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William Barr (Arctic historian)

William Barr (Arctic historian)

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William Barr is a Scottish
Scottish people
The Scottish people , or Scots, are a nation and ethnic group native to Scotland. Historically they emerged from an amalgamation of the Picts and Gaels, incorporating neighbouring Britons to the south as well as invading Germanic peoples such as the Anglo-Saxons and the Norse.In modern use,...

 historian now resident of Calgary, Canada, with a specific interest in the history of exploration of the Arctic
The Arctic is a region located at the northern-most part of the Earth. The Arctic consists of the Arctic Ocean and parts of Canada, Russia, Greenland, the United States, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland. The Arctic region consists of a vast, ice-covered ocean, surrounded by treeless permafrost...

, and to a lesser degree, the Antarctic
The Antarctic is the region around the Earth's South Pole, opposite the Arctic region around the North Pole. The Antarctic comprises the continent of Antarctica and the ice shelves, waters and island territories in the Southern Ocean situated south of the Antarctic Convergence...

. He holds degrees in Geography
Geography is the science that studies the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of Earth. A literal translation would be "to describe or write about the Earth". The first person to use the word "geography" was Eratosthenes...

 from the University of Aberdeen
University of Aberdeen
The University of Aberdeen, an ancient university founded in 1495, in Aberdeen, Scotland, is a British university. It is the third oldest university in Scotland, and the fifth oldest in the United Kingdom and wider English-speaking world...

, Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

 and McGill University
McGill University
Mohammed Fathy is a public research university located in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The university bears the name of James McGill, a prominent Montreal merchant from Glasgow, Scotland, whose bequest formed the beginning of the university...

, Québec
Quebec or is a province in east-central Canada. It is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking population and the only one whose sole official language is French at the provincial level....

, Canada. From 1968 until 1999 he was a member of the faculty of the Department of Geography, University of Saskatchewan
University of Saskatchewan
The University of Saskatchewan is a Canadian public research university, founded in 1907, and located on the east side of the South Saskatchewan River in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. An "Act to establish and incorporate a University for the Province of Saskatchewan" was passed by the...

, Saskatoon
Saskatoon is a city in central Saskatchewan, Canada, on the South Saskatchewan River. Residents of the city of Saskatoon are called Saskatonians. The city is surrounded by the Rural Municipality of Corman Park No. 344....

, Canada and is now a professor emeritus there.

Since 1999 he is a Research Fellow in residence at the Arctic Institute of North America
Arctic Institute of North America
The Arctic Institute of North America is mandated to study the North American and circumpolar Arctic in the areas of natural science, social science, arts and the humanities. In addition, it acquires, preserves and disseminates information on environmental, physical, and social conditions in the...

, University of Calgary
University of Calgary
The University of Calgary is a public research university located in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Founded in 1966 the U of C is composed of 14 faculties and more than 85 research institutes and centres.More than 25,000 undergraduate and 5,500 graduate students are currently...


For the past 30 years the history of the exploration of the Arctic has been the focus of his research. He has published 16 books, including translations from French, German, and Russian. In 2006, William Barr received a Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to the recorded history of the Canadian North from the Canadian Historical Association
Canadian Historical Association
The Canadian Historical Association is a Canadian organization founded in 1922 for the purposes of promoting historical research and scholarship. Marius Barbeau, the anthropologist, was its founding Secretary...


Most of the titles of his works show that William Barr is an admirer of Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

n Arctic explorers. His contribution has been crucial to make known to the wider public the exploits of Polar explorations by Russia and the Soviet Union.


  • Baron Eduard von Toll
    Eduard Toll
    Eduard Gustav von Toll was a Baltic German geologist and Arctic explorer in Russian service. Often referred to as Baron von Toll or as Eduard v. Toll, in Russia he is known as Eduard Vasiliyevich Toll . Eduard Toll was born on and he died in 1902 in an unknown location in the Arctic Ocean)...

    's Last Expedition: The Russian Polar Expedition, 1900-1903
  • The First Soviet Convoy to the Mouth of the Lena
    Lena River
    The Lena is the easternmost of the three great Siberian rivers that flow into the Arctic Ocean . It is the 11th longest river in the world and has the 9th largest watershed...

