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John Rae, Scottish physician and explorer

John Rae, Scottish physician and explorer

C003/6727

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Credit

ROYAL INSTITUTION OF GREAT BRITAIN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ROYAL INSTITUTION OF GREAT BRITAIN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Dr John Rae (1813-1893), Scottish doctor and explorer. Rae was born in the Orkney Islands and was educated at Edinburgh University as a doctor. After qualifying he went to work for the Hudson’s Bay Company in Canada. Learning from the Inuit, he became an expert in Arctic travel and survival. In 1848 he joined Richardson’s expedition searching for the Northwest Passage, and in the next year was sent to try to find the missing ships of Franklin’s lost expedition. Rae himself discovered the final link in the Northwest Passage, but was largely ignored due to his respect for native peoples and his suggestions, passed from Inuit remarks, that the Franklin expedition had resorted to cannibalism.

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