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The West Indies and the Arctic in the age of sail: the voyages of Abram (1806-62)

Launched in Lancaster in 1806 and named after Abraham Chalwill Hill, a merchant and planter in the Virgin Islands, the Abram sailed from the port to the West Indies 21 times in the period up to 1818. She called at Tortola, St Thomas and St Croix in what are now the British and American Virgin Islands, and was then refitted as an Arctic whaler. From 1819 she sailed regularly to the Northern Whale Fishery, before being crushed by pack ice in Baffin Bay in 1862.

Beautifully illustrated, this book sheds new light on Lancaster and Liverpool’s special relationship with the British and Danish Virgin Islands during and after the Napoleonic Wars. As a whaler sailing from Hull and Kirkcaldy, Abram over-wintered in the Arctic during the disastrous season of 1835-36 and later became involved in the celebrated search for Sir John Franklin and his missing ships and crew. The chance survival of a surgeon’s journal from 1839 allows an exceptional insight into the routines of whaling and the observations of possibly the only educated member of Abram’s company.

  • Softback
  • Full colour cover, illustrated in colour throughout
  • ISBN: 978-1-86220-302-0
  • 198pp plus vi

Price: £14.95 (plus p+p)

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Published by Centre for North-West Regional Studies, Lancaster University

About the Authors

Dr Rob David is a specialist in Arctic history who has written extensively on exploration, representations of the Arctic and whaling. Dr Michael Winstanley is a leading historian of North West England, and Lancaster in particular.


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