Bylot  Robert

(? - 23.01.1622)


English navigator, explorer of the Canadian Arctic. He was a native of commoners, had no education, but, thanks to his abilities, reached a high level in the British royal navy.

Baylot made four trips to the Arctic.

In 1610, he was the first assistant to Henry Hudson on the ship Discovery. On April 17, they left the port of London, crossed from Iceland to the east coast of Greenland, crossed the Davis Strait and, rounding the Labrador Peninsula, saw a wide expanse of water, which was later called the Hudson Bay. It had to winter, and in the spring, when Hudson wanted to continue swimming, a conflict arose with the team who wanted to return home. Discontent resulted in rebellion. The rioters threw Henry Hudson into the boat with a boy-son, an assistant navigator, and six other people loyal to the captain, and left them to their own devices - without weapons and without food. The only surviving officer — navigator Robert Bylot — brought Discovery back to England in the fall of 1611. Upon returning to England, Baylot was tried as a rebel, but pardoned.

In 1612, Bylot returned to Hudson Bay with Sir Thomas Button. Two ships under the command of Button were sent to the Arctic by the “Company of London merchants” with instructions to find a northwest passage to East Asia. Nobody, including Button, was going to search for the abandoned Hudson comrades.

They wintered at the mouth of the Nelson River, in the spring of 1613 continued to move north, were able to reach latitude 65°, and then returned to England.

In 1615, the English company "Moskovia" hired Bylot on the ship "Discovery" to search for the Northwest Passage. The navigator he was still young but experienced polar navigator William Baffin, more than once sailed in the Greenland Sea. And this year it was not possible to achieve any success. In the western part of the Hudson Bay, the ship was blocked by ice, and Baylot decided to return to England.

The following year, "Moskovia" again hired Bylot and Baffin to continue the search for the Northwest Passage. As a result of the voyage, notable success was achieved, among which was the mapping of the shores of the water area, later called the Baffin Sea, and the opening of the strait (now the Lancaster Strait), through which the North-West Passage was opened after almost three hundred years. Contemporaries questioned the results of the work of Baylot and Baffin, and only when the Buffin Sea was rediscovered by John Ross did it appear that their definitions were extremely accurate. In England, almost all the merits were given to Baffin, and Bylot was practically ignored. Historians suggest that this could be due to the lack of education Bylot, his lower social position and participation in the rebellion during the Hudson expedition.

Later, Baylot entered the service of the British East India Company, navigating on the ships surveyed the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf.

He died during the Anglo-Persian company during the siege of Hormuz.

An island near the northeast coast of Baffin Island. Discovered by Bylot in 1616 during the search for the Northwest Passage.


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