The Mystery of the Fall of the Franklin Expedition

  In the late
  15th century, European explorers wanted to find their way to Asia from their northwest or northeast voyages. At the time, Spain and Portugal were at their peak, and they had benefited enormously from trade in the Americas, India, and especially from China. The United Kingdom got up a step late and wanted to catch up quickly, but the existing waterway was occupied by the West and Portugal, so the first problem before it was to find a route to the East. At that time, it was already known that northern Norway was not frozen, so explorers began their Arctic expeditions to find the Northwest Passage, and have been fighting for it for centuries.
  By 1845, the British government decided to set up two huge prizes: 20,000 pounds for the first person to open the Northwest Route, and 5,000 pounds for the first ship to reach 89 degrees north latitude. It was this grand prize that led to the greatest tragedy in the history of Arctic exploration.
  Sir John Franklin became acquainted with the North Pole when he was a young sailor. He made his first expedition to the North Pole in 1818 with a Royal Navy expedition, and later, he led two land expeditions to the Canadian Arctic to survey and map the coastline. By the time he led the expedition in 1845, Franklin, 59, was already a well-known Arctic explorer.
  Franklin ‘s two expedition ships, the Terror and the Dark, were not only equipped with the most advanced steam-engine propellers of their time, but could be retracted into the hull for easy access when needed. Cleaned ice cubes, and also equipped with a hot water pipe system that can heat like never before. In addition, they are equipped with thick oak beams to resist the impact and crushing of ice floes, and it is believed that this new type of expedition ship can break through the ice barrier on the Northwest Passage.
  On May 19, 1845, Franklin set off with his 129-man expedition, which sailed first to Greenland and then west along Canada’s north coast. At that time, almost everyone believed that success was inevitable, and the two huge bonuses would definitely go to Franklin.
  According to Franklin’s plan, when the expedition sailed through Baffin Bay, the ship would freeze in the ice, survive the winter, and when the summer thaw, the expedition continued westward until the next freezing period. The food and supplies on board are sufficient for 3 years, including: 61,987 kilograms of flour, 16,749 liters of beverages, 909 liters of wine for healing, 4,287 kilograms of chocolate, 1,069 kilograms of tea, about 8,000 barrels of canned food, 15,100 kilograms of meat, 11,628 liters of soup, 546kg of beef jerky and 4037kg of vegetables. They were scheduled to arrive in the Pacific in 1848.
  Missing Franklin’s fleet has not been heard from some whalers
  since they spotted them in Arctic waters in late July. By late 1848, the British were convinced that Franklin’s team was missing, but searchers had never found any credible evidence.
  By 1854, word spread among the Inuit, or Eskimos, inhabitants of the Arctic, to England, that a group of white men of unknown origin were dying on the shores of the Arctic. Dr. John Ray of the Hudson Company brought the news back to England, along with some of the remains of the victims – including a medal from Franklin himself, which became the first clues to the fate of the Franklin expedition.   Rescue
In the more than ten years after 1848, a total of more than 40 rescue teams entered the Arctic region, of which 6 teams entered the North American Arctic from land, and 34 teams entered the various islands in the Arctic region from waterways to expand a large area.
  Most of these rescue teams are sent by the government, but a few are funded by individuals. One of the most touching is the tireless efforts of Franklin’s wife, Jane, who firmly believes that her husband is still alive, so she has sent 4 ships to different places to search at all costs. What is particularly interesting is that she instructed the captains to search according to a mysterious nautical chart drawn by a 4-year-old girl who had just died in Ireland. It pointed out the location of Franklin’s accident, and thus became an intriguing mystery.
  At first, there was a glimmer of hope, but after a few years it became clear that any rescue efforts were pointless and that efforts thereafter were nothing more than a search for evidence that the Franklin expedition had been wiped out.
  In 1859, Captain Liebold McClintock discovered a lifeboat used on an expedition ship that year on King William Island, not far from the Busia Peninsula, with the bones of a dead man in it. And, near the lifeboat, McClintock found broken bones scattered around.
  McClintock noticed something unusual: as the desperate sailors dragged their dinghy to escape, they stuffed half a ton of strange goods into the boat: tea and chocolate, silver knives, forks and spoons, Porcelain tableware, clothing, tools, shotguns and ammunition, but not the biscuits or other rations stored on the expedition ship. It’s all inedible—unless you count the human body! And the news spread by the Inuit mentions eating the corpses of their comrades.
  Piecing together all the evidence gathered, one can clearly see that the course of the Franklin expedition tragedy went something like this: After July 1845, the expedition seemed to go well. They had discovered large swaths of ice-free water, sailing north to 77 degrees north latitude. However, because the mission was to go west, I stopped and turned to the west. I inspected the land and coast along the way, and built a wintering base on Beach Island. I spent the first winter. During this period, three people died, and the corpses died. Buried on Beach Island.
