stanley, "there could be no better way of settling,
once and for ever, the vexed question, than by circumnavigating the

So the _Lady Alice_ was launched, and from the shores of Speke Gulf,
as he named the southern end, the explorer set forth, leaving the two
remaining Englishmen in charge of the camp.

"The sky is gloomy," writes Stanley, "the rocks are bare and rugged,
the land silent and lonely. The rowing of the people is that of men
who think they are bound to certain death; their hearts are full of
misgivings as slowly we move through the dull dead waters." The waters
were not dead for long. A gale rose up and the lake became wild beyond
description. "The waves hissed as we tore along, the crew collapsed
and crouched into the bottom of the boat, expecting the end of the
wild venture, but the _Lady Alice_ bounded forward like a wild courser
and we floated into a bay, still as a pond."

So they coasted along the shores of the lake. Their guide told them
it would take years to sail round their sea, that on the shores dwelt
people with long tails, who preferred to feed on human beings rather
than cattle or goats. But, undaunted, the explorer sailed on, across
the Napoleon Channel, through which flowed the superfluous waters of
the lake rushing northward as the Victoria Nile. "On the western side
of the Channel is Uganda, dominated by an Emperor who is supreme over
about three millions of people. He soon heard of my presence on the
lake and dispatched a flotilla to meet me. His mother had dreamed the
night before that she had seen a boat sailing, sailing like a fish-eagle
over the Nyanza. In the stern of the boat was a white man gazing
wistfully towards Uganda."

On reaching the port a crowd of soldiers, "arrayed in crimson and black
and snowy white," were drawn up to receive him. "As we neared the beach,
volleys of musketry burst out from the long lines. Numerous kettles
and brass drums sounded a noisy welcome, flags and banners waved, and
the people gave a great shout."

sketch, by Stanley, in _Through the Dark Continent_.]

Such was Stanley's welcome to M'tesa's wonderful kingdom of Uganda,
described by Speke sixteen years before. The twelve days spent at the
court of this monarch impressed Stanley deeply. Specially was the king
interested in Christianity, and the English explorer told the story
of the Creation and the birth of the Messiah to this intelligent pagan
and his courtiers. "Ten days after we left the genial court, I came
upon the scene of a tragedy. We were coasting the eastern side of a
large island, having been thirty-six hours without food, looking for
a port where we could put in and purchase provisions. Natives followed
our movements, poising their spears, stringing their bows, picking
out the best rocks for their slings. We were thirteen souls, they
between three and four hundred. Seeing the boat advance, they smiled,
entered the water, and held out inviting hands. The crew shot the boat
towards the natives; their hands closed on her firmly, they ran with
her to the shore and dragged her high and dry about twenty yards from
the lake. Then ensued a scene of rampant wildness and hideous ferocity
of action beyond description. The boat was surrounded by a forest of
spears and two hundred demons contended for the first blow. I sprang
up to kill and be killed, a revolver in each hand, but as I rose to
my feet the utter hopelessness of our situation was revealed to me."

To make a long story short, the natives seized the oars, and, thinking
the boat was now in their power, they retired to make their plans.
Meanwhile Stanley commanded his crew to tear the bottom boards up for
paddles, and, pushing the boat hastily into the water, they paddled
away, their commander firing the while with his elephant rifle and
explosive bullets. They were saved.

On 6th May the circumnavigation was finished and the _Lady Alice_ was
being dragged ashore in Speke Gulf with shouts of welcome and the waving
of many flags. But sad news awaited him. He could see but one of his
white companions.

"Where is Barker?" he asked Frank Pocock.

"He died twelve days ago," was the melancholy answer.

Stanley now took his whole expedition to Uganda, and after spending
some months with the King he passed on to Lake Tanganyika, crossing
to Ujiji, where he arrived in May 1876. Here five years before he had
found Livingstone.

"We launched our boat on the lake and, circumnavigating it, discovered
that there was only a periodical outlet to it. Thus, by the
circumnavigation of the two lakes, two of the geographical problems
I had undertaken to solve were settled. The Victoria Nyanza had no
connection with the Tanganyika. There now remained the grandest task
of all. Is the Lualaba, which Livingstone had traced along a course
of nearly thirteen hundred miles, the Nile, the Niger, or the Congo?
I crossed Lake Tanganyika with my expedition, lifted once more my
gallant boat on our shoulders, and after a march of nearly two hundred
and twenty miles arrived at the superb river. Where I first sighted
it, the Lualaba was fourteen hundred yards wide, pale grey in colour,
winding slowly from south and by east. We hailed its appearance with
shouts of joy, and rested on the spot to enjoy the view. I likened
it to the Mississippi as it appears before the impetuous, full-volumed
Missouri pours its rusty brown water into it. A secret rapture filled
my soul as I gazed upon the majestic stream. The great mystery that
for all these centuries Nature had kept hidden away from the world
of science was waiting to be solved. For two hundred and twenty miles
I had followed the sources of the Livingstone River to the confluence,
and now before me lay the superb river itself. My task was to follow
it to the ocean."

Pressing on along the river, they reached the Arab city of Nyangwe,
having accomplished three hundred and thirty-eight miles in
forty-three days. And now the famous Arab Tippu-Tib comes on the scene,
a chief with whom Stanley was to be closely connected hereafter. He
was a tall, black-bearded man with an intelligent face and gleaming
white teeth. He wore clothes of spotless white, his fez was smart and
new, his dagger resplendent with silver filigree. He had escorted
Cameron across the river to the south, and he now confirmed Stanley
in his idea that the greatest problem of African geography, "the
discovery of the course of the Congo," was still untouched.

"This was momentous and all-important news to the expedition. We had
arrived at the critical point in our travels," remarks Stanley. "What
kind of a country is it to the north along the river?" he asked.

"Monstrous bad," was the reply. "There are large boa-constrictors in
the forest suspended by their tails, waiting to gobble up travellers.
You cannot travel without being covered by ants, and they sting like
wasps. There are leopards in countless numbers. Gorillas haunt the
woods. The people are man-eaters. A party of three hundred guns started
for the forest and only sixty returned."

Stanley and his last remaining white companion, Frank Pocock,
discussed the somewhat alarming situation together. Should they go
on and face the dwarfs who shot with poisoned arrows, the cannibals
who regarded the stranger as so much meat, the cataracts and
rocks--should they follow the "great river which flowed northward for
ever and knew no end"?

"This great river which Livingstone first saw, and which broke his
heart to turn away from, is a noble field," argued Stanley. "After
buying or building canoes and floating down the river day by day, either
to the Nile or to some vast lake in the far north or to the Congo and
the Atlantic Ocean."

"Let us follow the river," replied the white man.

So, accompanied by Tippu-Tib, with a hundred and forty guns and seventy
spearmen, they started along the banks of the river which Stanley now
named the Livingstone River.

"On the 5th of November 1876," says Stanley, "a force of about seven
hundred people, consisting of Tippu-Tib's slaves and my expedition
departed from the town of Nyangwe and entered the dismal forest-land
north. A straight line from this point to the Atlantic Ocean would
measure one thousand and seventy miles; another to the Indian Ocean
would measure only nine hundred and twenty miles; we had not reached
the centre of the continent by seventy-five miles.

"Outside the woods blazed a blinding sunshine; underneath that immense
roof-foliage was a solemn twilight. The trees shed continual showers
of tropic dew. As we struggled on through the mud, the perspiration
exuded from every pore; our clothes were soon wet and heavy. Every
man had to crawl and scramble as he best could. Sometimes prostrate
forest-giants barred the road with a mountain of twigs and branches.
For ten days we endured it; then the Arabs declared they could go no
farther. I promised them five hundred pounds if they would escort us
twenty marches only. On our way to the river we came to a village whose
sole street was adorned with one hundred and eighty-six human skulls.
Seventeen days from Nyangwe we saw again the great river and, viewing
the stately breadth of the mighty stream, I resolved to launch my boat
for the last time. Placing thirty-six of the people in the boat, we
floated down the river close to the bank along which the land-party
marched. Day after day passed on and we found the natives increasing
in wild rancour and unreasoning hate of strangers. At every curve and
bend they 'telephoned' along the river warning signals; their huge
wooden drums sounded the muster for fierce resistance; reed arrows
tipped with poison were shot at us from the jungle as we glided by.
On the 18th of December our miseries culminated in a grand effort of
the savages to annihilate us. The cannibals had manned the topmost
branches of the trees above the village of Vinya Njara to shoot at

A camp was hastily constructed by Stanley in defence, and for several
days there was desperate fighting, at the end of which peace was made.
But Tippu-Tib and his escort refused to go a step farther to what they
felt was certain destruction. Stanley alone was determined to proceed.
He bought thirty-three native canoes and, leading with the _Lady
Alice_, he set his face towards the unknown country. His men were all
sobbing. They leant forward, bowed with grief and heavy hearts at the
prospect before them. Dense woods covered both banks and islands.
Savages with gaily feathered heads and painted faces dashed out of
the woods armed with shields and spears, shouting, "Meat! meat! Ha!
ha! We shall have plenty of meat!"

"Armies of parrots screamed overhead as they flew across the river;
legions of monkeys and howling baboons alarmed the solitudes;
crocodiles haunted the sandy points; hippopotami grunted at our
approach; elephants stood by the margin of the river; there was
unceasing vibration from millions of insects throughout the livelong
day. The sun shone large and warm; the river was calm and broad and

VINYA NJARA. From _Through the Dark Continent_.]

By January 1877 the expedition reached the first cataract of what is
now known as the Stanley Falls. From this point for some sixty miles
the great volume of the Livingstone River rushed through narrow and
lofty banks in a series of rapids. For twenty-two days he toiled along
the banks, through jungle and forest, over cliffs and rocks exposed
all the while to murderous attacks by cannibal savages, till the
seventh cataract was passed and the boats were safely below the falls.
"We hastened away down river in a hurry, to escape the noise of the
cataracts which for many days and nights had almost stunned us with
their deafening sound. We were once more afloat on a magnificent stream,
nearly a mile wide, curving north-west. 'Ha! Is it the Niger or Congo?'
I said."

[Illustration: THE SEVENTH CATARACT, STANLEY FALLS. From _Through the
Dark Continent_.]

But day after day as they dropped down stream new enemies appeared,
until at last, at the junction of the Aruwimi, a tributary as large
as the main stream, a determined attack was made on them by some two
thousand warriors in large canoes. A monster canoe led the way, with
two rows of forty paddlers each, their bodies swaying to a barbarous
chorus. In the bow were ten prime young warriors, their heads gay with
the feathers of the parrot, crimson and grey: at the stern eight men
with long paddles decorated with ivory balls guided the boat, while
ten chiefs danced up and down from stem to stern. The crashing of large
drums, a hundred blasts from ivory horns, and a song from two thousand
voices did not tend to assure the little fleet under Stanley. The
Englishman coolly anchored his boats in mid-stream and received the
enemy with such well-directed volleys that the savages were utterly
paralysed, and with great energy they retreated, pursued hotly by
Stanley's party.

LIVINGSTONE RIVERS. From a sketch, by Stanley, in _Through the Dark

"Leaving them wondering and lamenting, I sought the mid-channel again
and wandered on with the current. In the voiceless depths of the watery
wilderness we encountered neither treachery nor guile, and we floated
down, down, hundreds of miles. The river curved westward, then
south-westward. Ah, straight for the mouth of the Congo. It widened
daily. The channels became numerous."

Through the country of the Bangala they now fought their way. These
people were armed with guns brought up from the coast by native traders.
It was indeed an anxious moment when, with war-drums beating,
sixty-three "beautiful but cruel canoes" came skimming towards
Stanley with some three hundred guns to his forty-four. For nearly
five hours the two fleets fought until the victory rested with the
American. "This," remarks Stanley, "was our thirty-first fight on the
terrible river, and certainly the most determined conflict we had

They rowed on till the 11th of March; the river had grown narrower
and steep, wooded hills rose on either side above them. Suddenly the
river expanded, and the voyagers entered a wide basin or pool over
thirty square yards. "Sandy islands rose in front of us like a seabeach,
and on the right towered a long row of cliffs white and glistening,
like the cliffs of Dover."

