Biography

Born c. 1584 of unknown parentage, and probably resident in London, Baffin's early life is pure conjecture, while details of his last decade are largely those recorded in Purchas's work. His surviving texts reveal more than a little formal schooling, and he demonstrated his familiarity with the most advanced theories and techniques of celestial navigation. Baffin's principal expeditions included Hall's 1612 voyage to Greenland, two whaling voyages to Spitsbergen for the Muscovy Company in 1613 and 1614, Bylot's 1615 and 1616 expeditions for the North West Company in search of the North West Passage, and two voyages for the East India Company.

Scholars only know that Baffin had married because his widow pressed a claim against the East India Company for his wages and other compensation and received £500 in 1628. They appear to have been childless. Baffin died on January 23,1622 of a gunshot wound to the stomach, suffered while taking sightings for artillery on the island of Qeshm, during the siege of Hormuz.

Merrill Distad See also Baffin Bay; Baffin Island; Bylot, Robert

Further Reading

Dodge, Ernest S., Northwest by Sea, New York: Oxford

University Press, 1961 Pennington, L.E. (editor), The Purchas Handbook: Studies of the Life, Times and Writings of Samuel Purchas, 1577-1626: With Bibliographies of His Books and Works About Him, 2 volumes, London: Hakluyt Society, 1997 Thomson, George Malcolm, The North-West Passage, London:

Secker and Warburg, 1975 Waters, David W., The Art of Navigation in England in Elizabethan and Early Stuart Times, London: Hollis and Carter, 1958

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