The Discovery Expedition of 1901–1904 was the first official British exploration of the Antarctic regions since the voyage of James Clark Ross sixty years earlier. It was financed by a donation of £35,000 from British publishing magnate Sir George Newnes. The expedition tried to reach the South pole travelling as far as the Farthest South mark at a reported 82°17′S. It has been described as one of the most successful scientific expeditions of the 20th century.
About Discovery Expedition in brief
The Discovery Expedition of 1901–1904 was the first official British exploration of the Antarctic regions since the voyage of James Clark Ross sixty years earlier. It launched the Antarctic careers of many who would become leading figures in the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration. Its scientific results covered extensive ground in biology, zoology, geology, meteorology and magnetism. The expedition discovered the existence of the only snow-free Antarctic valleys, which contain Antarctica’s longest river. Further achievements included the discoveries of the Cape Crozier emperor penguin colony, King Edward VII Land, and the Polar Plateau on which the South Pole is located. It was financed by a donation of £35,000 from British publishing magnate Sir George Newnes, on condition that the venture be called the \”British Antarctic Expedition\”. The expedition tried to reach the South pole travelling as far as the Farthest South mark at a reported 82°17′S. As a trailbreaker for later ventures, the Discovery Expedition was a landmark in British Antarctic exploration history. The Discovery expedition was planned during a surge of international interest in the Antarctic region at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. After the disappearance in 1845 of the Franklin expedition, and many fruitless searches that followed, polar exploration had become the province of the peacetime Royal Navy after the Napoleonic War. After Ross there were no recorded voyages into this sector of the Antarctica for fifty years.
Then, in January 1895, a Norwegian whaling trip made a brief landing at Cape Adare, the northernmost tip of Victoria Land. Four years later Carsten Borchgrevink took his own expedition to the region, in the Southern Cross. This expedition was financed by a donation of £35,00 from British publisher Sir George Newnes. The British National Antarctic Expedition was launched in 1901 and lasted until 1904. It is the only British expedition to explore the Antarctic since Ross’ voyage in 1839 and 1843. It has been described as one of the most successful scientific expeditions of the 20th century, and is considered a major milestone in the history of polar exploration. The Expedition was led by Robert Falcon Scott, who led the expedition, Ernest Shackleton, Edward Wilson, Frank Wild, Tom Crean and William Lashly. It also included a number of scientists from the Royal Society and the Royal Geographical Society, including Sir Mark Clements, who had served on one of Franklin’s relief expeditions in 1851 and remained a firm advocate for the navy’s resuming its historic role in polar exploration in the 1870s and 1880s. The expedition was strongly supported by the British premier, Sir John Murray, who addressed the RGS’s scientific body in November 1893. He called for a full-scale expedition for the benefit of science and the country’s premier scientific body, the Royal Academy of Sciences, and called for the renewal of the Royal Navy’s role in Antarctic exploration.