"Why not call it Stanley Pool and those cliffs Dover Cliffs?" suggested
Frank Pocock. And these names may be seen on our maps to-day. Passing
out of the Pool, the roar of a great cataract burst upon their ears.
It was the first of a long series of falls and rapids which continued
for a distance of one hundred and fifty-five miles. To this great
stretch of cataracts and rapids Stanley gave the name of the
"Livingstone Falls." At the fifth cataract Stanley lost his favourite
little native page-boy, Kalulu. The canoe in which he was rowing shot
suddenly over the rapids, and in the furious whirl of rushing waters
poor little Kalulu was drowned. He had been born a prince and given
to Stanley on his first expedition into Africa. Stanley had taken him
to Europe and America, and the boy had repaid his kindness by faithful
and tender devotion till that fatal day, when he went to his death
over the wild Livingstone Falls. Stanley named the rapid after him,
Kalulu Falls.

But a yet more heart-rending loss was in store for him. Progress was
now very slow, for none of the cataracts or rapids could be navigated;
canoes as well as stores had to be dragged over land from point to
point. Frank Pocock had fallen lame and could not walk with the rest.
Although accidents with the canoes were of daily occurrence, although
he might have taken warning by the death of Kalulu, he insisted that
his crew should try to shoot the great Massassa Falls instead of going
round by land. Too late he realised his danger. The canoe was caught
by the rushing tide, flung over the Falls, tossed from wave to wave,
and finally dragged into the swirling whirlpool below. The "little
master" as he was called was never seen again! Stanley's last white
companion was gone! Gloom settled down on the now painfully reduced

"We are all unnerved with the terrible accident of yesterday," says
Stanley. "As I looked at the dejected woe-stricken servants, a choking
sensation of unutterable grief filled me. This four months had we lived
together, and true had been his service. The servant had long ago merged
into the companion; the companion had become the friend."

Still Stanley persevered in his desperate task, and in spite of danger
from cataracts and danger from famine, on 31st July he reached the
Isangila cataract. Thus far in 1816 two explorers had made their way
from the ocean, and Stanley knew now for certain that he was on the
mighty Congo. He saw no reason to follow it farther, or to toil through
the last four cataracts. "I therefore announced to the gallant but
wearied followers that we should abandon the river and strike overland
for Boma, the nearest European settlement, some sixty miles across

At sunset on 31st July they carried the _Lady Alice_ to the summit
of some rocks above the Isangila Falls and abandoned her to her fate.

"Farewell, brave boat!" cried Stanley; "seven thousand miles up and
down broad Africa thou hast accompanied me. For over five thousand
miles thou hast been my home. Lift her up tenderly, boys--so
tenderly--and let her rest."

Then, wayworn and feeble, half starved, diseased, and suffering, the
little caravan of one hundred and fifteen men, women, and children
started on their overland march to the coast.

"Staggering, we arrived at Boma on 9th August 1877; a gathering of
European merchants met me and, smiling a warm welcome, told me kindly
that I had done right well. Three days later I gazed upon the Atlantic
Ocean and saw the powerful river flowing into the bosom of that
boundless, endless sea. But grateful as I felt to Him who had enabled
me to pierce the Dark Continent from east to west, my heart was charged
with grief and my eyes with tears at the thought of the many comrades
and friends I had lost."

The price paid had indeed been great; he had lost his three English
companions and one hundred and seventy natives besides. But for years
and years to come, in many a home at Zanzibar, whither Stanley now
took his party by sea, the story of this great journey was told, and
all the men were heroes and the refrain of the natives was chanted
again and again--

   "Then sing, O friends, sing: the journey is ended;
    Sing aloud, O friends, sing to this great sea."

Stanley had solved the problem of the Congo River at last.



The North-West Passage, for the accomplishment of which so many brave
lives had been laid down, had been discovered. It now remained for
some explorer to sail round the North-East Passage, which was known
to exist, but which, up to this time, no man had done.

Nordenskiold the Swede was to have this honour. Born in 1832 in Finland,
he had taken part in an Arctic expedition in 1861, which attempted
to reach the North Pole by means of dog-sledges from the north coast
of Spitzbergen. Three years later he was appointed to lead an
expedition to Spitzbergen, which succeeded in reaching the highest
northern latitude which any ship had yet attained. In 1870 his famous
journey to Greenland took place, and two years later he left Sweden
on another Polar expedition; but misfortunes beset the expedition,
and finally the ships were wrecked. The following year he commanded
a reconnoitring expedition. He passed Nova Zembla and reached the
mouth of the Yenisei. This was the first time that a ship had
accomplished the voyage from the Atlantic Ocean. Thus Nordenskiold
had gained considerable knowledge of the Northern Seas, and he was
now in a position to lay a plan of his schemes before King Oscar, who
had always interested himself in Arctic discovery. His suggestions
to the King are of singular interest.

"It is my intention," he says, "to leave Sweden in July 1878 in a steamer
specially built for navigation among ice, which will be provisioned
for two years at most. The course will be shaped for Nova Zembla, where
a favourable opportunity will be awaited for the passage of the Kara
Sea. The voyage will be continued to the mouth of the Yenisei, which
I hope to reach in the first half of August. As soon as circumstances
permit, the expedition will continue its voyage along the coast to
Cape Chelyuskin, where the expedition will reach the only part of the
proposed route which has not been traversed by some small vessel, and
is rightly considered as that which it will be most difficult for a
vessel to double during the whole North-East Passage; but our vessel,
equipped with all modern appliances, ought not to find insuperable
difficulties in doubling this point, and if that can be accomplished,
we will probably have pretty open water towards Behring's Straits,
which ought to be reached before the end of September. From Behring
Strait the course will be shaped for some Asiatic port and then onwards
round Asia to Suez."

King Oscar and others offered to pay the expenses of the expedition,
and preparations were urged forward. The _Vega_ of 300 tons, formerly
used in walrus-hunting in northern waters, was purchased, and further
strengthened to withstand ice. On 22nd June all was ready, and with
the Swedish flag with a crowned O in the middle, the little _Vega_,
which was to accomplish such great things, was "peacefully rocking
on the swell of the Baltic as if impatient to begin her struggle against
waves and ice." She carried food for thirty people for two years, which
included over three thousand pounds of bacon, nine thousand pounds
of coffee, nine thousand pounds of biscuits. There were pemmican from
England, potatoes from the Mediterranean, cranberry juice from
Finland. Fresh bread was made during the whole expedition. A few days
later the _Vega_ reached Copenhagen and steamed north in the finest

"Where are you bound for?" signalled a passing ship.

"To Behring Sea," was the return signal, and the Swedish crew waved
their caps, shouting their joyful news.

At Gothenburg they took on eight sledges, tents, and cooking utensils,
also two Scotch sheep dogs and a little coal-black kitten, which lived
in the captain's berth till it grew accustomed to the sea, when it
slept in the forecastle by day and ran about stealing the food of the
sleeping sailors by night.

On 16th July they crossed the Polar Circle. "All on board feel they
are entering upon a momentous period of their life," says the explorer.
"Were we to be the fortunate ones to reach this goal, which navigators
for centuries had striven to reach?"

The south-west coast of Nova Zembla was reached on 28th July, but the
weather being calm and the sea completely free of ice, Nordenskiold
sailed onwards through the Kara Strait or Iron Gates, which during
the winter was usually one sheet of ice, until they anchored outside
the village of Khabarova. The "village" consisted of a few huts and
tents of Russian and Samoyedes pasturing their reindeer on the Vaygets
Island. On the bleak northern shores stood a little wooden church,
which the explorers visited with much interest. It seemed strange to
find here brass bas-reliefs representing the Christ, St. Nicholas,
Elijah, St. George and the Dragon, and the Resurrection; in front of
each hung a little oil lamp. The people were dressed entirely in
reindeer skin from head to foot, and they had a great collection of
walrus tusks and skins such as Othere had brought centuries before
to King Alfred.

Nordenskiold's account of a short drive in a reindeer sledge is amusing.
"Four reindeer were put side by side to each sledge," he says. "Ivan,
my driver, requested me to hold tight; he held the reins of all four
reindeer in one hand, and away we went over the plain! His request
to keep myself tight to the sledge was not unnecessary; at one moment
the sledge jumped over a big tussock, the next it went down into a
pit. It was anything but a comfortable drive, for the pace at which
we went was very great."

On 1st August the _Vega_ was off again, and soon she had entered the
Kara Sea, known in the days of the Dutch explorers as the "ice-cellar."
Then past White Island and the estuary of the great Obi River, past
the mouth of the Yenisei to Dickson Island, lately discovered, she
sailed. Here in this "best-known haven on the whole north coast of
Asia they anchored and spent time in bear and reindeer hunting." "In
consequence of the successful sport we lived very extravagantly during
these days; our table groaned with joints of venison and bear-hams."

They now sailed north close bound in fog, till on 20th August "we
reached the great goal, which for centuries had been the object of
unsuccessful struggles. For the first time a vessel lay at anchor off
the northernmost cape of the Old World. With colours flying on every
mast and saluting the venerable north point of the Old World with the
Swedish salute of five guns, we came to an anchor!"

in Hovgaard's _Nordenskiold's Voyage_.]

The fog lifting for a moment, they saw a white Polar bear standing
"regarding the unexpected guests with surprise."

When afterwards a member of the expedition was asked which moment was
the proudest of the whole voyage, he answered, without hesitation:
"Undoubtedly the moment when we anchored off Cape Chelyuskin."

It had been named thus by the "Great Northern Expedition" in 1742 after
Lieutenant Chelyuskin, one of the Russian explorers under Laptieff,
who had reached this northern point by a land journey which had entailed
terrible hardships and suffering.

"Next morning," relates Nordenskiold, "we erected a cairn on the shore,
and in the middle of it laid a tin box with the following document
written in Swedish: 'The Swedish Arctic Expedition arrived here
yesterday, the 19th of August, and proceeds in a few hours eastward.
The sea has been tolerably free from ice. Sufficient supply of coals.
All well on board.

                                        "'A. E. NORDENSKIOLD.'

And below in English and Russian were the words, 'Please forward this
document as soon as possible to His Majesty the King of Sweden.'"

Nordenskiold now attempted to steam eastwards towards the New Siberian
Islands, but the fog was thick, and they fell in with large ice-floes
which soon gave place to ice-fields. Violent snowstorms soon set in
and "aloft everything was covered with a crust of ice, and the position
in the crow's nest was anything but pleasant." They reached Khatanga
Bay, however, and on 27th August the _Vega_ was at the mouth of the

"We were now in hopes that we should be in Japan in a couple of months;
we had accomplished two-thirds of our way through the Polar sea, and
the remaining third had been often navigated at different distances."

So the _Vega_ sailed on eastwards with an ice-free sea to the New
Siberian Islands, where lie embedded "enormous masses of the bones
and tusks of the mammoth mixed with the horns and skulls of some kind
of ox and with the horns of rhinoceros."

All was still clear of snow, and the New Siberian Islands lying long
and low in the Polar seas were safely passed. It was not till 1st
September that the first snows fell; the decks of the _Vega_ were white
with snow when the Bear Islands were reached. Fog now hindered the
expedition once more, and ice was sighted.

"Ice right ahead!" suddenly shouted the watch on the forecastle, and
only by a hair's-breadth was the _Vega_ saved. On 3rd September a thick
snowstorm came on, the Bear Islands were covered with newly fallen
snow, and though the ice was growing more closely packed than any yet
encountered they could still make their way along a narrow ice-free
channel near the coast. Snowstorms, fog, and drifting ice compelled
careful navigation, but a pleasant change occurred early in September
by a visit from the natives. We have already heard of the Chukches
from Behring--the Chukches whom no man had yet vanquished, for when
Siberia was conquered by a Kossack chief in 1579, the Chukches in this
outlying north-eastern corner of the Old World, savage, courageous,
resolute, kept the conquerors at bay. For the last six weeks the
explorers had not seen a human being on that wild and desolate stretch
of coast, so they were glad enough to see the little Chukches with
their coal-black hair and eyes, their large mouths and flat noses.
"Although it was only five o'clock in the morning, we all jumped out
of our berths and hurried on deck to see these people of whom so little
was known. The boats were of skin, fully laden with laughing and
chattering natives, men, women, and children, who indicated by cries
and gesticulations that they wished to come on board. The engine was
stopped, the boats lay to, and a large number of skin-clad, bare-headed
beings climbed up over the gunwale and a lively talk began. Great
gladness prevailed when tobacco and Dutch clay pipes were distributed
among them. None of them could speak a word of Russian; they had come
in closer contact with American whalers than with Russian traders."
The Chukches were all very short and dressed in reindeer skins with
tight-fitting trousers of seal-skin, shoes of reindeer-skin with
seal-skin boots and walrus-skin soles. In very cold weather they wore
hoods of wolf fur with the head of the wolf at the back.


