Home > Useless Dicta > HMS Investigator circa. 1850 found in Arctic waters

HMS Investigator circa. 1850 found in Arctic waters

While searching for the remnants of Sir Franklin’s expedition, Canadian officials have found the HMS Investigator preserved in Arctic waters off the Banks Island in the Northwest Territories.  The ship is submerged beneath 11-metres of water and can be seen with the naked eye in the clear, pristine yet frigid Arctic Ocean.

Northwest Territories, Canada

Franklin, a British explorer, had been searching for the North West passage, and the crew of Investigator succeeded where he had failed.

“This is the ship that confirmed and nailed the existence of that passage,”

The HMS Investigator became trapped in the arctic ice and the crew was forced to abandon the ship, burying most of its cargo nearby. Investigator was dispatched by the Royal Navy to rescue to HMS Terror and HMS Erebus who had apparently suffered  a similary fate in Canada’s arctic archipelago.

HMS Investigator and HMS Enterprise in Canadian Actic Waters

Clearly, this discovery is historically significant. The Investigators’ contact with the Inuit of northern Canada is some of the earliest in recorded history. Furthemore, the marine history of the ship is also significant as it will most definately illuminate several aspects of British expeditionary voyages, and life at sea, particularly in the arctic regions of the world, that were previously unclear.

More importantly, the discovery may help bolster Canada’s sovereignity over the arctic islands. The presence of a British vessel in these waters helps Canada’s claim because it shows use and possession of the land. Although Canada did not become a nation until 1867, most of the Arctic was claimed by Britian as part of Rupert’s Land and the expansive ‘North Western Territory’. These vast lands became part of Canada  in 1870 and have since been carved out over the years to form the provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Yukon Territory, Nunavut Territory and the Northwest Territories.

More than 150-years later, the Investigator’s mission to find the HMS Terror and HMS Erebus continues, led by Parks Canada, as those ships’ final resting places still remain unknown.

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Categories: Useless Dicta
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