10. Franklin’s Last Contact With Europeans Came in August 1845
HMS Erebus in the Ice, 1846 by François Etienne Musin
In August of 1845, The Erebus and the Terror came into contact with the Enterprise and the Prince of Wales in Baffin Bay. They had last stopped for supplies in Greenland and were waiting for better conditions to cross the Bay. It was already August, meaning that they would be heading into uncharted territory as summer was coming to an end.
Still, the Franklin Expedition had reason to hope. They had enough supplies for three years, meaning they could continue sailing in the summer if they got stuck in the Arctic ice. Furthermore, by 1846, much of the Arctic had already been mapped, and so had the West Coast. It was Franklin’s goal to fill in the last gap, while also doing numerous other scientific surveys.
9. Franklin and Crozier Had Experience Exploring the Arctic
Photograph of Francis Crozier, Captain of the HMS Terror
This wasn’t the first time Frasier had visited the Arctic. Previously, Frasier had explored the North American arctic over land in several expeditions. In his first expedition, Franklin hoped to map the north coast of North America by following the Coppermine River from 1819 to 1821. In events that would foreshadow his later expeditions, 11 members of his 20 person team lost their lives in the harsh conditions. The crew had fallen apart, which even led to a murder once the crew reached their base at Fort Enterprise.
Francis Crozier had also explored the Arctic multiple times as a crew member on the ships of explorer Captain William Pary, and also spent time searching for missing whalers in the region. During this time, he even learned to speak Inuktitut, the language of the Inuit.
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