But Nordenskiold could not wait long. Amid snow and ice and fog he
pushed on, hoping against hope to get through to the Pacific before
the sea was completely frozen over. But the ice was beginning to close.
Large blocks were constantly hurled against the ship with great
violence, and she had many a narrow escape of destruction.

At last, it was 28th September, the little _Vega_ was finally and
hopelessly frozen into the ice, and they made her fast to a large
ice-block. Sadly we find the entry: "Only one hundred and twenty miles
distant from our goal, which we had been approaching during the last
two months, and after having accomplished two thousand four hundred
miles. It took some time before we could accustom ourselves to the
thought that we were so near and yet so far from our destination."

Fortunately they were near the shore and the little settlement of
Pitlekai, where in eight tents dwelt a party of Chukches. These little
people helped them to pass the long monotonous winter, and many an
expedition inland was made in Chukche sledges drawn by eight or ten
wolf-like dogs. Snowstorms soon burst upon the little party of Swedish
explorers who had made the _Vega_ their winter home. "During November
we have scarcely had any daylight," writes Nordenskiold; "the storm
was generally howling in our rigging, which was now enshrouded in a
thick coat of snow, the deck was full of large snowdrifts, and snow
penetrated into every corner of the ship where it was possible for
the wind to find an opening. If we put our heads outside the door we
were blinded by the drifting snow."

Christmas came and was celebrated by a Christmas tree made of willows
tied to a flagstaff, and the traditional rice porridge.

By April large flocks of geese, eider-ducks, gulls, and little
song-birds began to arrive, the latter perching on the rigging of the
_Vega_, but May and June found her still icebound in her winter

[Illustration: THE _VEGA_ FROZEN IN FOR THE WINTER. From a drawing
in Hovgaard's _Nordenskiold's Voyage_.]

It was not till 18th July 1879 that "the hour of deliverance came at
last, and we cast loose from our faithful ice-block, which for two
hundred and ninety-four days had protected us so well against the
pressure of the ice and stood westwards in the open channel, now about
a mile wide. On the shore stood our old friends, probably on the point
of crying, which they had often told us they would do when the ship
left them."

For long the Chukches stood on the shore--men, women, and
children--watching till the "fire-dog," as they called the _Vega_,
was out of sight, carrying their white friends for ever away from their
bleak, inhospitable shores.

"Passing through closely packed ice, the _Vega_ now rounded the East
Cape, of which we now and then caught a glimpse through the fog. As
soon as we came out of the ice south of the East Cape, we noticed the
heavy swell of the Pacific Ocean. The completion of the North-East
Passage was celebrated the same day with a grand dinner, and the _Vega_
greeted the Old and New Worlds by a display of flags and the firing
of a Swedish salute. Now for the first time after the lapse of three
hundred and thirty-six years was the North-East Passage at last

Sailing through the Behring Strait, they anchored near Behring Island
on 14th August. As they came to anchor, a boat shot alongside and a
voice cried out in Swedish, "Is it Nordenskiold?" A Finland carpenter
soon stood in their midst, and they eagerly questioned him about the
news from the civilised world!

There is no time to tell how the _Vega_ sailed on to Japan, where
Nordenskiold was presented to the Mikado, and an Imperial medal was
struck commemorating the voyage of the _Vega_, how she sailed right
round Asia, through the Suez Canal, and reached Sweden in safety. It
was on 24th April 1880 that the little weather-beaten _Vega_,
accompanied by flag-decked steamers literally laden with friends,
sailed into the Stockholm harbour while the hiss of fireworks and the
roar of cannon mingled with the shouts of thousands. The Royal Palace
was ablaze with light when King Oscar received and honoured the
successful explorer Nordenskiold.



Perhaps no land in the world has in modern times exercised a greater
influence over the imagination of men than the mysterious country of
Tibet. From the days of Herodotus to those of Younghusband, travellers
of all times and nations have tried to explore this unknown country,
so jealously guarded from Europeans. Surrounded by a "great wilderness
of stony and inhospitable altitudes" lay the capital, Lhasa, the seat
of the gods, the home of the Grand Lama, founded in 639 A.D., mysterious,
secluded, sacred. Kublai Khan, of Marco Polo fame, had annexed Tibet
to his vast Empire, and in 1720 the mysterious land was finally
conquered by the Chinese. The history of the exploration of Tibet and
the adjoining country, and of the various attempts to penetrate to
Lhasa, is one of the most thrilling in the annals of discovery.

We remember that Benjamin of Tudela in the twelfth century, Carpini
and William de Rubruquis in the thirteenth, all assert that they passed
through Tibet, but we have no certain records till several Italian
Capuchin friars succeeded in reaching Lhasa. There they lived and
taught for some thirty-eight years, when they were withdrawn. And the
little "Tibetan Mission," as it was called, came to an end.

It was yet early in the eighteenth century. England was taking up her
great position in India, and Warren Hastings was anxious to open up
friendly relations with Tibet beyond the great Himalaya ranges. To
this end he sent an Englishman, George Bogle, with these instructions:
"I desire you will proceed to Lhasa. The design of your mission is
to open a mutual and equal communication of trade between the
inhabitants of Tibet and Bengal. You will take with you samples, for
a trial of such articles of commerce as may be sent from this country.
And you will diligently inform yourself of the manufactures,
productions, and goods which are to be procured in Tibet. The following
will also be proper subjects for your inquiry, the nature of the roads
between the borders of Bengal and Lhasa and the neighbouring countries.
I wish you to remain a sufficient time to obtain a complete knowledge
of the country. The period of your stay must be left to your

Bogle was young; he knew nothing of the country, but in May 1774 his
little expedition set off from Calcutta to do the bidding of Warren
Hastings. By way of Bhutan, planting potatoes at intervals according
to his orders, Bogle proceeded across the eastern Himalayas toward
the Tibetan frontier, reaching Phari, the first town in Tibet, at the
end of October. Thence they reached Gyangtse, a great trade centre
now open to foreigners, crossed the Brahmaputra, which they found was
"about the size of the Thames at Putney," and reached the residence
of the Tashi Lama, the second great potentate of Tibet. This great
dignitary and the young Englishman made great friends.

"On a carved and gilt throne amid cushions sat the Lama, cross-legged.
He was dressed in a mitre-shaped cap of yellow broadcloth with long
bars lined with red satin, a yellow cloth jacket without sleeves, and
a satin mantle of the same colour thrown over his shoulders. On one
side of him stood his physician with a bundle of perfumed sandal-wood
rods burning in his hand; on the other stood his cup-bearer."

Such was this remarkable man as first seen by the English, "venerated
as God's vice-regent through all the eastern countries of Asia." He
had heard much of the power of the "Firinghis," as he called the English.
"As my business is to pray to God," he said to Bogle, "I was afraid
to admit any Firinghis into the country. But I have since learned that
they are a fair and just people."

Kircher's _China Illustrata_. The only good representation of the
Potala until photographs were obtainable in the twentieth century.]

Bogle would have proceeded to Lhasa, the home of the Grand Lama, but
this permission was refused, and he had to return to India with the
information he had collected.

The next Englishman to enter Tibet was Thomas Manning, the first to
reach the sacred city of Lhasa. He was a private adventurer, who had
lived in China and learnt the language. Attended by a Chinese servant,
and wearing a flowing beard of singular length, he left Calcutta,
crossed into Bhutan, and arrived at the Tibetan border in October 1811.
Then he crossed the Brahmaputra in a large ferry-boat, and arrived
within seven miles of Lhasa. On 9th December the first European entered
the sacred city since the expulsion of the Capuchin friars. The view
of the famous Potala, the lofty towering palace, filled him with
admiration, but the city of which Europe, knowing nothing, had exalted
into a magnificent place, was very disappointing.

"We passed under a large gateway," says Manning, "whose gilded
ornaments were so ill-fixed that some leaned one way and some another.
The road as it winds round the palace is royally broad; it swarmed
with monks, and beggars were basking in the sun. There is nothing
striking in its appearance; the habitations are begrimed with smut
and dirt. The avenues are full of dogs--in short, everything seems
mean and gloomy. Having provided himself with a proper hat, Manning
went to the Potala to salute the Grand Lama, taking with him a pair
of brass candlesticks with two wax candles, some 'genuine Smith's
lavender water, and a good store of Nankin tea, which is a rare delicacy
at Lhasa. Ushered into the presence of the Grand Lama, a child of seven,
he touched his head three times on the floor, after the custom of the
country, and, taking off his hat, knelt to be blessed by the little
monarch.' He had the simple and unaffected manners of a well-educated
princely child. His face was affectingly beautiful--his beautiful
mouth was perpetually unbending into a graceful smile, which
illuminated his whole countenance."

Here Manning spent four months, at the end of which time he was recalled
from Pekin, and reluctantly he was obliged to return the way he came.

The next man to reach the forbidden city was a Jesuit missionary, the
Abbe Huc, who reached Lhasa in 1846 from China. He had adopted the
dress of the Tibetan Lama--the yellow cap and gown--and he piloted
his little caravan across the wide steppes on horseback, while his
fellow-missionary, Gabet, rode a camel and their one Tartar retainer
rode a black mule. It took them a year and a half to reach the sacred
city of Lhasa, for many and great were the difficulties of the way.
Their first difficulty lay in crossing the Yellow River, which was
in flood.

"It is quite impossible to cross the Yellow River," they were told.
"Eight days ago the river overflowed its banks and the plains are
completely flooded."

"The Tartars only told us the truth," remarked Huc sadly. "The Yellow
River had become a vast sea, the limits of which were scarcely visible:
houses and villages looked as though they were floating upon the waves.
What were we to do? To turn back was out of the question. We had vowed
that, God willing, we would go to Lhasa whatever obstacles impeded."

And so they did. The camels were soon up to their knees in a thick
slimy compost of mud and water, over which the poor animals slid on
their painful way. Their courage was rewarded, native ferry-boats came
to their rescue, and they reached the other side in safety. They were
now on the main caravan route to the Tibetan frontier and the Koko-Nor.
Immense caravans were met, with strings of camels extending for miles
in length. Three times between the Yellow River and the Koko-Nor Lake
did they pass the Great Wall built in 214 A.D. After over four months
of travel Huc arrived at the monastery of Kunkum on the borderland
of Tibet. This was the home of four thousand Lamas all clothed in red
dresses and yellow mitres, and thither resorted the worshippers of
Buddha from all parts of Tartary and Tibet.

"The site is one of enchanting beauty," says Huc. "Imagine in a
mountain-side a deep, broad ravine adorned with fine trees and alive
with the cawing of rooks and yellow-beaked crows and the amusing
chatter of magpies. On the two sides of the ravine and on the slopes
of the mountain rise the white dwellings of the Lamas. Amid the dazzling
whiteness of these modest habitations rise numerous Buddhist temples
with gilt roofs, sparkling with a thousand brilliant colours. Here
the travellers stayed for three months, after which they made their
way on to the Koko-Nor Lake.

"As we advanced," says Huc, "the country became more fertile, until
we reached the vast and magnificent pasturage of Koko-Nor. Here
vegetation is so vigorous that the grass rose up to the stomachs of
our camels. Soon we discovered far before us what seemed a broad silver
riband. Our leader informed us that this was the Blue Sea. We urged
on our animals, and the sun had not set when we planted our tent within
a hundred paces of the waters of the great Blue Lake. This immense
reservoir of water seems to merit the title of sea rather than merely
that of lake. To say nothing of its vast extent, its waters are bitter
and salt, like those of the ocean."

