Sir John Franklin (16 April 1786 – 11 June 1847) was a Rear-Admiral in the British Royal Navy and a famous Arctic explorer. After serving in the Navy during America’s War for Independence and the ensuing Napoleonic Wars in Europe, he led two expeditions into the Canadian Arctic in 1819-22 and 1825-27.

Following Franklin’s triumphant return from his second voyage, he was knighted by George IV in 1829 and the same year awarded the first Gold Medal of the Société de Géographie of France. Franklin would go on to serve as Lieutenant-Governor of Van Diemen’s Land from 1839 to 1843, before launching his third and final Arctic expedition in 1845. During this fateful voyage, Franklin’s ships became icebound off King William Island in what is now Nunavut. Franklin would die here in June of 1847. The icebound ships were abandoned ten months later and the entire crew died from starvation, hypothermia, and scurvy.