Happy birthday to Roald Amundsen, leader of the first expedition to reach the South Pole.
Born to a family of Norwegian shipowners on July 16, 1872, Amundsen knew by the age of 15 that he would one day be an explorer.
In one of the most stirring tales in the annals of Antarctic exploration, the contest to reach the South Pole was between two leaders—Roald Amundsen on the Norwegian side and Robert Falcon Scott on the British—and the challenges they faced as they undertook their separate 1,800-mile journeys from the edge of the Ross Ice Shelf to the South Pole and back.
Amundsen was a meticulous planner; he realized that success was sure only if he correctly estimated the risks he would face, leaving little to chance. On the afternoon of December 14, 1911, Roald Amundsen and his team reached the geographical South Pole, had had won the race.
Learn more about Amundsen and Scott’s expeditions in the exhibition Race to the End of the Earth, currently traveling.