The Royal Navy of the United Kingdom is the oldest of Her Majesty’s Armed Forces. From the beginning of the 19th century until well into the 20th century, it was the most powerful navy in the world, playing a key role in establishing the British Empire as the dominant world power from 1815 until the early 1940s.
Queen Victoria (1819 -1901) reigned over the United Kingdom of Great Britain & Ireland from 1837 until her death in 1901 -- a total of 63 years and 7 months -- a period longer than that of any other British Monarch before or since and the longest of any female monarch in history. The time of her reign is known as the “Victorian Era”, a period of significant industrial, political, scientific, and military progress within the United Kingdom.
In 1831, John Ross, while searching for the Northwest Passage, entered a small bay on the eastside of Boothia Pen and named it “Victoria Harbor” after the young Princess. Subsequently, she formally granted him permission to use her name for this remote and minor body of water in Canada's Arctic. From that point on, explorers, mapmakers and administrators began assigning the name Victoria to a multitude of geographical features all over the Canadian map where her name appears more than 300 times.
No individual has been more honored than Queen Victoria in terms of the naming of Canada's public buildings, streets, populated places and physical features. Victoria College in Toronto, Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal, Victoria General Hospital in both Halifax and Winnipeg are among the notable public institutions named after Her Majesty. Among Canada's 280 total postal divisions, more than half have at least one thoroughfare identified by the name Victoria, most named to honor her.
It was in 1852 that Queen Victoria commissioned Allsopp’s Arctic Ale to accompany a group of Arctic Explorers led by Sir Edward Belcher who set out to find the remains of a mission lost some seven years earlier. This purpose of this previous mission was to navigate the Northwest Passage en route to Asia. Belcher’s ships contained several hundred bottles of Allsopp’s Arctic Ale because it was high in alcohol content and packed with hops, thus providing a powerful defense against scurvy, a leading killer during long Arctic voyages.
Exploring the Northwest Passage was an extremely dangerous trip -- especially back in the 19th century -- and while the Allsopp’s Ale withstood the sub-freezing temperatures Sir Edward Belcher failed on his mission and was forced to return to England. Upon arrival he was court marshaled for abandoning 4 of his 5 ships in the ice.