The White Sea is the arm of the Arctic Ocean north of western Russia, reaching into an area between the Russian mainland and the Kola Peninsula to the east of Finland. It's called "Beloye More" in Russian. It became one of Russia's major trade routes after some English traders trying to get to China by a Northeast Passage (going north of Asia) ended up landing at the mouth of the Dvina River in 1553 and were taken to see the ruler, Ivan the Terrible. England and Russia traded this way for years despite the unpleasantness of the sea voyage around Scandinavia and the fact that the port at the mouth of the Dvina, Arkhangelsk (Archangel) is ice-bound for half the year, because at the time Russia had no other ocean coast.

Sources:
Leslie Dienes, "White Sea," Discovery Channel School, original content provided by World Book Online, http://www.discoveryschool.com/homeworkhelp/ worldbook/atozgeography/w/601840.html

University Library of Tromsø, "The Northern Lights Route: The trade Route to the White Sea," http://www.ub.uit.no/northernlights/eng/whitesea.htm

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