Scientific Exploration

and Expeditions
Volume One
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Scientific Exploration
and Expeditions
Neil A. Hamilton
From the
Age of Discovery
to the
Twenty-First Century
Volume One
Volume Two
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Hamilton, Neil A., 1949–
Scientific exploration and expeditions: from the age of discovery to the twenty-first century /
Neil Hamilton.
p. cm.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 978-0-7656-8076-1 (hardcover: alk. paper)
1. Scientific expeditions—History. I. Title.
Q115.H167 2011
508—dc22 010012118

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List of Sidebars .............................................. vii
Topic Finder ................................................... ix
Introduction ..................................................... xi
African Association ......................................3
Amazon River and Basin .............................5
Amundsen, Roald ........................................8
Andrews, Roy Chapman ...........................16
Antarctica ....................................................21
Arctic ............................................................26
Ballard, Robert ...........................................31
Banks, Joseph ..............................................38
Bates, Henry Walter ..................................44
Beagle, Voyage of the ...................................47
Bell, Gertrude .............................................51
Bingham, Hiram ........................................55
Bougainville, Louis-Antoine de ................58
Bruce, James ................................................61
Burton, Richard Francis ............................64
Byrd, Richard E. .........................................69

Carter, Howard ..........................................75
Cheesman, Lucy Evelyn ............................78
Como Bluff, Wyoming ...............................80
Cook, James ................................................82
Cope, Edward Drinker ..............................90
Cousteau, Jacques-Yves ..............................92
Darwin, Charles .........................................96
Discovery, Age of ...................................... 105
Dunbar-Hunter Expedition ................... 113
Earle, Sylvia .............................................. 117
Everest Expeditions ................................. 120
Explorers Club ......................................... 123
Flinders, Matthew ................................... 124
Gobi Desert .............................................. 129
Hakluyt Society ....................................... 131
Hanbury-Tenison, Robin,
and Marika Hanbury-Tenison ........ 133
Hedin, Sven ............................................. 135
Henson, Matthew ................................... 140
Heyerdahl, Tor ..................................... 142
Horner, John R. ....................................... 150
Humboldt, Alexander von ..................... 152
International Geophysical Year .............. 158
International Polar Year .......................... 160
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Jones, Albert José .................................... 162
Kingdon-Ward, Frank ............................ 163
Kingsley, Mary .......................................... 165
Leakey Family ........................................... 170
Lewis and Clark Expedition ................... 175
Livingstone, David, and
Henry Morton Stanley .................... 184
Mackenzie, Alexander ............................ 193
Malinowski, Bronislaw ........................... 195
Maps and Mapmaking ............................ 199
Marsh, Othniel Charles ......................... 205
Mexia, Ynes .............................................. 207
Mouhot, Henri ........................................ 209
Nansen, Fridtjof ...................................... 211
National Geographic Society ................. 216
Nordenskjöld, Adolf Erik ...................... 219
Oceanography, History of ....................... 222
Ostrom, John H. ..................................... 229
Pacific Exploration ................................... 231
Park, Mungo ............................................ 238
Peary, Robert E. ....................................... 242
Powell Expeditions .................................. 245
Royal Geographical Society .................... 250
Russian Exploration ................................ 252
Schliemann, Heinrich ............................. 259
Schultes, Richard ..................................... 265
Schweinfurth, Georg August .................. 267
Scoresby, William .................................... 269
Scott, Robert Falcon ................................ 272
Shackleton, Ernest ................................... 278
Society of Woman Geographers ............ 285
Space Exploration, Manned .................... 287
Space Exploration, Unmanned ............... 301
Speke, John Hanning ............................... 317
Stark, Freya ............................................... 321

Tomas, Elizabeth Marshall ................... 324
Van der Post, Laurens ............................. 326
Wallace, Alfred Russel ............................. 331
Washburn, Bradford ................................ 336
Waterton, Charles .................................... 340
Watkins, Gino .......................................... 342
Wilkes Expedition ................................... 345
Glossary ....................................................... 351
Bibliography ................................................ 356
Index .............................................................. I-1
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Amundsen, Roald:
Dogsleds .....................................................................................................11
Te Wandering North Magnetic Pole ....................................................14
Andrews, Roy Chapman: Fossil Extraction ...............................................20
Antarctica: McMurdo Station ......................................................................24
Artic: Artic Drifting Stations .......................................................................30
Ballard, Robert:
Deep-Sea Vents .........................................................................................33
Alvin ...........................................................................................................37
Banks, Joseph: Carl Linnaeus and Modern Taxonomy .............................40
Bates, Henry Walter: Mimicry ....................................................................46
Bell, Gertrude: Archaeological Digs ............................................................54
Burton, Richard Francis: Chronometers....................................................67
Byrd, Richard E.: Te Tin Goose ................................................................73
Carter, Howard: Te Curse of King Tut ....................................................76
Cook, James:
Te Endeavour ............................................................................................. 86
Te Transit of Venus ................................................................................88
Cousteau, Jacques-Yves: Te Calypso ........................................................... 94
Darwin, Charles:
Darwin’s Finches Keep Evolving ...........................................................100
Te Descent of Man .................................................................................103
Discovery, Age of:
Life Aboard the Niña, Pinta, and Santa María ..................................... 109
Te Mariner’s Astrolabe .........................................................................111
Dunbar-Hunter Expedition: Hot Springs ..............................................115
Earle, Sylvia: Te JIM Suit .........................................................................119
Flinders, Matthew: Nicolas Baudin ..........................................................126
Hedin, Sven: Te Silk Road .......................................................................137
Heyerdahl, Tor:
Building the Kon-Tiki ............................................................................... 145
Pacific Ocean Currents ...........................................................................149
Horner, John R.: Te Question of Dinosaur Growth .............................151
Humboldt, Alexander von: Humboldt’s Instruments ............................156
Kingsley, Mary: On African Intelligence ..................................................168
Leakey Family: Olduvai Gorge ..................................................................173
Lewis and Clark Expedition:
Scientific Discoveries ..............................................................................180
Charles Willson Peale’s Museum ..........................................................182
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Livingston, David, and Henry Morton Stanley:
Stanley’s African Observations .............................................................190
Malinowski, Bronislaw:
Te Participant Observer .......................................................................197
Nansen, Fridtjof: Nansen’s Instruments ...................................................214
Oceanography, History of:
Te Hardy Continuous Plankton Recorder ........................................227
Digging Into the Ocean Floor ...............................................................228
Pacific Exploration:
Te Pacific Floor .....................................................................................235
Te Trieste .................................................................................................. 236
Park, Mungo:
Mungo Park’s Escape and His Discovery
of the Niger ..............................................................................................240
Peary, Robert E.: Peary Versus Cook ........................................................244
Powell Expedition: Te Grand Canyon as Geological Park ...................248
Russian Exploration:
Russian Explorers in Alaska ..................................................................255
Te Sea Bear Confronted ......................................................................256
Schliemann, Heinrich: Is Agamemnon’s Mask a Hoax? .........................263
Scott, Robert Falcon: Te Terra Nova ....................................................... 275
Shackleton, Ernest: Te Building of the Endurance ................................ 282
Space Exploration, Manned:
Te Lunar Lander and Experiments Package ......................................293
Experiments on the International Space Station ................................300
Space Exploration, Unmanned:
Sputnik 1 ...................................................................................................303
Sojourner ...................................................................................................314
Speke, John Hanning: Speke’s Scientific Findings ..................................320
Van der Post, Laurens: Removal of the Bushmen ...................................327
Wallace, Alfred Russel:
Alfred Russel Wallace and the Geographical
Distribution of Animals .........................................................................334
Washburn, Bradford: Washburn’s Camera in Space ...............................338
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Beagle, Voyage of the
Discovery, Age of
Dunbar-Hunter Expedition
Lewis and Clark Expedition
Pacific Exploration
Powell Expeditions
Russian Exploration
Space Exploration, Manned
Space Exploration, Unmanned
Wilkes Expedition
Amundsen, Roald
Andrews, Roy Chapman
Ballard, Robert
Banks, Joseph
Bates, Henry Walter
Bell, Gertrude
Bingham, Hiram
Bougainville, Louis-Antoine de
Bruce, James
Burton, Richard Francis
Byrd, Richard E.
Carter, Howard
Cheesman, Lucy Evelyn
Cook, James
Cope, Edward Drinker
Cousteau, Jacques-Yves
Darwin, Charles
Earle, Sylvia
Flinders, Matthew
Hanbury-Tenison, Robin, and
Marika Hanbury-Tenison
Hedin, Sven
Henson, Matthew
Heyerdahl, Tor
Horner, John R.
Humboldt, Alexander von
Jones, Albert José
Kingdon-Ward, Frank
Kingsley, Mary
Leakey Family
Livingstone, David, and
Henry Morton Stanley
Mackenzie, Alexander
Malinowski, Bronislaw
Marsh, Othniel Charles
Mexia, Ynes
Mouhot, Henri
Nansen, Fridtjof
Nordenskjöld, Adolf Erik
Ostrom, John H.
Park, Mungo
Peary, Robert E.
Schliemann, Heinrich
Schultes, Richard
Schweinfurth, Georg August
Scoresby, William
Scott, Robert Falcon
Shackleton, Ernest
Speke, John Hanning
Stark, Freya
Tomas, Elizabeth Marshall
Van der Post, Laurens
Wallace, Alfred Russel
Washburn, Bradford
Waterton, Charles
Watkins, Gino
Maps and Mapmaking
Oceanography, History of
Space Exploration, Manned
Space Exploration, Unmanned
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Amazon River and Basin
Como Bluff, Wyoming
Everest Expeditions
Gobi Desert
Pacific Exploration
Russian Exploration
African Association
Explorers Club
Hakluyt Society
International Geophysical Year
International Polar Year
National Geographic Society
Royal Geographical Society
Society of Woman Geographers
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At the start of his historic voyage west across the Atlantic Ocean,
Christopher Columbus made the following entry in his journal:
Tis present year of 1492, after Your Highnesses had brought to an end the
war with the Moors who ruled in Europe and had concluded the war in the
very great city of Granada . . . and later . . . because of the report that I have
given to Your Highnesses about the lands of India . . . you thought of sending
me, Christobal Colon, to the said regions of India to see the said princes and
the peoples and the lands, and the characteristics of the lands and of every-
thing and to see how their conversion to our Holy Faith might be undertak-
en. And you commanded that I should not go to the East by land, by which
it was customary to go, but by the route to the West, by which route we do
not know for certain that anyone has previously passed.
Looking back on the momentous decision by King Ferdinand and
Queen Isabella of Spain to send him in search of the East Indies, Columbus
recounts much about the state of the world and the reasons for his voyage.
Not least among the motivations for Columbus and the Spanish Crown,
aside from the possibility of economic and territorial gain, was to protect
Catholicism against the Moors—who had a stronghold on the Iberian
Peninsula dating back to the early eighth century—and against the spread
of Islam. If Catholicism could be carried to the East Indies, it might estab-
lish a beachhead against Muslim expansion. And if Catholics in the East
could unite with Catholics in Europe, the Muslims might be surrounded
and defeated.
In this respect, Columbus was a historical figure firmly rooted in the
prescientific era, motivated by the religiosity and sectarian interests that
had predominated for centuries. Yet in setting out on his historic voyage,
the forty-year-old navigator from Genoa—who had an abiding interest
in maps and claimed to have made his first ocean voyage at age ten—also
exhibited a modern scientific curiosity in his desire to explore uncharted
waters and sail headlong into the unknown. In doing so, he relied, in part,
on the experiences and records of the Portuguese, who, under Prince Henry
the Navigator in the early fifteenth century, had begun to sail south toward
the coast of Africa, as well as on centuries of cartographic, navigational,
and mathematical development—unsophisticated and imprecise as it often
was—in both the Christian West and the Muslim East.
Historians continue to debate the extent to which the efforts by
Columbus, the Portuguese, and other early explorers represented a truly
scientific approach. According to one view, the early overseas expeditions
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were “guided in part by the new spirit of empirical science . . . that impelled
men if, for instance, they heard about the existence of unicorns, to go out
and try to find some.” According to the renowned historian of exploration,
J.H. Parry, however, the answer remains elusive. As Parry wrote in Te Age
of Reconnaissance, 1450–1650 (1963), “How far explorers and promoters
of exploration were directly and consciously motivated by scientific curi-
osity, is impossible to say on the scanty evidence which remains.”
At the very least, Columbus and his Portuguese predecessors repre-
sented enough of a break from—and challenge to—the superstitions of the
Middle Ages that their explorations rightly can be categorized as part of the
beginning of the scientific revolution. More important, their expeditions
unleashed a flood of scientific endeavors—by researchers, navigators, map-
makers, instrument makers, engineers, and theoreticians—to discover new
lands, new oceans, new societies, new flora and fauna, and new ideas.
It is with these explorers, then, that this encyclopedia begins—chrono-
logically at least. Te work is organized alphabetically, with each letter con-
taining an assortment of articles on scientists and explorers, expeditions,
geographic locations, fields of study, and notable institutions.
Every entry begins with a thumbnail chronology that summarizes the
major events of an individual’s life, a scientific expedition, an area of en-
deavor, or an organization. Many entries contain short sidebars that pre-
sent interesting background information on scientific principles, vessels and
instruments, procedures and technologies, the natural environment, society
and culture, and unresolved questions. And every article concludes with a
list of recommended sources for further research and background reading.
Tis book is about the people and technologies that have marched hand
in hand into geographic and empirical frontiers. It is not intended to be com-
prehensive in its coverage of explorers and exploration in general. Rather, it
is meant to provide an embarkation point for a wide-ranging investigation
into the history of scientific exploration from the Age of Discovery to the
twenty-first century.
Toward that end, the encyclopedia presents information on scientific
explorers and expeditions from a variety of fields in all seven continents.
Polar explorers include Roald Amundsen, Richard E. Byrd, Matthew
Henson, Fridjtof Nansen, Robert E. Peary, Robert Falcon Scott, and
Ernest Shackleton. Paleontologists are represented by Roy Chapman
Andrews, Edward Drinker Cope, John R. Horner, Othniel Charles Marsh,
and John H. Ostrom. African explorers include James Bruce, Richard
Francis Burton, Mary Kingsley, David Livingstone, Mungo Park, John
Hanning Speke, and Henry Morton Stanley. Among the archaeologists and
anthropologists are Gertrude Bell, Howard Carter, the Leakey family, and
Heinrich Schliemann.
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Te great natural scientists Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace
are discussed in detail, as are the natural scientific expeditions in North
America of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, William Dunbar and
George Hunter, and John Wesley Powell. So, too, are the eighteenth-cen-
tury Pacific explorers James Cook and Matthew Flinders and the modern
oceanographers Robert Ballard and Jacques-Yves Cousteau. Not to be ex-
cluded are explorers—both in the field and in the laboratory—in the areas
of conservation, entomology and botany, geology, and photography, from
the inestimable naturalists Alexander von Humboldt and Joseph Banks to
the ethnobotanist Richard Schultes and the mountaineering photographer
Bradford Washburn.
Subjects meriting longer survey entries include the Age of Discovery,
maps and mapmaking, the history of oceanography, Russian exploration,
and space exploration—the latter covered in separate articles on manned
and unmanned missions.
Other entries are devoted to important geographic locations—such as
the Amazon River and Basin, Antarctica, the Arctic, Mount Everest, and
the Gobi Desert—and to influential institutions and organizations—such
as the African Association, Hakluyt Society, National Geographic Society,
and Royal Geographical Society.
On Sunday, November 4, 1492, a few short weeks after his arrival in
what would come to be called the New World, Christopher Columbus
made the following journal entry (referring to himself, as he sometimes
did, in the third person):
Te Admiral showed cinnamon and pepper to a few of the Indians of that
place . . . and he says that they recognized it; and they said by signs that
nearby to the southeast there was a lot of it. He showed the gold and pearls,
and certain old men answered that in a place that they called Bohio there was
a vast amount. . . . Moreover, he understood that there were big ships and
much trade and that all of this was to the southeast. . . . Te Admiral decided
to return to the ship to wait for the two men whom he had sent and to decide
whether to leave and seek those lands.
Te lands he sought, of course, were part of the West Indies rather than
the East Indies—a miscalculation of thousands of miles. Yet in attempting
his voyage—for whatever combination of religious, economic, and scien-
tific reasons—Columbus had taken a major step in launching the great Age
of Discovery, opening the way to far-flung expeditions of the Earth and
outer space, and setting forth into the new world of scientific research and
Neil Alexander Hamilton
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Scientific Exploration
and Expeditions
Volume One
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
1788: Naturalist Joseph Banks and several other prominent Englishmen form
the African Association to explore West Africa
1790: Te association issues its first report
1795: Scottish explorer Mungo Park navigates the Niger River for the association
1831: Te association merges with the Royal Geographical Society
Te African Association was a private British exploration group that spon-
sored expeditions into the African interior in the eighteenth and nineteenth
centuries in the hope of advancing scientific and geographic knowledge, as
well as Britain’s economic and political interests.
In eighteenth-century London, dining clubs emerged at which the
wealthy socialized and discussed a wide range of issues. One such group,
the Saturday Club, included Joseph Banks, the famed British naturalist who
had sailed with Captain James Cook on voyages to the Pacific Ocean in the
late 1760s. On June 9, 1788, Banks and eleven other men in the club met
at St. Alban’s Tavern, where they founded the Association for Promoting
the Discovery of the Interior Parts of Africa, more commonly called by its
members the African Association.
Te association was created at a time when Europeans were showing
a greater interest in Africa, but the British government, which was finan-
cially strapped, had no plans to finance expeditions to that vast continent.
Europeans already had some familiarity with the interior of Africa. Te
French had established trading posts 600 miles (960 kilometers) inland
on the Senegal River in the early 1700s, English traders had sailed a good
distance up the Gambia River, and the Portuguese had explored the lower
reaches of the Congo River.
Maps of the African interior, however, displayed large blank spots where
Europeans had yet to venture. Geographic obstacles were partly responsible
for keeping Europeans from penetrating deep into the continent. Te trans-
atlantic slave trade required no inland travel by Europeans, as African tribes
generally brought slaves to the coast to be loaded onto ships. In addition, for
many years, there were no other known commodities sufficiently attractive
to draw foreigners inland.
In time, however, Europeans sought to know more about the African
interior so that they could expand their trade with the native peoples. By
the mid-1700s, Britain and France were competing for greater influence
in western Africa. Concurrently, the Enlightenment stimulated curiosity
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about distant lands, as did the far-flung expeditions of James Cook, James
Bruce, and others. Added to these developments, Europeans who worked
to end slavery wanted to learn more about the African societies that were
involved in the practice.
From the outset, the African Association displayed a sense of European
superiority toward Africa. Its first report, issued in 1790, declared that the
association sought to bring the benefits of science and mechanics to “nations
hitherto consigned to hopeless barbarism.” Te association was headed by a
secretary; the first was Hugh Beaufoy, an antislavery Quaker. Second to the
secretary in standing was the treasurer; Joseph Banks was the first to serve
in that position.
Te primary interests of the association were to find new items of trade;
expand scientific knowledge, especially botanical; and map geographical
features. Among the questions on the minds of members were where the
Niger River began and ended, whether there existed any great empires in
central Africa, and where there might be gold. Te founders of the associa-
tion stated,
Resolved that as no species of information is more ardently desired, or more
generally useful, than that which improves the science of Geography; and as
the . . . continent of Africa . . . is still in great measure unexplored, the mem-
bers of this Club do form themselves into an Association for promoting the
discovery of the inland parts of that quarter of the world.
As the group wanted to do more than promote trade or satisfy the mem-
bers’ curiosity, it supported the British drive to acquire new colonies in Africa.
For example, in 1793, the association pushed for Great Britain to control the
trade between the Barbary states (the North African states of Tripolitania,
now part of Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco) and Central Africa. Six
years later, Banks advocated the British sending an army into the land around
the Gambia and crushing any African forces that might oppose it.
Te association sponsored several expeditions into the African interior.
Some of these expeditions failed and resulted in the deaths of their leaders,
while others achieved their goals. In 1795, the Scotsman Mungo Park navi-
gated the Niger River. In 1797, Friedrich Hornemann left Cairo in an at-
tempt to find Timbuktu (a legendary, ancient city, now called Tombouctou,
in Mali), but he disappeared and was never heard from again. Later explor-
ers learned that he had contracted dysentery and died after reaching the
Niger River.
As a result of the club’s efforts, much more was known about African
geography by the early 1800s. In addition, Park’s book Travels in the Interior
Districts of Africa: Performed in the Years 1795, 1796, and 1797, which was
published in 1816, stimulated interest in the association.
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See also: Banks,
Joseph; Park,
Mungo; Royal
Te African Association existed for forty-three years. Over this time,
it counted a total of 212 subscribing members, with its largest member-
ship for any single year, 109, occurring in 1791. Among its members were
the Duke of Grafton and the Earl of Bute, and at least one woman, the
Countess of Aylesbury.
In the 1820s, the British government began sponsoring expeditions to
Africa, which reduced the need for the association to do so. In 1831, the
African Association merged with the Royal Geographical Society, which
had been founded the previous year. Te association had expanded the
geographic and scientific knowledge of Africa, served as the forerunner to
later private organizations dedicated to the study of geography, encouraged
the British government to explore the continent, and paved the way for in-
creased British trade and imperialist expansion.
Further Reading
Hallett, Robin, ed. Records of the African Association, 1788–1831. London:
Tomas Nelson and Sons, 1964.
Sattin, Anthony. Te Gates of Africa: Death, Discovery, and the Search for
Timbuktu. New York: St. Martin’s, 2003.
Te Amazon watershed in equatorial Brazil includes the largest tropical plain
in the world. Te river itself stretches for 4,000 miles (6,400 kilometers) from
source to mouth, making it second only to the Nile River in length.
Te Amazon River ranges from 1 mile wide to 30 miles wide (from
1.6 to 48 kilometers) during floods. Te estuary of the Amazon (where
1541: Francisco de Orellana of Spain is the first European to discover the Amazon
River at its confluence with the Napo River
1637–1638: Pedro Teixeira of Portugal journeys along the Amazon River system and
reaches Quito in Ecuador
1800: With Frenchman Aimé Bonpland, the Prussian naturalist Alexander Von
Humboldt makes the first modern scientific exploration of the Amazon basin
1817–1820: German naturalist Johann Baptist von Spix and botanist Carl Friedrich
Philipp von Martius explore the Amazon in Brazil
1914: Former U.S. President Teodore Roosevelt leads a scientific expedition into the
Amazon basin
1971: American author-photographer Loren McIntyre locates the source of the
Amazon River in the southern highlands of Peru
2000: Polish-American explorer Andrew Pietowski uses the Global Positioning
System to more accurately pinpoint the source of the Amazon
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Scientific and map-
ping expeditions to
the Amazon basin
continued into the
early twentieth
century, but it took
later technological
photography and
the satellite-based
Global Positioning
System—to confirm
the source of the
river. (Library of
it empties into the Atlantic Ocean) is so wide, measured at more than
150 miles (240 kilometers), that the first Europeans to explore the South
American coast had no idea they had come across a river. In fact, the river’s
vastness caused the early Portuguese explorers to name it O Rio Mar, the
River Sea. At times, ocean-sized, 16-foot-high (5-meter-high) waves pound
against the banks of the river’s lower reaches. Te size of the river, dense
tropical growth, and treacherous conditions combine to make the Amazon
difficult to investigate yet enticing to generations of scientific explorers.
Te first European to discover the Amazon River (the region had
long been inhabited by indigenous peoples) was the Spanish conquista-
dor Francisco de Orellana, who, in 1541, left Quito, Ecuador, in search of
gold. Orellana and his party headed east and crossed the Andes Mountains.
Decimated by illness, the party eventually descended to the Napo River,
which rises in Ecuador and flows through northeastern Peru, where it emp-
ties into the Amazon River. Upon reaching the Napo, they built a boat, ar -
riv ing at the river’s junction with the Amazon River in February 1542.
In August, they descended the
Amazon and reached the Atlantic
Te first journey upriver by
a European began in 1637, when
the Portuguese Pedro Teixeira left
Belém, Brazil, near the mouth of
the Amazon. His massive party,
which consisted of some 2,000
people in more than thirty canoes,
reached Quito early the following
year. Teixeira undertook a return
trip from Quito to Belém through
the Amazon basin in 1638–1639
with the Jesuit father Cristóbal de
Acuña, who wrote extensive ob-
servations about the forests, fish,
wildlife, and native people they
Much as they did in other parts
of the Western Hemisphere, the
indigenous people of the Amazon
basin suffered grievously from dis-
eases—such as smallpox—brought
by the Europeans. Perhaps 90 per-
cent of the native population died
due to epidemics during the early
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years of European exploration. Many long-standing indigenous settlements
in the Amazon basin (Amazonia) were decimated.
Te first modern scientific expedition in the Amazon region was led by
Alexander von Humboldt, a Prussian naturalist, in 1800. With French bot-
anist Aimé Bonpland, Humboldt explored the Orinoco River in Venezuela
and, later, the region in Peru where the Amazon River begins. Together,
they proved that the Orinoco River system connects with the Amazon
River system.
Johann Baptist von Spix, a German naturalist, and Carl Friedrich
Philipp von Martius, a German botanist, traveled to the Brazilian Amazon
in 1817–1820 at the behest of the king of Bavaria. Tey collected specimens
of 6,500 plants, 2,700 insects, 350 birds, 150 amphibians, 116 fish, and
eighty-five mammals. Englishman Henry Walter Bates spent eleven years,
from 1848 to 1859, in the interior of Amazonia, where he compiled the
single largest collection of insects ever made by one individual in the region.
Numerous other expeditions have conducted scientific research in the
region, including one led by former U.S. President Teodore Roosevelt in
1914 and others; the trip was sponsored by the U.S. National Geographic
Society and the Brazilian government. Accompanying the expedition was
George Cherrie, an American naturalist who had spent thirty years explor-
ing the region. Roosevelt was one of the few other American explorers to
that time to venture into the Amazon basin.
Cândido Mariano da Silva Rondon, a renowned Brazilian explorer,
joined Roosevelt in leading the expedition. Rondon recently had discov-
ered what he called the Rio da Duvida, or River of Doubt (which begins
in northwestern Brazil and flows 400 miles, or 640 kilometers, to the
Aripuanã River), while planning for the building of a railroad, but he had
no idea where the river went. Te Roosevelt expedition aimed to explore
and map the river.
Te party experienced numerous hardships along a river punctuated by
dangerous rapids. Illness and the loss of canoes and supplies hampered the
explorers, and Roosevelt nearly died from malaria. He wrote in May 1914,
We have had a hard and somewhat dangerous but very successful trip.
No less than six weeks were spent . . . forcing our way down through what
seemed a literally endless succession of rapids and cataracts. For forty-eight
days we saw no human being. In passing these rapids we lost five of the seven
canoes. . . . One of our best men lost his life in the rapids. Under the strain
one of the men went completely mad . . . and when punished by the sergeant
he . . . murdered the sergeant and fled into the wilderness.
Still, they traveled more than 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) on
the river, collected more than 3,000 specimens, and mapped the entire
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River of Doubt—being the first to do so. “Colonel Roosevelt is not a fool
scientist,” said Cyrus C. Adams, editor of the Bulletin of the American
Geographical Society, in 1914. “No one can doubt that he is a careful stu-
dent and cautious contributor to science, and especially that he is a most
careful geographer.”
In 1971, author-photographer Loren McIntyre, working in coopera-
tion with the National Geographic Society, used aerial photos to locate
the source of the Amazon River. He traversed Peru’s Apurímac River, an
Amazon tributary, and then hiked through the southern highlands of
Peru to reach the Continental Divide. From a ridge on a mountain named
Nevado Mismi, McIntyre sited a small pond, at 17,220 feet (5,250 meters)
above sea level and identified it as the source.
Yet the finding came into dispute. As a result, in 2000, a National
Geographic team led by Andrew Pietowski, a Polish immigrant living in
Carmel, New York, used the Global Positioning System (GPS) to pinpoint
the source. Pietowski’s team consisted of twenty-two explorers from the
United States, Peru, Canada, Spain, and Poland. Tey confirmed McIntyre’s
finding of Nevado Mismi as the source of the Amazon River.
Further Reading
Medina, Toribia José, ed. Te Discovery of the Amazon. New York: Dover,
Palmatary, Helen Constance. Te River of the Amazons: Its Discovery and Early
Exploration, 1500–1743. New York: Carlton, 1965.
AMUNDSEN, ROALD 18721928
A Norwegian explorer who was the first to traverse the Northwest Passage
(a sea route from the Atlantic to the Pacific through the Arctic Ocean) and
the first to reach the South Pole, Roald Amundsen also found the location
See also: Humboldt,
Alexander von.
1872: Born on July 16 in Borge, Norway
1897: Joins the Belgian Antarctica Expedition as second mate
1904: Fixes the position of the North Magnetic Pole
1905–1906: Becomes the first explorer to traverse the Northwest Passage
in a single voyage in a single ship
1911: Becomes the first explorer to reach the South Pole
1918–1920: Journeys along the northern coasts of Europe and Asia to
Nome, Alaska
1926: With Italian Umberto Nobile and three other explorers, flies over
the North Pole in a dirigible
1928: Lost during a mission to search for Nobile in the Arctic
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
of the North Magnetic Pole and paved the way for further scientific discov-
eries in Antarctica.
Roald Engelbregt Grauning Amundsen was born on July 16, 1872, in
Borge, Norway, to a family of ship owners and captains. His father was Jens
Amundsen, and his mother was Gustava Sahlquist, and he was raised in
Roald’s mother wanted him to become a doctor, but he was not at-
tracted to the profession. In fact, to hear Amundsen tell it, by age fifteen,
he had determined to become an explorer as a result of having read the
works of John Franklin. A Briton, Franklin had died while searching for the
Northwest Passage in the 1840s. Amundsen said that he read Franklin’s
works with a “fervid fascination.” Amundsen wrote in his autobiography,
My Life as an Explorer (1927),
Strangely enough, the thing in Sir John’s narrative that appealed to me most
strongly was the sufferings he and his men endured. A strange ambition
burned within me to endure those same sufferings.
As a boy, Amundsen began to prepare himself for his chosen career,
developing a strong physique from skiing and hiking in his mountainous
homeland. He wrote,
At every opportunity of freedom from school, I went out in the open, ex-
ploring the hills and mountains which rise in every direction around Oslo,
increasing my skill in traversing ice and snow and hardening my muscles
for the coming great adventure.
Yet another formative influence on Amundsen was the first crossing of
Greenland by the Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen in 1888. Nansen
had shown that with the right technique and technology, polar explora-
tion could be successful. Nansen’s use of skis, moreover, fit perfectly with
Amundsen’s own talent. Dreaming of becoming a hero such as Nansen,
Amundsen continued to hone his skiing abilities while also learning how to
handle sled dogs, manage a crew, and properly supply an expedition.
Following the death of his father in 1886 and his mother in 1893,
Amundsen abandoned all thoughts of becoming a doctor, entered the
military, and took to the sea. In 1897, he joined the Belgian Antarctica
Expedition as second mate. He and the other men aboard the Belgica
were the first Europeans to winter in Antarctica, after their ship
became locked in by sea ice near the Antarctica Peninsula. Te experience
strengthened Amundsen’s already keen interest in Antarctica, but it also
revealed to him the perils of such an environment, including illnesses such
as scurvy and dementia caused by the long periods of feeling closed in.
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Northwest Passage
Amundsen turned his attention northward and determined to become the
first person to sail the Northwest Passage from beginning to end in one
trip. He would do so, he said, in “the service of science.” In 1901, he bought
a small fishing vessel, the 47-ton Gjoa, in Norway. Ten, he went about
raising funds for the expedition and collecting supplies. Despite his efforts,
money was a constant problem. When creditors threatened to repossess
his ship, he quickly gathered his crew of seven men, and under the cover of
darkness and heavy rain, they sailed from Norway on June 16, 1903.
Te Northwest Passage had been the object of explorers since the
first Europeans had arrived in the Americas hundreds of years earlier.
Amundsen called it “that baffling mystery to all the navigators of the past.”
He would spend three years, from 1903 to 1906, on his arduous journey.
He had selected the Gjoa with the idea that a small ship could bet-
ter navigate the dangerous icy waters than could a large one. Te Gjoa was
only 72 feet (22 meters) long and 11 feet (3.4 meters) wide, with a shallow
Roald Amundsen
and his party planted
the Norwegian flag
at the geographic
South Pole on
December 14, 1911.
Tey spent the next
three days making
observations and
conducting studies.
(Bob Tomas/
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
;F>J C < ;J
|ogslods allovod oxµlo|o|s io tho A|ctic aod Aota|ctic to joo|ooy ta| t|om thoi| shiµs. 1ho slods,
ot va|ioos dosigos, had |oooo|s to µ|ovido a glidiog motioo ovo| tho soov aod ico.
|o|oµoaos did oot to|o sobstaotially to dogsloddiog ootil tho l82us aod l8ìus, do|iog tho
socood A|ctic voyago ot tho |oglishmao villiam |a||y, aod tho socood aod thi|d voyagos ot tho
Scottish oxµlo|o| Si| ¦oho |oss. 1hoso sloddiog to|ays vo|o limitod to sho|t distaocos, bot vith
|oovlodgo gloaood t|om tho |s|imos, |o|oµoaos loa|ood tho tochoiqoos ot sloddiog.
|o|iog tho socood soa|ch to| Si| ¦oho ||ao|lio aod his toam io l848, tho oxtoosivo oso ot
dogslods shovod tho oxµlo|o|s hov valoablo sloddiog coold bo to ao oxµoditioo. Si| ¦amos
|oss, vho so|vod vith |a||y aod ¦oho |oss, b|ooght his |oovlodgo ot dogslods vith him to
tho ||ao|lio soa|ch. ¦amos |oss vas tamilia| vith tho slods osod io oo|tho|o Caoada aod io
G|ooolaod, ho had µ|ovioosly booo oo a sloddiog t|iµ ot ooa|ly thi|ty days.
1ho Amo|icao oxµlo|o| |obo|t |. |oa|y |oliod oo dogslods to| his t|o| to tho |o|th |olo io
l9u9. |is voodoo slods vo|o oach l2 toot loog ¦ì.! moto|sj aod 2 toot vido ¦.! moto|sj aod coold
ca||y loads ot oµ to !uu µooods ¦22! |ilog|amsj. |oa|ys slods vo|o µollod by toams ot oight
1ho most ottoctivo oso ot slod dogs vas a matto| ot coosido|ablo dobato. Somo oxµlo|o|s
a|good that do|iog a loog joo|ooy it vas mo|o otncioot to |ill somo ot tho dogs as tho t|iµ
µ|ocoodod. 1his voold moao loss tood voold bo ooodod to| tho dogs, aod tho doad dogs coold
so|vo as tood to| tho oxµoditioo.
vhatovo| tho caso, ooo oxµlo|o| |oma||od that vith tho dogslods ¨tho ico vhich a||osts tho
µ|og|oss ot tho shiµ to|ms tho highvay to| tho [slodj.¨
draught. It had one mast and one mainsail, along with an auxiliary motor.
Amundsen crammed the ship with supplies; even the deck was loaded with
At Greenland, Amundsen picked up huskies to pull his dogsleds. In August
1903, he and his men stopped at Beechy Island (at the western end of Devon
Island between the Beaufort Sea and Baffin Bay in the Canadian Arctic). Ten,
they headed south into Peel Sound (also in the Canadian Arctic, between
Prince of Wales Island and Somerset Island), where they battled a fire in the
engine room, crashed into a rock, and endured a violent gale.
In September, they set anchor at a small harbor off King William Island
(part of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago in what is today Nunavut). Tey
called the harbor Gjoa Haven, and it became their refuge for the coming
To fix the position of the North Magnetic Pole, Amundsen traveled
from the harbor to Boothia Peninsula (northeast of King William Island,
across James Ross Strait); the round trip took seven weeks and the chal-
lenging conditions required the use of dogsleds. In spring 1904, through an
interpolative method involving four readings, he fixed the position of the
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magnetic pole on the peninsula at a site slightly farther north than the ear-
lier fix in 1831, by James Clark Ross, a British explorer. (Shortly thereafter,
scientists debated the accuracy of Amundsen’s readings and concluded they
were deficient. Today the North Magnetic Pole, which moves rather than
remaining stationary, is located well north of the Boothia Peninsula, in the
Arctic Ocean.)
Ultimately, Amundsen and his crew spent two years at Gjoa Haven,
where they set up a magnetic observatory containing photographic record-
ers to conduct more studies of the magnetic pole. From 1903 to 1905,
Amundsen interacted extensively with the local Inuit, the people called
Netsilik. Amundsen claimed that he and his men “showed them the mar-
vels of our equipment, and treated them with the greatest consideration.”
However, his writings of them reveal at least an initial condescending
European attitude:
Tis was truly a thrilling moment in the lives of these poor savages. No one
of them had ever seen a white man before, yet white men were a part of
the legendary tradition of their tribe. Seventy-two years earlier, their grand-
fathers had met Sir James Clark Ross on almost this very ground.
During the time that the Gjoa was anchored off King William Island,
some 200 men, women, and children erected fifty “Eskimo huts” near the
ship. In his contact with the Netsilik, Amundsen collected samples of cloth-
ing, cooking implements, and other items that he intended for a museum
exhibit. He took a keen interest in Netsilik cultural practices and praised
some of them, including the skill of the women at making clothes from cari-
bou skins. In all, he made important ethnographic studies of the Netsilik,
while learning from them how to build snow houses and treat frostbite—
skills he later needed for an expedition to the South Pole.
Amundsen and his men departed Gjoa Haven in August 1905. For
the next three weeks, the shallow channels hampered their progress and
nearly forced them aground. Finally, on August 26, they sighted the Charles
Hansson, a whaling ship from San Francisco. Tis sighting meant that they
would soon enter deeper waters and had nearly completed their journey
through the Northwest Passage. “We had succeeded!” Amundsen later
wrote. “What a glorious sight that was—the distant outlines of a whaling
vessel in the west!”
Still, ice forced the crew of the Gjoa to spend the winter at King Point
(near Herschel Island off the coast of the Yukon Territory in Canada), and
they did not conclude their trip until they reached Nome, Alaska, in August
1906. Earlier, Amundsen had traveled more than 500 miles (800 kilome-
ters) overland by skis and snowshoes to Eagle City, Alaska, where he wired
news of his accomplishment. Te completion of the journey made him the
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first person to traverse the entire Northwest Passage in a single voyage in a
single ship.
Te South Pole
Amundsen also had wanted to be the first person to reach the North Pole,
but when he learned that the Americans Frederick Cook and Robert Peary
already had accomplished the feat (Cook in 1908, Peary in 1909, although
Cook’s feat largely has been discredited), he set his sights on the South Pole.
He made this decision in secret, for he feared he would be beaten by
a competitor, perhaps the British explorer Robert Scott, in the race to
Antarctica. In fact, when Amundsen’s ship, Fram, sailed from Morocco,
even his crew thought that Amundsen had set the North Pole as his des-
tination. He did not tell them otherwise until the ship was well into the
Atlantic Ocean that the South Pole would be their goal.
Amundsen recruited eighteen men for the mission to Antarctica. He ap-
pointed Torvald Nilsen as captain of the Fram and made himself second-
in-command. He also brought with him sled dogs from North Greenland,
known for their hardiness. While he intended to engage in scientific re-
search during the expedition, his most important objective was getting to
the South Pole.
Te Fram reached Antarctica in January 1911, and Amundsen estab-
lished his base camp, which he called Franheim, on the eastern edge of the
Ross Ice Shelf at an inlet named the Bay of Whales. He chose the loca-
tion because, as he later recalled, from the Ross Ice Shelf, “We could . . . go
farther south in the ship than at any other point—a whole degree farther
south than Scott could hope to get in McMurdo Sound, where he was to
have his station.” Te site also was abundant in seals and penguins that
could be killed for food.
On October 19, 1911, Amundsen and his party, consisting of four other
men (Olav Bjaaland, Helmer Hanssen, Sverre Hassel, and Oscar Wisting)
and four sleds pulled by fifty-two dogs, began their trek to the South Pole,
some 870 miles away (1,400 kilometers). Tis was their second attempt, as
they had been forced to abort an earlier attempt in September.
Te explorers had to dodge crevasses that, hidden beneath the ice, could
swallow up men, sleds, and whole dog teams. At one point, Amundsen and his
men had to fight hard to keep a sled from meeting such a fate. For nourishment,
the men consumed food they earlier had placed in caches along the first stages
of the route. As they journeyed farther, they shot and ate several of the dogs.
Te party battled blizzards whipped by winds of 35 miles (56 kilome-
ters) per hour and struggled to find their way through thick fog. Yet, in all, the
weather favored them, and on December 8, Amundsen and his men passed
the point where, in 1908, British explorer Ernest Shackleton had been forced
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to turn back. Tis put them 95 miles (150 kilometers) from the pole. By then,
the men were suffering from frostbite; however, they were worried that Scott
might yet beat them, so they pushed ahead at full speed.
At 3 p.m. on Friday, December 14, 1911, the sleds were halted. Te men
had reached the South Pole. With their battered hands, they planted the
Norwegian flag at the spot. Amundsen named the surrounding plain King
Haakon VII’s Plateau. Tat evening, the men celebrated with a meal of seal
meat. Amundsen wrote in his diary: “So we arrived and were able to plant
our flag at the geographical South Pole. God be thanked!”
Over the next three days, the party completed observations to confirm
that they had reached the South Pole. Before leaving, they erected a tent and
left a message inside of it to inform Scott of their accomplishment.
Teir return trip to the Fram took thirty-nine days; they reached the
ship on January 25, 1912. Tere followed a journey of several weeks to
Tasmania, Australia. On March 7, 1912, Amundsen cabled his brother from
Hobart, Tasmania, with the news that he had reached the South Pole.
Amundsen’s adept use of dogs and skis, his single-minded determina-
tion to reach the pole, and his ability to supply his party with food and
other necessities, all contributed to his success. He said as much when he
later wrote,
K?< N8E;< I@ E> EFIK? D8>E< K@ : G FC <
||io| to tho co||oot ago ot tho Global |ositiooiog Systom, tho |o|th Magootic |olo vas
oxt|omoly imµo|taot to oavigatioo, sioco it ma|os µossiblo tho tooctiooiog ot tho magootic
comµass, hovovo|, it vas ditncolt to µioµoiot.
|ot loog atto| |o|oµoaos bogao osiog tho comµass, io tho tvoltth cooto|y, thoy sooght to
oxµlaio its di|octiooal µ|oµo|tios. lo l6uu, |oglish µhysiciao aod µhilosoµho| villiam Gilbo|t
µoblishod his 9ffb[\DX^e\k\# io vhich ho acco|atoly µostolatod that oo sioglo µlaco oo |a|th
is magootic, |atho|, ho statod, tho |a|th is a giaot magoot, aod this is tho |oasoo that comµassos
µoiotod oo|th. lo ottoct, co||oots vithio tho |a|ths co|o µ|odoco tho magootic µolo by omittiog
ao oloct|ical co||oot. 1ho magootic µolo movos bocaoso tho co||oots chaogo.
by tho oa|ly l8uus, |osoa|ch shovod that tho |o|th Magootic |olo vas locatod oot at tho
goog|aµhic |o|th |olo bot somovho|o io Caoada. b|itish oxµlo|o| Si| ¦amos |oss locatod tho
|o|th Magootic |olo io l8ìl at Caµo Adolaido oo tho boothia |ooiosola io oo|tho|o Caoada.
Sioco thoo, tho |o|th Magootic |olo has d|ittod coosido|ably to tho oo|thvost. lo 2uul, it
vas locatod ooa| Caoadas |llosmo|o lslaod, vhich lios at 8l
| 8u' v. lo 2uu!, it vas ostimatod
to bo at 82./
| aod ll4.4' v. Shoold tho t|ood cootiooo-aod it is moviog at aboot 6 to 2! milos
¦lu to 4u |ilomoto|sj a yoa|-tho |o|th Magootic |olo sooo coold viod oµ io Sibo|ia.
|osµito its movomoot aod tho dovoloµmoot ot oov satollito tochoology, tho |o|th
Magootic |olos locatioo |omaios imµo|taot to oavigato|s vho still |oly oo thoi| comµassos to|
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
I may say that this is the greatest factor—the way in which the expedition
is equipped—the way in which every difficulty is foreseen, and precautions
taken for meeting or avoiding it. Victory awaits him who has everything in
Northeast Passage and North Pole
In 1918, Amundsen began a trip through the Northeast Passage. (Also
known as the Northern Route, it comprises the Arctic Ocean along the
northern coast of Eurasia). He planned to have his ship, the Maud, drift
along the currents that bear the ice floes of the Arctic Ocean and then cross
the North Pole, but he failed to reach the pole. Instead he sailed along the
northern coast of Europe and Asia and, in 1920, reached Nome, Alaska.
He was the first person to sail along the entire northern coast of Europe
and Asia since Adolf Erik Nordenskiöld, a Swedish explorer, had done so
in the 1870s.
Despite Amundsen’s failure to reach the North Pole, important scien-
tific work was accomplished during the journey by his colleague, Harald
Sverdrup, who studied ocean currents and posited that the effects of the
Earth’s rotation could best be observed in the currents of the polar regions.
Sverdrup’s work aboard the Maud, including work he did after the trip of
1918–1920, enabled him and other scientists to better understand the
physical oceanography of currents. He also researched meteorology, mag-
netics, and tidal dynamics.
In May 1926, Amundsen joined with the Italian explorer and engi-
neer Umberto Nobile and the explorers Lincoln Ellsworth (an American),
Hjalmar Riiser-Larsen (a Norwegian), and Oscar Wisting (also
a Norwegian), to fly across the North Pole in the dirigible Norge
(“Norway”). Nobile had designed and built the airship, and the men flew
it from the island of Spitsbergen, Norway, to Teller, Alaska, near Nome,
in a little more than seventy hours. Teir journey included passage over
unexplored regions of the Arctic Ocean north of Alaska. (Te American
explorer Richard Byrd claimed to have flown over the North Pole forty-
eight hours before Amundsen, in an airplane, but there still is some debate
over whether he in fact did this.)
Amundsen and Nobile argued over which of them should get most
of the credit for the flight. Despite this disagreement, when Nobile was
lost during a polar flight in 1928, Amundsen volunteered to help find him.
Searchers found Nobile, but, in the effort, Amundsen disappeared.
Amundsen was last heard from on June 28, 1928, after taking off in a
plane from Norway. A pontoon from the plane was found on August 31,
but Amundsen’s body was never recovered. He had fulfilled his “service [to]
science,” and in the end, service to a friend.
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
See also: Antarctica;
Scott, Robert
Further Reading
Huntford, Roland, ed. Te Amundsen Photographs. New York: Atlantic
Monthly Press, 1987.
———. Te Last Place on Earth: Scott and Amundsen’s Race to the South Pole.
New York: Modern Library, 1999.
Langley, Andrew, and Kevin Barnes. Te Great Polar Adventure: Te Journeys
of Roald Amundsen. New York: Chelsea House, 1994.
Vaeth, J. Gordon. To the Ends of the Earth: Te Explorations of Roald Amundsen.
New York: Harper and Row, 1962.
An American naturalist whose pursuit of whales in the Pacific Ocean
and fossils in China rewrote the history of the Earth’s development, Roy
Chapman Andrews is, according to some accounts, the model for the fic-
tional movie character Indiana Jones. Yet Andrews neither pursued the
Holy Grail, nor did he advocate risky undertakings. To him, science and
careful preparation came first.
Andrews was born on January 26, 1884, in Beloit, Wisconsin, to
Charles Ezra Andrews, a wholesale druggist, and Cora May Chapman.
He enjoyed bird watching and decided early on to become an explorer and
work in a natural history museum. Self-taught in taxidermy (the preparing
and stuffing of dead animal skins so that they appear lifelike), he studied
physiology and anatomy at Beloit College while working as a taxidermist
at the Logan Museum of Anthropology.
In 1905, when Andrews was in his junior year of college, he experi-
enced a traumatic event. During an outing with a friend, the canoe in which
they were riding capsized. Andrews’s friend drowned, while Andrews
nearly perished. As he struggled to come to terms with his friend’s death
and his own near death, Andrews concluded that, since life was so short and
1884: Born on January 26 in Beloit, Wisconsin
1908: Writes scientific paper on right whales
1909–1912: Leads expeditions to study cetaceans in Japan, China, the
Philippines, Borneo, Celebes Island, and Korea
1922: Organizes his first Central Asiatic Expedition
1923: With George Olsen, discovers dinosaur eggs in the Gobi Desert
of China
1930: Leads his last Central Asiatic Expedition to eastern Inner Mongolia
1935: Becomes director of the American Museum of Natural History in
New York City
1960: Dies in Carmel, California, on March 11
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
precarious, he must do everything reasonably possible to pursue his desire
for museum work.
In 1906, Andrews received his bachelor’s degree from Beloit. Ten,
with $30 in his pocket, he journeyed to New York City, where he sought a
position at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH). Anxious
to be hired, he offered to do anything, even scrub floors. Te museum’s di-
rector, Hermon C. Bumpus, impressed by the young man, made him an
assistant to James L. Clark in the Department of Taxidermy. Andrews later
recalled his first day on the job:
I shut my eyes and made a little prayer, then walked to the entrance on
Seventy-Seventh Street, and, for the first time, went through the doors of the
American Museum as an employee.
Andrews helped build models of cetaceans (aquatic mammals such as
whales, porpoises, and dolphins), including a model of a blue whale. In
1908, he wrote a scientific paper on the anatomy of a right whale based on
his study of the skeleton of one from the North Atlantic.
Shortly thereafter, Andrews volunteered to travel for the museum,
without pay, to British Columbia and study whales there. At shore-whaling
stations, where whales were butchered by commercial hunters, Andrews
measured the animals, took photographs, and studied their internal organs
and skeletons. In all, he studied more than 100 whales.
Over the next few years, Andrews led several expeditions to continue
his study of cetaceans: to Japan, China, the Philippines, Borneo, and Celebes
Island in 1909 and 1910, and to Korea in 1911 and 1912. For his master’s
degree in mammalogy from Columbia University (which he received in
1913), he wrote a thesis based on a stunning discovery.
While in Korea, he had noticed that the flukes and markings of a spe-
cies known as the Korean devilfish were the same as those of the California
gray whale, a species that was believed to be extinct. Andrews discovered
that the two mammals were one and the same, but had been misidentified
as distinct species. His finding established his reputation as an authority on
Pacific cetaceans.
Central Asiatic Expeditions
Accompanied by his wife, photographer Yvette Borup (whom he married
in 1914 and with whom he had two children), Andrews led expeditions to
Burma and to Yunnan province in China in 1916 and 1917. While traveling
along the edge of the Gobi Desert in 1919, he noticed evidence of fossils.
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Based on this observation, Andrews envisioned putting together an ex-
pedition to study Mongolia’s geology, paleontology, archeology, zoology, and
botany. He wanted to test a theory offered by the scientist Henry Fairfield
Osborn, who was president of the AMNH, that central Asia was the origin
of mammalian life, including human ancestors. Newspapers sensationalized
Andrews’s announcement of the upcoming expedition, calling it a search for
the “missing link.”
Andrews believed in thoroughly preparing for the expedition, as he ab-
horred taking chances or did not believe in engaging in adventure for the
sake of adventure. Clearly, though, adventure was a part of the trip, whether
it was in the excitement of finding fossils or the danger in capturing thieves
who tried to rob the expedition’s camps.
In his planning, Andrews put together an innovative strategy of using
automobiles in the desert. Te autos allowed for the transport of equip-
ment and supplies on a scale that meant a tremendous amount of work
could be accomplished in a short time. Although the cars and trucks did get
stuck from time to time in deep sand and mud, he later said,
Te automobile was the answer to the transportation problem. With motors
we could go into the desert as soon as the heavy snows had disappeared, pen-
etrate the farthest reaches of Mongolia, and return before cold and snow set in.
Moreover, Andrews brought together an impressive team of geologists,
archeologists, and paleontologists. All in all, it ended up being an expensive
undertaking and required him to raise money. Te financier J.P. Morgan
donated $50,000 to the expedition, as did John D. Rockefeller, Jr.
Andrews’s first Central Asiatic Expedition began in 1922 and departed
from the Mongolian city of Kalgan in the spring. Seventy-five camels loaded
with supplies were led by a Mongol named Merin. Te scientists traveled
in Dodge cars and Fulton trucks. During the initial foray, paleontologist
Walter Granger uncovered dinosaur bones in the Gobi—the first such find
there. Granger patiently excavated the site, carefully removing sand from the
fossils and cleaning the teeth and bones. Andrews admitted he had little pa-
tience for such work. “I was inclined to employ [a] pickax,” he commented.
Te explorers also found dinosaur nests with eggs. Te discovery of
the eggs, uncovered at Flaming Cliffs (in the Gobi Desert), stunned even
the scientists. Initially they could not believe what they had uncovered and
thought that the reddish-brown items, 9 inches (23 centimeters) long, might
be some kind of geological deposit. But Andrews later said, “it was evident
that dinosaurs did lay eggs and that we had discovered the first specimens
known to science.”
Andrews speculated that the dinosaurs had found Flaming Hill to be an
attractive breeding place because the sand was just the right consistency to al-
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
American naturalist
and adventurer
Roy Chapman
Andrews examines
old dinosaur eggs,
which he discovered
in the Gobi Desert
of Central Asia in
1923. (Topical Press
Hulton Archive/
Getty Images)
low heat and air to pass through the eggs after they had been covered and left
to hatch. Paleontologist George Olsen, who was on the expedition, thought
that the eggs might have been laid by the beaked herbivore Protoceratops, al-
though he cautioned that he could be wrong. It is now believed that the eggs
were laid by Oviraptors, dinosaurs belonging to the group called theropods
and known for their birdlike skeletal features and feathers.
While Andrews was wrong about theirs being the “first specimens” (the
first dinosaur eggs were found in France in 1859), it was a monumental find.
Nevertheless, Andrews considered the most important discovery of the ex-
pedition to be seven tiny skulls of the shrewlike Zalambdalestes. Tey, too,
were uncovered at Flaming Cliffs and showed that mammals had shared the
Earth with dinosaurs.
Newspapers around the world gave extensive coverage to the expedi-
tion’s finds, particularly the dinosaur eggs. In 1924, more than 4,000 people
turned out to hear Andrews present his first lecture in New York City, at the
AMNH. Crowds packed the hall of the museum to see the eggs. Andrews
became famous as feature stories about him appeared in the Saturday
Evening Post, Harper’s, Cosmopolitan, and
many other publications. To many, he
seemed to be an adventurer, yet he also
was an erudite scientist able to regale au-
diences with his tales of discovery.
Andrews used the publicity sur-
rounding him and his accomplishments
to raise money for additional central
Asian expeditions. He even staged a
“Great Dinosaur Egg Auction.” Unfortu-
nately, the auction antagonized the Chinese
and the Mongols, crucial supporters of his
missions, because they thought he was
making money by exploiting their lands.
Te second Central Asiatic Expe-
dition, in 1923, also traveled to Mongolia.
In 1925, came the third and largest ex-
pedition, consisting of forty men, who
explored Outer Mongolia. War in China
in 1926 and 1927 precluded any expedi-
tions in those years, but Andrews and his
scientists returned in 1928; in 1930, the
last of his expeditions explored eastern
Inner Mongolia. Te expeditions ended
when revolutionary turmoil in China
and financial constraints due to the Great
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Depression made them no longer feasible. By then, more than 10,000 speci-
mens had been collected.
American Museum of Natural History
When Andrews returned home in 1931, he became vice director of the
AMNH. Four years later, he became director, although he felt himself ill
suited for the position and disliked administrative work. Also in 1935,
Andrews, who had divorced in 1931, married Wilhelmina Anderson
As museum director, Andrews despaired over the dwindling funds
available to sponsor explorations. At the same time, critics accused him of
being ineffective and more attuned to adventure than to the mundane poli-
cies necessary to running a museum. In 1941, he retired from the museum.
Over the years, Andrews had written several books, including Whale
Hunting with Gun and Camera (1916), Camps and Trails in China (1918),
and the best-selling On the Trail of Ancient Man (1926). In retirement,
he wrote popular books about his life and explorations, including Under
a Lucky Star (1943) and An Explorer Comes Home (1947). He also wrote
books for young people, such as Meet Your Ancestors (1945) and the novel
Quest of the Snow Leopard (1955).
Andrews retired to Carmel, California, in 1942. He died there on
March 11, 1960, of a heart attack at Peninsula Community Hospital.
= FJ J @ C < OKI8:K@ FE
|ossils a|o tho |omaios ot µlaots aod aoimals toood io sodimoota|y |oc| o| otho| µa|ts ot tho
|a|ths c|ost aod osoally dato bac| to tho µ|ohisto|ic µo|iod. 1hoy ioclodo o|gaoic |omaios aod
thoi| imµ|ossioos, as voll as tho t|ails, t|ac|s, aod habitats ot o|gaoisms. bocaoso all ot thoso
doto|io|ato ovo| timo, thoy caooot bocomo tossilizod ooloss thoy a|o omboddod io a µ|otoctivo
mato|ial soch as sodimoot.
vhoo |oy Chaµmao Aod|ovs discovo|od tossils io tho Gobi |oso|t, ho lott it to valto|
G|aogo| to oxcavato tho sito-ho did oot t|ost himsolt vith soch a dolicato tas|. |omoviog tossils
t|om tho g|oood is dolicato aod µaiosta|iog vo||, bocaoso tossils cao oasily b|oa| do|iog tho
1ho osoal tools to| |omoviog tossils t|om ao ootc|oµ ¦|oc| that µ|ot|odos abovo tho so|taco
ot tho g|ooodj a|o hammo|s aod chisols. Oo occasioo, la|go tossils a|o |omovod osiog shovols aod
Ottoo, it ta|os hoo|s jost to oocovo| aod |omovo a sioglo booo. 1ho tossil thoo most bo
ca|otolly µac|agod to| t|aosµo|t io a box o| bag, o| v|aµµod io µaµo| o| bo|laµ, aod ta|oo to a
labo|ato|y. Ooco tho oxcoss |oc| has booo |omovod, tho tossil cao bo aoalyzod.
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Although Andrews failed to find the bones of an early primitive human
being or prove Osborn’s theory about central Asia being the originating
point for mammalian life, his central Asiatic expeditions proved extraor-
dinarily valuable to paleontologists and paved the way for numerous other
explorations of the Gobi. Since the 1940s, American, Canadian, Chinese,
Mongolian, Polish, Russian, and Swedish scientists have explored the des-
ert. Still to be definitively answered is the question of why the Gobi con-
tains so many dinosaur skeletons in such a well-preserved state.
Further Reading
Archer, Jules. Science Explorer: Roy Chapman Andrews. New York: J. Messner,
Gallenkemp, Charles. Dragon Hunter: Roy Chapman Andrews and the Central
Asiatic Expeditions. New York: Viking, 2001.
Pond, Alonzo W. Andrews: Gobi Explorer. New York: Grosset and Dunlap,
Roy Chapman Andrews Society.
Windswept, frigid, and forbidding, with a mean temperature of 71 degrees be-
low zero Fahrenheit (-57 degrees Celsius) and an ice sheet that averages nearly
7,100 feet (2,200 meters) in depth, Antarctica was the last continent to be
explored by human beings. It has become important to scientific exploration,
providing insights into the Earth’s climate and geological history.
As late as 1819, no human being had ever set eyes on Antarctica. Yet
stories about it abounded in the Western world. Medieval maps showed
a continent called Terra Australis where Antarctica is. In the 1600s and
1700s, Europeans explored several islands near the continent, including the
South Sandwich Islands, South Georgia, and the Kerguelen Islands.
See also:
Gobi Desert.
1773: English explorer James Cook crosses the Antarctic Circle
1821: James Davis of the United States makes the first known landing on Antarctica
1895: Norwegian whaler Henryk John Bull makes the first recorded landing on
Antarctica outside the Antarctic Peninsula
1911: Roald Amundsen of Norway becomes the first to reach the South Pole
1929: Richard E. Byrd of the United States flies from the Ross Ice Shelf to the South
1957: Te International Geophysical Year begins with substantial scientific work in
2004: Observations indicate that global warming has contributed to the accelerated
melting of Antarctica’s glaciers
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
In 1773, the British navigator James Cook, dodging icebergs while
sailing on the Resolution, crossed the southern latitude 71
10', the farthest
south anyone had traveled. He thus became the first to cross the Antarctic
Circle, but he did not sight the continent.
Russian naval expeditions in 1819 and shortly thereafter, along with
sealers from several different nations, continued to probe around the
mysterious continent. In 1821, Captain John Davis of the United States
made the first known landing on Antarctica, going ashore at Hughes
Bay at the Antarctic Peninsula, which juts into the Atlantic Ocean near
Argentina and Chile. Over the five years from 1838 to 1843, several
other explorers arrived in the area, with James Wilkes of the United
States skirting the coast and confirming that Antarctica was indeed a
separate continent.
In 1895, the Norwegian whaler Henryk John Bull made the first re-
corded landing on the continent outside the Antarctic Peninsula, when
he debarked at Cape Adare near the Ross Sea. Tat same year, the Sixth
International Geographical Conference
in London urged further exploration
of the continent, and, in 1899, a British
expedition led by Carsten Borchgrevnik
became the first group of Europeans
to spend a winter on the ice mass. (In
1897, the Belgica, a ship of the Belgian
Antarctic Expedition, had become
locked in sea ice near the Antarctic
Peninsula, and thus was the first to spend
a winter at Antarctica, but in the water
and not on the ice mass itself.)
Between 1901 and 1904, the British
National Antarctic Expedition under
Robert Falcon Scott spent two winters
in McMurdo Sound in the Ross Sea.
Members of the expedition tried but
failed to reach the South Pole. Tere
followed several more efforts aimed at
reaching the pole. In 1908, Ernest
Shackleton led a British expedition across
the Queen Maud Mountains and came
within about 110 miles (175 kilometers)
of the pole. In doing so, he pio neered a
British naval
officer Robert Falcon
Scott and his party
reached Antarc-
tica on the ice ship
Terra Nova in early
1911. Beaten to the
South Pole by the
Roald Amundsen
expedition later that
year, Scott and four
others died on the
journey back to
base camp. (Time &
Life Pictures/Getty
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
route across the Ross Ice Shelf that other explorers would follow. He also
brought back samples of coal that proved Antarctica was once semitropical.
Te South Pole finally was reached in December 1911, when an expe-
dition led by the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen pushed 700 miles
(1,125 kilometers) across the Ross Ice Shelf, fighting fierce storms and the
debilitating effects of thin air at the 10,500-foot (3,200-meter) elevation of
the ice plateau. Amundsen beat out Scott, who returned to Antarctica and
reached the South Pole in January 1912, five weeks after Amundsen. Scott
and his men died before completing their return trip.
In describing Amundsen’s feat, National Geographic magazine reported,
[Amundsen] has defined the eastern and southern boundaries of the Great
Ice Barrier. . . . Tis enormous glacial ice plain is one of the wonders of the
world. It is a solid mass of ice . . . approximately 800 to 1,600 feet [240
to 490 meters] thick, and covering an area of about 100,000 square miles
[160,000 square kilometers], or considerably larger than New York, Massa-
chusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont combined.