After a month spent on the shores of the Blue Lake, an opportunity
offered for the advance. Towards the end of October they found that
an embassy from Lhasa to Pekin was returning in great force. This would
afford Huc and his companion safe travelling from the hordes of
brigands that infested the route through Tibet. The caravan was
immense. There were fifteen hundred oxen, twelve hundred horses, and
as many camels, and about two thousand men. The ambassador was carried
in a litter. Such was the multitude which now started for the thousand
miles across Tibet to Lhasa.

After crossing the great Burkhan Buddha range, the caravan came to
the Shuga Pass, about seventeen thousand feet high, and here their
troubles began.

"When the huge caravan first set itself in motion," says Huc, "the
sky was clear, and a brilliant moon lit up the great carpet of snow
with which the whole country was covered. We were able to attain the
summit by sunrise. Then the sky became thickly overcast with clouds
and the wind began to blow with a violence which became more and more

Snow fell heavily and several animals perished. They marched in the
teeth of an icy wind which almost choked them, whirlwinds of snow
blinded them, and when they reached the foot of the mountain at last,
M. Gabet found that his nose and ears were frostbitten. As they
proceeded, the cold became more intense. "The demons of snow, wind,
and cold were set loose on the caravan with a fury which seemed to
increase from day to day."

"One cannot imagine a more terrible country," says poor Huc.

Not only were the animals dying from cold and exposure, but men were
beginning to drop out and die. Forty of the party died before the
plateau of Tangla had been crossed, a proceeding which lasted twelve
days. The track, some sixteen thousand feet above the sea, was bordered
by the skeletons of mules and camels, and monstrous eagles followed
the caravan. The scenery was magnificent, line upon line of snow-white
pinnacles stretched southward and westward under a bright sun. The
descent was "long, brusque, and rapid, like the descent of a gigantic
ladder." At the lower altitude snow and ice disappeared. It was the
end of January 1846, when at last our two travellers found themselves
approaching the longed-for city of Lhasa.

"The sun was nearly setting," says Huc, "when we found ourselves in
a vast plain and saw on our right Lhasa, the famous metropolis of the
Buddhist world. After eighteen months' struggle with sufferings and
obstacles of infinite number and variety, we were at length arrived
at the termination of our journey, though not at the close of our

Huc's account of the city agrees well with that of Manning: "The palace
of the Dalai Lama," he says, "merits the celebrity which it enjoys
throughout the world. Upon a rugged mountain, the mountain of Buddha,
the adorers of the Lama have raised the magnificent palace wherein
their Living Divinity resides in the flesh. This place is made up of
various temples; that which occupies the centre is four storeys high;
it terminates in a dome entirely covered with plates of gold. It is
here the Dalai Lama has set up his abode. From the summit of his lofty
sanctuary he can contemplate his innumerable adorers prostrate at the
foot of the divine mountain. But in the town all was different--all
are engaged in the grand business of buying and selling, all is noise,
pushing, excitement, confusion."

Here Huc and his companion resided for two and a half months, opening
an oratory in their house and even making a few Christian converts.
But soon they were ordered to leave, and reluctantly they travelled
back to China, though by a somewhat different route.

After this the Tibetans guarded their capital more zealously than
before. Przhevalsky, "that grand explorer of Russian nationality,"
spent years in exploring Tibet, but when within a hundred and sixty
miles of Lhasa he was stopped, and never reached the forbidden city.

Others followed. Prince Henri of Orleans got to within one hundred
miles of Lhasa, Littledale and his wife to within fifty miles. Sven
Hedin, the "Prince of Swedish explorers," who had made so many famous
journeys around and about Tibet, was making a dash for the capital
disguised as a Mongolian pilgrim when he, too, was stopped.

"A long black line of Tibetan horsemen rode towards us at full gallop,"
he relates. "It was not raining just at that moment, so there was
nothing to prevent us from witnessing what was in truth a very
magnificent spectacle. It was as though a living avalanche were
sweeping down upon us. A moment more and we should be annihilated!
We held our weapons ready. On came the Tibetans in one long line
stretching across the plain. We counted close upon seventy in all.
In the middle rode the chief on a big handsome mule, his staff of
officers all dressed in their finest holiday attire. The wings
consisted of soldiers armed to the teeth with gun, sword, and lance.
The great man, Kamba Bombo, pulled up in front of our tent." After
removing a red Spanish cloak and hood he "stood forth arrayed in a
suit of yellow silk with wide arms and a little blue Chinese skull-cap.
His feet were encased in Mongolian boots of green velvet. He was

"You will not go another step towards Lhasa," he said. "If you do you
will lose your heads. It doesn't the least matter who you are or where
you come from. You must go back to your headquarters."

So an escort was provided and sorrowfully Sven Hedin turned his back
on the jealously guarded town he had striven so hard to reach.

The expedition, or rather mission, under Colonel Younghusband in 1904
brings to an end our history of the exploration of Tibet. He made his
way to Lhasa from India; he stood in the sacred city, and "except for
the Potala" he found it a "sorry affair." He succeeded in getting a
trade Treaty signed, and he rode hastily back to India and travelled
thence to England. The importance of the mission was accentuated by
the fact that the flag, a Union Jack bearing the motto, "Heaven's Light
our Guide," carried by the expedition and placed on the table when
the Treaty was signed in Lhasa, hangs to-day in the Central Hall at
Windsor over the statue of Queen Victoria.

The veil so long drawn over the capital of Tibet had been at last torn
aside, and the naked city had been revealed in all its "weird
barbarity." Plans of the "scattered and ill-regulated" city are now
familiar, the Potala has been photographed, the Grand Lama has been
drawn, and if, with the departure of Younghusband, the gates of Lhasa
were once more closed, voices from beyond the snowy Himalayas must
be heard again ere long.

THE POTALA. From a photograph by a member of Younghusband's expedition
to Tibet and Lhasa, 1909(?).]



No names are better known in the history of Arctic exploration than
those of Nansen and the _Fram_, and although others have done work
just as fine, the name of Nansen cannot be omitted from our _Book of

Sven Hedin had not long returned from his great travels through eastern
Turkestan and Tibet when Nansen was preparing for his great journey

He had already crossed Greenland from east to west, a brilliant
achievement only excelled by Peary, who a few years later, crossed
it at a higher latitude and proved it to be an island.

Now the movement of ice drift in the Arctic seas was occupying the
attention of explorers at this time. A ship, the _Jeannette_, had been
wrecked in 1881 off the coast of Siberia, and three years later the
debris from the wreck had been washed up on the south-west coast of
Greenland. So it occurred to Nansen that a current must flow across
the North Pole from Behring Sea on one side to the Atlantic Ocean on
the other. His idea was therefore to build a ship as strong as possible
to enable it to withstand the pressure of the ice, to allow it to become
frozen in, and then to drift as the articles from the _Jeannette_ had
drifted. He reckoned that it would take three years for the drift of
ice to carry him to the North Pole.

Foolhardy and impossible as the scheme seemed to some, King Oscar came
forward with 1000 pounds toward expenses. The _Fram_ was then designed.
The whole success of the expedition lay in her strength to withstand
the pressure of the ice. At last she was ready, even fitted with
electric light. A library, scientifically prepared food, and
instruments of the most modern type were on board. The members of the
expedition numbered thirteen, and on Midsummer Day, 1893, "in calm
summer weather, while the setting sun shed his beams over the land,
the _Fram_ stood out towards the blue sea to get its first roll in
the long, heaving swell." Along the coast of Norway, past Bergen, past
Trondhjem, past Tromso, they steamed, until in a north-westerly gale
and driving snow they lost sight of land. It was 25th July when they
sighted Nova Zembla plunged in a world of fog. They landed at Khabarova
and visited the little old church seen fifteen years before by
Nordenskiold, anxiously inquiring about the state of the ice in the
Kara Sea. Here, amid the greatest noise and confusion, some
thirty-four dogs were brought on board for the sledges. On 5th August
the explorer successfully passed through the Yugor Strait into the
Kara Sea, which was fairly free from ice, and five weeks later sailed
past Cape Chelyuskin, the northernmost point of the Old World.

"The land was low and desolate," says Nansen. "The sun had long since
gone down behind the sea; only one star was to be seen. It stood straight
above Cape Chelyuskin, shining clearly and sadly in the pale sky.
Exactly at four o'clock our flags were hoisted and our last three
cartridges sent out a thundering salute over the sea."

The _Fram_ was then turned north to the west of the New Siberian Islands.
"It was a strange thing to be sailing away north," says Nansen, "to
unknown lands, over an open rolling sea where no ship had been before.
On to the north, steadily north with a good wind, as fast as steam
and sail can take us through unknown regions."

They had almost reached 78 degrees north when they saw ice shining
through the fog, and a few days later the _Fram_ was frozen in. "Autumn
was well advanced, the long night of winter was approaching, there
was nothing to be done except prepare ourselves for it, and we converted
our ship as well as we could into comfortable winter quarters."

By October the ice was pressing round the _Fram_ with a noise like
thunder. "It is piling itself up into long walls and heaps high enough
to reach a good way up the _Fram's_ rigging: in fact, it is trying
its very utmost to grind the _Fram_ into powder."

Christmas came and went. The New Year of 1894 dawned with the
thermometer 36 degrees below zero. By February the _Fram_ had drifted
to the 80th degree of latitude. "High festival in honour of the 80th
degree," writes Nansen. "Hurrah! Well sailed! The wind is whistling
among the hummocks, the snow flies rustling through the air, ice and
sky are melted into one, but we are going north at full speed, and
are in the wildest of gay spirits. If we go on at this rate we shall
be at the Pole in fifty months."

On 17th May the 81st degree of latitude was reached. Five months passed
away. By 31st October they had drifted to the 82nd. "A grand banquet
to-day," says Nansen, "to celebrate the 82nd degree of latitude. We
are progressing merrily towards our goal; we are already half-way
between the New Siberian Islands and Franz Josef Land, and there is
not a soul on board who doubts that we shall accomplish what we came
out to do; so long live merriment."

Now Nansen planned the great sledge journey, which has been called
"the most daring ever undertaken." The winter was passed in peaceful
preparation for a start in the spring. When the New Year of 1895 dawned
the _Fram_ had been firmly frozen in for fifteen months. A few days
later, the ship was nearly crushed by a fresh ice pressure and all
prepared to abandon her if necessary, but after an anxious day of ice
roaring and crackling--"an ice pressure with a vengeance, as if
Doomsday had come," remarked Nansen--it quieted down. They had now
beaten all records, for they had reached 83 degrees latitude.

And now preparations for the great sledge journey were complete. They
had built kayaks or light boats to sail in open water, and these were
placed on the sledges and drawn by dogs. Nansen decided only to take
one companion, Johansen, and to leave the others with the _Fram_.

"At last the great day has arrived. The chief aim of the expedition
is to push through the unknown Polar sea from the region around the
New Siberian Islands, north of Franz Josef Land and onward to the
Atlantic Ocean near Spitzbergen or Greenland." Farewells were said,
and then the two men bravely started off over the unknown desert sea
with their sledges and twenty-eight dogs. For the first week they
travelled well and soon reached 85 degrees latitude. "The only
disagreeable thing to face now is the cold," says Nansen. "Our clothes
are transformed more and more into complete suits of ice armour. The
sleeve of my coat actually rubbed deep sores in my wrists, one of which
got frostbitten; the wound grew deeper and deeper and nearly reached
the bone. At night we packed ourselves into our sleeping-bags and lay
with our teeth chattering for an hour before we became aware of a little
warmth in our bodies."

[Illustration: DR. NANSEN. After a photograph.]

Steadily, with faces to the north, they pressed on over the blocks
of rough ice, stretching as far as the horizon, till on 8th April
further progress became impossible. Nansen strode on ahead and mounted
one of the highest hummocks to look around. He saw "a veritable chaos
of ice-blocks, ridge after ridge, and nothing but rubble to travel
over." He therefore determined to turn and make for Franz Josef Land
some four hundred and fifty miles distant. They had already reached
86 degrees of latitude, farther north than any expedition had reached

As they travelled south, they rejoiced in the warmth of the sun, but
their food was growing scarce, and they had to kill a dog every other
day to feed the others, till by May they had only thirteen dogs left.
June found them having experienced tremendous snowstorms with only
seven dogs left. Although they were in the latitude of Franz Josef
Land, no welcome shores appeared. It was now three months since they
had left the _Fram_; the food for the dogs was quite finished and the
poor creatures were beginning to eat their harness of sailcloth.
Mercifully before the month ended they managed to shoot a seal which
provided them with food for a month. "It is a pleasing change," says
Nansen, "to be able to eat as much and as often as we like. Blubber
is excellent, both raw and fried. For dinner I fried a highly successful
steak, for supper I made blood-pancakes fried in blubber with sugar,
unsurpassed in flavour. And here we lie up in the far north, two grim,
black, soot-stained barbarians, stirring a mess of soup in a kettle,
surrounded on all sides by ice--ice covered with impassable snow."

