Martin Frobisher's Second Voyage - 1577
Meta Incognita

In Spring of 1577, Martin Frobisher set sail aboard the 200-ton ship Ayde with orders from Queen Elizabeth I to claim the Arctic regions in the name of England and to gather as much gold as he could carry in the ship. During his first voyage the previous year, Frobisher had been convinced that he had, indeed, discovered the Northwest Passage to Cathay (the Orient). He had captured an Inuit who he had mistaken for an 'Asian'. He had also found vast quantities of gold.

Six weeks after setting sail, Frobisher claimed the Arctic for England and named it Meta Incognita (Of Limits Unknown).

As Frobisher searched the area for more Inuit, the rest of the crew began mining the ore and loading the ship. He located an abandoned village where he discovered a few scraps of European clothing. From this, Frobisher believed that his men had been murdered by the Inuit, but Inuit oral history denies this.

Frobisher was not greeted kindly by the Inuit he encountered this time. Instead, he found himself in a war during which he was wounded. He managed to capture several Inuit as slaves, but many more jumped into the sea to avoid capture.

Frobisher returned to England with his shipload of gold. His captured slaves died less than a month after their arrival.


First Voyage 1576 - The Northwest Passage
* Second Voyage 1577 - Meta Incognita *
Third Voyage 1578 - Gold Fever