Some of the best-known figures in the history of North American exploration were Scots. This chapter assesses the achievements and failures of Alexander Mackenzie, Simon Fraser, Robert Stuart, John Richardson, John Rae, Robert Campbell and others, trailblazers and pioneers who vastly increased knowledge of the wilderness although not always with the desired results. The chapter examines narratives of exploration, the hazards encountered, and the qualities and skills involved in overcoming them - courage, resourcefulness, tenacity, religious faith, a gift for solitude, and, crucially, recognition and application of native survival techniques. The part indigenous peoples played in Scottish achievement is discussed, and remains an underlying theme throughout the book The chapter shows how the achievements of the pioneer explorers stemmed from an acceptance of extreme conditions as well as a spirit of endurance. The best were driven by an imperative to experience, observe and describe as well as to reach a specific goal.
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