In the last quarter of the 19th century, explorers ventured north through Smith Sound to the northernmost tip of the Arctic Islands, just 500 miles from the Pole. Lingering belief in an open Polar Sea north of the ice was finally dispelled, and the northern Arctic Islands were explored and mapped.
The first transit of the Northwest Passage was not accomplished until
the 20th century. Amundsen, who made the voyage with six men in a small,
motorized boat, expressed amazement that large, 19th century vessels
had gone so far, and accomplished so much.
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