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Early English Explorers: Frobisher and Davis

Early English Explorers: Frobisher and Davis
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 6 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.8

     challenging words:    determined, assured, remainder, worthless, best, hostage, privateer, navigation, booty, extensive, mines, arrival, throne, contemporary, valuable, spite
     content words:    John Cabot, Martin Frobisher, On June, Far East, Spanish Armada, John Davis, Northwest Passage, Baffin Island, Cumberland Sound, Davis Strait

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Early English Explorers: Frobisher and Davis
By Mary Lynn Bushong

1     Queen Elizabeth I was on the throne of England; she ushered in a time of more freedoms and opportunity for her people. Almost a century earlier, John Cabot and his son had laid claim to a large portion of America. Now the time was right for action to be taken.
2     The first of those explorers to go was Martin Frobisher. He had been a keen student in only one subject-- navigation. Nothing else interested him. He'd heard stories about the wealth of Asia and was determined to have some of it for himself.
3     His first voyage at the age of fourteen nearly ended in disaster. He was one of only a handful of sailors to return from an expedition to Guinea, Africa. He returned again the next year, to be kidnapped and held hostage by an African chief. It was several months before he was released.
4     After that experience, Frobisher decided that the best way to get rich on the high seas was to become a privateer or pirate. He wasn't just any kind of pirate though. He had a special license to raid ships only from France. A portion of the booty was given to the English crown. He was arrested several times for also raiding British ships, but he always was released after a short time.
5     Martin Frobisher did not want only to be rich, he also wanted to explore. He was sure he could find a northwest passage to China. He worked for 15 years to get support for the expedition and finally received it. On June 7, 1576 Frobisher sailed north with two ships and 35 men toward Greenland. By the end of July, they reached an unknown land, and Frobisher named the waterway after himself.
6     They traded with the Inuit they saw. Five crewmen went back to the Inuit village that night against orders and never returned. Before leaving for home, Frobisher kidnapped an Inuit man in his kayak and took him back to England. People were amazed at the man and his craft, but he died soon after from a cold.
7     To assure further expeditions, Frobisher brought back samples of ore which he assured his patrons was gold. A second expedition was soon authorized. This time he had only one ship to explore and two ships to hold ore from the mines he was to find.
8     Before returning home again with 200 tons of ore, Frobisher and his crew captured an Inuit family to bring back with them. The Inuit family died within a month after their arrival in England. Most of the ore was of little value.

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