Explorers penetrated Antarctica by air, too. In 1928, George Hubert
Wilkins of Australia flew along the Antarctic Peninsula. Te following year,
Richard E. Byrd of the United States flew from the Ross Ice Shelf to the
South Pole. He made additional flights from 1933 to 1935 to conduct a
photographic survey. In 1935, another American, Lincoln Ellsworth, be-
came the first to cross Antarctica by air.
Te International Geophysical Year
Beginning in 1939, expeditions to Antarctica focused more on scientific
projects. Richard Byrd established stations staffed with scientists; so, too,
did the Argentines, Australians, British, Chileans, and French. (Science had
its military applications, too. With the advent of the cold war in the 1940s,
the American military monitored human experience in frigid conditions as
a way to prepare for possible battle with the Soviet Union.)
A pivotal moment in scientific research occurred when, in 1952, the
International Council of Scientific Unions proposed a series of global
geophysical activities for January 1957 through December 1958, dubbed
International Geophysical Year (IGY). Sixty-seven countries were involved
in studying global geophysical phenomena.
Although the activities included projects in the equatorial region and
the Arctic, Antarctica was the center of attention. A series of stations was
established there to make continuous measurements, leading to advances
in the study of meteorology, and, for the first time, scientists measured the
thickness of Antarctica’s ice mass. In support of the IGY, the U.S. Navy
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
established five coastal stations and three interior stations on Antarctica,
and explored vast regions of Wilkes Land. In March 1958, a team led by Dr.
Vivian E. Fuchs completed the first land crossing of Antarctica, traveling
about 2,150 miles (3,460 kilometers) in ninety-eight days.
To keep Antarctica from becoming militarized, twelve nations, includ-
ing Britain, France, the Soviet Union, and the United States, signed a treaty
in 1959 in which they recognized “that it is in the interest of all mankind
that Antarctica shall continue forever to be used exclusively for peaceful
Sitoatod oo ba|o volcaoic |oc| oo |oss lslaod is tho la|gost ot Aota|cticas sciootinc |osoa|ch
statioos, McMo|do. lt is oamod to| A|chibald McMo|do, a b|itish oaval otnco| aboa|d tho |MS
K\iifi oo ao oxµoditioo that n|st cha|tod tho a|oa io l84l oodo| tho commaod ot McMo|dos
tollov b|itoo, Si| ¦amos Cla|| |oss. 1ho statioo vas tooodod io l9!6 by tho Uoitod Statos
govo|omoot to soµµo|t sciootinc |osoa|ch to| tho loto|oatiooal Gooµhysical Yoa| ¦l9!/-l9!8j.
Ovo| tho yoa|s, McMo|do has g|ovo t|om a tov boildiogs ovo|loo|iog McMo|do Soood,
ao iolot ot tho |oss Soa, to a comµlox ot mo|o thao luu st|octo|os caµablo ot soµµo|tiog somo
l,ìuu |osidoots. McMo|do ioclodos ao ootlyiog ai|µo|t aod a holicoµto| µad. 1ho sito is so|vod by
vato|, sovo|, toloµhooo, aod µovo| lioos.
Most ot tho |osidoots at McMo|do a|o soµµo|t µo|sooool, bot tho statioo is dodicatod to
sciootinc vo||. McMo|do is µa|t ot tho U.S. Aota|ctic ||og|am, vhich has as its goal |osoa|chiog
tho cootiooots ocosystom aod its ottoct oo tho global climato.
1ho µ|og|am also osos tho cootiooot as a baso t|om vhich to stody tho oµµo| atmosµho|o
aod ooto| sµaco. |o| oxamµlo, sciootists at tho statioo |osoa|ch st|atosµho|ic chomist|y aod
ao|osols, µa|ticola|ly as thoy |olato to tho ozooo holo. 1hoy
also stody tho soo aod cosmic |ays th|oogh loog-do|atioo
ballooo ûights laoochod t|om tho statioo.
1ho Albo|t |. C|a|y Sciooco aod |ogiooo|iog Cooto|
¦oamod to| tho gooµhysicist aod glaciologist Albo|t |. C|a|yj
oµoood io l99l. 1ho cooto| soµµo|ts tho biological, |a|th,
aod atmosµho|ic scioocos, aod it hoosos ao aqoa|iom.
lo l999, a toloscoµo vas sot oµ at McMo|do to stody
cosmic bac|g|oood |adiatioo. Otho| sciooco tacilitios at
McMo|do iovostigato tho magootic nold a|oood tho |a|th.
Scientists lower a current meter into the frigid water of McMurdo
Sound, Antarctica, to study ice movements. Te McMurdo Station
research center was established by the United States in 1956 to
collect data on the continent’s ecosystem. (David Boyer/National
Geographic/Getty Images)
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
purposes and shall not become the scene or object of international discord.”
Te treaty prohibited military bases and fortifications, weapons testing, and
the like. It encouraged scientific programs and the exchange of scientific
personnel and observations, but it failed to resolve the territorial claims
made by several nations. Te treaty was renewed in 1991, with a protocol
banning mineral and oil exploration for fifty years and providing for wildlife
Today, numerous scientific stations operate in Antarctica under
the sponsorship of more than fifteen countries. Tey range in size from
fewer than twelve people to the hundreds accommodated in summer by
McMurdo Station (operated by the United States). Many scientists work
indoors, while others do fieldwork and labor in difficult outdoor conditions.
Tey study the plates of the Earth’s crust, fossils, and meteorites.
One important discovery occurred in 1985, when British scientists dis-
covered the ozone hole. Te ozone layer, a bed of ozone molecules in the
Earth’s stratosphere, greatly reduces the amount of certain ultraviolet rays
(UVBs) that reaches the planet’s surface. Without this protection, UVB
rays can harm human beings by increasing the risk of skin cancer and cata-
racts and by damaging immune systems. UVB exposure also can harm ter-
restrial plant life, single-cell organisms, and aquatic ecosystems.
Te ozone hole—actually a reduction in the concentrations of ozone—
was caused in part by chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), a family of man-made
chemical compounds developed for use in aerosol propellents and refrig-
eration. In 1987, several nations signed the Montreal Protocol, in which
they pledged to stop making and using CFCs. By 2008, the protocol had
been signed by 193 nations, more than had signed an environmental treaty
ever before. Since the original signing of the protocol, CFC production has
dropped nearly 97 percent. Yet in 2006, the ozone hole expanded to a re-
cord 11,400,000 square miles (29,500,000 square kilometers).
In 2004 and later, observations indicated that global warming had
contributed to the accelerated melting of Antarctica’s glaciers. For example,
American and Argentine scientists have discovered how rising temperatures
have caused an increase in the speed at which glaciers are moving, meaning
that these ice masses are being pushed into the ocean more quickly, where
they will melt.
Further Reading
Martin, Stephen. A History of Antarctica. Sydney, Australia: State Library of
New South Wales Press, 1996.
Reader’s Digest. Antarctica: Te Extraordinary History of Man’s Conquest of the
Frozen Continent. New York: Reader’s Digest, 1990.
Roberts, Leslie Carol. Te Entire Earth and Sky: Views on Antarctica. Lincoln:
University of Nebraska Press, 2008.
See also: Amundsen,
Roald; Byrd,
Richard E.; Cook,
James; International
Geophysical Year.
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Te Arctic comprises all of the lands and waters north of the Arctic Circle.
Beginning in the fifteenth century, Europeans explored the region in what is
today northern Canada in search of the Northwest Passage, a sea route be-
tween the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Te entire Arctic has been the scene
of extensive scientific research—both that which coincided with the search
for the passage and that which came later.
Although Arctic temperatures are variable, winters generally are long
and cold and summers are short and cool. Te lowest temperatures of -90
degrees Fahrenheit (-68 degrees Celsius) are reached in Greenland and
northern Siberia. But maximum temperatures of about 23 to 36 degrees
Fahrenheit (-5

to +2 degrees Celsius) are common on the ice sheet, such as
in Greenland, and highs of 70 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit (21 to 37 degrees
Celsius) are common on land areas. During the summers, there is continu-
ous sunlight; during the winters, continuous darkness.
Te region generally is defined as lying north of the Arctic Circle (66
33' N), which places it north of the tree line (the point beyond which trees
do not grow). North of 75
latitude, ice is permanent, and icebergs flow (or
“calve”) into the ocean from western Greenland and northeastern Canada.
Long before Europeans arrived in the Arctic, the Inuit explored the re-
gion. Evidence also indicates that in ancient times a Greek navigator reached
Iceland. And long before the scientific revolution emerged in Europe in the
fifteenth century, Norsemen came here.
Search for the Northwest Passage
Much of the Arctic exploration by Europeans after 1492 was in search of
the Northwest Passage, the hoped-for course that would allow easier and
1610: English explorer Henry Hudson explores Hudson Bay and
searches for the Northwest Passage
1733–1743: Danish explorer Vitus Jonassen Bering leads the Great
Northern Expedition and maps Russia’s Arctic coastline
1790–1791: A Russian expedition sailing on the Slava Rossii charts the
coastline of Russian America
1909: Americans Robert E. Peary and Matthew Henson reach the
North Pole
1937: A Soviet team led by Ivan Papanin winters at the North Pole on
the world’s first drifting ice station
1957: Te U.S. nuclear submarine Nautilus travels beneath the North
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
quicker travel between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. In the sixteenth and
seventeenth centuries, a string of failed efforts characterized the search.
In 1576, the Englishman Martin Frobisher sailed to Frobisher Bay,
an inlet of the Labrador Sea at the southeastern corner of Baffin Island
(which is located between Canada and Greenland). He thought the bay
would lead to the Pacific but was proved wrong. Ten years later, John Davis,
a fellow Englishman, sailed even farther north and reached the Davis Strait,
between Baffin Island and Greenland.
In 1610, Henry Hudson, sailing for the English, explored the massive
Hudson Bay (in Canada’s Arctic region), thinking it would provide an out-
let to the Pacific. But his crew, tired of the search, mutinied and set Hudson,
his son, and several other men adrift on a small boat in June 1611. Tey
were never seen again.
In 1616, the English navigators William Baffin and Robert Bylot jour-
neyed as far north as Ellesmere Island and nearby Greenland. In the 1700s,
several British expeditions tried to find an entrance to the Northwest
Passage from the Pacific. Most notably, from 1776 to 1779 Captain James
Cook sailed along the west coasts of Canada and Alaska.
Amid the search for the Northwest Passage, naval parties from
Russia traversed the Arctic. From 1733 to 1743, Vitus Jonassen Bering,
a Dane who had joined the Russian navy, led the Great Northern
Expedition, organized in accordance with Czar Peter I’s order to
bring “glory” to Russia “through the arts and sciences.” Bering explored
from Arkhangelsk, along the White Sea, to Bolshoy Baranov Cape,
along the East Siberian Sea. In 1741, he and Aleksi Illich Chirikov
reached America, where they discovered for Russia the Aleutian and
Komandorski islands. The expedition mapped much of Russia’s Arctic
coastline. That same year, Semyon Chelyuskin reached Eurasia’s north-
ernmost point, Cape Chelyuskin, a portion of tundra extending north
from the Taymyr Peninsula.
In 1790–1791, an expedition sailing on the Slava Rossii (Glory for
Russia) charted the coastline of Russian America from Prince William
Sound (just east of present-day Anchorage) to Cape Prince of Wales (di-
rectly east of Russian Siberia), including Diomede Island and St. Lawrence
Island. Teir findings were used to help compile the Atlas of the Northern
Part of the East Ocean, which was published in 1826.
Several Russian expeditions from about 1820 to 1840 surveyed the
Bering Sea and Bering Strait, among other areas, which led to the publica-
tion in 1852 of the Atlas of America’s Northwestern Coast from the Bering
Strait to Corrientes Cape and the Aleutian Islands, an important contribu-
tion to nineteenth-century geographic studies. Also in the 1820s, a Russian
army lieutenant, Pyotr Anzhu, traveled by dogsled, horse, and kayak to map
the New Siberian Islands, along with parts of the Siberian coast.
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
John Ross of Britain located the North Magnetic Pole in 1831, and he
found Boothia Peninsula (a large peninsula in the northern Canadian Arctic)
and King William Island (in Canada’s Kitikmeot Region). In 1845, John
Franklin and his team vanished while searching for the Northwest Passage.
In the early 1850s, an expedition led by the Irish naval officer Robert
McClure traversed most of the Northwest Passage by entering from the
Pacific, but the explorers were forced to abandon ship before they could
complete their journey. Tey returned in 1854 to finish the transit on an-
other ship. Not until 1905 did Roald Amundsen, a Norwegian, complete
the first journey through the Northwest Passage on a single voyage aboard
a single ship, the Gjoa.
In the meantime, Adolf Erik Nordenskiöld navigated the Northeast
Passage in 1879, a feat duplicated by Amundsen in 1918–1920, when he
sailed along the northern coasts of Europe, Asia, and Alaska.
In 1900, the American explorer Robert E. Peary reached the northern
point of Greenland and named it Cape Morris Jesup. His expedition proved
that Greenland was an island, not a continent, and added to ethnographic
studies of the Inuit and scientific studies of glaciers.
Seeking the North Pole
Many explorers tried to reach the North Pole. One, the Norwegian Fridtjof
Nansen, failed in his effort from 1893 to 1896, but added considerably
to European knowledge about the Arctic Ocean. On April 6, 1909, the
Americans Robert E. Peary and Matthew Henson became the first explor-
ers to reach the North Pole. Teir small party, consisting of Peary, Henson,
and four Inuits, did so by dogsled. (Historians and scientists debate Peary’s
claim; some say he missed the pole by a short distance.)
Members of the Russian-sponsored Hydrographic Expedition of the
Arctic Ocean sailed in icebreakers to traverse the Northeast Passage in
1914–1915 and found the archipelago Severnaya Zemlya. Te Americans
Richard E. Byrd and Floyd Bennett claimed to have reached the North Pole
in an airplane in 1926 (historians debate whether the two men reached the
precise point of the pole). Tis was followed days later by an expedition in a
dirigible led by Amundsen and his Italian colleague, Umberto Nobile.
In 1937, a research group from the Soviet Union, led by Ivan Papanin,
wintered for 274 days near the North Pole. As the explorers drifted on an
ice floe—their North Pole-1 was the first scientific drifting ice station in the
world—they conducted hydrological, meteorological, and magnetic obser-
vations. Te expedition took water samples, measured water temperatures,
gathered bottom soil samples, and measured ocean depth. Teir findings
revealed that neither large landmasses nor small islands abut the North
Pole; that warm Atlantic water reaches it; and that cyclones, rain, and fog
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
occur there. Beginning in the early 1950s,
the United States also operated drifting ice
In 1955, during the cold war, the
United States and Canada began build-
ing a radar network, the Distant Early
Warning Line, or DEW Line, from Alaska
to Greenland. Te DEW Line was to pro-
vide protection from a surprise attack by
the Soviet Union. Te network was up-
dated and moved some over the years; in
1993, it was renamed the North Warning
In accordance with the International
Geophysical Year, 1957–1958, several
countries established 300 research stations
in the Arctic. In 1958, the U.S. nuclear
submarine Nautilus, with a crew of 116 and
commanded by William R. Anderson, be-
came the first sub to cross the North Pole,
although it did not surface there. It traveled
from Alaska to Greenland, a total of 1,839
nautical miles (3,405 kilometers), under-
neath an ice pack for four days. One crew
member, Lieutenant William G. Lalor, Jr.,
later said: “As we watched in awe, our gyrocompasses swung, finally to point
back where we had been. . . . I asked how close we had come to the exact
Pole.” He was told that they “pierced it.”
A year later, in 1959, another nuclear sub, the USS Skate, surfaced at
ten different locations in the Arctic Ocean, including the North Pole. In
1977, the Soviet nuclear icebreaker Arktika became the first surface ship to
reach the North Pole.
In 1995, the Canadian Richard Weber and the Russian Mikhail
Malakhov reached the North Pole by traveling entirely on skis. Teir 940-
mile trip (1,500 kilometers) took 121 days to complete and entailed travel-
ing to and from Ward Hunt Island.
Te Arctic in the Twenty-First Century
Recent scientific studies conducted in the Arctic region and photographs
taken from space show the Arctic is changing, largely as a result of global
warming. High summer temperatures from 1995 to 2005 have resulted in a
substantial loss of the Greenland ice pack. In 2006, the average annual sur-
Te September 9,
1909, issue of Te
New York Times
carried Robert E.
Peary’s firsthand
narrative of his
conquest of the
North Pole the pre-
vious April, which
disputed Frederick
Cook’s claim of hav-
ing reached the pole
a full year earlier.
(Hulton Archive/
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
8I:K@ : ;I@ = K@ E> JK8K@ FEJ
1ho d|ittiog ico statioos bogoo by tho Soviot Uoioo aod tho Uoitod Statos havo booo labolod
by ooo v|ito| as ¨A|ctic ootµosts ot soµo|µovo| sciooco.¨ Oo thom, sciootists havo coodoctod
hyd|ological, motoo|ological, aod magootic obso|vatioos.
vhoo, io l9ì/, tho |ossiao Admi|al lvao |aµaoio lod his toam io tooodiog |o|th |olo-l, tho
Soviot govo|omoot hailod tho moo as ¨µola| ho|oos.¨ 1ho vo|| ot thoso sciootists, hovovo|, vas
µ|ocodod by tho ostablishmoot ot µola| statioos oo mo|o stablo to||aio, tho islaods io aod sho|os
aloog tho A|ctic Ocoao.
|olloviog |aµaoios otto|t, tho Soviot Uoioo tooodod |o|th |olo-2 oo ao ico ûoo io l9!u.
||om l9!4 ootil l99l, tho Soviots oµo|atod ooo to th|oo statioos, all ot vhich mado discovo|ios
io µhysical goog|aµhy. |ighty-oight µola| c|ovs occoµiod tho ico ûoos to| a total ot 29,2/6 d|itt
days. lo 2uuì, tho |ossiaos |oto|ood to tho ico ûoos vith |o|th |olo-ì2.
lo Ma|ch l9!2, tho Uoitod Statos tooodod a µola| statioo oo 1-ì, a /-milo-loog ¦ll |ilomoto|-
loogj d|ittiog ico islaod. 1-ì vas abaodoood sovo|al mooths lato| aod thoo |ooccoµiod io l9!/ as
µa|t ot tho sciootinc otto|ts lio|od to tho loto|oatiooal Gooµhysical Yoa|. Abaodoood ooco agaio,
this timo io tho tall ot l96l, 1-ì vas |ooccoµiod io |ob|oa|y l962 aod |omaiood io oso ootil l9/!.
||om l9!2 to l9/!, 1-ì t|avo|sod a looµiog µath t|om ooa| tho |o|th |olo, sooth to tho oo|th
coast ot Alas|a ¦vho|o it tomµo|a|ily |ao ag|ooodj, aod thoo oo|th aloog tho vosto|o coasts ot tho
Qoooo |lizaboth lslaods, ootil it |oto|ood to tho vato|s ooa| tho |o|th |olo. 1ho Amo|icaos also
tooodod otho| d|ittiog ico statioos, ioclodiog ooo io l96l that moaodo|od oo|th t|om ba||ov, Alas|a.
Scientists at the North Pole-32 meteorological research station—one in a long series of Russian scientific facili-
ties located on Arctic ice floes—had to be evacuated in 2004 due to melting ice. (AFP/Stringer/Getty Images)
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
See also: Henson,
Matthew; Peary,
Robert E.
face temperature for land areas north of 60
latitude were higher than the
mean average for the twentieth century; in 2007 the summer sea ice reached
a new minimum in area. Other developments have sent mixed signals as to
the extent of warming in the Arctic. Undoubtedly, scientific study of the
region will continue to provide important clues about global warming and
climate change in general.
In the meantime, the Arctic is serving as a scientific incubator of sorts.
In Spitsbergen, near the town of Longyearbyen, the Global Seed Vault has
been bored into the middle of a mountain as part of a project directed by
the Norwegian government, the Global Crop Diversity Trust (an interna-
tional organization), and the Nordic Genetic Research Center (a coopera-
tive effort of the Nordic countries). Since 2006, scientists have placed inside
the cavelike structure thousands of seeds from around the world. Te vault,
whose internal temperature is monitored by a digital system, has been made
to withstand bomb blasts and earthquakes, and it is protected by tight secu-
rity. Te Global Seed Vault is part of a program to protect the seeds of plant
species that face extinction.
Further Reading
Berton, Pierre. Te Arctic Grail: Te Quest for the North West Passage and the
North Pole, 1818–1909. New York: Lyons, 2000.
Fleming, Fergus. Ninety Degrees North: Te Quest for the North Pole. New
York: Grove, 2001.
Williams, Glyndwr. Voyages of Delusion: Te Quest for the Northwest Passage.
New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2003.
An oceanographer and marine archeologist whose discoveries shattered
assumptions about life in the deep ocean and expanded historical knowl-
1942: Born on June 30 in Wichita, Kansas
1971: Begins collecting ocean rocks that support the theory of continental drift
1973: Using the submersible Alvin, studies lava floes in the Atlantic Ocean
1977: Discovers life near hydrothermal vents in the deep ocean
1984: Investigates the site of the downed U.S. nuclear submarine Tresher
1985: At a depth of more than 12,000 feet (3,650 meters) in the Atlantic, with Jean-
Louis Michel discovers the wreckage of the RMS Titanic
2001: Identifies ancient shorelines, drowned river valleys, and buildings in the Black Sea
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
edge, Robert Duane Ballard earned worldwide fame for his discovery of the
wreckage of the passenger liner RMS Titanic.
Born on June 30, 1942, in Wichita, Kansas, to Chester Ballard and
Harriet May, he grew up in California. His father worked in aerospace
design, and his job caused the family to move several times. In 1953, the
family settled in Downey, California, where Robert played sports and took
up scuba diving. He also excelled academically and loved to read stories of
exploration and adventure.
His favorite books included Walter Lord’s A Night to Remember (1955),
about the sinking of the passenger ship Titanic, and Twenty Tousand
Leagues Under the Sea (1869), the Jules Verne classic. “Submarines fasci-
nated me,” Ballard later wrote. “After I read [Verne] I was gripped by the
challenge of actually exploring the hidden ocean depths.” It was then that he
started thinking about how he could make a career in diving.
In 1960, Ballard entered the University of California at Santa Barbara,
where he majored in chemistry and geology. After he received his B.A. degree
in 1965, he was accepted into the oceanographic program at the University
of Hawaii. While studying for his master’s degree, he worked at the nearby
Oceanic Institute, where he helped train dolphins who performed for the
Ballard received his M.A. in geophysics in 1966. Tat year he also mar-
ried Marjorie Hargas. He then decided to study for his doctoral degree at
the University of Southern California. Tis was the time of the Vietnam
War, however, and Ballard, who was in the military reserves (first the army
and later the navy reserve) was called to duty. Te U.S. Navy then assigned
him to serve as a liaison between the Office of Naval Research and the
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, on Cape Cod in Massachusetts.
Continental Drift and Deepwater Life
Ballard left the U.S. Navy in 1970. While continuing to work at Woods
Hole, he enrolled in the doctoral program at the University of Rhode
Island. For his Ph.D., Ballard researched plate tectonics—the drift of the
continents. He focused his studies on the Appalachian Mountains and, in
1971 and 1972, used the submersible Alvin to collect rocks from the floor
of the Gulf of Maine. He wanted to see if the rocks were identical to those
on land, for this would indicate that the theory of continental drift as postu-
lated by others was indeed correct. His samples contributed to the evidence
backing the theory.
To further the study, Ballard and a team of American scientists joined
with a team of French scientists in 1973 and 1974 to investigate the rift
valley of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, which is located several hundred miles
southwest of the Azores. Alvin was again employed in what was called
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Project FAMOUS. Ballard and the other scientists studied lava flows rising
from the ocean floor. Tey concluded that the lava being squeezed from the
Earth’s interior moved the continents. Tey also confirmed that the African
plate was pulling back at the rate of 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) per year.
During this expedition, Ballard experienced the first of several close
calls under the ocean that nearly cost him his life. While he was aboard the
French bathyscaphe Archimedes (used in addition to Alvin for the project),
an electrical fire erupted. Ballard struggled to breathe emergency oxygen in
order to survive, while the Archimedes made a rapid ascent.
In 1974, Ballard earned his doctorate from the University of Rhode
Island in geological oceanography. Tree years later, he joined a study of
the Galápagos Rift off the Pacific Coast of South America. For him, and
for marine science, it turned out to be a monumental expedition. Using the
ANGUS underwater camera, which took still photograghs, Ballard and his
colleagues searched for hot springs, or hydrothermal deep-sea vents, in the
darkness of the deep ocean.
At these deep-sea vents, where the water temperature was much warm-
er than that only a few yards away, they discovered clams and mussels lying
on lava; they saw orange puffballs, anemones, and starfish. It was a beautiful
and amazing sight. “We realized we had stumbled onto a major scientific
discovery,” Ballard later said. And when asked what was the greatest find in
his career, he said, “Well, it wasn’t the Titanic. . . . My greatest discovery was
. . . of exotic creatures living underwater in hot springs.” On this expedition,
;< < G $ J < 8 M< EKJ
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
the scientists shattered the assumption that little
life existed in the deep ocean.
But how could the animals survive, let alone
thrive? Tey were far from the sunlight necessary
to produce food through photosynthesis, which
was thought necessary to support life. Instead,
these creatures used chemosynthesis—they re-
lied on a food chain consisting of bacteria living
on the lava. Te bacteria was eaten by microbes,
which were, in turn, eaten by larger creatures.
Ballard continued to study hydrothermal vent
sites. In 1982, he founded the Deep Submergence
Laboratory at Woods Hole to develop underwater
robots. Bringing together computer scientists and
robotics specialists, Ballard developed Argo, an
unmanned video camera sled that was equipped
with sonar and tethered to a surface ship.
Search for the Titanic
Ballard used Argo in 1984, when he investigated
the site of the Tresher, a U.S. nuclear submarine
that had gone down in 1963 in 8,500 feet (2,600
meters) of water about 240 miles (390 kilome-
ters) east of Cape Cod. While Ballard prepared to find the downed sub-
marine, he already had in mind an expedition to locate the Titanic, the sup-
posedly unsinkable passenger ship that had sunk during its maiden voyage
in 1912 after a collision with an iceberg, about 95 miles (150 kilometers)
south of the Grand Banks of Newfoundland. Ballard’s interest in search-
ing for the Titanic had been piqued by Bill Tatum, president of the Titanic
Historical Society. Ballard later wrote, “Bill virtually made the tragic ship,
its passengers, and crew come alive in my imagination.”
An earlier attempt by Ballard to find the Titanic, in 1977, had ended in
failure. Tis time, he undertook his mission in cooperation with a team of
scientists from France. Te French ship Le Suroit, which carried powerful
sonar equipment, tried to find the Titanic but was unable to do so before
being called away on another mission.
To continue his search, Ballard transferred to the Knorr, a ship from
Woods Hole. Te Knorr had just finished searching for the wreckage of
a U.S. nuclear submarine, the Scorpion, in a mission financed by the U.S.
Navy. Ballard and fellow scientist Jean-Louis Michel, from the French team,
mapped out an area of 150 square miles (390 square kilometers) in which
they believed they would find the Titanic.
At the Woods Hole
Institution in Massa-
chusetts, Dr. Robert
Ballard announces
the discovery of
the wreckage of the
RMS Titanic off the
coast of Newfound-
land in September
1985. (Cynthia
Johnson/Time &
Life Pictures/Getty
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
When Ballard had searched for the Tresher, he had learned about the
type of debris trail left by a sinking vessel. He planned to use this knowledge
in finding the Titanic, starting at the point where passengers from the ship
had been recovered in their lifeboats. His skeptical French colleagues agreed
to go along after he explained that he expected the debris field to be half of a
mile to 1 mile in length (approximately 1 to 1.5 kilometers), a much bigger
target than the hull.
On September 1, 1985, with Argo tethered to the Knorr, Ballard and
Michel found one of the Titanic’s boilers at 12,230 feet (3,730 meters). From
there, they followed the debris trail until they reached what they suspected
was the location of the hull. Te next day, Argo was towed over the Titanic, as
Ballard worried that the submersible’s cables would become entangled in the
wreckage below. Ten, the hull appeared. Ballard remarked to his colleagues:
“It’s the side of the ship. She’s upright.” Te Titanic had been found.
Ballard later wrote,
It was one thing to . . . have found the ship. It was another thing to be there.
. . . I could see the Titanic as she slipped nose first into the glassy water. . . .
At the center of the circle of people whooping, hugging, and dancing wildly
around us, Jean-Louis and I stood silently, overcome by the significance of
the moment.
Ballard predicted that all of his previous scientific achievements “would
be viewed by the public as arcane precursors to this spectacular success.”
And indeed they were.
Before leaving the site, Ballard used ANGUS to take still photos of the
debris field. Tere appeared China teacups, silver serving platters, head-
boards, bedsprings, bottles of wine, and shoes—the detritus of the Titanic’s
historic moment.
Ballard returned to the Titanic site in 1986. Tis time, he brought Jason
Junior (JJ), a small remote-controlled underwater vehicle connected by cable
to Alvin. JJ roamed inside the Titanic, moving along the staircase landing
and deep into the interior, even discovering a nearly intact chandelier as a
revealing reminder of the Titanic’s opulence.
JASON Projects and More Discoveries
In 1987, Ballard’s book Te Discovery of the Titanic reached the best-seller
lists. At this time, he began the JASON Project. Tis series of expeditions
has included exploring the undersea volcano Marsili Seamount in the
Mediterranean and ship remains in the area from ancient Rome. As a part
of the JASON Project, schoolchildren are able to view Ballard’s explora-
tions as they occur.
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
In 1989, Ballard looked for the German destroyer Bismarck, which had
been sunk by the British Royal Navy on May 27, 1941, in the Denmark
Strait. An earlier search had failed, but this time he found the ship.
Following his divorce from Marjorie Hargas in 1990, Ballard married
Barbara Earle, a producer of the National Geographic Explorer television
show, which he hosted. (Tey would have two children.) With Earle, he
founded the Odyssey Corporation to produce TV specials for the television
division of the National Geographic Society. In 1992, in a project funded
partially by the U.S. Navy, Ballard explored Guadalcanal Island in the
Pacific Ocean and identified eleven ships that had gone down there during
World War II. Among the ships, he found the wreckage of the Kirishima, a
Japanese battleship larger than the Bismarck. It had been sunk by the U.S.
battleship Washington in November 1942.
Ballard led several other expeditions in the 1990s. In one, he explored
the British ocean liner Lusitania, sunk by a German submarine during
World War I. In another, he conducted chemical experiments on lava flows
and volcanic gases near the island of Hawaii.
In 1995, Ballard used the NR-1, the U.S. Navy’s smallest nuclear sub, to
dive to the wreck of the Andrea Doria, which had gone down in a collision
with a ship near Nantucket Island, Massachusetts, in 1956. Also in 1995
he used the NR-1 to compile a map of ancient trade routes between Africa
and Rome, once again merging his oceanographic and historical interests.
He later said,
I’ve always had a passion for history. . . . Where did we come from? . . . It’s all
about the opportunity to keep learning. History is a moving target. We don’t
know where it’s going to be next.
Ballard retired from Woods Hole in 1997 and founded the Institute
for Exploration at Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut. He dedicated the in-
stitute to deepwater archaeology. He intended to make the findings of his
explorations available to the public by showing artifacts, through camera
and computer hookups, as they existed on the sea bottom. Ballard was an-
gered by salvagers who took artifacts from the Titanic graveyard for display
in museums; he believed his approach avoided the type of degradation then
occurring at such original sites.
In 1998, Ballard led three expeditions in four months as part of
JASON Project IX. In May, following an eighteen-day search, he found
the Yorktown, an American aircraft carrier sunk in World War II during the
Battle of Midway.
In 2001, Ballard’s Black Sea expeditions resulted in marine archaeolo-
gists identifying ancient shorelines, drowned river valleys, and buildings in
about 300 feet (90 meters) of water off the coast of Turkey. Tis research
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
1ho n|st dooµ-soa sobmo|siblo caµablo ot ca||yiog µassoogo|s, aod thos |oovo by sciootists as a
|omao Occoµiod \ohiclo ¦|O\j, 8cm`e has booo |onttod aod |oboilt ovo| tho yoa|s to tho µoiot
that it oov cao divo oototho|od ooa|ly l!,uuu toot ¦almost 4,6uu moto|sj ioto tho ocoao.
8cm`e n|st voot ioto oµo|atioo io l964. lt is ovood aod oµo|atod by tho voods |olo
Ocoaoog|aµhic lostitoto aod is oamod to| Allyo \ioo, ao oogiooo| imµo|taot to tho vohiclos
vith a voight ot l6 toos ¦l4 mot|ic toosj, 8cm`e cootaios a va|ioty ot oqoiµmoot osod
io sciootinc oxµlo|atioos. 1vo hyd|aolic a|ms cao litt oµ to 2uu µooods ¦9u |ilog|amsj oach.
vato| samµlo|s colloct biological aod goological ovidooco, aod sooso|s ta|o chomical |oadiogs.
8cm`e also has a comµoto|, a |oco|diog systom, oavigatioo aod sooa| systoms, aod th|oo viov
µo|ts. |ilm aod vidoo camo|as a|o moootod oo its oxto|io|, aod its µovo|tol lights a|o caµablo
ot µooot|atiog tho ocoao da||ooss. 1ho sobmo|siblo cao hold th|oo µooµlo. tho µilot aod tvo
lo l966, 8cm`e vas osod to nod a hyd|ogoo bomb lost io tho Modito||aooao Soa. 1vo yoa|s
lato|, 8cm`e itsolt vas almost lost vhoo, ooa| Caµo Cod, it b|o|o avay t|om tho cablos to vhich it
vas totho|od aod sao| !,uuu toot ¦l,!uu moto|sj. lt too| olovoo mooths to |ocovo| tho sob. 8cm`e
has booo osod to discovo| tvooty-too| hyd|otho|mal voots io tho |acinc aod Atlaotic ocoaos, as
voll as to discovo| oov sµocios ot aoimals-aboot thi|ty io all.
8cm`e osoally is t|aosµo|tod oo tho shiµ 8kcXek`j aod lovo|od ioto tho vato| vith a c|aoo.
lt ma|os aboot l!u to 2uu divos a yoa|.
lo 2uu8, tho |atiooal Sciooco |ooodatioo ¦|S|j aooooocod that 8cm`evill bo |oµlacod
vith a oov |O\. A|doo bomoot, di|octo| ot tho |S|, said, ¨1his oov sobmo|siblo vill bo tho
ûagshiµ to| tho ooxt µhaso ot dooµ-soa oxµlo|atioo, aod tho maoy oxcitiog discovo|ios that a|o
aoticiµatod io comiog docados.¨
vhilo 8cm`e cao ooly divo 2.8 milos ¦4.! |ilomoto|sj dovo, its soccosso| vill bo ablo to
µloogo 4 milos ¦6.4 |ilomoto|sj ioto tho doµths, vhich vill oµoo oµ 99 µo|coot ot tho ocoao
ûoo| to oxµlo|atioo. |ovoloµmoot aod coost|octioo ot tho oov |O\ o|igioally vo|o ostimatod
to cost aboot S2u millioo, bot, as
coost|octioo has slovod, costs
havo mosh|oomod. 1ho oov |O\
is oxµoctod to bo oµo|atiooal
io 2ul!.
Alvin, the first human-occupied deep-
sea research submersible, has helped
scientists discover new life-forms, con-
firm plate-tectonic theory, and explore
hydrothermal vents on the ocean floor
since it went into operation in 1964.
(Henry Groskinsky/Time & Life
Pictures/Getty Images)
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
has since stimulated debate over the history of the Black Sea and how it
evolved through the centuries.
Te following year, Ballard, in cooperation with the National Geo-
graphic Society, found PT-109, the patrol torpedo boat on which John F.
Kennedy had served during World War II. Te Japanese had rammed the
boat in the Pacific, forcing Kennedy and the other crew members to cling
to the bow of the ship to survive until they were able to swim to an island.
From there, they were rescued.
In 2004, Ballard was appointed professor of oceanography and direc-
tor of the Institute for Archaeological Oceanography at the University of
Rhode Island. Looking back on his earlier expeditions, he described his
descent in the submersibles as “risky.” He observed,
It’s . . . like going into the lion’s lair. . . . You can’t buy a ticket to the deep sea.
It’s as alien and hostile as Mars. You need people who aren’t terrified to go to
Mars and who have the technology to do it. And those are oceanographers.
Tey work with the social scientists, the marine geologists. And together we
read the chapters.
Further Reading
Ballard, Robert D., ed. Archeological Oceanography. Princeton, NJ: Princeton
University Press, 2008.
———. Te Discovery of the Titanic. New York: Warner, 1987.
———. Explorations: My Quest for Adventure and Discovery Under the Sea.
New York: Hyperion, 1995.
Hill, Christine M. Robert Ballard: Te Oceanographer Who Discovered the
Titanic. Berkeley Heights, NJ: Enslow, 1999.
BANKS, JOSEPH 17431820
1743: Born on February 13 in London
1760: Enters Oxford University
1766: Makes his first voyage, on the Niger, to Newfoundland and
1768: Sets sail with Captain James Cook on the Endeavour for the South
1770: With Swedish-born botanist Daniel Carl Solander, collects a
massive number of plants at Botany Bay, Australia
1778: Elected president of Britain’s prestigious Royal Society
1795: Receives investiture as Knight of the Bath
1820: Dies on June 19 in London
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
An influential British botanist, Joseph
Banks brought back from his voyages to
the North Atlantic and South Pacific a vast
quantity of species. He served for years as
president of the Royal Society, sponsor-
ing a number of scientific expeditions, and
he was the leading founder of the African
Banks was born on February 13, 1743,
into a prominent London family. His fa-
ther, William Banks, served in the House of
Commons and owned a considerable estate.
His mother, Sarah Bate, was a wealthy heir-
ess. As a boy, Joseph attended Harrow School
and then, between the ages of thirteen and
eighteen, he went to Eton. But more than
going to school, he liked to fish and, most
notably, developed an interest in botany.
As the story has it, one day while at
Eton, Joseph, having finished bathing in
a river, noticed the beauty of some nearby flowers and concluded that he
could learn more from nature than from studying Greek or Latin. So he be-
gan collecting plants. At about the same time, he discovered in his mother’s
possession a book, complete with engravings, that described specimens he
had encountered. Tis intensified his botanical searches.
Banks enrolled at Oxford University in 1760 and studied botany under
a tutor. He was attracted to the teachings of Carl Linnaeus, the Swedish
naturalist who developed a system for classifying plants and was popular in
Banks’s time.
In 1761, Banks’s father died, and, in 1764, at age twenty-one, Banks
inherited his father’s estate, Revesby Abbey in Lincolnshire. Later that year,
he left Oxford without obtaining a degree and settled in London. Tere,
he expanded his circle of friends, among them the Swedish-born botanist
Daniel Carl Solander, who had studied under Linnaeus. By attending meet-
ings of the British Museum, Banks made contacts with scientists in England
and began writing to Linnaeus.
Banks made his first sea voyage in 1766, when he sailed on the Niger
with a friend from Eton, Constantine John Phipps, to Newfoundland and
Labrador. He returned to England in January 1767 with specimens or rec-
ords of at least 340 plants and ninety-one birds, along with many fish and
some mammals. Te plants constituted the beginnings of a herbarium (a
place where dried and pressed plant specimens are stored in special cabi-
nets) that would become renowned for its scope.
English botanist
Joseph Banks
(depicted in a 1773
portrait by Sir
Joshua Reynolds)
amassed a vast col-
lection of plant and
animal specimens on
several voyages. He
also served as presi-
dent of the Royal
Society, Britain’s
national academy
of science. (Granger
Collection, New York)
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Voyage with Cook
At this time, the Royal Society, to which Banks had been elected as a fellow,
was encouraging the British government to send an expedition to Tahiti to
participate in observing the transit of Venus over the surface of the Sun.
Somotimos callod tho ¨tatho| ot taxooomy¨ ¦tho sciooco ot classityiog o|gaoismsj, tho Svodish
oato|alist Ca|l |iooaoos ¦l/u/-l//8j ioûooocod ¦osoµh bao|s aod otho| sciootists ot his day aod
µ|ovidod a classincatioo systom that |omaios tho staoda|d io modo|o biology.
|iooaoos µoblishod hisJpjk\dEXkliX\io l/ì!, vhilo oo|ollod at tho Uoivo|sity ot |oidoo
io tho |otho|laods. lo it, ho µ|osootod his iooovatiooal taxooomic systom, vhich ho voold
modity ovo| timo. As |iooaoos statod io his most ioûoootial vo||, G_`cfjfg_`X9fkXe`ZX¦l/!lj, ho
coosido|od it tho oato|alists doty to coost|oct a systom ot classincatioo dodicatod to |ovoaliog
tho divioo o|do| c|oatod by God.
|iooaoos boliovod that all sµocios ot o|gaoisms coold bo g|ooµod ioto higho| catogo|ios
callod ¨gooo|a,¨ aod that gooo|a coold bo g|ooµod basod oo sha|od toato|os, aod so oo. 1his
systom c|oatod a taxooomy ot gooo|a g|ooµod ioto o|do|s, o|do|s ioto classos, aod classos ioto
|iogdoms. 1hos, tho tolloviog is ao oxamµlo ot his classincatioo to| homao boiogs.
|iogdom. Aoimalia
Class. \o|to|b|ata
O|do|. ||imatos
Gooos. |omo
Sµocios. Saµioos
|iooaoos also dovoloµod a µlaot taxooomy ¦vhich has oodo|gooo oomo|oos chaogos ovo|
tho yoa|sj. lt vas basod oo tho oombo| aod a||aogomoot ot µlaots |oµ|odoctivo o|gaos, vith tho
stamoo doto|mioiog tho class aod tho µistil tho o|do|.
|iooaoos simµlinod tho oamiog ot sµocios by assigoiog ooo |atio oamo to iodicato tho gooos
aod aootho| tho sµocios. 1ho socood oamo osoally is ao adjoctivo dosc|ibiog tho o|gaoism o|
its goog|aµhic locatioo, o| it may bo basod oo tho oamo ot tho µo|soo vho discovo|od it. |o|
oxamµlo, tho domostic dog is:Xe`j]Xd`c`Xi`j# vith :Xe`j boiog tho gooos that ioclodos dogs,
volvos, aod coyotos, aod ]Xd`c`Xi`j a dosc|iµto| assigood sµocincally to tho domostic dog.
1his systom, callod bioomial oomooclato|o, bocamo staoda|d. Althoogh sciootists today
classity sµocios basod oo cha|acto|istics ditto|oot t|om thoso osod by |iooaoos, thoy still |oly oo
his systom ot taxooomy.
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Te transit is the movement of Venus over the Sun’s disk as seen from
Earth, an event that has occurred only five times since the telescope was in-
vented in 1609, and last occurred in 2004. By observing from widely spaced
locations on Earth when the transit began and when it ended, astronomers
could calculate the distance to Venus. From this, the scale of the rest of the
solar system would follow.
King George III agreed to fund the mission, which set sail with James
Cook as captain of the Endeavour in 1768. Banks convinced the Royal
Society to back him in becoming part of Cook’s voyage of science and
Banks kept an extensive, 250,000-word journal of the three-year jour-
ney. In it, he wrote about the beginning of the expedition on August 25,
After having waited in [Plymouth] ten days, the ship, and everything be-
longing to me, being all that time in perfect readiness to sail at a moments
warning, we at last got fair wind, and this day at 3 O’Clock in the even
weig[he]d anchor, and set sail, all in excellent health and spirits perfectly
prepared (in Mind at least) to undergo with Cheerfullness any fatigues or
dangers that may occur in our intended Voyage.
At Tahiti, Cook observed the transit of Venus, although his measure-
ments were imprecise. But clearly, the expedition was intended to accom-
plish more. Cook was under secret orders from the British government
to discover new lands in the South Pacific, to “search between Tahiti and
New Zealand for a Continent or Land of great extent,” and to explore New
Zealand. In addition, Banks sought to gather a wide range of information
about plants, birds, and other animals, along with knowledge of the indig-
enous peoples.
Working with Solander and the Finnish botanist Herman Spöring, Jr.,
Banks collected about 800 specimens of Australian flora, pictures of which
were drawn by Sydney Parkinson. In his journal, Banks effused about the
plentiful birds and the bountiful plants he found in 1770 at Botany Bay
and elsewhere along the Australian coast. One quote in particular reveals
something about the methods he used:
Our collection of Plants was now grown so immensely large that it was nec-
essary that some extraordinary care should be taken of them least they spoil
in the books. I therefore devoted this day to that business and carried all the
drying paper . . . ashore and spreading them upon a sail in the sun kept them
in manner exposed all day, often turning them. . . . By this means they came
on board at night in very good condition.
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Cook’s first expedition ended after he sailed across the Indian Ocean to
the Cape of Good Hope (the southern tip of Africa). Te Endeavour arrived
back in England in July 1771.
Banks wanted to sail with Cook on the captain’s second expedition, in-
tended to depart in 1772 in search of a land south of New Zealand. But a
dispute over accommodations—Banks wanted most everything on the ship
to be arranged to his liking—and his claim that the ship, Resolution, was
unsafe, caused him to cancel his plans. Instead, the same year Cook set sail,
Banks voyaged to the western islands of Scotland and to Iceland.
Te Royal Society and a Vast Collection
In 1778, Banks was elected president of the Royal Society, a position he
held until 1820. In this capacity, and in his role as an advisor to the British
government on scientific issues, he sent botanists to gather specimens in
New South Wales in Australia.
Banks’s interest in Australia and in the development of the British
Empire led him to advocate the settlement of New South Wales. In 1779, he
argued before a committee of the House of Commons that convicts should
be sent to Botany Bay to help relieve the crowded conditions in British pris-
ons and to develop the new land as a British colony. But he also wanted free
settlers to come to New South Wales, and he became intimately involved
in the plans made to carry out this policy. Indeed, much correspondence
passed between him and the territory’s first four governors.
Banks organized the voyage of the Investigator to Australia in 1801–
1803, during which Matthew Flinders mapped much of the continent’s
coast. He sent botanists to many lands to amass great collections, including
expeditions to the Cape of Good Hope, West Africa, the East Indies, South
America, and India.
When Cook set sail, in 1776, on his third expedition to find the North-
west Passage and again journey through the Pacific, Banks provided advice.
Banks suggested that Cook take with him David Nelson, a gardener from
London’s Kew Gardens, to help in bringing back newfound species of
plants. In fact, Banks played an instrumental role in the development of the
gardens. Te expeditions sponsored by the Royal Society while Banks
was its president led to the Kew Gardens becoming the world’s leading bo-
tanical gardens and resulted in a host of plant species being introduced into
Banks began compiling his massive Florilegium in the 1770s. Tis book
contains the illustrations of his discoveries from the Endeavour mission—
hundreds of previously unknown plants, insects, fish, reptiles, birds, and
mammals. His London home, on Soho Square, which he bought in 1776,
became a gathering center for scientific discussions and housed his many
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collections. One observer pictured Banks’s collection shortly before he
moved to Soho:
His house is a perfect museum; every room contains an inestimable treasure.
. . . Te Armoury contains all the warlike instruments, mechanical instru-
ments and utensils of every kind, made use of by the Indians in the South
Seas. . . . Te second room contains the different habits and ornaments of
the several Indian nations they discovered. . . . Te number of plants is about
3000, 110 of which are new genera, and 1300 new species which were never
seen or heard of before in Europe. . . . [A third room] contains an almost
numberless collection of animals, quadrupeds, birds, fish, amphibians,
reptiles, insects and vermes [worms], preserved in spirits, most of them new
and nondescript. Here I was most in amazement and cannot attempt any
particular description.
For his scientific accomplishments, Banks was knighted by the British
crown in 1795. In his later years, he remained deeply involved in scientific
and community projects. In 1804, Banks and a group of friends founded the
Royal Horticultural Society. He continued as president of the Royal Society
and served on several government committees. He also was a trustee of the
British Museum and presided over the Club of the Royal Philosophers.
During this time, Banks labored through great pain as he suffered from
gout. After 1805, he was mainly confined to a wheelchair. Banks died on
June 19, 1820.
Banks expanded scientific knowledge of plants and animals through his
collections and those of the many other explorers whom he backed. He was,
moreover, an intriguing combination of internationalist and nationalist. He
believed in the advancement of science based on international cooperation,
as evident in his substantial correspondence with scientists overseas, yet he
also helped expand and advance the power of the British Empire, a main
reason why, with Banks as president, the Royal Society worked so closely
with the British government.
Further Reading
Chambers, Neil. Joseph Banks and the British Museum: Te World of Collecting,
1770–1830. London: Pickering and Chatto, 2007.
Gascoigne, John. Joseph Banks and the English Enlightenment: Useful Knowledge
and Polite Culture. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1994.
———. Science in the Service of Empire: Joseph Banks, the British State and the
Uses of Science in the Age of Revolution. New York: Cambridge University
Press, 1998.
O’Brian, Patrick. Joseph Banks: A Life. Chicago: University of Chicago Press,
See also: Cook,
James; Flinders,
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A British explorer, naturalist, and entomologist (one who studies insects),
Henry Walter Bates journeyed into the far reaches of the Amazon region
in Brazil to collect insect specimens. He was an early supporter of the
Darwinian concept of natural selection. And he proposed the theory of
mimicry, the condition in which two or more species are similar in appear-
ance or some other form but only one of the species carries the specific
features that makes it repulsive to a predator.
Born on February 8, 1825, to a hosiery maker in Leicester, England,
Henry Bates came from humble origins. He attended boarding school un-
til age thirteen, at which point, he apprenticed to a hosiery manufacturer.
While working long days, he also attended the local Mechanics Institute,
where he studied Greek, Latin, and drawing, often staying up past midnight
to complete his schoolwork.
During this time, Bates developed an interest in natural history, es-
pecially entomology, and he began collecting butterflies. Bereft of proper
equipment, he stored them in the drawers of his furniture. Bates wrote
about and drew descriptions of the butterflies and also began collect-
ing beetles. In 1843, at age eighteen, he published a paper titled “Note on
Coleopterous Insects Frequenting Damp Places.”
Shortly thereafter, Bates met Alfred Russel Wallace, a teacher at the
Collegiate School in Leicester, who shared his interest in entomology. Te
two men collected specimens together and began talking about journeying
to far-off places to expand their pursuit.
Ten, in 1847, W.H. Edwards published Voyage Up the River Amazon,
Including a Residence at Para. Bates and Wallace read the book and became
excited by Edwards’s description of the beauty of the region and the kind-
ness of its people. As a result, Bates decided to sail with Wallace across the
Atlantic to Brazil.
Bates and Wallace arrived in Brazil in 1848, and settled at Para (today
Belém), which they used as a base for short expeditions to collect birds and
insects. For reasons now unclear, they went their separate ways in exploring
1825: Born on February 8 in Leicester, England
1843: Publishes his first scientific paper, on insects
1848: Begins exploration of the Amazon region
1862: Presents paper describing his theory of mimicry
1864: Begins serving as assistant secretary of the Royal Society
1892: Dies on February 16 in London
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In 1851, Bates journeyed to Santarém, a Brazilian town located along
the Amazon River where it joins with the Tapajós River. From there, he
explored the remote reaches of the Tapajós, including one of its branches.
He made contact with the Mundurucú Indians and gathered considerable
ethnological information, along with biological and geographical facts.
Te hardships were considerable, and, at one point, some 1,400 miles
(2,250 kilometers) inland along the Amazon, Bates complained of not hav-
ing received any supply packages from England in a long time. His clothes
were tattered, his feet bare, and his spirit sapped. He had no books to read
and claimed he had been robbed. At another point he suffered from yellow
fever, which caused him to take a “decoction of elder blossoms as a sudorific”
that led to his falling “insensible into my hammock.”
Bates’s procedure for collecting specimens is described in a letter he
wrote from the Amazon:
Between 9 and 10 a.m., I prepare for the woods: a coloured shirt, pair of
trousers, pair of common boots, and an old hat, are all my clothing; over my
left shoulder slings my double-barrelled gun, loaded. . . . In my right hand
I take my net; on my left side is suspended a leathern bag with two pockets,
one for my insect box, the other for powder . . . on my right side hangs my
“game bag,” . . . with . . . thongs to hang lizards, snakes, frogs, or large birds;
one small pocket in this bag contains my caps, another papers for wrapping
up delicate birds.
Bates collected a total of 14,712 species, at least 8,000 of which were
new to science. Among his collection were 14,000 insects, 360 birds, 140
reptiles, 120 fish, and 52 mammals.
Perhaps his most lasting achievement came when he applied his scien-
tific eye to some beautiful, two-toned butterflies. He found that one type
of butterfly—heliconians—emitted an odor to repel birds and to keep
the birds from eating them. Another type—Dismorphia—looked like the
heliconians but emitted no repelling odor. Te birds, however, thought
the Dismorphia were the malodorous ones, and so refrained from eating
them as well. In short, butterflies of one kind mimicked the appearance of
another in order to protect themselves. Bates attributed this mimicry to
natural selection, saying the characteristics had been adopted to survive in
an environment filled with predators.
Bates did not return to Para until 1859, when declining health forced
him to leave Brazil for England. Upon reaching England, he read Charles
Darwin’s recently published On the Origin of Species (1859) and embraced
it. For his part, Darwin admired Bates’s theory of mimicry and praised a pa-
per that Bates wrote in 1862. Darwin called it “one of the most remarkable
and admirable papers I ever read in my life,” and said, “I am rejoiced that I
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passed over the whole subject [of mimicry] in the ‘Origin,’ for I should have
made a precious mess of it.”
In 1863, Bates published his book Te Naturalist on the River Amazon,
an enthralling account of his expedition. In it, he reveals his eclectic inter-
est in the people, terrain, birds, insects, fish, and mammals of the Amazon,
to all of which he applied an explorer’s curiosity. Also during this time,
Bates developed a classification system for butterflies tied to the Darwinian
theory of evolution, categorizing them from simple to more complex types.
In 1861, Bates married Sarah Ann Mason; the couple had a daughter and
three sons.
From 1864 until his death, Bates served as assistant secretary of the
Royal Society and became editor of its journal, Philosophical Transactions.
He also served as president of the Entomological Society of London (now
the Royal Entomological Society) from 1868 to 1869 and again in 1878.
He was elected a fellow of the Linnean Society in 1871 and of the Royal
Society in 1881. In his later years, he sold his butterfly collection and con-
centrated on studying beetles.
His health weakened by exposure to disease in the Amazon, Bates died
on February 16, 1892, in London from complications associated with influ-
D@ D@ :IP
lo tho timo sioco |oo|y batos n|st µ|oµosod his thoo|y ot mimic|y, sciootists havo discovo|od
maoy mo|o iostaocos ot this ovolotiooa|y adaµtatioo. batosiao mimic|y is vhoo tvo o| mo|o
sµocios a|o simila| io aµµoa|aoco, o| io somo otho| vay, bot ooly ooo ca||ios tho toato|os that
ma|o it |oµolsivo to a µ|odato|. vhilo visoal mimics a|o most obvioos to homao boiogs, tho|o a|o
otho| to|ms ot mimic|y, soch as smoll.
Ooo comµlox oxamµlo ot batosiao mimic|y is ovidoot io tho aµµoa|aoco ot tho |aµilio
momooo botto|ûy ot lodooosia. 1ho tomalo ot this botto|ûy cao µ|odoco ooo o| mo|o ditto|oot
tomalo to|ms, ioclodiog colo| aod viog shaµo, that mimic aoy ot nvo sµocios ot bitto|-tastiog
botto|ûios. lo aootho| caso, batosiao mimic|y occo|s botvooo tho co|al soa|o aod tho |iog soa|o.
both soa|os havo alto|oatiog yollov, |od, aod blac| baods, bot tho co|al soa|o is vooomoos, vhilo
tho |iog soa|o is ha|mloss.
lo tho l8/us, tho Go|mao oato|alist ||itz Mollo| µostolatod aootho| to|m ot mimic|y to
oxµlaio a µhooomoooo batos had toood µozzliog. tvo o| mo|o sµocios sha|iog simila| toato|os
bot also sha|iog tho samo mochaoisms th|oogh vhich thoy µ|otoct thomsolvos t|om µ|odato|s,
soch as boiog ooµalatablo. batos coold oot ngo|o oot vhy, it both sµocios vo|o ha|mtol, thoy
mimic|od oach otho|.
Mollo| oxµlaiood that ooco a µ|odato| had loa|ood to avoid a va|oiog, soch as a colo|atioo
io botto|ûios, it voold thoo avoid all otho| simila|ly µatto|ood sµocios, odiblo o| ioodiblo. 1hos,
tho oombo| ot iodividoals sac|incod io odocatiog tho µ|odato|s voold bo sµ|oad ovo| all ot tho
sµocios that sha|o tho samo va|oiog, alloviog mo|o iodividoals vithio oach sµocios to so|vivo.
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
enza and bronchitis. To the present day, “Batesian mimicry” is regarded as
important evidence of the theory of natural selection.
Further Reading
Bates, Henry Walter. Te Naturalist on the River Amazon. 1863. New York:
Routledge, 2004.
Woodcock, George. Henry Walter Bates, Naturalist of the Amazon. London:
Faber, 1969.
Te HMS Beagle was a small ship, only 90 feet (27 meters) long and 24
feet (7 meters) wide, but it left a large imprint on science. It was on this
vessel, which flew the British flag, that Charles Darwin made the five-year
voyage that led to his formulating the theory of evolution through natural
When Darwin began his voyage in 1831, the Beagle was an eleven-year-
old ship. Launched in May 1820, as a ten-gun brig in the British navy, the
vessel saw no combat duty and had been moored for five years. In 1825, it
was converted to a three-masted sailing ship and used on a mission by the
British Admiralty to help in a hydrographic survey (charting waters, includ-
ing their flow) of Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego, in South America.
For the Beagle’s second voyage, also under the direction of the
Admiralty, the ship was refitted under the direction of Captain Robert Fitz-
Roy. In fact, it had rotted so much it practically had to be rebuilt. FitzRoy
had a new deck constructed, strengthened the hull, and added twenty-two
chronometers and five modernized barometers, known for their accuracy.
In seeking someone to accompany him, FitzRoy turned to Darwin, a
twenty-two-year-old naturalist whose observations, it was believed, would
add to the knowledge gained on the voyage. Te Beagle was to circumnavi-
gate the globe, and FitzRoy believed Darwin would find evidence to confirm
a literal interpretation of the Bible, especially the story of the great flood.
Although Darwin had begun to read scientific accounts questioning such
an explanation, at this stage he, too, took much of the Bible literally.
Te start of the voyage was delayed, as problems arose with refitting
the ship and with inclement weather. Finally, the Beagle got under way. On
December 27, 1831, it departed Plymouth Sound (located in southwestern
England on the English Channel).
See also:
Amazon River
and Basin;
Wallace, Alfred
1831: Charles Darwin begins his voyage on the Beagle
1835: Darwin explores the Galápagos Islands
1836: Te Beagle returns home to England
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y H
















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Te ship stopped first at St. Jago in the Cape Verde Islands, where the
volcanic terrain made Darwin contemplate the mysterious workings of na-
ture. In the rocks, he sighted a white band of shells and corals some 30 feet
(9 meters) above sea level, and he wondered how it was that the shells and
corals were no longer under water. He concluded that a sudden drop in the
sea’s level was not the cause of this exposure. Instead, he agreed more and
more with the English geologist Charles Lyell, who argued that the Earth
was changing constantly and slowly. Tis view conflicted with the widely ac-
cepted “catastrophic theory,” which held that periodic catastrophes changed
the Earth, the last great one having been the flood during Noah’s time.
When the Beagle reached South America at Bahia in Brazil, on February
28, 1832, Darwin studied the life peculiar to the region and the different en-
vironments in which the animals there lived. He was stunned by the natural
beauty he found in Brazil, particularly in the rain forests. He later wrote
about “the luxuriance of the vegetation . . . the elegance of the grasses, the
novelty of the parasitical plants, the beauty of the flowers.” During the trip,
he collected many biological specimens.
Arriving at Montevideo, Uruguay, on the River Plate (Río de la Plata)
in July 1832, Darwin found a rebellion under way against the government.
At Bahía Blanca, Argentina, he met with gauchos (South American cow-
boys) who told him of their warfare against the Pampas Indians. At Tierra
After major renova-
tion and refitting—
including the
addition of extensive
scientific equip-
ment—the HMS
Beagle carried young
Charles Darwin on
a five-year ocean
voyage that would
be a turning point
in his life and the
history of biologi-
cal science. (Hulton
Getty Images)
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
del Fuego, which he reached in December, he saw “uncivilized” humans, and
he observed that the “difference between savage & civilized man . . . is greater
than between a wild & domesticated animal.”
But it was in the Galápagos Islands, located in the Pacific Ocean about
650 miles (1,050 kilometers) off the coast of South America (today part of
Ecuador), where Darwin made discoveries that would raise more questions
in his mind about animals and their habitats. In the Galápagos, Darwin
found tortoises so abundant, he said, “that a single ship’s company here
caught from 500–800 in a short time,” and he found black lava rocks on the
beach “frequented by large (2–3 ft) most disgusting, clumsy Lizards.”
From October 8 to October 17, 1835, Darwin explored one of the
Galápagos Islands, called James Island but also known as San Salvador or
Santiago Island, which consisted of two volcanoes. He ventured into its
little-traversed interior, all the while collecting specimens important to his
scientific research.
Nicholas Lawson, a British official on the Galápagos, called to Darwin’s
attention that each island supported its own form of tortoises. Conse-
quently, an observer could determine which island a tortoise came from just
by looking at it. Darwin also observed that mockingbirds he collected from
the Charles and Chatham islands (also in the Galápagos) were different
from each other, and he noticed that finches displayed wide variations in the
sizes and shapes of their beaks. Several years later, these discoveries would
cause him to study the links between distinct but similar species and to
contemplate the effects of the environment on them. Tat is, he considered
the changeability of species. Tis later would lead to his theory of evolution
through natural selection.
From the Galápagos, the Beagle proceeded to Tahiti, which had been
visited by Europeans several times previously. Tere, Darwin hiked among
the volcanic peaks, collected ferns, and canoed out to a reef. He was amazed
to find that the reef had been formed by corals, which he called the “tiny
architects” of the ocean.
In late November, the Beagle headed for New Zealand. On its arrival,
Darwin observed the Maori people and concluded that they were shifty,
cunning, and barbaric.
In January 1836, the expedition reached Australia. Darwin journeyed
into the interior and hunted kangaroos. He also collected shells and fish and
caught a native Australian bush rat. But he generally found the land to be
uninteresting and was relieved when the Beagle departed westward across
the Indian Ocean.
Te ship rounded Africa and arrived at Falmouth, England, on
October 2, 1836, thus completing its voyage.
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Further Reading
Brown, Janet. Charles Darwin: Voyaging. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1995.
Desmond, Adrian, and James Moore. Darwin. New York: Warner, 1991.
BELL, GERTRUDE 18681926
A British archaeologist known for her research and writings on the Middle
East, Gertrude Bell also was a political strategist and intelligence officer
who helped shape the modern nation of Iraq.
Gertrude Margaret Lowthian Bell was born into a wealthy family in
Durham, England, on July 14, 1868. Her father, Hugh Bell, owned a coal-
mining company. Precocious, intelligent, and curious, Gertrude excelled at
school and in 1886 arrived at Oxford University. In just two years, she be-
came the first woman to graduate from Oxford with a degree in history.
