From the fifteenth century onward Europeans were in search of alternative routes to India, and there was much speculation whether a route existed via the Arctic. This issue was of immense interest to 18th Century scholar and librarian Samuel Engel, and most of his work on geography is based on this question. The map detail pictured is from his Mémoires et Observations Géographiques et Critiques… (1765). From the final part of Books from a Private Collection (see Website link above).
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