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Organization > National Defence

Subject > Politics and Society

Date > 1500 > 1580-1589

Other Fruitless Expeditions

Type: Document

Martin Frobisher led unsuccessful English expeditions to find the Northwest Passage. There were conflicts with the Inuit. Other English mariners also voyaged to the region around Labrador.

Site: National Defence

Spanish galleons in a North Atlantic storm, circa 1560s-1580s

Type: Image

The weather shown hitting these Spanish ships was encountered by the Basque whalers based in Labrador during the second half of the 16th century. Occasionally, ships were lost. One such was the San Juan, sunk in Red Bay, Labrador in 1565.

Site: National Defence

Typical town of the north-eastern Amerindians

Type: Image

These towns nearly always featured long bark covered houses encircled by a log stockade wall for protection. Print inspired from John White’s late 16th century renderings.

Site: National Defence

The European Failure

Type: Document

Unlike the Spanish Central America, Europeans were unable to successfully colonize North America in the 16th Century. Amerindian guerrilla tactics combined with a cold and hostile land to frustrate the newcomers. Nevertheless, North America became a theatre of war for European conflicts.

Site: National Defence

Sir Humphrey Gilbert cutting the first sod in Newfoundland in August 1583

Type: Image

Sir Humphrey Gilbert's British colony on Newfoundland failed partially because the colonists were more anxious to find silver mines than to plant crops. On 5 August 1583, Sir Humphrey claimed the island in a ceremony that involved his holding a twig of a hazel tree and a sod of earth. That winter, the explorer sailed back to England and was lost at sea when his ship sank in a storm.

Site: National Defence

Records of the 4th International Colloquy on Military History (Ottawa 23.25 VIII 1978) Date of Publication: 1979

Type: Document

Introduction by W.A.B. Douglas, Director Directorate of History, Program Chairman. Articles in a variety of languages including: English, German, French, Italian, Portugese, Spanish, Russian, Greek.

Site: National Defence

Voyages Of Discovery

Type: Document

Many European expeditions were sent to explore North America during the sixteenth century. The explorers were armed, and their ocean-going ships were a revolutionary technology.

Site: National Defence

Sixteenth-century galleon

Type: Image

The crewmen of this 16th century galleon are using several devices to discover their position. Tools like the arbalete and nocturlabe were used at night to measure the position of the stars in the sky. Based on these measurements, navigators could determine where they were on the globe. (National Library of Canada 18025)

Site: National Defence

Soldiers Of The Canadian Expeditions

Type: Document

The soldiers accompanying early expeditions worked for private businesses, not for the state. Many were veterans of European wars, or gentlemen seeking land or gold.

Site: National Defence

Harquebusier, 16th century

Type: Image

Portable firearms such as the one used by this harquebusier became common in European armies during the 16th century even though they were complicated to handle and slow to fire. Pikemen, crossbowmen, archers and swordsmen continued to be present on battlefields in the old as well as the new world.

Site: National Defence