“To those bred under an elaborate social order,” she once wrote, “few
such moments of exhilaration can come as that which stands at the thresh-
old of wild travel.” Bell was, in fact, a prodigious traveler, and a mountaineer
in Switzerland before she discovered her attraction to the Middle East.
Her travels were extraordinary for either a man or a woman given the
arduous nature of transportation at the time, and more so because it was
considered improper for a woman to journey great distances without a male
companion, let alone into dangerous territory. Quite likely, travel for Bell
provided more than excitement. No doubt it provided a sense of indepen-
dence and accomplishment in a world where men held so much power.
Te Druze and Archaeological Research
Bell studied archaeology and languages, and she became fluent in Arabic,
Persian, French, and German. In 1892, she traveled to Persia and was en-
thralled by its culture. Seven years later, she traveled to Palestine and Syria,
which were then under the rule of the Ottoman Turks. In 1900, she under-
took a dangerous trip to Jebel Mountain to make contact with the Druze, a
secret sect that had been fighting the Turks for some 200 years. Tere, she
met with the Druze king.
1868: Born on July 14 in Durham, England
1888: Graduates from Oxford University with a degree in history
1900: Makes contact with the Druze, a secret sect
1907: Publishes Syria: Te Desert and the Sown
1913: Journeys to the oasis settlement of Ha’il in Saudi Arabia
1921: Becomes advisor to King Faisal I and begins the Iraqi Archaeological Museum
1926: Dies by suicide on July 12 in Baghdad
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At the urging of the archaeologist Saloman Reinach, Bell returned to
the Middle East in 1905 to study ancient ruins. She again met with the
Druze, as well as with the Bedouin. Often, she camped alone on the desert
sand, her tent an isolated outpost; many a time, she won the support of a
sheik or chieftain with gifts and political stories and joined him in reciting
Arab poetry. Te contacts she made with desert rulers proved invaluable to
her later political activities.
In 1907, she published her book Syria: Te Desert and the Sown, a vivid
description of the villages and cities she visited. Her prose made Middle
Eastern culture accessible to Westerners. Her study of Turkish ruins, also
in 1907, led her to write A Tousand and One Churches (1909) with the
archaeologist and New Testament scholar William Ramsey.
Two years later, she began research at the ancient Hittite city of
Carchemish in Mesopotamia, photographing and mapping the fortress ruin
of Ukhaidir. Tere, she met the British scholar and soldier T.E. Lawrence,
who later became famous as Lawrence of Arabia.
In 1913, Bell undertook what one historian has called her “most impor-
tant achievement in the field of exploration,” a dangerous journey to the oa-
sis settlement of Ha’il (in Saudi Arabia). Tis trek, from Damascus across
the northern third of the Arabian peninsula, was laden with geographical
and political challenges, as Bell faced extreme desolation and encountered
hostile tribal leaders. In fact, previous explorers had turned back from the
arduous trip.
Bell successfully completed this journey, and she returned with more
than 300 photographs of life in the desert, including images of the land-
British writer and
Gertrude Bell, an
inveterate traveler
of the Middle East
during the early
twentieth century,
was also an
intelligence officer,
government advisor,
translator of
literature, and
founder of
the Baghdad
Museum in Iraq.
Viollet/Getty Images)
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
scape and local architecture. (All told, she took more than 7,000 photo-
graphs during her extensive travels.) She had undertaken an unprecedent-
ed exploration of tribal life and a mapping of central Arabia and came
away with a rich knowledge of tribal relations. Te trip led to her appoint-
ment two years later to the British Military Intelligence Department at
Basra, in Iraq.
Iraq and Its Archaeological Museum
With the outbreak of World War I, Bell became less a scientist and more a
politician. In 1917, the British captured Baghdad, a feat heavily dependent
on the intelligence and maps that she provided to the army. Bell also was
instrumental in fostering cooperation between British and Arab leaders in
their fight against the Turks.
In 1919, she was appointed Oriental secretary in Iraq. When the Paris
Peace Conference was held at the end of World War I, Bell attended as one
of Britain’s delegates and helped draw up the modern boundaries for the
Bell supported T.E. Lawrence when he advocated to British authorities
the consolidation of Iraq’s three districts—Basra, Baghdad, and Mosul—
into one kingdom. As a liberal imperialist, she wanted the British to rule Iraq
for the benefit of British interests and as a way to educate and train Arabs
in Western governance. She advised that Iraq be run by the Sunni religious
sect rather than the majority Shiites, because she feared that the Shiites
would establish a harsh, theocratic state. And she opposed a Kurdish state
in the north, because she felt that balance should be maintained among the
Sunnis, Shiites, and Kurds through British oversight, which, in turn, would
give Britain access to Iraq’s oil reserves.
In 1921, Bell and Lawrence successfully promoted Faisal bin Hussein
to become king of Iraq, while the country remained under British control.
Faisal had been born into a royal family in Saudi Arabia but had never be-
fore been to Iraq and thus was distrusted by some Iraqis. He had, however,
sided with Great Britain in World War I and, with the help of Lawrence,
had organized a revolt against the Ottoman Empire, thus forming a close
relationship with the British.
Bell became a close advisor to Faisal, who was crowned King Faisal I in
1921. She was nicknamed “the Uncrowned Queen of Iraq,” and many Iraqis
called her “Khatun,” meaning “great lady.” A contemporary, British author
Virginia Woolf, said, “Miss Bell has a very long nose like an Aberdeen ter-
rier; she is a masterful woman, has everyone under her thumb, and makes
one feel a little inefficient.”
With King Faisal’s help, Bell founded the Iraqi Archaeological Museum
(today the National Museum of Iraq) and became its first director. (Te
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
museum officially opened in its permanent home shortly after her death in
1926.) In her work with the museum, she supervised numerous digs and
identified and cataloged artifacts crucial to understanding ancient Iraq.
By 1926, Bell had become ill and depressed. She was afflicted with
bronchitis, and her family had suffered financial setbacks, forcing the sale of
her home in London. She ended her life on July 12, 1926, in Baghdad with
an overdose of sleeping pills.
In her explorations and archaeological work, Bell had combined the old
Iraq with the new, literally unearthing in her digs the story of the past, while
forging in her politics the boundaries of a new nation. She once said,
I like Baghdad and I like Iraq. It’s the real East, and it’s stirring; things are
happening here, and the romance of it all touches me and absorbs me.
Further Reading
Bell, Gertrude. Te Desert and the Sown. Boston: Beacon, 1985.
Howell, Georgina. Gertrude Bell: Queen of the Desert, Shaper of Nations. New
York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007.
Wallach, Janet. Desert Queen: Te Extraordinary Life of Gertrude Bell, Adventurer,
Adviser to Kings, Ally of Lawrence of Arabia. New York: Anchor, 2005.
8I:?8< FCF>@ :8C ;@ >J
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|omaios, soch as tossils, tho |oios ot boildiogs, tools, aod µotto|y. 1hoso ottoo a|o oocovo|od
th|oogh digs, o| oxcavatioos.
Sitos to| digs cao bo doto|miood by ca|otolly aoalyziog tho g|oood so|taco to| µotsho|ds
¦sha|ds ot µotto|yj aod otho| soch cloos. 1oday, a|chaoologists also oso |ada| aod otho|
tochoology to doto|mioo vhat might oxist oodo|g|oood boto|o thoy sta|t diggiog.
|igs tood to bo small io sizo aod osoally iovolvo ooly a tov |osoa|cho|s aod thoi| holµo|s.
Ooco tho diggiog has bogoo, a|chaoologists oso comµoto|-basod maµµiog systoms to so|voy tho
sito aod tho dosigos ot aoy boildiogs o| otho| majo| nods vithio it.
Somo a|chaoologists tocos oo tho ovolotioo ot µ|imatos oµ ootil homao boiogs ovolvod.
Otho|s tocos oo tho aocioot aod classical civilizatioos ot |o|oµo aod tho Middlo |ast. Still otho|s
tocos oo mo|o |ocoot sociotios aod combioo µhysical vith v|ittoo ovidooco.
Ma|ioo a|chaoologists stody sobmo|god sottlomoots aod soo|oo shiµs to botto| oodo|staod
tho ioto|actioo botvooo homao boiogs aod tho soa. |o| oxamµlo, io 2uu/, a|chaoologists Goo|go
|obb aod Ad|iao Aoastasi, aloog vith divo masto| |ova|d |hoooix, vo||iog to| tho ||M
|aotical |ooodatioo, bogao comµiliog ao oodo|vato| maµ iotoodod to µlot tho µositioo ot
soo|oo ûoots t|om aocioot aod modioval timos aloog Albaoias Ad|iatic coast. lo doiog so, thoy
oocovo|od 2,4uu-yoa|-old a|titacts.
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
BINGHAM, HIRAM 18751956
An American archaeologist, academic, and politician, Hiram Bingham III is
best known as the “scientific discoverer” of the ancient Inca ruins at Machu
Picchu in Peru.
Hiram Bingham III was born on November 19, 1875, in Honolulu,
Hawaii, to Hiram Bingham and Clarissa Minerva Brewster, both of whom
were Protestant missionaries, as was his grandfather, who had done much
to Christianize the islands. As a boy, Hiram learned mountaineering from
his father and climbed the mountains in Hawaii.
After graduating from Punahou School in Hawaii in 1892, Bingham
attended Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, for two years and
then Yale University from 1894 to 1898. He enrolled at the University of
California at Berkeley for graduate work in history in 1899. He then stud-
ied at Harvard from 1900 to 1905, when he earned his doctorate in Latin
American history. In 1900, he married Alfreda Mitchell, an heiress whose
money provided him the independence to engage in scientific expeditions.
Bingham taught history and political science at Harvard and Princeton.
In 1909, he was appointed as an assistant professor in Latin American his-
tory at Yale. During these years, he showed no interest in following his fam-
ily’s missionary calling, a decision that caused friction between him and his
Early Explorations
Bingham was attracted to the study of South American history because
so little research had been done there by anyone in the United States. As
he considered writing a biography of the South American liberator Simón
Bolívar, he became attracted to exploration and decided to retrace the route
taken by Bolívar across the continent in 1819. He later wrote,
I came to the conclusion that if I wished to understand this period in South
American history, it would be necessary for me to undertake an expedition
1875: Born on November 19 in Honolulu, Hawaii
1906: Retraces the steps of Simón Bolívar in South America
1911: Encounters the Incan settlement of Machu Picchu
1912: Begins excavating Machu Picchu
1922: Wins election as lieutenant governor of Connecticut
1926: Wins election to the U.S. Senate
1956: Dies on June 6 in Washington, D.C.
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
that should have for its object not only a study of the country where Bolívar
lived and fought, and a visit to the scenes of his most important battles . . .
but also an exploration of the route of his most celebrated campaign.
Bingham undertook this journey in November 1906; he subsequently
published Te Journal of an Expedition Across Venezuela and Colombia,
1906–1907 (1909). In 1908 and 1909, he traversed southern South
America and served as a delegate to the First Pan American Scientific
Congress, in Santiago, Chile.
It was during his southern excursion, as he traveled from Buenos Aires,
Argentina, to Lima, Peru, that Bingham was drawn to the Incas. While he
was in Peru, the authorities there persuaded him to join an expedition to
the Inca village of Choqquequirau. He was intrigued by the ancient culture
and stories about an unknown region around the high mountains. He was
further influenced by Clements Markham’s book, Te Incas of Peru (1910),
which told of the Incas’ flight, circa 1536, from Cuzco to Vilcabamba, a
nearby land of canyons and mountains, to escape the Spaniards.
In 1911, Bingham returned to Peru, this time, on an expedition spon-
sored by Yale to explore the region northwest of Cuzco, in the Andes. His
party included Isaiah Bowman, a geologist; Kai Hendrickson, a topogra-
pher; and H. Z. Tucker, an archaeologist.
Finding Machu Picchu
In late July of that year, a local farmer told Bingham of some ancient ruins,
and the American decided to find out if they might be related to the Incas.
He had heard other stories about the ruins at least several days earlier
and had been told about their existence by Albert Giesecke, the rector of
the University of Cuzco. Still, when Bingham began his climb up the
mountains on July 24 to search for the ruins, he doubted they would be
Tat afternoon, he came upon Machu Picchu. Although he took the
dimensions of some of the buildings in this first visit, he spent only a few
hours there. Nevertheless, he realized he had made an important find.
He told Te New York Times that he had found the ancient city when
he was led by some Peruvian Indians up an old goat path to a precipitous
plateau at an elevation of approximately 2,000 feet (600 meters). Tere,
they discovered an Incan temple, along whose ruins the Indians recently
had planted corn. “Te white granite stones used in the foundation of the
temple,” Bingham told the Times, “measured 8 by 12 by 6 feet, and were well
chiseled and beautifully joined without mortar in Egyptian style.”
Machu Picchu has been called “the lost city of the Incas.” Built around
1460, it was abandoned 100 years later, when the Spanish conquered the
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Incas. Its importance to the Incas is widely
debated by archeologists and historians. Some
think that it was a holy center. Others believe
it was an estate of an Incan emperor, a center
from which to control the local economies, or
even a prison. It was one of the few Incan sites
not plundered by the Spanish, who failed to
find it, thus adding to the value of Bingham’s
Bingham believed that his team were the
first white men to gaze on the city of Machu
Picchu since the time of the Spanish invasion.
On that point, however, he was wrong. In
1902, Agustin Lizarraga, who lived nearby in
the town of San Miguel, had reached the ru-
ins, and two local missionaries, Tomas Paine
and Stuart McNairn, may well have reached
the site in 1906. Still, Bingham was the first
to publicize the importance of the ruins to the
understanding of ancient Incan society and to
methodically explore them. Tis is why he is
often called their “scientific discoverer.”
On leaving Machu Picchu, Bingham and
his party mapped the Urubamba River and
then climbed Mount Coropuna, at 21,763 feet (6,633 meters) the second-
tallest peak in South America (after Mount Aconcagua in Argentina). Te
icy conditions forced them to use crampons (climbing irons) in their ascent.
At the summit, they planted the Yale flag and left a canister containing a
record of their feat.
Bingham returned to Machu Picchu in 1912 to excavate the site. Te
following year, he wrote about his findings for National Geographic maga-
zine. (Te National Geographic Society had supported his expedition.) At
one point during his excavation trip, both his mules and his native guides
deserted him, leaving him wandering on a mountain for two days with little
food. He was saved when he met an Indian, who led him down a path to
his base camp.
At Machu Picchu, Bingham found the skulls and skeletons of prehistoric
human beings, along with bronze tables. He returned to the United States
with some of the human remains, several of the tables, and some pottery. Te
Peruvian government questioned his removal of these items and, in general,
distrusted his work at Machu Picchu, thinking he would disfigure or remove
valuable items. In 2007, Yale agreed to return thousands of artifacts unearthed
by Bingham and his colleagues, including mummies and ceramics.
Hiram Bingham III,
a Yale University his-
torian, rediscovered
the “lost” Inca city
of Machu Picchu in
the Peruvian Andes
in July 1911. Yale,
which had cospon-
sored the expedition,
agreed in 2007 to
return thousands
of relics he had re-
moved from the site.
(Granger Collection,
New York)
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Life after Machu Picchu
During World War I, Bingham served in the U.S. Army Air Service. In
1918, he commanded the flying school at Issoudun, France.
Entering politics after the war, he served as lieutenant governor of
Connecticut from 1922 to 1924. In the latter year, he was elected governor
of the state but served only two days before being elected to the U.S. Senate,
as a Republican, to fill a vacant seat. Reelected in 1926, he faced an uphill
battle for a third term in 1932.
By then, the Senate had censured Bingham for placing a lobbyist on
his payroll. At the same time, the Republican president, Herbert Hoover,
and the Republican-controlled Congress were largely reviled for their in-
eptitude in handling the economic crisis of the Great Depression. Bingham
thus went down to defeat.
He subsequently engaged in banking and, during World War II, lec-
tured at naval training schools. A zealous “communist hunter” during the
cold war, he chaired the Civil Service Commission’s Loyalty Review Board
from 1951 to 1953. He died in Washington, D.C., on June 6, 1956.
Over the years, Bingham wrote three books based on his expedition to
Machu Picchu: Inca Land (1922), Machu Picchu, Citadel of the Incas (1930),
and Lost City of the Incas (1948). As a result of these works and his expedi-
tion, his name remains indelibly linked to the ancient Inca ruins at Machu
Further Reading
Miller, Char. Fathers and Sons: Te Bingham Family and the American Mission.
Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1982.
———, ed. Selected Writings of Hiram Bingham, 1814–1869: To Raise the
Lord’s Banner. Lewiston, NY: E. Mellen, 1988.
1729: Born on November 12 in Paris
1753: Writes a paper on integral calculus that earns him membership
in Britain’s prestigious Royal Society
1766–1769: Circumnavigates the globe and writes detailed
descriptions of the plants and animals he finds
1771: Publishes a book that portrays the island of Tahiti as a paradise
and influences utopian philosophers
1811: Dies on August 20 in Paris
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
A French explorer, Louis-Antoine de Bougainville contributed to the sci-
entific findings of the Enlightenment by circumnavigating the globe to
discover new lands for his country and record the geography, plants, and
animals that he found.
Bougainville was born on November 12, 1729, in Paris to Pierre-Yves
de Bougainville, a wealthy notary in the city’s courts of law, and Marie-
Françoise d’Arboulin. As a young man, he showed a talent for mathematics.
Bougainville studied under Alexis Clairaut, a prominent mathematician
and astronomer, and, in 1753, he wrote a paper on integral calculus that
was so impressive it earned him membership in Britain’s prestigious Royal
Bougainville initially prepared to become a lawyer, but he lost interest
in an endeavor he considered dry and boring. Instead, he entered the French
army in 1753. Tree years later, he traveled to Canada, where he fought
in the French and Indian War, sometimes called the Seven Years’ War,
against the British. Tere, he served as an aide-de-camp to Louis-Joseph de
Montcalm-Grozon, the major general in command of French troops.
Te war had begun in North America but escalated into a nearly world-
wide fight for empire. When it ended in 1763, the French suffered a tre-
mendous defeat and lost control of New France to the British. Following
the war, Bougainville spent money from his personal fortune to settle dis-
Louis-Antoine de
Bougainville, the
first Frenchman to
circumnavigate the
world, is greeted
by natives in
Tahiti—which he
later described as an
earthly paradise—in
1767. His account
made Tahiti famous
in Europe and rein-
forced the concept
of the “noble savage.”
(Granger Collection,
New York)
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
placed Acadians (French people from Canada) on the Falkland Islands,
but the colony proved short-lived.
In 1766, the French government, under King Louis XV, gave
Bougainville command of two ships, La Boudeuse, a frigate, and L’Etoile,
a transport, for a voyage of discovery around the globe. On November 15,
Bougainville left Nantes, on the western coast of France. Among those
accompanying him was the botanist Philibert Commerçon.
Bougainville clearly wanted to add to the world’s scientific knowledge at
a time when more and more educated Europeans were embracing rational
thought as part of the Enlightenment. He was a nationalist who wanted
to advance the power of France, but he also was an internationalist, who
worked with scientists from other countries.
Te expedition sailed westward through the Strait of Magellan, at the
southern tip of South America. In the spring of 1767, Bougainville ar-
rived at Tahiti. He then journeyed to Samoa and New Hebrides (today
Vanuatu), both located in the central South Pacific, and sailed through the
Solomon Islands, located just to the east of New Guinea, where he named
Bougainville Island, to the northeast of Australia, for himself.
Following an attack by islanders against his crew, Bougainville contin-
ued on to the Moluccas (in Indonesia). He completed his circumnaviga-
tion of the globe on March 16, 1769, when he arrived at Saint-Malo, on
the northwestern coast of France, making him the first Frenchman to sail
around the world.
Troughout his voyage, Bougainville kept journals that he filled with
keen observations about plants and geography, including his identifica-
tion of natural harbors at which ships could anchor. A South American
climbing plant, the Bougainvillea, was later named for him.
In 1772, he published his Description from a Voyage Around the World,
in which he portrayed Tahiti as a paradise. Utopian philosophers, who be-
moaned the corruption of Western society while insisting that people were
good when living within a state of nature, embraced this vision. In one of his
journal entries, Bougainville wrote about Tahiti and its people:
Our white skin delights them, they express admiration in this regard in the
most expressive manner. Furthermore, the race is superb, with men 5 feet
10 inches tall, many reaching six feet, a few exceeding this. Teir features
are handsome. Tey have a head of hair they wear in various ways. Several
also have a long beard which they rub as they do their hair with cocoanut
oil. Te women are pretty and, something [that] is due to their food and
water, men and women and even old men have the finest teeth in the world.
Tere people breathe only rest and sensual pleasures. Venus is the god they
worship. Te mildness of the climate, the beauty of the scenery, the fertility
of the soil everywhere watered by rivers and cascades, the pure air unspoiled
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
by even those legions of insects that are the curse of hot climates, everything
inspires sensual pleasure.
From 1779 to 1782, Bougainville again commanded a naval ship. He
participated in the French blockade of Yorktown, Virginia, which helped the
American colonies defeat Great Britain in the Revolutionary War. During
this time, he married Flore-Josephe Longchamp de Montendre, with whom
he would have three sons.
In 1787, Bougainville was made a member of the French Academy of
Sciences. He obtained the rank of vice admiral in 1791, but shortly there-
after retired to his estate in Normandy, having escaped the indignity of
imprisonment and the fate of execution that befell many of the elite in the
bloody French Revolution. Bougainville died in Paris on August 20, 1811.
Further Reading
Hamilton, Edward P., trans. and ed. Adventure in the Wilderness: Te
American Journals of Louis Antoine de Bougainville, 1756–1760. Norman:
University of Oklahoma Press, 1964.
Kimbrough, Mary. Louis-Antoine de Bougainville, 1729–1811: A Study in
French Naval History and Politics. Lewiston, NY: E. Mellen, 1990.
Suthren, Victor J.H. Te Sea Has No End: Te Life of Louis Antoine de
Bougainville. Toronto, Canada: Dundurn, 2004.
BRUCE, JAMES 17301794
A Scottish explorer, James Bruce attempted to solve for Europeans the mys-
tery of where the Nile River begins when, in 1769–1770, he ventured into
the highlands of eastern Africa and mapped one of the river’s tributaries,
the Blue Nile.
Bruce was born on December 14, 1730, in Stirling County, Scotland.
He was educated at Harrow School and Edinburgh University and later
studied for the bar. His pursuit of a law career ended, however, when he
married the daughter of a wine merchant and entered that business. After
his wife died in 1754, he traveled to Portugal and Spain.
1730: Born on December 14 in Stirling County, Scotland
1763: Appointed consul to Algiers
1765: Explores the Roman ruins at Barbary
1770: Reaches the source of the Blue Nile River
1790: Publishes a five-volume account of his journey to the Nile
1794: Dies in Scotland on April 27
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Energetic, skilled as a horseman and a marksman, and possessing a
forceful personality along with an explosive temper, Bruce impressed al -
most everyone he met. He certainly impressed several British leaders, with
whom he worked during Great Britain’s fight against Spain in 1762 (as part
of the Seven Years’ War), for they appointed him consul to Algiers. He as-
sumed the post in 1763.
But Bruce had more than political duties in mind. He wanted to ex-
plore, not only as an adventurer, but also as an archaeologist and a cartogra-
pher. He learned Arabic (along with several other languages) and became a
competent linguist, astronomer, historian, and botanist. He also drew well.
In 1765, he resigned as consul and journeyed into the interior of the
kingdoms of Algiers and Tunis in northern Africa. Tereafter, he sailed to
Crete, nearly losing his life when a storm drove his boat onto a large rock.
He explored ruins in Lebanon, at Baalbek, where he found a temple dating
from ancient Rome, and in Syria, at Palmyra, an oasis location that had
served as a Roman colony.
His greatest desire, though, was to find the source of the Nile River,
the cradle of ancient Egyptian civilization and one of the most dominant
natural features in the world. Bruce was convinced he would find the riv-
er’s wellspring in Abyssinia (today, Ethiopia). Te source of the Nile had
long played on the human imagination: Ptolemy, the ancient Greek as-
tronomer and mathematician, said the river’s waters originated in a group
of massive mountains in Africa, known by natives as the “Mountains of
the Moon.”
Bruce believed that of the Nile’s two main tributaries, the White Nile
and the Blue Nile, the Blue Nile was the most important, because it was
the Nile of the ancients. Despite Bruce’s claim, both the Blue Nile and
the White Nile were important to the Nile itself, for while the Blue Nile
contributed most of the Nile’s water volume, the White Nile was much
Bruce began his journey at Alexandria, then traveled to Tebes (the
current location of the towns of Karnak and Luxor) and crossed the des-
ert to Kosseir. Donning the outfit of a Turkish sailor to traverse what was
then part of the Ottoman Empire, he sailed along the coast of the Red
Sea and debarked at Jidda, on the coast of Saudi Arabia, in May 1769.
He then departed from Loheia (today a part of Yemen) and sailed di-
rectly across the Red Sea, which he had mapped, reaching Massawa, then
a Turkish possession, in September.
He arrived at Gondar, the capital of Abyssinia, in February 1770, which
placed him near the source of the Nile. He carried with him the scientific
instruments crucial to his mapping and goal of pinpointing the source of
the Blue Nile. To reach Gondar, his men had to carry a heavy quadrant over
steep mountains.
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Bruce lived in Abyssinia for two years, caught amid the internecine con-
flict and bloody war then gripping the land. Abyssinians distrusted white
Europeans, but Bruce’s courage, athleticism, and confidence won over King
Ras Michael, as did his treating the queen mother’s grandchildren for small-
pox. Te king even made Bruce a cavalry commander.
In November 1770, Bruce traveled overland from Gondar in his con-
tinuing effort to find the source of the Blue Nile. He reached the southern
shore of Lake Tana, its waters studded with islands. Bruce said eleven of the
islands were likely inhabited, although the local people claimed many more
of them to be so.
Today, most geographers believe there are thirty-seven islands in Lake
Tana. Tey also consider the lake to be the source of the Blue Nile, and that,
by reaching Lake Tana, Bruce had accomplished his goal. Te Abyssinians,
however, considered the source to be a spring at Gishe Abbay, about 70
miles (110 kilometers) from the lake. (“Gishe” means “source” and “Abbay”
means “Nile”; Ethiopians still call Gishe Abbey the sacred source.) With
guidance from the Abyssinians, Bruce, who also believed Gishe Abbay to be
the source, pushed on and reached the more distant site.
As it turned out, Bruce was not the first European to find the source
of the Blue Nile at Lake Tana. Tat feat had been accomplished by Father
Pedro Paez, a Spanish Jesuit missionary, in 1615. Although few Europeans
were aware of Paez’s discovery, Bruce knew about it, yet he claimed the
Spaniard’s memoirs had been fabricated.
In 1771–1772, Bruce descended the Blue Nile, all the way to its conflu-
ence with the White Nile at present-day Khartoum. He thus became the
first European to follow the full course of the river.
Following a harrowing return to northern Africa across the desert of
Sudan—a trip on which he was beset by thirst and hunger—Bruce arrived
in France in 1773. Tere, he was praised for his accomplishment by French
naturalist Georges Louis-Leclerc, Comte de Buffon.
But when Bruce arrived in London in 1774, his reports were met with
widespread skepticism. In 1790, he published his five-volume Travels to
Discover the Source of the Nile in the Years 1768–1773, but many ridiculed
his stories as fake. His tales of warfare, cavorting with women, and engaging
in barbarous feasts with the Abyssinians, along with his graphic descrip-
tions of bloodthirsty encounters, seemed too sensational to believe.
It was all true, though, as was the seemingly incredible combination of
adventure and science in which Bruce had engaged. To his study of ruins
and landscape Bruce applied critical observation and careful measurement.
In doing so he represented both the spirit and practicality of the modern
scientific method.
Bruce died in Scotland on April 27, 1794. His autobiography was pub-
lished posthumously in 1805.
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Further Reading
Bredin, Miles. Te Pale Abyssinian: A Life of James Bruce. London:
HarperCollins, 2000.
Bruce, James. Travels to Discover the Source of the Nile in the Years 1768–1773.
1790. New York: Horizon, 1964.
Reid, J.M. Traveller Extraordinary: Te Life of James Bruce of Kinnaird. London:
Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1968.
An English explorer who discovered Lake Tanganyika in eastern Africa,
Richard Francis Burton was a modern Renaissance man—an archaeolo-
gist, linguist, ethnographer, diplomat, soldier, author, and translator—all
wrapped in a flamboyant, irascible, explosive personality.
Richard Francis Burton was born on March 19, 1821, in Herefordshire,
England, to Joseph Netterville Burton, a captain in the British army, and
Martha Baker. A few months after he was born, the family moved to Tours,
France. Tey would move several more times during Burton’s youth, living
in towns in France and Italy.
He had the reputation for being a wild child and caused problems for
his parents as he rebelled against authority. On one occasion, he stole his
father’s rifle and shot out a church’s stained-glass windows. As a teen, he
frequented taverns and brothels, gambled, and experimented with opium.
Partly in an effort to “tame” the young man, his father sent him to Trinity
College at Oxford University in 1840. Although Burton was bright, he
had little preparation for college and frustrated his tutors by rejecting his
schoolbooks in favor of Italian novels.
India, the Middle East, and Africa
Burton hated Oxford from the start and thought it boring and pretentious.
He earned the nickname “Ruffian Dick” for challenging students to duels.
1821: Born on March 19 in Herefordshire, England
1840: Enters Trinity College at Oxford University
1842: Joins the army of the British East India Company
1853: Makes a pilgrimage to the Islamic holy cities of Mecca and
1854: Travels to the Somalian city of Harar, a site usually closed to
1858: Discovers Lake Tanganyika in eastern Africa
1890: Dies of a heart attack in Trieste, Austria-Hungary, on October 20
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
In 1842, he was expelled and joined the army of the British East India
Company, whereupon he was sent to India.
Ever the individualist, Burton did what most Britons in India refused
to do: He immersed himself in Hindu culture. While his fellow soldiers
criticized him for embracing the local customs, Burton learned to speak
Hindustani, Gujarati, and Marathi. (Later in his life, he added Persian,
Arabic, and some twenty-seven other languages.) He went undercover to
investigate male brothels and, in a report colonial authorities later sup-
pressed, alleged that the customers included British officers.
In 1847, Burton journeyed to the Portuguese possession of Goa on the
Indian coast. Two years later, he returned to Europe. In 1850, he published
a guide to the region, Goa and the Blue Mountains.
In 1853, the Royal Geographical Society sponsored Burton in an expe-
dition to Arabia. He undertook a hajj, or pilgrimage, to the Islamic holy cit-
ies of Mecca and Medina. It was a dangerous trip. If he had been discovered,
he likely would have been arrested or even killed. To prepare for the journey
Burton studied Islamic culture. (He learned so much about it that he later
praised Muslim beliefs and practices.) In
1855, he published A Personal Narrative of
a Pilgrimage to Al-Medinah and Meccah.
Burton returned to his regiment in
India in 1854 and volunteered to under-
take an assignment recently proposed by
the Royal Geographical Society: to journey
into the interior of Somalia to investigate its
natural resources. In October, he arrived in
Aden, then a British colony, on the Arabian
Peninsula. Tere, he met John Hanning
Speke, a Briton who had served in the Indian
army and had explored the Himalayas and
Burton next traveled on his own to
Harar in Somalia, a city that was closed to
Christians, because they were considered a
threat to Islam. Along the way, he studied
the customs and language of Somali clans.
He stayed at Harar for ten days and, while
there, met the emir.
Back in Aden, Burton prepared to re-
turn to East Africa, this time with Speke,
with the intention of again entering Harar
and then finding and following the Nile
River. In April 1855, Burton led a party that
Flamboyant and
Richard Francis
Burton discovered
the great lakes of
Central Africa in the
late 1850s. He wrote
dozens of books on
his travels and other
subjects, including
and falconry, and
mastered more than
thirty languages.
(Granger Collection,
New York)
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
included forty-two men, camels, horses, and mules. Tey made camp near
the Somali settlement of Berbera.
For reasons unclear but perhaps in search of plunder, tribesmen at-
tacked the expedition. Burton was struck by a tribesman’s javelin that en-
tered one of his cheeks and came out the other, taking four of his teeth (it
would leave a permanent scar). He was forced to elude his attackers with
the javelin still stuck in him. One of his colleagues was killed, and Speke
was wounded and captured. He escaped and, dripping blood, staggered into
Berbera, then walked another three miles before he was found by a rescue
party. Te expedition was ruined.
Te Sea of Ujiji
Despite this failure, the Royal Geographical Society decided to fund a
search by Burton to find the Sea of Ujiji and the source of the Nile.
(Today, the Sea of Ujiji is called Lake Tanganyika. It is situated between
the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Tanzania.) Again working with
Speke, Burton prepared for the expedition while in Bombay, India.
In 1856, the team arrived in Zanzibar, off the coast of present-day
Tanzania, where Burton studied the island’s geography, language, history,
flora, and fauna, and made ethnological observations; he spent six months
exploring the Zanzibar and neighboring coasts. On June 17, 1857, Burton
and Speke departed Zanzibar for the African mainland. Ten days later, they
began their journey inland, traveling westward across Tanzania.
Depending heavily on a local guide, Sidi Mubarak, the two men tra-
versed a caravan path used by Arab slave traders. Teir expedition included
two gun-bearers, thirteen soldiers provided by the sultan of Zanzibar, ten
slaves, and forty-one helpers. Burton took with him numerous scientific
devices, including two chronometers, two prismatic compasses, a pocket
thermometer, a sundial, a rain gauge, an evaporating dish, two sextants, a
mountain barometer, measuring tape, two boiling thermometers, a tele-
scope, a pocket pedometer, and what was described as a box of “math-
ematical instruments.”
Problems beset Burton and Speke almost from the start. Malaria deci-
mated the party. Burton grew weak and depressed, as his body felt as if it
were on fire, and Speke could hardly walk. Quarrels broke out among the
members of the expedition, men and animals ran away, food supplies dwin-
dled, and most of the scientific instruments broke. Nevertheless, Burton
and Speke pushed on.
On February 13, 1858, they arrived at the “sea” they had been search-
ing for, actually the vast Lake Tanganyika. By this time, however, Speke’s
eyesight was so badly damaged that he could make out nothing more than a
smeared image. (He later recovered from his blindness.) Unlike on his pre-
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
vious journeys, which were more adventure than science, this time Burton
had made an important geographical discovery.
Lake Victoria and Dispute with Speke
Te following day, the expedition entered the settlement of Ujiji on the
shores of the lake. Shortly thereafter, Burton heard of another lake to the
vhoo |icha|d bo|too joo|ooyod iolaod ioto |ast At|ica, ho too| vith him a dovico that maoy
oxµlo|o|s coosido|od ossootial. a ch|ooomoto|. A ch|ooomoto| is ao oxt|omoly acco|ato cloc| o|
vatch. ||om tho mid-l/uus ootil tho l92us, thoso tools vo|o imµo|taot to oavigato|s oo laod aod
soa io doto|mioiog loogitodo.
1ho µ|iociµlo ot doto|mioiog loogitodo by ch|ooomoto| is basod oo tho movomoot ot tho
soo ac|oss tho s|y oach day. 1ho soos aµµa|oot daily o|bit a|oood tho |a|th ta|os tvooty-too|
hoo|s to µass th|oogh tho ì6u dog|oos ot tho |a|ths ci|comto|ooco, o| l! dog|oos oach hoo|, o|
l dog|oo ovo|y too| miootos. A oavigato| coold doto|mioo his shiµs loogitodo by doto|mioiog
tho ditto|ooco botvooo tho timo ot his local oooo vith that ot local oooo at a |oovo |oto|ooco
loogitodo aod thoo moltiµlyiog tho |osolt by tho sµood ot tho soos movomoot ac|oss tho s|y.
lmµo|taotly, ao acco|ato moaso|omoot |oqoi|od that tho soos µositioo bo calcolatod µ|ocisoly at
oooo-ovoo a ooo-socood o||o| coold advo|soly attoct tho |osolt.
Uotil l/ì!, hovovo|, oo timoµioco aµµ|oachod tho acco|acy |oqoi|od to| soch a
moaso|omoot. 1hat yoa|, ¦oho |a||isoo, ao |oglish ca|µooto|, noishod dosigoiog a ma|ioo
ch|ooomoto| that voold bo attoctod ooly mioimally by a shiµs motioo. bot tho dovico vas
combo|somo. So, ovo| tho ooxt thi|ty yoa|s, |a||isoo vo||od oo boildiog smallo| aod mo|o
acco|ato ch|ooomoto|s. |is too|th modol, also moaot to| oso aboa|d shiµs, vas comµlotod io
l/62 aod µ|ovod to bo acco|ato to vithio nvo socoods at tho ood ot ao oighty-ooo-day voyago.
A yoa| lato|, ||ooch cloc|ma|o| |io||o |o |oy c|oatod a ch|ooomoto| mo|o |osistaot to o||o|s
caosod by ûoctoatioos io tomµo|ato|o. 1his |oqoi|od addiog adjostmoots to tho sµ|iog so that
tomµo|ato|o chaogos voold oot attoct it.
Ch|ooomoto|s bogao to loso moch
ot thoi| imµo|taoco io tho l92us, vhoo
acco|ato timos vo|o b|oadcast by |adio.
1ho lato| omo|gooco ot Global |ositiooiog
Systoms oµo|atiog via satollitos |ologatod
ch|ooomoto|s to a bac|oµ |olo.
John Harrison’s marine chronometer of 1759—his
fourth attempt at such a device—accurately measured
east-west position, or longitude, over long distances. It
was a major breakthrough for exploration at sea as well
as on land. (Granger Collection, New York)
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
north. At that point, he made what some historians consider to be a “great
mistake.” He decided to stay at Ujiji while Speke headed north.
Speke said it was his idea to search out what was later called Lake
Victoria. Burton said he was the one who told Speke to undertake the
mission. Whatever the case was, Burton failed to add another discovery
to his accomplishments, one that would have ranked him among the most
renowned explorers of Africa.
Why did Burton make this mistake? Four reasons were at play: he
doubted Speke would find much; he wanted to continue to gather informa-
tion from the people in the place where he was camped; he wanted to regain
his health; and he believed that he already had accomplished what he had
set out to do. As it was, Speke found Lake Victoria, among the greatest of
the European discoveries in Africa.
In 1860, Burton published Lake Regions of Central Africa, a detailed
account of the geography of the region and a description of the cultural
practices of the people who lived there. He also traveled to the United
States, met with the Mormon leader Brigham Young in Salt Lake City, and
published a report on polygamy.
Te following year, he married Isabel Arundell. She was from a promi-
nent English family, and he had first met her at Boulogne in France.
In 1863, Burton cofounded, with James Hunt, the Anthropological
Society of London. By this time, Speke and Burton had had a falling out.
Tension had long existed between the two men because of their differing
personalities; now, they quarreled over who owed the outstanding debts
from their last expedition. Burton also disputed Speke’s claim—an accurate
one, as it turned out—that Lake Victoria was the source for the White Nile.
He called Speke’s evidence inconclusive and asserted that Speke’s survey
had been inadequate.
Te two men were scheduled to debate the importance of Lake Victoria
on September 15, 1864, before the British Association for the Advancement
of Science (now the British Science Association). Te day before the de-
bate, Speke died from a gunshot wound while hunting. It still is uncertain
whether he shot himself accidentally or committed suicide. Burton was
greatly shaken by Speke’s death.
In the early 1860s, Burton served as British consul to Fernando Póo
(today the island of Bioko in Equatorial Guinea) and while there explored
the west coast of Africa. In 1865, he was transferred by the British foreign
service to Brazil. He explored the country’s central highlands and canoed
down the São Francisco River. But he disliked the country and considered
his time there to be “banishment.”
In 1869, he was appointed consul to Damascus, and, in 1877, he became
consul to Trieste in Austria-Hungary. He was knighted by Queen Victoria in
1886. Burton died of a heart attack in Trieste on October 20, 1890.
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
-0 0
See also: Speke,
John Hanning.
Burton wrote several travel books that were poorly received, in part be -
cause of his accounts of foreign sexual practices that were at odds with Victorian
standards. He also published several English-language translations of Asian
classics, including the erotic Kama Sutra. His most celebrated translation, how-
ever, was Te Book of the Tousand Nights and a Night (1885), more commonly
called Te Arabian Nights, which originally was written in Arabic.
Burton’s conclusions and theories, while often wrong, challenged ac-
cepted thinking. His expedition to central Africa resulted in a mixed record:
On the one hand, he had found Lake Tanganyika and, through Speke, Lake
Victoria. On the other hand, he had explored the region only haphazardly
and failed to traverse the Nile River.
Further Reading
Brodie, Fawn. Te Devil Drives: A Life of Sir Richard Burton. New York: W.W.
Norton, 1984.
Farwell, Byron. Burton: A Biography of Sir Richard Francis Burton. New York:
Viking, 1963.
Kennedy, Dane Keith. Te Highly Civilized Man: Richard Burton and the
Victorian World. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2005.
BYRD, RICHARD E. 18881957
An American explorer long believed to have been the first to fly over the
South Pole, Richard Evelyn Byrd charted substantial portions of Antarctica
and researched the continent’s meteorological and geographical features.
Byrd was born on October 25, 1888, in Winchester, Virginia, to
Richard E. Byrd, a wealthy lawyer, and Eleanor Flood, both of whom came
from prominent families in the state. When Richard was twelve years old,
he visited the Philippines. Although he stayed there for only a year, he de-
veloped a sense of adventure and expressed his desire someday to journey
to the North Pole.
In 1908, Byrd entered the U.S. Naval Academy; he was commissioned
in 1912. Four years later, he broke his ankle in an accident, which ended
1888: Born on October 25 in Winchester, Virginia
1912: Graduates from the U.S. Naval Academy
1925: Commands naval air unit in an expedition to Greenland
1929: Becomes the first person to fly over the South Pole and maps Antarctica
1933: Lives alone at Advance Base in Antarctica
1955: Becomes head of Operation Deep Freeze
1957: Dies in Boston on March 11
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
his assignment as a midshipman on a battleship. During World War I, he
learned to fly and, in 1918, became a naval aviator. (He never flew in combat
during the war.)
In 1925, Byrd commanded a U.S. Navy air unit as part of an expedition
to Greenland led by a civilian, Donald Baxter MacMillan. Te mission had as
its goal studying the region’s natural phenomena and surveying large expanses
of the uncharted ice. Te following year, Byrd and his colleague Floyd Bennett
made what they claimed to be the first flight over the North Pole.
A recent analysis of Byrd’s diary, however, indicates he may not have
made it to his destination. Te diary, discovered in the mid-1900s and pub-
lished for the first time by Ohio State University in 1998, includes messages
from Byrd to his pilot, Bennett (the noise in the plane required the two men
to pass written messages to each other), which indicate that Byrd believed
he had reached the North Pole. In one of them, he states,
We should be at the Pole now. Make a circle. I will take a picture. Ten I
want the sun. Radio that we have reached the pole and are now returning
with one motor with bad oil leak but expect to make Spitzbergen.
But the diary also contains still-legible erasures of navigational calcula-
tions. Some analysts insist that these calculations show that Byrd had not
reached the exact location of the North Pole.
Base in Antarctica
In 1927, Byrd and the Norwegian American Bernt Balchen, along with
Bertrand B. Acosta and George O. Noville, were the first to fly a transatlan-
tic mail route from New York to France.
Polar explorer and
aviator Admiral
Richard E. Byrd
led five expeditions
to Antarctica. He
was said to be the
first man to fly over
both the North
Pole (1926) and the
South Pole (1929).
His claims regarding
the former were later
called into question.
(Imagno/Hulton Ar-
chive/Getty Images)
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Over the next several months, Byrd finalized his plans to lead an expe-
dition to Antarctica with the goal of flying over the South Pole. He bought
three airplanes for the trip: a Ford trimotor monoplane, which was the main
aircraft, and two other monoplanes to serve as backups and help transport
scientists. Tese planes, along with much other equipment, were hauled
aboard two ships to Antarctica.
In late December 1928, Byrd and his expedition selected the site for a
base camp on the Ross Ice Shelf, on the east side of the Bay of Whales. Tey
called their camp Little America and erected two main buildings, several
smaller ones, and rooms carved out of the snow and covered with tarpaulin
roofs. Te buildings contained a library, hospital, and radio lab.
Radio transmitters and receivers were crucial to the expedition.
Byrd was not the first to use such communications in Antarctica, but
his expedition, he claimed, provided “the most elaborate system of com-
munication ever proposed in a Continent where radio conditions are
notoriously bad.”
Byrd made his first Antarctic flight in mid-January 1929. On a second
flight two weeks later, he discovered and named the Rockefeller Mountains.
In March, three members of the expedition flew in one of the backup planes
to the mountain range. Tey surveyed the terrain and collected geological
samples. Ten, a tremendous windstorm tore their airplane from its moor-
ings and destroyed it. Te men had to be rescued by Byrd.
When winter set in, Byrd and his men hunkered down at Little America.
Tey endured blizzards and subzero temperatures as commonplace, along
with weeks of complete darkness.
In November 1929, a team from the expedition, led by Laurence Gould, be-
gan a geological investigation of the Queen Maud Mountains. Te journey
took several weeks and involved maneuvering around dangerous crevasses.
At Mount Fridtjof, they found sandstone and coal, proof that the Queen
Maud Mountains were not volcanic.
While this expedition continued its work, on November 28, 1929, Byrd
readied his plane, the Floyd Bennett, for the flight over the South Pole. Te
plane had been transported in sections to Antarctica and had sat through
an entire frigid winter. Before takeoff, the engines were warmed by torches.
Te pilot, Balchen, revved up the engines, let them die down, and then
revved them up again to test them.
It was a beautiful day, with bright sunshine glistening on the snow and
ice—a beauty that belied some of the dangers involved in the trip. High
winds could make flying impossible; for miles, the terrain blended into an
indistinguishable sameness; a magnetic compass was useless so close to the
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
pole; and a fuel dump had to be set up in the Queen Maud Mountains to
provide enough gas for the party’s return to Little America.
Along with Byrd, who served as navigator, and Balchen, the crew
consisted of Harold June, the copilot and radio operator, and Ashley C.
McKinley, the aerial photographer. Tey faced a journey of 1,600 miles
(2,600 kilometers) to and from the South Pole. Te New York Times later
described the beginning of the flight:
A huge gray plane slipped over the dappled Barrier at 3:29 o’clock this after-
noon, the sun gleaming on its sides, reflected in bright flashes from its metal
wing and whirling propellers. With a smooth lifting movement, it rose above
the snow in a long, steady glide.
At Liv Glacier, the plane proved too heavy to make it over an 11,000-
foot (3,350-meter) pass, so the explorers had to jettison empty gasoline
cans and packages of food. Finally, the plane cleared the pass by a few hun-
dred yards.
Byrd and his colleagues reached the South Pole at 1:14 a.m. on
November 29, 1929, whereupon Byrd dropped a small American flag at the
site. After they flew around the area for eleven minutes, they returned to
Little America as the first explorers to have flown over the South Pole.
In addition to the geological findings and the historic flight, Byrd’s
expedition mapped 150,000 square miles (390,000 square kilometers) of
Antarctica and discovered the Edsel Ford Range, Marie Byrd Land (named
by Byrd for his wife), Sulzberger Bay, and Paul Block Bay. His discovery of
the entire eastern boundary of the Ross Sea was considered by many to be
the most important accomplishment of the expedition.
On his return to the United States from Antarctica, Byrd was feted at
celebrations in New York, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. At a ceremony
held at the Washington Auditorium in June 1930, the demand for seats far
exceeded the building’s capacity. President Herbert Hoover presented Byrd
with a special gold medal from the National Geographic Society; the event
was broadcast over national radio.
Alone at Advance Base
In March 1933, during a second Antarctic expedition that lasted until 1935,
Byrd began a five-month stay in a shack called Advance Base. He wanted to
investigate the weather from an inland location and study the aurora.
Byrd originally planned to locate Advance Base at the foot of the
Queen Maud Mountains and live in it with two other men. But his plans
changed, because the prebuilt shack was too difficult to transport such
a distance and because Byrd feared that three men living in such close
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K?< K@ E >FFJ <
|icha|d |. by|d advaocod tho oso ot ai|c|att io cold-climato oxµoditioos, bogiooiog io l92! vhoo
ho bocamo iovolvod io tho iovostigatioo ot tho A|ctic coodoctod by |ooald baxto| Macmillao.
|o| that missioo, by|d µilotod a biµlaoo, dosigoatod by tho U.S. |avy as ao O|-2. lt had a
maximom sµood ot l22 milos µo| hoo| ¦l96 |ilomoto|s µo| hoo|j. by|d sav tho missioo as a vay to
tost oot µlaoos io ao A|ctic oovi|oomoot. ||om it, ho loa|ood moch aboot tho challoogos µosod
to ai|c|att oµo|atiog io oxt|omo cold cooditioos.
vhilo by|ds tvo bac|oµ µlaoos to| his Aota|ctic oxµoditioo vo|o a |o||o| Uoivo|sal vith a
42!-ho|soµovo| oogioo aod a |ai|child toldiog-viog moooµlaoo, his maio ai|µlaoo vas tho =cfp[
9\ee\kk# a t|imoto| t|aosµo|t |oovo as tho 4-A1. Maootacto|od by |oo|y |o|d, tho 4-A1 vas
adaµtod t|om a Go|mao dosigo. Uoosoal to| tho timo, tho 4-A1 vas mado comµlotoly ot motal-
oo tab|ic covo|od its viogs-thos, it vas oic|oamod tho 1io Gooso.
1ho =cfp[9\ee\kk had a loogth ot !u toot ¦l! moto|sj aod a viogsµao ot /8 toot ¦24 moto|sj.
lt toato|od th|oo ai|-coolod |adial oogioos dosigood by Cha|los |. |av|ooco, µ|osidoot ot tho
v|ight Comµaoy. a !2!-ho|soµovo| Cyclooo oogioo vas moootod io tho ooso, aod tho|o
vo|o tvo 22u-ho|soµovo| vhi|lviod ootboa|d oogioos. 1ogotho|, tho oogioos gavo tho µlaoo
sobstaotial haoliog caµacity, tho ai|µlaoo coold ca||y a total load ot aboot l!,uuu µooods ¦6,8uu
|lovo by a c|ov ot th|oo, tho 4-A1 vas |oovo to| its |oliability aod ottoctivo dosigo. 1ho
modol vas io µ|odoctioo t|om l92! ootil l9ìì. Aboot that timo, |oo|y |o|d docidod to loavo
tho boildiog ot ai|µlaoos to otho| comµaoios.
Te all-metal Tin
Goose (a nickname
for the Ford tri-
motor monoplane)
was produced for
civil transport
beginning in 1925
and later used
by the military.
Richard E. Byrd
flew one called the
Floyd Bennett over
the South Pole in
1929. (Underwood
and Underwood/
Time & Life Pic-
tures/Getty Images)
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
See also:
confines would get on one another’s nerves. So Advance Base was set up
about 120 miles (200 kilometers) from Little America and occupied only
by Byrd.
In this incredibly harsh environment, Byrd dealt with the isolation and
extreme cold. He was nearly killed when the ventilation system malfunc-
tioned. He later wrote,
Tis much should be understood from the beginning: that above everything
else, and beyond the solid worth of weather and auroral observations in the
hitherto unoccupied interior of Antarctica . . . I really wanted to go for the
experience’s sake. So the motive was in part personal. . . . Te novocaine in
my medical kit froze and shattered the glass tubes. So did the chemicals in
the fire bombs. Two cases of tomato juice shattered their bottles. Whenever
I brought canned food inside the shack I had to let it stand all day near the
stove to thaw.
Byrd led another expedition to Antarctica from 1939 to 1940, dur-
ing which he discovered more than 100,000 square miles of area (259,000
square kilometers), and a third one from 1946 to 1947, which was an official
U.S. Navy expedition involving thirteen ships and several planes. During
the expedition, about 845,000 square miles (2.2 million square kilometers)
were mapped, roughly one-third of which were newly discovered lands, and
Byrd again flew over the South Pole.
In 1955, Byrd was appointed head of Operation Deep Freeze, which
was part of the International Geophysical Year and included the explora-
tion of Antarctica. In 1956, he made his last flight over the South Pole.
Over the years, he had written several books, including Skyward (1928),
Little America (1930), Discovery (1935), Exploring with Byrd (1937), and
Alone (1938).
After suffering from poor health for several months, Byrd died in
Boston on March 11, 1957, from a heart ailment.
Further Reading
Goerler, Raimund, ed. To the Pole: Te Diary and Notebook of Richard E. Byrd,
1925–1927. Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1998.
Rodgers, Eugene. Beyond the Barrier: Te Story of Byrd’s First Expedition to
Antarctica. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1990.
Rose, Lisle A. Explorer: Te Life of Richard E. Byrd. Columbia: University of
Missouri Press, 2008.
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
CARTER, HOWARD 18741939
A British Egyptologist who labored for years in general obscurity, although
with considerable renown among archaeologists, Howard Carter gained
worldwide fame when he discovered the tomb of King Tutankhamen, an
Egyptian pharaoh of the eighteenth dynasty, in 1922.
Howard Carter was born on May 9, 1874, in the village of Kensington,
near London. His father, Samuel Carter, was an artist who painted portraits
of family pets for the local residents. When Howard was a child, his father
taught him how to draw.
Attracted to stories of ancient Egypt, Carter longed to explore the des-
ert land at a time when archaeologists were becoming interested in the artis-
tic wonders and scientific secrets held in Egypt’s ancient tombs. In addition,
the potential monetary value of such discoveries meant that expeditions
were being financed in hopes of returning a profit.
Carter got his chance when, at age seventeen, he was hired by the Egypt
Exploration Fund as a draftsman to copy drawings and inscriptions. At
Alexandria, he copied scenes from the walls of the tomb of Bani Hassan, a
sovereign prince who lived sometime around 2000 b.c.e.
In 1892, Carter worked for Flinders Petrie, the noted British archae-
ologist and Egyptologist who had earlier excavated the Great Pyramid
of Giza. Te two men undertook excavations at El-Amarna, an ancient
Egyptian capital. Petrie trained Carter in archaeological excavation and was
impressed when the young man made several finds.
In 1893, Carter served as the main artist for the Egypt Exploration
Fund’s excavation of the temple of Queen Hatshepsut at Deir el Bahbri.
After six years of this work, the Egyptian government appointed Carter to
be the First Chief Inspector General of Monuments as part of the Egyptian
Antiquities Service. In this position, he supervised archaeological digs in
the Nile Valley, first in the Upper Nile and later in the Lower Nile.
1874: Born on May 9 near London
1891: Egypt Exploration Fund hires him as a draftsman
1893: Serves as main artist for excavation of the temple of Queen Hatshepsut
1899: Egyptian government appoints him as First Chief Inspector General of
1922: With Lord Carnarvon, enters the tomb of King Tutankhamen
1923: With Lord Carnarvon, enters the burial chamber of King Tutankhamen
1939: Dies from cancer in Kensington on March 2
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Carter resigned his post in 1905, after the Egyptian government de-
moted him because of his involvement in a dispute involving some French
tourists. Te tourists had engaged in a brawl with several Egyptian guards
at a historic site, and Carter got into trouble for siding with the guards and
refusing to apologize to the tourists.
For Carter, there followed three years of struggling to make ends meet,
until he was introduced by Gaston Maspero, his former supervisor at the
Antiquities Service, to George Edward Stanhope Herbert, the fifth Earl of
Carnarvon. Educated at Eton College and the University of Cambridge, the
wealthy Lord Carnarvon had developed an interest in Egyptian antiquities,
and he hired Carter to excavate several sites.
By this time, Carter longed to unearth the tomb of King Tutankhamen,
who had reigned from 1333 to 1324 b.c.e. Carnarvon agreed to back Carter
in his quest. Te two men worked in the field, digging first in the western
part of the Valley of the Kings in 1915 and then, from 1917 to 1922, in the
main valley. Carnarvon, however, grew frustrated with their lack of success.
He agreed to continue with the search only after Carter pleaded for just one
more season to excavate.
In October 1922, Carter focused on the site of Ramses VI’s tomb
near Luxor. His team removed some 70,000 tons (63,000 metric tons) of
sand and gravel over several months, still apparently without reward, until
K?< :LIJ < F= B@ E> KLK
vas tho|o a co|so so||ooodiog tho tomb ot |iog 1ot` 1ho µoµola| µ|oss thooght so. lt sµ|oad
vo|d ot ooo vhoo ooo ot tho discovo|o|s ot tho bo|ial sito, |o|d Ca|oa|voo, diod io l92ì, jost
tvo mooths atto| tho oµooiog ot tho tomb. by l929, soµµosodly olovoo µooµlo cooooctod vith
tho discovo|y ot tho tomb had diod, aod, by l9ì!, tho µ|oss had oµµod tho cooot to tvooty-ooo.
Yot ooo |osoa|cho| lato| cooclodod that ot tho tvooty-tvo µooµlo µ|osoot vhoo tho tomb
vas oµoood io l922, ooly six had diod by l9ì4, aod ot tho tvooty-tvo µooµlo µ|osoot at tho
oµooiog ot tho sa|coµhagos io l924, ooly tvo had diod by l9ì4. Also, ot tho too µooµlo vho
vo|o µ|osoot vhoo tho mommy vas oov|aµµod io l92!, all so|vivod ootil at loast l9ì4. Still,
coold aoy ot tho oight doaths that occo||od by l9ì4 bo att|ibotod to a co|so`
|atho| thao a co|so, tho|o may bo a sciootinc oxµlaoatioo. |ato| |osoa|ch |ovoalod that tho
a|chaoologists aod thoi| vo||o|s might havo booo oxµosod to toxios that como t|om tho mold
vithio mommios. Soch toxios cao bo ha|mtol to thoso vith voa|oood immooo systoms. ¦|o|
this |oasoo, a|chaoologists oov voa| µ|otoctivo mas|s aod glovos vhoo oov|aµµiog a mommy.j
Mo|oovo|, somo tomb valls a|o covo|od by bacto|ia that is daogo|oos to homao |osµi|ato|y
As to| |o|d Ca|oa|voo, ho vas ch|ooically ill loog boto|o ho camo oµoo |iog 1ot. lo tact,
|ova|d Ca|to| obso|vod that givoo tho ovo|all oosaoita|y cooditioos io |gyµt at tho timo, |o|d
Ca|oa|voo might havo booo botto| ott iosido tho tomb thao ootsido ot it.
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
a worker discovered what appeared to be a carved stone step. Carter de-
scribed it in his diary as “the beginning of a steep excavation cut in the bed
rock” and wrote that “it was of the nature of a sunken staircase entrance to a
tomb of the type of the XVIIIth Dyn., but further than that nothing could
be told until the heavy rubbish above was cleared away.” Tis was done,
revealing more steps leading downward to a royal seal.
Carter later wrote, “Here before us was sufficient evidence to show that
it really was an entrance to a tomb, and by the seals, to all outward appear-
ances that it was intact.” Breaking the seal, he found a doorway and a pas-
sage behind it. On November 26, 1922, Carter and Carnarvon entered the
tomb of King Tutankhamen.
Startling items, many with gold inlay, came into view—a treasure
trove of couches, chairs, alabaster vases, chariots, a throne, stools, chests.
Tey discovered four chambers, all enclosed by golden doors. Carter wrote,
“We were astonished by the beauty and refinement of the art displayed by
the objects surpassing all we could have imagined—the impression was
On February 16, 1923, Carter and Carnarvon entered the burial chamber.
Tere lay King Tutankhamen’s sarcophagus, which had on it four goddesses
carved in high relief. Inside the sarcophagus were three coffins, one inside the
other; the innermost one contained the pharaoh’s body. It was wrapped in
linen bandages, and the king’s face was covered with a mask of gold.
King Tutankhamen’s reign had been limited and of little political con-
sequence. He became pharaoh at about the age of nine and ruled until his
Archaeologist How-
ard Carter examines
the sarcophagus of
King Tutankhamen,
discovered during
the excavation of his
tomb in Egypt’s Val-
ley of the Kings in
1923. Te tomb and
its treasure had lain
largely undisturbed
for more than 3,000
years. (Granger Col-
lection, New York)
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
death at about the age of eighteen. Despite the brevity of the young king’s
reign, the plethora of objects discovered by Carter and Carnarvon revealed
the life of ancient Egyptians in great detail.
It took ten years for the contents of the tomb to be moved to the Cairo
Museum. Carter retired from his active participation in excavating the site
later in 1923; in 1924, he went on a lecture tour of the United States. He
spent the rest of his life as a collector of Egyptian antiquities. Carter died at
Kensington on March 2, 1939, from cancer.
As for King Tutankhamen, in 2007 the remains of his mummified
body were removed from the original sarcophagus and placed in a climate-
controlled glass case to keep it from further deterioration. Visitors to the
underground tomb in the Valley of the Kings can see his face—black, leath-
ery, and displaying the king’s buck teeth—and his feet. Te rest of the body
remains covered by linen.
Since the discovery of King Tutankhamen, Carter has been criticized
for what today would be considered shoddy archaeological methods. For
example, the mummy was exposed to sunlight for hours, which risked its
deterioration, and the body was damaged in the removal of the golden mask
from its face. Carter also may have violated his archaeological permit by
taking some items from the tomb to be placed in his home.
Nevertheless, his discovery was nothing short of monumental in ar-
chaeological circles and contributed mightily to historical knowledge. “Te
news of the discovery spread fast all over the country,” wrote Carter, “and
inquisitive enquiries mingled with congratulations from this moment be-
came the daily programme.” To this can be added that, through Carter’s
discovery, today the shortened version of King Tutankhamen’s name, King
Tut, is recognized around the world.
Further Reading
James, T.G.H. Howard Carter: Te Path to Tutankhamun. London: Kegan
Paul International, 1992.
Vandenberg, Philipp. Te Golden Pharaoh. New York: Macmillan, 1980.
Winstone, H.V.F. Howard Carter and the Discovery of the Tomb of
Tutankhamun. Manchester, UK: Barzun, 2006.
1881: Born in Westwell, England
1923: Becomes record keeper for an expedition to the South Pacific
1928: Receives a grant to collect insects in New Hebrides
1933: Explores Papua New Guinea
1969: Dies on April 15 in London
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
A British entomologist, Lucy Evelyn Cheesman explored dangerous regions
of the South Pacific to collect insects and study the connection between
those on New Guinea and those found elsewhere in the South Pacific.
Cheesman was born in 1881 in Westwell, an English country village in
Kent. Her father, Robert Cheesman, was a man of inherited wealth, and so
Evelyn (the name she preferred to use) grew up in comfort. Although she
was frail, she liked to collect snails, plants, and flowers, and she examined
glowworms to see what made them glow. She wanted to become a veterinar-
ian, but no colleges were willing to admit women to study the subject at that
During World War I, Cheesman worked as a clerk for the Admiralty,
the British government department in charge of naval affairs. Later, she
worked as a secretary at the Imperial College of Science in London.
Around 1919, she was given the opportunity to take charge of the
long-neglected Insect House at the Zoological Society of London. She
delved into entomology and, in 1923, accepted an appointment as the re-
cord keeper for a government-sponsored research expedition to the South
Pacific. Among its many stops, the expedition visited the Galápagos Islands,
Marquesas Islands, and Tuamotu Archipelago.