A bear and two cubs were shot and the explorers stayed on at "Longing
Camp" as they named this dreary spot, unable to go on, but amply fed.

On 24th July we get the first cheerful entry for many a long day: "Land!
land! after nearly two years we again see something rising above that
never-ending white line on the horizon yonder--a new life is beginning
for us!"

Only two dogs were now left to drag the sledges, so the two explorers
were obliged to help with the dragging. For thirteen days they
proceeded in the direction of land, dragging and pushing their burdens
over the ridges of ice with thawing snow. At last on 7th August they
stood at the edge of the ice. Behind lay their troubles; before was
the waterway home. Then they launched their little kayaks, which
danced over the open waters, the little waves splashing against their
sides. When the mist cleared they found themselves on the west coast
of Franz Josef Land, discovered by an Austro-Hungarian expedition in

They were full of hope, when a cruel disappointment damped their joy.
They had landed and were camping on the shore, when a great storm arose
and the wind blew the drift ice down till it lay packed along the coast.
The little ships were frozen in, and there was no hope of reaching
home that winter. Here they were doomed to stay. Fortunately there
were bears and walrus, so they could not starve, and with magnificent
pluck they set to work to prepare for the winter. For many a long day
they toiled at the necessary task of skinning and cutting up walrus
till they were saturated with blubber, oil, and blood, but soon they
had two great heaps of blubber and meat on shore well covered over
with walrus hides.

a photograph.]

September was occupied in building a hut amid the frost and snow with
walrus hides and tusks, warmed inside with train-oil lamps. Here under
bear skins they slept and passed the long months of winter. In October
the sun disappeared, the days grew darker. Life grew very monotonous,
for it was the third Polar winter the explorers had been called on
to spend. They celebrated Christmas Day, Nansen by washing himself
in a "quarter of a cup of warm water," Johansen by turning his shirt.
The weather outside was stormy and almost took their breath away with
its icy coldness. They longed for a book, but they wiled away the hours
by trying to calculate how far the _Fram_ could have drifted and when
she was likely to reach home. They were distressed at the dirt of their
clothes, and longed to be able to throw away the heavy oily rags that
seemed glued to their bodies. They had no soap, and water had no effect
on the horrible grease. It was May before the weather allowed them
to leave the hut at last. Hopefully they dragged their kayaks over
the snow, the sledge runners fastened on to their feet, and so made
their way southwards down Franz Josef Land.

Once Nansen was very nearly drowned. The explorers had reached the
south of the Islands, and, having moored their little boats together,
they ascended a hummock close by, when to their horror they saw the
kayaks were adrift. Nansen rushed down, threw off some clothes, and
sprang into the water after them. He was none too soon, for already
the boats were drifting rapidly away. The water was icy cold, but it
was a case of life or death. Without the boats they were lost men.
"All we possessed was on board," says Nansen, "so I exerted myself
to the utmost. I redoubled my exertions though I felt my limbs gradually
stiffening; at last I was able to stretch out my hand to the edge of
the kayak. I tried to pull myself up, but the whole of my body was
stiff with cold. After a time I managed to swing one leg up on to the
edge and to tumble up. Nor was it easy to paddle in the double vessel;
the gusts of wind seemed to go right through me as I stood there in
my wet woollen shirt. I shivered, my teeth chattered, and I was numb
all over. At last I managed to reach the edge of the ice. I shook and
trembled all over, while Johansen pulled off the wet things and packed
me into the sleeping-bag. The critical situation was saved."

And now came one of those rare historic days in the history of
exploration. It was 17th June 1896. Nansen was surveying the lonely
line of coast, when suddenly the barking of a dog fell on his ear,
and soon in front he saw the fresh tracks of some animal. "It was with
a strange mixture of feelings," he says, "that I made my way among
the numerous hummocks towards land. Suddenly I thought I heard a human
voice--the first for three years. How my heart beat and the blood rushed
to my brain as I halloed with all the strength of my lungs. Soon I
heard another shout and saw a dark form moving among the hummocks.
It was a man. We approached one another quickly. I waved my hat; he
did the same. As I drew nearer I thought I recognised Mr. Jackson,
whom I remembered once to have seen. I raised my hat; we extended a
hand to one another with a hearty 'How do you do?' Above us a roof
of mist, beneath our feet the rugged packed drift ice."

"Ar'n't you Nansen?" he said.

"Yes, I am," was the answer.

And, seizing the grimy hand of the Arctic explorer, he shook it warmly,
congratulating him on his successful trip. Jackson and his companions
had wintered at Cape Flora, the southern point of Franz Josef Land,
and they were expecting a ship, the _Windward_, to take them home.
On 26th July the _Windward_ steamed slowly in, and by 13th August she
reached Norway, and the news of Nansen's safe arrival was made known
to the whole world. A week later the little _Fram_, "strong and broad
and weather-beaten," also returned in safety. And on 9th September
1896, Nansen and his brave companions on board the _Fram_ sailed up
Christiania Fjiord in triumph.

He had reached a point farthest North, and been nearer to the North
Pole than had any explorer before.



The 6th April 1909 is a marked day in the annals of exploration, for
on that day Peary succeeded in reaching the North Pole, which for
centuries had defied the efforts of man; on that day he attained the
goal for which the greatest nations of the world had struggled for
over four hundred years. Indeed, he had spent twenty-three years of
his own life labouring toward this end.

He was mainly inspired by reading Nordenskiold's _Exploration of
Greenland_, when a lieutenant in the United States Navy. In 1886 he
got leave to join an expedition to Greenland, and returned with the
Arctic fever in his veins and a scheme for crossing that continent
as far north as possible. This after many hardships he accomplished,
being the first explorer to discover that Greenland was an island.
Peary was now stamped as a successful Arctic explorer. The idea of
reaching the North Pole began to take shape, and in order to raise
funds the enthusiastic explorer delivered no less than one hundred
and sixty-eight lectures in ninety-six days. With the proceeds he
chartered the _Falcon_ and left the shores of Philadelphia in June
1893 for Greenland. His wife, who accompanied him before, accompanied
him again, and with sledges and dogs on board they made their way up
the western coast of Greenland. Arrived at Melville Bay, Peary built
a little hut; here a little daughter was born who was soon "bundled
in soft warm Arctic furs and wrapped in the Stars and Stripes." No
European child had ever been born so far north as this; the Eskimos
travelled from long distances to satisfy themselves she was not made
of snow, and for the first six months of her life the baby lived in
continuous lamplight.

But we cannot follow Peary through his many Polar expeditions; his
toes had been frozen off in one, his leg broken in another, but he
was enthusiastic enough when all preparations were complete for the
last and greatest expedition of all.

The _Roosevelt_, named after the President of the United States, had
carried him safely to the north of Greenland in his last expedition,
so she was again chosen, and in July 1908, Peary hoisted the Stars
and Stripes and steamed from New York.

"As the ship backed out into the river, a cheer went up from the
thousands who had gathered on the piers to see us off. It was an
interesting coincidence that the day on which we started for the
coldest spot on earth was about the hottest which New York had known
for years. As we steamed up the river, the din grew louder and louder;
we passed President Roosevelt's naval yacht, the _Mayflower_, and her
small gun roared out a parting salute--surely no ship ever started
for the ends of the earth with more heart-stirring farewells."

President Roosevelt had himself inspected the ship and shaken hands
with each member of the expedition.

"I believe in you, Peary," he had said, "and I believe in your success,
if it is within the possibility of man." So the little _Roosevelt_
steamed away; on 26th July the Arctic Circle was crossed by Peary for
the twentieth time, and on 1st August, Cape York, the most northerly
home of human beings in the world, was reached. This was the dividing
line between the civilised world on one hand and the Arctic world on
the other. Picking up several Eskimo families and about two hundred
and fifty dogs, they steamed on northwards.

"Imagine," says Peary--"imagine about three hundred and fifty miles
of almost solid ice, ice of all shapes and sizes, mountainous ice,
flat ice, ragged and tortured ice; then imagine a little black ship,
solid, sturdy, compact, strong, and resistant, and on this little ship
are sixty-nine human beings, who have gone out into the crazy,
ice-tortured channel between Baffin Bay and the Polar sea--gone out
to prove the reality of a dream in the pursuit of which men have frozen
and starved and died."

The usual course was taken, across Smith's Sound and past the desolate
wind-swept rocks of Cape Sabine, where, in 1884, Greely's ill-fated
party slowly starved to death, only seven surviving out of

Fog and ice now beset the ship, and on 5th September they were compelled
to seek winter quarters, for which they chose Cape Sheridan, where
Peary had wintered before in 1905. Here they unloaded the _Roosevelt_,
and two hundred and forty-six Eskimo dogs were at once let loose to
run about in the snow. A little village soon grew up, and the Eskimos,
both men and women, went hunting as of yore. Peary had decided to start
as before from Cape Columbia, some ninety miles away, the most
northerly point of Grant Land, for his dash to the Pole.

On 12th October the sun disappeared and they entered cheerfully into
the "Great Dark."

"Imagine us in our winter home," says Peary, "four hundred and fifty
miles from the North Pole, the ship held tight in her icy berth one
hundred and fifty yards from the shore, ship and the surrounding world
covered with snow, the wind creaking in the rigging, whistling and
shrieking around the corners of the deck houses, the temperature
ranging from zero to sixty below, the icepack in the channel outside
us groaning and complaining with the movement of the tides."

Christmas passed with its usual festivities. There were races for the
Eskimos, one for the children, one for the men, and one for the Eskimo
mothers, who carried babies in their fur hoods. These last, looking
like "animated walruses," took their race at a walking pace.

At last, on 15th February 1909, the first sledge-party left the ship
for Cape Columbia, and a week later Peary himself left the _Roosevelt_
with the last loads. The party assembled at Cape Columbia for the great
journey north, which consisted of seven men of Peary's party,
fifty-nine Eskimos, one hundred and forty dogs, and twenty-eight
sledges. Each sledge was complete in itself; each had its cooking
utensils, its four men, its dogs and provisions for fifty or sixty
days. The weather was "clear, calm, and cold."

On 1st March the cavalcade started off from Cape Columbia in a freezing
east wind, and soon men and dogs became invisible amid drifting snow.
Day by day they went forward, undaunted by the difficulties and
hardships of the way, now sending back small parties to the depot at
Cape Columbia, now dispatching to the home camp some reluctant
explorer with a frostbitten heel or foot, now delayed by open water,
but on, on, till they had broken all records, passed all tracks even
of the Polar bear, passed the 87th parallel into the region of perpetual
daylight for half the year. It was here, apparently within reach of
his goal, that Peary had to turn back three years before for want of

Thus they marched for a month; party after party had been sent back,
till the last supporting party had gone and Peary was left with his
black servant, Henson, and four Eskimos. He had five sledges, forty
picked dogs, and supplies for forty days when he started off alone
to dash the last hundred and thirty-three miles to the Pole itself.
Every event in the next week is of thrilling interest. After a few
hours of sleep the little party started off shortly after midnight
on 2nd April 1909. Peary was leading.

"I felt the keenest exhilaration as I climbed over the ridge and
breasted the keen air sweeping over the mighty ice, pure and straight
from the Pole itself."

They might yet be stopped by open water from reaching the goal. On
they went, twenty-five miles in ten hours, then a little sleep, and
so on again, then a few hours' rest and another twenty miles till they
had reached latitude 89 degrees.

Still breathlessly they hurried forward, till on the 5th they were
but thirty-five miles from the Pole.

"The sky overhead was a colourless pall, gradually deepening to almost
black at the horizon, and the ice was a ghastly and chalky white."

On 6th April the Pole was reached.

