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Bernhard Hantzsch: the probable cause of his death in Baffin Island in 1911

  • Graham Rowley

Bernhard Hantzsch was a German zoologist and explorer, born in 1875, whose first work in Canada was in northernmost Labrador in 1906. He returned to the north in 1909 with the object of exploring the then unknown Foxe Basin coast of Baffin Island. His plan was to set off from Cumberland Sound and travel with Eskimos across Baffin Island by way of Nettilling Lake and the Koukdjuak River, follow the coast north and west to Fury and Hecla Strait, and then make his way to Pond Inlet. Unfortunately, the ship that was taking him to Kerketen sank in Cumberland Sound; although all aboard made their way safely to Blacklead Island, most of his supplies were lost. Nevertheless he set off, ill-equipped, in the spring of 1910 with a group of Eskimos. By the end of the year he had established winter quarters at the mouth of what is now 245 Sylvan called the Hantzsch River, with two families, Aggakdjuk, his wife Arnga and their children, and Ittusakdjuak and his wife Sirkinirk.

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Young, D. 1973. Was there an unsuspected killer aboard ‘The Unicorn’? The Beaver, Winter 1973, p 915.
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Polar Record
  • ISSN: 0032-2474
  • EISSN: 1475-3057
  • URL: /core/journals/polar-record
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