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The Northwest Passage is sea passage along the north coast of North America. Because of ice, the passage is usually closed to ships. Spain wanted to reach Asia by a western route, because Portugal had control over the eastern route through Africa. Spain wanted to have a route that it could have control over. This caused most European countries to search for a possible route. Roald Amundsen was the first person to navigate the passage between 1903 and 1906.