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The Thousand-Year Saga of the Northwest Passage

For hundreds of years European explorers braved the Arctic Sea’s treacherous waters in search of an elusive “Northwest Passage” – a route to Asia and Cathay circumventing the Indian Ocean and treacherous horn of South America. The Vikings of Iceland and Greenland were the first to ply the frigid American waters beginning in the late 10th century but colonized and exploited regional resources rather than look for a route to the Far East.

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Tactical Advantage and the Power of Gods: Greek Fire and Flamethrowers in the Ancient World

Fighting a battle in an ancient world demanded a special set of skills, not only the early types of technology. Very often, the ancient literature talks about “glorious heroes” who destroyed the enemy on land or on the sea. These ancient wars weren’t only conflicts. They were a sort of communication, psychological fight over who is more superior. So, in the case of Greek Fire and flamethrowers, we can also see hidden propaganda that aimed to weaken the enemy.

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The Dreaded “Land of Storms”: Rounding, Avoiding, and Cutting Out Cape Horn, 1526-1914

Before the completion of the U.S. transcontinental railroad (1869) and Panama Canal (1914) a major impediment to Euro-American exploration and colonization of Pacific lands was sailing around Cape Horn – the furthest-most point on the South American continent. The Spanish were the first to explore the region in 1526. In the late eighteenth century British and New England whalers began documenting extreme conditions while navigating the Drake Passage – the strait separating Antarctica from South America.

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