Sir Martin Frobisher
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Sir Martin Frobisher, His Explorations, Voyages, Discoveries

Sir Martin Frobisher was either born in 1535 or 1539 in Altofts, Yorkshire. He had made three expeditions to the New World in search of the Northwest Passage to be used as a trading route to India and China. Sir Martin was an English privateer who was successful in plundering the riches from the French vessels.

Sir Martin Frobisher Biography


He was awarded a knighthood for his part in the defeat of the Spanish Armada. He was sent to a school in London at a very young age and there he was under the protection of Sir John York. In 1544, Sir John sent Martin in a ship which was to sail to Guinea.

Sir Martin Frobisher
Sir Martin Frobisher

He had spent the initial few years of his life in travelling at sea from the coast of North Africa to the Levant. After spending much of his time on board, he was in 1565 referred to as Captain Sir Martin Frobisher.

When was Martin Frobisher born?

Martin Frobisher was born in 1535 in Yorkshire, England. His father was Bernard Frobisher who was Merchant. Martin, from a very young age, became acquainted with the seamen of London and became interested in exploration and navigation.

Martin Frobisher Family – Martin Frobisher’s father was Bernard Frobisher and mother, Margaret Yorke. Martin was, however, sent to a relative’s house at a young age where he grew up and went to school.

Why is Martin Frobisher Important to Canada?

Frobisher was one of the earliest men to explore Canada’s northwest coast.

Northwest Passage

In 1576, Sir Martin was able to get the funds for his Northwest Passage voyage from Muscovy Company. Sir Martin was able to buy three ships from the gathered fund, two vessels, namely Gabriel and Michael both weighing about 20-25 tons and a small ship weighing about 10 tons.

 Hall Map of Frobisher Bay
Hall Map of Frobisher Bay

He was also able to raise a crew of around 35 men. Sir Martin sailed through the Shetland Islands to reach Northwest Passage. However, in their journey, they were caught in severe storm wherein, the small ship was lost and Michael had to be abandoned. The Gabriel reached the coast of Labrador on 28th July.

What was the name of Martin Frobisher’s ship?

Martin Frobisher had three ships named Gabriel, Michael. They were both weighed about 20-25 tons. The third one was a small pinnacle of about 10 tons. It was unnamed.

Facts About Sir Martin Frobisher

After sailing for a few days, Gabriel reached the mouth of Frobisher Bay and by 18th August 1576, the ship had reached Baffin Island. Once on the Island, Martin asked his men to take the help of locals to guide them through the unknown area. He had also warned the crew not to interact too much with the local people.

The crew did not take Martin’s order seriously and were held as hostages by the Inuit. Martin made several attempts to rescue his crew but in vain and he reached London on 9th October. It is said that the crew members lived for some years with the locals until they died trying to run away from the Island.

Martin Frobisher timeline
Martin Frobisher timeline

What did Martin Frobisher Discover?

Martin Frobisher travelled to the Labrador and Baffin Island and discovered the bay that is today known as the Frobisher Bay. Due to severe cold and rough weather, he could not travel further but returned to England with news of possible goldmines which won him royal patronage for further explorations.

Martin Frobisher: Voyages

In 1577, the Queen had sold Ayde a Royal Navy ship to raise funds for a bigger voyage. In May 1577, the Ayde, Gabriel, and Michael with a crew of around 150 men left Blackwall and sailed through Scotland to reach Hall’s Island near Frobisher Bay.

After a few days, the country and the south side of the bay was captured in the name of the Queen. After some days of searching, the Ayde reached Milford Haven followed by Gabriel and Michael which reached Bristol and Yarmouth.

Martin Frobisher Voyages
Martin Frobisher Voyages

Another voyage in 1578, was planned by the Queen which had a total of 15 ships. These ships left Plymouth, sailed through the English Channel and reached and landed at the south of Greenland.

However, bad weather prevented them from carrying out their planned expedition. After reaching there, Sir Martin discovered that they had reached the wrong place and a few attempts were made to find a settlement.

How Did Martin Frobisher Die

Sir Martin and his crew collected huge quantities of ore but when they came back they were disappointed to find out that it had no value. In 1591 he went to his birthplace, Altofts where he married his second wife, Dorothy Wentworth, daughter of Thomas Wentworth.

Martin Frobisher
Martin Frobisher

Sir Martin found very little happiness in his country life and soon sailed the seas again. The captained the ship fitted by Sir Walter Raleigh to the Spanish coast. In 1594, he was injured by a gunshot at Fort Crozon where he was engaged with a squadron. He died after a few days at Plymouth owing to lack of medical treatment.

How old was Martin Frobisher when he died?

Martin Frobisher died on 22 November in 1594. At that time he was around 59.

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