  • The Drift of Lenin's
    Lenin (icebreaker)
    Icebreaker Lenin, built at Newcastle upon Tyne and completed in June 1917, was the largest Russian icebreaker of her time. Her design was supervised by Russian naval architect and author Yevgeny Zamyatin. This icebreaker was named St...

     Convoy in the Laptev Sea
    Laptev Sea
    The Laptev Sea is a marginal sea of the Arctic Ocean. It is located between the northern coast of Siberia, the Taimyr Peninsula, Severnaya Zemlya and the New Siberian Islands. Its northern boundary passes from the Arctic Cape to a point with co-ordinates of 79°N and 139°E, and ends at the Anisiy...

    , 1937 - 1938
    . (full text)
  • The First Tourist Cruise in the Soviet Arctic.
  • The Last Journey of Peter Tessem and Paul Knutsen
    Peter Tessem and Paul Knutsen
    Peter Tessem and Paul Knutsen were two young men from Norway who went with fellow Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen on his 1918 Arctic expedition aboard ship Maud. Peter Tessem was a carpenter and Paul Knutsen was an able-bodiedseaman...

    , 1919.
  • Otto Sverdrup
    Otto Sverdrup
    Otto Neumann Knoph Sverdrup was a Norwegian sailor and Arctic explorer.-Early and personal life:...

     to the rescue of the Russian Imperial Navy
  • Imperial Russia's Pioneers
    Jan Nagórski
    Jan Nagórski , also known by his Russified name of Ivan Nagurski was a Polish engineer and pioneer of aviation, the first person to fly an airplane in the Arctic and the first aviator to perform a loop with a flying boat....

     in Arctic Aviation.
  • First convoy to the Kolyma
    The Kolyma region is located in the far north-eastern area of Russia in what is commonly known as Siberia but is actually part of the Russian Far East. It is bounded by the East Siberian Sea and the Arctic Ocean in the north and the Sea of Okhotsk to the south...

    : The North-East Polar Expedition, 1932-1933.
  • Severnaya Zemlya
    Severnaya Zemlya
    Severnaya Zemlya is an archipelago in the Russian high Arctic at around . It is located off mainland Siberia's Taymyr Peninsula across the Vilkitsky Strait...

    : the last major discovery.
  • The voyage of Sibiryakov
    Icebreaker Sibiryakov
    The icebreaker Sibiryakov was a Soviet ship which was active in the Russian Arctic during the 1930s. She was built in 1909 in Glasgow and was originally the Newfoundland sealing steamer Bellaventure. After being purchased by Russia in 1916, she was renamed the Sibiryakov...

    , 1932
  • Rusanov
    Vladimir Rusanov
    Vladimir Alexandrovich Rusanov was an experienced Russian geologist who specialized in the Arctic.In 1909–1911 V. A. Rusanov carried out explorations in Novaya Zemlya. He was helped by Tyko Vylka, his guide, who later became the Chairman of the Novaya Zemlya Soviet.In 1912 Rusanov had been...

    , Gerkules and the Northern Sea Route
    Northern Sea Route
    The Northern Sea Route is a shipping lane officially defined by Russian legislation from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean specifically running along the Russian Arctic coast from Murmansk on the Barents Sea, along Siberia, to the Bering Strait and Far East. The entire route lies in Arctic...

  • Alexander Vasyl'yevich Kolchak
    Aleksandr Kolchak
    Aleksandr Vasiliyevich Kolchak was a Russian naval commander, polar explorer and later - Supreme ruler . Supreme ruler of Russia , was recognized in this position by all the heads of the White movement, "De jure" - Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, "De facto" - Entente States...

    : Arctic scientist and explorer.
  • Right place: wrong skeleton! The Musk-Ox.
  • The polar voyages of Captain Eduard Dallmann
    Eduard Dallmann
    Eduard Dallmann was a German whaler, trader and Polar explorer....

    , whaler, trader, explorer 1830–96.
    (with Reinhard Krause and Peter-Michael Pawlik).
  • Aleksandr Stepanovich Kuchin
    Alexander Kuchin
    Alexander Stepanovich Kuchin was a young Russian oceanographer and Arctic explorer....

    : The Russian who went South with Amundsen.

External links