"The Pole at last!" writes Peary in his diary. "The prize of three
centuries! My dream and goal for twenty years. Mine at last! I cannot
bring myself to realise it. It all seems so simple and commonplace."

Flags were at once hoisted on ice lances, and the successful explorer
watched them proudly waving in the bright Arctic sunlight at the Pole.
Through all his perilous expeditions to the Arctic regions, Peary had
worn a silken flag, worked by his wife, wrapped round his body. He
now flew it on this historic spot, "which knows no North, nor West,
nor East."

the courteous permission of Admiral Peary, from his book _The North
Pole_, published by Messrs. Hodder & Stoughton.]

Not a vestige of land was to be seen; nothing but ice lay all around.
They could not stay long, for provisions would run short, and the ice
might melt before their return journey was accomplished.

So after a brief rest they started off for Cape Columbia, which they
reached after a wild rush of sixteen days. It had taken them
thirty-seven days to cover the four hundred and seventy-five miles
from Cape Columbia to the Pole, from which they had returned at the
rate of thirty miles a day.

The whole party then started for the _Roosevelt_, and on 18th July
she was taken from her winter quarters and turned towards home. Then
came the day when wireless telegraphy flashed the news through the
whole of the civilised world: "Stars and Stripes nailed to the North

The record of four hundred years of splendid self-sacrifice and
heroism unrivalled in the history of exploration had been crowned at



An American had placed the Stars and Stripes on the North Pole in 1909.
It was a Norwegian who succeeded in reaching the South Pole in 1911.
But the spade-work which contributed so largely to the final success
had been done so enthusiastically by two Englishmen that the
expeditions of Scott and Shackleton must find a place here before we
conclude this _Book of Discovery_ with Amundsen's final and brilliant

The crossing of the Antarctic Circle by the famous _Challenger_
expedition in 1874 revived interest in the far South. The practical
outcome of much discussion was the design of the _Discovery_, a ship
built expressly for scientific exploration, and the appointment of
Captain Scott to command an Antarctic expedition.

In August 1901, Scott left the shores of England, and by way of New
Zealand crossed the Antarctic Circle on 3rd January 1902. Three weeks
later he reached the Great Ice Barrier which had stopped Ross in 1840.
For a week Scott steamed along the Barrier. Mounts Erebus and Terror
were plainly visible, and though he could nowhere discover Parry
Mountains, yet he found distant land rising high above the sea, which
he named King Edward VII.'s Land. Scott had brought with him a captive
balloon in which he now rose to a height of eight hundred feet, from
which he saw an unbroken glacier stream of vast extent stretching to
the south. It was now time to seek for winter quarters, and Scott,
returning to McMurdo Bay named by Ross, found that it was not a bay
at all, but a strait leading southward. Here they landed their stores,
set up their hut, and spent the winter, till on 2nd November 1902 all
was ready for a sledge-journey to the south. For fifty-nine days Scott
led his little land-party of three, with four sledges and nineteen
dogs, south. But the heavy snow was too much for the dogs, and one
by one died, until not one was left and the men had to drag and push
the sledges themselves. Failing provisions at last compelled them to
stop. Great mountain summits were seen beyond the farthest point

"We have decided at last we have found something which is fitting to
bear the name of him whom we most delight to honour," says Scott, "and
Mount Markham it shall be called in memory of the father of the

It was 30th December when a tremendous blizzard stayed their last
advance. "Chill and hungry," they lay all day in their sleeping-bags,
miserable at the thought of turning back, too weak and ill to go on.
With only provisions for a fortnight, they at last reluctantly turned
home, staggering as far as their depot in thirteen days. Shackleton
was smitten with scurvy; he was growing worse every day, and it was
a relief when on 2nd February they all reached the ship alive, "as
near spent as three persons can well be." But they had done well: they
had made the first long land journey ever made in the Antarctic; they
had reached a point which was farthest south; they had tested new
methods of travel; they had covered nine hundred and sixty miles in
ninety-three days. Shackleton was now invalided home, but it was not
till 1904 that the _Discovery_ escaped from the frozen harbour to make
her way home.

Shackleton had returned to England in 1903, but the mysterious South
Pole amid its wastes of ice and snow still called him back, and in
command of the _Nimrod_ he started forth in August 1907 on the next
British Antarctic expedition, carrying a Union Jack, presented by the
Queen, to plant on the spot farthest south. He actually placed it within
ninety-seven miles of the Pole itself!

With a petrol motor-car on board, Eskimo dogs, and Manchurian ponies,
he left New Zealand on 1st January 1908, watched and cheered by some
thirty thousand of his fellow-countrymen. Three weeks later they were
in sight of the Great Ice Barrier, and a few days later the huge
mountains of Erebus and Terror came into sight. Shackleton had hoped
to reach King Edward VII.'s Land for winter quarters, but a formidable
ice-pack prevented this, and they selected a place some twenty miles
north of the _Discovery's_ old winter quarters. Getting the wild
little Manchurian ponies ashore was no light job; the poor little
creatures were stiff after a month's constant buffeting, for the
_Nimrod's_ passage had been stormy. One after another they were now
led out of their stalls into a horse-box and slung over the ice. Once
on _terra firma_ they seemed more at home, for they immediately began
pawing the snow as they were wont to do in their far-away Manchurian

EXPEDITION. _By Sir Ernest Shackleton's permission from his book "The
Heart of the Antarctic," published by Mr. Heinemann_.]

The spacious hut, brought out by Shackleton, was soon erected. Never
was such a luxurious house set up on the bleak shores of the Polar
seas. There was a dark room for developing, acetylene gas for lighting,
a good stove for warming, and comfortable cubicles decorated with
pictures. The dark room was excellent, and never was a book of travels
more beautifully illustrated than Shackleton's _Heart of the

True, during some of the winter storms and blizzards the hut shook
and trembled so that every moment its occupants thought it would be
carried bodily away, but it stood its ground all right. The long winter
was spent as usual in preparing for the spring expedition to the south,
but it was 29th October 1908 before the weather made it possible to
make a start. The party consisted of Shackleton, Adams, Marshall, and
Wild, each leading a pony which dragged a sledge with food for
ninety-one days.

"A glorious day for our start," wrote Shackleton in his diary,
"brilliant sunshine and a cloudless sky. As we left the hut where we
had spent so many months in comfort we had a feeling of real regret
that never again would we all be together there. A clasp of the hands
means more than many words, and as we turned to acknowledge the men's
cheer, and saw them standing on the ice by the familiar cliffs, I felt
we must try to do well for the sake of every one concerned in the

New land in the shape of ice-clad mountains greeted the explorers on
22nd November. "It is a wonderful place we are in, all new to the world,"
says Shackleton; "there is an impression of limitless solitude about
it that makes us feel so small as we trudge along, a few dark specks
on the snowy plain."

They now had to quit the Barrier in order to travel south. Fortunately
they found a gap, called the Southern Gateway, which afforded a direct
line to the Pole. But their ponies had suffered badly during the march;
they had already been obliged to shoot three of them, and on 7th
December the last pony fell down a crevasse and was killed. They had
now reached a great plateau some seven thousand feet above the sea;
it rose steadily toward the south, and Christmas Day found them "lying
in a little tent, isolated high on the roof of the world, far from
the ways trodden by man." With forty-eight degrees of frost, drifting
snow, and a biting wind, they spent the next few days hauling their
sledges up a steep incline. They had now only a month's food left.
Pressing on with reduced rations, in the face of freezing winds, they
reached a height of ten thousand and fifty feet.

It was the 6th of January, and they were in latitude 88 degrees, when
a "blinding, shrieking blizzard" made all further advance impossible.
For sixty hours the four hungry explorers lay in their sleeping-bags,
nearly perished with cold. "The most trying day we have yet spent,"
writes Shackleton, "our fingers and faces being continually
frostbitten. To-morrow we will rush south with the flag. It is our
last outward march."

The gale breaking, they marched on till 9th January, when they stopped
within ninety-seven miles of the Pole, where they hoisted the Union
Jack, and took possession of the great plateau in the King's name.

"We could see nothing but the dead-white snow plain. There was no break
in the plateau as it extended towards the Pole. I am confident that
the Pole lies on the great plateau we have discovered miles and miles
from any outstanding land."

And so the four men turned homewards. "Whatever our regret may be,
we have done our best," said the leader somewhat sadly. Blinding
blizzards followed them as they made their way slowly back. On 28th
January they reached the Great Ice Barrier. Their food was well-nigh
spent; their daily rations consisted of six biscuits and some
horse-meat in the shape of the Manchurian ponies they had shot and
left the November before. But it disagreed with most of them, and it
was four very weak and ailing men who staggered back to the _Nimrod_
toward the end of February 1909.

Shackleton reached England in the autumn of 1909 to find that another
Antarctic expedition was to leave our shores in the following summer
under the command of Scott, in the _Terra Nova_. It was one of the
best-equipped expeditions that ever started; motor-sledges had been
specially constructed to go over the deep snow, which was fatal to
the motor-car carried by Shackleton. There were fifteen ponies and
thirty dogs. Leaving England in July 1910, Scott was established in
winter quarters in McMurdo Sound by 26th January 1911. It was November
before he could start on the southern expedition.

"We left Hut Point on the evening of 2nd November. For sixty miles
we followed the track of the motors (sent on five days before). The
ponies are going very steadily. We found the motor party awaiting us
in latitude 80-1/2 degrees south. The motors had proved entirely
satisfactory, and the machines dragged heavy loads over the worst part
of the Barrier surface, crossing several crevasses. The sole cause
of abandonment was the overheating of the air-cooled engines. We are
building snow cairns at intervals of four miles to guide homeward
parties and leaving a week's provisions at every degree of latitude.
As we proceeded the weather grew worse, and snowstorms were frequent.
The sky was continually overcast, and the land was rarely visible.
The ponies, however, continued to pull splendidly."

As they proceeded south they encountered terrific storms of wind and
snow, out of which they had constantly to dig the ponies. Christmas
passed and the New Year of 1912 dawned. On 3rd January when one hundred
and fifty miles from the Pole, "I am going forward," says Scott, "with
a party of five men with a month's provisions, and the prospect of
success seems good, provided that the weather holds and no unforeseen
obstacles arise."

Scott and his companions successfully attained the object of their
journey. They reached the South Pole on 17th January only to find that
they had been forestalled by others! And it is remarkable to note that
so correct were their observations, the two parties located the Pole
within half a mile of one another.

Scott's return journey ended disastrously. Blinding blizzards
prevented rapid progress; food and fuel ran short; still the weakened
men struggled bravely forward till, within a few miles of a depot of
supplies, death overtook them.

Scott's last message can never be forgotten. "I do not regret this
journey which has shown that Englishmen can endure hardship, help one
another, and meet death with as great fortitude as ever in the past....
Had we lived, I should have had a tale to tell of the hardihood,
endurance, and courage of my companions which would have stirred the
heart of every Englishman. These rough notes and our dead bodies must
tell the tale; but surely, surely, a great, rich country like ours
will see that those who are dependent upon us are properly provided

It was on 14th December 1911 that Captain Amundsen had reached the
Pole. A Norwegian, fired by the example of his fellow-countryman,
Nansen, Amundsen had long been interested in both Arctic and Antarctic
exploration. In a ship of only forty-eight tons, he had, with six others,
made a survey of the North Magnetic Pole, sailed through the Behring
Strait, and accomplished the North-West Passage, for which he was
awarded the Royal Medal of the Royal Geographical Society. On his
return he planned an expedition to the North Pole. He had made known
his scheme, and, duly equipped for North Polar expedition in Nansen's
little _Fram_, Amundsen started. Suddenly the world rang with the news
that Peary had discovered the North Pole, and that Amundsen had turned
his prow southwards and was determined to make a dash for the South
Pole. Landing in Whales Bay some four hundred miles to the east of
Scott's winter quarters, his first visitors were the Englishmen on
board the _Terra Nova_, who were taking their ship to New Zealand for
the winter.

Making a hut on the shore, Amundsen had actually started on his journey
to the Pole before Scott heard of his arrival.

"I am fully alive to the complication in the situation arising out
of Amundsen's presence in the Antarctic," wrote the English explorer,
"but as any attempt at a race might have been fatal to our chance of
getting to the Pole at all, I decided to do exactly as I should have
done had not Amundsen been here. If he gets to the Pole he will be
bound to do it rapidly with dogs, and one foresees that success will
justify him."

