Willem Barents

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Willem Barents (1550? -- June 20, 1597, Dutch name Barentsz) was a Dutch navigator and explorer, leader of early expeditions in far northern waters.

In 1594 he left Amsterdam with two ships to search for the Northeast passage to eastern Asia. He reached the west coast of Novaya Zemlya, and followed it northward, being finally forced to turn back when near its northern extremity.

In the following year he commanded another expedition of seven ships, which made for the strait between the Asiatic coast and Vaygach Island, but was too late to find open water. His third journey also failed and resulted in his death. On this occasion he had two ships, and on the outward journey sighted Bear Island and Svalbard (also known as Spitsbergen), where the ships separated. Barents' vessel, after rounding the north of Novaya Zemlya, was trapped in the ice and the crew was compelled to winter on Novaya Zemlya, cannibalising their ship's superstructure and spare timber to build a lodge. Since the ship was not released by the ice early in 1597, Barents party left her in two open boats on June 13, 1597 and most of the crew escaped. Barents himself, however, died on June 30, 1597.

The tale of the terrible winter spent on Novaya Zemlya was published as the diary of Gerrit de Veer, the ship's carpenter, who was the first person to observe the atmospheric anomaly known as the Novaya Zemlya effect.

In 1871 the house in which Barents and his crew wintered was discovered undisturbed, with many relics, which are preserved at The Hague, and in 1875 part of his original journal was found.

The Barents Sea and Barents Region were named after him.da:Willem Barents de:Willem Barents fi:Willem Barents fy:Willem Barents ja:ウィレム・バレンツ nl:Willem Barentsz no:Willem Barents pl:Willem Barents sv:Willem Barents

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