ARCdoc Hudson's Bay voyages
10 September 2014
These datasets contain spreadsheet data collated from actual Hudson’s Bay Company whaling logbooks between 1750 and 1850.
These logbooks are valuable for covering the whole of the 100-year study period of the ARCdoc project (1750 to 1850) with only a few gaps (four years only are missing). The original documents are held in the Manitoba State Archives (http://www.gov.mb.ca/chc/archives/hbca/) but microfilm copies are available in the UK National Archives in Kew (http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk), the latter are however not of good quality.
The original logbooks were prepared by the various captains who sailed annually between London and the Company’s factories in Hudson’s Bay. The ships set out in early summer, returning usually in September; voyages planned to avoid the winter ice. They tended to take the same route each year following more-or-less the same latitude, and for the purposes of climate studies this is a great advantage as replicate routes provide for a geographically consistent data set.
The Hudson’s Bay Company logbooks are a unique and welcomingly complete set of merchant shipping documents that have provided much useful Arctic climatic information not available from any other source. A review of Hudson Bay Company logbooks and their potential for climate studies can be found in Ward and Wheeler (2012).
- The University of Hull