Although the Norwegian explorer left his winter quarters on 8th
September for his dash to the Pole, he started too early; three of
his party had their feet frostbitten, and the dogs suffered severely,
so he turned back, and it was not till 20th October, just a week before
Scott's start, that he began in real earnest his historic journey.
He was well off for food, for whales were plentiful on the shores of
the Bay, and seals, penguins, and gulls abounded. The expedition was
well equipped, with eight explorers, four sledges, and thirteen dogs
attached to each.

"Amundsen is a splendid leader, supreme in organisation, and the
essential in Antarctic travel is to think out the difficulties before
they arise." So said those who worked with him on his most successful

Through dense fog and blinding blizzards the Norwegians now made their
way south, their Norwegian skis and sledges proving a substantial help.
The crevasses in the ice were very bad; one dog dropped in and had
to be abandoned; another day the dogs got across, but the sledge fell
in, and it was necessary to climb down the crevasse, unpack the sledge,
and pull up piece by piece till it was possible to raise the empty
sledge. So intense was the cold that the very brandy froze in the bottle
and was served out in lumps.

"It did not taste much like brandy then," said the men, "but it burnt
our throats as we sucked it."

The dogs travelled well. Each man was responsible for his own team;
he fed them and made them fond of him. Thus all through November the
Norwegians travelled south, till they reached the vast plateau
described by Shackleton. One tremendous peak, fifteen thousand feet
high, they named "Frithjof Nansen."

On 14th December they reached their goal; the weather was beautiful,
the ground perfect for sledging.

"At 3 p.m. we made halt," says Amundsen. "According to our reckoning,
we had reached our destination. All of us gathered round the colours--a
beautiful silken flag; all hands took hold of it, and, planting it
on the spot, we gave the vast plateau on which the Pole is situate
the name of 'The King Haakon VII.' It was a vast plain, alike in all
directions, mile after mile."

Here in brilliant sunshine the little party camped, taking
observations till 17th December, when, fastening to the ground a
little tent with the Norwegian flag and the _Fram_ pennant, they gave
it the name "Polheim" and started for home.

From a photograph, by permission of Mr. John Murray and the
_Illustrated London News_.]

So the North and South Poles yielded up their well-hoarded secrets
after centuries of waiting, within two and a half years of one another.

They had claimed more lives than any exploration had done before, or
is ever likely to do again.

And so ends the last of these great earth-stories--stories which have
made the world what it is to-day--and we may well say with one of the
most successful explorers of our times, "The future may give us
thrilling stories of the conquest of the air, but the spirit of man
has mastered the earth."


PAGE                                                             DATE
  4  The oldest known Ships  . . . . . . . . . . . . . B.C. 6000-5000
  7  Expedition to Punt  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  "        1600
 11  Phoenician Expeditions  . . . . . . . . . . . . .  "         700
 19  Neco's Fleet built  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  "         613
 23  Anaximander, the Greek, invents Maps  . . . . . .  "         580
 25  Hecataeus writes the First Geography  . . . . . .  "         500
 27  Herodotus describes Egypt . . . . . . . . . . . .  "         446
 30  Hanno sails down West Coast of Africa . . . . . .  "         450
 32  Xenophon crosses Asia Minor . . . . . . . . . . .  "         401
 38  Alexander the Great finds India . . . . . . . . .  "         327
 41  Nearchus navigates the Indian Ocean . . . . . . .  "         326
 45  The Geography of Eratosthenes . . . . . . . . . .  "     240-196
 48  Pytheas discovers the British Isles and Thule . .  "         333
 55  Julius Caesar explores France, Britain, Germany .  "       60-54
 61  Strabo's Geography  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . A.D.        18
 68  Agricola discovers the Highlands  . . . . . . . .  "          83
 71  Pliny's Geography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  "         170
 74  Ptolemy's Geography and Maps  . . . . . . . . . .  "         159
 78  The First Guide for Travellers  . . . . . . . . . Fourth century
 83  St. Patrick explores Ireland  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 432-93
 85  St. Columba reaches the Orkney Isles  . . . . . . . . . . .  563
 85  St. Brandon crosses the Atlantic  . . . . . . . .  Sixth century
 90  Willibald travels from Britain to Jerusalem . . . . . . . .  721
 92  The Christian Topography of Cosmas  . . . . . . .  Sixth century
 94  Naddod the Viking discovers Iceland . . . . . . . . . . . .  861
 95  Erik the Red discovers Greenland  . . . . . . . . . . . . .  985
 95  Lief discovers Newfoundland and North American Coast  . . . 1000
 97  Othere navigates the Baltic Sea . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  890
 99  Mohammedan Travellers to China  . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  831
103  Edrisi's Geography  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1154
108  Benjamin of Tudela visits India and China . . . . . . . . . 1160
110  Carpini visits the Great Khan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1246
112  William de Rubruquis also visits the Great Khan . . . . . . 1255
115  Maffio and Niccolo Polo reach China . . . . . . . . . .  1260-71
117  Marco Polo's Travels  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1271-95
126  Ibn Batuta's Travels through Asia . . . . . . . . . . .  1324-48
126  Sir John Mandeville's Travels published . . . . . . . . . . 1372
134  Hereford Mappa Mundi appeared . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1280
137  Anglo-Saxon Map of the World  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  990
138  Prince Henry of Portugal encourages Exploration . . . . . . 1418
140  Zarco and Vaz reach Porto Santo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1419
140  Zarco discovers Madeira . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1420
142  Nuno Tristam discovers Cape Blanco  . . . . . . . . . . . . 1441
143  Gonsalves discovers Cape Verde Islands  . . . . . . . . . . 1442
144  Cadamosto reaches the Senegal River and Cape Verde  . . . . 1455
145  Diego Gomez reaches the Gambia River  . . . . . . . . . . . 1458
148  Death of Prince Henry . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1460
149  Fra Mauro's Map . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1457
150  Diego Cam discovers the Congo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1484
152  Bartholomew Diaz rounds the Cape of Good Hope . . . . . . . 1486
153  Martin Behaim makes his Globe . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1492
160  Christopher Columbus discovers West Indies  . . . . . . . . 1492
166  Columbus finds Jamaica and other Islands  . . . . . . . . . 1493
167  Columbus finds Trinidad . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1498
169  Death of Columbus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1504
170  Amerigo Vespucci finds Trinidad and Venezuela . . . . . . . 1499
175  First Map of the New World by Juan de la Cosa . . . . . . . 1500
177  Vasco da Gama reaches India by the Cape . . . . . . . . . . 1497
181  Pedro Cabral discovers Brazil . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1500
188  Francisco Serrano reaches the Spice Islands . . . . . . . . 1511
192  Balboa sees the Pacific Ocean . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1513
203  The First Circumnavigation of the World . . . . . . . .  1519-22
206  Cordova discovers Yucatan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1517
206  Juan Grijalva discovers Mexico  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1518
209  Cortes conquers Mexico  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1519
217  Pizarro conquers Peru . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1531
221  Orellana discovers the Amazon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1541
225  Cabot sails to Newfoundland . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1497
228  Jacques Cartier discovers the Gulf of St. Lawrence  . . . . 1534
236  Sir Hugh Willoughby finds Nova Zembla . . . . . . . . . . . 1553
238  Richard Chancellor reaches Moscow _via_ Archangel . . . . . 1554
240  Anthony Jenkinson crosses Russia to Bokhara . . . . . . . . 1558
244  Pinto claims the discovery of Japan . . . . . . . . . . . . 1542
245  Martin Frobisher discovers his Bay  . . . . . . . . . . . . 1576
249  Drake sails round the World . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1577-80
260  Davis finds his Strait  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1586
269  Barents discovers Spitzbergen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1596
275  Hudson sails into his Bay . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1610
281  Baffin discovers his Bay  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1616
285  Sir Walter Raleigh explores Guiana  . . . . . . . . . . . . 1595
290  Champlain discovers Lake Ontario  . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1615
298  Torres sails through his Strait . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1605
299  Le Maire rounds Cape Horn . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1617
302  Tasman finds Tasmania . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1642
306  Dampier discovers his Strait  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1698
312  Behring finds his Strait  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1741
322  Cook discovers New Zealand  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1769
326  Cook anchors in Botany Bay, Australia . . . . . . . . . . . 1770
333  Cook discovers the Sandwich Islands . . . . . . . . . . . . 1777
338  La Perouse makes discoveries in China Seas  . . . . . . . 1785-8
347  Bruce discovers the source of the Blue Nile . . . . . . . . 1770
353  Mungo Park reaches the Niger  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1796
359  Vancouver explores his Island . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1792
362  Mackenzie discovers his River and British Columbia  . .  1789-93
366  Ross discovers Melville Bay . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1818
368  Parry discovers Lancaster Sound . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1819
372  Franklin reaches the Polar Sea by Land  . . . . . . . .  1819-22
378  Parry's discoveries on North American Coast . . . . . . . . 1822
382  Franklin names the Mackenzie River  . . . . . . . . . . . . 1825
386  Beechey doubles Icy Cape  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1826
388  Parry attempts the North Pole by Spitzbergen  . . . . . . . 1827
392  Denham and Clapperton discover Lake Tchad . . . . . . . . . 1822
396  Clapperton reaches the Niger  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1826
397  Rene Caille enters Timbuktu . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1829
402  Richard and John Lander find the Mouth of the Niger . . . . 1830
404  Ross discovers Boothia Felix  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1829
405  James Ross finds the North Magnetic Pole  . . . . . . . . . 1830
411  Bass discovers his Strait . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1797
413  Flinders and Bass sail round Tasmania . . . . . . . . . . . 1798
416  Flinders surveys South Coast of Australia . . . . . . . . 1801-4
421  Sturt traces the Darling and Murray Rivers  . . . . . .  1828-31
424  Burke and Wills cross Australia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1861
429  Ross discovers Victoria Land in the Antarctic . . . . . . . 1840
432  Franklin discovers the North-West Passage . . . . . . . . . 1847
440  Livingstone crosses Africa from West to East  . . . . .  1849-56
452  Burton and Speke discover Lake Tanganyika . . . . . . . . . 1857
454  Speke sees Victoria Nyanza  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1858
457  Livingstone finds Lakes Shirwa and Nyassa . . . . . . .  1858-64
461  Speke and Grant enter Uganda  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1861
468  Baker meets Speke and Grant at Gondokoro  . . . . . . . . . 1861
470  Baker discovers Albert Nyanza . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1864
477  Livingstone finds Lakes Meoro and Bangweolo . . . . . . . . 1868
482  Stanley finds Livingstone . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1871
484  Livingstone dies at Ilala . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1873
499  Stanley finds the Mouth of the Congo  . . . . . . . . . . . 1877
509  Nordenskiold solves the North-East Passage  . . . . . . . . 1879
519  Younghusband enters Lhasa . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1904
524  Nansen reaches Farthest North . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1895
534  Peary reaches the North Pole  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1909
544  Amundsen reaches the South Pole . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1911


Abram, 4.

Abyssinia, 344-7.

Afghanistan, 36.

Africa, 20-2, 72, 103, 127, 339.

   "    Central, 349-56, 391-402, 442-500.

   "    South, 152, 173-6, 440.

   "    West Coast, 22, 30, 139, 143-51, 349.

Agricola, 68.

Alaska, 317, 334, 338.

Albert Nyanza, 470.

Albuquerque, Alphonso d', 184-8.

Alexander the Great, 35-43.

Alexandria, 45, 74.

Alfred the Great, 96.

Almagro, Diego de, 220.

Almeida, Francisco, 184-6.

   "     Lorenzo, 185-6.

Alvarado, Pedro de, 206, 208.

Amazon, 221.

America (Central), 168, 170, 191, 205.

   "    (North), 95, 228, 255, 275, 316, 358.

   "    (South), 167, 170, 180, 196, 215, 252.

Amundsen, R., 542-4.

_Anabasis_ (of Xenophon), 34.

Anaximander, 23.

Andes, 217, 220.

Antarctic regions, 331, 428-31, 536-44.

Arab explorers, 98-107, 126.

_Arabian Nights, The_, 101.

Arctic regions, 53, 238, 259-84, 312-8, 365-90, 403-9, 501-10, 521-35.

