Christian IV's expeditions to Greenland

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Christian IV's expeditions in the years 1605-1607 to Greenland and Arctic waterways were sent by King Christian IV of Denmark in order to locate the lost Eastern Norse Settlement and reassert Danish sovereignty over Greenland.

The expeditions were mostly unsuccessful, partly due to its leaders lacking experience with the difficult arctic ice and weather conditions and partly due to its leaders eventually being given instructions to search for the Eastern Settlement on the east coast of Greenland, which was almost inaccessible at the time due to southward-drifting ice.

The pilot on all three trips was James Hall, who – like many others until 1861 – trusted "Frobisher's Strait" to be in southern Greenland, whereas it is in fact a bay projecting into southern Baffin Island. The expeditions were respectively commanded by John Cunningham (or "Hans Køning"; 1605), Godske Lindenov (1606), and Carsten Richardson (1607).[1] The Danes had a falling out with the English over the route being taken, far to the south of that recorded in the Bergen and Trondheim archives. They also sometimes searched for the imaginary Island of Buss.[2]

In the same vein, King Christian IV sent Ove Gjedde on the first Danish expedition to East India (1618) and Jens Munk on an expedition to find the Northwest Passage (1619).[3]


  • Trost (German: "Consolation", also called the Trust, Hunden ("The Dog"), and Skjødehunden ("The Lapdog"); 60 tons)
  • Den Røde Løve ("The Red Lion", other spellings Røde Løffue, Løven, or Løffuen ("The Lion"); 70 tons)
  • Katten ("The Cat", also called the Grønlandske Kat; ex-Scottish; 20 tons)
  • Ørnen ("The Eagle", also rendered in English as Örnen)
  • Gilliflower (ex-Scottish, also called the Gilliflowre, Gilleflowre, Gillibrandt, and Angeli Brandt)


See also