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The Northwest Passage was a route that Europeans believed would take them from the Atlantic to the Pacific, passing through the northern part of North America. Europeans thought that the Northwest Passage would go through what is now Canada and connect the Atlantic and the Pacific.
In those days, China was called Cathay by people in Europe. They thought that they would be able to find a river passage to Cathay that would allow them to go from Europe to North America and then through the northern part of that continent and out to the North Pacific, which some people called the Eastern Ocean at that time.
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