Baffin, William, c.1584–1622, British arctic explorer. He was pilot on two expeditions (1615–16) sent out to search for the Northwest Passage under command of Robert Bylot, who was formerly with Henry Hudson. The first expedition vainly tried to find a channel in Hudson Bay N of Southampton Island. The second attempt, NW through Davis Strait, led to exploration of what was later called Baffin Bay and the northeast shore of Baffin Island. The existence of Baffin Bay was discredited until 1818 when Sir John Ross confirmed Baffin's discovery and observations. Baffin's conviction that the Northwest Passage did not exist discouraged arctic exploration for a time. His narratives were edited by Sir Clements Markham in 1881.
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