The Northwest passage is a sea passage in northwest North America that is located 500 miles north of the Artic circles. Traveling through the passage is not easy, as it involves navigating around numerous icebergs and through hazardous weather conditions. For centuries, explorers searched for this passage as a path between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans by way of North America. The Northwest passage was a valuable find because it decreases the amount of travel time needed to get from Europe to Asia. Incentive to discover the Northwest Passage began in the 1400s when Ottomon Turks gained control of the Middle East and stopped the ability of Europe to trade with Asia by land, thus they needed to begin using a water route. Christopher Columbus was the first to attempt a voyage through the Northwest passage in 1492, and many other explorers such as John Cabot, Sir Frances Drake, Captain James Cook, and Apostolos Valerianos attempted as well. Finally, the Northwest Passage was discovered in 1902 by Norwegian Roald Amundsen (he was traveling in a ship that was prepared to combat the ice). Canada has been in control of the region since the 1880s.

external image Northwest_passage.jpg
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northwest_Passage