The Age of Discovery – In Search of the Northern Passages


Day course

Mike Shaw

20 May 2023

9:00 am to 4:00 pm


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From the beginning of our modern age navigators and their merchant backers baulked at the long detours required to round the great Capes of Good Hope and the Horn and determined to find shorter passages in higher latitudes.  Thus began the search for the Northern Passages, the central theme of this day course.

What they found instead were prolific hunting grounds for marine species, which were exploited for 400 years. With the completion of the Suez and later the Panama canals, the world changed shape and interest waned. The race for the conquest of the Poles became a matter of national prestige rather than economic imperative.

All-comers welcome.

Tutor information

Mike Shaw was a regular soldier for over 30 years and has been a keen student of history all his life.  A longstanding contributor to the Dillington programme and an erstwhile ocean yachtsman, he has an interest in early navigational techniques and how trading links developed across the world’s oceans in the Age of Sail leading to the development of the mercantile empires. More importantly however, it is the way he tells the story.

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