Historical Inquiry

THE FRANKLIN EXPEDITION: Historical Heroes or Epic Fools? 

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One of Canada’s great historical mysteries is close to being solved. In 1845 the Franklin Expedition left England on a quest to map the elusive Northwest Passage through the Arctic Ocean. The entire crew was lost and the ships disappeared until their recent discovery made possible by the testimonies provided in Inuit oral histories. The Erebus was discovered in shallow waters in 2014 and last summer, the Terror was finally found. Once the contents of each ship is examined, we might learn more about what happened to Franklin’s crew.

But we have our own mystery to solve. European explorers from Cabot, Champlain and Cook, to Mackenzie and Franklin are often remembered as remarkable men. They are celebrated in our history books and documentaries. But are we telling accurate stories about such men? Were they heroic and remarkable?




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