Robert Peary : biography

May 6, 1856 - February 20, 1920

The 1905–1906 expedition

Peary's next expedition was supported by a $50,000 gift by George Crocker, who was the youngest son of Charles Crocker. Peary then used the money for a new ship. Peary's new ship Roosevelt battled its way through the ice between Greenland and Ellesmere Island to an American hemisphere farthest north by ship. The 1906 "Peary System" dogsled drive for the pole across the rough sea ice of the Arctic Ocean started from the north tip of Ellesmere at 83° north latitude. The parties made well under a day until they became separated by a storm, so Peary was inadvertently without a companion sufficiently trained in navigation to verify his account from that point northward. With insufficient food, and with the negotiability of the ice between himself and land an uncertain factor, he made the best dash he could and barely escaped with his life off the melting ice. On April 20, he was no further north than 86°30' latitudeFor obvious reasons, this latitude was never published by Peary. It is in a typescript of his April, 1906 diary, discovered by Sir Wally Herbert (Herbert, 1989). The typescript suddenly stops there, one day before the April 21 purported Farthest, and the original of the April 1906 record is the only missing diary of Peary's exploration career (Rawlins, ). yet he claimed to have the next day achieved a Farthest North world record at 87°06' and returned to 86°30' without camping, an implied trip of at least between sleeping, even assuming undetoured travel.

After returning to the Roosevelt in May, Peary in June began weeks of further agonizing travel by heading west along the shore of Ellesmere, discovering Cape Colgate, from the summit of which he claimed in his 1907 publicationsE. g., R. Peary, Nearest the Pole, 1907, pages 202, 207, and 280 he had seen a previously undiscovered far-north "Crocker Land" to the northwest on June 24 of 1906. Yet his diary for this time and place says "No land visible"Rawlins, and Crocker Land was in 1914 found to be non-existent by Donald MacMillan and Fitzhugh Green. On December 15, 1906, the National Geographic Society, which was primarily known for publishing a popular magazine, certified Peary's 1905-6 expedition and Farthest with its highest honor, the Hubbard Gold Medal; no major professional geographical society followed suit.

The final 1908–1909 expedition

For his final assault on the pole, he and 23 men, including Ross Gilmore Marvin, set off from New York City aboard the Roosevelt under the command of Captain Robert Bartlett on July 6, 1908. They wintered near Cape Sheridan on Ellesmere Island and from Ellesmere departed for the pole on February 28 – March 1, 1909. The last support party was turned back from "Bartlett Camp" on April 1, 1909, in latitude no greater than 87°45' north. (The figure commonly given, 87°47', is based upon Bartlett's slight miscomputation of the distance of a single Sumner line from the pole.) On the final stage of the journey towards the North Pole Peary told Bartlett to stay behind. He continued with five assistants, none capable of making navigation observations: Henson, Ootah, Egigingwah, Seegloo and Ooqueah. On April 6, he established "Camp Jesup" allegedly within of the pole.

Peary was unable to enjoy the fruits of his labors to the full extent when, upon returning to civilization, he learned that Dr. Frederick A. Cook, who had been a surgeon on an 1891–1892 Peary expedition, claimed to have reached the pole the year before.

Honors and legacy

Peary's lobbyingSee Congressman de Alva Alexander in Rawlins, 1973. early headed off an intention among some congressmen to have his claim to the pole evaluated by explorers. As eventual congressionally recognized "attainer" of the pole (not "discoverer" in deference to 1908 North Pole claimant Frederick Cook's supporters) Peary was given a Rear Admiral's pension and the Thanks of Congress by a special act of March 30, 1911. In the same year, he retired to Eagle Island on the coast of Maine, in the town of Harpswell. (His home there is now a Maine State Historic Site.) Civil Engineer Peary received honors from numerous scientific societies of Europe and America for his Arctic explorations and discoveries. He died in Washington, D.C., February 20, 1920, and was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. Matthew Henson was reinterred nearby on April 6, 1988.

Living octopus

Living octopus

In countries which are located near sea coasts, sea food is an important part of national cuisine