Cheesman often broke away from the main group to collect insects on
her own. At Tahiti, she quit her government job to engage in her own re-
search. She explored the island, as well as Bora Bora and other islands in
French Polynesia. During this time, she traveled light and relied on the local
people for support. On her return to England in about 1926, she donated
500 insect specimens to the British Museum of Natural History.
In 1928, Cheesman received a grant from the museum to collect insects
in the Pacific islands of New Hebrides (today Vanuatu). Tere, on moun-
tainous Malekula, she lived among the Big Nambas, a Melanesian people
known at that time for their cannibalism, but she became friends with King
Ringapat, who protected her.
For Cheesman, the greatest danger came from the wildlife. She had to
dodge crocodiles and, at one point, to escape Nephila spiderwebs—large,
strong webs that momentarily entrapped her. She collected hundreds of
insects, along with specimens of orchids, ferns, and mosses. But as she pre-
pared to leave for England in 1930, her entire collection was ruined when a
British official left it out in the rain.
In 1933, Cheesman explored Papua New Guinea, where, at one point,
she set up a cloth screen at night to collect insects attracted to a light. She
had in mind studying the connection between insects on New Guinea and
those elsewhere in the South Pacific. She later wrote,
My collection of insects made in the Territory of Papua in 1933–34 sug-
gested to me that there must have been formerly [an] older land connected
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
with New Guinea, which possibly had not been entirely submerged during
the Late Cretaceous [period].
She also explored the Cyclops Mountains in the remote western part of
New Guinea and spent a year in nearby Waigeo and the Japen Islands. She
left New Guinea in 1942 when the Japanese invaded the island. In England
during World War II, she helped her country by sharing her knowledge of
the South Pacific with the British government.
After the war, Cheesman climbed the mountains of New Caledonia to
collect more insects. In 1953, following the replacement of one of her hips,
which had been damaged in a railroad accident, she journeyed to Aneityum,
the southernmost inhabited island in the Vanuatu archipelago.
Cheesman died in London on April 15, 1969. Te London Times
said in her obituary that she was “single-minded in her devotion to natural
Further Reading
Cheesman, Lucy Evelyn. Te Two Roads of Papua. London: Jarrolds, 1935.
Tinting, Marion. Women Into the Unknown: A Sourcebook on Women Explorers
and Travelers. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1989.
A geological formation in Wyoming, Como Bluff is the site of the discovery,
in the late nineteenth century, of a large number of dinosaur bones that
contributed to the emergence of modern American paleontology.
Te finds included the bones of Stegosaurus (a plated dinosaur with a
spiked tail), Camptosaurus (large herbivorous dinosaurs), Camarasaurus
(a short-necked dinosaur known for its large teeth), Allosaurus (which
grew to 35 feet, or 10.5 meters), Diplodocus (a huge dinosaur known for
its long tail and powerful hind legs), and Brontosaurus. (Later renamed
Apatosaurus, the Brontosaurus was one of the largest of all land animals
and measured 70 feet, or 21 meters, in length.)
Como Bluff, a ridge produced millions of years ago by geological fold-
ing (which results from two layers of rock pressing together), runs in an
east-west direction between Rock River to the south and Medicine Bow
River to the north, amid the Medicine Bow Mountains in the southeast-
1877: Teams working for paleontologist O.C. Marsh begin excavating
large numbers of dinosaur bones
1897: Walter Granger discovers Bone Cabin Quarry, the site of
several tons of dinosaur bones
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ern part of Wyoming. In 1877, railroad workers discovered large bones
near Como Bluff and notified the paleontologist Othniel Charles Marsh
about their find.
Between 1877 and 1889, teams working for Marsh excavated large
numbers of bones. Soon after Marsh’s men began their work, another team,
under paleontologist Edward Drinker Cope, also began digging at the site.
Marsh and Cope had been engaged in fierce competition for prominence
in the field of paleontology, and their efforts at Como Bluff continued and
intensified the contest.
In 1897, the Bone Cabin Quarry was discovered near Como Bluff. It
was named for a cabin made of dinosaur bones that had been built there by
a local trapper. From 1898 until 1905, several tons of dinosaur bones were
removed from the quarry as the result of full-scale excavations.
Later excavations at Como Bluff occurred under the direction of the
American Museum of Natural History. One such effort, in 1968–1970,
produced only small numbers of dinosaur bones. A few more have been
collected since.
Tree geological formations have been exposed at Como Bluff: the
Sundance, the Morrison, and the Cloverly, each containing fossils from
the Late Jurassic period (between 199 and 145 million years ago) of the
Mesozoic era (known as the “age of reptiles”). Te dinosaur remains found
in these formations generally were well preserved, and the Morrison
Formation additionally revealed fossilized remains of turtles, crocodiles,
and fish.
Como Bluff produced the only known specimen of Coelurus (a small
carnivorous dinosaur with elongated legs). It was found at Reed’s Quarry
13. In all, the bluff produced significant finds from twenty-two sites.
Te findings at Como Bluff had a tremendous impact on the study of
paleontology by encouraging further explorations and kindling popular in-
terest in dinosaurs. Te bluff ranks as perhaps the greatest collection of di-
nosaur remains in North America, and it is listed on the National Register
of Historic Places.
Further Reading
Jaffe, Mark. Te Gilded Dinosaur: Te Fossil War Between E.D. Cope and O.C.
Marsh and the Rise of American Science. New York: Crown, 2000.
Ostrom, John H., and John S. McIntosh. Marsh’s Dinosaurs: Te Collections
from Como Bluff. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2000.
See also: Marsh,
Othniel Charles.
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COOK, JAMES 17281779
A British sea captain, navigator, and cartographer, James Cook made
three voyages in the Pacific Ocean. He extensively surveyed the ocean and
its lands, proved Antarctica was a frozen mass of ice, showed that New
Zealand consisted of two islands, and collected flora and fauna previously
unknown to Europeans.
James Cook was born on October 27, 1728, in Marton, North Yorkshire,
England, to James Cook, a Scottish farmer, and Grace Pace. Young James
worked with his father before apprenticing to William Sanderson, a shop-
keeper in nearby Staithes, in 1745.
At the shop, James stocked shelves and sliced cheese and bacon. Staithes
was a small fishing village, and James spent hours listening to fishermen tell
stories about the sea. Wanting to go to sea himself, he studied math, geog-
raphy, and astronomy—subjects he would need to know if he ever were to
command a ship.
Cook became a seaman in 1746, when he was apprenticed to a ship
owner in Whitby and began learning navigation. By 1752, he was a first mate,
and second in command to the captain. Tree years later, he joined the Royal
Navy and, with his background and penchant for hard work, soon moved up
the ranks to become a ship’s master, meaning that he could navigate a ship.
In the ensuing Seven Years’ War between Great Britain and France,
Cook served as master of the Pembroke. In the winter of 1758, he plied the
waters of the St. Lawrence River in a small rowboat and discovered a route
that General James Wolfe would use in July 1759 in his historic landing to
fight the French at Quebec. Cook’s feat earned him the respect of the navy’s
commanders but, when the war ended in 1762 and the Pembroke returned
to England, he was discharged. Tat same year, he married Elizabeth Batts;
the couple would have five children.
1728: Born on October 27 in Marton, England
1758–1759: Charts the St. Lawrence River to aid England in its war
with France
1763: Admiralty appoints him to survey the coasts of Newfoundland
1768–1771: Makes his first voyage to the South Pacific, on the
1769: Measures the transit of Venus and begins exploring the coasts of
New Zealand
1772–1775: Undertakes his second voyage to the Pacific and becomes
the first person to circumnavigate Antarctica
1776–1780: Aboard the Resolution, searches for the Northwest Passage
1779: Killed on February 14 by natives at Kealakekua Bay on Hawaii
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Cook’s reputation as a navigator contin-
ued to impress his colleagues and command-
ers in the navy. In 1763, the British Admiralty
hired Cook as the “main surveyor of the coasts
of Newfoundland and Labrador.” As captain
of the Grenville, a schooner that he converted
to a brig, he surveyed the northwest coast of
Newfoundland in 1763 and 1764, the south
coast in 1765 and 1766, and the west coast
in 1767.
Te work was of considerable importance,
for Newfoundland was, militarily, critical to
Britain’s new role as possessor of Canada and,
economically, invaluable for its cod fisheries.
Cook used land-based trigonometry (in which
he used a reference object and two observation
points and then measured the angles of the
sight lines and the distances between the ob-
servation points to calculate lengths) and made
soundings in a small boat to chart the coasts.
From these efforts, he produced detailed, high-
ly accurate maps. Moreover, in 1766, he made observations of the Sun’s eclipse
that earned him a reputation as an able mathematician and astronomer.
Voyage of the Endeavour
Two years later, in 1768, Cook was commissioned as a first lieutenant and
appointed to command the Endeavour, a refitted coal-hauling ship, on a sci-
entific mission for the British government, which had been encouraged to act
by the Royal Society. His announced assignment was to sail to Tahiti, where
he was to observe the transit of Venus across the face of the Sun, but he also
was given secret orders to thoroughly explore the geography of the South
Pacific. Tis was to include a search for a continent between Tahiti and New
Zealand, a terra incognita, or unknown land, that was thought to exist.
Reaching Tahiti would be no easy task. Unknown to Europeans until
the year before, it was a tiny speck of an island in the vast Pacific, an ocean
the Western world knew little about. And Cook had no reliable way of de-
termining longitude, since the chronometer (a precision timepiece) had not
yet been widely disseminated.
On August 25, 1768, Cook and his party, ninety-four men in all—
among them the naturalist Joseph Banks—departed Plymouth. “We took
our leave of Europe for heaven knows how long,” Cook wrote in his journal,
“Perhaps for Ever.”
Captain James Cook,
known as the great-
est ocean explorer
of the eighteenth
century, conducted
three major Pacific
voyages, spanning
nearly nine years
in all. Cook is
known for applying
scientific methods
and new technology
to exploration and
mapping. (Granger
Collection, New York)
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For this voyage, the Endeavour became a scientific laboratory. On it, Cook
measured the transit. He experimented with his crew’s diet to see if scurvy,
caused by a shortage of vitamin C, could be avoided. He became an ethnog-
rapher, observing and recording foreign cultural practices. And through the
actions of Banks, he collected flora and fauna unknown to Westerners.
Setting off, Cook pointed the Endeavour south to the Madeira Islands,
off the west coast of Africa, before directing it westward across the Atlantic.
When he left Madeira on September 18, 1768, he journeyed into regions
Europeans knew little, if anything, about.
Cook reached Brazil and then rounded South America en route to
Tahiti, where he was to observe the transit. But on the way, he headed south
toward Antarctica, which he hoped to sight.
On January 30, 1769, after a fruitless five-day search for Antarctica,
Cook resumed his voyage to Tahiti, and reached the island in April. His
crew arrived there largely unblemished by the dreaded scurvy, having been
fed fruits and a considerable quantity of sauerkraut. “At this time we had
but very few men upon the Sick list,” Cook wrote. Te Tahitians greeted
Cook in friendship, and he called the island an idyllic paradise.
At Tahiti, he observed the transit of Venus across the Sun, which lasted
six hours. Measuring the transit was considered important to determining
the distance between the Earth and the Sun. Cook wrote in his journal,
Tis day proved as favorable to our purpose as we could wish. Not a cloud
was to be seen the whole day and the air was perfectly clear, so that we had
every advantage we could desire in observing the whole of the planet Venus
over the sun’s disk. We very distinctly saw an atmosphere or dusky shade
around the body of the planet.
Despite the good viewing conditions, Cook found it difficult to pin-
point when Venus began crossing the Sun. So his observations were
From Tahiti, he proceeded south, although not directly so. As he fre-
quently did during his expeditions, he followed circuitous routes, in the hope
that he might discover new lands, in this case even crossing his own path.
In October 1769, he arrived at New Zealand and spent the next six
months exploring its coasts. He was prevented from traveling inland be-
cause of opposition from the indigenous Maoris, whose cannibalism terri-
fied Cook’s men. With this expedition, Cook established that New Zealand
consisted of two islands and was not a part of Antarctica.
On April 19, 1770, Cook sighted the coast of Australia (then called
New Holland) and explored and named Botany Bay (along which the town
of Sydney later was founded). In June, he ran aground on the Great Barrier
Reef. It took seven weeks for his men to repair the Endeavour.
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|o| all ot its glo|y as Caµtaio ¦amos Coo|s oxµoditioo shiµ, tho <e[\Xmfli vas iotoodod to| a
mo|o moodaoo missioo. boilt at vhitby, |o|th Yo||shi|o, |oglaod, aod laoochod io l/64 as tho
<Xicf]G\dYifb\# it o|igioally vas a ¨mo|chaot collio|,¨ osod to haol coal. Coosoqoootly, tho
vossol, vhich moaso|od lu6 toot ¦ì2 moto|sj loog aod aboot 29 toot ¦9 moto|sj vido, had a la|go
hold aod a ûat-bottomod holl to ooablo it to sail io shallov vato|s.
vhoo, at tho o|giog ot tho |oyal Socioty, tho b|itish govo|omoot docidod to noaoco a
sciootinc oxµoditioo to tho |acinc Ocoao, tho <Xicf]G\dYifb\ vas µo|chasod io l/68 aod
|ooamod tho <e[\Xmfli%lt thoo oodo|voot a |onttiog that ioclodod addiog a thi|d doc| aod
oqoiµµiog it vith too goos.
lo l988, a |oµlica ot tho <e[\Xmfli vas boilt io ||omaotlo, Aost|alia, basod oo µlaos
µ|oso|vod at tho |atiooal Ma|itimo Mosoom io G|ooovich, |oglaod. lo tho oov vossol, hovovo|,
somo chaogos vo|o mado io tho mato|ials osod to| coost|octioo.
|o| oxamµlo, b|itish shiµs io tho oightoooth cooto|y vo|o t|aditiooally boilt t|om olm,
oa|, aod sµ|oco, vhich to| tho modo|o µ|ojoct vo|o too oxµoosivo to boy. 1hoso voods vo|o
|oµlacod by tho vost Aost|aliao ha|dvood ja||ah, aloog vith old |ooglas n| imµo|tod t|om tho
Uoitod Statos to| tho masts aod sµa|s. 1ho sails vo|o mado ot syothotic mato|ial |atho| thao
ûax sailcloth, as had booo osod io tho o|igioal. Aod modo|o oavigatioo aod commooicatioos
oqoiµmoot vas addod, althoogh it vas hiddoo avay.
1ho |oµlica <e[\Xmfli oltimatoly sailod to oomo|oos locatioos a|oood tho vo|ld oo sovo|al
voyagos t|om l994 to 2uu!. 1oday, it is doc|od io Molboo|oo, Aost|alia, as a mosoom shiµ.
bot vhat bocamo ot tho o|igioal <e[\Xmfli` 1ho|o is oo cloa| aosvo|. 1ho b|itish Admi|alty
osod it as a sto|o shiµ aod thoo sold it io l//!. booght by a mo|chaot comµaoy, it vas |ooamod
tho Cfi[JXe[n`Z_ io l///. Acco|diog to somo |oµo|ts, tho vossol lato| bocamo a ||ooch shiµ,
otho| |oµo|ts claimod it vas moo|od oo tho 1hamos |ivo|. Qoito li|oly, thoogh, tho <e[\Xmfli
vas soo| by tho b|itish io Aogost l//8 to c|oato a bloc|ado agaiost tho ||ooch oavy ooa| tho
tovo ot |ovµo|t, |hodo lslaod.
His Majesty’s Bark Endeavour,
commanded by Captain James
Cook on his first Pacific voyage
(1768–1771), underwent a
major overhaul before setting
out on this extended scientific
mission. (Robert W. Nicholson/
National Geographic/Getty
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From Australia, Cook traveled to New Guinea and to Batavia (today
part of Indonesia), and then west to the Cape of Good Hope, and finally
north to England. On their arrival home, Joseph Banks portrayed himself
as the essential person on the voyage; however, the publication of Cook’s
journal earned the captain considerable fame for his navigational abilities,
his documentation of his discoveries, and his mapping of the Pacific.
Return to the South Pacific
Cook began a second expedition to the South Pacific in 1772, this time,
with two ships. While he captained the Resolution, which was a mere 110
feet long (34 meters) and 35 feet wide (11 meters), Tobias Furneaux, a
navigator, commanded the Adventure, which measured just 98 feet long (30
meters) and 30 feet wide (9 meters).
Cook’s experience on his return to Tahiti in 1773 showed how
Europeans were changing the local society. Tis time, the Tahitians, enticed
by Western goods, tried to steal almost everything from Cook’s ships.
In December, Cook traveled farther south than any previous European
explorer when he crossed the Antarctic Circle. His trip dispelled lingering
reports about Antarctica being a fertile land. In January 1774, as ice hung
from the Resolution’s sails and blocked the ship’s path, Cook turned away
from the region. He reported in his journal for January 30,
Te outer or northern edge of [an] immense ice field was composed of loose
or broken ice so close packed together that nothing could enter it. About a
mile in began the firm ice, in one compact solid body and [it] seemed to in-
crease in height as you travel it to the south. In this field we counted ninety-
seven ice hills or mountains, many of them vastly large.
He later amended his journal to say he believed that “the ice extends all
the way to the pole or perhaps joins to some land.” Cook never did lay eyes
on the Antarctic landmass, but his expedition was the first to circumnavi-
gate Antarctica.
Te journal entry of January 30 reveals Cook’s drive and the confidence
he had in his abilities. “I, whose ambition leads me not only farther than any
man has gone before me, but as far as I think it possible for man to go,” he
said in reference to his search for Antarctica. Cook clearly knew he was the
best navigator, the best explorer.
During this second expedition, Cook traveled a distance roughly equal
to triple the equatorial circumference of the Earth, some 70,000 miles
(110,000 kilometers). He plotted the exact position of Easter Island (2,237
miles, or 3,600 kilometers, west of continental Chile, of whose territory
the island is today a part) and sent an exploratory party inland, where they
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came across the ruins of “three platforms of stone work.” At their top had
been four large statues, since fallen. One of the statues, lying on the ground
but still intact, was 15 feet long (4.6 meters). “Each statue had on its head,”
wrote Cook in his journal, “a large cylindrical stone of red color, wrought
perfectly round.”
Among Cook’s other discoveries were New Caledonia and Norfolk
Island, along with the Isle of Pines. When he finished exploring the South
Pacific, he sailed east to Tierra del Fuego and across the Atlantic to the Cape
of Good Hope before returning once again to England.
Seeking the Northwest Passage
By the time he returned home in 1775, Captain Cook was considered
Europe’s leading navigator. In 1776, he was made a fellow in the Royal
Society. Tat same year, he agreed to search for the Northwest Passage from
the Pacific, while the British government sponsored other expeditions to
seek the passage from the Atlantic. By this time, many Europeans believed
that such a route connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans could be found
K?< KI8EJ @ K F= M< ELJ
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somewhere in the Arctic. And a Russian map circulating at the time de-
picted Alaska as an island, with a strait between it and the North American
Cook left England in July 1776 as captain of the Resolution, accompa-
nied by the ship Discovery, captained by Charles Clark. Cook sailed around
the Cape of Good Hope and then eastward across the Indian Ocean and
into the Pacific. He journeyed to New Zealand and Tahiti, and reached
Hawaii in January 1778.
From Hawaii, he sailed along the coast of California and mapped it. In
March, he reached the coast of Oregon and, shortly thereafter, began sailing
along the coast of British Columbia, which he also mapped.
On April 1, Cook anchored at Resolution Cove in Nootka Sound and
stayed there until late April. At the cove, he conducted scientific observa-
tions and made repairs to the ships. He then left Nootka and sailed along the
Alaska coast, where he discovered Prince William Sound and sailed into the
inlet (today called Cook Inlet) at what is now Anchorage, Alaska. He pro-
ceeded to the Bering Strait and onward to the northeast coast of Siberia.
With sea ice closing in, and the Resolution leaking and its hull filling
with water, Cook pressed on through the Bering Strait. When the ice bar-
rier became impassable, he ordered the Resolution and the Discovery to turn
south. He did not know that he was only 50 miles (80 kilometers) from
the Beaufort Sea, the entrance to his goal, the Northwest Passage. (Te sea
stretches along the northern coast of Alaska.)
Cook circumnavigated the big island of Hawaii from December 1778
to January 1779. He dropped anchor for a while and then set sail, but a
storm forced him to turn back to Hawaii, where he arrived on February
11. On the island, tensions developed between Cook’s crew and Hawaiians.
Cook’s men demanded a seemingly endless supply of food and fulfilled their
lust with the local women; the Hawaiians stole items from the Europeans.
Te final straw was when the Discovery’s cutter (a small boat used to travel
between the ship and the land) was stolen.
On February 14, 1779, Cook went ashore at Kealakekua Bay. A show-
down between Cook and a large crowd of Hawaiians resulted in Cook killing
one native with his shotgun and some of his sailors killing six more Hawaiians.
As Cook turned to leave the scene, a Hawaiian stabbed him in the back with
a dagger. Te group then descended on the badly wounded Cook as he lay
sprawled in the sand and stabbed him repeatedly, until he was dead.
Ten, in a ritual reserved for the highest members of Hawaiian society,
the natives roasted Cook’s body in a pit for six hours. Eventually, some of his
bones were recovered by his crew. Tey buried him in Kealakekua Bay with
full military honors; a tiny coffin, carrying his remains, was weighted down
with cannonballs. Te ships Resoultion and Discovery returned home under
the command of John Gore in October 1780.
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Cook was more than a discoverer. His keen observations combined
with his mathematical calculations produced maritime charts so accurate
that they became the standard for years to come. He greatly expanded the
European knowledge of the South Pacific, and through his journals encour-
aged other expeditions.
Tose who read Cook’s account were especially intrigued by the north-
western coast of North America. His trade with the Nootka Indians for pelts
indicated that a fur trade could prosper there. Indeed, several of Cook’s men
later were involved in such expeditions. Many historians consider Cook to
be England’s greatest seaman, navigator, surveyor, and explorer.
Further Reading
Beaglehole, J.C., ed. Te Journals of Captain James Cook on His Voyages of
Discovery. Rochester, NY: Boydell, 1999.
———. Te Life of Captain James Cook. Stanford, CA: Stanford University
Press, 1974.
Dugard, Martin. Farther Tan Any Man: Te Rise and Fall of Captain James
Cook. New York: Pocket Books, 2001.
Mackay, David. In the Wake of Cook: Exploration, Science, and Empire, 1780–
1781. New York: St. Martin’s, 1985.
Williams, Glyndwr, ed. Captain Cook: Explorations and Reassessments.
Rochester, NY: Boydell, 2004.
An American paleontologist, Edward Drinker Cope traveled the western
United States in search of dinosaur fossils and engaged in a fierce contest
with fellow paleontologist Othniel Charles Marsh of Yale University for
scientific prominence. He advanced the disputed theory that animal and
plants of the same lineages grow bigger in body size over time.
Born into a Philadelphia Quaker family on July 28, 1840, Cope grew
up amid wealth. Although his formal schooling ended when he was six-
teen, he enrolled in an anatomy class at the University of Pennsylvania
School of Medicine taught by Joseph Leidy (considered the father of
American vertebrate paleontology) and reorganized the reptile collec-
tions at the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences. At age eighteen,
he delivered his first scientific paper at the academy, on the reclassifica-
See also: Pacific
1840: Born on July 28 in Philadelphia
1865: Becomes curator at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia
1871: Begins his travels in the American West
1897: Dies on April 12 in Philadelphia
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tion of salamanders. In his lifetime, he would publish more than 1,200
scientific papers.
In 1863, Cope traveled to Europe to study collections in such cities as
Berlin, London, Munich, Paris, and Vienna. Te following year, he was ap-
pointed professor of natural science at Haverford College (near Philadelphia),
a post he held until 1867. Cope also served as curator of the Academy of
Natural Sciences in Philadelphia in 1865; in 1889, he accepted a professor-
ship of geology and paleontology at the University of Philadelphia.
From 1871 to 1877, Cope traveled the American West in search of
dinosaur fossils. In 1872, he traveled to Wyoming as part of a government-
sponsored geological survey under prominent geologist Ferdinand Hayden.
In 1874 and 1875, he traveled to Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, and
Texas as part of another geological survey under George Wheeler, a notable
explorer and cartographer. In New Mexico, Cope found evidence of some
of the oldest known mammals.
Cope advanced a theory, since challenged, called “Cope’s rule,” in which
he maintained that animal and plants of the same lineages grow bigger in
body size over generations, making them more adept at obtaining food and
at other ways of surviving. Cope believed that change in the environment
causes changes in the needs of organisms, which, in turn, cause changes in
their behavior. He was a neo-Lamarckian, following the concept of French
scientist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck that changes acquired during an organism’s
lifetime somehow are transferred into genetic information and passed on
to the offspring. Te idea embraces evolution as a part of nature but is at
odds with the method of evolution proposed by Charles Darwin. (Darwin
believed that changes in an organism during its life do not affect the evolu-
tion of the species.)
Cope was known for his volatile temper, having once engaged in a fist-
fight at a meeting of the American Philosophical Society. More famously, he
engaged in a long feud with Marsh—a contest sometimes called the Great
Bone Wars. Tey competed for the limelight in American paleontology.
Each rushed to outdo the other in collecting fossils, publishing papers, and
winning acclaim.
As a result, they often produced mistake-riddled findings. At one point,
in 1869, Marsh discovered an error by Cope, who in restoring a 35-foot-
long (10-meter-long) plesiosaur had put the skull on the wrong end of the
reptile. (Marsh later committed a similar mistake with another dinosaur.)
In the late 1870s, Cope’s excavation team dug for fossils at Wyoming’s
Como Bluff in fierce competition with one of Marsh’s teams. Te two men
even sent spies into each other’s camps. Philosophically, Marsh embraced
Darwinian evolution, another point of contention with Cope.
In addition to his feud with Marsh, Cope conflicted with administrators at
Haverford and with members of the Academy of Natural Sciences. Yet Cope
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0) 0
also produced such impressive works as Te Vertebrata of the Tertiary Formations
of the West (1884) and Te Origin of the Fittest: Essays on Evolution (1887).
In his later years, Cope lost a great deal of money due to bad invest-
ments in mining projects. He died on April 12, 1897, in Philadelphia. In the
popular mind, he is most often remembered in the context of his feud with
Marsh and the selfishness the two men exhibited in their frantic pursuit of
science and fame.
Further Reading
Jaffe, Mark. Te Gilded Dinosaur: Te Fossil War Between E.D. Cope and O.C.
Marsh and the Rise of American Science. New York: Crown, 2000.
Wallace, David Rains. Te Bonehunters’ Revenge: Dinosaurs, Greed, and the
Greatest Scientific Feud of the Gilded Age. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1999.
French oceanographer Jacques Cousteau gained fame for his many books
and documentaries dedicated to his undersea explorations, including those
made from his base ship, the Calypso. But Cousteau did more than pro-
duce popular works. He developed a self-contained underwater breathing
apparatus, showed that human beings could live underwater for extended
periods of time, and exposed the threat of pollution to the oceans.
Jacques Cousteau was born on June 11, 1910, in Saint-André-de-
Cubzac, in southwestern France. His father, Daniel Cousteau, was a legal
advisor to wealthy clients and moved his family about the European conti-
nent. Jacques was a sickly child, but he learned to swim at age four and fell
in love with the sea.
Invention of Scuba and Voyages of the Calypso
While in his teens, Cousteau attended boarding school in Alsace, France,
but he had little interest in schoolwork. In 1930, he entered the French
naval academy at Brest and, movie camera in hand, spent much of his free
time filming scenes of the sea.
See also: Marsh,
Othniel Charles.
1910: Born on June 11 in Saint-André-de-Cubzac, France
1930: Enters the French naval academy
1950: Converts the Calypso into a research vessel
1953: Publishes Te Silent World
1962: Begins the first of three Conshelf expeditions
1975: Founds the Cousteau Society
1997: Dies on June 25 in Paris
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In the late 1930s, Cousteau served as an artillery instructor at a naval
base in Toulon and experimented with watertight goggles to improve his vi-
sion while swimming in the Mediterranean Sea. With his friends, he began
using homemade snorkel hoses, insulated body suits, and portable breath-
ing devices in an attempt to dive deeper.
Serving in the French navy during World War II, he continued his
underwater experiments. It was during this time that he met Émile
Gagnan, a French engineer. Working together, the two men invented the
Aqua-Lung, later called a self-contained underwater breathing apparatus,
In 1950, Cousteau obtained a ferryboat, the Calypso, which formerly
had been a minesweeper, and converted it into a ship for diving, filming,
and oceanographic research. Te vessel had been purchased by an Irish mil-
lionaire, Tomas Loel Guinness, who subsequently leased it to Cousteau
for a nominal fee.
Cousteau strongly believed that undersea exploration would contribute
to a better understanding of the world. He developed a motto for his work:
“We must go and see for ourselves.”
In 1952, he and a team of divers traveled aboard the Calypso to a loca-
tion off the French Mediterranean coast to engage in an archaeological proj-
ect. Tere, Cousteau salvaged an ancient Roman shipwreck located some
140 feet (43 meters) down in the water. He called it the most thorough
marine salvation ever done, as he and his fellow divers found a collection of
items, including amphorae (two-handled earthenware jars).
Te popular French
oceanographer and
undersea explorer
Cousteau enters the
observation chamber
of his research ship
Calypso during the
filming of his 1956
Te Silent World.
(Granger Collection,
New York)
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Besides having salvaged the ship, Cousteau had shown the effectiveness
of scuba gear. In 1953, his book Te Silent World brought scuba diving, and
Cousteau’s name, to a wider audience; it sold more than 5 million copies. In
the book, he told of his early diving adventures, provided vivid descriptions
of undersea life, and reflected on his findings. For example, he wrote,
Fish do not like to go up or down, but swim on a chosen level of the reef, like
tenants of a certain floor of a skyscraper. . . . Te more we experience the sea,
the less certain we are of conclusions.
In 1955, with backing from the French government and the National
Geographic Society, Cousteau took the Calypso on a 13,800-mile
¦acqoo Coostoaos |osoa|ch shiµ, tho :Xcpgjf# o|igioally vas boilt as a mioosvooµo|. 1ho ¦-286-
its o|igioal dosigoatioo-vas laoochod oo Ma|ch 2l, l942, at tho balla|d Ma|ioo |ailvay Ya|ds io
Soattlo, vashiogtoo. lt vas t|aosto||od to tho b|itish oavy aod assigood to tho Modito||aooao to|
doty io vo|ld va| ll.
lo l94/, tho shiµ vas coovo|tod to a civiliao to||yboat aod oamod tho :Xcpgjf# atto| tho soa
maidoo io |omo|s F[pjj\p vho toll io lovo vith Odyssoos. lt so|vod a |ooto botvooo tho islaods
ot Malta aod Gozo io tho Modito||aooao.
1ho l|ish milliooai|o 1homas |ool Goioooss booght :Xcpgjf io l9!u aod loasod it to
Coostoao to| l t|aoc a yoa|. Ovo| tho ooxt yoa|, Coostoao µ|ocoodod to havo tho lì9-toot-loog
¦4u-moto|-loogj shiµ gottod aod |oboilt to so|vo his µo|µosos. ¦|o lato| said that tho cost ot
|oto|bishiog aod ootnttiog tho :Xcpgjf to|cod him to bocomo ao adoµt tood-|aiso|.j
Ao oodo|vato| obso|vatioo chambo| vas addod to tho shiµs bov, 8 toot ¦2 moto|sj bolov
tho vato|lioo, a talso ooso allovod c|ovmombo|s to nlm oodo|vato| lito th|oogh ci|cola|
viodovs. Coostoao also iostallod a high obso|vatioo µlatto|m, vhich ooablod his c|ov to soo
ta| ac|oss tho ho|izoo to sµot vhalos aod otho| soa lito. |o oola|god tho c|ov qoa|to|s, addod a
c|aoo, aod iostallod oavigatiooal oqoiµmoot. |ioally, tho :Xcpgjf vas µaiotod a glistooiog vhito.
1ho :Xcpgjf bogao its n|st missioo oodo| Coostoao oo |ovombo| 24, l9!l, vhoo it lott
1ooloo, ||aoco, to| tho |od Soa. At ooo µoiot oa|ly io that voyago, tho oogioos tailod. bot io a
la|go| sooso tho :Xcpgjf voold oovo| tail Coostoao-it voold bo ao ocoao homo that voold
oa|o him |ooovo aod µ|ovido his oxµlo|atioos vith a histo|ic µlaco io tho sciooco ot tho ocoaos.
lo l996 ¦a yoa| boto|o Coostoaos doathj, tho :Xcpgjf vas hoavily damagod io a collisioo vith
a ba|go at tho µo|t ot Siogaµo|o. 1ho :Xcpgjf sao| aod had to bo littod bac| to tho so|taco vith
a c|aoo aod havo tho vato| µomµod t|om it.
lo l998, tho shiµ vas tovod to tho basio ot tho Ma|itimo Mosoom ot |a |ochollo io ||aoco,
vho|o it vas iotoodod to bocomo ao oxhibit. bot logal claims aod a sho|tago ot moooy |oµt it
t|om boiog |osto|od. 1ho :Xcpgjf sioco has booo µo|chasod by Ca|oival C|oiso |ioos, vhich has
µ|omisod to tood tho |osto|atioo aod iotoods to doc| tho vossol io tho bahamas.
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(22,200-kilometer) voyage to the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean. He made
a documentary of the exploration done by his divers and by scientists; the
film, like his book, is titled Te Silent World.
In the 1960s, while the first Russian and American astronauts were ven-
turing into outer space, Cousteau wanted to show that humans could live
underwater on the continental shelves. In 1962, he launched a project, fi-
nanced by the oil industry, called Conshelf I. In this study, two men spent
a week in the Mediterranean inhabiting a diving saucer that Cousteau had
developed, called DS-2.
Conshelf II followed in 1963. In this study, five men lived for a month
below the surface of the Red Sea in a pressurized home consisting of several
buildings. Te headquarters, dubbed Starfish House, could sleep eight and
housed a biological lab and a photography room. One building in the com-
plex, called Deep Cabin, housed two explorers 85 feet (26 meters) below the
surface. Te entire complex was laced with cables that powered a specially
designed air-conditioning unit and other devices from the surface and en-
abled communication with the Calypso. Cousteau’s documentary film about
this expedition, World Without Sun (1964), was widely praised—Te New
Yorker said Cousteau’s “cameras make everything we behold so ravishing”—
and won an Academy Award.
In 1965, Cousteau launched Conshelf III, with the deep-sea living en-
vironment now established at 330 feet (100 meters) in the Mediterranean.
Te expedition involved twelve ships, which carried 150 technical and
medical experts. A film about it, shown on television in the United States as
a National Geographic Society special, led to a multimillion-dollar contract
with the ABC television network.
From the mid-1960s until the mid-1970s, Cousteau produced specials
under the title Te Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau. His documenta-
ries for ABC, and later for the Public Broadcasting System and Turner
Broadcasting, extolled the voyages of the Calypso and revealed aquatic life
to millions of viewers.
During this time, Cousteau also became a crusader against the pol-
lution of the seas he so loved. Gilbert Grosvenor, the chairman of the
National Geographic Society, called him “the Rachel Carson of the oceans”
(referring to the American author who exposed the dangers of widespread
chemical pollution in the 1950s and 1960s). In 1973, Cousteau founded
the Cousteau Society (based in the United States) to advocate environ-
mental protection and publicize the effects of pollution. (Te Cousteau
Society and its French counterpart, l’Équipe Cousteau, continue their
work today.)
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Recognizing that damage to the oceans was the result of more than
industrial chemicals, Cousteau condemned dynamite fishing, fishing in
spawning grounds, and landfills that affected wetlands. He warned,
Te ocean floors are being scraped. In the past the sea renewed itself. It was a
continuous cycle. But this cycle is being upset.
In 1937, Cousteau had married Simone Melchior, with whom he had
two sons, Jean-Michel and Philippe. Both were involved in undersea explo-
ration. (Philippe died in 1979 when his seaplane crashed.) After Simone
died in 1990, Cousteau married Francine Triplet, and they had two chil-
dren. Cousteau died in Paris on June 25, 1997.
Over the years, some critics have assailed Cousteau for having staged
underwater scenes to make them appear more dramatic. Others have
pointed to his lack of scientific credentials—a “layman explorer,” he held
no academic degrees in science. Yet he advanced scuba diving and under-
water archaeological work, paved the way for extensive undersea research,
exposed environmental threats, and raised the public’s understanding of the
world’s oceans.
Further Reading
Berne, Jennifer. Manfish: Te Story of Jacques Cousteau. San Francisco:
Chronicle, 2008.
Cousteau, Jacques, with Frédéric Dumas. Te Silent World. New York: Harper,
Munson, Richard. Cousteau: Te Captain and His World. New York: William
Morrow, 1989.
DARWIN, CHARLES 18091882
1809: Born on February 12 in Shrewsbury, England
1831: Graduates from Cambridge and boards the HMS Beagle.
captained by Robert FitzRoy, for a scientific expedition
1835: Reaches the Galápagos Islands and makes observations that
will prove crucial to his theory of natural selection
1857: Writes letter to American botanist Asa Gray, in which he
expresses his theory of natural selection
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Based on evidence from his expedition to the Galápagos Islands and from
other locations to which he traveled on the brig-sloop Beagle in the 1830s,
British naturalist Charles Darwin proposed the theory of evolution through
natural selection, which revolutionized scientific thought and, in many ways,
modern thought.
Charles Robert Darwin was born on February 12, 1809, in Shrewsbury,
Shropshire, England, into a wealthy and distinguished family. His maternal
grandfather, Josiah Wedgwood, had earned a fortune in pottery by indus-
trializing the craft. His paternal grandfather, Erasmus Darwin, had helped
run the Wedgwood pottery firm and had earned prominence as a physician,
thinker, and inventor. Charles’s father, Robert Waring Darwin, also was a
physician. His mother was the first child of Josiah Wedgwood and married
Robert in 1796; she died when Charles was eight years old.
Charles Darwin grew up at the Mount, his family’s spacious three-story
home, with a greenhouse and an observatory, set on a hill in Shrewsbury.
He graduated from the elite Shrewsbury School in 1825 and then attended
the University of Edinburgh to study medicine. He soon lost interest in the
subject, however, and transferred to Cambridge
University, from which he expected to get a de-
gree and become an Anglican clergyman.
At Cambridge, Darwin was greatly influ-
enced by the geologist Adam Sedgwick, with
whom he went on a geological excursion in 1831,
and the naturalist John Stevens Henslow, who
taught Darwin to investigate natural phenomena
and collect specimens with an eye to careful, de-
tailed study. Darwin was an industrious student,
known for his insightful mind, attention to de-
tail, and willingness to question accepted ideas
and reconsider his own views. He later said that
he loved science and liked “reflecting over any
One of Darwin’s favorite pastimes as a young
man was collecting beetles, and the measure of
his seriousness became evident when his collec-
1858: With Alfred Russel Wallace, a fellow British naturalist, publicly presents the
theory of natural selection
1859: Publishes On the Origin of Species
1871: Publishes Te Descent of Man
1872: Publishes Te Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals
1882: Dies in London on April 19
Charles Darwin
began formulat-
ing his theory of
evolution by natural
selection during the
voyage of the Beagle
in the early 1830s. It
would not be until
1858, however, that
he would publish
his revolutionary
with Alfred Russel
Wallace. (Science &
Society Picture
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tion was recognized in J.F. Stephens’s compendium Illustrations of British
Entomology (1828–1835). In his autobiography, Darwin wrote that he had
“invented two new methods” for collecting the bugs:
I employed a labourer to scrape during the winter, moss off old trees and
place [it] in a large bag, and likewise to collect the rubbish at the bottom of
the barges in which reeds are brought from the fens, and thus I got some very
rare species.
He also recounted how one day he grabbed two beetles and placed one
in each hand, only to spot another one he wanted. Since he did not want to
lose any of them, he took the one in his right hand and popped it into his
mouth. Te bug, however, secreted a liquid that burned his tongue, forcing
him to release it and lose one of the others as well.
Te Beagle
Te year 1831 would prove to be momentous for Darwin. After earning
his degree from Cambridge in the spring, he secured a place on the Beagle
for a scientific expedition that would last five years and provide the founda-
tion of his life’s work and scientific legacy. A young and largely untested
naturalist when he graduated from Cambridge, Darwin nevertheless was
recommended for the expedition by Professor Henslow. He persuaded his
father to allow him to make the journey and agreed to serve without pay in
the study of geological formations, flora, and fauna.
Te Beagle departed Devonshire on December 27, 1831, and reached
the Cape Verde Islands in January 1832 and South America in April.
From then until September 1835, Darwin explored the natural wonders
of Argentina, Brazil, and Chile, with an excursion to the Falkland Islands.
He traversed the coasts and journeyed inland, captivated by the beauty and
diversity of life. In Brazil, he wrote in his journal, his mind was “a chaos of
delight.” Te forest was “a most paradoxical mixture of sound & silence.”
While in South America, he traveled from the coldest mountain cli-
mates to tropical forests, and from the Pampas to Tierra del Fuego. He was
constantly observing, taking notes, and collecting specimens. In March and
April 1835, he journeyed from Santiago, Chile, over the Andes Mountains
to Mendoza in Argentina. Geological hammer in hand, he traversed the
Andes with two guides, ten mules, and a mare, chipping away at the rocks
as he went, gathering fossils.
At Valdivia on the south Chilean coast, on February 20, 1835, Darwin
suddenly felt a trembling beneath his feet. Ten the earth shook. He had
experienced an earthquake whose intensity he did not fully realize until he
reached what had been its epicenter at the port of Talcahuano, where he
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observed houses that had collapsed, uprooted trees, and boulders that had
fallen from the hillsides. Soon after the earthquake began, an enormous
wall of water had surged up from the ocean through the bay and pounded
the town; it was followed by two more gigantic waves. Inland, the town of
Concepción had been completely destroyed.
Darwin was stunned and saddened by the devastation, but he also made
an important scientific observation. As a result of the catastrophe, the level
of the land had risen several feet. If the land could rise by that amount as a
consequence of a single event, Darwin wondered, why could it not rise by a
significant amount—even as much as 10,000 feet (3,000 meters)—over a
longer period of time? Perhaps such transformations might explain why he
had found seashells high in the Andes.
Te Galápagos
On September 16, 1835, Darwin reached the Galápagos Islands, a small,
rocky chain some 600 miles (950 kilometers) west of Ecuador in the Pacific
Ocean. Only a few people lived on the islands, mainly exiled prisoners.
Darwin and the crew of the Beagle arrived first at Chatham Island. No wav-
ing coconut palms greeted them; no beautiful sandy beaches. Te landscape
was stark, black, and dotted with volcanic cones. Roaming lizards seemed
to be everywhere. Uninviting as they were, the islands provided the young
naturalist with a window to the past. He wrote,
Nothing could be less inviting. [Te islands were] a broken field of black ba-
saltic lava, thrown into the most rugged waves, and crossed by great fissures.
Here, both in space and time, we seem to be brought somewhat near to that
great fact—that mystery of mysteries—the first appearance of new beings on
this earth.
Te Beagle cruised the islands for more than a month, during which
time Darwin camped for a week with four other men on James Island.
Tere, he again saw lizards—marine iguanas, really—crowded along the
shoreline. Tey had enormous mouths, spiny ridges down their backs, and
long, flat tails. Darwin picked one up and flung it into a pool of water to see
if it would come back to the land; it did. He flung it a second time; again, it
came back to land. Curious to find out what the lizards ate, he dissected one
and found seaweed in its stomach.
Inland from the beach, Darwin came across two giant tortoises, so big
that he was unable to turn one of them over. Hopping on the back of one
and riding it for a distance, he calculated that the tortoise could travel 60
yards (55 meters) in 10 minutes. He came upon other tortoises on a long
procession, a seemingly endless back-and-forth journey up a hill to a fresh-
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water spring and back down again. Hundreds of the tortoises had been
killed by sailors who had come to the island; the animals, he noted, were
good eating if roasted in their shells.
A British official stationed on the Galápagos, Nicholas Lawson, called
Darwin’s attention to an important fact: Each island supported its own form
of tortoise. Just by looking at one of them, Lawson explained, an observer
could determine which island the tortoise came from. Darwin, for his part,
noticed how the finches of the Galápagos showed wide variations in the
shapes and sizes of their beaks from one island to another.
Only later would the pieces of the Galápagos puzzle come together in
Darwin’s mind. Te beaks on the finches, he hypothesized, varied to allow
each species to take better advantage of the food supply in its locale. A thin,
sharp beak, for example, allowed the bird to eat insects and grubs; a large,
claw-shaped beak allowed it to eat buds, fruits, and nuts, where those forms
of food prevailed.
Darwin concluded that the finches that adapted better to the environ-
ment were more likely to survive. Moreover, he proposed, over time, they
passed on the beneficial change, or mutation, from generation to generation,
with the new characteristic eventually replacing the older, outmoded one.
For Darwin, all living things were in competition—for space, food, mates—
;8IN@ EË J = @ E:?< J B< < G < MFCM@ E>
1o this day, tho nochos obso|vod by |a|vio oo tho Galaµagos lslaods disµlay tho distioct t|aits
ho said thoy had dovoloµod io |olatioo to thoi| oovi|oomoots. 1ho sha|µ-boa|od g|oood noch
stoals tho oggs ot boobios ¦a tyµo ot soabi|dj aod osos its boa| to slam tho ogg ioto a |oc| to
b|oa| it oµoo. 1ho voodµoc|o| noch osos its boa| to d|ill holos io t|oos aod to ca||y a tvig o|
cactos sµioo as a tool to got at g|obs aod iosocts.
bot ooo ot tho qoostioos that has µo|µloxod sciootists is vhotho| aoy ot tho Galaµagos
nochos still shov sigos ot ovolviog. Acco|diog to ao a|ticlo by Masoo lomao µoblishod io
EXk`feXc>\f^iXg_`ZE\nj io 2uu6, sciootists iodood havo toood soch ovidooco.
lo l982, tho la|go g|oood noch vas obso|vod to| tho n|st timo oo |aµhoo lslaod. 1ho
|osidoot modiom g|oood noch tacod comµotitioo t|om tho iot|odo|, aod, ovo| timo, it dovoloµod
a smallo| boa| to acqoi|o tood-oamoly, smallo| soods-that tho la|go g|oood noch vas oot
ioto|ostod io.
Acco|diog to |oto| G|aot, a sciootist vho obso|vod aod n|st |oµo|tod this dovoloµmoot,
¨lt is a vo|y imµo|taot ooo io tho stodios ot ovolotioo, bocaoso it shovs that sµocios ioto|act
to| tood aod oodo|go ovolotiooa|y chaogo vhich mioimizos to|tho| comµotitioo.¨
Mo|oovo|, acco|diog to |avid |toooig, a sciootist at tho Uoivo|sity ot |o|th Ca|olioa at
Chaµol |ill, tho chaogo challoogos tho vidoly hold viov that ovolotiooa|y dovoloµmoots ta|o
maoy yoa|s to ootold. lo tact, ho said, thoy may occo| so |aµidly that ¨vo may actoally miss tho
µ|ocoss ta|iog µlaco.¨
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and mutation allowed for the species’ survival. Te process amounted to one
of “natural selection”; the organisms that survived were the ones best suited
to their environments and to reproducing in them.
As did the process itself, Darwin’s thoughts about natural selection and
evolution took shape gradually. Aboard the Beagle, he continued his journey,
traveling to Tahiti, New Zealand, and Australia. He returned to England
in October 1836, completing what he considered to be the most impor-
tant event in his life, a milestone in his career. Later that year, he discussed
his thoughts about species change in his Notebooks on the Transmutation of
Species. Still, he had yet to fully formulate his theory of evolution through
natural selection.
Darwin and Malthus
Ten, he read An Essay on the Principle of Population (published in 1798
as a pamphlet and later revised and expanded) by the British economist
Tomas Malthus. Darwin later recounted this experience:
In October 1838, that is fifteen months after I had begun my systematic
inquiry, I happened to read for amusement Malthus on Population, and being
well prepared to appreciate the struggle for existence which everywhere goes
on from long-continued observation of the habits of animals and plants,
it at once struck me that under these circumstances favourable variations
would tend to be preserved and unfavourable ones destroyed. Te result of
this would be the formation of a new species. Here, then, I had at last got a
theory by which to work.
In his recollection, Darwin condensed the time frame of his “systematic
inquiry”—it actually had been going on quite a bit longer than he stated,
and it would take another twenty years for him to refine it. Clearly, how -
ever, his reading of Malthus had eliminated many of his doubts and pro-
pelled him toward the theory of natural selection.
In 1842, Darwin put down on paper his first sketch of the theory of
evolution. He was not the first to discuss evolution; others in the scien-
tific community had pondered and discussed various possibilities before.
Darwin’s master stroke was to offer the theory of natural selection as a
coherent scientific explanation for the entire process—in other words, a
theory of evolution through natural selection.
As for Malthus, he had stated in his work that the geometric growth
in human population taxed food supplies to the point that only famine,
disease, and war could keep the number of human beings from becoming
unmanageable. Tis, he contended, was how human populations remained
in balance.
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Darwin took Malthus’s theory and used it to shape his own. In doing
so, he challenged the leading theory of the time regarding geological change,
the catastrophic theory. According to this view, changes to the Earth come
about only through catastrophes of nature. Te last had been Noah’s flood,
during which only those life-forms taken aboard Noah’s ark had survived.
Challenges to the “Catastrophes”
Even before Darwin, many had posed challenges to the catastrophe theory.
Tus, Darwin later said, “Te only novelty in my work is the attempt to
explain how species became modified.”
In 1830, Sir Charles Lyell, in his Principles of Geology, wrote that the Earth’s
geological features change gradually and that changes occurring over time can
be understood by studying current geological processes. Although Lyell later
would reject Darwin’s theory of natural selection, the young naturalist took a
copy of Lyell’s book with him on the Beagle, ready to measure Lyell’s findings
and soon to add more ammunition to the assault on the catastrophe theory.
Another pre-Darwinian challenger was Charles Darwin’s own grandfa-
ther, Erasmus Darwin, who advocated biological evolution. In 1770, he affixed
the motto “Everything from shells” on his carriage and bookplates. (A skepti-
cal clergyman responded in verse: “Great wizard be! By magic spells, Can all
things raise from cockle shells.”) In 1800, Jean Baptiste Lamarck, a French
naturalist who has been called “the founder of the doctrine of evolution,” pro-
posed that species change over time in reaction to their environments.
On the popular front, a book appeared in 1845 titled Vestiges of the
Natural History of Creation, in which the Scottish journalist Robert
Chambers went so far as to argue that human beings derived from monkeys
and apes. Although the book sold widely—Prince Albert reportedly read it
aloud to Queen Victoria—it was vilified by those who were appalled by the
idea and those who found in it a sloppy use of facts and little to support the
outlandish claim. Darwin reacted to the book by calling its geology “bad”
and its zoology “far worse.”
Nevertheless, Vestiges contributed to a delay in the publication of
Darwin’s own work. In the aftermath of Chambers’s work, Darwin proceed-
ed cautiously. He did so in part to avoid having his research come out amid
all the controversy over Vestiges, and in part because he wanted to be sure
that he had his facts straight and that his claims were fully corroborated.
Wallace and On the Origin of Species
In any event, skepticism regarding the catastrophe view had appeared before
Darwin proposed his theory of natural selection. Indeed, the foundation
had been laid for a more thorough and systematic alternative to the idea
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of catastrophe, supported by extensive empirical evidence—the very kind
to which Darwin, as a rigorous scientist, was committed. In 1857, Darwin
wrote a letter to the American botanist Asa Gray in which he provided an
abstract of his forthcoming book:
I think it can be shown that there is such an unerring power at work, or
Natural Selection . . . which selects exclusively for the good of each organic be-
ing. . . . Tis little abstract touches only on the accumulative power of natural
selection, which I look at as by far the most important element in the production
of new forms. [italics added]
As Darwin continued to work on his theory, he soon encountered a
startling development. In 1858, Alfred Russel Wallace, an English natural-
ist who had been working independently, sent Darwin an essay in which
he proposed the theory of natural selection (although he did not use that
phrase). Like Darwin, Wallace had been influenced by Malthus. After read-
ing the Essay on the Principle of Population, Wallace began asking about
animals, “Why do some die and some live?” In considering the question, he
realized that “in every generation the inferior would inevitably be killed off
and the superior would remain—that is, the fittest would survive.”
lo µoblishiog K_\ ;\jZ\ekf]DXe io l8/l, |a|vio too| his thoo|y ot ovolotioo th|oogh oato|al
soloctioo a stoµ ta|tho| thao ho had io Fek_\Fi`^`ef]Jg\Z`\j# tocosiog oo tho |olatiooshiµ
botvooo homao boiogs aod otho| µ|imatos.
|ssootially, ho says, tho|o a|o basic simila|itios botvooo tho µhysical st|octo|o ot homaos
aod that ot otho| µ|imatos. 1hoso ioclodo li|ooossos io tho booos ot tho s|olotoo, tho moscola|
systom, aod tho b|aio. |voo tho omb|yos ot homaos |osomblo thoso ot |olatod aoimal sµocios.
|ioally, |a|vio obso|vos, tho basic o|gaos ot homao µhysiology ovolvod t|om µ|odocosso|s vho
osod aod shaµod thom, moviog thom tova|d tho stato thoy a|o io today.
1ho µ|ocoss ot oato|al soloctioo µo|moatos |a|vios thooght. |o ovoo aµµlios it to
iotolloctoal dovoloµmoot. ¨vo cao soo . . . io tho |odost stato ot socioty,¨ ho asso|ts, ¨tho
iodividoals vho vo|o tho most sagacioos, vho iovootod aod osod tho bost voaµoos aod t|aµs,
aod vho vo|o bost ablo to dotood thomsolvos, voold |oa| tho g|oatost oombo| ot ottsµ|iog¨
aod tho|oby moltiµly. |a|vio cooclodos,
1hos, vo cao oodo|staod hov it has como to µass that mao aod all otho| vo|tob|ato
aoimals havo booo coost|octod oo tho samo gooo|al modol . . . aod vhy thoy |otaio
co|taio |odimoots io commoo. Coosoqoootly vo ooght t|ao|ly to admit thoi|
commooity ot doscoot. to ta|o aoy otho| viov, is to admit that oo| ovo st|octo|o,
aod that ot all tho aoimals a|oood os, is a mo|o soa|o laid to oot|aµ oo| jodgmoot.
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Although Wallace had previously informed Darwin about the progress
he had made in investigating the relationship of species to their environ-
ments, Darwin was amazed by Wallace’s essay and how it dovetailed with
his own. He wrote Lyell, “If Wallace had my MS. [manuscript] sketch writ-
ten out in 1842, he could not have made a better short abstract!”
Darwin offered to get Wallace’s paper published in any journal of the
latter’s choosing. He then sent Wallace’s essay, along with an outline of his
own similar views, to the Linnean Society in London.
On July 1, 1858, their joint presentation, “On the Tendency of Species
to Form Varieties; and on the Perpetuation of Varieties and Species by
Natural Means of Selection,” was read publicly at Burlington House, the
home of the Linnean Society. Darwin attended, Wallace could not. Te two
men, who had established a friendship years earlier, remained close friends;
Wallace never felt slighted by the greater attention paid to Darwin.
Wallace’s work encouraged Darwin to finally publish his book On the
Origin of Species in 1859. In it, he presented his theory of natural selection in
full detail. According to this view, the young in a species compete with each
other for survival and pass on to the next generations any variations that
might help them succeed. Te variations constitute adaptations to the en-
vironment, which are communicated through heredity. Sometimes, Darwin
recognized, only the slightest variations could mean the difference between
the survival and extinction of a species. Beyond natural selection, Darwin
also suggested that related organisms come from common ancestors.
On the Origin of Species sold widely and quickly went through several
printings. A reviewer for Te New York Times wrote,
We are persuaded that the doctrine of progressive modification by Natural
Selection will give a new direction to inquiry into the real genetic relation-
ship of species, existing and extinct—will, in fact, make a revolution in
natural history.
In a similar vein, botanist H.C. Watson wrote in a letter to Darwin,
Your leading idea will assuredly become recognized as an established truth in
science, i.e. “Natural Selection.” It has the characteristics of all great natural
truths. . . . You are the greatest revolutionist in natural history of this century,
if not of all centuries.
Other scientists criticized Darwin for failing to present the proof be-
hind the hereditary transfer of variations. Religious opponents attacked
him for undermining orthodox belief by seeming to equate human beings
with animals and denying the creation story as recounted in the Bible. Yet
Darwin had been careful to avoid advancing any theory concerning the ori-
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gin of life, and not to deny that there was a supreme creator. Indeed, the
text of his book referred to “laws impressed on matter by the Creator.”
Darwin elaborated on various aspects of his theory and offered new
ones in three subsequent works: Te Variation of Animals and Plants Under
Domestication, published in 1868; Te Descent of Man, published in 1871;
and Te Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals, published in 1872.
In his personal life, Darwin had wed a first cousin, Emma Wedgwood, in
January 1839. Te couple had ten children, two of whom died in infancy.
Charles Darwin died on April 19, 1882, in London. He was given a
state funeral and buried at Westminster Abbey. He has been recognized
as a giant of modern science who revolutionized the field of biology and
unleashed an enduring challenge to age-old assumptions about the nature
of life, humanity, religion, and society.
Further Reading
Bowleb, Peter. Charles Darwin: Te Man and His Influence. New York:
Cambridge University Press, 1996.
Brown, Janet. Charles Darwin: Voyaging. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1995.
Desmond, Adrian, and James Moore. Darwin. New York: Warner, 1991.
1420: Under Prince Henry the Navigator, the Portuguese explore and settle the
Madeira Islands in the Atlantic Ocean, west of Morocco
1487: Portuguese explorer Bartholomeu Dias sails around the southern tip of Africa
1492: Sailing for the Spanish crown, Christopher Columbus reaches America, landing
in the Bahamas
1497–1499: Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama sails around the southern tip of
Africa and reaches India
1519: Ferdinand Magellan, a Portuguese navigator sailing for Spain, begins a journey
that culminates in the first voyage around the world
1521: Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés captures the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlán
(site of modern-day Mexico City)
1532: Francisco Pizarro conquers the Inca Empire for Spain
1534: French explorer Jacques Cartier discovers the St. Lawrence River, one of the
major waterways of North America
1540: Spanish conqueror Francisco Coronado begins his search for the fabled Golden
Cities of Cíbola
1610: English explorer Henry Hudson enters and explores Hudson Bay in Canada
1616: English sea pilot William Baffin maps the entire shore of Baffin Bay in Canada
1682: René-Robert de La Salle of France descends the Mississippi River to the Gulf
of Mexico
See also: Wallace,
Alfred Russel.
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From the mid-fifteenth through the seventeenth centuries, Europeans sailed
the world’s oceans to discover unseen lands, peoples, and natural resources
in the farthest reaches of Africa, Asia, and the Western Hemisphere. Teir
far-flung explorations constituted the Age of Discovery, whose motivation
was part materialistic and part scientific.
Historians debate the extent to which the Age of Discovery—also
known as the Age of Exploration—was truly scientific in purpose and ori-
entation. According to some, the overseas expeditions were guided, at least
in part, by the quest for empirical evidence to support fledgling scientific
theories. Others insist that evidence of scientific curiosity as a primary mo-
tivation is, at best, scant.
Prince Henry the Navigator
Sailors from Portugal began voyaging southwest into the Atlantic during
the 1300s; however, it was not until Prince Henry the Navigator (1394–
1460)—the son of Portugal’s King John I—sponsored such explorations
that they ventured far south along the coast of Africa, across the equator,
and finally around the southern tip of the continent.
Prince Henry
the Navigator of
Portugal, whose
sponsorship of ocean
voyages in the first
half of the fifteenth
century launched the
Age of Discovery,
is portrayed in an
illuminated travel
chronicle of 1453.
(Granger Collection,
New York)
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Numerous obstacles worked against ocean voyagers journeying to the
equator. Te lack of sophisticated navigational equipment made it difficult
for sailors to determine their location; storms buffeted their ships and often
carried them away at will; and legend had it that the water near the equa-
tor would boil travelers to death or that sea monsters would swallow them
whole. Latitude 29° north was recognized as a point from beyond which no
one had ever returned.
It was Prince Henry who envisioned expeditions far south to determine
if it were possible to journey around Africa. Neither a navigator nor a sailor
himself (except for his participation in one brief naval engagement), Prince
Henry earned his place in history by encouraging voyages of discovery in the
first half of the fifteenth century. Certainly, his motivation was less a matter
of scientific curiosity than one of filling Portugal’s coffers and spreading the
Christian faith.
For one thing, Prince Henry sought to open trade routes with the Far
East that would enable Portugal to bypass the small independent states on
the northern Italian peninsula (called “city states”) that dominated passage
through the eastern Mediterranean Sea. In addition, he also dreamed of
converting pagans to Christianity and of containing Islam by linking Europe
with a mythical Christian kingdom that he thought real. Finally, he sought
to fulfill the prophecy of his horoscope, which foretold that he would make
important discoveries.
Tus, under a charter from Prince Henry, Portuguese sailors explored
and settled the Madeira Islands in 1420. Gil Eannes, on a voyage sponsored
by Prince Henry in 1434, navigated the dangerous shoals (referred to by
Arabs as the “father of danger”) off the west coast of Africa and rounded
Cape Bojador (today part of Western Sahara); Nuno Tristão reached Cape
Blanc (in what is now Mauritania) in 1441; Dinis Dias reached the Cape
Verde Islands (off of modern-day Senegal) in 1444; and Tristão reached
the mouth of the Gambia River in 1446.
When Spain began its own expeditions to Africa, the Portuguese felt
pressured to sail farther yet. In 1487, Bartholomeu Dias (ca. 1450–1500)
and his crew were blown past the southern tip of Africa (later called the
Cape of Good Hope) by a storm and thereby discovered that it was possible
to sail around the continent.
Ten years later, Vasco da Gama (ca. 1469–1524) rounded Africa and
landed at Mozambique, where Arabs told him of rich ports to the north.
Da Gama proceeded across the Indian Ocean and reached Calicut on
the southwest coast of India in May 1498, returning to Portugal the
following year. He lost two of his four ships and half of his men along
the way, but he proved that it was possible to sail south and east from
Europe to Asia.
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Christopher Columbus
By this time, another idea had been advanced by a part-time weaver and
sailor from Genoa, Italy, Christopher Columbus (1451–1506). Long inter-
ested in maps and mapmaking, Columbus knew of the findings of ninth-
century Muslim geographer Alfragan, who had calculated that one degree
of the Earth’s circumference is equal to 66 nautical miles (122 kilometers).
Columbus, however, made the mistake of misreading Alfragan’s figure as
45 nautical miles (83 kilometers). In actuality, one degree is equal to 60
nautical miles (111 kilometers); thus, for each degree Columbus miscalcu-
lated (shortened) the circumference of the Earth by 15 nautical miles (28
kilometers). Since the Earth is divided into 360 degrees, this meant that
he had shortened the total circumference by 5,400 nautical miles (10,000
Moreover, Columbus agreed with the Italian mathematician Paolo
Toscanelli who, influenced by the findings of the explorer Marco Polo, had
determined that Asia extended much farther east than it actually does.
With Toscanelli’s numbers in hand, Columbus insisted that he could sail
west from the Canary Islands for about 2,400 miles (3,900 kilometers) and
reach Asia ( Japan)—a miscalculation that left him more than 8,000 miles
(13,000 kilometers) short. Nevertheless, even at the distance calculated by
Columbus, he proposed a daring journey, for he would have to sail far into
the open sea with no coastal markers to guide him.
