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The West Indies and the Arctic in the age of sail: the voyages of Abram (1806-62)




by Rob David and Michael Winstanley with Margaret Bainbridge



Detailed Description

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Launched in Lancaster in 1806, Abram was named after a West Indian planter and merchant. She sailed initially to the British and Danish Virgin Islands of Tortola, St Thomas and St Croix and her activities shed unexpected light on the importance of these islands for Liverpool and Lancaster merchants during and after the Napoleonic Wars. From 1819 she spent 42 years as whaler, sailing from Hull and later Kirkcaldy but picking up some crew members in the Shetlands. Abram overwintered in the Arctic during the disastrous season of 1835-36 and later became involved in the celebrated search for Sir John Franklin and his missing ships and crew. The chance survival of a surgeon’s journal from 1839 allows an exceptional insight into the routines of whaling and the observations of possibly the only educated member of Abram’s company. She was eventually crushed by pack ice in Baffin Bay in 1862. Beautifully illustrated, this book explores Britain’s relationships with two very different regions of the world during the age of sail. Dr Rob David is a specialist in Arctic history who has written extensively on exploration, representations of the Arctic and whaling. He has lived and worked in the Lake District for nearly 40 years. Dr Michael Winstanley is a leading historian of North West England, and Lancaster in particular. He lectured at Lancaster University for 34 years.

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