By Webteam - 16th July 2017 6:05am
Roald Engelbregt Gravning Amundsen was a Norwegian explorer of polar regions. He led the Antarctic expedition of 1910-12 which was the first to reach the South Pole, on 14 December 1911. In 1926, he was the first expedition leader for the air expedition to the North Pole. Amundsen is recognized as the first person, without dispute, to reach both poles.
Amundsen was born to a family of Norwegian shipowners and captains in Borge, between the towns Fredrikstad and Sarpsborg. His mother wanted him to be a doctor, but Amundsen quit university at the age of 21 for a life exploring at sea. Amundsen joined the Belgian Antarctic Expedition (1897-99) as first mate. This expedition, led by Adrien de Gerlache, became the first expedition to winter in Antarctica.
In 1903, Amundsen led the first expedition to successfully traverse Canada's Northwest Passage between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. He planned a small expedition of six men in a 45-ton fishing vessel. They spent two winters (1903-04 and 1904-05) at King William Island in the harbor of what is today Gjoa Haven, Nunavut, Canada and during this time, Amundsen and the crew learned from the local Netsilik Inuit people about Arctic survival skills. Leaving Gjoa Haven, he sailed west and then continued to the south of Victoria Island; the ship cleared the Canadian Arctic Archipelago on 17 August 1905. It had to stop for the winter before going on to Nome on the Alaska District's Pacific coast. 500 miles away, Eagle City, Alaska, had a telegraph station; Amundsen traveled there overland to wire a success message (collect) on 5 December 1905.
Amundsen then planned a trip to Antarctica and left Oslo for the south on 3 June 1910. Nearly six months later, the expedition arrived at the eastern edge of the Ross Ice Shelf, at a large inlet called the Bay of Whales, on 14 January 1911. Amundsen established his base camp there, calling it Framheim. After a few attempts, the final expedition to reach the South Pole left camp on 19 October 1911. They took four sledges and 52 dogs and on 14 December 1911, the team of five, with 16 dogs, arrived at the Pole. They arrived 33-34 days before Scott's group. The team returned to Framheim on 25 January 1912 and publicly announced their success on 7 March 1912.
Amundsen led several other expeditions throughout his lifetime but sadly, in June 1928, while taking part in a rescue mission for the airship Italia, the plane he was in disappeared. Amundsen was a key expedition leader during the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration, in the class of Douglas Mawson, Robert Falcon Scott, and Ernest Shackleton.
Born 16th July 1872 in Borge, Østfold, Norway
Disappeared 18th June 1928 over the Barents Sea
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