Columbus set about seeking a sponsor for his expedition. He met with
rejection until the Spanish monarchs, Ferdinand and Isabella, finally agreed
to back him. Te Italian was promised 10 percent of all profits, governor-
ship over any newfound lands, and the title Admiral of the Ocean Sea. Te
rest would belong to Spain.
On August 3, 1492, Columbus and his crew set sail from Palos, Spain.
Teir expedition consisted of three ships, the Niña, the Pinta, and the Santa
Maria. Te largest, the flagship Santa Maria, measured only about 100 feet
(30 meters) long and carried thirty-nine crewmembers.
Upon reaching the Bahamas on October 12, Columbus believed that
he had made it to the outer islands of Asia. He claimed that he had found a
land resplendent with gold and spices and a people—“Indians”—who could
be converted to Christianity. He imprisoned several dozen of these native
people, of whom only a few survived the journey back to Europe the fol-
lowing year. Tus began the long, dismal treatment of Native Americans
by Europeans.
Indeed, Columbus’s treatment of native peoples, as well as the unin-
tended consequences of European contact, later ignited ongoing controversy
among historians and others over how to evaluate the famous mariner. For
example, in his classic work Admiral of the Ocean Sea: A Life of Christopher
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Columbus (1942), Samuel Eliot Morison praises Columbus for his bravery
and navigational talent. In A People’s History of the United States (1980),
Howard Zinn accuses the explorer of committing genocide.
Columbus ultimately made three subsequent voyages across the
Atlantic (1493–1496, 1498, and 1502–1504), but it was another Italian
who became the namesake of the lands he had discovered. In 1499, and
again in 1501, the Florentine navigator Amerigo Vespucci sailed to the
coast of Brazil, and he concluded that Columbus had discovered a “new
world.” In 1507, a German publisher, influenced by Vespucci’s account,
placed the Italian’s name on a map of the new continent, thereby designat-
ing it “America.”
Other Spanish and Portuguese Expeditions
In the wake of Columbus’s voyages, several other Spaniards sailed west to
explore the Americas, prompted by a mix of motivations. Scientific inquiry
was part of the story, but a relatively minor part.
On February 19, 1519, Hernán Cortés (1485–1547) sailed from Cuba
with a force of some 600 men with the purpose of conquering and coloniz-
ing Mexico. In May 1521, Cortés and his well-armed soldiers laid siege to
C @ = < 89F8I; K?< NI ÑA, P I NTA, 8E; S ANTA MARÍ A
As Colombos aod his c|ov c|ossod tho Atlaotic Ocoao oo tho E`ŒX# tho G`ekX# aod tho JXekX
DXiˆX# lito oo boa|d tollovod a |ootioo. Colomboss c|ov vo||od io too|-hoo| shitts, µo|to|miog
soch dotios as cloaoiog tho doc|, vo||iog tho sails, aod choc|iog tho |oµos aod ca|go.
1ho sailo|s diot vas la|goly mado oµ ot salt moat, d|iod µoas, aod ha|dtac| ¦a saltloss ha|d
biscoitj. Also oo boa|d vas somo |ico, chooso, aod ngs, vith a tov livo µigs aod hoos to bo
slaoghto|od aod oatoo aloog tho vay. 1ho moo coo|od oo doc|, io a voodoo n|obox vith a baso
ot saod to µ|otoct tho shiµ aod a hood to µ|otoct tho ûamos t|om tho viod. |o| liqoids, thoy
d|ao| vioo aod vato| that vas sto|od io cas|s bot somotimos voot bad.
Ooly tho shiµ caµtaios aod µilots had cabios vith boo|s. 1ho otho| sailo|s sloµt vho|o thoy
coold, somo ot thom oo tho doc|.
1ho |o|ds ||ayo| vas |ocitod at soo|iso, tho sailo|s chaotod do|iog tho day, aod aootho|
µ|ayo| vas said atto| soosot. At oight, a boy voold |ocito tho tolloviog ovo|y halt hoo|.
1o oo| God lots µ|ay
1o givo os a good voyago,
Aod th|oogh tho blossod Motho|,
Oo| advocato oo high,
||otoct os t|om tho vato|sµoot
Aod sood oo tomµost oigh.
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the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlán; by August 3, upon the capture of the
Aztec emperor, Montezeuma II, Tenochtitlán fell. Cortés consolidated
Spanish control over the land and people of Mexico, treating some natives
brutally and forming alliances with others.
In similar fashion, Francisco Pizarro (ca. 1476–1541) conquered the
Incas of Peru. In 1532, on his third expedition to the west coast of South
America, Pizarro arrived with a force of 180 men, including several dozen
cavalry, and proceeded inland through Peru. Although the expedition pro-
vided valuable information about the Inca Empire, Pizarro’s main goal was
to conquer the native peoples and get from them as much gold as he could.
Solidifying the Spanish conquest, Pizarro and his army defeated the Inca
leader Atahuallpa on November 16, 1532, and captured the capital, Cuzco,
a year later.
In the meantime, Ferdinand Magellan (ca. 1480–1521), a Portuguese
navigator in the service of Spain, received a royal commission to find a west-
ward route to the Spice Islands of Asia. Te expedition, consisting of five
ships and 270 men, set sail west across the Atlantic Ocean in 1519, journey-
ing around South America and into the Pacific Ocean. Magellan was killed
in a skirmish with an indigenous tribe in the Philippines in April 1521, but
one of his ships, with a crew of eighteen men, reached Spain in September
1522, completing the first voyage around the world.
Another Spanish conquistador, Francisco Coronado (ca. 1510–1554),
who had conquered territories in northwest Mexico, set out across the Rio
Grande in February 1540 in search of cities said to be laden with gold. As it
turned out, however, the Golden Cities of Cíbola turned out to be a group
of Zuni pueblos in Arizona and contained no particular riches at all.
From there, Coronado dispatched a small party westward under Garcia
López de Cárdenas, who became the first Europeans to see the Grand
Canyon of the Colorado River. In the spring of 1541, Coronado pushed
farther north and east, through and beyond what is now Texas, in search
of yet another wealthy kingdom, called Quivira. Arriving in what is today
central Kansas, he found only a village of the Wichita people and, again, no
riches. Despite his failure to find gold, Coronado had discovered vast tracts
of land previously unknown to Europeans.
French and English Expeditions
For the French, Jacques Cartier (1491–1557) discovered the St. Lawrence
River in 1534 and made two other expeditions to North America in the
1530s and 1540s. Te French based their claim to Canada largely on
Cartier’s findings. In 1673, the French-Canadian explorer Louis Jolliet
(1645–1700) joined with Father Jacques Marquette (1637–1675) on an
expedition across Lake Michigan and along the Fox and Wisconsin rivers.
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
On June 17, they entered the Mississippi River and followed it south to just
below the mouth of the Arkansas River before turning back. Teir explora-
tion opened the Great Lakes and Mississippi Valley region to European
settlement and influence.
René-Robert Cavelier, the Sieur de La Salle (1643–1687), explored the
region south of lakes Ontario and Erie from 1669 to 1670; he later claimed
to have discovered the Ohio River the following year. With the Italian-born
explorer Henri de Tonti (ca. 1650–1704) and a large party of French and
Indians, La Salle descended the Mississippi River to the Gulf of Mexico in
1682. Claiming all the land drained by the river for France, he named the
region Louisiana.
Among English explorers, Henry Hudson (?–ca. 1611) undertook four
expeditions to North America in search of the Northwest Passage. In 1607,
K?< D8I@ E< IË J 8JKIFC 89<
As oavigato|s bogao |oto||iog to tho µositioos ot thoi| shiµs acco|diog to dog|oos ot latitodo, tho
ast|olabo bocamo ao imµo|taot iost|omoot. Usod n|st by ast|ooomo|s, tho dovico vas adaµtod
to| ma|itimo oso io tho nttoooth cooto|y.
Most ast|olabos vo|o small, moaso|iog ooly 6-lu iochos ¦l!-2! cootimoto|sj io diamoto|.
|atho| thao boiog hold io tho haod, li|o ao ast|ooomo|s ast|olabo, tho ma|ioo|s ast|olabo osoally
vas hoog io a coovooioot sµot oo doc| to| ta|iog sightiogs.
1ho ma|ioo|s ast|olabo coosistod ot a dis| o| |iog mado ot b|ass aod ma||od ott io dog|oos,
vith a movablo a|m at tho cooto|. by ta|iog tho zo|o µoiot oo tho dis| aod o|iootiog it vith tho
ho|izoo, a sailo| coold moaso|o tho altitodo ot aoy colostial objoct by sightiog it aloog tho a|m.
Usiog this µ|ocodo|o, a ma|ioo| coold
doto|mioo tho latitodo ot a shiµ at soa do|iog
tho day by moaso|iog tho altitodo ot tho Soo, at
oight, ho coold moaso|o tho altitodo ot a sta| ot
|oovo doclioatioo vhoo it vas oo tho mo|idiao.
¦|oclioatioo is simila| to latitodo, it is tho µositioo
ot a sta| |olativo to tho colostial oqoato|.j |osµito
tho advaocos io iost|omootatioo, hovovo|, most
ast|olabos still vo|o ioacco|ato aod commooly
vo|o ott by too| o| nvo dog|oos.
Te mariner’s astrolabe, a vital instrument of navigation
beginning in the fifteenth century, made it possible to deter-
mine the latitude of a ship at sea. Tis Portuguese bronze
astrolabe dates to 1555. (Granger Collection, New York)
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
aboard the Hopewell, he reached Greenland. Ten in September 1609,
aboard the Half Moon on an expedition sponsored by the Dutch East India
Company, he entered New York Bay. He spent the following month explor-
ing the Hudson River to a point about 150 miles (240 kilometers) from its
mouth, about where Albany is located today.
In 1610, Hudson sailed for an English company in the ship Discovery.
Tat summer, he entered Hudson Bay, in Canada. He spent three months
exploring the eastern islands and shores while trying to find an outlet to the
northwest. No outlet was ever found, and those aboard the Discovery spent
the winter in Hudson Bay. In the spring, the crew mutinied. Hudson, his
son, and several others were set adrift in a small boat; they were never heard
of again.
As part of another expedition searching for the Northwest Passage, the
famed British navigator William Baffin (1584–1622), sailing on the ship
Tiger as part of a fleet under the command of Captain Benjamin Joseph
in 1615, explored the Hudson Strait and part of Southampton Island in
Canada, compiling highly accurate maps and notes on the local tides. Baffin
also determined longitude by comparing the altitude of the moon with
another body in space and measuring the angular distance between them,
purportedly making him the first person to take such a lunar measurement
at sea.
In 1616, Baffin journeyed again to North America, this time aboard
the ship Discovery with Robert Bylot as captain. Sailing farther north than
any previous European explorers, they mapped the entire shore of Baffin
Bay, including Lancaster Sound. Baffin mistakenly concluded that the bay
lacked the outlet he was looking for; he failed to realize that Lancaster
Sound would take him west to other channels and eventually to the Pacific
Taken together, these and the many other expeditions during the Age of
Discovery made the western European countries dominant in conquering
overseas lands, unleashed a migration of Europeans across the oceans, and
either inadvertently or purposefully advanced the scientific knowledge of
the world. In doing so, Western society underwent an important transition
from the medieval emphasis on superstition to the application of rational
Further Reading
Barden, Renardo. Te Discovery of America: Opposing Viewpoints. San Diego,
CA: Greenhaven, 1989.
Morison, Samuel Eliot. Admiral of the Ocean Sea. New York: MJF, 1997.
———. Te Great Explorers: Te European Discovery of America. New York:
Oxford University Press, 1978.
Parry, J.H. Te Age of Reconnaissance, 1450–1650. London: Phoenix, 1963.
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
With William Dunbar as leader and George Hunter as second in command,
the Dunbar-Hunter Expedition of 1804–1805 explored the Ouachita
River, which flows through the present-day cities of Hot Springs, Arkansas,
and Monroe, Louisiana, and the nearby hot springs of the Old Southwest,
in territory gained by the Louisiana Purchase. Te expedition’s scientific
accomplishments were second only to those of the more famous Lewis and
Clark expedition in the northern and far western part of the territory.
William Dunbar
Prior to his expedition with Hunter, William Dunbar compiled an impres-
sive record in business and science. He was born circa 1750 near Elgin,
Scotland, to Sir Archibald Dunbar and Anne Bayne. An inquisitive young
man, William was directly influenced by the Scottish Renaissance, with its
emphasis on science, then in full swing. In 1767, he graduated from King’s
College at Aberdeen, where he had embraced professor Alexander Rait’s be-
lief that the cultivation of higher mathematics would advance civilization.
Dunbar emigrated to America in 1771, largely because he saw it as a
land of opportunity. He arrived with goods he used in the Indian trade at
Fort Pitt in Pennsylvania, and he entered into a long and lucrative partner-
ship with Philadelphia merchant John Ross and his son, Alexander. In the
mid-1770s, Dunbar founded a plantation near the lower Mississippi River,
at Manchac, in what was then British West Florida (today Louisiana).
Working with the Rosses, he used slave labor to make barrel staves, which
he then shipped to the Caribbean. During the American Revolution, how-
ever, the plantation was plundered and many of his slaves ran away.
After rebuilding his plantation at Manchac and establishing a mercan-
tile house in New Orleans, Dunbar built another plantation, near Natchez,
ca. 1750: William Dunbar is born in Scotland
1755: George Hunter is born in Scotland
1771: Dunbar emigrates to America
1774: Hunter emigrates to America
1792: Dunbar builds his plantation, the Forest, near Natchez, Mississippi
1796: Hunter journeys to St. Louis
1804: Te Dunbar-Hunter expedition begins on October 16, on the east bank of the
lower Mississippi River
1805: Te expedition ends on January 27 in Natchez
1810: Dunbar dies on October 16 at the Forest
1832: Hunter dies on February 23 in New Orleans
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
in 1792. Te Forest, as he called it, became his home. Dunbar and his wife,
Dinah Clarke, raised nine children there. By this time, West Florida had
come under the control of Spain, and Dunbar formed a close relationship
with the new government.
While accumulating wealth by raising and selling indigo and cotton, again
an industry based on using slave labor, Dunbar also became widely known for
his scientific interests. He invented new types of plows and employed innova-
tive agricultural practices on his land. In addition, he invented an improved
iron-screw press designed to pack cotton into square bales for shipment;
studied Indian languages and paleontology; described trees, recorded their lo-
cations, and listed their uses for new settlers; catalogued flowers; wrote about
fish and wildlife; and kept detailed daily weather observations.
Later, Dunbar built an astronomical observatory, equipped with what
he described as a “Gregorian reflector [telescope] of 5½ or 6 feet in length
in the great tube with 9 inch aperture possessing 6 magnifying powers
from 100 to 525.” As he noted in his diary: “Te small fortune which I have
acquired cultivating the earth alone enables me to procure many instru-
ments of moderate expense which might facilitate my researches.” With his
extensive scientific studies, the Forest became a gathering point for fellow
scientists, and his many visitors included the leading American botanist of
the time, William Bartram.
In 1798, Dunbar represented Spain on the boundary commission that
drew the 31st parallel between Spanish West Florida and the United States
(and placed Natchez within the latter). Te American representatives were
led by land surveyor Andrew Ellicott, who was known for his mathematical
and astronomical studies. Dunbar and Ellicott became fast friends.
It was through Ellicott, who had done work for Tomas Jefferson, that
Dunbar struck up a correspondence with the president—himself an ac-
complished naturalist. In their letters, Dunbar and Jefferson discussed flora
and fauna, as well as various scientific ideas. When Dunbar began writing
articles for Transactions, the journal of the American Philosophical Society,
Jefferson reviewed Dunbar’s writings before they went to publication. Te
articles covered topics ranging from weather and fossils to eclipses of the
sun and the flow of the Mississippi River.
Te Expedition
In 1804, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark stopped at the Forest on
their way to St. Louis and the launch of their own historic expedition to
explore the newly purchased Louisiana Territory. Dunbar was immediately
impressed with their knowledge and determination.
A short time thereafter, President Jefferson invited Dunbar to head an
expedition to explore the Red and Arkansas rivers. Despite his relationship
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
with the president, Dunbar, at age fifty-four, had never expected a chance to
lead such an important expedition. But Jefferson recognized Dunbar as the
leading scientific expert on the Old Southwest and wanted him to collect
information on the landscape, plant and animal life, and native peoples of
the region.
Dunbar agreed, and Jefferson appointed George Hunter of Phila-
delphia to assist him on the expedition. Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, in
1755, Hunter had come to America in 1774. He served in a Continental
Army hospital during the American Revolution and was imprisoned for
a time by the British. By the 1790s, he was part owner of a distillery and
trading successfully in pharmaceuticals.
Although Hunter had a reputation for being opportunistic and slow
moving, his background in chemistry lent a solid background in science
to the expedition. More important, he had traveled extensively in the
American wilderness. In 1796, he journeyed from Philadelphia to Pitts-
burgh and then along the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, eventually reaching
the Spanish outpost at St. Louis. In 1802, he traveled to Kentucky and took
extensive notes about the region’s mineral wealth.
Dunbar handled most of the planning and organization for the pro-
posed journey. Hunter did not arrive in Natchez until August 1804; he
brought with him his medicines, geological tools, and mathematical instru-
?FK J G I@ E>J
|a|t ot tho goal ot tho |ooba|-|ooto| |xµoditioo vas to oxµlo|o tho hot sµ|iogs ot A||aosas.
|ot sµ|iogs a|o toood io maoy µa|ts ot tho Uoitod Satos, osµocially tho vost, aod th|ooghoot
tho vo|ld, ioclodiog soch otho|viso t|igid locatioos as G|ooolaod aod Sibo|ia.
|ot sµ|iogs a|o caosod by gootho|mal hoat-that is, hoat t|om tho |a|ths ioto|io|. lo gooo|al,
tho ioto|io| ot tho |a|th gots hotto| as doµth ioc|oasos. vhoo vato| ooto|s a c|ac| io tho |a|ths
so|taco, it cao to|co oot vato| that has colloctod boooath a taolt aod has booo hoatod by hot
|oc|s dooµo| io tho |a|ths ioto|io|, tho|oby c|oatiog a hot sµ|iog.
lmµo|taot to tho c|oatioo ot soch a sµ|iog is tho ability ot tho hoatod vato| to movo
qoic|ly to tho so|taco, boto|o it cools. 1hos, maoy hot sµ|iogs a|o toood amid µo|oos limostooo
to|matioos. lo volcaoic zooos, soch as Yollovstooo |atiooal |a||, vato| may bo hoatod by
comiog ioto cootact vith moltoo |oc|.
1ho hot sµ|iogs |ooba| aod |ooto| oxµlo|od io A||aosas a|o oov µa|t ot |ot Sµ|iogs
|atiooal |a||, vhich vas ostablishod as a todo|al |oso|vatioo io l8ì2. lt ioclodos to|ty-sovoo
tho|mal sµ|iogs vith a total vato| ûov ot aboot /!u,uuu galloos ¦2.8 millioo lito|sj to 9!u,uuu
galloos ¦ì.6 millioo lito|sj µo| day. vato| t|om tho sµ|iogs |omaios ooa| l4ì dog|oos |ah|oohoit
¦62 dog|oos Colsiosj. 1ho µa|| att|acts mo|o thao a millioo visito|s µo| yoa|, vho |olax aod nod
|oliot to| voa|y bodios at bathhoosos that colloct aod sto|o tho sµ|iog vato|, alloviog it to cool
to a comto|tablo tomµo|ato|o.
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
ments. Before they departed, however, opposition from the Spanish and
from Native American tribes, combined with Dunbar’s enthusiasm for
exploring the region’s hot springs, led to a change in plans: Te expedi-
tion would be limited to exploring the Ouachita River and the nearby hot
springs in west-central Arkansas.
Te Dunbar-Hunter Expedition debarked from St. Catherine’s
Landing, near Natchez, on October 16, 1804. Dunbar, Hunter, and their
team of fifteen explorers, including soldiers, would travel a total of about
1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) over 103 days. During the course of the
journey, Dunbar made astronomical observations and collected plants and
rocks for study upon returning home.
Te expedition ascended the Ouachita River from Louisiana into
Arkansas and then continued on to the hot springs. Dunbar noted one spring
with a temperature of 140 degrees Fahrenheit (60 degrees Celsius) and col-
lected water samples for further analysis. Despite spending several days at the
spring, he failed to determine what caused the waters to be heated.
Te expedition landed back at Natchez on January 27, 1805. Dunbar
sent specimens to Jefferson to share with scientists and wrote a report that
the president submitted to Congress on February 19, 1806. In his intro-
duction to the report, Jefferson stated that the expedition had been led by
“Mr. Dunbar, of Natchez, a citizen of distinguished science, who had aided,
and continues to aid us, with his disinterested and valuable services in the
prosecution of these enterprises.”
Also in 1806, Dunbar contributed to a book on the exploration of
the Louisiana Territory titled Discoveries Made in Exploring the Missouri,
Red River, and Washita by Captains Lewis and Clark, Doctor Sibley, and
William Dunbar. Included in the work were lists and descriptions of flow-
ers, vegetables, and trees, along with meteorological information about
the region.
Although poor health forced him to decline an invitation from Pres-
ident Jefferson to lead another expedition into the Old Southwest, Dunbar
did play a major role in planning it. In 1806, a party led by surveyor and
astronomer Tomas Freeman and medical student Peter Custis traveled
600 miles (950 kilometers) up the Red River, until they were turned back
by Spanish troops.
Having served in the Mississippi territorial legislature before his expe-
dition with Hunter, Dunbar was chosen as speaker of the house in 1803
and served in the position for two years, until losing interest in politics.
He became seriously ill in 1808, recovered, and then died from unknown
causes at the Forest on October 16, 1810.
In the meantime, Hunter journeyed to Kentucky in 1809; six years
later, he settled in New Orleans with his family. He worked as a druggist
there until his death on February 23, 1832.
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Further Reading
DeRosier, Arthur H., Jr. William Dunbar: Scientific Pioneer of the Old Southwest.
Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2007.
Rowland, Eron, ed. Life, Letters, and Papers of William Dunbar of Elgin,
Morayshire, Scotland, and Natchez, Mississippi: Pioneer Scientist of the
Southern United States. Jackson: Mississippi Historical Society, 1930.
EARLE, SYLVIA 1935 
An American botanist, oceanographer, deep-sea explorer, author, and lec-
turer, Sylvia Earle has been dubbed “Her Royal Deepness” for the time she
has spent in the water and the discoveries she has made there.
Sylvia Alice Earle was born on August 30, 1935, in Gibbstown, New
Jersey, to Lewis Earle, an electrician, and Alice Freas Richie. She was raised
on a farm near Camden, New Jersey, where her mother taught her to study
animals and respect their habitats. Earle later recalled how she spent much
time at the pond in her backyard, filling jars with fish, frogs, and tadpoles.
In 1948, when Earle was thirteen, her family moved to Dunedin,
Florida, on the Gulf Coast near Clearwater. Earle immediately was attract-
ed to the sea. “On my first visit to the shore,” she later wrote, “a great wave
knocked me off my feet. I’ve been irresistibly drawn to the ocean ever since.”
At age seventeen, she began scuba diving and from then on preferred being
in the ocean to being on land.
Intelligent and hardworking, Earle graduated from Florida State
University in 1955. She earned her master’s degree from Duke University
the following year and immediately began studying for her doctorate
1935: Born on August 30 in Gibbstown, New Jersey
1948: Moves to Dunedin, Florida
1966: Earns doctorate in botany from Duke University
1976: Begins studying sperm whales in the Pacific Ocean
1979: Makes her “JIM Dive” in a suit of armored plating
1982: With Graham Hawkes, founds Deep Ocean Engineering
1990: Becomes chief scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
1998: Begins leading the Sustainable Seas Expeditions to study the U.S. National
Marine Sanctuaries
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Her graduate studies were inter-
rupted by the first of her three mar-
riages, the births of her two children,
and her need to take a job outside
academia. Nevertheless, in 1964, she
found time to join an expedition to
the Indian Ocean sponsored by the
National Science Foundation.
Upon returning home, she re-
sumed her graduate studies and
conducted research on marine flora
in the Gulf of Mexico. Earle was one
of the few botanists at the time who
actually went into the water to study
specimens; most had them collected
by others and then studied them
onshore. Earle obtained her doctorate from Duke in 1966; her dissertation
stood out for the details it provided about aquatic life.
In the summer of 1970, Earle became a U.S. aquanaut when she took
part in Tektite II, a scientific underwater project sponsored by the U.S.
Navy, the Department of the Interior, and the National Aeronautics and
Space Administration (NASA). In the program, scientists lived on the
ocean floor near the Virgin Islands for an extended period; Tektite I was for
male aquanauts, Tektite II for women.
Earle lived with four other scientists in two large tanks joined by a cy-
lindrical passageway, 50 feet (15 meters) beneath the surface. During the
two weeks of the project, Earle alone cataloged twenty-six plants previously
unknown to those waters. NASA applied what was learned about living in
restricted, close quarters to its human space flight program.
Tektite II brought Earle national publicity and a visit to the White
House. She recalled,
Tektite lifted me from the realm of pure science to communicating with a
broad audience. Suddenly there were microphones in front of me and mil-
lions of people were hearing what I had to say. I felt a strong obligation to
educate them about the oceans.
From 1976 to 1980, Earle studied sperm whales in the Pacific Ocean
as part of a research team. Her work resulted in a show on public television
titled “Gentle Giants of the Pacific.”
During this time, she made a historic deep-sea dive in 1979. For this
dive, she donned a “JIM suit,” bulky armor plating made of plastic and metal
that resembled the suits worn by astronauts on the moon. In the JIM suit,
Botanist and deep-
sea explorer Sylvia
Earle, who led scores
of research expedi-
tions and spent ex-
tended periods in an
undersea habitat, has
also been the chief
scientist at NOAA,
a prolific author, and
a staunch advocate
for the world’s
oceans and marine
life. ( John Shearer/
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Earle dove to a depth of 1,250 feet (381 meters) in the Pacific Ocean off
the coast of the Hawai‘ian island of Oahu. It was a dangerous dive, because
even a slight tear in the suit would create so much pressure that she would
be crushed to death, and because she walked the ocean floor untethered
from the expedition’s submarine.
It was the deepest solo dive ever made to that time without using a ca-
ble connected to a surface vessel. Earle was on the seabed for more than two
hours, collecting numerous specimens along the way. She wrote about her
adventure in a book titled Exploring the Deep Frontier, published in 1980.
From 1980 to 1984, Earle served on the National Advisory Committee
on Oceans and Atmosphere. In 1982, she founded a company called Deep
Ocean Engineering (later Deep Ocean Technologies) with the designer of
the JIM suit, her husband, Graham Hawkes. Te company produced sub-
mersibles, including the Deep Rover, a one-person vessel much more com-
pact and less expensive than other subs. In 1985, Earle took Deep Rover to
a depth of 3,000 feet (900 meters).
By this time, Earle had become an outspoken environmentalist who
advocated protection of the oceans. She warned,
If the sea is sick we’ll feel it. If it dies, we die. Our future and the state of the
oceans are one.
K?< A @ D J L@ K
|amod atto| tost divo| ¦im Ga||ott, tho ¦lM soit vas µ|ocodod by ao atmosµho|ic diviog soit
¦A|Sj dovoloµod io l9ìu by b|itish oogiooo| Salim ¦osoµh |o|oss. As a yooog mao liviog io tho
Middlo |ast, |o|oss had vatchod moo divo to| µoa|ls io tho |o|siao Golt, aod ho |osolvod to
dovoloµ a soit that voold oaso tho µ|oblom ot tho boods ¦docomµ|ossioo sic|oossj.
Yoa|s lato|, vo||iog at a comµaoy io byûoot, |oglaod, |o|oss bogao dovoloµiog a soit that
voold |ooµ divo|s va|m aod d|y, vhilo at tho samo timo maiotaioiog atmosµho|ic µ|osso|o io
dooµ vato|. |is n|st attomµt, io tho oa|ly l92us, µ|ovod too hoavy to bo viablo aod had stitt a|m
aod log joiots. lo l9ìu, ho comµlotod a somovhat lighto| vo|sioo, tho 1|itooia, vith mo|o ûoxiblo
joiots. looovativo as it vas, tho 1|itooia sti||od littlo ioto|ost aod toood mioimal oso.
lo tho mid-l96us, oil comµaoios vo||iog io tho |o|th Soa bogao loo|iog to| iooovativo vays
to holµ divo|s µ|ovl tho ocoao ûoo|. 1ho o|igioal ¦lM soit, mado io l9/l, ioco|µo|atod |o|osss
1|itooia joiot dosigo aod toato|od too| |loxiglas µo|tholos aod oxµo|imootal haod-li|o dovicos
to| g|iµµiog objocts. 1ho n|st dooµvato| tost divo io tho ¦lM soit vas hold ott tho oo|th coast ot
Scotlaod, at a doµth ot aboot 4uu toot ¦l2u moto|sj.
|ivo|s toood that tho joiots basod oo |o|osss dosigo had tho d|avbac| ot µiochiog thoi|
s|io, |oqoi|iog a so|ios ot tochoological imµ|ovomoots. 1ho ¦lM soit osod by Sylvia |a|lo io l9/9
ioco|µo|atod imµ|ovod, oilod joiots, a la|go ac|ylic domo ¦vhich |oµlacod tho µo|tholosj, aod
µioco|s to| colloctiog sµocimoos.
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
In 1989, Earle studied the effects of the Exxon Valdez oil spill at Prince
William Sound in Alaska. Two years later, she surveyed the oil that spilled
into the Persian Gulf after Iraq destroyed oil wells during its 1990–1991
invasion of Kuwait and war with the United States.
In 1990, Earle had become the first woman to serve as chief scien-
tist of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
She left that post in 1992 over political conflicts. From 1998 to 2002, she
led the Sustainable Seas Expeditions to study the U.S. National Marine
Sanctuaries, federally protected areas encompassing some 18,000 square
miles (47,600 square kilometers) of coastal waters.
During the course of her long career, Earle has cataloged more than
20,000 marine plant specimens. She has written approximately 125 books
and articles on marine science, has led some 60 expeditions, and has spent
more than 6,000 hours underwater. In addition, she has held several aca-
demic jobs, including staff researcher at the Farlow Herbarium at Harvard
University from 1967 to 1981.
Above all, she has worked incessantly to generate public interest in
marine life and the fate of the world’s oceans. In 1999, the president of the
National Wildlife Federation, Mark Van Putten, praised her achievements:
Sylvia Earle has earned tremendous credibility among her peers in the sci-
entific community. But perhaps her greatest accomplishment is her ability to
popularize the mysteries of the oceans for nonscientists all over the world.
Further Reading
Earle, Sylvia. Dive! My Adventures in the Deep Frontier. Washington, DC:
National Geographic Society, 1998.
———. Sea Change: A Message of the Ocean. New York: Putnam, 1995.
Earle, Sylvia, and Al Giddings. Exploring the Deep Frontier. Washington, DC:
National Geographic Society, 1980.
1921: British explorer George Leigh Mallory leads a reconnaissance
expedition up the north slope of Mount Everest, from Tibet
1953: On May 29, New Zealand climber Edmund Hillary and Tibetan
Sherpa Tenzing Norgay become the first to reach the summit
1963: An American scientific expedition, led by Swiss climber Norman
Dyhrenfurth, reaches the summit for the first time
1975: Junko Tabei of Japan becomes the first woman to reach the summit
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Te initiative to reach the summit of Mount Everest—located in north-
eastern Nepal along the border with China, it is the highest mountain in
the world, at 29,035 feet (8,850 meters)—began in the late 1800s with
European explorers, who first contemplated an ascent on foot.
Traditionally, area residents believed that the Himalayas were the home
of gods. Mount Everest, the highest among them, was therefore to be re-
vered, not conquered. While most of the efforts to reach the top of Mount
Everest have had few scientific benefits and even less scientific motivation,
a number of the expeditions have contributed to the understanding of re-
gional topography and climate, as well as of the effects of extreme condi-
tions on human survival.
In England at the turn of the twentieth century, the Royal Geo graph-
ical Society and the Alpine Club began promoting the idea of climbing
Mount Everest. Te chief obstacles were getting to the mountain—since
Nepal and Tibet were closed to foreigners at the time—and overcoming its
hostile terrain and weather conditions.
Edmund Hillary
of New Zealand
(left) and Nepalese
Sherpa guide Tenz-
ing Norgay (right)
were the first climb-
ers to reach the peak
of Mount Everest,
the highest point on
Earth. Tey reached
the summit on May
29, 1953. (Granger
Collection, New York)
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Mount Everest, named in the mid-1800s for George Everest, a surveyor
general of India, is covered by enormous glaciers and buffeted by howling
winds, and heavy snowstorms. At the summit, the temperature never rise
above freezing and can drop as low as -76 degrees Fahrenheit (-24

With Tibet briefly open to foreigners in 1921, George Leigh Mallory—
who famously declared that he wanted to climb Mount Everest “because
it’s there”—led a British expedition up the north side of the mountain;
however, the group had to turn back due to high winds and avalanches. A
second British expedition, in which Mallory also took part, reached a record
altitude in 1922 before having to turn back. On his third attempt, in 1924,
Mallory and fellow climber Andrew Irvine disappeared on the northeast
ridge. (Mallory’s body was found in 1999 just 800 feet, or 240 meters, from
the summit.) On these attempts, and others to come, Sherpas (people of
Tibetan descent who lived near the Himalayas) proved important as guides
and porters.
Attempts to reach the summit in the 1930s and 1940s also failed,
though an important breakthrough came in 1933 with the first airplane
photography of the summit and the surrounding landscape. Tis contrib-
uted to what some have called the “Golden Age of Mount Everest Explor-
ation” in the 1950s and 1960s.
During the spring and autumn of 1952, two Swiss expeditions reached
the South Col, a major mountain pass (and today the most popular route to
the top). But they failed to advance more than a short distance beyond it.
Ten on May 29, 1953, Edmund Hillary of New Zealand and Tenzing
Norgay, a Sherpa from Nepal, climbing as part of a British expedition led
by John Hunt, traversed beyond the South Col and reached the summit. To
do so, they had to navigate what came to be called the “Hillary Step,” a 55-
foot (17-meter) formation of rock and ice so steep that just one slip could
cause a climber to plunge to certain death. Tey made the ascent without
the ropes commonly used by climbers today.
In 1960, a Chinese and Tibetan team led by Shih Chan-chun made
the first summit of Everest by traversing the North Col and Northeast
Ridge. Tree years later, an American expedition led by the Swiss climber
Norman Dyhrenfurth reached the summit. Te team consisted of nine-
teen mountaineers and scientists from throughout the United States, along
with thirty-seven Sherpas.
A key purpose of the U.S. expedition was scientific research in
the fields of physiology, psychology, glaciology, and meteorology. One
of the expedition’s more interesting assignments was to record how
climbers reacted to the extreme stresses at high altitudes, where oxygen de-
privation was unavoidable. Information from these findings proved useful
in the U.S. manned space flight program.
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
In 1975, Junko Tabei of Japan became the first woman to reach the
summit, as part of an all-female expedition (accompanied by male Sherpas).
Tree years later, Austrians Reinhold Messner and Peter Habeler climbed
to the summit without the use of oxygen tanks. And in 2003, a Sherpa
named Lakpa Gelu climbed the southern route from Base Camp to the
summit in a record 10 hours, 56 minutes.
Over the years, more than 200 people have lost their lives trying to
reach the summit of Mount Everest. Tose who traverse the mountain to-
day may encounter remnants of tents, empty oxygen canisters, and even
frozen corpses. Climbing Mount Everest in the twenty-first century has be-
come heavily commercialized, with guided trips costing $65,000 or more.
Further Reading
Bernbaum, Edwin. Sacred Mountains of the World. Berkeley: University of
California Press, 1997.
Johnston, Alexa. Reaching the Summit: Sir Edmund Hillary’s Life of Adventure.
New York: DK, 2005.
Te Explorers Club was founded in New York City in 1904 to promote
and support scientific expeditions throughout the world. Today, its mis-
sion remains much the same. Te Explorers Club defines itself as “an
international multidisciplinary professional society dedicated to the ad-
vancement of field research and the ideal that it is vital to preserve the
instinct to explore.”
Te organization was founded in New York City by Henry Collins
Walsh, who had engaged in an Arctic expedition in the mid-1890s, as well
as several other men prominent in the sciences and journalism. Among
them were Frederick Dellenbaugh, an American explorer who had jour-
neyed to the western United States with John Wesley Powell; Adolphus
Greely, an American polar explorer; Carl Lumholtz, a Norwegian discov-
erer and ethnographer; Marshall Saville, an American archaeologist; and
Donaldson Smith, a British explorer. After meeting in early May 1904, they
held a dinner on May 28 at the Aldine Association, where the Explorers
Club was formally organized.
1904: Te Explorers Club is formally organized on May 28
1921: Te Explorers Journal is first published
1981: Te club opens membership to women for the first time
2000: Te club sponsors an expedition to the world’s highest plateau, the Chang-Tang
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Te club was incorporated on October 25, 1905, whereupon regular
meetings were initiated. In 1912, the club established its headquarters in
a building on Amsterdam Avenue, where it housed its books, documents,
trophies, and artifacts. It also began inviting explorers and natural scientists
to present lectures about their experiences and findings. Te same year, the
Arctic Club of America merged with the Explorers Club.
In 1921, the club began publishing the Explorers Journal. It contains
articles about the organization and its activities along with timely scientific
information. In 1961, the club purchased the site of its present headquar-
ters, a townhouse on East Seventieth Street in Manhattan named for famed
journalist Lowell Tomas.
Another major landmark came in 1981, when the Explorers Club
opened its membership to women. Te first female members included
Sylvia Earle, the world-renowned American oceanographer; Dian Fossey,
the American zoologist known for her studies of the mountain gorillas
in East Africa; Anna Roosevelt, the daughter of Franklin and Eleanor
Roosevelt; and Kathryn Sullivan, an oceanographer who would become the
first American woman to walk in space.
Over the years, several club members have been involved in momen-
tous explorations. When astronaut Neil Armstrong journeyed to the moon
on board Apollo 11 in 1969, he brought with him the Explorers Club flag.
Te ranks of notable members include Roald Amundsen, Robert Ballard,
Edmund Hillary, Charles Lindbergh, Robert Peary, Ernest Shackleton,
Chuck Yeager, and thousands of others.
In the year 2000, the club sponsored an expedition to the world’s high-
est plateau, the Chang-Tang, in Tibet. Today, the Explorers Club has more
than thirty U.S. and international chapters, with member scientists and
explorers from more than sixty countries.
Further Reading
Te Explorers Club.
Plimpton, George, ed. As Told at the Explorers Club: More Tan Fifty Gripping
Tales of Adventure. Guilford, CT: Lyons, 2003.
1774: Born on March 16 in Donington, England
1789: Joins the Royal Navy
1795: Explores Botany Bay in Australia and George’s River
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
In his journeys to Australia, the English naval commander, explorer, and
hydrographer Matthew Flinders proved that Tasmania is an island, charted
the Unknown Coast, and led a team of scientists in collecting valuable in-
formation about the largely unexplored continent.
Matthew Flinders, Jr., was born on March 16, 1774, in Donington,
Lincolnshire, England, to Matthew Flinders, a surgeon, and Susanna Ward.
Young Matthew was a bright boy who was particularly attracted to math-
ematics. He attended a free school run by the local parish and a grammar
school run by the Reverend John Shinglar.
Located in eastern England’s fenlands, Donington was tied to the sea for
its livelihood. Matthew was fascinated by the sea and relished the stories of an
older cousin who served in the Royal Navy. At the nearby port of Boston, he
walked amid the wharves and watched the ships as they sailed into the harbor.
He read Daniel Defoe’s novel Robinson Crusoe (1719) and, many years later,
wrote that he had gone to sea “against the wishes of friends from reading [it].”
Flinders joined the Royal Navy at age fifteen. Two years later, in 1791,
he journeyed to Australia, New Zealand, and Tahiti under Captain William
Bligh aboard the HMS Providence. During these journeys, Flinders was the
most junior of the midshipmen aboard and likely was involved in only lim-
ited navigational work.
Down Under
Flinders next served on the HMS Reliance, which in 1795 sailed from
England to Port Jackson, Australia, near Sydney. Te journey greatly ex-
panded his experience and furthered his reputation.
With George Bass, the ship’s surgeon, he explored the area around
Sydney in a small, open boat. Captain James Cook had previously navigated
the coastline, but Flinders wrote,
[T]he intermediate portions of the coast, both north and south, were little
further known than from captain Cook’s general chart; and none of the more
distant openings, marked but not explored by that celebrated navigator, had
been seen.
Flinders and Bass sailed into Botany Bay and then up George’s
River before abandoning their boat to travel by foot for another 20 miles
1798: With George Bass, circumnavigates Van Damien’s Land (Tasmania)
1803: Explores southern Australia’s Unknown Coast
1814: Publishes Voyage to Terra Australis; dies in London on July 19
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
(32 kilometers). Tey mapped the river’s course more extensively than had
been done before and noted the richness of the soil in the area.
Te adventure excited Flinders and made him determined to seek fur-
ther discoveries. Several weeks later, in another small boat, the Tom Tumb,
Flinders and Bass explored Providential Cove, located 22 miles (35 kilome-
ters) south of Port Jackson. Flinders engaged in hydrographical research,
likely his first time doing so, before rejoining the Reliance to sail for the
Cape of Good Hope.
In 1798, as a lieutenant on the sloop Norfolk, Flinders studied the wa-
ters at the Furneaux Group, islands north of Van Damien’s Land (today
Tasmania). From October 1798 to January 1799, he and Bass circumnavi-
gated Van Damien’s Land, passing through what is now known as Bass
Strait and proving the territory to be an island. Bass took detailed notes on
the plants, animals, and geography.
Back in England in 1801, Flinders published a memoir, Observations
on the Coast of Van Diemen’s Land, which he dedicated to the great British
botanist Joseph Banks. Later that year, Flinders was given command of
the Investigator, with the assignment to explore the coastline of southern
Australia, called the “Unknown Coast.” Te Investigator had been built in
E@ :FC 8J 98L;@ E
1ho ||oochmao |icolas baodio ¦l/!4-l8uìj had ao accomµlishod |oco|d as ao oxµlo|o| boto|o ho
mot Matthov |liodo|s at |ocoooto| bay io Aµ|il l8u2. bo|o oo tho llo-do-|ó ott tho vost coast ot
||aoco, baodio tooght io tho ||ooch oavy agaiost G|oat b|itaio do|iog tho Amo|icao |ovolotioo.
lo tho mid-l/8us, as a commaodo| ot mo|chaot shiµs, ho bocamo t|ioods vith ||aoz boos, tho
hoad ga|dooo| aod botaoist to| tho omµo|o| ot Aost|ia. boos taoght baodio aboot botaoy aod
hov to µ|oso|vo sµocimoos. Oo ooo t|iµ, thoy colloctod livo µlaots aod soodliogs, as voll as
ost|ichos aod zob|as.
baodio |oto|ood to ||aoco io l/9! aod cooviocod ||otosso| Aotoioo do ¦ossioo at tho
Mosóom |atiooal d|istoi|o |ato|ollo ¦|atiooal |ato|al |isto|y Mosoomj to soµµo|t a botaoical
voyago to tho Ca|ibboao. baodio joo|ooyod to tho \i|gio lslaods aod |oo|to |ico aod camo bac|
vith ao imµ|ossivo colloctioo ot µlaots, iosocts, aod bi|ds, aloog vith sovoo casos ot co|als, c|abs,
soa o|chios, aod sta|nsh, aod 2uu sµocimoos ot vood. C|ovds to|ood oot io |a|is to soo his
st|aogo colloctioo ot cocooot µalms aod otho| oxotic µlaots.
lo l8uu, baodio cooviocod |aµolooo to bac| him io oxµlo|iog Aost|alia aod |ov Goiooa.
baodios goals vo|o to maµ tho coast ot Aost|alia, gatho| sµocimoos, aod ma|o sciootinc stodios
ot tho a|oa. |o |oachod tho cootiooot io May l8ul vith a toam ot ast|ooomo|s, goog|aµho|s,
mioo|alogists, botaoists, aod zoologists aboa|d tvo shiµs, C\>„f^iXg_\ aod C\EXkliXc`jk\%
C\EXkliXc`jk\ |oto|ood to ||aoco io l8u2 loadod vith sµocimoos, vhilo baodio cootioood
oxµlo|iog tho |acinc |ogioo. |o diod ot tobo|colosis oo Soµtombo| l6, l8uì, oo |ooto homo, oo
tho islaod ot Mao|itios io tho lodiao Ocoao.
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1795 and purchased by the Royal Navy in 1798. Flinders later described it
as “three-hundred and thirty four tons . . . newly coppered and repaired” and
evaluated it as “the best vessel which could, at that time, be spared for the
projected voyage to Terra Australis.”
Joseph Banks, who would remain in England, appointed most of the
ship’s scientific staff of six men: Robert Brown, England’s leading botanist;
Ferdinand Lukas Bauer, botanical painter; William Westall, landscape
painter; Peter Good, gardener (whose chief duty was to help transport
plants); John Allen, miner (who served as the mineralogist); and John
Crosley, astronomer. Good and Bauer often gathered plants while Brown
was busy processing them.
Te Investigator sailed from England on July 16, 1801, and reached Cape
Leeuwin, on Australia’s southwest coast, in December. From then into May
1803, Flinders conducted a detailed exploration of the Unknown Coast,
chartering the shoreline and sending scientists ashore to collect specimens.
In February, he entered Spencer Gulf; the following month, he discov-
ered Kangaroo Island, observing the vast number of kangaroos feeding on
the grass. Te kangaroos were so unafraid, Flinders wrote, that “the poor
animals suffered themselves to be shot in the eyes with a small shot, and in
some cases to be knocked on the head with sticks.” Flinders himself shot ten
kangaroos and used the meat for stew.
At the eastern end of the Unknown Coast, in April 1802, Flinders un-
expectedly met Nicolas Baudin, captain of the French ship Le Géographe.
Flinders named the meeting site Encounter Bay.
Flinders arrived at Port Jackson, on June 9, 1803. His exploration
made him the first person to provide a detailed outline of Australia’s south
coast. While at Port Jackson, Robert Brown took measures to preserve the
plants he had collected. Te Investigator then completed a circumnavigation
of Australia, including a study of the Great Barrier Reef and the Gulf of
During the course of the journey, however, Flinders discovered that
the Investigator was severely rotted and desperately in need of repair.
While he searched for a substitute ship, he traveled as a passenger on
the Porpoise. In August 1803, the Porpoise struck a reef and sank about
700 miles (1,100 kilometers) north of Port Jackson. Flinders escaped on
a small boat and managed to get others who had been aboard the ship res-
cued from Wreck Reef, which jutted just 3–4 feet (about 1 meter) above
sea level.
Sailing on the Cumberland, Flinders entered Torres Strait in October
1803. Beginning the trip back to England, he sailed west across the Indian
Ocean and arrived in French-controlled Mauritius that December. Flinders
was promptly arrested, as France had gone to war with England months
earlier. Although he was imprisoned only briefly, he was detained on the
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island for nearly seven years. Although it was a bitter experience, it gave
Flinders the opportunity to work on his journals. Te governor of the is-
land finally granted Flinder’s release in June 1810.
Writings and Reputation
Returning to England in October 1810, Flinders published his description
of the near circumnavigation of Australia—titled Voyage to Terra Australis:
Undertaken for the Purpose of Completing the Discovery of that Vast Country,
and Prosecuted in the Years 1801, 1802, and 1803, in His Majesty’s Ship the
Investigator—in July 1814. In addition to recounting the voyage, this work
provided extensive information on meteorology, hydrography, magnetism,
and navigation. Having been ill for some time, Flinders died on July 19,
1814, in London, at the age of forty.
In his years at sea, he had made major contributions to the mapping of
the Australian coast, especially the Unknown Coast. Te accuracy of his
charts was a result of his often sailing twice over explored coastlines in or-
der to check his work. In addition, he had researched the tides and shown
how iron in ships affected compasses. His report, Magnetism on Ships, was
circulated throughout the Royal Navy. By the late 1800s, a “Flinders Bar” of
soft, unmagnetized iron in a brass container was being used to correct the
effect of shipboard metals on compass readings.
Flinders suggested the names Australia and Terra Australis for the large
continent he had circumnavigated, which previously had been identified on
maps as “New Holland.” His scientific curiosity and intellectual commit-
ment were well summarized in a letter from Joseph Banks in April 1803:
Te Frequent opportunities you have Given to the naturalists to investigate
does you Great Credit both as a navigator & as a considerate man. Natural
history is now a study so much in Repute by the Public & in its self is so
interesting, that the Good word of the Naturalists when you come home will
not fail to interest a large number of People in your Favor.
Further Reading
Estensen, Miriam. Te Life of Matthew Flinders. Crows Nest, Australia: Allen
and Unwin, 2002.
See also: Banks,
Joseph; Pacific
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Straddling Mongolia and China, the Gobi Desert has been the site of sev-
eral major scientific expeditions, most notably those in pursuit of fossils and
ancient Buddhist ruins. Te largest desert in Asia, the Gobi covers approxi-
mately a half-million square miles (1.3 million square kilometers), extend-
ing about 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) from east to west and about 600
miles (950 kilometers) from north to south.
Te Gobi is largely an arid plateau that ranges in elevation from 3,000
feet (900 meters) above sea level in the east to 5,000 feet (1,500 meters) in
the west. It is ringed by mountains: the Da Hinggan Ling to the east; the
Altun Shan and Nan Shan to the south; the Tian Shan to the west; and
the Altay Shan, Hangayn Nuruu, and Yablonovyy to the north. Most of
the Gobi is covered with grass or scrub and has enough food and water for
nomadic herders to raise animals; however, the southeastern Gobi has no
Trade routes—preeminently the fabled Silk Road—have crisscrossed
the Gobi since ancient times. Te first European to cross the Gobi was the
Venetian explorer Marco Polo in the thirteenth century.
In the twentieth century, several modern scientific expeditions sought
the Buddhist cave-temples near the Chinese city of Dunhuang. Among
them is the Cave of the Tousand Buddhas, which dates back to 366 c.e.
Te entire complex, called the Mogao Caves, contains Buddhist art created
over a period of about 1,000 years.
In the early 1900s, a Chinese Taoist named Wang Yuanlu searched for
the caves and discovered 60,000 documents walled up among them. Many
of the documents were religious in nature; some were secular, such as ad-
ministrative records and dictionaries. Other expeditions to the caves fol-
lowed, including ones from France, Japan, and Russia.
At the turn of the twentieth century, the Swedish explorer Sven Anders
Hedin discovered the ruins of the ancient oasis city of Loulan in remote
northwestern China. Also discovered there have been the remains of
Paleolithic, Neolithic, and Bronze Age civilizations.
366: Te Cave of a Tousand Buddhas, a religious temple, is first created
1971: A Mongolian-Polish expedition finds the remains of a 6-foot-long (1.83-meter-
long) dinosaur, Protoceratops
2002: A new species of sauropod, a long-necked dinosaur, is found at Bor Guve
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
In a series of expeditions during the 1920s and 1930s, the American
naturalist Roy Chapman Andrews discovered a trove of dinosaur bones
and eggs in the Gobi Desert. Te Gobi is particularly abundant in fossils
from the late Cretaceous period, from about 98 million to 65 million years
ago. Te Flaming Cliffs site in Mongolia has been an especially rich source
of dinosaur fossils.
Dinosaur remains have continued to turn up in the Gobi. In 1971, a
Mongolian-Polish expedition uncovered the remains of a Protoceratops, a
dinosaur about 6 feet (1.83 meters) long and 2 feet (61 centimeters) tall,
with a thick neck and horns, and a Velociraptor, a long-tailed carnivore about
the same size as Protoceratops. In the 1990s, a team led by American pale-
ontologist Mark A. Norell discovered the Ukhaa Tolgood fossil field, which
Te New York Times described as the “richest vertebrate site in the world,”
in Mongolia.
And in 2002, anthropologists discovered a new species of sauropod,
Erketu ellisoni, an extremely long-necked creature, at Bor Guve, a recently
excavated site also located in Mongolia. Te expedition was sponsored
by the American Museum of Natural History in New York City and the
Mongolian Academy of Sciences, which continue to sponsor joint fossil ex-
peditions to the region.
Further Reading
Man, John. Gobi: Tracking the Desert. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press,
As evidenced by this
fossilized dinosaur
skull, discovered
in the windswept
Bayanzag Valley of
Mongolia, the Gobi
Desert continues
to provide fertile
ground for paleon-
tological research.
Ricci/De Agostini/
Getty Images)
See also:
Hedin, Sven.
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Founded in 1846 to publish primary and secondary works pertaining to
early expeditions, the London-based Hakluyt Society took its name and
inspiration from sixteenth-century geographer Richard Hakluyt.
Te Hakluyt Society held its first meeting on December 15, 1846, in
the London Library at St. James’s Square. Te society was organized largely
through the efforts of geographer and historian William Desborough
In Cooley’s view, it was important that the scientific study of geography
be placed in historical context. Cooley himself wrote several works support-
ing this approach, among them Te Negroland of the Arabs Examined and
Explained; Or, an Inquiry into the Early History and Geography of Central
Africa (1841) and Inner Africa Laid Open (1852), which described the geo-
graphic features of the little-known African interior.
Cooley had wanted to name the society for Christopher Columbus, but
the governing council, whose members in the first year included Charles
Darwin, decided on naming it for Richard Hakluyt, an early advocate of
English overseas expansion. Hakluyt was born about 1552 and attended
Westminster School, then Christ Church School at Oxford University. He
graduated from Oxford with a bachelor’s degree in 1574 and a master’s de-
gree in 1577.
While at Westminster, Hakluyt had discovered a map in his cousin’s
library and been intrigued by how it was compiled and by his cousin’s sto-
ries about explorers. From that point on, Hakluyt had devoted his studies
to geography.
As a lecturer on the subject at Oxford, he discussed the changing na-
ture of maps and called attention to the possibilities for English overseas
expansion. He insisted that, because of the explorations of John Cabot—
who, in 1497, while sailing under the English flag, landed near Labrador,
Newfoundland, and explored the coast of northeastern Canada—England
had a rightful claim to America that preceded the Spanish claim to the con-
tinent. Hakluyt insisted that England had been remiss in failing to press
1582: English geographer and writer Richard Hakluyt publishes Divers Voyages
Touching the Discoverie of America, advocating settlement of North America
1589: Hakluyt publishes Discoveries of the English Nation, considered the most
comprehensive geography of his time
1846: Te Hakluyt Society is founded on December 15 in London
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
its rights and argued that great benefits would ac-
crue from developing the eastern North American
coast south of the French settlements in Canada
and north of the Spanish settlements in Florida.
In addition, he called for the English to search for
the Northwest Passage.
In advocating for North American settlement,
Hakluyt made contact with many sea captains,
merchants, and sailors. In 1582, he published a
work, Divers Voyages Touching the Discoverie of
America, in which he advocated the colonization
of America. Two years later, he wrote the tract
Discourse of Western Planting, which he presented
to Queen Elizabeth I in support of a plan by Sir
Walter Raleigh to settle North America.
About this time, Hakluyt was appointed chap-
lain to the English ambassador to France. He lived
in Paris for five years. Tere he collected informa-
tion for the English government on French overseas
expeditions as well as those of other countries. As
Hakluyt put it, he made “diligent inquriie of such
things as might yield any light unto our western
discoverie in America.”
Hakluyt published his greatest work, Te
Principall Navigations, Voiages, and Discoveries of the English Nation, in
1589. Te compendium included the firsthand accounts of sea captains
and explorers, stories about strange lands and sea monsters, and, in a later
edition, a plea for the colonization of Virginia. Hakluyt died on November
23, 1616.
Te declared mission of the Hakluyt Society today is “to advance
knowledge and education by the publication of scholarly editions of pri-
mary records of voyages, travels and other geographical material.” Toward
that end, it has published more than 200 works of scientific findings from
expeditions around the globe, focusing on geography, ethnology, and natu-
ral history. In addition to publishing scholarly texts, the society organizes
meetings, symposia, and conferences to promote exploration, cultural en-
counters, and specific organizational goals.
Further Reading
Te Hakluyt Society.
Mancall, Peter C. Hakluyt’s Promise: An Elizabethan’s Obsession for an English
America. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2007.
English geographer
Richard Hakluyt,
namesake of the
London-based schol-
arly society and pub-
lisher, produced his
landmark work—
Te Principall
Navigations, Voiages,
and Discoveries of the
English Nation—in
1589. (Eliot Elisofon/
Time & Life Pic-
tures/Getty Images)
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Cornish explorer, conservationist, and writer Robin Hanbury-Tenison and
his wife, English explorer and food writer Marika Hanbury-Tenison, fo-
cused their scientific efforts on the ethnographic study of indigenous peo-
ples, whom they worked to save from the displacement caused by modern
Robin was born on May 7, 1936, in Cornwall and educated at Oxford
University. Marika was born in London in 1938 to John and Alexandra
Hopkinson. Robin and Marika were wed in 1959 and eventually had two
By the time of their marriage, Robin had engaged in two expeditions,
one to South Asia and one to South America. Te latter included the first
land crossing of the continent at its widest point. To make this crossing, he
traversed mountains and muddy swamps, attaching pieces of wood to his
jeep in order to keep from sinking. In the mid-1960s, he journeyed across
the Sahara Desert by camel; he also made the first river crossing of South
America from north to south, beginning at the Orinoco River in Venezuela
and finishing at Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Marika, meanwhile, began her career writing about cooking and went
on to author several cookbooks and magazine articles. Beginning in 1968,
and continuing until her death in 1982, she was the food editor at a London
newspaper, the Sunday Telegraph. In 1971, not long after the birth of their
second child, Marika accompanied her husband on a three-month trip to
live among the Xingu people of Brazil and record their way of life.
Te expedition was sponsored by Survival International, an organiza-
tion Robin had helped found. At the time, the Xingu were being forced
from their native land by development, and the Hanbury-Tenisons recorded
how the tribe was faring in the encampments in which it had been placed.
Survival International was formed to help protect indigenous people from
such dislocation and thereby protect their cultural practices.
Upon the couple’s return, Marika published a book about the expedi-
tion, titled Tagging Along in the United States and For Better, For Worse: To
1936: Robin Hanbury-Tenison is born on May 7 in Cornwall
1938: Marika Hanbury-Tenison, née Hopkinson, is born in London
1971: Te Hanbury-Tenisons live among the Xingu people in Brazil
1974: Te couple travels to the outer islands of Indonesia
1982: Marika dies of cancer
1998: Robin returns to Mulu on the island of Borneo
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the Brazilian Jungle and Back Again in England (both 1972). In this book,
she wrote,
For me, the expedition to South America had been an awakening, I had met
and lived with the Amerindian tribes who form so large a part of the work of
Survival International. . . . Tese beautiful, fine, intelligent, amazing people
should be saved from the kind of degradation, loss of pride, and the straight
wiping out of their kind which will inevitably occur unless something revolu-
tionary happens—and happens fast.
In 1973, Robin published a follow-up book, a plea on behalf of indig-
enous peoples titled A Question of Survival for the Indians of Brazil.
Te couple set out again the following year, this time to the outer is-
lands of Indonesia. Again, they lived with the native tribes and, as in Brazil,
studied the effects of displacement. Teir ethnographic findings and plea
for the protection of threatened native peoples were captured in Malika’s
book Slice of Spice (1974) and Robin’s A Pattern of Peoples: A Journey Among
the Tribes of Indonesia’s Outer Islands (1975).
From 1977 to 1978, Robin Hanbury-Tenison led the largest expedition
ever organized by the Royal Geographical Society, taking a group of 115
scientists to the interior of Sarawak in Borneo. Out of this expedition came
his groundbreaking book, Mulu: Te Rain Forest (1980); this work played a
major role in focusing world attention on the threat to tropical rain forests.
Back at the couple’s farm in Cornwall, Marika was diagnosed with can-
cer. She died in 1982, at age forty-four. Robin was remarried the following
year, to Louella Williams Edwards, who accompanied him on several sub-
sequent expeditions.
In 2009, Robin Hanbury-Tenison published Te Land of Eagles, a book
about his travels through Albania. Te London Times, meanwhile, dubbed
him “the greatest explorer of the past 20 years.” After a return trip to Mulu
in 1998, he wrote,
Te rate of destruction of the world’s forests has accelerated so dramatically
that the end is in sight. My return to Mulu . . . showed me that the time has
come to stop tilting at windmills and feel[ing] better by protesting without
success at all that has gone wrong. Now our only hope is to take part in help-
ing to save what is left, restore what has been damaged and make sure that, if
we are not too late, it never happens again.
Further Reading
Hanbury-Tenison, Marika. Tagging Along. New York: Coward, McCann and
Geoghegan, 1972.
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Hanbury-Tenison, Robin. A Pattern of Peoples: A Journey among the Tribes of
Indonesia’s Outer Islands. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1975.
———, ed. Te Seventy Great Journeys in History. New York: Tames and
Hudson, 2006.
———. Worlds Apart: An Explorer’s Life. Boston: Little, Brown, 1984.
HEDIN, SVEN 18651952
A geographer, explorer, and prolific researcher and writer, Sven Anders
Hedin of Sweden led several expeditions into Central Asia, compiling ex-
tensive scientific data about the region and its history. In addition to provid-
ing essential information for the detailed mapping of Central Asia, Hedin is
known for his explorations of the Gobi Desert and the discovery of several
important archaeological sites.
Hedin was born on February 19, 1865, in Stockholm, Sweden, to
Ludvig Hedin, the chief architect of the city, and Anna Berlin Hedin. As
a boy, Sven was attracted to exploration through the exploits of Finnish-
Swedish mineralogist and explorer Adolf Erik Nordenskjöld, who had tra-
versed the Northeast Passage along the Arctic shores of Europe and Siberia.
When Nordenskjöld returned to Sweden in 1880, Sven’s father took the
boy to see him. Hedin later said that he remembered the scene, with its
huge crowds and jubilant celebration, for the rest of his life.
Hedin’s first journey of any distance came after his graduation from
high school, when he traveled to the Russian city of Baku to tutor a Swedish
boy. Located at the foot of the Caucasus Mountains on the Caspian Sea,
Baku gave Hedin his first taste of Central Asia, which became another life-
long attraction. Hedin entered Stockholm University in 1886, followed by
Uppsala University, where he took up the study of geography. From 1889
to 1890, he attended the University of Berlin for advanced studies under
Germany’s leading geographers.
Bookish and small in stature, Hedin appeared to be more the scholar
than the adventurer, but he proved effective at combining both interests.
1865: Born on February 19 in Stockholm, Sweden
1890: Begins serving as an interpreter for a Swedish diplomatic mission to Persia
1894–1897: Makes his first major expedition to Central Asia
1900: Discovers the ancient Chinese city of Loulan
1904: Publishes Scientific Results of a Journey in Central Asia, 1899–1902
1906–1908: Undertakes his third expedition to Central Asia
1926: Organizes the Sino-Swedish expedition to northwestern China
1952: Dies on November 26 in Stockholm
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From 1890 to 1891, he served as an interpreter
for a Swedish diplomatic mission to Persia (now
Iran). From Tehran, he was able to travel to
Mount Damāvand, where he measured the el-
evation of the peak (his figures turned out to be
inaccurate) and recorded the weather patterns
and vegetation.
