stefansson-wrangel-09-25-005-002

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Samara Cary at May 30, 2024 06:09 PM

stefansson-wrangel-09-25-005-002

- 2 -

when from the practical point of view the Mediterranean was a barrier
between Africa and Europe. But navigation developed through slow centuries.
We cannot say in which century it first became easier to carry a hundred-
weight across a hundred miles of sea than to transport it over an equivalent
stretch of land. That time did come with the Phoenicians if not earlier,
and since then we have thought of the Mediterranean as connecting the conti-
nents even more than it divides them.

The difficulties of crossing the Arctic may seem formid-
able to-day, but the crossing of the Mediterranean must have appeared far
more formidable to the earliest experimental navigators who paddled fearfully
along its shores, dreading the very breezes which centuries later were
destined to become the best friends of more skillful navigators. It has been
a long time since the Phoenicians conquered the Mediterranean, but those who
say that the Arctic will forever remain unconquered should remember that
forever is a still longer time. We are already beginning to say that the
crossing of the Arctic by airplane and airship is a certainty of the next few
years. Those who know the polar ocean in the sense in which a sailor knows
the Atlantic think equally well of the submarine, and it may not be many
years between the first crossing of the Arctic above the ice and the first
crossing below the ice. Whenever the Arctic shall become as crossable to us
as the Mediterranean was to the Phoenicians, it will become more of a connect-
ing link between the continents than a barrier. The fact of its central
location with regard to the lands will then be of paramount importance. The
roads between various suburbs tend to run through the center of a city, and
so will the roads between the lands have a tendency to meet and cross in or
near the center of the land masses. This tendency will become constantly more
marked with our growing mastery of the air and the northward spread of

stefansson-wrangel-09-25-005-002

- 2 -

when from the practical point of view the Mediterranean was a barrier
between Africa and Europe. But navigation developed through slow centuries.
We cannot say in which century it first became easier to carry a hundred-
weight across a hundred miles of sea than to transport it over an equivalent
stretch of land. That time did come with the Phoenicians if not earlier,
and since then we have thought of the Mediterranean as connecting the conti-
nents even more than it divides them.

The difficulties of crossing the Arctic may seem formid-
able to-day, but the crossing of the Mediterranean must have appeared far
more formidable to the earliest experimental navigators who paddled fearfully
along its shores, dreading the very breezes which centuries later were
destined to become the best friends of more skillful navigators. It has been
a long time since the Phoenicians conquered the Mediterranean, but those who
say that the Arctic will forever remain unconquered should remember that
forever is a still longer time. We are already beginning to say that the
crossing of the Arctic by airplane and airship is a certainty of the next few
years. Those who know the polar ocean in the sense in which a sailor knows
the Atlantic think equally well of the submarine, and it may not be many
years between the first crossing of the Arctic above the ice and the first
crossing below the ice. Whenever the Arctic shall become as crossable to us
as the Mediterranean was to the Phoenicians, it will become more of a connect-
ing link between the continents than a barrier. The fact of its central
location with regard to the lands will then be of paramount importance. The
roads between various suburbs tend to run through the center of a city, and
so will the roads between the lands have a tendency to meet and cross in or
near the center of the land masses. This tendency will become constantly more
marked with our growing mastery of the air and the northward spread of