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27th March 2001
Nottingham Island - Canada
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Nottingham is a more common place-name than you might think. We take a closer look at one of these - Nottingham Island, Canada.

Name: Nottingham Island

Latitude: 632000

Longitude: 775500

Nottingham Island is situated at the entrance to the Hudson Strait, an arm of the Atlantic Ocean between Baffin Island and northern Quebec, Canada, linking Hudson Bay and Foxe Basin with the Labrador Sea.

"Named by Master Hudson, in due bequest to that most honourable Lord Charles Howard, Earle on Nottingham (1536-1624), then lord High Admirall of England, a small remembrance for the charge, countenance and instruction given to the Search of the enterprise."
9th Report of the Geographic Board of Canada, North-West Fox, p.310

Nottingham Island was named by the English explorer Henry Hudson. He came across the island whilst searching for a passage to Asia in the early 1600s.

Hudson was an Englishnavigator and explorer who, sailing three times for the English (1607, 1608, 1610-11) and once for the Dutch (1609), also braved the arctic.

It was his exploration in 1610 that brought him to the Hudson Strait and Nottingham Island. After learning of a possible channel to the Pacific across North America, (described in the logbooks of a voyage made in 1602 by an English explorer, Capt. John Smith), Hudson set off in search of the Northwest Passage.

Nottingham Island, Canada

Hudson set sail in the aptly named 55-ton "Discovery" from London on April 17, 1610. The voyage was funded by the British East India Company , the Muscovy Company and private sponsors including five noblemen, one of whom was the Earl of Nottingham.

The voyage might have brought the spread of Nottingham's fame but it was not a happy trip for Hudson. In 1611, there was mutiny aboard the ship and Hudson and his son were cast adrift in Hudson Bay, never to be seen again.

Hudson's contribution to geographical knowledge was the catalyst to much of English claims to many parts of Canada.

Other facts:

  • There are licences to hunt Atlantic Walrus in the waters surrounding Nottingham Island.

  • In 1927 a radio station was built at Nottingham Island to help the Canadian and the Department of Marine to provide accurate data for the opening of Hudson's Strait to shipping.

  • Sailing down the Hudson Strait is only possible during late summer and early autumn, but icebreakers make the passage most of the year.

  • Nottingham Island has been uninhabited since October 1970. The closest community is Cape Dorset, 120 kilometres to the Northeast on Baffin Island.

Just in case you're tempted to spend some time in the Nottingham Island vicinity it might be worth considering the following. The average temperature on the island is -8.7C, while the average freezing temperature is -15C. There are only 123 thawing days.

So the advice is - dress up very very warm.

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