Leaving Tehran again in September 1890,
Hedin traveled east across northern Persia and
then turned north, reaching Kashgar, the west-
ernmost town in China, in December. From
there, he traveled to Lake Issyk Kul in Russia,
where he visited the grave of Nikolai Przhevalsky,
a famous Russian explorer whom the young
Swede greatly admired; two years earlier, Hedin
had translated Przhevalsky’s works.
From this trip, Hedin learned much about
how to organize a major expedition, including
the bringing together of equipment, servants,
guides, and the necessary animals.
Central Asian Expeditions
Hedin went on to organize and lead three major expeditions to Central
Asia. During the first, which lasted from 1894 to 1897, he attempted to
climb Muztagata in the Pamir Mountains, but failed. (Known as “the roof of
the world,” the Pamirs of Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, and Pakistan
are among the highest mountains anywhere.) Nevertheless, he made valu-
able observations of the region’s lakes, streams, and glaciers and became the
first to map the Muztagata massif.
Te highlight of Hedin’s second expedition, from 1899 to 1902, was his
discovery of the remains of the ancient oasis city of Loulan in the Gashun
Gobi desert of northwestern China. Te expedition had found an old river-
bed called Kuruk Daria and followed it for more than 150 miles (240 kilo-
meters), when a guide inadvertently came across the remains of Loulan, an
important outpost on the ancient Silk Road well before the Christian era.
At the site, Hedin uncovered the ruins of houses, ancient Chinese writings,
and other remains and sent them to archaeologists for further study.
Returning to Loulan in 1901, Hedin discovered a dried-up lake bed.
Research led him to conclude that in approximately 330 c.e. there had
been a dramatic change in a northern lake, called Lop Nur, and the Tarim
River, whose lower branch was Kuruk Daria. Te river’s water no longer
flowed in the same bed, and the northern Lop Nur had dried up; in the
Swedish explorer
and travel writer
Sven Hedin made a
host of notable dis-
coveries, including
the Trans-Himalaya
Mountains and the
ancient city of Lou-
lan in northwestern
China, on three
major expeditions to
Central Asia. (Time
& Life Pictures/
Getty Images)
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
meantime, two new lakes had formed, creating a southern Lop Nur. Te
shift in the river, he concluded, had caused the inhabitants to abandon
According to Hedin, the Tarim and its tributaries had changed course
because of the collection in their waters of silt from windblown desert sand
over hundreds of years. Because the desert regions to the north had been
decimated by windstorms, he maintained, the elevation of the land had de-
clined and the bottoms of the southern Lop Nur lakes were rising. Tus, he
predicted, the water eventually would return to its previous beds. Hedin’s
theory was proven accurate in 1921, when Kuruk Daria again filled with
water and the northern Lop Nur was restored. (Kuruk Daria dried up again
in 1976 after being dammed for irrigation; this caused both the northern
and southern Lop Nur to dissipate.)
In 1903, Hedin published a travel book, Central Asia and Tibet, about
his first expedition. Te work proved highly popular and was translated
into a number of foreign languages. Te expedition, and in particular the
discovery of Loulan, earned Hedin widespread acclaim from the scientific
K?< J @ C B IF8;
|ooodod io tho socood cooto|y 9%:%<%, tho tovo ot |oolao sat ast|ido tho Sil| |oad io vhat is
oov tho Xiojiaog Aotooomoos |ogioo ot oo|thvosto|o Chioa. 1ho Sil| |oad vas oot a sioglo
tho|ooghta|o, bot a shittiog ootvo|| ot t|ado |ootos-ostablishod a|oood luu 9%:%<%-that
cooooctod Chioa vith tho Middlo |ast. 1ho maio |ooto oxtoodod thoosaods ot milos t|om
Chaogao ¦modo|o Xiaoj io Chioa vost to Aotioch io 1o||oy.
Althoogh tho ootvo|| vas oamod to| tho µ|ocioos commodity ot sil|, vhich vas ca||iod oo
it t|om ooo cootiooot to aootho|, maoy otho| itoms vo|o t|aosµo|tod aloog its vast distaocos.
Soldom, thoogh, did ooo mo|chaot o| ca|avao t|avol tho Sil| |oads ooti|o loogth. |atho|, a so|ios
ot ca|avaos voold bo osod to t|aosµo|t goods.
1ho va|ioos |ootos ot tho Sil| |oad t|avo|sod doso|ts aod high moootaios, to|ciog t|avolo|s
to ovo|como a vido |aogo ot to||aio aod voatho| cooditioos |aogiog t|om saodsto|ms to t|igid
tomµo|ato|os. |ooto|s vho livod io tho doso|ts aod stoµµos voold |aid tho ca|avaos, aod tovos
aloog tho |ooto domaodod µaymoots to| µassago. All io all, it vas a daogo|oos aod oxµoosivo vay
to t|ado.
|ovo|tholoss, tho Sil| |oad th|ivod to| somo l,!uu yoa|s, ootil it vas soµo|sodod by soa
t|avol. |o| ovoo thoogh t|ado|s |is|od thoi| livos aod to|tooos aloog tho |oad, tho t|atnc botvooo
tho |ast aod tho vost vas highly µ|ontablo. 1ho voalthy ot |o|oµo aod vosto|o Asia vo|o
villiog to µay haodsomo µ|icos to| dosi|od Chiooso µ|odocts, soch as sil| aod µo|colaio.
1ho t|ado did littlo to oo|ich tho omµi|os ot tho timo, bot it did oo|ich iodividoal mo|chaots
aod commooitios. Mo|oovo|, t|ado aloog tho Sil| |oad oocoo|agod tho oxchaogo ot idoas, a|t,
aod tochoology. Amoog otho| thiogs, tho Sil| |oad holµod sµ|oad boddhism t|om oo|tho|o
lodia to Chioa.
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
community. Britain’s Royal Geographical Society awarded him its Victoria
Medal for “the highest record of geographical research.”
Hedin’s next major publication, from 1904 to 1907, was Scientific
Results of a Journey in Central Asia, 1899–1902, totaling six volumes (the
last two were compiled by contributors). Te set included a map show-
ing the physiographic features of the Chechen and Lop deserts—the sand,
clay, and water sources—along with detailed information about the Tarim
River and the formation and movement of sand dunes in the surrounding
desert. Te third and fourth volumes focused on Tibet. Again, the Royal
Geographical Society singled out the Swede for his fortitude in exploring
Central Asia and his thoroughness in reporting the results.
Hedin’s third expedition began in 1906 and ended in 1908. With
a caravan of camels, servants, and two cavalrymen, he journeyed across
Persia. In the course of this expedition, Hedin located the sources of the
Indus, Brahmaputra, and Sutlej rivers in western Tibet. For the Indus,
he pinpointed the springs from which the headwaters flowed. He re -
count ed his journey in Transhimalaya (1909), a two-volume work (later
supplemented by a third volume) containing maps of the region and a
detailed narrative of what he had found in the Tibetan highlands. In it,
he wrote,
Among the results of my voyage are two hundred specimens of rocks, fossils
from two places, 68 panoramas, 162 sheets of maps, over 100 portraits of
natives, and between 400 and 500 photographs.
During the period 1913–1918, Hedin immersed himself in national
conservative politics, advocating the rearmament of Sweden. He also found
time to write Southern Tibet (1917–1922) a multivolume work on the phys-
ical geography of a large part of Central Asia published between 1917 and
1922. It was a land, he noted, that had been inadequately explored before
his journey. He wrote,
As to the Central Transhimalaya, it was absolutely unknown. . . . I went out
to fill up the blanks, so far as my forces allowed.
Notable details included the altitude of each of the 482 camps made
by Hedin in western Tibet. Contributors to volume six analyzed Hedin’s
1,200 rock samples. Other contributors analyzed Hedin’s meteorological
observations—such as air pressure, humidity, and wind speed—and his as-
tronomical data. Te London Times stated, “For our latter-day geographi-
cal knowledge of Tibet, we owe more to the author of this work than to any
other explorer.”
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Sino-Swedish Expedition
Resuming his explorations, Hedin organized and led the Sino-Swedish
Expedition of 1926–1935, which focused on the northwestern provinces of
China. Tis was much more of a group effort than his previous expeditions.
Different teams of scientists established weather stations and collected ar-
chaeological, botanical, geological, and ethnographic information.
Teir work was hampered, however, by failure to obtain permission
from the Chinese government to conduct airplane flyovers. Hedin himself
was taken captive by a Chinese general and briefly detained as an enemy spy.
Nevertheless, the work of the scientific staff yielded several major reports—
fifty-four volumes published between 1937 and 1982, with others still in
Between 1931 and 1940, Hedin wrote four books for general readers,
mainly about the Gobi Desert. Perhaps because of his affinity for German
culture and conservative politics, or perhaps out of his desire to see Soviet
communism contained, Hedin was a firm supporter of Nazi Germany,
and he maintained personal contacts with Adolf Hitler and other high
German officials. He did use his correspondence with them to request par-
dons for those condemned to death and the release of concentration camp
In his last years, Hedin, who lived with three family members in a house
in Stockholm, wrote his political memoirs and an autobiography. He died
from a viral infection on November 26, 1952. He left behind a massive
collection of published works totaling about 30,000 pages and a legacy of
having scientifically revealed “the heart of Asia.”
Further Reading
Haslund, Henning. Men and Gods in Mongolia. London: K. Paul, Trench,
Trubner, 1935.
Hedin, Sven. My Life as an Explorer. New York: Kodansha International,
Kish, George. To the Heart of Asia: Te Life of Sven Hedin. Ann Arbor:
University of Michigan Press, 1984.
See also:
Nordenskjöld, Adolf
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
HENSON, MATTHEW 18661955
An African American explorer known for his technical skills, Matthew
Henson provided crucial leadership during Robert E. Peary’s historic expe-
dition to the North Pole in 1909. Henson accompanied Peary on all eight
of the latter’s Artic voyages and was selected, along with four Eskimos, for
the final run to the North Polar regions in April 1909.
Matthew Henson was born on August 8, 1866, in rural Charles County,
Maryland, about 40 miles (65 kilometers) south of Washington, D.C. His
parents, who had been free blacks in the era of slavery, struggled to make
ends meet as tenant farmers. When Matthew was still a child, the fam-
ily moved to Washington, where jobs were more available. After the death
of his mother, however, Matthew and his siblings were sent to live with a
nearby uncle. Matthew completed the sixth grade and then dropped out
of school. When his uncle could no longer support him, twelve-year-old
Henson obtained work as a cabin boy on the merchant ship Katie Hines. He
had been attracted to the sea by stories he had heard from sailors who ate at
a restaurant where he worked.
Henson worked on the Katie Hines for five years, during which time
he traveled to such lands as Japan, China, the Philippines, France, and
Spain—exotic locales for a young American. Te captain of the ship took a
special liking to him, taught him about navigation, and encouraged him to
read. When the captain died, however, Henson left the ship. He worked at
a variety of jobs for the next several years.
While employed at a men’s clothing store, Henson met Robert E. Peary,
who was planning to lead an engineering team to Nicaragua to survey a
route for a canal through Central America. Peary asked Henson to accom-
pany him as his servant, and Henson agreed. Before long, he was managing
Peary’s labor camp of nearly 150 men.
Peary next asked Henson to join him on an expedition to Greenland.
Tey arrived there with a team of explorers in 1891. Teir goal was to cross
the island’s northern ice cap. Henson learned from the local Inuit people
how to hunt, drive a dogsled, and otherwise survive in the harsh terrain. As
Peary later said, “He was more of an Eskimo than some of them.”
1866: Born on August 8 in Charles County, Maryland
1891: Arrives in Greenland with American explorer Robert E. Peary
1906: With Peary, comes within 175 miles (280 kilometers) of the North
1909: With Peary, reaches the North Pole on April 6
1912: Publishes autobiography, A Negro Explorer at the North Pole
1955: Dies on March 10 in New York City
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Upon their return to New York in 1892—having crossed the ice cap—
Peary praised Henson’s role in the mission (in somewhat condescending
terms): “Henson, my faithful colored boy, hard worker and apt at anything
. . . showed himself . . . the equal of others in the party.”
Henson accompanied Peary on a succession of subsequent expedi-
tions to Greenland, including one to retrieve the three Cape York mete-
orites, which collided with Earth more than 10,000 years ago and whose
total known weight is 58.2 tons. In 1886, they sledged deep into the inte-
rior of Greenland. In 1891 and 1892, they mapped the northern coast of
Greenland. On the expedition of 1898–1902, their fourth, Peary, Henson,
and four Inuits were overwhelmed by harsh conditions and were able to
travel only 82 miles (130 kilometers) in sixteen days. On the expedition
of 1905–1906, they came within 175 miles (280 kilometers) of the North
Pole before blizzards and cracking ice sheets forced them to quit.
Peary and Henson set out once again on March 1, 1909, leaving
Ellesmere Island in northern Canada accompanied by four Inuits. On April
3, Henson and his dog team hit thin ice. He fell into the frigid ocean but
was saved by one of the Inuits. Peary, who could no longer continue on foot,
completed the journey on dogsled. Friction between the two men devel-
oped in the latter part of the expedition, most likely over who had reached
the North Pole first. Te two men apparently had agreed that Peary would
arrive first, but Henson and his Inuit companions inadvertently traveled
ahead and arrived some forty-five minutes before Peary—who seethed.
From that point on, Peary said little to Henson and kept him at a dis-
tance. On the three-week return trip to New York, Henson later wrote,
Matthew Henson,
who accompanied
Robert Peary on
the first success-
ful expedition to
the North Pole in
1909, had a falling
out with his fellow
explorer over who
arrived first. It took
years for Henson
to win recognition
for his crucial role
in the mission.
(Granger Collection,
New York)
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Peary said little to him: “Not a word about the North Pole or anything con-
nected with it.” At a special ceremony in Washington, D.C., the National
Geographic Society awarded medals to Peary and his white colleagues but
ignored Henson (and, for that matter, the Inuits).
Ultimately, however, Henson received the recognition he was due. Te
prestigious Explorers Club invited him to join in 1937, and the National
Geographic Society awarded him the Hubbard Medal in 2000. Peary him-
self offered words of praise in the foreword to Henson’s autobiography, A
Negro Explorer at the North Pole, which was published in 1912.
Matthew Henson died in New York City on March 10, 1955. His body
was removed to Arlington National Cemetery in 1988 and interred near
the monument to Peary there. Although some have claimed that Peary and
Henson never reached the North Pole, but got lost en route and missed it
by hundreds of miles, most historians accept their claim to being the first
there. And clearly, Henson’s contribution was essential. Peary’s comments
before their final assault on the North Pole proved correct. “Henson must
go with me,” Peary said. “I cannot make it without him.”
Further Reading
Counter, Allen S. North Pole Legacy: Black, White and Eskimo. Amherst:
University of Massachusetts Press, 1991.
Henson, Matthew. A Negro Explorer at the North Pole. New York: Cooper
Square, 2001.
HEYERDAHL, THOR 19142002
A Norwegian anthropologist, ethnologist, and adventurer, Tor Heyerdahl
challenged conventional wisdom by asserting—and attempting to dem-
onstrate—that ancient civilizations spread through extended transoce-
anic expeditions. Heyerdahl gained international fame for his 4,300-mile
(6,900-kilometer) raft voyage from South America to the Polynesian
See also:
Peary, Robert E.
1914: Born on October 6 in Larvik, Norway
1936: Travels to the Marquesas Islands in the South Pacific
1939: Makes archaeological discoveries in British Columbia
1947: Sails on the balsa raft Kon-Tiki from Peru to Polynesia
1950: Publishes best-selling account of the journey, Kon-Tiki
1970: Sails the Sumerian-style papyrus boat Ra II from Morocco to
1977–1978: Journeys aboard the Tigris, a reed boat, from Iraq to Pakistan
2002: Dies on April 17 in Italy
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Islands in 1947 to support his theory that na-
tive South Americans could have settled the
South Pacific.
Tor Heyerdahl was born on October
6, 1914, in Larvik, Norway. His father, also
named Tor, owned a brewery; his mother,
Alison Lyng, studied anthropology, enthu-
siastically endorsed Darwinism, and was the
chairwoman of the Larvik Museum. She
encouraged Tor to read books about the
South Sea Islands and animals, and often
took him on trips to an isolated cabin in the
mountains above Lillehammer. Whether
acquainting him with the outdoors or direct-
ing his reading, his mother was a dominating
force; according to one biographer, she “took charge of his upbringing.”
Interestingly, Heyerdahl grew up fearing water after the drowning death
of a schoolmate. He did not overcome his fear until age 22, when he fell into
a raging river in Tahiti and swam to safety.
At the University of Oslo from 1933 to 1936, Heyerdahl studied zool-
ogy and geography. He also made friends with Bjarne Kroepelin, a wealthy
Oslo wine merchant who had once lived on Tahiti and had compiled a large
library. Heyerdahl pored over Kroepelin’s books and papers on native soci-
ety and culture on the island.
A New Teory
In 1936, Heyerdahl decided to leave the University of Oslo before graduat-
ing so he could undertake a study of the Marquesas Islands in the South
Pacific. His goal was to investigate indigenous animal species to determine
their origins and methods of survival.
Shortly after arriving with his bride, Liv Coucheron, on Fatu Hiva,
Heyerdahl found himself more interested in the native human culture than
in animal life. He learned the local language and legends, including the story
of an ancient god-king named Tiki who was said to have brought the set-
tlers of the Marquesas from “the east.”
Heyerdahl began to consider how the Polynesian people might have ar-
rived on the remote Pacific islands. His research, including a study of stone
monuments, suggested that the islands had been settled by people from pre-
Inca Peru. In 1937, after spending a year with Liv on Fatu Hiva—“living as
Adam and Eve,” as he put it—she and Heyerdahl returned to Norway where
he published a book about his experience, On the Hunt for Paradise (1938).
With his work now heavily oriented toward anthropology, in 1939
Tor Heyerdahl
gained international
renown for a series
of transoceanic ex-
peditions to support
his theory—based
on myths, language,
and archaeologcal re-
mains—that ancient
civilizations spread
by long-distance sea
travel. (ullstein bild/
Granger Collection,
New York)
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Heyerdahl discovered rock carvings made by prehistoric Pacific Northwest
Indian tribes in British Columbia that bore a striking resemblance to
those of the ancient Polynesians. Te discovery lent support to a theory
he had been working on: that members of these Indian tribes had settled
in Polynesia. Heyerdahl had hypothesized that Polynesia had been settled
partly by people from pre-Inca Peru and partly by Indian fishing people
from the Pacific Coast of North America.
Heyerdahl’s emerging theory ran counter to the prevailing scientific
view, according to which Polynesia had been settled by Asians who had
journeyed slowly—island by island—from west to east across the expanse
of the Pacific Ocean. As he put it in a manuscript written shortly before he
traveled to British Columbia,
Only in the islands farthest to the east—Easter Island and the Marquesas
group—were they [the Northwest Indians] forced to conquer an earlier
culture—people, probably offshoots from the highly civilized Indo-American
branch in Peru.
Heyerdahl next conducted research in Peru and found more evidence
to support his theory. He heard the legend of a fair-skinned people who, in
the time before the Incas, had worshipped a sun god named Kon-Tiki. A
competing tribe was said to have killed most of the fair-skinned people in
about 500 c.e., though a few of the latter escaped. Heyerdahl surmised that
it was these fair-skinned survivors who set out west across the ocean and
colonized several uninhabited Polynesian islands. He theorized that they
sailed on rafts made of balsa logs and, after arriving, carved stone statues
(such as the ones he had seen in the Marquesas) similar to those found in
When the Spanish arrived in Peru in the sixteenth century, Heyerdahl
learned, the Incas told them that colossal monuments there had been built
by “white gods” who once had lived in the region. And when Europeans ar-
rived in the Polynesian Islands in the mid-1700s, Heyerdahl was told, they
were shocked to find fair-skinned people living among those with golden
brown skin. Indeed, when Jakob Roggeveen discovered Easter Island in
1722 he was surprised to find fair-skinned natives.
Voyage of the Kon-Tiki
With the outbreak of World War II, Heyerdahl served as a parachutist for
the free Norwegian forces. When the war ended, he tried to get a publisher
interested in his manuscript about the connection between Polynesian so-
ciety and the Americas, but found no interest. He resolved to demonstrate
how ancient peoples could have made just such a connection.
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
9L@ C ;@ E> K?< KON- TI KI
vhoo 1ho| |oyo|dahl sot oot to boild thoBfe$K`b`#ho vaotod it mado t|om balsa logs, as |atts
io µ|o-loca Amo|ica had booo. Gottiog tho logs vas oot oasy.
|i|st, |oyo|dahl t|avolod to a jooglo tovo callod Qoivodo, at tho toot ot tho Aodos io
|coado|, vho|o ho ha|vostod tho logs t|om a µlaotatioo. 1ho logs thoo vo|o t|aosµo|tod
dovo|ivo| to tho ha|bo| ot Goayaqoil. ||om tho|o, thoy vo|o ta|oo by coastal stoamo| to tho
soaµo|t tovo ot Callao, |o|o.
At Callao, |oyo|dahl toood himsolt io a c|ovdod ha|bo| vith oo |oom to| boildiog tho |att.
|o|tooatoly, |o|os µ|osidoot allovod tho Bfe$K`b` to bo boilt oo a oaval baso. |oyo|dahl lato|
dosc|ibod tho coost|octioo ot tho |att.
|ioo ot tho thic|ost logs vo|o chosoo. . . . |ooµ g|oovos vo|o cot io tho vood to
µ|ovoot tho |oµos vhich vo|o to tastoo thom aod tho vholo |att togotho| t|om
sliµµiog. |ot a sioglo sµi|o, oail o| vi|o |oµo vas osod io tho vholo coost|octioo. . . .
1ho loogost log, 4! toot loog, vas laid io tho middlo aod µ|ojoctod a loog vay at
both oods.
1ho sidos ot tho |att moaso|od ìu toot ¦9 moto|sj loog. Ooco tho thic|ost logs vo|o boood
togotho|, thiooo| logs vo|o µlacod aod tastoood c|ossviso ovo| thom, aod a doc| vas attachod
atoµ µa|t ot tho so|taco. 1ho|o also vas a small, oµoo cabio aod, to|va|d ot it, tvo masts mado
t|om maog|ovo vood. As |oyo|dahl v|oto,
1ho vholo coost|octioo vas a taithtol coµy ot tho old vossols io |o|o aod |coado|
oxcoµt to| tho lov sµlash-boa|ds io tho bovs, vhich lato| µ|ovod to bo ooti|oly
Te 45-foot (14-meter)
balsa raft Kon-Tiki,
modeled after sailing
vessels used by the
ancient Inca, carried its
six-member crew across
the Pacific Ocean from
Peru to Polynesia in 101
days. (Keystone/Stringer/
Hulton Archive/Getty
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.






















(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
To do so, Heyerdahl and his team built a raft like those known to have
been used by pre-Inca Indians and determined to sail it west from Peru
across the Pacific Ocean. Coconut juice in hand, he christened the raft Kon-
Tiki and set sail on April 28, 1947, from Callao, Peru, with five fellow ad-
venturers. On August 7, having sailed 4,300 miles (6,900 kilometers) in 101
days, the team landed safely on a reef at Raroia in the Tuamotu Islands.
Teir exercise in what has come to be called “experimental archaeology”
thus proved that ancient peoples could have made just such a journey and
dispelled the long-held notion that a balsa-log raft would absorb too much
water on an extended voyage and sink. Based on the expedition, Heyerdahl
wrote a book titled Kon-Tiki (1950), which became a best seller and was
printed in fifty languages. A documentary film of the same name, compiled
from footage shot by the crew, won an Academy Award in 1951.
With the end of the Kon-Tiki expedition, Heyerdahl reiterated and ex-
panded his thesis about the settlement of Polynesia. Te region, he claimed,
was settled by a people who had sailed from Peru aboard rafts like the Kon-
Tiki. Sometime around 1100 b.c.e., he surmised, they were overrun by
American Indians from the Pacific Northwest.
Heyerdahl’s research into the oral history of people on Easter Island
was said to support his view, as did archaeological evidence. Moreover, he
stressed, ocean currents lent further support, sweeping from the Pacific
Northwest, along the coasts of the Americas, and into the South Pacific.
Contrary to the claims of some scientists, Heyerdahl never denied that
Polynesians came from Asia. But they did so, he said, via the Pacific
Northwest—first sailing east across the far Northern Pacific, following the
ocean currents to North America, and then following the ocean currents
south and west into the South Pacific.
In 1953, Heyerdahl journeyed with two anthropologists to the
Galápagos Islands, located in the Pacific Ocean some 600 miles (950 ki-
lometers) off the coast of South America. Tere they found nearly 2,000
ceramic sherds from pottery created before the arrival of the Spanish and
resembling pottery made in South America before the Incas.
Easter Island and Voyages of the Ra and Ra II
From 1955 to 1956, Heyerdahl organized and led a team called the
Norwegian Archaeological Expedition to Easter Island, where they en -
gaged in excavations that led to three massive scientific reports and a popular
book by Heyerdahl titled Aku-Aku (1958). One anthropologist described
the new book as “science, adventure, human warmth, excitement, drama on
a high level.”
From his research, Heyerdahl theorized that Easter Island was original-
ly settled by the “Long Ears” from South America, who were later displaced
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
by the “Short Ears,” or Polynesians. According to Heyerdahl, this explains
why Roggeveen found fair-skinned people living among the Polynesians,
but when James Cook arrived in 1774 he found almost all Polynesians.
In 1969, Heyerdahl built another ancient-style vessel, a papyrus ship
called the Ra, which he intended to sail across the Atlantic Ocean from
Morocco to the Americas. Te purpose was to demonstrate the seaworthi-
ness of reed boats and thereby show how ancient mariners, such as those
from Egypt, could have crossed the ocean, settled the Americas, and found-
ed the Aztec and Inca civilizations. Such a migration, Heyerdahl believed,
could explain why the temples of ancient Peru resemble those of ancient
Although the Ra collapsed about 600 miles (950 kilometers) short of
its destination of Barbados, a sturdier vessel the following year, the Ra II,
successfully completed the journey. While in the Atlantic, Heyerdahl sam-
pled the ocean waters for signs of pollution. He became an outspoken critic
of the industrial pollution of the world’s oceans, especially from oil. “We
seem to believe the ocean is endless,” he said, “but we use it like a sewer.”
Heyerdahl recounted the reed boat voyage in Ra Expeditions (1971).
Aboard the Tigris
In late 1977, Heyerdahl undertook another expedition, this one to show
how the ancient Sumerians of Mesopotamia could have engaged in trade
and migration with the civilizations of the Indus River Valley. In another
reed boat, the Tigris, he made his way from Iraq to Pakistan through the
Persian Gulf and then headed southwest across the Arabian Sea toward the
African coast. In April 1978, however, entry into the Red Sea was blocked
due to wars in the Horn of Africa. Heyerdahl declared the expedition over,
burned the Tigris at Djibouti in an act of protest, and wrote an open letter
to the secretary-general of the United Nations “against the inhumane ele-
ments in the world.”
In his book Early Man and the Ocean (1978), Heyerdahl directly chal-
lenged the assumptions of mainstream academics about early sea travel. A
watertight hull, he wrote, was in fact less secure than a wash-through bot-
tom, a feature on the Kon-Tiki. Moreover, he contended, a bigger ship with
greater height above sea level was not necessarily more secure than a small
one, and coastal travel was more dangerous than sailing across the open
Heyerdahl later investigated mounds on the Maldive Islands and
theorized that people from Sri Lanka had settled there. He stirred contro-
versy yet again in 2002, claiming in his book Jaketen pa Odin (Te Search
for Odin) that a tribe from Azov in Russia had migrated to Denmark and
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
settled Sweden in the first century c.e. Tis conclusion was based on an ar-
chaeological expedition he conducted in 2001, but critics called the research
Tor Heyerdahl died of cancer on April 17, 2002, while vacationing in
Italy. His findings remain controversial, and modern genetic research has
called into question his theory regarding American Indian settlement of
Polynesia. According to Heyerdahl, though, his expeditions proved that
early human beings could have traveled thousands of miles across open
oceans with the vessels they had at hand. He said, “I feel that the burden of
proof now rests with those who claim the oceans were . . . a factor in isolat-
ing civilizations.”
Further Reading
Evensberget, Snorre. Tor Heyerdahl: Te Explorer. Oslo, Norway: J.M.
Stenersens Forlag A/S, 1994.
Heyerdahl, Tor. Green Was the Earth on the Seventh Day. New York: Random
House, 1996.
Kon-Tiki Museum.
Ralling, Christopher. Te Kon-Tiki Man: Tor Heyerdahl. London: BBC
Books, 1990.
G8:@ = @ : F:< 8E :LII< EKJ
Ot all tho vo|lds ocoaos, tho |acinc is by ta| tho la|gost-iodood, it is la|go| thao all ot tho
otho|s combiood. Coo|siog th|oogh it, mo|oovo|, is a comµlox ot co||oots that a|o c|ocial io
doto|mioiog tho |ootos ta|oo by oa|ly |o|oµoao oxµlo|o|s aod, acco|diog to 1ho| |oyo|dahl,
vo|o imµo|taot io tho aocioot sottlomoot ot |olyoosia.
vhoo |o|oµoao oxµlo|o|s sailod ac|oss tho |acinc Ocoao, thoy gooo|ally t|avolod t|om oast
to vost, tolloviog tho µ|ovailiog co||oots. lt, oµoo |oachiog tho vosto|o |acinc, tho oxµlo|o|s
vaotod to |oto|o to tho Amo|icas, thoy gooo|ally too| a oo|tho|o |ooto that coiocidod vith
tho |o|o Shi|o ¦¦aµaoj Co||oot. 1his ûovod t|om ¦aµao oast to tho Alootiao lslaods aod thoo
soothoast to tho |acinc |o|thvost. boc|iog soch co||oots vas ditncolt io tho sailiog vossols ot
tho timo.
Acco|diog to 1ho| |oyo|dahl, aocioot Asiaos voold havo ta|oo tho |o|o Shi|o Co||oot to
|o|th Amo|ica. ||om tho|o, thoy voold havo tollovod tho |o|th |qoato|ial Co||oot ioto vhat is
callod tho ¨|olyoosiao 1|iaoglo,¨ vhoso aµox is |avaii io tho oo|th aod vhoso baso is to|mod by
|ov zoalaod to tho vost aod |asto| lslaod to tho oast.
||o-loca µooµlos joo|ooyiog t|om Sooth Amo|ica voold havo tollovod tho Sooth |qoato|ial
Co||oot ioto tho hoa|t ot tho t|iaoglo occoµiod by tho Ma|qoosas, 1oamoto, Socioty, aod |oji
islaods. lt vas this co||oot that |oyo|dahl tollovod io his voyago oo boa|d tho Bfe$K`b`%
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
HORNER, JOHN R. 1946 
Te American paleontologist John R. “Jack” Horner has revolutionized his
field with a massive number of fossil discoveries and the conclusions he has
drawn from them. Among other breakthrough accomplishments, he dis-
covered a new dinosaur genus, Maiasaura, and was the first to suggest that
some dinosaurs cared for and fed their young.
Horner was born on June 15, 1946, in Shelby, Montana, to John and
Miriam Horner. He did poorly in school because of dyslexia, a condition
undiagnosed until after his childhood. As Horner later recalled,
No one had any expectations of me becoming a scientist on account of my
being so bad in school. Every year my mother called the teachers to see if I
was passing to the next grade. I really don’t think anyone had any expectation
that I would be anything more than a gas station attendant.
At any early age, however, he had a strong interest in dinosaurs. “My
mother took me on trips to visit areas where dinosaurs came from because
she just liked to sightsee,” he later wrote. At age eight, he discovered his first
dinosaur bone.
Horner was drafted into the U.S. Marines in 1966 and spent the next two
years in Vietnam. Upon his return, he attended the University of Montana
for seven years, attempting to complete a college degree in geology and zool-
ogy. Having a hard time maintaining his grades, he finally gave up on college
in 1973 and entered the family gravel and sand business. Two years later,
however, largely on the strength of his senior thesis in college, the Museum
of Natural History at Princeton University hired Horner to clean and as-
semble fossils collected from digs. Tat job turned out to be a crucial turning
point in Horner’s life because it allowed his talent for paleontology to be rec-
ognized and provided him with an important entry into the field of science.
Ten, in 1977, while back in Montana, Horner found what his col-
leagues at the museum confirmed to be a dinosaur egg. Te following
year, he and a friend, Bob Makela, made a monumental discovery. While
searching the Two Medicine Formation at Willow Creek in Montana, they
1946: Born in Shelby, Montana, on June 15
1977: Finds a dinosaur egg in Montana
1978: Finds a nest at Willow Creek, Montana, that contains eggshell
fragments and 3 foot-long (1-meter-long) dinosaur bones
1986: Receives a “genius grant” from the MacArthur Foundation
2000: Finds the largest collection of T. Rex fossils to date at Fort Peck
Reservoir in Montana
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unearthed a bowl-shaped nest complete with eggshell fragments and 3 foot-
long (1-meter-long) dinosaur bones. Tis was the first such nest, or egg
clutch, ever found in the Americas, and the fossils turned out to be a new
species of hadrosaurs, a duck-billed dinosaur from about 75 million years
ago. With funding from the Princeton museum, Horner resumed his ex-
ploration at Willow Creek, where he found more nests and the remains of
numerous adult hadrosaurs. He then received additional funding from the
National Science Foundation.
While Horner was adept at finding fossils, he also proved skillful at
interpreting them. He concluded that hadrosaurs stayed in their nests for
several months and that their movement within the nests explained the
crushed shells. Furthermore, Horner maintained, the young hadrosaurs
were raised and fed by one or both parents, 30-foot-long (9-meter-long)
creatures he designated Maiasaura peeblesorum.
At the same site, which he called Egg Mountain, Horner also
found intact hypsilophodontid eggs with fully formed fetuses in them.
K?< HL< JK@ FE F= ;@ EFJ 8LI >IFNK?
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Hypsilophodontids were small, gazelle-like dinosaurs, possibly the ances-
tors of hadrosaurs. Tis discovery was another first in the annals of paleon-
tology. Horner called this new species Orodromeus makelai.
In 1986, Horner received a “genius grant” from the MacArthur
Foundation and an honorary doctorate from the University of Montana. In
2000–2001, work ing at Fort Peck Reservoir in Montana, Horner found the
largest Tyrannosaurus Rex to date. Te giant meat eater is estimated to have
weighed between 10 and 13 tons (9 and 12 metric tons). Since then, Horner
has joined with French paleontologists in studying fossilized dinosaur tis-
sue. His findings have helped confirm the theory of some paleontologists,
beginning with John Ostrom, that certain dinosaurs were warm-blooded.
Horner has become especially known for his research on dinosaur growth.
He has been trying to figure out how quickly dinosaurs grew and how long
they lived.
Horner has published more than 100 professional papers, six popu-
lar books, and numerous articles. He was the technical advisor for three
Hollywood movies: Jurassic Park, Te Lost World ( Jurassic Park II), and
Jurassic Park III, ensuring that the dinosaurs looked as accurate as possible
based on the scientific evidence of the time. He teaches at Montana State
University in Bozeman and is the curator of paleontology at the Museum of
the Rockies. In fact, Horner has compiled an impressive list of accomplish-
ments for someone who said of his early years, “When I was a kid I thought
I was a real idiot, and I’m sure everybody else thought so, too.”
Further Reading
Horner, John, and Edwin Dobb. Dinosaur Lives: Unearthing an Evolutionary
Saga. San Diego, CA: Harcourt Brace, 1998.
Patent, Dorothy Hinshaw. In Search of the Maiasaurs. New York: Benchmark
Books, 1999.
1769: Born in Berlin, Germany, on September 14
1790: Travels to England with George Forster, who had sailed the Pacific
with British explorer James Cook
1792: Hired by the Prussian government as a mine inspector
1799: With botanist Aimé Bonpland, sets sail for South America
1800: Explores the Orinoco River in Venezuela
1804: Returns to Paris and begins work on a thirty-volume account of his
1827: Becomes an advisor to the king of Prussia
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A giant in the field of natural history, the German scientist and explorer
Alexander von Humboldt made notable contributions to a variety of dis-
ciplines and, at the same time, pioneered a holistic view of nature. He was
also an active advocate of the popularization of science and among the first
to represent rigorous scientific data in graphic form.
Alexander von Humboldt was born in Berlin on September 14, 1769,
to Alexander George von Humboldt and Maria Elizabeth von Colomb, who
had inherited considerable wealth from a previous marriage. His father was
a major in the Prussian army and died when the youngster was only nine
years old. As a child, Alexander liked to collect plants, shells, and insects
but was frail and showed little indication he would be able to withstand the
rigorous expeditions he would engage in as an adult.
As a student at Göttingen University beginning in 1789, Humboldt
studied physics, chemistry, and geology. His interest in botany and explora-
tion was piqued as well by his friendship with George Forster, who had
sailed with British explorer Captain James Cook as the scientific illustrator
on Cook’s second voyage to the South Pacific. Te friendship with Forster
only intensified Humboldt’s desire to travel, and in 1790 he traveled with
Forster to England.
Mine Inspector
Two years later, Humboldt was hired as government mines inspector in
Franconia, Prussia. Tis proved to be a life-defining event for the young
man, helping to shape his scientific interests and expertise. In his capacity
as an inspector, he traveled extensively, studied vegetation and geographic
stratification, and designed improved breathing equipment for miners. In
1795, Humboldt traveled privately to the Swiss and French Alps, where he
studied geomagnetism and the effects of altitude and climate on plant life.
In 1796, at age twenty-seven, Humboldt inherited a significant sum
of money from his mother, which enabled him to quit his job and devote
himself to scientific exploration. From the start, he set his sights on creating
a science that would reflect the unity and diversity of nature. Tis type of
study, he believed, required exploration.
Humboldt had come to believe that the distribution of plants in a
particular location depends on environmental influences and that these, in
turn, shape human life. To understand how plants grow, he maintained, they
1829: Travels to Russia for geological studies of Siberia and the Ural Mountains
1845: Publishes his highly acclaimed five-volume work, Cosmos
1859: Dies on May 6 in Berlin
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have to be studied in their natural state. His research
in plant geography, moreover, was to be based on a
holistic perspective. He wrote,
[Te] observation of individual parts of trees or
grass is by no means to be considered plant geogra-
phy. Rather plant geography traces connections and
relations by which all plants are bound together
among themselves, designates in what lands they
are found, in what atmospheric conditions they live
. . . and describes the surface of the earth in which
humus is prepared.
Ultimately, Humboldt no longer classified
plants merely on the basis of their outward ap-
pearance, as had been the case since the time of
Linnaeus. Instead, he followed the recommendation
of German philosopher Immanuel Kant to classify
plants based on their appearance in nature and how
they relate to other plants.
Journey to the Americas
With French botanist Aimé Bonpland, Humboldt sailed to South America
in 1799, equipped with the latest in scientific instruments. By the time they
sailed, expeditions of discovery had become wedded with those of science,
with an ever-greater emphasis on recording and measuring natural phe-
nomena accurately and collecting specimens for study. In 1769, for example,
the year of Humboldt’s birth, the French naval officer and explorer Louis-
Antoine de Bougainville had brought discovery and science together in his
voyage to the South Pacific. Such was the case, too, with James Cook, whose
voyage was clearly a powerful inspiration to Humboldt.
As he and Bonpland readied to leave Europe, Humboldt wrote,
In a few hours we sail around Cape Finisterre. I shall collect plants and fossils
and make astronomic observations. But that’s not the main purpose of my
expedition—I shall try to find out how the forces of nature interact upon one
another and how the geographic environment influences plant and animal
life. In other words, I must find out about the unity of nature.
Humboldt and Bonpland reached Venezuela on July 16, 1799. From
there they sailed to Havana, Cuba, then back to Venezuela and overland
to Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru in a journey of five years’ duration. While
Te great German
naturalist Alexander
von Humboldt is
portrayed on his
five-year expedition
to South America
(1799–1804), col-
lecting specimens
along the Orinoco
River. (Granger
Collection, New York)
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
in South America in 1800, they traversed the Orinoco River and traveled
through a remote inland delta called the Casiquiare Canal. It was a danger-
ous trip through virtually unknown land teeming with alligators, jaguars,
and biting insects. Humboldt nevertheless mapped some 1,700 miles (2,750
kilometers) of the river, and the two explorers showed that the Orinoco and
the Amazon form a unified river system.
Humboldt climbed Mount Chimborazo (in modern-day Ecuador) to
an elevation of about 19,000 feet (5,800 meters), and at Quito he studied
several volcanoes, concluding that they were linked to subterranean fissures.
When he and Bonpland sailed to Mexico in 1803, Humboldt discovered and
traced the ocean current—which today bears his name—off the Peruvian
coast. From Mexico, he traveled again to Havana and then to Washington,
D.C., where he met President Tomas Jefferson, a fellow naturalist. He and
Jefferson exchanged scientific views and became good friends.
Humboldt and Bonpland returned to Paris in 1804, carrying a vast
amount of scientific information about the Americas. Humboldt had mea-
surements of the geomagnetic field, temperatures, and barometric pressure;
he had extensive maps; and he had a collection of 60,000 plants, many of
them previously unknown. Not long after his return, Humboldt told the
Paris Institute of his discovery that the earth’s magnetic force decreases in
strength from the poles to the equator.
Scientific Publications and Journey to Russia
Humboldt’s house in Paris became a gathering place for intellectual dis-
cussions. As much could be learned from a one-hour conversation with
the German naturalist as from reading several books. His renown spread
around the world, and he spent the next twenty-one years compiling thirty
volumes of material from his expedition to the Americas. Te work was
published in sections between 1807 and 1825, under the title Personal
Narrative of Travels to the Equinoctial Regions of the New Continent. It was
packed with tables, diagrams, maps, and measurements, testimony to his
exacting attention to detail. Te breadth and depth of his observations are
reflected in these varied statements:
I have just given a list of more than 200 tribes spread over a space a little
larger than France; these tribes believe themselves to be at least as foreign to
each other as the English, the Danes, and the Germans.
Venezuela is one of the countries in which the parallelism of the strata of
gneiss-granite, mica-slate and clay-slate, is most strongly marked. Te general
direction of these strata is N. 50
E., and the general inclination from 60

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Te movement of the barometer at Bogotá is of surprising regularity. . . .
[And] in the town of Mexico . . . the barometric heights scarcely differ from
2 to 2
millimeter during whole months.
Between 1814 and 1825, Humboldt also published a three-volume
work on his expedition for popular audiences. At the same time, he pio-
neered the use on maps of isothermal lines (or isolines), which connect
places that have the same atmospheric pressure or temperature. Tis makes
it possible to compare climates across regions.
Humboldt preferred living in Paris to Berlin, which he thought too
provincial, but in 1827 he returned there to serve as an advisor to the king
of Prussia. Te position provided him with a much-needed income, as his
travels and the expense of publishing his works had consumed much of his
wealth. Berliners welcomed Humboldt enthusiastically, packing the halls
where the scientist presented a series of lectures in 1827 and 1828. In the
latter year, Humboldt organized an international scientific conference.
In 1829, at the invitation of the czar of Russia, Humboldt explored east
into Siberia and followed up the trip with his three-volume Asie Centrale.
He advised the Russian government to set up weather stations to gather
climate data and data on magnetism. From the information collected, he
vhoo Aloxaodo| voo |omboldt t|avolod to Sooth Amo|ica io l/99, ho too| vith him a va|ioty
ot sciootinc iost|omoots that |oûoctod oov dovoloµmoots io maootacto|iog, as voll as tho
ioc|oasiog tocos ot oxµoditioos ot discovo|y oo |igo|oos sciootinc |osoa|ch. Amoog tho
iost|omoots |omboldt ca||iod vo|o.
l. Ch|ooomoto|-a µ|ocisioo timoµioco osod io doto|mioiog loogitodo.
2. 1hoodolito-osod to moaso|o ho|izootal aod vo|tical aoglos io so|voyiog, it had jost
bocomo a modo|o iost|omoot, io to|ms ot acco|acy, io tho l/8us.
ì. |iµµiog ooodlo-a magootizod ooodlo dosigood to |otato t|ooly io a vo|tical µlaoo io
o|do| to moaso|o tho |a|ths magootic nold.
4. |yg|omoto|s-tvo tho|momoto|s, ooo vith a vot bolb aod tho otho| vith a d|y ooo, io
o|do| to moaso|o homidity.
!. |odiomoto|-a loog glass cyliodo| iovootod io l//! to moaso|o tho chaogo io tho volomo
ot gas tolloviog a chomical |oactioo, it vas osod by |omboldt to moaso|o tho qoaotity
ot oxygoo io tho atmoµsho|o.
lo additioo to thoso iost|omoots, |omboldt too| vith him toloscoµos, soxtaots, qoad|aots,
comµassos, a µoodolom, aod dovicos to| moaso|iog oloct|ical cha|gos aod tho colo| ot tho s|y.
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
formulated his “principle of continentality,” in which he stated that the inte-
riors of continents have more extreme climates than coastal regions because
they are removed from the moderating influences of the oceans.
In 1845, at age seventy-six, Humboldt published the first book of his
five-volume masterwork, Cosmos, which was critically acclaimed and trans-
lated into nearly every European language. Te first four volumes appeared
during his lifetime (1845–1862) and the last posthumously. He coined
the word cosmos to represent what he understood as the “ordered system
of the global environment.” Tus, a recurring theme of Cosmos is the link
among diverse environments; for example, he wrote, plants and animals are
all affected by the same laws of temperature as they relate to altitude and
latitude. In a letter to a friend before starting to write, Humboldt outlined
his purpose:
I have the crazy notion to depict in a single work the entire material universe,
all that we know of the phenomena of heaven and earth, from the nebulae of
stars to the geography of mosses and granite rocks—and in a vivid style that
will stimulate and elicit feelings.
Cosmos presented the universe as an orderly, natural world consisting
of interconnected environments. Tis view made Humboldt, in many ways,
an environmentalist. He warned about the implications of exploiting natu-
ral resources and emphasized how effects on one part of the natural world
can affect other parts. Even as a consummate scientist, however, Humboldt
also allied himself with the Romantic movement of his time, recognizing a
beauty in nature that science could never measure. Or, as he put it,
Te stars as they sparkle in the firmament fill us with delight and ecstasy, and
yet they all move in orbit marked out with mathematical precision.
An inspiration to the work of many later scientists—and a direct sup-
porter of several, including Charles Darwin—Alexander von Humboldt
died on May 6, 1859, in Berlin.
Although scientific research has become increasingly specialized since
his time, Humboldt’s holistic approach reshaped modern thinking about
the natural world. Perhaps his method was best represented by an engrav-
ing he produced shortly after his return from South America. It was a cross-
sectional profile of the Andes from the Atlantic to the Pacific at the latitude
of Mount Chimborazo, showing where plant and animal species lived, the
zone of vegetation, geological structure and rock types, temperatures, and
other meteorological facts. In short, it was a visual tour de force of the mu-
tual reliance in the natural world that complemented the tour de force of
Humboldt’s own scientific life.
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
“What a man he is!” said the great German intellectual Johann Wolfgang
von Goethe of Humboldt. “He is everywhere at home.”
Further Reading
Botting, Douglas. Humboldt and the Cosmos. New York: Harper and Row,
De Terra, Helmut. Te Life and Times of Alexander von Humboldt. New York:
Alfred A. Knopf, 1955.
Helferich, Gerard. Humboldt’s Cosmos: Alexander von Humboldt and the Latin
American Journey Tat Changed the Way We See the World. New York:
Gotham, 2004.
Sachs, Aaron. Humboldt Current: A European Explorer and His American
Disciples. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2007.
Te International Geophysical Year (IGY; 1957–1958) was a coordinated
effort by countries around the world to scientifically study the Earth’s polar
regions and equator.
Te idea for the IGY came from a meeting of American scientists at
Silver Spring, Maryland, in August 1950. In a discussion about recent
methods and devices developed for geophysical studies, such as radar, rock-
ets, and computers, the scientists began considering how an international
effort could be launched to study physical phenomena on the planet. Tis
led to a proposal to establish the IGY to coordinate with a series of eclipses
and an expected upsurge in sunspot activity.
Te IGY was formally sanctioned by the International Council of
Scientific Unions and scheduled to run for eighteen months, from July 1,
1957, through December 31, 1958. Scientific organizations from more
than seventy nations took part in IGY committees and activities. IGY re-
1950: Te idea for the International Geophysical Year (IGY) is discussed at
a meeting of American scientists
1957: Te IGY begins on July 1
1957: Te Soviet Union launches the world’s first artificial satellite, Sputnik,
on October 4
1958: Te United States launches its first satellite, Explorer I, on January 31
1958: Te IGY ends on December 31
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
search focused primarily on the polar regions and equator in such areas as
geomagnetism, ionospheric physics (the study of the uppermost part of
the Earth’s atmosphere), mapping, meteorology, oceanography, seismology,
and solar studies.
As part of the program, a permanent research station was built at
Antarctica and instruments were readied for use, along with the rockets
and balloons that would carry them. Concerned that data from these
explorations might be lost—as had happened when World War II dis-
rupted the analysis of information from the International Polar Year of
1932–1933—participating countries established the World Data Center
System to collect and store the data. One World Data Center was set up
in the United States, a second in the Soviet Union, and a third was shared
by Western Europe, Australia, and Japan. Arrangements also were made to
make public any and all information collected as part of the initiative, an
impressive commitment in a world divided by cold war suspicions.
As part of the IGY, on October 4, 1957, the Soviet Union launched
Sputnik, the first man-made satellite to orbit the Earth. Te launch raised
considerable fear and controversy, as the satellite was carried into space
aboard a military rocket, which seemed to violate the peaceful emphasis of
the IGY. Despite these concerns, Sputnik contributed valuable information
to the IGY data by detecting meteoroids and measuring the density of high
atmospheric layers and the distribution of radio signals in the ionosphere.
In late January 1958, the United States launched its own first satellite,
Explorer I, which measured cosmic rays.
Among other notable accomplishments, IGY efforts included the dis-
covery of the Van Allen radiation belts (based on Geiger counter data ob-
Space scientists
William Pickering,
James Van Allen,
and Wernher von
Braun (left to right)
celebrate the success-
ful launch of Explor-
er I, America’s first
Earth satellite, in
January 1958. It was
the signature U.S.
accomplishment of
the International
Geophysical Year.
(Rue des Archives/
Granger Collection,
New York)
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
tained from Explorer I), confirmed the existence of underwater mid-ocean
ridges, charted ocean depths and currents, measured atmospheric winds,
and studied Antarctica’s ice sheets. Te work in Antarctica convinced sev-
eral participating countries that continued scientific research there required
peaceful cooperation; this, in turn, led to the signing of a treaty to keep the
continent a military-free zone and to encourage additional scientific work.
Further Reading
Marshack, Alexander. Te World in Space: Te Story of the International
Geophysical Year. New York: Tomas Nelson, 1958.
Te National Academies, International Geophysical Year. http://www.nas.
Sullivan, Walter. Assault on the Unknown. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1961.
Te International Polar Year (IPY) was a collaborative scientific effort
to study the Arctic and Antarctic. Organized through the International
Council for Science and the World Meteorological Organization, IPY
2007–2009 was the fourth polar year. It followed those in 1882–1883,
1932–1933, and 1957–1958; the latter was broadened in scope to become
the International Geophysical Year.
Beginning in March 2007, IPY enlisted the efforts of an estimated
50,000 scientists from more than sixty nations, conducting more than 200
projects to investigate physical, biological, and social issues associated with
the polar regions. In one project, scientists from the University of Dresden
in Germany measured the Greenlandic mainland in 2008 to see how much
the landmass was rising, as glaciers on it were melting. Another team of
scientists sailed to the Orkney Islands in the North Atlantic to study the
makeup of the toxins jellyfish release in attacking their prey.
Scientists working for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration (NOAA) in the United States researched the “Arctic
haze.” Tis reddish-brown haze began appearing over the Arctic in the
1950s. Its origins were unknown at the time. It has now been determined
that it is a mix of dust, black carbon, and chemical pollutants from factories,
vehicles, and other sources in Europe and Western Asia.
See also: Space
2007: Te International Polar Year (IPY) begins in March
2008: Scientists from the University of Dresden measure the effects of
glacial melting on Greenland
2008: Te research vessel Knorr investigates the Arctic haze
2009: International Polar Year ends in March
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
In March and April 2008, the Knorr, a specially equipped re -
search vessel operated by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
in Massachusetts, sailed nearly 7,400 nautical miles (13,700 kilometers)
on expeditions to study Arctic air and water. On trips to the west coast
of Norway and into the ice-free waters of the Arctic Ocean, researchers
studied how industrial particles influence the destruction of the ozone and
measured the air quality near smelters located in Norway and Russia. In
all, the Knorr collected seventy sets of air filter samples to be analyzed by
For example, researchers measured particulate sulfate in the Arctic
haze and found that the sulfate had originated in Eastern Europe, perhaps
from the burning of crops. According to Patricia Quinn, a chief scientist of
the project,
Our goal . . . will be to determine the climate impact of these pollutants and
how they, in addition to greenhouse gases, are contributing to the warming of
the Arctic.
Te International Polar Foundation, headquartered in Belgium, was
responsible for building the first zero-emission polar science station for use
in Antarctica. Te prefabricated station, which cost more than $16 million,
was intended to contribute to data on climate change.
Finally, in an effort to involve laypersons, the IPY undertook a number
of educational projects. Tese included interactive programs on the Internet
and connections to blogs reporting on developments at the poles.
Further Reading
International Polar Year.
Heads of world envi-
ronmental and mete-
orological organiza-
tions gather in Paris
for the opening of
International Polar
Year in March 2007.
Tis global scientific
effort focused on
the role and plight
of the Arctic and
Antarctic environ-
ments. (Stephane de
AFP/Getty Images)
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
An African American scuba diver and marine scientist, José Jones has been
called the “Black Jacques Cousteau” because of his accomplishments in un-
dersea exploration.
Albert José Jones was born in Washington, D.C., about 1935. (He has
refused to divulge the exact date of his birth to biographers.) Orphaned at
an early age, he was raised by an aunt. As a teenager, he developed a strong
interest in teaching, which remains central to his life’s work.
From 1950 to 1953, Jones served in the U.S. Army during the Korean
War and earned a Purple Heart. While in Korea, he was attracted to the
martial art Tae Kwan Do. Over the years, he became an expert in it, earning
a sixth-degree black belt and winning the U.S. heavyweight championship.
Jones’s interest in scuba diving and oceanography also began during
his years in the service, when he took a combat swimming course at Fort
Campbell in Kentucky. Returning to his native Washington, he obtained a
B.S. degree in biology from the District of Columbia Teachers College in
1959 and began a career as a high school teacher. During his senior year in
college, he founded an all-black dive club, the Underwater Adventure Seek -
ers (UAS), training members at a swimming pool at Howard University;
they became perennial champions in scuba rodeo and spearfishing tourna-
ments. Jones twice won the Mid-Atlantic Scuba Diving Championship.
In 1960, Jones began two years of study at the University of Queensland
in Australia as a Fulbright Scholar, devoting his efforts to photograph-
ing and collecting marine specimens. Upon returning to Washington, he
continued to teach high school and began working on a master’s degree in
aquatic biology, which he obtained from Howard University in 1968.
Jones began teaching marine science at the University of the District
of Columbia (UDC) in 1972; he earned his doctorate in marine biology
1935: Born in Washington, D.C.
1950: Begins service in U.S. Army, where he starts his diving career
1959: Founds the all-black Underwater Adventure Seekers scuba diving
club in Washington, D.C.
1972: Begins teaching at the University of the District of Columbia
1973: Earns Ph.D. in marine biology from Georgetown University
1989: Explores Moroccan coast in northern Africa
1992: Studies marine life in the Red Sea as part of his research into marine
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
from Georgetown University the following year. In 1975, he was named one
of the Outstanding Educators of America. During his more than twenty-
five years at UDC, he served as chairman of the Environmental Science
Department and held several administrative positions, including acting
His research in the 1970s focused on reef fishes in the Caribbean Sea,
including barracuda, and invertebrates such as sponges. In his ongoing ex-
ploration of the world’s oceans, he noticed a decline in marine life, which he
attributed largely to pollution. He began consulting with various nations on
protecting their marine ecosystems.
In 1989, he explored the entire coast of Morocco, and, in 1992, he stud-
ied marine life in the Red Sea. In 1993, he led a team of divers in exploring
the Henrietta Marie, a slave ship from the 1600s, which sunk about 35 miles
(55 kilometers) southwest of Key West, Florida. Te divers placed a plaque
at the underwater site to commemorate the many Africans who had been
hauled across the Atlantic Ocean in bondage.
In the meantime, Jones, along with Ric Powell, founded the National
Association of Black Scuba Divers (NABS) in 1991. Under Jones’s presi-
dency and chairmanship, the NABS has formed more than fifty affiliated
clubs in the United States and other countries.
Jones has published numerous scholarly articles and has made more
than 6,000 dives around the world. He is married to Paula Cole Jones, who
also is an accomplished diver.
Further Reading
National Association of Black Scuba Divers.
Reef, Catherine. Black Explorers. New York: Facts On File, 1996.
English horticulturalist Francis (“Frank”) Kingdon-Ward is known for his
explorations of the Far East, from which he brought back hundreds of pre-
1885: Born on November 6 in Manchester, England
1908: Makes his first trip to the Far East, travels to western China
1911: Collects 200 plant species in China and Tibet
1924: Finds the blue poppy of Tibet, or Meconopsis betonicifolia
1958: Dies April 8 in London
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
viously unseen varieties of plants and shrubs. He has been referred to as the
“last of the great plant hunters.”
He was born on November 6, 1885, in Manchester, England, to Harry
Marshall Ward, a distinguished botanist, and Selina Mary Kingdon, tak-
ing his mother’s maiden name and his father’s surname as a hyphenated
last name. In 1904, Kingdon-Ward began his higher education in Christ’s
College at Cambridge, where his father was a professor of botany.
Two years later, after the death of his father, Frank left school to find
work. In 1908, he was recruited for a zoological expedition to western
China—the first of his more than twenty-five trips to the Far East. Tere, he
discovered a new species of mouse and began collecting plant specimens.
Kingdon-Ward returned to China in 1911 under commission from a
commercial seed company to collect plants. From his travels through Yunnan
Province and Tibet, he brought back to England some 200 species, of which
twenty-two had been unknown, along with seeds for cultivation. Two years
later, he published a book, Land of the Blue Poppy, which recounted the
expedition. In the account of his journey to the Yangtze River, he wrote,
Just below A-tun-tsi, I found a purple-flowered Morina . . . and growing on
a limestone cliff at 13,000 feet [4,000 meters] was a small Pmguicula [an
insect-eating plant known as the bog violet]. . . . I also came across a pretty
twining Codonopsis convolvulacea with large mauve flower. . . . One day we
made the complete circuit of the high mountainous ridge to the west, Kin [a
guide] having discovered what he considered a practicable route. However,
before I knew what was coming he had led me to the brink of a clear drop of
some thirty feet high. . . . In my descent, I stuck half way down in fear of my
life, while Kin, standing on the screes [broken rock] below, encouraged me
with shouts of “Don’t be afraid! Don’t be afraid!” Finally I got down.
In 1924, Kingdon-Ward returned to Tibet to gather plants and to look
for the falls of the Yarlung Zangbo River (the highest major river in the
world); according to local folklore, the falls were large enough to hide all the
people of Tibet. He did find a waterfall, Rainbow Falls, but at 40 feet high
(10 meters) it was much less impressive than legend had it. (Years later an-
other waterfall was found nearby; it combined with Rainbow Falls to form
a cascade of about 120 feet, or 35 meters.)
More notably, Kingdon-Ward brought back with him the blue poppy,
Meconopsis betonicifolia. Te plant had been discovered in 1866, and a speci-
men was collected by an Englishman in 1922 and pressed into a book. But
Kingdon-Ward returned with the first seeds that were able to be cultivated.
Te poppy became a main attraction at horticultural shows in England.
Its stunning beauty attracted botanists and gardeners alike: its large petals,
measuring 3–4 inches (8–10 centimeters), displayed a vivid blue in a silky,
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cup-shaped form, topped by golden anthers in the center. Kingdon-Ward
said, “Never before have I seen a poppy which held out such hopes of being
hardy, and of easy cultivation in Britain.”
In 1950, during an expedition to the Lohit gorge on the border of Assam
(northeastern India) and Tibet, Kingdon-Ward experienced a massive
earthquake. Te rockslides trapped him and his wife, Jean Rasmussen, for
several days. Tey escaped by crossing a flooded river on a temporary bridge.
In the early 1950s, on a trip to Burma, he collected thirty-seven species of
rhododendrons and found a honeysuckle called Lonicera hildebrandiana.
Kingdon-Ward wrote a total of twenty-five books, most of them ac-
counts of his plant-hunting expeditions. He received numerous honors,
including medals from the Royal Horticultural Society and the Royal
Scottish Geographical Society.
He died in London on April 8, 1958, and was buried near Cambridge.
At his gravestone was planted a flowering, evergreen shrub, Berberis callian-
tha, a specimen he had collected during his Yarlung Zangbo expedition and
a testament to his botanical contributions.
Further Reading
Christopher, Tom, ed. In the Land of the Blue Poppies: Te Collected Plant
Hunting Writings of Frank Kingdon Ward. New York: Modern Library,
Lyte, Charles. Frank Kingdon-Ward: Te Last of the Great Plant Hunters.
London: J. Murray, 1989.
KINGSLEY, MARY 18621900
Taking part in two dangerous expeditions to West Africa, Mary Kingsley
became the most famous English woman explorer of the late 1800s. Her
writings and lectures on African culture, which she staunchly defended
against Europeans who categorized it as inferior, proved highly popular and
changed Western views.
Mary Henrietta Kingsley was born on October 13, 1862, in Islington,
England. Her father, George Kingsley, was a wealthy physician and travel
1862: Born on October 13 in Islington, England
1892: Undertakes an expedition to West Africa along the Gulf of Guinea
1894: Journeys again to West Africa and studies the Bube people
1895: Begins living with the Fang tribe in French Congo
1897: Publishes Travels in West Africa
1899: Publishes West African Studies
1900: Dies on June 3 in Simonstown, Cape Colony (South Africa)
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
writer who tended to the ills of dukes and earls but spent most of his time
globetrotting. Her mother, Mary Bailey, was a servant whom George mar-
ried only because she was pregnant with their daughter. George never ac-
cepted his wife into his circle of society, and she lived a largely isolated ex-
istence, an invalid bedridden by psychological stress. Teir daughter Mary
was thus isolated as well, for she was expected to take care of her mother
and did so from childhood until she was thirty years of age.
Mary saw her father only infrequently; he spent long periods overseas.
She was educated by private tutors and sequestered herself in her father’s
library, where she found her best friends to be books. Tere, she later wrote,
“I had a great world of my own.”
She especially loved books about travel, adventure, and foreign lands.
Notable among these was Two Trips to Gorilla Land (1876), by the explorer
Richard Burton, which she found fascinating for his recollection of the Fang
people in Africa—among whom Kingsley later lived. She also was attracted
to stories about the English explorer David Livingstone and the respect he
showed for African culture; the French-American explorer Paul Belloni Du
Chaillu; and Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza, sometimes called “the greatest
French explorer of his time,” who wrote about his perilous forays into West
and Central Africa.
