Thomas Button

Thomas Button

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Sir Thomas Button was a Welsh
Wales
Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain, bordered by England to its east and the Atlantic Ocean and Irish Sea to its west. It has a population of three million, and a total area of 20,779 km²...

 officer of the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 and explorer who in 1612–1613 commanded an expedition that unsuccessfully attempted to locate explorer Henry Hudson
Henry Hudson
Henry Hudson was an English sea explorer and navigator in the early 17th century. Hudson made two attempts on behalf of English merchants to find a prospective Northeast Passage to Cathay via a route above the Arctic Circle...

 and to navigate the Northwest Passage
Northwest Passage
The Northwest Passage is a sea route through the Arctic Ocean, along the northern coast of North America via waterways amidst the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans...

. It was, nonetheless, a voyage of discovery and
Thomas Button was an explorer as well. Button sailed from England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 about the beginning of May 1612, in two ships; Resolution and Discovery
Discovery (1602 ship)
Discovery was a 20-ton "fly-boat" of the British East India Company, launched before 1602.Discovery was the smallest of three ships that were led by Captain Christopher Newport on the voyage that resulted in the founding of Jamestown in the new Colony of Virginia in 1607...

 and reached the mouth of a river which he named the Nelson
Nelson River
The Nelson River is a river of north-central North America, in the Canadian province of Manitoba. Its full length is , it has mean discharge of , and has a drainage basin of , of which is in the United States...

 after a member of the ships company who had died.
They wintered at what is now known as Port Nelson
Port Nelson
Port Nelson may refer to:* Port Nelson, Manitoba* Port Nelson, Newfoundland and Labrador* Port Nelson, Australia* Port Nelson, New Zealand...

 and the next year headed north to search for the Northwest Passage. They lost the Resolution to sea ice
Sea ice
Sea ice is largely formed from seawater that freezes. Because the oceans consist of saltwater, this occurs below the freezing point of pure water, at about -1.8 °C ....

 and continued on to 65° North. He discovered and named Mansel Island
Mansel Island
Mansel Island , a member of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, is an uninhabited island in Qikiqtaaluk Region, Nunavut. It is located in Hudson Bay off of Quebec's Ungava Peninsula. At in size, it is the 159th largest island in the world, and Canada's 28th largest island...

 and returned to England in September 1613.
He is credited with exploring and securing the west coast of Hudson Bay
Hudson Bay
Hudson Bay , sometimes called Hudson's Bay, is a large body of saltwater in northeastern Canada. It drains a very large area, about , that includes parts of Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Alberta, most of Manitoba, southeastern Nunavut, as well as parts of North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota,...

 for his country. He named the area New North Wales and New South Wales.

Button was knighted by James I
James I of England
James VI and I was King of Scots as James VI from 24 July 1567 and King of England and Ireland as James I from the union of the English and Scottish crowns on 24 March 1603...

. He continued on to have a successful naval career and became an Admiral
Admiral
Admiral is the rank, or part of the name of the ranks, of the highest naval officers. It is usually considered a full admiral and above vice admiral and below admiral of the fleet . It is usually abbreviated to "Adm" or "ADM"...

, appointed 'Admiral of the King's Ships on the coast of Ireland' for the rest of his career. Despite his standing in the Royal Navy, he had a long quarrel with the English Admiralty which was nearing resolution in his favour at the time of his death.

Button and his men were the first recorded Europeans to walk in the area now known as Manitoba
Manitoba
Manitoba is a Canadian prairie province with an area of . The province has over 110,000 lakes and has a largely continental climate because of its flat topography. Agriculture, mostly concentrated in the fertile southern and western parts of the province, is vital to the province's economy; other...

. His discovery meant others followed after him, using his landmarks, his stories, and his notes. The first maps of Hudson Bay were struck from his explorations and from those of his predecessor, Henry Hudson
Henry Hudson
Henry Hudson was an English sea explorer and navigator in the early 17th century. Hudson made two attempts on behalf of English merchants to find a prospective Northeast Passage to Cathay via a route above the Arctic Circle...

. Button was the first European to see the buffalo or bison
Bison
Members of the genus Bison are large, even-toed ungulates within the subfamily Bovinae. Two extant and four extinct species are recognized...

 near the great interior plains of North America. He was one of the very first Europeans to explore North America in the areas that are now part of Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

.

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