1. ROBERT EDWIN PEARY (More...)
1909: Journey to the North Pole by ship and sledge.
Peary set out from Ellesmere Island and, accompanied by Matthew Henson and four Inuit, he made a final dash for the pole, which he claimed to have reached on Apr. 6, 1909. On his return he learned of the prior claim
by Dr. Frederick A. Cook and an extremely bitter controversy followed. The U.S. Congress nevertheless recognized Peary's achievement in 1911, although there is some question as to whether Peary reached the exact location of the North Pole.
2. ROALD AMUNDSEN (More...)
1905: First navigation of the Northwest Passage by ship.
In mid August, Roald Amundsen sailed from Gjøahaven (today: Gjoa Haven, Nunavut) in the vessel Gjøa. On August 26 they encountered a ship bearing down on them from the west, and with that they were through the passage.
3. RICHARD E. BYRD (More...)
1926: Richard E. Byrd (along with Floyd Bennett) made the first flight over the North Pole.
4. AMUNDSEN, ELLSWORTH and NOBILE (More...)
1926: First to fly over the North Pole in a dirigible (May 11-13, 1926).
Umberto Nobile was the pilot and designer of the airship/dirigible Norge (meaning Norway) and along with Roald Amundsen and Lincoln Ellsworth, the flight departed Kings Bay, Spitsbergen on May 11, 1926 and flew by way of the North Pole to Alaska. This flight established that there was no additional land in the Arctic Ocean on the Alaska side. It also gave Amundsen, who had previously led the first expedition to the South Pole, the distinction of being the first person to travel to both poles.
5. USS NAUTILUS / CAPTAIN W. R. ANDERSON (More...)
1958: Journey under the ice cap to the North Pole by submarine.
Because of the ability to remain submerged for long periods, the nuclear-powered USS Nautilus was chosen to make the first crossing under the North Pole. Under command of Captain W. R. Anderson, she left Pearl Harbor on July 28, 1958, travelling through the Bering Strait and under the
Arctic ice pack. After reaching the geographic North Pole on August 3, the submarine then completed her trans-polar voyage, arriving in Portland, England on August 12.
6. VITUS JONASSEN BERING (More...)
1725-28: Vitus Jonassen Bering was Danish born but moved to Russia. In 1725, he was selected by Czar Peter I (Peter the Great) to explore far northeastern Siberia and seek a Northeast Passage to China. Bering is credited with discovering Alaska and the strait between it and Russia. The Bering Strait and the Bering Sea are both named for him.
7. JOHN DAVIS (More...)
1585: One of the earliest Arctic explorers, Davis made extensive explorations in the Arctic (Davis Strait is named after him). His detailed maps of the coast of Greenland, Baffin Island and Labrador helped other explorers who followed and he greatly contributed to Europe's knowledge of the Arctic.
8. NILS NORDENSKJOLD (More...)
1878-79: The Swedish explorer was the first to complete a voyage through the Northeast Passage along the northern coast of Europe and Asia. Travelling in the steamship Vega, he started in 1878 from Norway and, after spending one winter ice-bound in the Arctic, finally emerged into the Pacific Ocean.