She became increasingly interested in chemistry, ethnography, and
anthropology, as well. When she moved with her family to Cambridge in
1884, she befriended and exchanged ideas with a number of university
African Expeditions
Mary Kingsley’s father and mother died within weeks of each other in 1892.
Freed from the lonely and stressful days under her parents and enriched by
money inherited from her father, she decided to journey to West Africa.
Te exact reasons for her decision remain obscure. At one point,
Kingsley said that she wanted to finish a book on African culture begun
by her father. At another point, she insisted that she wanted to go there to
die but instead became interested in African society. If she wanted to die, it
may well have been because of what she discovered shortly before leaving
England: evidence among her father’s papers that she was conceived out
of wedlock and born just four days after her parents married. Te news
embarrassed her.
In 1893, at the age of thirty-one, Mary Kingsley set sail aboard the
Lagos and arrived first in Sierra Leone and then in Angola. From there,
she traveled north, mostly by land, to several locations along the Gulf of
Guinea: Cabinda, French Congo, Cameroon, and Calabar. Kingsley usually
traveled alone and lived with the local tribes, from whom she learned about
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
the native culture and how to survive. Insects were a recurring problem;
driver ants were especially nettlesome, traveling in vast armies, invading
houses and tents, eating food supplies, and attacking people.
During her travels, she collected several specimens of exotic fish, which
she later shared with Albert Charles Gunther, head of the zoological de-
partment at the British Museum. He, in turn, advised her on methods of
collecting and preserving her specimens.
Of all the places she visited, Kingsley was most attracted to the equato-
rial forest of the French Congo. Of it, she wrote,
On first entering [its] . . . grim twilight regions you hardly see anything but
the vast column-like grey tree stems in their countless thousands around you.
. . . But day by day, as you get trained to your surroundings, you see more and
more, and a whole world grows up gradually out of the gloom before your
eyes. Snakes, beetles, bats, and beasts people the region that at first seemed
Upon returning home later in 1893, Kingsley felt a deep emptiness; she
felt unattached to life in London and began pining for Africa. Te African
continent, she said, gives pain “by calling you.” Te following year, she lis-
tened to the call and returned to West Africa.
On the island of Fernando Po in Equatorial Guinea she studied the
Bube people, who lived in small villages. Ten, she journeyed down the
Ogowe River in the French Congo. Setting out on June 5, 1895, she became
an expert canoeist and collected specimens of fish, shells, and insects along
the way.
On two bold jour-
neys to west-central
Africa in the 1890s,
Mary Kingsley lived
with a variety of
local tribes, became
familiar with their
customs, and
returned to England
with a unique col-
lection of insights,
artifacts, and natural
history specimens.
(Granger Collection,
New York)
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Entering a dangerous area of the lower Ogowe, Kingsley encountered
the Fang tribe, with whom she lived for a time. To this day, it remains un-
certain whether the Fang practiced cannibalism, but Kingsley believed they
did. In any event, she admired them for holding on to their culture in the
face of European influence, and she considered them smart and brave. She
wrote of them,
I have been considerably chaffed . . . about my partiality for this tribe, but
as . . . these Africans have more of the qualities I like than any other tribe I
have met, it is but natural that I should prefer them. . . . It is in their mental
characteristics that their difference from their lethargic, dying-out coast
tribes is most marked. Te Fang is full of fire, temper, intelligence and go.
Later in the expedition, Kingsley became the first woman to climb
13,760-foot (4,194-meter) Mount Cameroon, following a route not previ-
ously taken by any European.
Books and the Status of Women
Kingsley returned to England in 1895. As news of her accomplishments
spread, she became one of the most famous English explorers of her day.
She traveled around the country giving lectures spiked with anecdotes in-
tended to spellbind her listeners. She recollected,
FE 8= I@ :8E @ EK< C C @ >< E:<
lo ho| boo| KiXm\cj`eN\jk8]i`ZX¦l89/j, Ma|y |iogsloy ma|shalod aoth|oµological ovidooco to
|ototo thoso vho coosido|od At|icao t|ibal µooµlos ioto|io| to |o|oµoaos.
Yoo vill t|oqoootly moot vith tho statomoot that tho oog|o child is as iotolligoot,
o| mo|o so, thao tho vhito child, bot that as sooo as it µassos boyood childhood it
ma|os oo to|tho| mootal advaoco. [1ho oxµlo|o| |icha|dj bo|too says. ¨|is mootal
dovoloµmoot is a||ostod aod thoocoto|th ho g|ovs bac|va|ds iostoad ot to|va|ds. . . .¨
A mao [tho At|icaoj is, bot oot ot tho samo sµocios, aod his c|aoial soto|os do, l ag|oo,
closo oa|ly, iodood l havo sooo thom almost oblito|atod io s|olls ot moo vho havo diod
qoito yooog, bot l thio| most aoth|oµologists a|o oovadays bogiooiog to soo that tho
immooso valoo thoy havo a tov yoa|s sioco sot oµoo s|oll moaso|omoots aod c|aoial
caµacity, 8c., has booo oxcossivo aod oot to havo so g|oat a boa|iog oo tho iotolligooco
as thoy thooght. 1ho|o has booo ao ooo|moos amooot ot mato|ial ca|otolly colloctod,
maioly by ||oochmoo, oo c|aoiology . . . l thio| yoo vill soo to| µ|actical µo|µosos soch
coosido|atioos as voight ot b|aio, o| closo|o ot soto|os, 8c., a|o oogligiblo aod so vo
oood oot got µa|alysod vith |osµoct to| ¨µhysiological caosos.¨
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Once a hippopotamus and I were on an island together, and I wanted one
of us to leave. I preferred it should be myself, but the hippo was close to my
canoe, and looked like staying, so I made cautious and timorous advances
to him and finally scratched him behind the ear with my umbrella and we
parted on good terms. But with the crocodile it was different.
In 1897, Kingsley published a book titled Travels in West Africa, which
became a best seller, and followed it two years later with West African Studies.
She stirred considerable controversy with statements criticizing missionar-
ies for trying to change tribal culture. From her perspective, Africans were
not inferior to Europeans, just different. Missionaries, she wrote, “have pro-
duced results which all truly interested in West Africa must deplore.”
As women’s rights activists unsettled English society in the late 1800s,
Kingsley opposed universal suffrage, declaring that women should stick
to their own spheres of interest and that politics was not one of them.
Struggling with her own contradictions, she believed that women were the
equal of men but lacked the talent to participate in scientific societies. She
also opposed those who were crusading to open learned groups, such as
the Royal Geographical Society, to women; instead, she contended, women
should pursue scientific interests on their own, and their accomplishments
would prompt such societies to admit them.
Kingsley proposed the formation of a society to bring together those
interested in the study of Africa, but she envisioned it as a men’s society.
Tat organization, which would become the Royal African Society, was or-
ganized in 1901, a year after her death.
On the issue of imperialism, Kingsley supported the projection of
British power in Africa, but she believed this should be done by developing
trade rather than through colonization. According to Kingsley, this approach
would help the English economy while protecting indigenous cultures.
In 1899, Kingsley volunteered to serve as a nurse in the Second Boer
War. She died from typhoid at Simonstown, in Cape Colony (present-day
South Africa), while taking care of prisoners of war, on June 3, 1900.
As Kingsley saw it, Africans would be served best in their relations with
Europeans by the application of scientific principles, such as ethnographic
studies, that would encourage Europeans to understand Africans on their
own terms. “I am not Science,” she once said, “but only one of her brick-
makers, and I beg you to turn to her.”
Further Reading
Birkett, Dea. Mary Kingsley: Imperial Adventuress. New York: Macmillan,
Brown, Don. Uncommon Traveler: Mary Kingsley in Africa. New York:
Houghton Mifflin, 2000.
Frank, Katherine. A Voyager Out: Te Life of Mary Kingsley. Boston: Houghton
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Mifflin, 1986.
Myer, Valerie Grosvenor. A Victorian Lady in Africa: Te Story of Mary
Kingsley. Southampton, UK: Ashford, 1989.
Beginning with the work of Louis Leakey in the 1930s, the Leakey family
has made a succession of major discoveries that have reshaped the scientific
understanding of human origins and evolution.
Louis Seymour Bazett Leakey, the patriarch of three generations of an-
thropologists, was born on August 7, 1903, in Kabete, Kenya (near Nairobi).
His father, Harry Leakey, and his mother, Mary Bazett, were British mis-
sionaries among the Kikuyu people, whose first contact with Europeans
had occurred only a short time before Louis’s birth.
As a boy, Louis hunted and enjoyed bird-watching. He became inter-
ested in anthropology and the question of human origins when, in 1915, he
read the book Days Before History (1906), in which author Henry Rushton
Hall discusses European Stone Age tools.
He also learned from the Kikuyu how to speak their language (he later
said he did so before he spoke English) and learned about their customs and
folklore. He was initiated into the tribe at age thirteen, and the tribal chief
once said of him, “We call him the black man with the white face because he
is more of an African than a European.”
Leakey entered Cambridge University in 1922. Two years later, he took
a medical leave of absence after suffering an injury while playing rugby. Te
1903: Louis Leakey is born on August 7 in Kabete, Kenya
1913: Mary Leakey is born on February 6 in London
1942: Meave Leakey is born on July 28 in London
1944: Richard Leakey is born on December 19 in Nairobi, Kenya
1948: Mary Leakey discovers Proconsul africanus
1959: Mary Leakey discovers Australopithecus boisei
1972: Louise Leakey is born in Kenya; Louis Leakey dies on October 1
1977: Richard Leakey presents a controversial thesis about the existence of
1996: Mary Leakey dies on December 9
2001: A team led by Meave Leakey discovers Kenyanthropus platyops
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
mishap proved to be fortuitous, as it allowed him to participate in an ar-
chaeological expedition to Tanganyika (today Tanzania) sponsored by the
British Natural History Museum and led by the prominent Canadian pa-
leontologist W.E. Cutler. As a part of the project, Leakey learned how to
collect fossils and conduct field research.
Upon returning to Cambridge, Leakey studied under the renowned
professor of anthropology Albert Cort Haddon and graduated in 1926.
Two years later, he married Henrietta Avern; the couple would have two
children. In 1930, Leakey obtained his doctorate from Cambridge.
Louis Leakey in East Africa
From 1926 to 1936, Leakey led four expeditions to East Africa to search for
fossils he believed would provide evidence about human origins. He did so
at a time when most scientists considered such a hunt in Africa to be fool-
ish; the evidence, they said, pointed to Europe and Asia as the originating
point for the human species.
In northern Tanganyika, however, the Olduvai (or Oldupai) Gorge al-
ready had proved lucrative as a source for Stone Age artifacts. Leakey scaled
the gorge’s sloping terrain in 110-degree-Fahrenheit (43-degree Celsius)
temperatures, his eyes close to the ground as he searched and found more
In 1936, Louis Leakey, recently divorced from Henrietta, married Mary
Douglas Nicol, whom he previously had hired as a scientific illustrator.
He had fallen in love with Mary while he still was married to Henrietta,
and the affair caused a controversy that cost him his research fellowship at
Kenyan-born British
Louis Leakey began
the work of at least
three generations
of family members
in the search for
hominid fossils and
the study of human
ancestry. (Hulton
Getty Images)
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Louis found in Mary a scientific partner every bit his equal in talent
and intellect. She was born in London on February 6, 1913, to Erskine
Nicol, a landscape painter, and Cecilia Frere. Even as a child, Mary showed
an interest in prehistory when she studied drawings made by cave dwellers
in France. She audited university courses in archaeology and geology and
became an accomplished scientific illustrator before she met Louis.
Mary Leakey at Lake Victoria
In 1945, Louis Leakey became the curator at Coryndon Memorial Museum
in Nairobi. Tree years later, as the Leakeys continued their search for fos-
sils, Mary made an important discovery on the island of Rusinga in Lake
Victoria: She found the skull of a hominid from the Miocene period (5
million to 24 million years ago).
Hominid refers to humans or their ancestors, who, as erect bipedal
mammals, are more closely related to humans than to other species. In this
case, the hominid, which Louis named Proconsul africanus, was an apelike
creature who lived 14 million to 23 million years ago; it was likely a com-
mon ancestor of humans and apes. Mary later recalled the discovery:
I was shouting for Louis as loud as I could and he was coming, running. Tis
was a wildly exciting find which would delight human paleontologists all
over the world, for the size and shape of a [hominid] skull of this age, so vital
to evolutionary studies, could only hitherto be guessed at. Ours were the first
eyes ever to see a Proconsul face.
Mary Leakey
directed systematic
excavations at two
early hominid sites in
East Africa and made
numerous discoveries
that shed new light
on hominid evolu-
tion. She was the
wife of Louis Leakey,
mother of Richard
Leakey, and grand-
mother of Louise
Leakey. (Melville B.
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Louis and Mary Leakey at Olduvai Gorge
Te Leakeys began their first major excavation of the Olduvai Gorge in
1952; they expanded their search in 1960 with funds from the National
Geographic Society. Over time, Louis and Mary discovered more than 100
different forms of extinct animal life in the area, including a pig as large as a
rhinoceros and a short-necked giraffe.
While working in the gorge on July 17, 1959, Mary discovered
Zinjanthropus boisei, later called Australopithecus boisei, a primate species
that lived about 1.7 million years ago. “Zinj,” as Louis called it, had a brain
half the size of modern human beings.
At first, Louis thought Zinj was an ancestor of human beings, but his ideas
changed in 1964, when he and Mary made another discovery: a new species
called Homo habilis, or “handy man.” Tis creature was less apelike than
Australopithecus, and it had a larger cranial capacity, smaller teeth, a human-
like foot, and hand bones that suggested an ability to hold and manipu-
late objects. In all likelihood “handy man” hunted small prey; whether it
acquired a language remains unclear.
FC ;LM8@ >FI><
vhoo |oois aod Ma|y |oa|oy bogao oxcavatiog at Oldovai Go|go, thoy µooot|atod a sito that
vas millioos ot yoa|s old. |ocatod io tho oasto|o So|oogoti |laios ot oo|tho|o 1aozaoia, Oldovai
Go|go is a stooµ |avioo aboot ìu milos loog ¦!u |ilomoto|sj aod 29! toot dooµ ¦9u moto|sj.
|oµosits locatod io tho sidos ot tho go|go dato t|om aboot l!,uuu to 2.l millioo yoa|s ago. lo
thoso doµosits, sciootists havo oooa|thod tossils ot µlaots, aoimals, homioid |omaios, aod itoms
t|om tho Stooo Ago.
1ho n|st |o|oµoao to discovo| Oldovai Go|go vas vilholm |attvio|ol, a Go|mao
ootomologist, io l9ll. A tov yoa|s lato|, Go|mao µaloootologist |aos |oc| discovo|od tho |omaios
ot hood|ods ot oxtioct |loistocooo mammals io tho a|oa.
1ho Oldovai tossil bods to|mod io a la|o basio botvooo 4 aod 9 milos ¦6.4 aod l4.!
|ilomoto|sj io diamoto|. |aolt movomoots, volcaoic actioo, aod vato| ûov havo combiood to cot
th|oogh tho |oc| aod oxµoso tho bods, vhilo volcaoic ash has holµod to µ|oso|vo tho tossils.
1ho|o a|o, io all, sovoo µ|ima|y doµosits. bod l ¦l./ millioo to 2.l millioo yoa|s oldj, bod ll
¦l.l! millioo to l./ millioo yoa|s oldj, bod lll ¦8uu,uuu to l.l! millioo yoa|s oldj, bod l\ ¦6uu,uuu
to 8uu,uuu yoa|s oldj, tho Maso| bods ¦4uu,uuu to 6uu,uuu yoa|s oldj, tho |doto bods ¦ì2,uuu
to 4uu,uuu yoa|s oldj, aod tho |aisiosio bods ¦l!,uuu to 22,uuu yoa|s oldj.
lt vas io tho oµµo| µa|t ot tho 2uu-toot-thic| ¦6u-moto|-thic|j bod l that Ma|y |oa|oy
toood Q`eaXek_ifgljYf`j\`io ¦oly l9!9% 1ho lovo| thi|d ot bod ll has yioldod ?fdf_XY`c`j# aod
bods ll aod l\ havo yioldod ?fdf\i\Zklj%lo additioo, tho |aisiosio bods havo yioldod a ?fdf
jXg`\ej s|olotoo datiog to aboot l/,uuu yoa|s ago. 1oday, sciootists cootiooo to oxcavato tho sito
to| cloos to tho µ|ohisto|ic µast.
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Critics claimed that Homo habilis failed to meet the definition of a new
species, that it resembled Australopithecus more than any type of Homo.
Later evidence, however, seemed to support the Leakeys.
In addition, many scientists objected when Louis said that Homo habilis
lived contemporaneously with Australopithecus (which eventually became
extinct), as this challenged the concept of orderly evolution from one spe-
cies to another; however, Louis considered Homo habilis to be the true an-
cestor of modern human beings. Louis died of a heart attack in London on
October 1, 1972.
Mary continued the research she and Louis had begun in and around
Olduvai Gorge. In 1979, at a nearby site called Laetoli, she found a long
trail of human footprints embedded in volcanic ash from 3.6 million years
ago. Te prints showed that human bipedalism (two-footed, upright move-
ment) had begun much earlier than previously thought.
In 1983, Mary retired from fieldwork and moved to Nairobi, Kenya,
where she concentrated on her writing. She died on December 9, 1996.
Richard and Meave Leakey
Richard Leakey, born to Louis and Mary Leakey on December 19, 1944,
followed in his parent’s footsteps. As a boy, he participated in their digs, but
as he got older, he preferred to be a safari guide.
In 1967, he discovered a geologic formation called Koobi Fora, located
along the shores of Lake Turkana in Kenya, which turned out to be rich
in Stone Age tools and hominid fossils. From 1968 to 1989, as a field re-
searcher for and director of the National Museums of Kenya, he coordi-
nated several field expeditions to Koobi Fora. On one of these expeditions,
a team led by the Kenyan paleoanthropologist Kamoya Kimeu discovered
Stone Age tools dating to about 1.9 million years ago.
Perhaps the most important of the museum finds under Richard’s direc-
tion was “Nariokotome Boy,” a nearly complete skeleton of a Homo erectus
youngster dating from 1.6 million years ago. In two books cowritten with
British anthropologist Roger Lewin, Origins (1977) and People of the Lake
(1978), Leakey argued that about 3 million years ago three hominid forms
coexisted: Australopithecus africanus, Australopithecus boisei, and Homo habi-
lis. Te first two, he said, became extinct, but the last one evolved into Homo
erectus, the direct ancestor of Homo sapiens (modern human beings).
Richard Leakey ended his fieldwork in 1989, when he became head
of the Kenya Wildlife Service and devoted his efforts to preventing ivory
poaching. In 1994, following a plane accident in which he lost both legs
below the knees, he left the wildlife service to enter politics.
In 1997, he was elected to the Kenyan parliament, and, in 1999, he was
appointed head of the Kenyan civil service. He retired from that post in
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
2001, but remained active in fighting for the protection of plant and animal
species under threat from human development.
Richard’s wife, born Meave Epps in London in 1942, first worked with
him in 1969, when she joined the field expedition to Koobi Fora. Meave had
obtained her doctorate in zoology the previous year and married Richard
in 1970. She also served as head of the National Museums’ Division of
Paleontology from 1982 to 2001, becoming coordinator of the museums’
field research at Lake Turkana in 1989. In 1994, she led a team that found
a new species of Australopithecus anamensis that was bipedal, dating from
4.2 million years ago.
In 2001, Meave Leakey and her team discovered a new genus and species
of human ancestor called Kenyanthropus platyops. Te specimen challenged
the prevailing scientific view that Australopithecus afarensis, a contemporary
of the newfound species, was in the direct ancestral lineage of Homo sapiens.
In 2002, Meave and her daughter, Louise, were named explorers in resi-
dence by the National Geographic Society.
Louise Leakey was born in 1972 in Kenya to Richard and Meave. Her
education included a doctorate from the University of London, after which
she became head of the Koobi Fora Research Project. In that capacity, she
has worked to make the research camp a year-round facility and has sur-
veyed large areas east of Lake Turkana for future fieldwork.
Further Reading
Bowman-Kruhm, Mary. Te Leakeys: A Biography. Westport, CT: Greenwood,
Isaac, Glynn, and Elizabeth R. McCown, eds. Human Origins: Louis Leakey
and the East African Evidence. Menlo Park, CA: W.A. Benjamin, 1976.
Leakey, L.S.B. By the Evidence: Memoirs, 1932–1951. New York: Harcourt,
Brace, Jovanovich, 1974.
Morell, Virginia. Ancestral Passions: Te Leakey Family and the Quest for
Humankind’s Beginnings. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1995.
1803: President Tomas Jefferson completes the Louisiana Purchase and obtains
congressional funding for an exploratory expedition through the territory
1804: Meriwether Lewis, William Clark, and the other expedition members, called
the Corps of Discovery, begin their journey up the Missouri River on May 14
1805: Te expedition reaches the Pacific Coast at Oregon on November 20
1806: Te expedition returns to St. Louis, Missouri, on September 23
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
From May 1804 through September 1806, American explorers Meriwether
Lewis and William Clark led an expedition through the vast territory be-
tween the Mississippi River and the Pacific Coast, much of which had been
acquired by the United States in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. Te expe-
dition members came to be known as the Corps of Discovery. In completing
the journey to the Pacific Ocean, the Lewis and Clark expedition gathered
vast amounts of scientific information, as well as samples and drawings,
about the terrain, native peoples, flora, and fauna they encountered along
the way.
Te idea for the Lewis and Clark expedition had originated with
President Tomas Jefferson even before the Louisiana Purchase. It reflected
his personal interest in natural science, his long-standing curiosity about
the American West, and his fear that the British or another foreign power
might gain control of the Pacific Northwest and block America’s westward
Indeed, in the late 1780s and again in the early 1790s, the Scottish-
Canadian explorer Alexander Mackenzie had journeyed west to the Pacific.
In 1793, he reached the Strait of Georgia (in present-day northwestern
Washington and southwestern British Columbia), staking a British claim
to a portion of the Pacific Northwest.
Although Mackenzie had failed to find a suitable route for overland
trade, his effort posed a challenge to the United States. In 1802, Jefferson
read Mackenzie’s Voyages from Montreal (1801) and decided to take action.
Jefferson began planning an expedition that would begin in Missouri,
proceed across the northern Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean, find
the Northwest Passage, and, in the process, establish U.S. control over the
future of the region. Ten, on July 4, 1803, Jefferson announced the pur-
chase of the Louisiana Territory—an area of nearly 830,000 square miles
(2.15 million square kilometers)—from France. Now, the expedition would
travel on American soil, at least until it reached the Pacific Northwest, and
the explorers would be exerting U.S. sovereignty.
Jefferson chose Captain Meriwether Lewis, his private secretary and
former neighbor, to head the expedition. Lewis was born in Charlottesville,
Virginia, on August 18, 1774, the son of William and Lucy Meriwether
Lewis. He served in the U.S. Army beginning in 1795 and was promoted to
captain in 1800. Jefferson later explained why he chose Lewis:
1809: Lewis dies on October 11 during a trip to Washington, D.C.
1838: Clark dies on September 1 in St. Louis
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It was impossible to find [anyone else] who to a compleat science in botany,
natural history, mineralogy & astronomy, joined [together] the firmness of
constitution & character, prudence, habits adapted to the woods, & a famil-
iarity with the Indian manners & character, requisite for this undertaking.
Indeed, Lewis had studied extensively in the vast library at Jefferson’s
home in Virginia, Monticello. He had pored over maps and learned as-
tronomy, botany, ethnology, mineralogy, and the practical use of the sextant
from Jefferson, who was an accomplished general scientist in his own right.
Jefferson’s formal instructions to Lewis, issued in June 1803, empha-
sized scientific findings and commerce. Te president wanted extensive
maps drawn up so that he might trace prospective trade routes. He wrote,
Beginning at the mouth of the Missouri you will take careful observations of
latitude & longitude, at all remarkable points on the river, & especially at the
mouths of rivers, at rapids, at islands, & other places & objects distinguished
by such natural marks & characters of a durable kind.
In addition, Jefferson instructed Lewis to try to
establish good relations with any Native Americans
the expedition might encounter and to learn about
their lifeways. He also wanted Lewis to study the
animals, plants, dinosaur bones, soil, minerals, and
volcanoes and other natural phenomena.
Captain Lewis turned to William Clark to
serve as co-commander of the expedition. (Clark
had been named a captain, but his promotion was
never approved by the War Department. Although
he remained a second lieutenant, officially below
Lewis in rank, Lewis always referred to him as
“captain.”) Te two men had become friends in the
army, where Lewis had been impressed by Clark’s
fortitude and trustworthiness.
William Clark was born in Caroline County,
Virginia, on August 1, 1770. At the age of fourteen,
he moved with his family to the Kentucky frontier,
where they founded a plantation. Clark served as
an infantry officer in the U.S. Army under General
Anthony Wayne; in 1794, he took part in the
Battle of Fallen Timbers in Ohio.
Two years later, Clark undertook a dangerous
scouting mission and then resigned his commis-
sion to return to the family plantation. After being
Te expedition
journal of Lewis and
Clark provided ex-
tensive descriptions
of the land, people,
plants, and ani-
mals—including the
sage grouse of the
Western plains—in
the vast, uncharted
territory between
the Mississippi River
and Pacific Coast.
(Granger Collection,
New York)
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
chosen to help lead the expedition, he spent time in Philadelphia to gain as
much knowledge and training as he could from naturalists and scientists,
among them Charles Willson Peale and Benjamin Rush.
Into the West
Lewis and other members of the party left Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in
August 1803, meeting Clark along the way in Indiana that October. Te
members of the Corps of Discovery set up winter camp at Hartford, on the
Illinois side of the Mississippi River, and officially began their journey to
the west the following spring.
On May 14, 1804, the party set out from Saint Charles, Missouri—just
below St. Louis on the Mississippi River—and then headed west on the
Missouri River. A crowd on the riverbank cheered the explorers as they
departed. Teir vessels, a keelboat (a long boat with a shallow draft) and
two pirogues (similar to canoes), left civilization as they knew it behind and
beat against the current into an uncertain future.
Te original Corps of Discovery consisted of about thirty men, includ-
ing French boatmen who would transport the keelboat, soldiers, and an
interpreter to help communicate with Native Americans. Te boatmen
faced a backbreaking challenge. Tey sometimes used poles to move the
heavy keelboat and at other times walked on the riverbanks and pulled the
keelboat with ropes. On rare occasions, they were able to use a sail to take
advantage of favorable winds.
On June 26, the expedition reached the Kansas River, and, on July 21, it
reached the Platte River, some 640 miles (1,030 kilometers) up the Missouri.
On August 18, Lewis and Clark caught ten species of fish. Along the way,
they studied minerals and the lay of the land. Tey were the first Americans
to analyze the Great Plains in detail. In his journal, Clark wrote,
Te Plains of this countrey are covered with a Leek Green Grass, well calcu-
lated for the sweetest and most nourishing hay—interspersed with [copses]
of trees, Spreding their lofty branches over Pools Springs or Brook of fine
water. . . . Nature appears to have exerted herself to butify the Senery by the
variety of flours Delicately and highly flavered above the Grass, which Strikes
& profumes the Sensation.
In November and December, the men built a log stockade they called
Fort Mandan in central North Dakota near the Mandan Indian villages,
and they settled in for the winter. While there, Lewis and Clark hired a
French-Canadian trader, Toussaint Charbonneau, and his wife, Sacagawea,
a Shoshone Indian, to serve as interpreters with the Shoshone and the
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.








o l u m b i a R .





























(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Until they reached the site of Fort Mandan, the Corps of Discovery
had been traveling in territory that other Americans had explored. Still,
Lewis and Clark had gathered much new information about Upper
Louisiana (primarily Missouri and the Dakotas) based on their own obser-
vations and their questioning of Native Americans and white traders.
While at Fort Mandan, Lewis and Clark recorded their findings. Tey
sent President Jefferson a lengthy report about the rivers and the people
along their shores, the local economies, the soil, and the climate. Tey also
sent him Native American artifacts, such as bows and robes; 108 botanical
specimens intended for the American Philosophical Society, each labeled
J :@ < EK@ = @ : ;@ J :FM< I@ < J
lo thoi| joo|oals, |ovis aod Cla|| dosc|ibo tho maoy sciootinc discovo|ios aod oato|al voodo|s
vitoossod oo thoi| oxµoditioo.
Oo bi|ds, |ovis |oµo|tod oo Soµtombo| 2u, l8u!.
1his mo|oiog my attootioo vas callod to a sµocios ot bi|d [tho va|iod th|oshj vhich l
had oovo| sooo boto|o. lt vas |atho| la|go| thao a |obbio, tho moch its to|m aod actioo.
1ho coloo|s vo|o a blooish b|ovo oo tho bac| tho viogs aod talo blac|, as vass a st|iµo
abovo tho c|ooµ ³ ot ao ioch vido io t|oot ot tho ooc| aod tvo otho|s ot tho samo
coloo| µassod t|om its oyos bac| aloog tho sidos ot tho hoad.
Oo aoimals io tho vost, |ovis |oµo|tod oo |ob|oa|y l!, l8u6.
1ho qoad|oµods ot this cooot|y t|om tho |oc|y Moootaios to tho µacinc Ocoao a|o
lst tho [fd\jk`ZXe`dXcj#coosistiog ot tho ho|so aod dog ooly, 2cdly thoeXk`m\n`c[
Xe`dXcj# coosistiog ot tho b|ovo vhito o| g|izzly boa| . . . tho blac| boa|, tho commoo
|od doo|, tho blac| tailod tallov doo|, tho Molo doo|, |l|, tho la|go b|ovo volt, tho small
voolt ot tho µlaios, tho la|go volt ot tho µlaios, tho tigo| cat, tho commoo |od tox,
blac| tox o| nsho|, silvo| tox, la|go |od tox ot tho µlaios, small tox ot tho µlaios o| |it
tox, Aotoloµo, shooµ, boavo|, commoo otto|, soa Otto|, mio|, sµoc|, soal, |acooo, la|go
g|oysqoi||ol, small b|ovo sqoi||ol, small g|oy sqoi||ol, g|oood sqoi||ol, svolol [moootaio
boavo|j, b|a|o [badgo|j, |at, mooso, molo, |aotho|, ha|o, |abbit, aod µolocat o| s|oo|.
Oo tho |oz |o|co lodiaos, Cla|| |oµo|tod oo Octobo| lu, l8u!.
1ho :_f$gle$`j_ o| |io|cod ooso lodiaos a|o Stoot li|oly moo, haodsom vomoo. . . .
1hoi| amosomoots aµµoa| bot nov as thoi| Sitoatioo |oqoi|os tho otmost oxo|tioo to
µ|co|o tood . . . [ioj tho vioto| hootiog tho doo| oo Soov Shoos io tho µlaios aod
ta|oiog ca|o ot tho| omooco oombo|s ot ho|soso 8 io tho Sµ|iog c|oss tho moootaios
to tho Missoo|i to got bottalov |obos.
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with a notation as to where and when the item had been collected and what
medicinal properties it might have; sixty-eight mineral specimens, also with
detailed labels; the skeletons and skins of animals; and even live animals—
four magpies, a prairie dog, and a prairie grouse hen, although only one of
the magpies and the prairie dog reached Jefferson alive.
Clark also sent a map he had drawn of lands west of the Mississippi
River, which was highly accurate for the territory between St. Louis and Fort
Mandan. All in all, they had gathered a treasure trove of scientific informa-
tion, enough to make the expedition, even at this point, unprecedented in
what it had learned about the American West.
To the Pacific
Lewis and Clark resumed the expedition in April 1805, with thirty-three
people in the party. Tat September, Lewis noted in his journal several sig-
nificant scientific findings, among them birds, such as the Steller’s jay, green
jay, black woodpecker, and blue grouse; and vegetation, such as the moun-
tain huckleberry, Sitka alder, and western red cedar. All had been unknown
to American science until that time.
On June 13, 1805, Lewis, traveling ahead, reached the Great Falls of
Montana. “Te grandest sight I ever beheld,” he called it. He wrote,
Te rocks seem to be most happily fixed to present a sheet of the whitest
beaten froath for 200 yards in length and 80 feet perpendicular. Te water
after descending strikes against the butment . . . and seems to reverberate
and being met by the more impetuous courant they roll and swell into half
formed billows of great hight which rise and again appear in an instant.
Te Great Falls required the explorers to portage, carrying their ca-
noes and supplies across rocks and cactuses. Tey dodged grizzly bears and
rattlesnakes and endured biting insects and drenching rains.
Ten, they followed the Lolo Trail from Montana into present-day
Idaho, through deep snow and treacherous terrain. Along one narrow path,
a horse tumbled over a cliff with valuable equipment. Deprived of food, the
explorers resorted to eating some of their packhorses. Finally, in Idaho, the
Corps met the Nez Perce Indians, who helped guide them west.
By following the Clearwater and Snake rivers, the expedition reached
the Columbia River on October 16, 1805. Another hazardous stretch, filled
with rapids and waterfalls, still awaited them, but on November 20 they
finally reached the Pacific Ocean. On the coast, near present-day Astoria,
Oregon, they built Fort Clatsop, where they stayed until March.
While wintering at Fort Clatsop, Lewis wrote detailed descriptions
about flora and fauna and sketched animal and plant species he had seen
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
during the trek. He also described the life of the native peoples of the Pacific
region. For his part, Clark drew maps of the route west from Fort Mandan,
as well as a large map, much improved over his earlier one, of the country
west of the Missouri River.
Te Return
Te journey back from Fort Clatsop to St. Louis lasted from March to
September 1806. At one point, Lewis divided the Corps of Discovery into
:?8IC < J N@ C C J FE G < 8C < Ë J DLJ < LD
bo|o aod |aisod io Ma|ylaod, Cha|los villsoo |oalo ¦l/4l-l82/j bocamo a loadiog Amo|icao
µo|t|ait µaioto| vhoso sobjocts ioclodod Goo|go vashiogtoo. lo tho oa|ly l/8us, ho docidod to
toood a mosoom io |hiladolµhia.
loitially ostablishod to hooso his µaiotiogs, |oalos mosoom camo to ioclodo aoimal, mioo|al,
aod othoog|aµhic sµocimoos. Somo ot tho itoms vo|o colloctod by |oalo, ao activo oato|alist as
voll as ao a|tist, otho|s vo|o dooatod by a va|ioty ot µooµlo ioto|ostod io boildiog a colloctioo
to |oûoct a oatiooal ho|itago aod idootity io tho yooog Amo|icao |oµoblic.
1homas ¦otto|soo dooatod oomo|oos tossils to |oalos mosoom, vhich also bocamo a
|oµosito|y to| itoms t|om tho Amo|icao |hilosoµhical Socioty. |oalos most tamoos oxhibit, n|st
disµlayod io l8ul, vas tho s|olotoo ot a giaot ¨mammoth¨ o| mastodoo that had booo discovo|od
io tho |odsoo |ivo| \alloy io |ov Yo|| Stato. |oalo also bocamo ao oxµo|t taxido|mist at a timo
vhoo tho c|att vas |olativoly µ|imitivo, somo ot his bi|d moootiogs still cao bo sooo io mosooms.
At tho timo ot tho l8ul oxhibitioo, |oalos
mosoom-somotimos callod tho Amo|icao
Mosoom, o| jost tho Mosoom-occoµiod th|oo
|ooms io lodoµoodooco |all. 1ho Qoad|oµod
|oom disµlayod oiooty sµocimoos ot mammals,
io tho |oog |oom, /uu bi|d sµocimoos aod 4,uuu
iosocts vo|o oo disµlay io glass casos. A thi|d |oom
hoosod othoog|aµhic sµocimoos that had booo
gatho|od by tho |ovis aod Cla|| oxµoditioo.
1ho colloctioos oo disµlay io |oalos mosoom
had ao oodo|iog ioûoooco oo Amo|icao oato|alists
aod thoi| vo|| to| docados to como.
In an 1822 self-portrait, painter, naturalist, and collector
Charles Willson Peale raises the curtain on his natural
history museum in Philadelphia—the first of its kind in
the United States. (Granger Collection, New York)
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
two smaller parties. Clark led one to explore the Yellowstone River; Lewis
led the other to north-central Montana.
Lewis explored the Marias River from July 17 to July 28, 1806, and,
near the Canadian border, established Camp Disappointment, where he
stayed from July 21 to July 26. He was disappointed that the Marius failed
to flow farther north, which would have provided a more extensive trade
route and perhaps would have extended U.S. claims.
Given the small sizes of the two parties, and the possibility of encoun-
tering hostile Native Americans, splitting the Corps was risky, but it was
important to gather as much information as possible. In August, the mem-
bers of the Corps of Discovery reunited along the Missouri River. Te ex-
pedition arrived in St. Louis on September 23, 1806.
Jefferson was ecstatic over the outcome. Te expedition had discovered
122 animal species and subspecies previously unknown to science, includ-
ing the grizzly bear, the California condor, and the pronghorn. In addition,
it had found 178 new plant species, developed maps for the region, and
opened contacts with several Native American tribes. Lewis, however, con-
sidered himself a failure for not having found an overland water route con-
necting the Missouri and Columbia rivers.
As for the zoological and ethnological specimens, nearly all were
turned over to Charles Willson Peale’s Museum at Independence Hall in
Philadelphia, the only public natural history museum in the country at the
time. Most were later destroyed in a fire at P.T. Barnum’s American Museum
in New York, to which they had been transferred.
Lewis gave the plant specimens from the expedition to the botanist
Frederick Pursh, and they now are housed at the Academy of Natural
Sciences in Philadelphia. Te expedition’s collection of birds and mammals
provided a major impetus to the study of zoology in America.
Te Lewis and Clark journals appeared in paraphrased form in Te
History of the Expedition Under the Command of Captains Lewis and Clark,
which was published in 1814. In 1904, the Wisconsin Historical Society
published the complete journals, in eight volumes.
Meriwether Lewis went on to become governor of the Louisiana
Territory in 1807. He died on October 11, 1809, while on a trip from St.
Louis to Washington, D.C. Evidence indicates that, in a state of depression,
he committed suicide.
As for William Clark, when Missouri became a state in 1821, he ran for
governor but lost. He died in St. Louis on September 1, 1838.
Further Reading
Ambrose, Stephen E. Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Tomas Jefferson,
and the Opening of the American West. New York: Simon and Schuster,
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Curtright, Paul Russell. Lewis and Clark: Pioneering Naturalists. Lincoln:
University of Nebraska Press, 1989.
Lavender, David Sievert. Te Way to the Sea: Lewis and Clark Across the
Continent. New York: Harper and Row, 1988.
Moulton, Gary E., ed. Te Lewis and Clark Journals: An American Epic of
Discovery. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2003.
Te careers of Scottish explorer and missionary David Livingstone and of
British-American explorer Henry Morton Stanley have been fixed in popu-
lar history by the meeting of the two men in Africa in 1871, when Stanley
is said to have asked, “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?” Yet each man made im-
portant contributions in his own right to the scientific study of Africa that
far exceed that meeting or a single expedition.
David Livingstone was born on March 19, 1813, in Blantyre, Scotland,
to Neil Livingstone, a traveling tea salesman, and Mary Hunter Livingstone.
Te elder Livingstone preferred distributing Christian religious tracts to
selling tea, and the family struggled to make ends meet. David began work-
ing in a cotton mill at age ten, but still attended school and read widely.
After working in the cotton mill into his twenties, Livingstone obtained
a medical degree from the University of Glasgow in 1840. Tat same year,
he was ordained as a minister in the Congregationalist Church and became
a medical missionary under the London Missionary Society, serving in
southern Africa.
1813: David Livingstone is born in Blantyre, Scotland, on March 19
1841: Henry Morton Stanley is born in Denbigh, Wales, on January 28
1849: Livingstone crosses the Kalahari Desert in southwestern Africa and
finds Lake Ngami
1854: Livingstone reaches Luanda on Africa’s west coast
1855: Livingstone journeys down the Zambezi River to the east coast of
1859: Stanley immigrates to the United States
1866: Livingstone begins searching for the source of the Nile River
1871: Stanley meets Livingstone in Africa near Lake Tanganyika
1873: Livingstone dies at Chitambo in Africa on May 1
1875: Stanley shows that Lake Victoria is the source for the Nile River
1887: Stanley leads an expedition to rescue Emin Pasha, governor of
Equatoria in Egyptian Sudan
1904: Stanley dies in London on May 10
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Most English missionaries believed that Christianity alone could civi-
lize Africa, but Livingstone thought differently: He believed it would take
Christianity combined with commerce to change the continent, particularly
to end what he called the “despicable” slave trade. Unless Africans learned to
sell goods to Europeans for a profit, he maintained, they would be forever
addicted to trafficking in human beings (trafficking that earlier had been
encouraged by Europeans).
Livingstone thought it was his responsibility to open the interior of
sub-Saharan Africa to European culture, and it was this commitment that
led him to exploration. In 1845, he was married to Mary Moffat, the daugh-
ter of Scottish missionaries, and the couple lived with their five children in
Africa for extended periods.
Livingstone in Africa
On June 1, 1849, Livingstone left Kolobeng in Bechuanaland (present-day
Botswana) and traveled northwest to reach the Makololo tribe, with whom
he intended to engage in missionary work. Te journey made Livingstone
and the two friends who accompanied him the first Europeans to cross the
Kalahari Desert (in southwestern Africa) and find Lake Ngami (in north-
western Botswana), which he described as “shimmering.”
In 1851, Livingstone again crossed the Kalahari and reached the upper
Zambezi River. He began to think of the river as a waterway to commerce,
an artery for the ready and profitable exchange of goods between Europeans
and central Africans.
On his next journey, accompanied by twenty-seven Makololo warriors,
Livingstone traveled northwest through Portuguese Angola to Luanda on
the Atlantic Coast, which he reached in May 1854. By this time, he was
taking a more scientific approach to his exploration, tracking altitudes, lati-
tudes, and longitudes as he went, measuring rainfall, and noting geographi-
cal features. In doing so, he provided Europeans with valuable information
about central and southern Africa.
In 1855, Livingstone headed a large expedition—with more than 100
porters—down the Zambezi River toward the east coast of Africa. During
that journey, he became the first white person to see what the tribal people
called “the smoke that thunders,” which he named Victoria Falls.
Continuing east, he left the Zambezi on a side excursion and failed to
discover the Kebrabasa Rapids. Had he done so, he would have learned
what he failed to understand until years later: With its treacherous features,
the Zambezi could not serve as a viable water route for trade.
Nevertheless, Livingstone reached the Indian Ocean at the mouth of
the Zambezi in May 1856. Combined with his trip to Luanda, this made
him the first European to cross the width of southern Africa.
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
With this expedition completed, Livingstone returned to England a
hero. Te Royal Geographical Society honored him with a medal, Queen
Victoria granted him a private audience, and crowds mobbed him on the
streets. In 1857, Livingstone published an account of his exploits, Mission-
ary Travels and Researches in South Africa, which sold 70,000 copies and
made him wealthy.
In an expedition from 1858 to 1863 sponsored by the British govern-
ment, Livingstone next explored the Zambezi, Shire, and Ruvuma rivers,
along with Lake Malawi in southeast Africa. He subsequently obtained
private funding to explore the watersheds of the Zambezi and to find the
source of the White Nile. At that time, the origin of the White Nile was
being debated by two other prominent British explorers, Richard Burton
and John Hanning Speke.
Beginning in 1866, Livingstone explored lakes Malawi, Mweru, and
Bangweulu. In 1871, he became the first European to reach the Lualaba
River, which he thought might be the headwaters of the Nile. (In fact, it was
the headwaters of the Congo River.)
Henry Morton Stanley
It was during the latter expedition that Livingstone met Henry Morton
Stanley, an American journalist-explorer working as a special correspon-
dent for the New York Herald.
Stanley was born John Rowlands on January 28, 1841, in Denbigh,
Wales, the illegitimate son of Elizabeth Parry. His mother abandoned him
while he was a baby, and he was raised by his maternal grandfather for the
first years of his life.
Taken to a workhouse in 1847, he obtained a basic education before
sailing for the United States as a cabin boy aboard the Windermere. Arriving
in New Orleans in 1859, he is said to have taken the name Stanley from a
wealthy American merchant who took him in and found him a job.
Stanley fought for the Confederacy in the American Civil War and was
captured in the Battle of Shiloh in April 1862. After his release, he joined a
Federal artillery regiment and then served in the U.S. Navy as a merchant
marine. Traveling west after the war, he took up writing and became a news-
paper reporter in 1867, first for the Missouri Democrat in St. Louis and,
later, for the New York Herald.
When and where Stanley came up with the idea of searching for David
Livingstone—little heard from after years in the African interior—is not
known for certain. Stanley once said that the idea originated with the pub-
lisher of the Herald, James Gordon Bennett, Jr. Evidence suggests that it
was Stanley’s idea. In fact, as early as 1866, he had expressed an interest in
traveling to Africa to find the famous Scottish explorer.
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Te Meeting
In 1868, Stanley traveled to Africa on an assignment to
cover a showdown between British and Ethiopian troops.
Two years later, Bennett agreed to send Stanley to search
for Livingstone, whose last communication had been
in the form of a letter the previous year from Ujiji on
Lake Tanganyika. Bennett wanted a series of articles that
would help to sell newspapers; Stanley wanted fame.
After arriving in Zanzibar in January 1871, Stanley
departed Bagamoyo on the east coast of Africa on March
21. He rode a thoroughbred stallion and was accompa-
nied by a phalanx of porters and soldiers carrying an
American flag and singing as they went.
In November, Stanley finally made contact with an
ailing David Livingstone near Lake Tanganyika. Perhaps
he uttered the famous words “Dr. Livingstone, I pre -
sume?” Or perhaps Stanley fabricated the phrase later to
reflect what he thought was a proper greeting given the
formalities of English society, at least as he perceived them. In any event, the
statement first appeared in public in the New York Herald on July 2, 1872,
in a story about the meeting between the two explorers.
Whatever words were spoken, Livingstone was overjoyed to see Stanley.
In his search for the source of the White Nile, the Scotsman had returned to
Ujiji suffering from dysentery and ulcerated feet. Moreover, the supplies he
had left there, including medicine he needed, had been plundered. Stanley’s
replenishments were thus welcome, and Livingstone was pleased with the
opportunity to tell his stories in the Herald.
Stanley stayed with Livingstone in central Africa for four months. In
his dispatches to the Herald, he portrayed the Scotsman as a benevolent,
self-sacrificing missionary.
When his health returned, Livingstone invited Stanley to join him in
exploring the northern coast of Lake Tanganyika, which they reached on
November 28, 1871. In doing so, they discovered that the Rusizé River
could not be the source of the Nile, because the Rusizé flowed into the lake.
Livingstone had been hoping that Lake Tanganyika might be more impor-
tant to the Nile than Lake Albert or Lake Victoria.
Stanley the Explorer
Stanley’s visit with Livingstone transformed him from a reporter into an
African explorer. When Livingstone died at Chitambo on May 1, 1873,
Stanley vowed to find the source of the Nile.
Te heart of
Scottish explorer
David Livingstone
was buried near
Lake Bangweulu in
present-day Zambia,
south of his 1871
meeting place with
Henry Morton
Stanley. Te
inscribed section
of the tree is now
housed at the
Royal Geographical
Society in London.
(Hulton Archive/
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Aug. 1877
March 1871
, r , Unyanyembe
Stanley finds
Nov. 1871
Depart: March 1866 (Livingstone)
Depart: Nov. 1874 (Stanley)
Bagamoyo ^
Depart: March 1871 A
Arrive: May 1872 W
-> Livingstone Expeditions, 1852-1856, 1866-1873
-► Stanley Expeditions, 1871-1872, 1874-1877
M.E. Sharpe, Inc. (c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
In 1875, Stanley spent eight months sailing on Lake
Victoria and then circumnavigating it. Lake Victoria
turned out to be one big body of water rather than a
series of smaller ones, as many had assumed. Notably,
its waters were found to flow toward the north, thereby
confirming John Hanning Speke’s argument that Lake
Victoria was the source of the White Nile.
From Lake Victoria, Stanley journeyed to Lake
Tanganyika, which he also circumnavigated. From there,
he traveled up the Lualaba River and discovered that it
fed the Congo River, which he followed to the Atlantic
In 1887, Stanley returned to Africa, when he led
an expedition to rescue Emin Pasha, whom the British
had appointed governor of Equatoria in southern Egypt
(now Sudan). Emin—in reality a Prussian physician
and con man named Eduard Schnitzer—was under as-
sault by Islamic revolutionaries under the Mahdi (a self-
proclaimed Islamic redeemer). Stanley led the successful relief expedition,
in the course of which he made notable contributions to exploration and
endured great hardship.
With the Sudanese who accompanied him, Stanley became the first
white man to cross the Ituri forest. Tere, he was attacked by natives with
poisoned arrows and battled starvation; several of his men were reduced
to mere skin and bones. He also explored the Ruwenzori Mountains,
found that the Semliki River emptied into Lake Albert, and discovered and
named Lake Edward, which he confirmed as the source of the Semliki.
Stanley supported colonialism of a benevolent kind, saying in his lat-
ter years, “What we want now is to develop the country, not so much for
the white man, but for the natives themselves.” He had wanted Britain to
rule the Congo, but King Leopold II of Belgium gained control during
the 1880s. Leopold intended to rule the region as a private estate, not as a
colony of Belgium. Under Leopold, Belgian settlers committed numerous
atrocities—such as cutting off the hands of reluctant workers—in extract-
ing rubber from the land.
Unwittingly, Stanley had opened the door to harsh Belgian rule when,
in 1879, he had undertaken the construction of a highway near the Congo
River at King Leopold’s behest; he also established river stations, a small
railway, and a steamboat operation. Indeed, he even had persuaded local
chieftains to grant sovereignty over their land to Leopold.
When, in the 1890s, Stanley heard of the Belgian atrocities, he refused
to believe them. As the evidence mounted, however, he became critical of
the developments and tried to persuade Leopold to permit an international
On assignment for
the New York Herald,
Henry Morton Stan-
ley traveled to central
Africa in search of
missing explorer Da-
vid Livingstone. After
the encounter, Stanley
continued his own
jungle exploration and
made several major
discoveries. (London
Stereoscopic Company/
Stringer/Hulton Ar-
chive/Getty Images)
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
investigation—a proposal the monarch flatly rejected. (Te Congo came
under the direct control of Belgium in 1908 after Leopold suffered financial
A naturalized U.S. citizen, Stanley became a British subject again in
1892. He served in Parliament from 1895 to 1900, and was knighted in
1899. He wrote several books on his African expeditions, including How
I Found Livingstone in Central Africa (1872), Trough the Dark Continent
(1878), and Te Congo and the Founding of Its Free State (1885). He died on
May 10, 1904, in London, following an attack of pleurisy.
Interestingly, Stanley had helped create the image of a “saintly”
Livingstone, which made the Scotsman more esteemed than Stanley.
Despite his accomplishments and intentions, Stanley was more often as-
sociated with the brutal exploitation of the Congo. Whatever their real
virtues and flaws, both men provided Europeans with previously unknown
knowledge about the geography, people, and climate of central and south -
ern Africa.
JK8EC < P Ë J 8= I@ :8E F9J < IM8K@ FEJ
|oo|y Mo|too Staoloys v|itiogs aboot At|ica disµlay tho mixto|o ot sciooco aod advooto|o ho
oxµo|ioocod oo tho cootiooot. |is tvo-volomo K_ifl^_k_\;Xib:fek`e\ek ¦l8/8j ioclodod
maµs, d|aviogs, aod othoog|aµhic dosc|iµtioos soch as tho tolloviog.
1ho vagoha, amoog vhoso cooot|y vo had voyagod sioco loaviog 1ombvó, a|o ao
ooosoally co|omooioos µooµlo. . . . 1ho a|t ot tho coittoo| is botto| |oovo ho|o thao
io aoy µo|tioo ot At|ica oast ot |a|o 1aogaoyi|a. 1ho ¨vato|tall¨ aod ¨bac|-hai|¨ stylos
a|o soµo|b, aod tho coost|octioos a|o tastoood vith ca|vod voodoo o| i|oo µios. |oll
d|oss ioclodos a somici|clo ot nooly µlaitod hai| ovo| tho to|ohoad µaiotod |od, oa|s voll
och|od, tho |ost ot tho hai| d|avo oµ taot at tho bac| ot tho hoad, ovo|laid aod soco|od
by a c|oss-shaµod ûat boa|d, o| vith s|olotoo c|ovo ot i|oo, tho hoad is thoo covo|od
vith a ooatly tassolod aod µlaitod g|ass cloth, li|o a ladys b|oa|tast-caµ, to µ|otoct it
t|om dost. lo o|do| to µ|otoct soch ao olabo|ato coost|octioo t|om boiog diso|do|od,
thoy ca||y a small hoad-|ost ot vood stoc| io tho gi|dlo.
1hoy g|ootod oach otho| io tho tolloviog maooo|.
A mao aµµoa|s boto|o a µa|ty soatod, ho boods, ta|os oµ a haodtol ot oa|th o| saod vith
his |ight haod, aod th|ovs a littlo ioto his lott-tho lott haod |obs tho saod o| oa|th ovo|
tho |ight olbov aod tho |ight sido ot tho stomach, vhilo tho |ight haod µo|to|ms tho
samo oµo|atioo to| tho lott µa|ts ot tho body, tho mooth moaovhilo otto|iog |aµidly
vo|ds ot salotatioo.
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Further Reading
Dugard, Martin. Into Africa: Te Epic Adventures of Stanley and Livingstone.
New York: Doubleday, 2003.
Jeal, Tim. Stanley: Te Impossible Life of Africa’s Greatest Explorer. New Haven,
CT: Yale University Press, 2007.
Newman, James L. Imperial Footprints: Henry Morton Stanley’s African
Journeys. Washington, DC: Brassey’s, 2004.
See also: Burton,
Richard Francis;
Speke, John
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Scientific Exploration
and Expeditions
Volume Two
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
1764: Born in Stornoway, Scotland
1779: Begins working for the Canadian trading firm Finlay, Gregory and Company
1789: Travels the Mackenzie River in Canada to the Arctic Ocean
1793: Reaches the Pacific Ocean by following the Bella Coola River from west of the
Mackenzie Pass
1820: Dies on March 11 in Scotland
A Scottish-Canadian explorer and fur trader, Alexander Mackenzie jour-
neyed west across the Continental Divide in the 1790s and reached the
Pacific Coast.
Alexander Mackenzie was born sometime around 1764, probably in
the fishing village of Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides
of Scotland. When Alexander was about ten years old, his father took him
to America—most likely to escape the poverty of the Scottish islands.
After living briefly in New York, he was raised by two aunts in Montreal,
As a young man, Mackenzie entered the fur trade, which was then im-
portant to the British Canadian economy. At about age fifteen, he joined the
firm of Finlay, Gregory and Company, which became Gregory, MacLeod
and Company in 1783; he later worked for them as a trader in Detroit. Te
company came under increasing pressure from the two giants of the fur
trade business, the Hudson’s Bay Company and the North West Company,
and it finally merged with the latter. Mackenzie became acquainted with
one of the company’s partners, Peter Pond, who believed that the Athabasca
River could be followed west from the Cook Inlet to the Pacific Ocean. Tis
northwest passage to the Pacific would provide a trade route to Asia.
Mackenzie resolved to test Pond’s theory. He left Fort Chipewyan
(which he had built on Lake Athabasca the previous year) on June 3, 1789.
He was accompanied by a Chipewyan chief; five native women who served
as guides, interpreters, and cooks; four Canadian voyageurs; and a general
Te expedition traveled in three canoes, battling strong northwest
winds and treacherous rapids that often forced them to portage (cross over-
land with their canoes). Te party reached Great Slave Lake on June 9 and
found it still covered with ice. From there, beginning on June 29, they de-
scended what Mackenzie called the River of Disappointment but was later
renamed the Mackenzie River.
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Te trip took a total of 102 days. By the end of it, the expedition had
reached not the Pacific Ocean but the Arctic Ocean. At Whale Island, where
they stayed for four days, Mackenzie observed white whales and measured
the tides.
Mackenzie began to think that the Peace River (in what is now western
Alberta, Canada) was the most likely water route to the Pacific. Preparing
for a journey to test that theory, he went to London in the winter of 1791
for training in navigation. He brought back a compass, a sextant, a chro-
nometer, and a telescope, and set out in May 1793 with Alexander Mackay
and eight other explorers in a 25-foot (7.6-meter) canoe.
As in the first expedition, the party encountered strong river rapids and
engaged in arduous overland treks. Mackenzie had a difficult time convinc-
ing the men to forge ahead; however, they persevered, traveling along the
Peace and Parsnip rivers and crossing the Continental Divide farther north
than any other white men had to that time. On the western slopes of the
Rocky Mountains, they discovered the Fraser River, traversed it for a short
distance, and then, advised by the local Native Americans, crossed the West
Road Valley and reached the Mackenzie Pass at an altitude of 6,000 feet
(1,800 meters) in the Cascade Mountains.
Next, the expedition headed down the Bella Coola River and finally
reached the Pacific Ocean, at the mouth of the river, on July 20, 1793. Tere,
Mackenzie mixed a mineral with melted grease and used the concoction to
make the following inscription on a rock:
Alexander Mackenzie, from Canada, by land, the twenty-second of July,
one thousand seven hundred and ninety-three.
It had taken the expedition seventy-four days to travel more than 1,200
miles (1,900 kilometers) to the coast. By the time Mackenzie returned
home, the challenges of the journey had caused him to suffer from nervous
Although he failed to find the Northwest Passage, Mackenzie advanced
British claims in the Pacific Northwest and added significantly to the geo-
graphical knowledge of the region. Albeit inadvertently, his explorations
also influenced U.S. President Tomas Jefferson, who read Mackenzie’s
book, Voyages from Montreal on the River St. Lawrence Trough the Continent
of North America to the Frozen and Pacific Oceans in the Years 1789 and
1793, which was published in 1801. Already concerned about the growing
British influence in the Pacific Northwest, President Jefferson became all
the more determined to send an American expedition there, which he did
under the leadership of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark.
From London, where he was hailed as a hero, Mackenzie founded and
operated a trading firm called Alexander Mackenzie and Company, which
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
merged with the North West Company in 1804. He returned to Montreal
and was elected to the legislature of Lower Canada in 1805.
Tree years later, he retired to Scotland, where he married, raised three
children, and lived the rest of his life on a large estate near Moray Firth. He
died on March 11, 1820, near Pitlochry.
Further Reading
Daniells, Roy. Alexander Mackenzie and the North West. Toronto, Canada:
Oxford University Press, 1971.
Gough, Barry. First Across the Continent: Sir Alexander Mackenzie. Norman:
University of Oklahoma Press, 1997.
Hayes, Derek. First Crossing: Alexander Mackenzie, His Expedition Across
North America, and the Opening of the Continent. Seattle: Sasquatch,
Best known for his research on the Trobriand Islanders of the southwest
Pacific, Polish-born cultural anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski founded
the functionalist approach to the study of culture, pioneered modern field-
work techniques, and became known as one of the most influential anthro-
pologists of the twentieth century.
Early Life and Studies
Bronislaw Malinowski was born on April 7, 1884, in Kraków, Austrian
Poland, to Lucyan Malinowski, a professor of Slavic languages, and Jozefa
Lacka. As a child he suffered from poor health, but he was an excellent
student. In 1908, he obtained his first doctorate, in philosophy, physics, and
mathematics, from Jagiellonian University in Kraków. After three semesters
as a postgraduate student at the University of Leipzig, he received a scholar-
ship to the London School of Economics.
See also:
and Clark
1884: Born on April 7 in Kraków, Poland
1908: Obtains doctorate from Jagiellonian University in Kraków
1915: Studies the Mailu people of New Guinea and begins studying the Trobriand
1916: Obtains doctor of science degree from the London School of Economics
1922: Publishes Argonauts of the Western Pacific
1927: Becomes chair of anthropology at the University of London
1939: Becomes visiting professor at Yale University
1942: Dies on May 16 at New Haven, Connecticut
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
During the course of his graduate studies, Malinowski
became interested in anthropology when he read James
Frazer’s Te Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion
(1890). Frazer, a Scottish anthropologist, discussed reli-
gion in a cultural context rather than a theological one.
In 1914, Malinowski obtained a fellowship to conduct
anthropological fieldwork in New Guinea. He arrived
there the following year and began his investigation among
the Mailu people, who lived on the southern part of the
Although his work in New Guinea led to his earn-
ing a doctor of science degree from the London School
of Economics in 1916, Malinowski discovered what he
regarded as a weakness in his methodology. During his
six months with the Mailu, he neither learned the native
language nor spent much time living among the people. He
determined to correct these faults in his future work.
In the Trobriand Islands
Malinowski decided to study the Trobriand Islanders, who lived on a coral
archipelago (a group of islands) about 170 miles (275 kilometers) east of
New Guinea in Melanesia, a subregion of the South Pacific. Tis time,
adopting a new approach to his research, he immersed himself in Trobriand
life and society. Rather than rely on occasional interviews with the natives—
standard practice among anthropologists—he pitched a tent among them,
learned their language, and took part in many of their cultural practices.
As he later advocated, “Each phenomenon ought to be studied through
the broadest range possible of its concrete manifestations; each studied
by an exhaustive survey of detailed examples.” Malinowski advised other
It is good for the Ethnographer to sometimes put aside camera, notebook
and pencil and to join himself in what is going on. He can take part in the
natives’ games, he can follow them on their visits and walks, sit down and
listen and share in their conversations. . . . Out of such plunges into the life
of the natives . . . I have carried away the distinct feeling that their behaviour,
their manner of being, in all sorts of tribal transactions, became more trans-
parent and easily understandable than it had [been] before.
Malinowski developed what he believed were three important tech-
niques in ethnographic fieldwork. First, he said, “[t]he organization of the
tribe, and the anatomy of its culture must be recorded in firm, clear outline.
Malinowski broke
new ground in
both methodology
and theory with
his years of field-
work among the
Trobriand Islanders
of the southwest
Pacific. (Hulton
Getty Images)
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Te method of concrete, statistical documentation is the mean through
which such an outline has to be given.” Second, he maintained, “[w]ithin this
frame the imponderabilia of actual life, and the type of behaviour have to be
filled in. Tey have to be collected through minute, detailed observations in
the form of some sort of ethnographic diary, made possible by close contact
with native life.” And third, “[a] collection of ethnographic statements, col-
lective narratives, typical utterances, items of folk-lore and magical formulae
has to be given . . . as documents of native mentality.”
On two expeditions—the first from June 1915 to May 1916, the second
from October 1917 to October 1918—Malinowski studied the social prac-
tices of the Trobriand Islanders. Based on his experiences and findings, he
wrote several books that reshaped the field of cultural anthropology, among
them Argonauts of the Western Pacific (1922), perhaps the most influential;
Crime and Custom in Savage Society (1926); Myth in Primitive Psychology
(1927); and Te Sexual Life of Savages in North-Western Melanesia (1929).
In addition, he wrote numerous works about fishing, war and weapons, and
language in Trobriand society.
