are always warmly welcome -

27 July 2006

The Northern Lights Route - The Trade Route to the White Sea

Equipped by London merchants of The English Company of Merchant Adventures for the Discovery of Lands, Territories, Isles, Dominions and Seignories Unknown, three ships sailed out of the river Thames in May 1553. The vessels headed north with the intention of finding the one thing that had been talked about in England for decades: the discovery of the sea route leading to Japan, China and India - the Northeast Passage. The English not only dreamed of immense riches in the Far East. They also believed Russia's northern passage could be quicker and safer than the trade routes which the Spanish and the Portuguese had discovered and taken control of.
In late August 1553, Richard Chancellor reached the White Sea, where he and his crew were welcomed with open arms by local Russian officials. [...] Regular trade was conducted with northern Russia from 1557 onward.
When Sweden gained dominion over the Baltic harbors that exported Russian products, the White Sea became the only alternative trade route to use between the European seafaring nations and the Moscow czardom. Most trade with Russia moved northward, therefore, and the czar had built a large port - New Kholmogory (called Archangel from 1613) - for the export trade in 1584.

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