This Date in Danish American History - Jens Munk

  • May 09, 2021
  • May 09, 2022
  • 2 sessions
  • May 09, 2021 (CDT)
  • May 09, 2022 (CDT)

THIS DATE IN DANISH AMERICAN HISTORY - JENS MUNK

On May 9, 1619, Jens Munk with two ships and 65 men set sail from Copenhagen for North America in search of the Northwest Passage to the Orient.  Munk, commissioned by King Christian IV, made his way past the Southern tip of Greenland through Hudson Straight and into Hudson Bay.  There he took possession of the country in the name of King Christian and called the region Novia Dania, but after extensive search failed to find the passage.  Instead the expedition was confronted with a bleak winter, so Munk sailed south to what is now the Churchill River and prepared for the season.  They built huts, cut wood, and killed wild fowl to compensate for their lack of equipment and provisions.  They survived the autumn months well and the chaplain, Rasmus Jensen, led the celebration of Christmas in the traditional Lutheran way.  But in January the winter became severe and exposure to the elements, shortage of food, and scurvy led to ill health and death.  One man after another died, including chaplain Jensen, until only Jens Munk and two men remained alive.  Finally the temperatures warmed and by June they regained their strength, and sailing the smaller of the two ships, returned to Denmark arriving on Christmas Day.  (From "The Danish Americans" by George R. Nielsen)

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