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THE

EDINBURGH ENCYCLOPÆDIA,

CONDUCTED BY

DAVID BREWSTER, L. L. D. F.R.S.

Twith the assistance of

GENTLEMEN EMINENT IN SCIENCE AND LITERATURE.

THE

FIRST AMERICAN EDITION,

Corrected and improved by the addition of numerous articles relative to

THE INSTITUTIONS OF THE AMERICAN CONTINENT,

ITS GEOGRAPHY, BIOGRAPHY, CIVIL AND NATIONAL HISTORY, AND TO VARIOUS DISCOVERIES IN

SCIENCE AND THE ARTS.

IN EIGHTEEN. VOLUMES,

Vol. XVI.

Philadelphia:

PUBLISHED BY JOSEPH AND EDWARD PARKER.

1832
William Brown, Printer.

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THE AMERICAN EDITION

OF THE NEW

EDINBURGH ENCYCLOPÆDIA.

POLAR REGIONS*.

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GENERAL designation for those parts of the globe, extended to the Antarctic circle, and no land, except

_included within the arctic and antarctic circles, and two desolate islands, has yet been discovered within it. consequently occupying a space, circumscribed by a The Terra Australis of early geographers is either circle of 231 degrees of latitude around each pole. wholly a place of imagination, or securely enveloped,

The general want of inhabitants, and the deficiency probably beyond the reach of niortals, within the vast of those products suited for the necessities of human and impermeable expanse of the Antarctic ices. Capbeings, intimate that the polar regions were not de- tain Cook (until a recent expedition by the Russians, signed for the permanent residence of man. In a few noticed in the appendix) was ihe only voyager who made instances, indeed, the flexibility and hardihood of con any considerable advance within the southern frigid stitution which enable our species to endure the ex zone ; thrice he penetrated its limit, but observed no tremes of heat and cold that occur in the torrid and object of any interest, excepting the prodigious fields frigid zones, have also been the means of peopling, to a and islands of ice by which his further progress was small extent, some of the sterile tracts of ihe arctic prevented. He first crossed the Antarctic circle on the lands. Thus we find those hardy people the Esqui- 17th of Jan. 1773, on the meridian of about 40° east, and maux, Samoides, Laplanders, Tchuikchi, and a few advanced into the southern frigid zone, which had northern Indians occupying in scattered hordes, the hitherto remained impenetrable to all navigators. He otherwise desolate and Arctic portions of America, Eu- again accomplished a similar advance towards the pole rope, and Asia. Many of these people are so far dis on the 20th of Dec. following, in longitude 147° 30' tinct in their habits from the rest of the human race, west, when the sun at midnight was for the first time that they live almost entirely upon animal food, and in exhibited to human observation within the southern their subsistence differ only from carnivorous animals in hemisphere. And on the 30th of January, 1774, he atthe cooking, or partial cooking, to which their provi- tained the latitude of 71° 10' 30'' south, being the nearsion is subjected before it is made use of. These scat- est approach to the southern pole ever effected. tered tribes, which appear to belong to some branch of the ancient Tartar stock, are confined to the Arctic re Seot. I.--Progress of Discovery in the Polar Regions. gions, or the immediate neighbourhood.

The Antarctic regions, as far as we yet know, and Our information respecting the Antarctic regions is have reason to believe, are entirely destitute of human so entirely destitute of interest, and is at the same time inhabitants. None of the southern lands, indeed, with so extremely limited, that we shall take a hasty leave of in ten degrees of the Antarctic circle, yet discovered, them, and confine ourselves chiefly to a view of the have been found to be peopled. Those extensive tracts North Polar regions, respecting which we have much the Sandwich Land, and its probable continuation, South more ample information. Curiosity and self-interest, Shetland, do not appear to afford a residence to a single the two fruitful stimuli to investigation and research, human being; nor have the whole of the regions within have, we believe, been the occasion of almost all those the Antarctic circle, and for the next ten degrees of la- great geographical discoveries which have not been titude nearer to the equator, as far as can be ascertained, merely accidental. To the influence of one or both of ever afforded, excepting to a few adventurous fisher- these motives, the whole of the discoveries made within men, any produce, wealth, or subsistence to mankind. the Arctic circle may be safely attributed.

With regard to the southern polar regions little how Ohthere, a Norwegian of the ninth century, a man of ever is yet known; the tracks of few navigators have enterprise and wealth, instigated, it would appear, by

* The Editor has been indebted for this interesting article to William Sconeser, Esq. jun, F. R. S. &c. Vol. XVI.- PART I.

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