  To achieve so much in the first working season is unmatched by any previous expedition. But they are obviously not satisfied with the status quo, but continue to pursue more ambitious goals. During the brief arctic summer, they drove another 350 miles before freezing again. In September 1846, the expedition ship froze west of the Busia Peninsula until June 1847. However, in the summer of this year, the ice floes did not thaw as expected, so the expedition was stuck in the ice cave and could not move. To make matters worse, half of the food they were carrying was moldy and spoiled, making it inedible. They had hoped that the ship would automatically enter the Pacific Ocean by drifting west with the ice floes, but were disappointed to find that this was pure fantasy and practically impossible.
  On June 11, 1847, just after celebrating his 62nd birthday, Franklin died. On his deathbed he still hoped with confidence that within a few days his ship would break free from the ice floes and sail westward free until victory.
  The Answer A century and
  a half later, people are still puzzled and confused about the demise of the Franklin expedition, and it seems to be a mystery that can never be solved. Because 129 able-bodied men, carrying enough food and supplies for more than 3 years, are gone forever, and none of them survived. This kind of tragedy is inexplicable.
  So scientists have come to solve this mystery. From 1981 to 1982, anthropologist Owen Bietti of the University of Alberta in Canada and other archaeologists followed the expedition that year and found 31 skeletons on King William Island, scattered in a Around the Stone Wopeng Ruins.
  Careful study and analysis revealed that the bones belonged to the same human body, between the ages of 22 and 25, undoubtedly the remains of a Franklin expedition sailor. From the uneven surfaces of the better preserved bones it can be concluded that the poor young man was indeed afflicted with scurvy in the months before his death. However, the harsher fact is that on a leg bone, they found 3 knife marks parallel to each other, plus the incomplete bone, which was obviously artificially dismembered, so they can only draw this conclusion , that is, people at that time used to feed on their companions.
  As early as 1854, based on information provided by the local Inuit, it was concluded that hungry sailors used to feed themselves on human flesh to prolong their existence. Later, they went deep into the Inuit and learned more details. According to local residents who visited the scene, they saw boiled human flesh in some boots. Some of the bones on the ground were cut with saws, some of the skulls were knocked open, and the flesh was carefully stripped from the corpse. However, people do not believe, or do not have the courage to believe such a fact.
  Bietti decided to analyze the bone tissue of the corpse. In 1982, the first trace element analysis results came out. Bietti was surprised to find that the content of lead in the bones of the unknown sailor was as high as 228PPM. (228 parts per million), while the bones of two Eskimos collected at the same location contained only 22 PPM and 36 PPM of lead. That is, the lead content in the bones of the sailor in distress was 10 times the normal level. In the 1840s, lead was widely used in people’s lives, and even then, it greatly exceeded the industrial standards of the time. This result immediately attracted the attention of Bietti.
  So, what causes such severe lead poisoning? According to Bietti’s analysis, although the source of lead may be various, it comes from packaging lead foil of tea, lead alloy utensils and utensils inlaid with lead, etc. But the main source is canned food. It turned out that canning was patented in the United States in 1811, and was used by the Royal Navy as a new technology. At that time, the solder used in sealing cans was mainly an alloy of lead and tin, in which the content of lead was as high as 90%. Another disadvantage of this solder is that it has poor fluidity, and the soldered crevices often leave many voids, which can cause food to corrode and deteriorate. This has caused two serious consequences, one is lead poisoning of eaters, and the other is that a considerable part of canned food quickly deteriorates and cannot be eaten. Both outcomes were fatal for the Franklin expedition.
  Lead can easily penetrate food, and cans found on Beach Island showed signs of lead leakage and spoiled lead-containing food. Lead poisons and debilitates the human body, which in turn impairs the functioning of the brain and the ability to think, which are essential for those who survive the death, resulting in fatigue, stupor, and insensitivity, leading to paranoia Mania, or paranoia, makes a person’s temperament frantic and his behavior out of control. This can lead to general pain and anemia. And a lack of vitamin C, a common disease among ocean-going sailors, not only causes scurvy, but also promotes the body’s absorption of lead. The combination of scurvy, lead poisoning, and the bitter cold of the Arctic pushed the entire expedition to a dead end.
  Archaeologists are confident that contemporary exploration techniques will eventually bring the Terror and Darkness to light. Shipwrecks preserved in icy water provide relics, such as the ship’s logbook, and the sailor’s journal. The Inuit say one ship sank, hit by the ice, while the other drifted south with the ice floes. High-tech sonar mounted on the research vessel scans the bottom of the ocean to detect water depths and pick up suspicious objects. Hope will emerge once it detects something shaped like a boat. But so far underwater cameras have only captured rocks. Searches and investigations have now turned elsewhere, and Canada intends to resume the search with the aim of finding the ship drifting south. In 2001, the National Geographic Society also sent a team to find the ship wrecked by ice floes to the north, led by Robert Ballard, who discovered the wreck of the Titanic.
  The answer to the mystery is constantly being revealed, but one thing is worth mentioning. In 1906, Norwegian explorer Amundsen completed the Northwest Route in 3 years. Unfortunately, this route that cost people a lot has no commercial value. .

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