Perhaps the most interesting and curious feature of the map is the long strip of sea that goes from East all the way to West. Here, the mapmaker was speculating. There was a great deal of hope on the part of many in Europe that there would, in fact, be a passageway – a so-called “Northwest Passage” – that would go transversely across the North American continent, providing an opportunity for European ships to reach the Orient directly without having to go all the way down around the bottom of South America and travel up along and across the sometimes-violent Pacific Ocean. So, in this particular case, uh, the wish became the fact, and Quad depicts a Northwest Passage that, in fact, did not exist. I think it’s interesting that in today’s modern times, with, uh, the enhanced ability of ships to traverse the Arctic region, ships are once again imagining regular commercial traffic through the icy waters of the Artic and, perhaps today, there is some version of a Northwest Passage that is actually shaping up. “Until 2009, the Arctic pack ice prevented regular marine shipping throughout most of the year. Arctic sea ice decline has rendered the waterways more navigable for ice navigation.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northwest_Passage Accessed 24 Mar. 2021.
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