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The Very First Arctic Explorers

The first Arctic explorers in North America were the Inuit who have been travelling and exploring the Arctic region for thousands of years - although most of their journeys remain undocumented.

It wasn't until the 1800's that Europeans began to explore the Arctic in earnest - searching for a "Northwest Passage" to the Orient - and their attitude was that islands, mountain ranges or waterways were "discovered" only when THEY saw them first.

Yet, Europeans never thought to investigate how the Inuit had managed to adapt to the severe landscape. This oversight was repeated time and time again, and it cost many of the new explorers their lives.

In the following decades, it was the Inuit who cared for the "kabloona". They taught them, hunted for them and guided them through the hostile environment, saving many from death by starvation, scurvy, exposure or exhaustion.

Robert Peary would never have reached the North Pole without the help of the Inuit (his final expedition team included 69) - four of whom accompanied him and Matthew Henson to the actual Pole. However, Egingwah, Ootah, Ooqueah, and Seegloo (pictured above) received no credit, and, if mentioned at all, were described only as "four Polar Eskimos".

MORE...
Click pictures for more information and credits.
Arctic Library: Inuit, Arctic, Land
Exploration, Explorers, Franklin Expedition
Sled Dogs, Arctic Maps & Weather Reports
Links: Inuit, Northwest Passage
Arctic, Franklin Expedition


Double-click any unlinked word DICTIONARY: Just "double-click" any unlinked word on this page for the definition from Merriam-Webster's Student Electronic Dictionary at Word Central.
Arctic Library ARCTIC LIBRARY & GLOSSARY: Check this section for an index of the rest of the things you really need to know about the Arctic.
All sorts of Arctic Maps ARCTIC MAPS & WEATHER REPORTS: Maps of the Northwest Passage, explorers' routes, iceberg sources, Nunavut, the Arctic by treeline, temperature...
Links to related sites. ARCTIC LINKS: Even more information! Links to sites related to the Arctic and "Iceberg: the Story of the Throps and the Squallhoots".
A Guide to Arctic Sunrise and Sunset GUIDE TO ARCTIC SUNRISE & SUNSET: How much sunlight or darkness is there in the Arctic on each day of the year?

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