Arctic expeditions refer to the historical period during which mankind has explored the region north of the Arctic Circle. Historical records suggest that humankind has sought to go to the northern extremes since 325 BC, when the ancient Greek sailor Pytheas reached a frozen sea while attempting to find a source of the metal tin. Although discovering both poles and the age of famous polar explorers didn’t take place until centuries later, the Ancient Greeks knew of the Arctic, named “Arkos” (The Bear) for the great bear constellation, and guessed there should be a southern land mass to balance the world, dubbed “Ant – Arkos” (Opposite The Bear). For years, explorers ventured to the Arctic in search of resources, scientific knowledge, national prestige, personal fame, and a navigable Northwest Passage. Dangerous oceans and poor weather conditions often fetter explorers attempting to reach polar regions, and journeying through these perils by sight, boat, and foot has proven difficult.
For years, explorers ventured to the Arctic in search of resources, scientific knowledge, national prestige, personal fame, and a navigable Northwest Passage
Till the nineteenth century, there were many attempts to reach the North Pole but more important and mostly-known early attempts of Arctic expeditions were staged in the nineteenth century. There were four major goals of nineteenth-century polar expeditions: the discovery and navigation of the Northwest Passage (connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans via a northern route); reaching the North Pole; traversing Greenland; and discovering the fate of the lost John Franklin expedition of 1845. In the first half of the 19th century, parts of the Northwest Passage were explored separately by a number of different expeditions, including those by John Ross, William Edward Parry, James Clark Ross; and overland expeditions led by John Franklin, George Back, Peter Warren Dease, Thomas Simpson, and John Rae. Sir Robert McClure was credited with the discovery of the Northwest Passage by sea in 1851 when he looked across M’Clure Strait from Banks Island and viewed Melville Island.
There were many attempts to reach the North Pole but more important and mostly-known early attempts of Arctic expeditions were staged in the nineteenth century
The last half of the nineteenth century saw an increasing interest in reaching the pole. After the British explorer George Strong Nares declared in 1876 that there was no way through the ice of the highest latitudes, it was the United States that continued the effort. Reaching the pole became a lifetime obsession for the American naval commander Robert Peary. He studied Inuit techniques and learned the rigors of guiding a sledge drawn by dogs. Accompanied by his employee Matthew Henson, he made several attempts on the Pole, using the settlement of the Polar Eskimos or Inughuit at Etah, in northwest Greenland, as his base.
There are two claims, both disputed, about who was the first person to reach the geographic North Pole. Frederick Cook, accompanied by two Inuit men, Ahwelah and Etukishook claimed to have reached the Pole on April 21, 1908, although this claim is generally doubted. On April 6, 1909, Robert Peary claimed to be the first person in recorded history to reach the North Pole, accompanied by his employee Matthew Henson and four Inuit men Ootah, Seegloo, Egingway, and Ooqueah. Like Cook’s claim, Peary’s claim is doubted too and there are several discussions about the first person who reached the North Pole.