Meta Incognita: A Discourse of Discovery

Paper Abstracts


The Medical Record of the Frobisher Voyages of 1576, 1577 and 1578
By James Watt

Medical and victualling supplies for all three voyages appear to have been of the best quality. Victuals provided a high-protein energy diet and local fresh foods may have compensated for inadequate vitamins, though large quantities of an antiscorbutic were carried. Environmental conditions in the Arctic and heavy manual labour resulted in numerous injuries, but no man was lost through medical incompetence and the health record was a tribute to the surgeons' skills. The less favourable outcome of the 1578 voyage was entirely due to Frobisher's mishandling of a critical situation, despite the high morale and superhuman efforts which his leadership inspired.


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