North/South Polar Explorers
One of the most exciting periods for explorers happened between 1897 and 1922, when over 15 expeditions set their sights in
conquering South and North
Pole. With goal of scientific and geographic expiration of magnetic pole regions, all expedition encountered harsh
environment that tested their
equipment, physics and mental state to the absolute limit. After the end this era (today called Heroic Age of Antarctic
Exploration) almost entire
coastline and major parts of Antarctica landmass was mapped.
First request for Antarctic exploration came from English Royal Geographical Society in 1893, which set the goalof answering
several unknown geographic
questions of the South Pole. Before the end of 19th century, two expeditions went to South Pole. During next 30 years, eight
mission to South Pole - England, Norway, Sweden, Belgium, Germany, France, Australia and Japan.
First explorers of Antarctica was Belgian ship Belgica (1897-1889), who remained icebound in the Arctic
Circle where it successfully
survived its cold winter, and British Southern Cross Expedition (1898-1900), who formed first Arctic land
settlement. They scouted
some of the mainland with first use of the sleds and dogs. After them, captain Robert Falcon Scott explored more inland
(1901-04), mapping several more
unexplored areas of the continent. One of the most important missions happened from 1907 to 1909, under the leadership of Englishman
Ernest Shackleton. He managed to get only 112 miles from the pole, and maps of his journey proved instrumental in the later
to reach the pole. In 1911, two parties managed to reach the South Pole. Norwegian Roald Amundsen reached
pole on 15 December, and
only few weeks later Robert Falcon Scott from England repeated that feat. Sadly, two months later he and
his members died from
starvation while returning to the coastal base camp.
Third man to reach South Pole was English explorer Vivian Fuchs, who managed to make that feat in his 1957
crossing of Antarctica. Around 1980s Ranulph Fiennes attempted several times to reach the South Pole on
foot and without any aid, but
he was not successful.
North Pole exploration was shrouded in some controversy. Two explorers Robert Peary and Frederick Cook claimed that they
reached the magnetic north
pole first. In the end, scientific community awarded that discovery to Robert Peary. After them, two more explorers went to
pole - overland 1926
mission by Richard Evelyn Byrd and airborne mission of Roald Amundsen during the same year. Mission of Roald Amundsen was
the only wan that recorded
exact measurements of his passing over North Pole.