George Best (chronicler)

George Best (1555 – 1584) was a member of the second and third Martin Frobisher voyages in positions of importance; as Frobisher's lieutenant on the second and as captain of the Anne Francis on the third. He published A True Discourse of the Late Voyages of Discoverie (1578).[1]


He was the son of Robert Best, an interpreter for the Muscovy Company, and Anne Bowman, and the brother of the sea captain Thomas Best, and Henry who may have been involved in works based on the True Discourse.[1][2] Sir Christopher Hatton as backer nominated Best to take part in one of the Frobisher voyages.[3]

Best was killed in a duel with Oliver St John, later Lord Deputy of Ireland, around March 1584. The precise motive for the duel is unclear, but it was most likely provoked by the hot-tempered St John, "the child of wrath" as he called himself.[4]


The True Discourse included the First Frobisher Voyage, in which Best did not participate, as well as the other two (1577 and 1578) as an eye-witness.[5] It appeared in the exploration collection of Richard Hakluyt.[6] Later, in reprinting the material, Hakluyt removed some passages, in particular one suggesting that the aim of the exploration was prospecting for minerals, rather than the North-West Passage.[1]

George Best is also credited with working out the warmth of the tropics was due to the sun's light being spread over a smaller area, rather than their closer proximity to the sun.[7]


  1. ^ a b c Baldwin, R. C. D. "Best, George". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/2289. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  2. ^ Baldwin, R. C. D. "Best, Thomas". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/2293. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  3. ^ MacCaffrey, Wallace T. "Hatton, Sir Christopher". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/12605. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  4. ^ Lee, Sidney, ed. (1897). "St. John, Oliver (1559-1630)" . Dictionary of National Biography. 50. London: Smith, Elder & Co.
  5. ^ Peter C. Mancall (March 2010). Hakluyt's Promise: An Elizabethan's Obsession for an English America. Yale University Press. p. 68. ISBN 978-0-300-16422-0.
  6. ^ Remembering the Early Modern Voyage. Palgrave Macmillan. 12 May 2008. p. 22. ISBN 978-0-230-61189-4.
  7. ^ QI, BBC Television

External linksEdit


  • George Best, A true discourse of the late voyages of discoverie: for findig of a passage to Cathaya, Publisher Bynnyman, 1578