Arculf, 88-90.

Argonauts, 13-6.

Auckland, 429.

Australia, 296-301, 307-11, 326-38, 410-27.

Babylonia, 3-4, 32.

Back, Sir George, 372-4, 382.

Baffin, William, 280-3.

Baffin's Bay, 282-3.

Bagdad, 109.

Bahamas, 160.

Baker, Sir Samuel, 465-73.

Balboa, Vasco Nunez de, 190-3.

Balbus, 72.

Bangweolo, Lake, 477.

Banks, Sir Joseph, 320, 336, 349, 413.

Barents, William, 265-72.

Bass, George, 410-3.

Baudin, Nicholas, 414.

Behring, Vitus, 312-8.

Behring's Strait, 312-8, 334.

Benjamin of Tudela, 108.

Black Sea, 14.

Bogle, George, 512.

_Book of the Tartars_, 97.

Boothia, 404.

Borneo, 102.

Botany Bay, 326, 336.

Brandon's Isle, 86-7.

Brazil, 181, 196.

British Columbia, 358, 362.

   "    Isles, 48, 50-2, 57-60, 66-9, 74.

Bruce, James, 339-48.

Burke, R. O'Hara, 424.

Burton, Sir Richard, 450-5.

Button, Sir Thomas, 280.

Cabot, John and Sebastian, 224-7.

Cabral, Pedro, 180-2.

Cadamosto, Luigi, 143-5.

Caille, Rene, 396.

Calicut, 129, 177-8, 181-3, 186.

California, 255.

Cam, Diego, 150-1.

Canada, 228-34.

Cano, Juan del, 204.

Carpentaria, 300, 416.

Carpini, Johannes, 110.

Cartier, Jacques, 228-34.

Caspian Sea, 36, 240.

Cassiterides, _see_ "Tin Islands."

Cathay, _see_ China.

Ceylon, 91, 105, 124, 185-6.

Champlain, Samuel, 290-5.

Chancellor, Richard, 235-9.

Chatham Island, 358.

Chelyuskin, Cape, 504, 522.

Chili, 220, 254.

China, 75, 92, 99-101, 110-24, 130-1.

Chitral, 38.

_Christian Topography_, 92, 133.

Christmas Island, 333.

Chukches, 315, 507.

Circumnavigation of Africa, 19-22.

       "         "  the World, 196-204, 249-57, 308.

Clapperton, Lieut. Hugh, 391-6.

Cochin, 184-5.

Columbus, Christopher, 155-70.

Cook, James, 319-35.

Congo River, 150-1, 480, 491-500.

Cordova, Francisco Hernando de, 205.

Cortes, Hernando, 207-14.

Cosmas, 90-2, 132.

Cuba, 161, 166.

Dampier, William, 306-11.

Darien, 168, 191-2.

Davis, John, 259-64.

Davis Strait, 260, 281.

Delphi, 24.

Denham, Major, 391-5.

Diaz, Bartholomew, 151-4, 180-1.

Drake, Sir Francis, 249-58.

Drusus (Germanicus), 69-71.

Edrisi, 108.

Egypt, 4-8, 26.

"El Dorado," 222, 285.

Eratosthenes, 45-7.

Erik, 94.

Eskimos, 246, 262, 281, 367, 379, 385, 405, 435.

Flinders, Matthew, 410-8.

Floki, 94.

Florida, 205.

France, _see_ Gaul.

Franklin, Sir John, 368, 372-8, 382-7, 482-9.

Franz Joseph Land, 526-8.

"Friar John," _see_ Carpini.

Frobisher, Martin, 245-8, 296.

Gama, Vasco da, 171-9, 182-3.

Gambia River, 30, 145, 349, 355.

Gardar, 94.

Gaul, 53-8.

Germany, 55-7, 69-71.

Gilbert, Sir Humphrey, 259.

Gobi Desert, 75, 118.

Gomez, Diego, 145-8.

Good Hope, Cape of, 21, 152-4, 174, 181, 257.

Grant, Captain J. A., 460-6.

Greenland, 95, 246, 260-3, 274, 282, 501, 521.

Grijalva, Juan, 206.

Guiana, 287-8.

Hanno, 29-32.

Hawaii, 333, 335.

Hawkins, Sir John, 250.

Hayti, 161, 168, 191.

Hecataeus, 25.

Hedin, Sven, 518.

Helena, 77-8.

Henry of Portugal, Prince, 138-49.

Herodotus, 19-22, 26-9.

Himilco, 49.

Holland, 51.

Homer, 16-8.

Honduras, 213-4.

Horn, Cape, 253, 300.

Houghton, Major, 350-1.

Huc, Abbe, 514-8.

Hudson, Henry, 273-9.

Hudson River, 276.

  "    Strait, 248, 277, 281.

Hudson's Bay, 246, 372.

Huron Lake, 294.

Ibn Batuta, 126-32.

Iceland, 94, 277.

India, 38-43, 66, 128, 177-86.

Ireland, 59, 63, 66, 69, 83-6.

Ithobal, 20-3.

_Itinerary from Bordeaux to Jerusalem_, 78-9.

Jamaica, 166.

Japan, 123, 241, 282.

Java, 124, 328.

Jenkinson, Anthony, 240-1.

Jerusalem, 24, 77-9, 89.

Julius Caesar, 54-60.

Kamtchatka, 313-8.

Kara Sea, 504, 522.

 "   Strait, 503.

King Edward VII.'s Land, 536.

Kin Sai, 120.

Kublai Khan, 115-25.

Kyber Pass, 38.

Labrador, 96, 228, 262-4.

Ladrones Islands, 202.

Lander, John and Richard, 396, 399-402.

La Perouse, Comte de, 338.

Lapland, 238.

Le Maire, Isaac, 299.

Lhasa, 511-20.

Libya, 20, 27-9.

Lief, 95.

Livingstone, David, 440-9, 456-9, 474-85.

Machin, Robert, 141.

McClintock, Sir Leopold, 433-9.

McClure, Sir R. J. Le M., 433.

Mackenzie, Alexander, 362-4, 382.

Madagascar, 103.

Madeira, 86, 140.

Magellan, Ferdinand, 190, 193-202, 296.

Magellan's Strait, 198-9, 253.

Magnetic Poles, 405, 430.

Malabar, 182-3.

Malacca, 187-8.

Malay Archipelago, 188-9.

Mandeville, Sir John, 126.

Manilla, 298.

Manning, Thomas, 513.

Maoris, 303, 322.

Maps (ancient), 24, 46, 62, 75, 92, 108, 133-7, 149, 305.

Massoudy, 107.

_Meadows of Gold_, 107.

Mesopotamia, 2-4.

Mexico, 206-14.

Mongolia, _see_ China.

Montreal, 232, 292, 295.

Mota, Antonio de, 241.

Mozambique, 176.

Mumbo Jumbo, 350.

Murchison Falls, 472.

Murray River, 421.

Murrumbidgee River, 420-4.

Naddod, 94.

Nansen, Fridtjof, 521-9.

Natal, 175.

Nearchus, 41-5.

Neco, 19-20.

New Albion, 255, 333, 358.

Newfoundland, 96, 225-7, 275.

New Guinea, 298, 303-5, 310.

New Holland, _see_ Australia.

New South Wales, 328, 410, 415.

New Zealand, 303, 322-6.

Niger River, 72, 348, 353-6, 396, 399-402.

Nigeria, 394-402.

Nile, The, 4-9, 27, 339-42, 345-7, 454-62, 468, 470.

Nordenskiold, Baron, 501-10.

North-East Passage, 235-40, 315, 501-10.

North-West Passage, 245-64, 290, 332, 366, 403, 433.

North Pole, 531-5.

Nova Scotia, 229.

Nova Zembla, 237, 265-72, 503.

Nyassaland (and lake), 458-9, 475.

Ontario, 294.

Orellana, Francisco de, 220-2.

Orinoco, 167, 285-8.

Otaheite, 320-2.

Othere, 96.

Oudney, Dr., 391-4.

Oxus, 37, 117, 241.

Pacific Ocean, 130, 192, 199-203, 250, 253.

Panama, 191, 250, 306.

Park, Mungo, 348-56, 396.

Parry, Sir W. E., 365-71, 378-81, 388-90.

Patagonia, 196-9, 252.

Paula, 80.

Peary, R. E., 530-5.

Pekin, 115, 119.

Pelsart, Captain, 300, 309.

_Periplus_ (of Hanno), 29.

Persia, 32-3, 117.

Peru, 216-20.

Philippine Islands, 202, 256.

Phillip, Captain, 336.

Phoenicians, 10-3, 19-23, 29-32.

Pilgrims, 77-92.

Pinto, Mendex, 241-2.

Pizarro, Francisco, 215-23.

Pliny, 66, 71-3.

Polo, Niccolo, Maffio, and Marco 115-25.

Prester John, 111, 126, 176.

Prickett, Abacuk, 277, 280.

Przhevalsky, N. M., 518.

Ptolemy, 74-6.

Punjab, 39.

Punt, 5-8.

Pytheas, 48-53.

Quebec, 290.

Quilimane River, 175.

Quiros, Pedro Fernandez De, 298.

Raleigh, Sir Walter, 285-9.

Red Sea, 5-7, 20-1, 343.

Richardson, Sir John, 372-87.

Ripon Falls, 463.

Ross, Sir James, 388, 403-9, 428-31, 433.

Ross, Sir John, 365-8, 403-9.

Rubruquis, William de, 112-4.

Russia, 238-40, 313.

Sahara, 391.

St. Brandon, 85-7.

St. Columba, 84-5.

St. Lawrence River, 228, 230, 290.

St. Louis River, 292.

St. Patrick, 83-4.

St. Paul's Island, 200.

Sandwich Islands, 333, 335.

San Francisco, 255.

Sargasso Sea, 50.

Scandinavia, 72, 93, 97.

Schouten, Cornelius, 299.

Scotland, 68, 84-5.

Scott, Captain R. F., 536-42.

Senegal River, 30, 144, 351.

Sequira, Diogo Lopes de, 186.

Serrano, Francisco, 188, 194.

Shackleton, Sir E. H., 536-40.

Shirwa, Lake, 457.

Siberia, 313-8.

Sierra Leone, 29-30, 143.

"Sindbad the Sailor," 101-6.

Society Islands, 322.

Socotra, 184.

Solis, Juan Diaz de, 196.

Somaliland, _see_ Punt.

South Pole, 536-44.

Spain, 49, 64.

Speke, J. H., 450-5, 460-6.

Spice Islands, 188-90, 203, 256.

Spitzbergen, 269, 274, 388, 501.

Staaten Land, 299, 303, 324.

Stanley, Sir H. M., 480-2, 486-500.

Stanley Falls, 494.

Strabo, 52, 61-7.

Sturt, Captain, 418-24.

Sudan, The, 468.

Sumatra, 104, 124, 130, 187.

Sydney, 337.

Sylvia of Aquitaine, 80-2.

Tacitus, 69-71.

Tanganyika, 452, 476, 491.

Tartary, 110.

Tasman, Abel Jansen, 302-5.

Tasmania, 302-5, 413.

Tchad, Lake, 392.

Thule, 51-3, 97.

Tibet, 123, 511-20.

Tierra del Fuego, 199, 254.

Timbuktu, 391-8.

"Tin Islands," The, 10, 12, 48-50.

Tippu Tib, 492.

Torres, Luiz Vaez de, 298.

Torres Strait, 298.

Trinidad, 167.

Tsana, Lake, 345.

Tyre, 29.

Uganda, 461, 488.

Ulysses, 16-8.

Vancouver, 255, 357-61.

Vancouver, Captain, 357-61.

Van Diemen's Land, 302, 410-2.

Vasco da Gama, _see_ Gama.

Vera Cruz, 208-9.

Vespucci, Amerigo, 169-70.

Victoria Falls, 445.

   "     Nyanza, 454, 462, 487.

Vikings, 93-6.

West Indies, 160-1, 164-8.

White Sea, 238.

Willibald, 90.

Willoughby, Sir Hugh, 235-8.

Wills, W. J., 424-6.

Xenophon, 22-4, 33-4.

Younghusband, Sir F. E., 519.

Zambesi River, 442-8.


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