26 August 2023, 22:36

Famine, scurvy and lead poisoning: scientists find out the causes of death of the missing expedition of the 19th century

Famine, scurvy and lead poisoning: scientists find out the causes of death of the missing expedition of the 19th century
The mystery of Sir John Franklin's lost Arctic expedition in the 19th century has fascinated historians, explorers and adventurers for almost two centuries. Franklin's expedition, which set out in 1845 in search of the Northwest Passage, disappeared without a trace, becoming one of the greatest maritime mysteries in history. However, recent scientific discoveries have shed new light on this mystery.

Researchers of the National Geographic channel went in search of the grave of the leader of the expedition that disappeared in 1846, as part of which scientists tried to swim for the first time from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean through the Arctic Ocean.
In the summer of 1845, Sir John Franklin, an experienced Arctic explorer, led two ships on a mission to find the Northwest Passage, a shipping route through the Arctic connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. The expedition consisted of 129 officers and crew members, all of whom were well trained and eager to conquer the icy waters of the Arctic.

But in September 1846, according to a note discovered in 1859, the two ships Terror and Erebus got stuck in the ice. Searches for survivors were futile. Only 9 years ago, the Terror ship was discovered in the Victoria Strait, in the northwestern part of Canada, and in 2016, the Erebus ship was discovered off the coast of King William Island.
As the study showed, out of 129 people, only 105 survived, but eventually all of them also died. According to the note, some crew members were able to live until 1848. According to scientists, hunger, scurvy, and lead poisoning from eating poor-quality canned foods were among the reasons why these people died later. Also, death could occur as a result of tuberculosis and cardiovascular diseases.

Among the probable causes of their death was cannibalism, which the crew members were forced to resort to. At least this was indicated by the discovered human remains. Experts suggest that people even siphoned bone marrow from the bones of their dead to obtain nutrients.
Constant attempts to reveal the secret of Sir John Franklin's expedition allow us to gradually approach the solution of this tragic mystery. Although many questions remain, the combined efforts of scientists, archaeologists and historians play the most important role in this.

Source: National Geographic

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