1909 – Robert Peary and Matthew Henson become the first people to reach the North Pole
The North Pole, also known as the Geographic North Pole or Terrestrial North Pole, is the point in the Northern Hemisphere where the Earth’s axis of rotation meets its surface.
The conquest of the North Pole was for many years credited to US Navy engineer Robert Peary, who claimed to have reached the Pole on 6 April 1909, accompanied by Matthew Henson and four Inuit men, Ootah, Seeglo, Egingwah, and Ooqueah.
However, Peary’s claim remains highly disputed and controversial and those who accompanied Peary on the final stage of the journey were not trained in Western navigation, and thus could not independently confirm his navigational work, which some claim to have been particularly sloppy as he approached the Pole.
The distances and speeds that Peary claimed to have achieved once the last support party turned back seem incredible to many people, almost three times that which he had accomplished up to that point.
Peary’s account of a journey to the Pole and back while traveling along the direct line, the only strategy that is consistent with the time constraints that he was facing, is contradicted by Henson’s account of tortuous detours to avoid pressure ridges and open leads.
Extra Note: The first undisputed expedition to reach the North Pole was that of the airship Norge, which overflew the area in 1926 with 16 men on board, including expedition leader Roald Amundsen.
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