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The Three Voyages of William Barents to the Arctic Regions, 1594, 1595, and 1596, by Gerrit de Veer
London: Hakluyt Society, 1876 clxxiv+289 pages with frontispiece foldout maps and one folding map, 12 folding illustrations.Octavo (9" x 6") bound in original publisher's blue cloth with gilt lettering to spine and gilt pictorial representation of the ship Victoria on the cover and edge ruled decorative blind stamp to covers. Introduction, by Lieutenant Koolemans Beynen (Royal Netherlands Navy). Works issued by the Hakluyt Society, First Series, Number 54. Second edition. This is the revised edition of volume 13 first series with a 'Postscript' of five unnumbered pages at the beginning of the text entitled A true Description of three Voyages by the North-East towards Cathay and China, undertaken by the Dutch in the Years 1594, 1595, and 1596, by Gerrit de Veer. Published at Amsterdam in the Year 1598, and in 1609 translated into English by William Phillip. Edited by Charles T. Beke, Phil.D., F.S.A. 1853.Gerrit de Veer (c. 1570 - after 1598) was a Dutch officer on Willem Barentsz' second and third voyages (1595 and 1596) in search of the Northeast passage. De Veer kept a diary of the voyages and in 1597 was the first person to observe and record the Novaya Zemlya effect, and the first westerner to observe hypervitaminosis A caused by consuming polar bear liver. In his diary Gerrit de Veer also describes the previous two polar expeditions undertaken by Barents, in 1594 and 1595. De Veer writes fluently, in an almost literary style, which makes for a gripping read. He vividly depicts how the ships had to navigate skilfully to avoid icebergs, whilst sailing ever further North. The commander of one of the ships, Jan Cornelisz Rijp decided not to continue and returned to Amsterdam. The following year he would meet the survivors of the expedition on the Kola peninsula. Barents and Van Heemskerck pressed on further North. Although they managed to round the northern tip of Nova Zembla, they did not get far after that. They had to turn back because of the ice and eventually their ship got stuck and they could go no further. We feel their horror as they realise they are trapped, with winter approaching. We follow in detail how they built a cabin ('Het Behouden Huys', i.e. 'The Saved House') from fallen trees and some wood from the ship. Then they hauled the cargo from the ship into the cabin, including a clock, which they managed to keep running until it froze due to the extreme temperatures. The crew kept track of time using the ship's navigation instruments and the twelve hour glass. De Veer was also the first to describe a natural phenomenon that is now known as the Novaya Zemlya Effect. Two weeks before the sun was due to re-appear he and others saw it rise. De Veer describes how he tried to verify his and other's observations by making calculations of their position. He was not to know that the sun he saw was only a mirage. The men suffered from scurvy, and one fell ill and died. When the sun finally did return they waited to see if the ship would come free of the ice. When this did not happen they prepared two open boats and set sail for Kola. Again De Veer details their progress from day to day in milage. When they arrived they were warmly greeted by some Russians - and by their fellow explorer Rijp! Only 12 of the original 17 crew made it back to Amsterdam. Four men, including Barents himself died during that perilous journey in open boats, exposed to the elements. Their graves have never been found. No wonder then that Gerrit de Veer's account of the overwintering became an instant hit. It was published in Dutch in 1598; in the same year Latin and French translations were published in Amsterdam by C. Nicolaas , and a German translation appeared in Nuremberg . An English translation, followed in 1609.Condition:Spine age toned and gilt dulled, corners gently bumped, some foxing, bookplate on front pastedown else very good.
      [Bookseller: The Book Collector]
Last Found On: 2017-06-22           Check availability:      Biblio    

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