He had charted much of the unknown arctic coast and had made keen observations of weather, geology and vegetation as well as one of the most accurate and sympathetic accounts of the Inuit. He never returned to the Arctic but took part in a disastrous attempt to circumnavigate the globe (during which Davis was, however, credited with discovering the Falkland Islands). He was chief pilot on the first successful expedition of the East India Co and on his third Indies voyage was killed by Japanese pirates off the coast of Malaya. Davis was an outstanding navigator and his exemplary character made him greatly admired by his colleagues. His Seaman's secrets (1599) was long the mariner's handbook and his The worldes hydrographical description (1595) provided a masterly summary of the geographical knowledge of the day. He was the inventor of the backstaff, a device for determining latitude.
Author JAMES MARSH
Links to Other Sites
Exploration of the Northwest Passage
An overview of European expeditions to Canada’s northern Arctic region from the 16th to the early 20th centuries. Brief bios, illustrations, maps, and other reference material. An Industry Canada website.
Major Northwest Passage Exeditions and Explorers
This site offers brief accounts of various European expeditions to North America in search of the Northwest Passage. From the website "Of Maps and Men: In Pursuit of a Northwest Passage," Princeton University.