Robert Hood (1797-1821)


  • C. Stuart Houston



Arctic Land Expedition, 1819-1822, Artists, Auroras, Biographies, Climatology, Expeditions, Explorers, Franklin, Sir John, 1786-1847, Geomagnetism, History, Hood, Robert, 1797-1821, Mapping, Natural history, Fort Chipewyan region, Alberta, York Factory, Manitoba


Robert Hood was a junior officer with the badly timed, inadequately supplied first Arctic Land Expedition led by John Franklin in 1819-22. Hood made a major contribution to the expedition's incredibly accurate mapping of over 600 miles of coastline, which, in the words of L.H. Neatby, "put a roof on the map of Canada." Hood was the first to prove the action of the aurora borealis on the compass needle and to show that the aurora was an electrical phenomenon. He also made important contributions to our knowledge of terrestrial magnetism, climatology, anthropology, and natural history. Hood's journal, a less formal and more sprightly account of the journey than Franklin's, was published with many of his watercolour paintings 153 years after his tragic death on the Barrenlands. ... Hood contributed in full measure to the success of the first expedition before he paid the supreme sacrifice - and his journals and paintings remain one of the earliest and most vivid records of life in the Canadian North. Although his promising career was terminated prematurely, his memory is perpetuated by a flower, the moss phlox, Phlox hoodii, a sedge, Carex hoodii, the thirteen-striped squirrel, Citellus tridecemlineatus hoodii, and by the mighty Hood River that plunges over Wilberforce Falls before entering the Arctic Ocean.






Arctic Profiles