Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration

“The Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration describes an era which extended from the end of the 19th century to the early 1920s. During this 25-year period the Antarctic continent became the focus of an international effort which resulted in intensive scientific and geographical exploration, sixteen major expeditions being launched from eight different countries. The common factor in these expeditions was the limited nature of the resources available to them before advances in transport and communication technologies revolutionised the work of exploration.This meant that each expedition became a feat of endurance that tested its personnel to physical and mental limits, and sometimes beyond. The “heroic” label, bestowed later, recognised the adversities which had to be overcome by these pioneers, some of whom did not survive the experience; during this period 17 expedition members died.”

“During the course of these expeditions the geographical and magnetic poles were both reached. The achievement of being first to the geographical South Pole was a primary object in some expeditions, and was the sole rationale for Roald Amundsen’s venture. However, this was not the only aspect of polar exploration during this time; other expeditions worked with defined objectives in different areas of the continent. As a result of all this activity, much of the continent’s coastline was discovered and mapped, and significant areas of its interior were explored. The expeditions also generated large quantities of scientific data and specimens across a wide range of scientific disciplines, the examination and analysis of which would keep the world’s scientific communities busy for decades.”

Roald Amundsen

“Roald Engelbregt Gravning Amundsen (1872-1928) was a Norwegian explorer of polar regions. He led the first Antarctic expedition to reach the South Pole between 1910 and 1912. He was the first person to reach both the North and South Poles. He is also known as the first to traverse the Northwest Passage. He disappeared in June 1928 while taking part in a rescue mission. Amundsen, along with Douglas Mawson, Robert Falcon Scott, and Ernest Shackleton, was a key expedition leader during the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration.”

Robert Falcon Scott

“Captain Robert Falcon Scott CVO (1868-1912) was a Royal Navy officer and explorer who led two expeditions to the Antarctic regions: the Discovery Expedition, 1901-04, and the ill-fated Terra Nova Expedition, 1910-13. During this second venture, Scott led a party of five which reached the South Pole on 17 January 1912, only to find that they had been preceded by Roald Amundsen’s Norwegian expedition. On their return journey, Scott and his four comrades all perished from a combination of exhaustion, starvation and extreme cold.”

[Source: Wikipedia.com]