1578: Frobisher's Gold Mines

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During August, the crews quarried and loaded more than 1,100 tons of rock from several mines. Two mines were opened on the Countess of Warwick's Island, which was also used as a headquarters and an assembly point. Here, the assayers set up shops to test the ore brought from various mine sites, and workshops were probably established to repair tools.

Model; CMC S2000-4599
Model; CMC S2000-4598
Model; CMC S2000-4600


From a model of the northern portion of Frobisher's Countess of Warwick's Island, now known as Kodlunarn Island, as it may have appeared during late August 1578.



Mine Sites
Mine Locations in Outer Frobisher Bay (mines that have been identified by archaeologists)

Mine Site
1 Mount Warwick
2 Kodlunarn Island

Photograph: Robert McGhee
The scars made by mining tools are still clearly visible on the walls of the mine at the northern end of the Countess of Warwick's Island (Kodlunarn Island).
By Francis Back

Groups of Inuit appeared occasionally in the vicinity of the English mines. Both peoples were so wary of one another that no direct contact was made, and Frobisher failed in his attempt to bring more hostages to England.

"Therefore, though our Generall were very desirous to haue taken some of them to haue brought into Englande, they being nowe growen more wary by their former losses, woulde not at any time come within our daungers."

(George Best's account of the 1578 voyage)


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