Occupation: Explorer Born: July 16, 1872 in Borge, Norway Died: June 18, 1928 during a rescue attempt Best known for: First man to visit the South Pole. Biography: Roald Amundsen (1872 - 1928) was an explorer of the North and South Poles. He led the first expedition to reach the South Pole and was the first person to visit both the North and South Pole. Roald had dreamt of becoming an explorer, but his mother wanted him to become a doctor. He followed his mother's wishes until she died when he was 21 years old. Then he left school to pursue his dream of exploring. Roald became a crewmember on various ships traveling to the Arctic. In 1887 he was first mate on a ship named the Belgica. It became the first expedition to survive the winter on the Arctic. Roald learned valuable lessons of survival during these early trips that would help him later on. One was that fresh seal meat had vitamin C which would help in curing scurvy. Another was to use animal skins rather than wool coats to keep warm. In1903 Roald commanded his own expedition on his ship the Gjoa. He traveled to the magnetic North Pole and was the first to discover the Northwest Passage from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean. This passage had been searched for over many centuries. Roald's ability to navigate and survive this trip was a great accomplishment. Roald next planned an expedition to reach the North Pole. However, when he heard that Robert Peary claimed to have already reached the North Pole, he made last minute plans and decided to pursue the South Pole. He kept this a secret until the last minute. He was in a race with British explorer Robert Scott to be the first to the South Pole. On January 14, 1911 Amundsen's ship, the Fram, arrived at the Bay of Whales in Antarctica. They set up camp there and prepared for the trip to the South Pole. At first they traveled quickly, but soon they had to pass over mountains and avoid dangerous crevasses. Finally, after nearly two months of hard traveling, they reached their destination. On December 14, 1911 Roald Amundsen planted the Norwegian Flag at the South Pole. All five of Amundsen's crew returned safely to base camp, but only 11 dogs made it back alive. The expedition took 99 days and traveled over 1,800 miles. In 1926 he joined an expedition with Umberto Nobile aboard the airship Norge to the North Pole. They flew over the North Pole in May in what was is considered to be the first undisputed (many people dispute Robert Peary's claim) visit to the North Pole. Roald died in a plane crash during a rescue attempt on June 18, 1928. He was trying to save some of the crew of one of Nobile's airships that had crashed. This text is courtesy of: Copyright © Ducksters.
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