Discoverer of the North Pole; the story of Robert E

Peary, discoverer of the North Pole

Keep On!: The Story of Matthew Henson, Co-Discoverer of the North Pole

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  • Though it is inarguable that both men were valiant and gifted explorers, there is currently much controversy surrounding the discovery of the North Pole, and who, in fact, reached first. Sadly, this controversy is said to be due in great part to racism at the time in America, and the fact that, despite providing skills invaluable to the 1909 expedition, Henson was technically considered an employee of Peary’s; someone who helped Peary reach his Artic destination. While his achievements were celebrated in the Black community, Henson received no national public recognition for his contributions to the expeditions for several decades. This despite Peary having said of Henson during their last and finally victorious North Pole expedition: “"Henson must go with me. I cannot make it without him."

    These messages, flashed from the coast of Labrador to New York and thence to the four corners of the globe while Dr. Frederick A. Cook is being acclaimed by the crowned heads of Europe and the world at large as the discover of the north pole, added a remarkable chapter to the story of an achievement that has held the civilized world up to the highest pitch of interest since Sept. 1, when Dr. Cook's claim to having reached the "top of the world" was first telegraphed from the Shetland Islands.

  • This co-discoverer of the North Pole triumphed over great adversity throughout his life to eventually become one of the world’s most intrepid explorers – from being orphaned as a child, to braving the extraordinarily harsh elements of the Arctic environment, to ultimately conquering over the racism which for so long attempted to keep his accomplishments under wraps.

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    he 100th anniversary of the discovery of the North Pole was marked this year on April 6. For more than 20 years, Harvard Foundation Director S. Allen Counter has made it a mission to bring to light the work of Matthew Henson, the African-American Arctic aide of Robert Peary, the sole explorer credited for reaching the North Pole in 1909.

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Today we celebrate the anniversary of the first discovery of the North Magnetic Pole in 1831 by James Clark Ross. He was on an arctic voyage with his uncle Sir John Ross in the side paddle steamer Victory, attempting to find a northwest passage to the Pacific Ocean. Their ship was ice bound for four years, and, in the end had to be abandoned. During their second and third years of entrapment, James Ross made expeditions overland to explore and map the region around where they were trapped. It was on the second of these that he discovered the North Magnetic Pole on the Boothia peninsula, the northernmost tip of the North American mainland to the northwest of Hudson Bay, surrounded by islands and shallow straits.