Munk, Jens Eriksen

Jens Eriksen Munk, navigator, explorer, naval officer (b at Barbo, Norway 3 June 1579; d at Copenhagen, Denmark 3 or 24 June 1628). In 1619, after distinguished service in the Danish navy, Jens Eriksen Munk set off under orders from King Christian IV with two vessels, the frigate Unicorn and the sloop Lamprey, to search for the NORTHWEST PASSAGE. After some false starts he entered HUDSON BAY and discovered the mouth of the CHURCHILL RIVER, which he called the Danish River. Closed in by harsh weather in September, he and his crew of 64 spent the winter in what is now Sloop Cove across the river from the present town of CHURCHILL. All but Jens Munk and two others succumbed gradually to weather and SCURVY. In the spring the three survivors sailed the Lamprey back to Norway and then Denmark, a remarkable feat of seamanship. A small Danish team found a few remains of the Unicorn in the tidal shallows in 1964. On his return, Munk had both personal and political difficulties, although he continued to serve in the navy of Christian IV until his death under unclear circumstances in 1628.