Roald Engelbregt Gravning Amundsen (16 July 1872 – c. 18 June 1928) was a Norwegian explorer of polar regions and a key figure of the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration. He led the first expedition to traverse the Northwest Passage by sea, from 1903 to 1906, and the first Expedition to the South Pole in 1911. He disappeared while taking part in a rescue mission for the airship Italia in 1928.
About Roald Amundsen in brief
Roald Engelbregt Gravning Amundsen (16 July 1872 – c. 18 June 1928) was a Norwegian explorer of polar regions and a key figure of the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration. He led the first expedition to traverse the Northwest Passage by sea, from 1903 to 1906, and the first Expedition to the South Pole in 1911. He disappeared while taking part in a rescue mission for the airship Italia in 1928. He was born into a family of Norwegian shipowners and captains in Borge, between the towns Fredrikstad and Sarpsborg. His mother wanted him to avoid the family maritime trade and encouraged him to become a doctor, a promise he kept until his mother died when he was aged 21. He quit university for a life at sea and joined the Belgian Antarctic Expedition as first mate in 1903. In 1903, he planned a small expedition of six men in a 45-ton fishing vessel, Gjøa, in order to have flexibility. His technique was to use a small ship and hug the coast. The crew endured a winter for which they were poorly prepared. He learned from the local Netsilik Inuit about Arctic survival skills, which he found invaluable in his later expedition to South Pole. Amundson signed a loyalty oath to the new king, Haakon VII, saying he hoped to do more and it was a great achievement for Norway. After a 1972 trip from San Francisco to San Francisco on a bulk carrier, he decided to take an expedition to the North Pole as a result of two different expeditions to explore the Arctic Basin.
He claimed to have reached the North pole in a dirigible in 1926, but this was later proved to be a hoax. He died in a plane crash in 1928 while trying to return to Norway from a mission to rescue the crew of the Italia airship, which had become stranded in the North Sea. He is buried in Oslo. His wife, Jens, is a former member of the Royal Norwegian Academy of Sciences and Letters, and they had a son together, Roald, who was born in 1872. The couple had a daughter, Sigrid, who died in 1973, and a son, Ragnar, who went on to become one of the world’s most successful mountaineers, reaching the North and South poles in the 1930s and 1940s. He also had a grandson, Aron, who became the first person to reach the South pole by sea in the 1970s and 1980s. His great-great-grandson is Norwegian politician and former Prime Minister Olafur Eliasson. He had a great deal of success with his Antarctic expeditions, including the successful traverse of Canada’s Northwest Passage between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans in 1903 and 1906. In 1909, he led the expedition to successfully traverse the Canadian Arctic Archipelago by sea. He returned to Norway almost three-and-a-half years after his expedition.