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.
Davis, JohnJohn Davis, also spelled Davys, explorer (b near Dartmouth, Eng 1550?; d near Singapore 27 Dec 1605). His great ambition was to find the NORTHWEST PASSAGE, to which end he sailed from Dartmouth in June 1585. He rediscovered Greenland, mostly forgotten from Norse times, and crossed the strait later named for him, making a landfall on the east coast of Baffin Island, at about 66° 40´N. He returned to DAVIS STRAIT the following year and a third time in 1587 when he reached 72° 12´N along the Greenland coast (Hope Sanderson) and turned south down the Baffin coast, noting the entrances to Frobisher Bay and Hudson Strait and entering Davis Inlet and Hamilton Inlet along the Labrador coast.
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.