Did you know that in 1911 the polar explorer Roald Amundsen and his team reached the South Pole? They were the first expedition to reach the South Pole. They left Norway in July 1910 and set up their camp on the coast of Antarctica around January 1911. After months of preparation, the expedition left camp with 4 sleds and 52 sled dogs on October 19, 1911 and successfully reached the South Pole. Amundsen is the first person in history that has reached both the North and South Poles.
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Roald Amundsen also lead the first expedition that traversed the Northwest Passage. His experience during this expedition helped him prepare for his expedition to the South Pole. He learned survival skills from the Inuit people, for example he learned to use sled dogs and to use animal skins instead of wool parkas (which lost their ability to retain warmth when wet). The suits they brought to Antarctica were made from seal skin, reindeer skin, and wolf skin.
The 1911 expedition was not the first time Roald made to Antarctica. In 1897 he was part of a Belgian expedition. The ship that he was on became encased in ice and had to spend almost a whole winter there. They suffered near-starvation, scurvy, and mental illness.
Initially the Amundsen expedition was set to explore the North Pole, but another set of explorers supposedly reached the North Pole before him. Amundsen made the decision to “solve the last great problem – the South Pole”. Funding for the expedition became scare and Amundsen mortgaged his own house to fund the expedition.
Later in 1928 Amundsen disappeared during a rescue mission in the Arctic.