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The Northwest Passage

The Northwest Passage is a sea route that connects the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans through the Arctic Ocean it spans from the north of Canada’s Baffin Island to the Beaufort Sea north of the U.S state of Alaska.

The 900 miles sea route is difficult to traverse due to its icy landscape and dangerous weather conditions.

The first recorded attempt to discover the Northwest Passage was the East-west voyage of John Cabot and that was in 1497, ever since then European explorers have spent centuries trying to find the passage.

Northwest Passage Facts for Kids

  • The ownership of the water making up the Northwest Passage continues to be a subject of debate between Canada and the United States of America.
  • The world’s fifth-largest island called the Baffin Island is found in the water of the Northwest Passage.
  • The Northwest Passage is home to animals such as Arctic wolves, Polar bears, musk ox, narwhal, walrus, beluga and Caribou.
  • Navigating through the Northwest Passage from Europe to Asia is faster, it cuts about 2,500 miles from the regular shipping route.
  • Roughly 8,000 years ago plankton known as the Neodentical vanished from the Atlantic Ocean and has been found in the Northwest Passage.
  • There are more than 36,500 islands that must be navigated In the Canadian Archipelago portion of the Northwest Passage to pass through.
  • Through the naming of places and water bodies around the Northwest Passage, the names of the original explorers of the Passage were immortalized. Places such as Hudson Bay, Baffin Island, and the Baffin Bay and Beechey Island were respectively named after Sir Henry Hudson, William Baffin, and Frederick William Beechey who were among the original explorers of the passage.
  • In the 1700s the Gray whale was hunted to extinction in the Atlantic Ocean, it was however seen in the Mediterranean around the year 2010. It is believed to have followed food from the Northwest Passage and eventually ended up in the Mediterranean.
  • In 1906, Roald Amundsen became the first European to successfully navigate the Northwestern passage.
  • The first commercial cargo ship to have sailed through the Northwest Passage was SS Manhattan and that was in August 1969.
  • In the summer of 2007, the route became completely free of ice for the time in recorded history this is due to climate change and warming temperature that caused the Arctic sea ice to melt.

Northwest-Passage

Question: Who was the first European to successfully navigate the Northwestern passage?

Answer: Roald Amundsen was the first European to successfully navigate the Northwestern passage.

Question: When did the route become completely free of ice for the first time?

Answer: The route became completely free of ice for the time in recorded history in the summer of 2007.

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Question: Identify some of the animals found on the Northwest Passage

Answer: Animals such as Arctic wolves, Polar bears, musk ox, narwhal, walrus, beluga and Caribou are found on the Northwest Passage.

Question: Where is the fifth largest Island in the world found?

Answer: The fifth-largest island in the world called Baffin Island is found in the water of the Northwest Passage.

Question: What is the name of the first commercial cargo ship to sail through the Northwest Passage?

Answer: The first commercial cargo ship to sail through the Northwest Passage was SS Manhattan.

Question: How were some of the earliest explorers of the Northwest Passage immortalized?

Answer: Some of the earliest explorers of the Northwest Passage were immortalized by naming places and water bodies along the passage after them.

Question: Why is the Northwest Passage difficult to navigate?

Answer: The Northwest Passage is difficult to navigate due to its icy landscape and dangerous weather conditions.