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Body of relatively still water in the North Atlantic Ocean. Elliptical in shape and strewn with a brown floating seaweed of the genus Sargassum, it lies between latitude 20° and 35° N and longitude 30° and 70° W and encompasses the Bermuda islands. It was first mentioned by Christopher Columbus, who crossed it in 1492. The presence of the seaweed suggested the proximity of land and encouraged him to continue, but many early navigators feared becoming entangled in the floating vegetation and turned back.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Sargasso Sea, visit Britannica.com.