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Luke Fox (or Luke Foxe ) (Kingston-upon-Hull, Yorkshire, October 20, 1586 – July 15, 1635) was an explorer English that looked for in the Arctic the Step of the Northwest.
Map showing the route of the Charles ship under Luke Fox in the expedition of 1631-32.
Little is known of Luke Fox’s life. He had little education, although he learned navigation and arctic history. Being young, he sailed in European waters and acquired skills in “the use of balloons and other mathematical instruments”. At 20 he was already fascinated by the possibility of discovering a passage to the East through North America, the famous Paso del Noroeste. He obtained the patronage of Henry Briggs, the mathematician, and of Sir John Brooke, and at the end of 1629 he requested the ship King Charles to make this trip. He succeeded, and thanks to the encouragement of a rival plan – that of Captain Thomas James (1593? -1635?) Sponsored by Bristol merchants – he also won the patronage of London merchants, including Sir Thomas Roe.
Both expeditions left England in May 1631, aboard two similar ships -Fox, King Charles and James Henrietta Maria-, of about 70 tons each and prepared for a trip of about 18 months and with a crew of twenty men (including the captain) and two children.
Fox sailed on April 28, 1631 from London and on May 5 left Deptford, two days after James left Bristol. After surviving an ordeal because of the ice, he arrived at the Hudson Strait on June 22 and undertook an anti-clockwise survey of the shores of Hudson Bay. It began following the southern coast of Southampton Island, then descended along the western coast of Hudson Bay to Port Nelson. Further south, it was found on August 29-31 with Thomas James: Fox continued sailing east and north, and James east and south, entering James Bay. Fox continued his exploration to the north, being the first navigator to finally enter Foxe Basin (named, 200 years later, by William Edward Parry, in his honor) and touring the western coast of Baffin Island, until he was forced to return because of the ice, at 66 ° 47 ‘N, returning to England on October 31.
Thomas James’s trip was more recognized probably because his narrative of the trip was better written, although Fox’s achievements were highlighted: he was the first to circumnavigate the Hudson Bay, to investigate the Foxe Canal area and also He returned without losing a single man of his crew.
Neither James nor Fox discovered the northwest passage and ruled out that there was such a step in Hudson Bay. Fox considered the strait known now as Roes Welcome Sound to be promising, and pointed out that the tide through the Foxe channel came from the southeast (not from the west, as Henry Hudson and Thomas Button had encouragingly reported in their 1610-12 trips). . They were negative discoveries that decreased interest in Arctic exploration for almost 200 years. On the other hand, Fox wrote that he had gone further than any predecessor “in less time and with less burden.” His return in the same year undoubtedly saved lives (his real concern) and money, although it led to criticism. adversaries of which Fox thought it necessary to defend himself in his book.
The book is titled North-West Fox … and was published in London in 1635. («North-West Fox, or, Fox from the North-West Passage, Beginning with King Arthur, Malga, Octhur, the Two Zeni’s of Iseland, Estotiland, and Dorgia; Following with Briefe Abstracts of the Voyages of Cabot, Frobisher, Davis, Waymouth, Knight, Hudson, Button, Gibbons, Bylot, Baffin, Hawkridge … Demonstrated in a Polar Card, Wherein Are All The Maines, Seas, and Ilands, Herein Mentioned With the Author His Owne Voyage, Being the XVIth ».) The British Museum has a handwritten copy.
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