In his writings, Malinowski advanced a theory of culture and an ap-
proach to its study known as functionalism. According to this view, “[t]he
laws of behavior, in its technical, economic, legal, moral, and even magical
aspects, form an integral whole which determines the actions of every in-
dividual in the group.” Taken together, he believed, the social customs and
K?< G8IK@ :@ G8EK F9J < IM< I
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
practices create and maintain social order. Tus, Malinowksi maintained, it
is important to study the parts of society as they interrelate; that is, to study
society holistically.
Te social order in Trobriand society, he found, had no need of
European-style courts or of police. And yet, he also observed, the islanders
pushed boundaries of order and tested its limits. So what, then, kept the
order from breaking?
According to Malinowksi, it was a factor that can be observed in almost
any society: the “reciprocity” needed in carrying on social or economic func-
tions in the pursuit of self-interest. For example, among the Trobrianders (as
in other societies), marriage establishes a bond not only between husband
and wife but also between the families of each. Similarly, burial ceremonies
serve not only to take care of the dead but also to comfort the survivors.
Academic Life and Later Fieldwork
Shortly after his return from the Trobriand Islands in 1922, Malinowski
was made full-time lecturer at the London School of Economics. In 1926,
he visited several universities in the United States, and he also studied the
Pueblo Indians of the American Southwest. Te following year, he began
teaching at the University of London and was appointed its first chair of
anthropology. His seminars there shaped the interests, work, and careers of
the next generation of British anthropologists.
Journeying to Africa in 1934, Malinowski conducted fieldwork among
the Bantu tribes. In 1941–1942, he conducted an extensive study of native
peoples in the Oaxaca Valley of Mexico, focusing on the effects of outside
influences on indigenous culture—a factor he had been criticized for un-
dervaluing in anthropological research. In the meantime, Malinowski had
become a visiting professor at Yale University in 1939. He held that post for
the next three years.
An exiled member of the Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences dur-
ing Germany’s occupation of his home country, he was an outspoken critic
of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi regime. After attending the formal opening in New
York City of the Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences at the Morgan Library
on May 16, 1942, Malinowski returned to New Haven, Connecticut, where
he died of a heart attack.
Although many of his ideas have been challenged or revised since his
death, Malinowski continues to be regarded as a giant in the fields of social
and cultural anthropology.
Further Reading
Tornton, Robert J., and Peter Skalnik, eds. Te Early Writings of Bronislaw
Malinowski. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1993.
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Young, Michael W., ed. Te Ethnography of Malinowski: Te Trobriand
Islanders, 1915–18. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1998.
———. Malinowski: Odyssey of an Anthropologist, 1884–1920. New Haven,
CT: Yale University Press, 2004.
Te art and science of mapmaking, or cartography, has undergone tremen-
dous change over the centuries, partly as a function of physical exploration
and partly as a result of technological innovations and evolving scientific
Mapmaking long predated the dawn of modern science in the fifteenth
century. Te first known maps date from ancient Babylonia (in the region
of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in present-day Iraq) in around 2300
b.c.e. Carved into clay tablets, these early diagrams showed the locations of
towns, communities, and even property lines. One such map, from Nippur
(near the Euphrates River in present-day Iraq) created circa 1300 b.c.e.,
depicts individual landholdings, along with irrigation canals and streams. In
East Asia, maps drawn on silk dating to the second century b.c.e. have been
found in China. In the Mediterranean, the Greek philosopher Anaximander
drew a map showing all known lands around the Aegean Sea in the sixth
century b.c.e.
A breakthrough came in about 240 b.c.e., when Eratosthenes of Cyrene
made an important calculation. While serving as chief of the Alexandrian
Museum in Egypt, he used a well and a vertical column to measure the angle
of the sun and thereby determine the circumference of the Earth. Although
his result was 16 percent too high, the calculation represented an impor-
tant advance in human knowledge of the Earth. For that effort and others,
1154: Arabian geographer Mohammed al-Idrisi draws a map of the known world
1311: Genoan cartographer Petrus Vesconte makes a navigation chart of the
Mediterranean Sea
1507: German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller produces a map that includes the
label “America”
1569: Flemish cartographer Gerardus Mercator produces his first world map, a large
cylindrical projection that becomes the standard for ocean navigation
1879: Te United States begins a geological survey for the purpose of making large-
scale topographic maps
1966: Te Pageos satellite is launched by the United States to conduct a geodetic
survey of the Earth
1999: Te seventh Landsat satellite is launched as part of the American geodetic
survey program
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
including the invention of a system of latitude and longitude, Eratosthenes
has been called the “father of geodesy,” the science of Earth measurement.
In about 150 b.c.e., the Alexandrian scholar Ptolemy defined cartogra-
phy as “a representation in pictures of the whole known world together with
the phenomena which are contained therein.” Most mapmakers today still
hold with that basic definition.
Wanting cartographers “to survey the whole in its just proportions,”
Ptolemy recommended that whenever a large-area map distorted the rep-
resentation of large or small areas, more localized maps should be used to
provide a more accurate view. In 1154, the Arabian geographer Mohammed
al-Idrisi drew a map of the world excluding unknown regions, such as the
Americas. As early as the twelfth century, the Mayas and the Incas were
making maps of lands in Central America.
By the thirteenth century, navigators in the Mediterranean Sea were
making charts with lines connecting various points, although these charts
did not include meridians or parallels. Te earliest dated navigation chart
was made by a Genoan, Petrus Vesconte, in 1311. Some historians consider
this the first work of professional cartography.
Cartography in the Era of Modern Science
Te rise of modern science, coinciding as it did with the Age of Discovery,
brought major advances in cartographic accuracy and the charting of
previously unknown lands. In 1507, the German cartographer Martin
Waldseemüller produced a map that included the label “America” (after
Amerigo Vespucci, an Italian navigator and explorer off the Atlantic coast)
for the newly discovered lands across the Atlantic Ocean. For the first time,
North and South America were shown as separate from Asia. In 1570,
Abraham Ortelius, a Flemish mapmaker who lived in Antwerp, published
the first modern atlas, Orbis Terrarum, which contained seventy maps
drawn by different cartographers.
More precise methods of measuring latitude improved the accuracy of
maps. Notably, in 1525, French physician Jean Fernel calculated the length
of a degree of latitude with such accuracy that he was able to determine the
circumference of the Earth within one-tenth of 1 percent. Fenel’s was the
first accurate measurement of a degree by a European; he performed this
calculation in Paris using a quadrant and horse-drawn carriage.
Fenel used a quadrant to measure the angle of the noontime sun and
the horizon; then he compared it to a published table in order to calculate
his latitude. Based on the circumference of his carriage wheels and the num-
ber of their revolutions, he measured the distance from Paris to Amiens
(near his birthplace). Upon arriving, he again measured the angle of the
sun, to determine his new latitude. Paris and Amiens, it turned out, were
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
almost exactly 1 degree arc apart; the distance be-
tween them, therefore, was equal to the distance
of latitude. It would be another hundred years be-
fore better instruments allowed for more accurate
Perhaps the most famous name in cartogra-
phy is that of Gerardus Mercator (1512–1594),
a Flemish instrument maker whose charts helped
generations of sailors make safer journeys across
the oceans. Mercator’s great innovation was a way
to represent the spherical shape of the Earth on
flat parchment. It is not clear how he came up
with the idea, but, in 1569, he presented a world
map based on a “new proportion and a new ar-
rangement of the meridians with reference to the
To do this, Mercator took the rhumb lines
from the globe—the straight lines between two
points used by navigators—made them perpen-
dicular to the equator, and drew them so they
would not converge at the poles. Consequently,
the meridians of longitude and the parallels of latitude intersected at right
angles. To accomplish this, he had to increase the spacing of the parallels
of latitude as they moved away from the equator toward the poles so that
they would match the spreading of the meridians of longitude. One effect
of this projection technique was to distort the shape of landmasses near the
poles. Tus, for example, Greenland appeared to be the same size as South
Mercator’s 1569 map reflected the growing knowledge of world geog-
raphy during the Age of Discovery—at least to that time. It showed the
west coasts of South and Central America, depicted Baja California as part
of North America, and provided a more accurate outline of Asia. But the
map showed nothing of the North American interior, as Europeans had
yet to explore it; it also showed a landmass called Terra Australis where
Antarctica is located, which was believed to be connected to the southern
tips of Australia and South America.
Mercator’s projection is referred to today as a “conformal map,” meaning
that the depiction of smaller surface areas are relatively accurate, but larger
areas, such as continents, tend to be distorted. In a subsequent innovation,
called “equal-area maps,” 1 square inch (or square centimeter, depending
on the scale used) on the surface of a map represents the same number of
square miles (or square kilometers) of physical terrain as any other square
inch (or square kilometer).
Te great break-
through in global
became a mainstay
of ocean naviga-
tion—was a projec-
tion of the spherical
world using straight
lines to indicate lati-
tude and longitude.
Te system took the
name of its creator,
Gerardus Mercator.
(Stringer/Hulton Ar-
chive /Getty Images)
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
While it does provide greater accuracy in one respect, an equal-area
map still distorts shapes and distances in areas near the poles. Indeed, any
flat map of a spherical planet necessarily distorts the representation of
shapes and distances. Te question for any cartographer or map reader is
which projection to use. (Tere are many variations within both the confor-
mal and equal-area categories.)
Te science of surveying—measuring distances and angles across
three-dimensional space—matured significantly in the seventeenth and
eighteenth centuries with advances in instrumentation. No longer was sur-
veying confined to the measurement of small areas such as property lines.
With improved instruments and more advanced mathematical techniques,
surveyors could measure larger areas with greater accuracy.
Further improvements in cartography came as a result of a new scien-
tific theory developed at about the same time. In the 1680s, Isaac Newton
advanced the theory of centrifugal force, which had major implications for
cartography because it held that the Earth was not perfectly round, but
bulged at the equator. To test Newton’s theory, the French Royal Academy
of Sciences sponsored two expeditions, one bound for Peru in 1735 and
one for the Arctic in 1736.
Te Arctic explorers trekked into the wilderness of Lapland, where
they battled giant, biting mosquitoes and foul weather. After calculating an
arc of meridian from Tornio to Kittis (two Finnish towns), they measured
a base line from the Torne River to Avasaksa by walking across the frozen
river and placing 33-foot (10-meter) rods in their path. Te leader of the
expedition, Pierre Louis Moreau de Maupertuis, wrote,
Judge what it must be to walk in the Snow two feet deep, with heavy Poles in
our hands, which we must be continually laying upon the Snow and lifting
again: In a Cold so extreme, that whenever we would taste a little Brandy, the
only thing that could be kept liquid, our Tongues and lips froze to the Cup,
and came away bloody; In a Cold that congealed the Fingers of some of us,
and threatened us with yet more dismal Accidents.
Te results of that Arctic expedition, along with the one to Peru, con-
firmed Newton’s theory about the bulge in the Earth and marked a land-
mark event in the science of mapmaking. Cartographers were moving out
of their workshops and libraries, and going out as explorers to survey land
and sea.
New Horizons
If the more precise methods of measuring latitude that emerged in the eigh-
teenth and nineteenth centuries improved the accuracy of maps, so, too,
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did the measuring of longitude. Tis awaited the development of an acu-
rate mechanical clock—or marine chronometer—that could be carried on
board a ship and continue to function. Te device would keep the time of
the prime meridian (Greenwich Mean Time). By comparing this time with
the local time at sea, it was possible to determine a ship’s longitudinal posi-
tion relative to the prime meridian.
Te problem was making a clock capable of withstanding the humidity,
temperature, and barometric pressure of a long sea voyage. Te solution
came from John Harrison, an English clockmaker, who developed and built
increasingly durable and accurate marine chronometers. Finally, in 1761, his
H-4 timepiece, which was about the size of a soup plate, made it possible to
gauge one’s longitude at sea reliably and accurately. James Cook used a copy
of the H-4, called the K-1, on his voyages to the Pacific Ocean and praised
its accuracy. It proved invaluable in compiling the maps of his expeditions.
In another key development, topographic surveys intended to show
the surface features of a place or region on a map (hills, valleys, rivers, and
Satellite imagery has
revolutionized the
field of cartography,
providing real-time
views of the Earth’s
surface in unprec-
edented resolution
and detail. Tis view
of the Chesapeake
Bay was captured
by one of the U.S.
Landsat observa-
tion satellites in the
1990s. (Science & So-
ciety Picture Library/
Getty Images)
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
the like) were undertaken by European countries by the late eighteenth
century, adding a new dimension to cartographic science. In 1793, the
French completed a topographic survey of their entire nation; this was
followed by similar national surveys in Austria, Great Britain, Spain, and
In the United States, the Geological Survey was begun in 1879 to
survey and make large-scale topographic maps. In 1891, the International
Geographical Congress proposed mapping the entire world, a project
still under way today. Meanwhile, at sea, in the mid-nineteenth century,
Matthew Maury of the U.S. Hydrographic Office began collecting data on
winds, currents, ocean floors, and related phenomena—an effort regarded
by some as the beginning of modern oceanography.
Mapmaking has undergone rapid change in the twentieth and twenty-
first centuries as a result of modern technology. Aerial photography, which
began during World War I, was used extensively in World War II. In the
decades since, satellites have brought major advances in the collection and
digital dissemination of detailed, real-time geographic information.
Te United States began a geodetic survey of the Earth in 1966 with
cameras mounted inside a balloon-launched satellite called Pageos (which
circled the Earth in a polar orbit) and in three Landsat satellites launched
in the 1970s. Landsat 1 was rocketed into space on July 23, 1972, to an alti-
tude of 560 miles (900 kilometers); its nearly circular orbit provided a clear
perspective of the Earth’s surface with little distortion. A single image from
Landsat was equivalent to 1,000 pictures taken from an airplane. In 1999,
the seventh in the series of Landsat satellites was launched; it continues to
transmit images of the Earth from space.
With all the improvement of modern technology, however, cartography
still requires expeditions on the ground. As one cartographer recently put it,
You have to steep yourself in the place, its trails and rocks and vegetation if
you are to produce a map with more authenticity, one that has the right feel
as well as the right mathematics.
Further Reading
Schwartz, Seymour I. Putting “America” on the Map: Te Story of the Most
Important Graphic Document in the History of the United States. Amherst,
NY: Prometheus, 2007.
U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration Landsat Program:
Whitfield, Peter. Te Charting of the Oceans: Ten Centuries of Maritime Maps.
Rohnert Park, CA: Pomegranate Artbooks, 1996.
Wilford, John Noble. Te Mapmakers. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1981.
See also: Space
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
American paleontologist, curator, and professor Othniel Charles Marsh
led hundreds of fossil-finding expeditions to the western United States,
discovered and named hundreds of fossil species, and provided strong cor-
roborating evidence for Darwin’s theory of evolution in its infancy. An early
specialist in the field of vertebrate paleontology, Marsh also was known for
his rivalry regarding fossil discoveries with Edward Drinker Cope.
Othniel Charles Marsh was born on October 29, 1831, in Lockport,
New York. His father, Caleb Marsh, was a struggling farmer; his mother,
Mary, died when Othniel was just three years old. Caleb Marsh expected
his son to work on the farm, but as a boy Othniel liked to roam the fields
and hunt in the woods. He became friends with geologist Ezekiel Jewett
and through him became interested in natural history.
Financially strapped, Marsh was unable to enter Phillips Academy at
Andover, Massachusetts, until he was twenty-one years old. He continued
his studies at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1856, sup-
ported largely by money from his uncle, George Peabody, who had become
a successful banker. After earning his bachelor’s degree in 1860, Marsh
began graduate studies at Yale’s Sheffield Scientific School, where he took
courses in chemistry, physics, geology, botany, modern languages, and the
history of science.
In 1861, he published his first paper, on the Nova Scotia goldfields.
By this time, his collection of rocks and minerals had grown so large that
it almost broke through the floor of the room where he was living. Fellow
students considered him hard to get to know and called him “Daddy” be-
cause of his age.
With his interests shifting from geology to paleontology, Marsh
studied at several German universities in the mid-1860s. Upon returning
to America, he was named professor of vertebrate paleontology at Yale
in 1866. Later that year, he persuaded his uncle to found the Peabody
Museum of Natural History at Yale, of which Marsh was named cura-
tor in 1867. With money inherited from his uncle, Marsh built a large
house in New Haven, where he entertained guests and stored his collec-
1831: Born on October 29 in Lockport, New York
1867: Becomes curator at the Peabody Museum of Natural History at Yale
1870: Begins exploring the American West in search of fossils when he
leads a party of explorers from Fort McPherson, Nebraska
1899: Dies on March 18 in New Haven, Connecticut
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
tion of fossils. (In 1898, he donated his collection to
the Peabody, where it is still housed today.)
In 1870, Marsh departed with a small group of as-
sistants from Fort McPherson, Nebraska, on the first of
several expeditions he would lead to the West in search
of fossils. One observer described him as “preeminently
an outdoor man . . . a crack shot, a fisherman of repute,
a seasoned camper.” Marsh believed that the Nebraska
plains had once been a lake bed and the Rocky Mountains
a shallow sea, a theory confirmed by his discovery of a
number of fish fossils as well as several remains of small
One fossil in particular, which Marsh discovered
while he was riding along a buffalo trail, was the first of
its kind to be found in North America—a bone from a
flying reptile called the pterodactyl. From this evidence,
along with a number of smaller bones collected by others, Marsh could esti-
mate the size of the creature, the first vertebrate species known to have been
capable of flying:
I . . . made a careful calculation of how large a Pterodactyl must be to have a
wing finger corresponding to the fragment I had found, and ascertained that
its spread of wings would be about twenty feet.
Marsh found proof for his theory on a second Western expedition in
1871, when he uncovered additional bones. Based on that evidence, he
I was soon able to determine that my calculations based on the original frag-
ments were essentially correct, and that my first found American dragon was
as large as my fancy had painted him.
Other Western expeditions followed in 1872, 1873, and 1874. During
the last of these, Marsh collected more than 2 tons of fossils.
Collectors working for Marsh unearthed yet more fossil remains, from
which he acquired specimens of other dinosaur species. Among these was
the toothed Cretaceous bird Hesperornis, which he had identified previ-
ously. Based on the new evidence, about fifty fragments in all, Marsh was
the first to show that birds had evolved from reptiles.
According to one contemporary, Marsh’s discovery “removed Mr.
Darwin’s proposition . . . from the region of hypothesis to that of demon-
strable fact.” Indeed, Marsh fully supported Darwin’s theory of evolution
through natural selection.
A pioneer of verte-
brate paleontology,
Othniel Charles
Marsh discovered
hundreds of fossils
on expeditions to the
American West in
the late 1800s. His
findings lent strong
support for Darwin’s
controversial new
theory of evolution.
(Granger Collection,
New York)
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
As early as the 1860s, meanwhile, an intense rivalry—referred to as the
Great Bone Wars—had developed between Marsh and the Philadelphia-
based paleontologist Edward Drinker Cope. Each tried to outdo the other
in collecting fossils, publishing papers, and advancing scientific theories.
Te competition resulted, in part, from Marsh’s revelation, in 1869, that
Cope had incorrectly reconstructed the skeleton of the Elasmosaurus, a
long-neck reptile. (Cope had placed the skull on the skeleton’s tail rather
than its neck.)
Te rivalry exploded into public view in 1890 when the New York
Herald published a claim by Cope that Marsh was trying to take over the
U.S. Geological Survey. Te controversy drew widespread interest at a time
when new findings and theories in natural science had captured the imagi-
nation of ordinary Americans.
Marsh died of pneumonia on March 18, 1899, in New Haven, where
he had been teaching at Yale. In his lifetime, he had published some 300 sci-
entific papers and books, named several hundred new species of fossil ver-
tebrates, and, from 1883 to 1895, had served as president of the National
Academy of Sciences.
Further Reading
Cohen, I. Bernard, ed. Te Life and Scientific Work of Othniel Charles Marsh:
An Original Anthology. New York: Arno, 1980.
Ostrom, John H., and John S. McIntosh. Marsh’s Dinosaurs: Te Collection
from Como Bluff. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2000.
Wallace, David Rains. Te Bonehunters’ Revenge: Dinosaurs, Greed, and the
Greatest Scientific Feud of the Gilded Age. Boston: Houghton Mifflin,
MEXIA, YNES 18701938
A Mexican American botanist and explorer, Ynes Mexia collected an esti-
mated 150,000 plant specimens—hundreds of them previously unknown
species—on expeditions to Mexico, South America, and Alaska. A former
social worker, she did not begin studying botany until she was in her fifties.
See also: Cope,
Edward Drinker.
1870: Born on May 24 in Washington, D.C.
1925: Collects plant specimens at Mazatlán in Mexico
1928: Studies plants at Mt. McKinley National Park in Alaska
1929: Explores Brazil, Peru, and the Amazon River and collects 65,000 plant
1935: Collects 15,000 specimens of plants and animals in South America
1938: Dies in Berkeley, California on July 12
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
She was born Ynes Enriquetta Julietta Mexia on May 24, 1870, in
Washington, D.C., to Enrique Antonio Mexia, who was serving as a dip-
lomatic envoy at the Mexican consulate, and Sarah Wilmer Mexia. From
infancy to the age of nine, she lived in Mexia, Texas, a town in Limestone
County named for her grandfather. Tereafter, upon her parents’ separa-
tion, she moved to Philadelphia to live with her mother and then to Mexico
City to live with her father.
After the death of her first husband in 1904, Mexia remarried. She
later suffered a nervous breakdown and not long after that divorced her sec-
ond husband. She moved back to the United States, became an American
citizen, and pursued a career as a social worker in San Francisco.
In 1921, at the age of fifty-one, Mexia began studying natural history at
the University of California at Berkeley. Four years later, she took a summer
course on flowering plants at Hopkins Marines Station in Pacific Grove,
California, before joining a botanical expedition to Mexico.
At Mazatlán, Mexico, Mexia became a tireless collector and catalog-
er of plant specimens, continuing her activities despite a fall from a cliff
in which she fractured her ribs. She took detailed field notes and pho-
tographed everything of potential importance. During the course of the
expedition, Mexia displayed a preference for camping out in the field on
her own. Although she established contacts with several leading scientists,
she did not form any close relationships and sometimes complained of
In the next twelve years, Mexia made a total of seven more collect-
ing trips. In 1926 and 1927, she collected botanical specimens in western
Mexico for the Department of Botany at the University of California at
Berkeley. Near the end of that trip, she traveled over the Sierra Madre
Mountains to collect local oak and plant samples. In all, she brought back
hundreds of specimens to California, among them lichens, mosses, ferns,
grasses, herbs, shrubs, and trees. Te collection included fifty new species.
In 1928, on an expedition to Alaska, Mexia collected more than 6,000
species and studied plant life at Mount McKinley National Park (today
Denali National Park), while living in complete solitude. Te following
year, she explored Brazil and Peru and traveled the Amazon River. She
spent two months in the jungle and returned to the United States with
65,000 specimens. On an expedition to Peru, Argentina, Bolivia, and Chile
in 1935, she collected another 15,000 specimens of plants and animals.
Mexia undertook her last expedition in 1937, to Guerrero and Oaxaca
in Mexico. After falling ill the following year, she returned to California,
where doctors told her she had lung cancer. She died at Berkeley on July
12, 1938.
A fellow botanist said of Mexia, “She was the true explorer type and
happiest when independent and far from civilization.”
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Further Reading
Bonta, Marcia M. Women in the Field: America’s Pioneering Woman Naturalists.
College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1991.
Goodspeed, Tomas Harper. Plant Hunters in the Andes. New York: Farrar
and Rinehart, 1941.
MOUHOT, HENRI 18261861
Te French naturalist and explorer Henri Mouhot explored Southeast Asia
in the mid-nineteenth century. Trough his writings, he encouraged the ar-
chaeological exploration of the ancient Khmer capital of Angkor and called
Western attention to the marvels of the temple complex located there.
Henri Mouhot was born on May 15, 1826, in Montbéliard, France,
near the Swiss border. As a young professor of philology in the 1840s and
1850s, he traveled to Russia to teach and then toured Europe while studying
photography. In 1856, he arrived in England and began studying zoology.
It was during this time that he read John Bowring’s Te Kingdom and
the People of Siam (1857), whose vivid descriptions of Siam (present-day
Tailand) made Mouhot want to visit. Bowring wrote,
Te appearance of the river is beautiful. Now and then a bamboo hut is seen
amidst the foliage, whose varieties of bright and beautiful green no art could
copy. Fruits and flowers hang by thousands on the branches.
With support from the Royal Geographical Society and the Zoological
Society of London, Mouhot set out for Indochina in 1858. In the course of
the next three years, he made four trips into the interior of Southeast Asia.
On his first expedition from Bangkok, he sailed up the Chao Phraya
River to Ayuthaya, the former capital of Siam, and reported a discovery. He
I found animal footprints, mainly of tiger and elephant, everywhere up to the
top of the mountain, in the valleys, caves, fissures. I have reached the conclu-
sion that some of these footprints had been made by unknown antediluvian
1826: Born on May 15 in Montbéliard, France
1858: Begins exploring Indochina on a journey up the Chao Phraya River from
Bangkok to Ayuthaya
1860: Explores Angkor, including the Angkor Wat temple complex, in Cambodia
1861: Dies on November 10 in Luang Prabang, Laos
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Other archaeologists have since determined that it is more likely that
the marks were made by erosion in the limestone.
In December 1858, Mouhot began his second expedition, which lasted
until April 1860. Surviving largely on rice and dried fish, and fighting mos-
quitoes every step of the way, he reached the ancient city of Angkor and
explored its impressive Hindu temples. He took detailed measurements of
Angkor Wat, the largest temple complex in the world, and marveled at its
bas-relief artistry depicting warriors riding tigers, people entering paradise,
and scenes of daily Khmer life. Mouhot wrote,
At [Angkor], there are . . . ruins of such grandeur . . . that, at the first view,
one is filled with profound admiration, and cannot but ask what has become
of this powerful race, so civilized, so enlightened, the authors of these gigan-
tic works?
Made of sandstone and laterite (a red, porous, clay-like soil), the
Angkor Wat temple complex comprises five lotus-shaped towers, a large
central tower, and other smaller towers. A series of terraces surrounds the
central tower, and the entire structure is, in turn, surrounded by a moat.
Te capital of the Khmer Empire, Angkor had been inhabited from the
early ninth to the early fifteenth centuries, though Mouhot thought that it
dated from a much earlier period. In addition to exploring the temples, he
collected hundreds of insect specimens and shipped them back to Europe.
All were lost when the steamer carrying them sank in Singapore harbor.
Other items from his natural history collections later were received by the
British Museum.
An English engrav-
ing of 1868 depicts
Angkor Wat, the
great temple of the
ancient Khmer
Empire in Cambo-
dia. Te historic site
became an object of
fascination among
Europeans after
firsthand descrip-
tions by Frenchman
Henri Mouhot.
(Granger Collection,
New York)
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Contrary to popular accounts, Mouhot did not “discover” Angkor Wat.
Western explorers and missionaries had visited the temple, and other near-
by temples, as early as the 1500s. Yet Mouhot’s descriptions and detailed
sketches attracted considerable interest in Europe and encouraged archae-
ologists to explore the buildings.
Mouhot undertook a third expedition, to Petchaburi, in 1860, and
a fourth one, to Laos, later that year. He died on November 10, 1861, in
Luang Prabang, Laos, likely from a jungle fever.
Mouhot’s travel notes appeared in a French magazine in 1863. And
book editions of his writings were published in French and English in suc-
ceeding years.
Further Reading
Mouhot, Henri. Travels in Siam, Cambodia, Laos, and Annam. Bangkok,
Tailand: White Lotus, 2000.
See also: Royal
NANSEN, FRIDTJOF 18611930
A Norwegian explorer, oceanographer, diplomat, and humanitarian, Fridtjof
Nansen fell short of his goal to reach the North Pole in the late 1800s but
collected extensive scientific information about the Arctic. He was awarded
the Nobel Peace Prize in 1922 for his work as high commissioner of refu-
gees for the League of Nations.
Fridtjof Nansen was born on October 10, 1861, in Store Froen,
Norway, near Oslo (then named Christiania). His father, Baldur Nansen,
was a prosperous attorney, and his mother, Adelaide Nansen, came from
a well-to-do family. Fridtjof lived in a large farmhouse with a younger
brother and five older half-brothers and half-sisters.
1861: Born on October 10 in Store Froen, Norway
1888: Walks across Greenland from east to west, arriving at the Inuit village of
Godthaab in early October
1893: Begins his attempt to reach the North Pole aboard the Fram, a ship specially
built to withstand ice floes
1906: Begins two-year term as Norway’s ambassador to Great Britain
1921: Leads an international effort to save lives during a famine in Russia
1922: Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize
1930: Dies on May 13 in Oslo, Norway
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
As a young man, Nansen spent much time in
the Norwegian forests skiing, hiking, and camp-
ing. In 1880, at age eighteen, he enrolled at the
University of Oslo (then called the University
of Christiania) and studied zoology. Two years
later, he sailed to the Arctic as a crew member
on the seal-hunting ship Viking, bringing with
him equipment for collecting and investigat-
ing specimens. Te Viking sailed to the coast of
Greenland, where the beauty of the frozen land,
which Nansen viewed from the crow’s nest, in-
spired him with the idea of crossing the Arctic
island on foot.
Back from his trip later that year, he was
appointed curator of the Bergen Museum in
Norway under zoologist Daniel Cornelius
Danielssen. In 1888, Nansen received his doc-
torate from the University of Oslo upon comple-
tion of his dissertation, which was titled “Te
Structure and Combination of the Histological
Elements of the Central Nervous System.”
To the Arctic
Having received his degree, Nansen set about planning to trek across
Greenland with five companions. Te group decided to begin the journey
from an ice floe along the east coast of the island, a dangerous plan, because
the eastern region was devoid of villages from which help could be obtained
if needed.
Nansen and his fellow explorers arrived on the east coast of Greenland
in July 1888 and promptly encountered a setback. As they prepared to de-
part, the ice floe they were on broke apart, and on one of the pieces the
explorers sailed south for ten days, which forced them to return north a
considerable distance before beginning the trek across Greenland. All to-
gether, the incident cost them three weeks.
Te purpose of the expedition was not purely adventure, and the ex-
plorers carried with them various scientific instruments, such as a sextant,
barometers, theodolites, and three compasses—the last “for the testing of
magnetic deviation,” said Nansen, “as well as for trigonometrical observa-
tions.” Te party covered about 250 miles (400 kilometers), traversing hills
and mountains and forging through blizzards, which put them ever farther
behind schedule.
Norwegian explorer
Fridtjof Nansen
poses for a photo
in his cabin on the
Fram, while the
ship was lodged in
the Arctic ice cap in
early 1895. Tough
the expedition failed
to reach the North
Pole, Nansen trav-
eled farther north
than any person to
that time. (Imagno/
Hulton Archive/
Getty Images)
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Tey finally reached Greenland’s west coast and the Inuit village of
Godthaab in early October, just as the harsh winter weather began setting
in. Spending the winter there, Nansen used the time to learn more about
Arctic travel from the villagers. He also learned their language and shared
their meals of seal and whale blubber.
During this expedition, Nansen made extensive scientific observations,
including descriptions of Inuit life, the geography, and weather conditions.
He found that the inland ice and deep snows never melted. And, from his
detailed meteorological observations, he concluded,
Te great difference between sun and shade temperature is plainly due to
the excessive radiation in the dry, thin air of this high plateau. . . . Te scale
of our sling thermometers only read as low as -220 Fahr. (-300 Cent.), as
no one had expected such cold at this time of the year in the interior of
Upon his return to Norway in 1889, Nansen was hailed by his country-
men for his feat and was named curator of the zoological collection at the
University of Oslo. Shortly thereafter, he published two books about his
adventure, Te First Crossing of Greenland (1890) and Eskimo Life (1891).
Nansen next determined to become the first person to reach the North
Pole. With backing from the Norwegian government, he directed construc-
tion of the Fram, a ship with a rounded hull and pointed bow and stern that
enabled ice floes to slip underneath it rather than crush it.
For the expedition itself, Nansen developed a bold plan: to freeze the
Fram in the ice along the east coast of Siberia and then allow the ocean
current to push it north. He derived this idea from having seen debris from
Siberia wash up along the shores of Greenland. For his crew, Nansen re-
cruited twelve Norwegians, later explaining: “Two Norwegians, alone of all
other nationals, could sit face to face on a cake of ice for three years without
hating each other.”
After settling into the Siberian ice pack in September 1893, the Fram
drifted across the polar ice cap, as planned. After two winters, however, it
became clear to Nansen that the ship would pass hundreds of miles south
of the North Pole. In March 1895, therefore, he decided to set out overland
to complete the expedition.
Packing dogsleds with 100 days of rations, Nansen departed the vessel
with fellow explorer Hjalmar Johanssen, and they began a grueling journey.
Time and again, their sleds capsized on the treacherous terrain. Te tra-
vail of having to carry their sleds “over hummocks and inequalities of the
ground,” as Nansen described it, exhausted them:
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Sometimes we were so sleepy in the evenings that our eyes shut and we fell
asleep as we went along. My head would drop, and I would be awakened by
suddenly falling forward on my snowshoes.
Although Nansen and Johanssen ultimately failed to reach the North
Pole, on April 8, 1895, they reached 86
14' north latitude (at what is now
called the Nansen Cordillera)—the farthest north anyone had ever traveled
on the face of the Earth. In his diary, Nansen wrote about the decision to
turn back:
Te ice grew worse and worse, and we got no way. Ridge after ridge, and
nothing but rubble to travel over. . . . I went on a good way ahead on snow-
shoes, but saw no reasonable prospect of advance, and from the highest
hummocks only the same kind of ice was to be seen. It was a veritable chaos
of ice-blocks, stretching as far as the horizon. Tere is not much sense in
keeping on longer.
To make matters worse, Nansen and Johanssen lost track of the Fram.
On their return trip, therefore, they headed south for Franz Josef Land, lo-
cated some 400 miles (640 kilometers) away. In late July 1895, however, bad
lo =Xik_\jkEfik_¦l89/j, his momoi| ot his oxµoditioo to |oach tho |o|th |olo, ||idtjot |aosoo
dosc|ibod tho sciootinc iost|omoots ho b|ooght aloog.
|o| motoo|ological obso|vatioos, io additioo to tho o|dioa|y tho|momoto|s, ba|omoto|s,
aoo|oids, µsych|omoto|s, hyg|omoto|s, aoomomoto|s, otc., otc., solt-|ogisto|iog
iost|omoots vo|o also ta|oo. Ot sµocial imµo|taoco vo|o . . . [aoj aoo|oid ba|omoto| ¦a
ba|og|aµhj aod a µai| ot . . . tho|momoto|s ¦tho|mog|aµhsj.
|o also listod ¨a comµloto sot ot iost|omoots¨ to| ta|iog magootic obso|vatioos, vato|
samµlo|s, dooµvato| tho|momoto|s, aod tho li|o to ma|o hyd|og|aµhic obso|vatioos, aod ao
¨oloct|ic aµµa|atos¨ to ¨asco|taio tho saltooss ot tho vato|.¨
|aosoo coodoctod his ast|ooomical obso|vatioos vith a soxtaot aod th|oo thoodolitos.
1hoodolitos, vhich bogao to aµµoa| io thoi| modo|o to|m io tho l/8us, coosist ot tvo g|adoatod
ci|clos µlacod at |ight aoglos to oach otho| aod a toloscoµo that to|os oo ao axis aod is sitoatod
at tho cooto| ot tho ci|clos, all moootod oo a µodostal.
vith a thoodolito, |aosoo coold moaso|o ho|izootal aod vo|tical aoglos aod thos acco|atoly
so|voy tho laod. boto|o |aosoos oxµoditioo, b|itish so|voyo|s had osod thoodolitos to maµ tho
lodiao sobcootiooot.
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
weather prevented them from proceeding. Te two explorers prepared for
winter by hunting and storing polar bear, walrus, and seal meat; for shelter,
they dug a pit in the ground and covered it with walrus skins.
Te following May, they resumed their journey, now all but lost. Ten
came a stroke of good fortune. In June 1896, on an island just south of
Franz Josef Land, they happened upon another explorer, Frederick Jackson
of Great Britain. In August, they returned to Norway on board Jackson’s
ship a few days ahead of the Fram, which had just reached open water at
During the course of the expedition, the Norwegians aboard the Fram
set up special weather stations and made numerous observations. Tey
measured wind speeds, temperatures, and other meteorological events; re-
corded water temperatures; and found that the Arctic Ocean was a deep ba-
sin rather than a shallow sea. Around 1900, Nansen published six volumes
of scientific information obtained on his Arctic expedition.
Scientist, Diplomat, Humanitarian
Back in Norway, Nansen was named professor of oceanography and zo-
ology at the University of Oslo, where he did notable work in the fields
of fluid dynamics and neurology. He also helped found the International
Council for the Exploration of the Sea in 1902, advised scientists who
wanted to explore the Arctic, and went on several oceanographic expedi-
tions (1910–1914).
Increasingly, however, Nansen focused his attention on politics. A
strong supporter of Norway’s independence from Sweden, he served from
1906 to 1908 as his country’s first ambassador to Great Britain. During
World War I, he negotiated an agreement with the United States to receive
supplies, and in 1920 he headed the Norwegian delegation to the League
of Nations.
As high commissioner of refugees for the league, Nansen was instru-
mental in arranging the repatriation of 500,000 German and Austro-
Hungarian prisoners of war from Russia. When famine swept that country
in 1921, he led an international appeal for help that saved hundreds of
thousands of lives. For his humanitarian efforts, Nansen was awarded the
Nobel Peace Prize in 1922.
Nansen’s other diplomatic accomplishments include a measure he
proposed to alleviate tension between Greece and Turkey. It called for the
“exchange of Turkish nationals of the Greek Orthodox religion [in Turkey]
and of Greek nationals of the Moslem religion [in Greece]”; this measure
was enacted at the Convention of Lausanne in 1923.
Nansen died in Oslo on May 13, 1930, likely as the result of overexer-
tion on a skiing trip. He once said, “Our object is to investigate the great
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
unknown regions that surround the pole, and these investigations will be
equally important from a scientific view.”
Further Reading
Greve, Tim. Fridtjof Nansen. 2 vols. Oslo, Norway: Gyldendal, 1973.
Huntford, Roland. Nansen: Te Explorer as Hero. New York: Barnes and
Noble, 1998.
Nansen, Fridtjof. Farthest North. New York: Modern Library, 1999.
From its headquarters in Washington, D.C., the National Geographic
Society has promoted geographical knowledge for more than 120 years
through thousands of scientific expeditions and research projects, a popular
consumer magazine, books, television shows, movies, traveling exhibitions,
multimedia presentations, games, and toys.
Te society was organized on January 13, 1888, when thirty-three men
gathered at the Cosmos Club in Washington with the idea of forming an as-
sociation dedicated to exploring the world and publicizing findings gathered
from global expeditions. Among those in attendance were a teacher, a geolo-
gist, a lawyer, a topographer, a banker, a military officer, and a naturalist.
At the time, large areas of the world remained unmapped, despite nu-
merous expeditions that had plied the seas and explored the continents
since the beginning of the Age of Discovery in the fifteenth century. Tose
gathered in Washington resolved to establish a society dedicated to “the in-
crease and diffusion of geographic knowledge.”
Te National Geographic Society was formally incorporated two weeks
later, on January 27, 1888. Gardiner Greene Hubbard, a lawyer and finan-
cier who had organized the Bell Telephone Company, was elected as the
group’s first president. Upon his death in 1898, Hubbard was succeeded by
his son-in-law, inventor Alexander Graham Bell, who declared, “Te world
and all that is in it is our theme.”
See also: Arctic.
1888: Founded in January in Washington, D.C., as a nonprofit scientific
and educational organization; the first edition of National Geographic
Magazine appears in October
1890: Te society sponsors its first scientific expedition, which maps large
areas of the Alaskan wilderness
1905: Eleven pages of photographs appear in the society’s magazine
1965: Te first National Geographic television special is aired
2002: Te society’s motion picture March of the Penguins wins an Academy
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Te inaugural edition of the society’s official journal, National
Geographic Magazine (later shortened to National Geographic), appeared
in October 1888. Under its first full-time editor, Gilbert H. Grosvenor,
who served in the post beginning in 1903, the magazine pioneered the
use of numerous photographs to enhance its stories, earning Grosvenor
the title “father of photojournalism.” In 1905, he filled eleven pages of the
magazine with photographs. In another innovative move the following
year, he published photographs of animals taken at night with the use
of flash lighting. Despite the positive response of readers, the increasing
number of photographs caused two of the society’s board members to re-
sign because, they claimed, he was turning the publication into a “picture
In 1910, the magazine opened one of the nation’s leading color photo
laboratories under Charles Martin and Edwin “Buddy” Wisherd. In the
1930s, it pioneered the use of Kodachrome, a color film known for its clar-
ity. And in 1962, the magazine published its first all-color issue. Meanwhile,
the maps that appeared in National Geographic elevated the standards of
popular cartography.
Today, the total monthly circulation of National Geographic is nearly
9 million, and it is issued in thirty-two language editions. Subscribers are
regarded as members of the society.
In 1975, the society also began publishing a magazine for children,
National Geographic World, whose name was changed in 2001 to National
Geographic Kids. Other magazines followed, including National Geographic
Traveler in 1984 and National Geographic Adventure in 1999.
Over the years, the National Geographic Society has produced numer-
ous television documentaries. Its first special, Americans on Everest, ap-
peared on the CBS network in 1965. Te society launched its own TV
network, the National Geographic Channel, in several European countries
and Australia in 1997, and in the United States in 2001.
Te society produces motion pictures through its National Geographic
Films subsidiary, which released its first feature film, K-19: Te Widow-
maker, in 2002. In 2006, its March of the Penguins (produced in partnership
with Warner Independent Pictures) received an Academy Award for best
In addition to the acclaimed Web site, which
includes a wealth of multimedia content, the society has developed a num-
ber of other projects specifically in support of its mission to educate and
inform. Te Geography Education Program, begun in 1985, seeks to im-
prove geography instruction in schools. And the society has funded and
sponsored traveling exhibits, such as the treasures of the tomb of the an-
cient Egyptian King Tutankhamen in the 1980s, and one in 2008 titled
“Te Cultural Treasures of Afghanistan.”
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
At the same time, the organization
has supported some 7,000 scientific ac-
tivities and expeditions in the decades
since its founding. It sponsored its first
expedition in 1890, a mission led by
Israel C. Russell and including explor-
ers from the U.S. Geological Survey that
mapped 600 square miles (1,550 square
kilometers) of wilderness in Alaska and
discovered the second-highest moun-
tain in North America, Mount Logan.
In 1902, after the volcanic eruption of
Mount Pelée on the Caribbean island
of Martinique, the society sent an expe-
dition to collect data—thus beginning
another regular endeavor: the study of
major natural disasters.
On more than one occasion, society
explorers have met with tragedy, ranging
from serious injury to death. In 1980,
when Mount St. Helens erupted in Washington State, Reid Blackburn, a
twenty-seven-year-old photographer working for National Geographic, died
under 4 feet (1.22 meters) of ash.
Expeditions sponsored or supported by the society have included
some of the most notable in the modern history of exploration. In the early
1900s, it sponsored the expeditions of Robert E. Peary to the North Pole
and Richard E. Byrd to Antarctica. In 1912, it supported expeditions led
by Hiram Bingham to excavate Machu Picchu, the ancient Inca city in the
Peruvian Andes. And, in the 1920s, it supported Howard Carter’s quest for
the tomb of Tutankhamen.
Beginning in the 1960s, the society supported such projects as the work
of anthropologists Louis Leakey and Mary Leakey at the Olduvai Gorge
in East Africa; the undersea explorations conducted by Jacques Cousteau;
the research of chimpanzees by Jane Goodall and of gorillas by zoologist
Dian Fossey; and the efforts by Robert Ballard to find the remains of the
Former society president (until 1996) and chairman of the board
of trustees since 1987, Gilbert Melville Grosvenor (grandson of Gilbert
Hovey Grosvenor) received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2004 for
the society’s work in advancing geography education.
As stated by Peter H. Raven, chairman of the society’s Committee
for Research and Exploration, in National Geographic Expeditions Atlas
Gilbert Hovey
Grosvenor served
as the longtime
editor-in-chief of
National Geographic
magazine (1899–
1954) and presi-
dent of the National
Geo graphic Society
establishing both
as respected scien-
tific and cultural
institutions. ( James
Whitmore/Time &
Life Pictures/Getty
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
From the depths of the seas to the tops of the highest mountains; from
tropical rain forests . . . to the most severe deserts; from the history of ancient
civilizations to the wonderful ways humans have adapted to diverse habitats;
the National Geographic has sponsored many key scientists and explorers
who have helped build our basic knowledge of the world today.
Further Reading
National Geographic Society.
———. National Geographic Expeditions Atlas. Washington, DC: National
Geographic Society, 2000.
Poole, Robert M. Explorers House: National Geographic and the World It Made.
New York: Penguin, 2004.
A Finnish-Swedish geologist, mineralogist, and explorer, Baron Adolf Erik
Nordenskjöld explored Spitsbergen (the largest island of the Svalbard ar-
chipelago in the Arctic Ocean) and Greenland before becoming the first
person to make a continuous journey along the northern coast of Eurasia,
through the Northeast Passage.
Nils Adolf Erik Nordenskjöld was born on November 18, 1832, in
Helsinki, Finland (then called Helsingfors) to Nils Nordenskjöld, a super-
intendent of mining and a naturalist, and Sofia Margareta von Haartman,
the daughter of a doctor. He was educated by a private tutor before enroll-
ing in a grammar school at Porvoo, the town his family had moved to on the
southern coast of Finland.
As a young man, Adolf liked to collect rocks and insects, and he ex-
plored part of the Ural Mountains with his father. As he later wrote, “I had
been allowed to accompany my father in mineralogical excursions and had
acquired from him a skill in recognizing and collecting minerals.”
Nordenskjöld entered the University of Helsinki in 1849, earning a
master’s degree there in 1853 and a doctorate in 1855. He studied chem-
istry and geology and wrote a description of minerals found in Finland,
along with several short papers on mineralogy. After receiving his doctorate,
See also: Byrd,
Richard E.; Carter,
Howard; Leakey
Family; Peary,
Robert E.
1832: Born on November 18 in Helsinki, Finland
1855: Obtains doctorate from the University of Helsinki
1857: Banished from Finland for criticizing Russian control of his homeland
1858: Undertakes first expedition to Spitsbergen
1878: Begins navigation of the Northeast Passage
1881: Publishes Te Voyage of the Vega
1901: Dies on August 12 in Stockholm, Sweden
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
he became a mining engineer and was appointed to the university’s faculty.
In 1857, however, he lost his university position and was banished from
Finland for his liberal politics and public criticism of czarist rule.
Emigrating to Stockholm, Sweden, in 1857, he became superinten-
dent of the mineralogical department of the Swedish Museum of Natural
History. He held that position for the rest of his working life, greatly ex-
panding the museum’s mineralogical and geological collection and adding a
collection of meteorites.
Nordenskjöld undertook his first scientific expedition to Spitsbergen
in 1858 under Otto Torell, a leading geologist of the time; he returned with
Torell in 1861. Tree years later, Nordenskjöld led his own expedition un-
der the sponsorship of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. In 1868,
he traveled farther north in Spitsbergen than anyone to that time, exploring
the island’s northern coast as well as nearby North East Land.
He explored the inland ice sheet of Greenland in 1870 and led an ex-
pedition to try to reach the North Pole two years later. But severe weather
Swedish explorer
Adolf Erik
Nordenskjöld, the
first to navigate
the Northeast
Passage (1878–
1879), was hailed as
a national hero upon
his return home. He
spent his latter years
writing about geog-
raphy, cartography,
and history. (Hulton
Getty Images)
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
forced him to spend the winter of 1872–1873 in Spitsbergen, where he col-
lected geological specimens with other scientists before crossing North East
Land. Among the results of this expedition, he later wrote, were,
[T]he discovery on the Polar ice itself of a dust of cosmic origin, contain-
ing metallic nickel-iron; . . . researches on the aurora and its spectrum; . . .
a complete series of meteorological and magnetic observations in the most
northerly latitude where such observations had up to this time been carried
on; . . . the discovery of numerous new contributions to a knowledge of the
flora of the Polar countries during former geological epochs; a sledge excur-
sion . . . whereby the north part of the North East Land was surveyed; and a
journey, very instructive on a scientific point of view, made over the inland ice
of North East Land.
After leading expeditions to the Kara Sea in 1875 and the Yenisei
River in 1876, Nordenskjöld decided to traverse the entire Northeast
Passage from Scandinavia along the length of the Russian Arctic coast to
the Bering Sea. He began his journey on June 22, 1878, at Karlskrona, in
southern Sweden on the Baltic Sea, aboard a steam-powered whaling ship
called the Vega. In addition to the ship’s captain, Louis Palander, and the
crew, several other scientists accompanied Nordenskjöld. He was confi-
dent that the Vega could make the voyage that so many others had failed
to complete.
On August 1, the expedition reached the Yugor Strait (the entry to the
Kara Sea), where the scientists collected zoological and botanical speci-
mens. Nordenskjöld worried that they would encounter the severe ice and
fog in the Kara Sea that had forced other expeditions to turn back, but
the weather proved favorable. At Preobraschenie Island (near the Taymyr
Peninsula in Siberia, the northernmost area on the Asian continent), the
scientists collected and labeled numerous mineral and botanical specimens.
Nordenskjöld reported that the island was “free of snow and covered with a
carpet of mosses mixed with grass.”
Ten came worsening winter and dangerous ice, forcing the expedition
to a halt in the Bering Strait in late September. Te ice threatened to crash
against the ship and tear it apart. To guard against catastrophe, the explor-
ers built a depot on shore and stocked it with supplies. As they waited out
the winter, the scientists in the party built a magnetic observatory.
When the weather broke, Nordenskjöld and his men resumed the
journey. Tey finally reached their goal, the Bering Sea, in the summer of
1879. From there, they sailed south along the Asian coast, west through the
Indian Ocean to the Suez Canal, and then on to Europe, thereby complet-
ing a circumnavigation of all of Eurasia.
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Back in Sweden in 1880, Nordenskjöld was hailed as a national hero;
he was named a baron. His book on the expedition, Te Voyage of the Vega,
appeared the following year.
In 1883, Nordenskjöld again journeyed to Greenland. On this voyage,
he succeeded in taking his ship through the island’s great ice barrier, a feat
no one else had accomplished to date.
Appointed to the Swedish Academy in 1893, Nordenskjöld spent his
later years writing books on geography, cartography, and history. His ex-
peditions and writings served as an inspiration to other Arctic explorers,
including Norwegian Fridtjof Nansen and American Robert E. Peary.
Adolf Erik Nordenskjöld died on August 12, 1901, at Stockholm,
Sweden. One observer wrote of him in 1882,
Te most striking characteristics of his various expeditions have been the
small expense at which they were conducted, their modest but carefully-
considered equipment, the clear and scientific methods on which they were
planned, and the wealth and high value of the results obtained.
Further Reading
Häkli, Esko. A.E. Nordenskiold: A Scientist and His Library. Helsinki, Finland:
Helsinki University Library, 1980.
Kish, George. North-East Passage: Adolf Erik Nordenskiold, His Life and Times.
Amsterdam, Te Netherlands: Nico Israel, 1973.
See also: Arctic;
Nansen, Fridtjof;
Peary, Robert E.
1841: Edward Forbes publishes History of British Starfishes
1855: Matthew Maury publishes Te Physical Geography of the Sea
1872: Te British ship Challenger begins a worldwide oceanographic
1910: Prince Albert I founds the Oceanographic Museum in Monaco
1925: Te German Meteor expedition begins in the South Atlantic
1960: An American bathyscaphe, the Trieste, explores the Mariana Trench
1968: Te JOIDES program is begun to engage in deep-sea drilling
2004: Te ship Resolution begins its journey of 28,000 miles to collect
sample cores
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Since the dawn of the Age of Discovery in the fifteenth century, oceanog-
raphy—the exploration and study of the ocean and its phenomena—has
emerged as a full-fledged scientific discipline. Te means of oceanographic
exploration and information gathering have evolved from sailing ships troll-
ing the ocean surface for aquatic life to deep-sea diving vessels and drills
that penetrate far beneath the ocean floor.
Oceanographers study the entire system of the world’s oceans and
seas. Te discipline entails a number of scientific fields—especially geology,
chemistry, geophysics, botany, zoology, meteorology, astronomy, and math-
ematics—which together form a detailed picture of the world’s oceans, how
they behave, and what lives in them.
Te science of oceanography includes a number of subdivisions. Physical
oceanography studies and describes the causes of the winds, currents, tides,
and other water movements, along with temperature, salinity, and pressure.
Chemical oceanography maps the chemical content of the seas. Tis involves
organic chemistry, primarily the study of plants and animals, and inorganic
chemistry, the study of compounds other than the carbon-based ones found
in plants and animals. Biological oceanography explores the ways in which
organisms interact with their environment and with each other. Geological
oceanography examines the makeup of rocks, minerals, and fossils and the
forces that bring about changes in the Earth’s structure.
In addition, ocean engineers devise methods of controlling beach ero-
sion, develop oceanographic instruments, and invent ways to retrieve natu-
ral resources without destroying animal and plant habitats. Meteorologists
study weather conditions as related to the world’s oceans, as well as how the
oceans affect climate and vice-versa.
Nineteenth Century
In the fifteenth century, as Europeans explorers set out in search of new
lands, their interest in the ocean expanded beyond the purview of the clas-
sical world, which had been largely confined to the Mediterranean Sea.
Te new interest was sparked by a variety of interwoven motivations, with
intellectual curiosity generally taking a back seat to political and economic
Tere was no single founder of modern oceanographic science. But
Scottish naturalist Edward Forbes (1815–1854) and American naval of-
ficer Matthew Fontaine Maury (1806–1873) often are cited as pioneers.
After several scientific expeditions and years of academic research,
Forbes published History of British Starfishes and other Animals of the Class
Echinodermata in 1841; the work included 120 of his own illustrations.
Forbes also is associated with the since-discredited azoic theory, according
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
to which the deep sea is completely devoid of life. As severely misguided as
that notion now seems, it at least was based on firsthand observation: the
deeper Forbes cast his net, the fewer aquatic creatures he caught.
Meanwhile, in the United States, Maury—sometimes referred to as
the father of oceanography—had been analyzing ocean currents and winds
while serving in the armed forces as a midshipman in the U.S. Navy. He
published his findings in A New Teoretical and Practical Treatise on
Navigation (1836), which became a standard navy manual. Tree years
later, Maury was forced to retire from active service due to an injury suf -
fered in a stagecoach accident.
In 1842, Maury was named superintendent of the Depot of Charts
and Instruments at the U.S. Navy Department in Washington, D.C., where
he began collecting oceanographic and meteorological data from old and
current ship logs. Maury was the first person to conduct a systematic study
of the world’s oceans. By the early 1850s, he had become internationally
recognized for his work.
His comprehensive,
systematic mapping
of the winds, cur-
rents, and physical
geography of the
world’s seas in the
century earned
Matthew Fontaine
Maury a reputation
as the father of mod-
ern oceanography.
(Granger Collection,
New York)
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
In 1855, Maury published what is widely regarded as the first textbook
in the field of oceanography, Te Physical Geography of the Sea. Reprinted five
times in its first year and eventually published in several foreign languages,
the work provided detailed information about winds and currents to guide
sailing ships, extensive charts that reduced the sailing times for numerous
voyages, and a kind of primer on methodology. In addition, Maury showed
himself to be an adept writer who offered vivid descriptions of conditions
at sea. For example, he wrote:
Tere is a river in the ocean. In the severest droughts it never fails, and in
the mightiest floods it never overflows. Its banks and its bottom are of cold
water, while its current is of warm. Te Gulf of Mexico is its fountain, and its
mouth is in the Arctic Seas. It is the Gulf Stream. Tere is in the world no
other such majestic flow of waters.
Even as seminal works in the field were being published, oceanog-
raphy was being advanced by several nineteenth-century expeditions. In
the 1830s, the British naturalist Charles Darwin (1809–1882) added to
the knowledge of the seas and the islands in them on his famous journey
aboard the Beagle. From 1839 to 1842, Lieutenant Charles Wilkes (1798–
1877) of the U.S. Navy led an exploratory fleet of six ships in charting 1,500
miles (2,400 kilometers) of the Antarctic coast and taking deep soundings
in its waters.
Te first scientific oceanographic expedition is said to have been that
of the British ship Challenger, whose team was headed by the Scottish natu-
ralist Charles Wyville Tomson (1830–1882). Sailing from Portsmouth,
England, in December 1872, the Challenger was equipped with more than
770,000 feet (235,000 meters) of line for measuring depth and 65,600 feet
(20,000 meters) of cable for collecting sediment samples and marine or-
ganisms. Over the next three-and-a-half years, it sailed around the globe
and made 362 oceanographic soundings. Tomson and his crew measured
ocean depths of up to 26,000 feet (940 meters) and discovered 4,017 new
marine species.
From the sediment samples gathered on the Challenger, the Scottish-
Canadian marine biologist John Murray (1841–1914), who assisted
Tomson on the expedition, began the study of underwater geology. He
also edited and published some fifty volumes of Challenger reports.
Louis Agassiz (1807–1873), the great Swiss-American naturalist, laid
the foundation for the study of marine biology in America. Since the 1840s
and 1850s, professional naturalists had been dredging

shallow seawater on
the eastern coast of the United States

to obtain marine specimens for teach-
ing and research. In 1873, Agassiz established a summer marine

station for
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teachers on Penikese Island, Massachusetts. A number of his former stu-
dents established other marine laboratories in nearby locations. Tese led
to the creation in 1888 of the Marine Biological Laboratory at Woods Hole
on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
Agassiz’s son, Alexander Agassiz (1835–1910), made further break-
throughs, developing various devices to sample the ocean waters and floors.
In 1877 and 1895, he made voyages to study seafloor sediments in the
Pacific Ocean and marine biology in the Caribbean Sea.
Twentieth Century to the Present
Prince Albert I of Monaco (1848–1922), the ruler of that principality be-
ginning in 1889, made notable contributions to the field, working with some
of the world’s leading oceanographers and marine scientists. His research
on ocean currents showed that the Gulf Stream split in the northeastern
Atlantic, with one branch flowing toward Ireland and Britain and another
toward Spain and Africa before turning back west. In 1910, Prince Albert
founded the Oceanographic Museum in Monaco, which houses equipment
Te topography
of the ocean floor
in the southwest
Pacific is rendered in
unprecedented detail
using altimeter data
from the SEASAT
oceanographic satel-
lite. SEASAT was
launched in 1978 to
study the features
and dynamics of
the Earth’s oceans.
(Science & Society
Picture Library/
Getty Images)
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
he used in his research, specimens he collected, a scientific library, and an
aquarium with species from the Mediterranean.
From 1925 to 1927, the German Meteor expedition, organized by the
Institute of Marine Research in Berlin, traversed the South Atlantic to
measure ocean depths, analyze temperatures and salinity, and study cur-
rent patterns. Scientists on board showed for the first time that the ocean
bottom consists of mountains, valleys, plateaus, and plains. Using sonar, the
expedition discovered the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, a mountain range running
down the middle of that ocean.
In the Pacific, an American bathyscaphe called the Trieste, carrying
Swiss engineer Jacques Piccard and Lieutenant Don Walsh of the U.S.
Navy, reached the ocean floor on January 23, 1960, at a site called Challenger
Deep, the deepest known point in the Mariana Trench. Challenger Deep
later was measured at 35,800 feet (10,900 meters).
In 1968, a program called Joint Oceanographic Institutions for Deep
Earth Sampling, or JOIDES, was begun under an agreement by the Scripps
Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California, the Lamont-Doherty
Earth Observatory at Columbia University, the Woods Hole Oceano-
graphic Institute, and the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric
Science at the University of Miami. As part of JOIDES, the specially
equipped research vessel Glomar Challenger began drilling and coring the
floors of the world’s oceans in March 1968. Along an oceanic ridge between
South America and Africa, the Glomar Challenger drilled seventeen holes
1ho b|itish sciootist Alisto| |a|dy ¦l896-l98!j dovoloµod a dovico callod tho cootioooos
µlao|too |oco|do| io tho l92us as a vay to mo|o otnciootly colloct µlao|too ¦tioy o|gaoisms io
tho vato| that to|m tho basic tood soo|co to| maoy la|go| ma|ioo aoimalsj.
1|aditiooally, µlao|too had booo colloctod by toviog a oot mado ot noo sil| gaozo bohiod
a slov-moviog shiµ. 1ho cootioooos µlao|too |oco|do| also omµloyod a noo sil| gaozo oot that
vas µollod bohiod a shiµ, hovovo|, tho sil| vas µlacod oo a |oll, aod tho to|va|d motioo ot tho
shiµ soµµliod ooo|gy to oo|oll tho sil| io stagos. 1his allovod to| µlao|too to bo colloctod at a
|ato that co||osµoodod mo|o closoly vith its coocoot|atioo io tho ocoao.
1oday, tho |a|dy cootioooos µlao|too |oco|do| is hoosod io a motal caso vith a tovlioo io
tho t|oot aod a µ|oµollo| io tho bac| to stabilizo it. 1ho |oco|do| is tovod at a doµth ot aboot
ìì toot ¦lu moto|sj. 1ho µlao|too ooto| tho t|oot, a|o caoght oo tho gaozo, aod thoo µass ioto a
tao| ot µ|oso|vativo.
As tho gaozo is oovoood, a |oco|d is mado ot tho µlao|too th|oogh vhich tho shiµ has
µassod. 1hoso |oco|ds holµ sciootists oodo|staod soasooal cyclos aod otho| chaogos io µlao|too
doosity. lo |ocoot yoa|s, |omoto satollito soosiog has addod to tho colloctioo ot µlao|too data.
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
at ten different sites; core samples provided solid evidence to support the
theory of continental drift.
From August 1968 to November 1983, the Glomar Challenger took part
in a total of ninety-six expeditions, covered 375,632 nautical miles (696,000
kilometers), recovered 19,119 cores, and drilled as deep as 5,712 feet (1,740
meters) beneath the ocean floor. Te successor to the Glomar Challenger,
the JOIDES Resolution, drilled cores in the Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean,
Mediterranean Sea, Black Sea, and Ross Sea. In 2004–2005 alone, it trav-
eled nearly 28,000 nautical miles (52,000 kilometers), drilled 104 holes in
the ocean floor, and recovered 1,826 cores.
Scientists also have found new ways to study seafloor topography.
Advances came with the use of echo sounding to measure depths and
ob jects. In the early 1950s, Maurice Ewing of the Lamont Geological
Observatory, assisted by Bruce Heezen and Marie Tarp, used sound-
ing profiles of the Atlantic to put together the first detailed maps of the
ocean floor. Tese maps were updated in 1996 by Walter Smith and David
Sandwell of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
Te scientific investigation of the world’s oceans is today assisted by
new technology, including satellites designed to provide data on surface wa-
ter temperatures, along with the movements of waves and currents. Ellen J.
Prager and Sylvia A. Earle write in their book Te Oceans (2000),
;@ >>@ E> @ EKF K?< F:< 8E = CFFI
Sciootists oso a va|ioty ot dovicos, callod samµlo|s aod co|o|s, to gatho| ovidooco t|om tho ocoao
Ooo samµlo|, callod tho \ao \ooo, osos a scooµ that |osomblos a clamsholl to oxamioo tho
toµ 8 iochos ¦2u cootimoto|sj ot tho ocoao ûoo|. boto|o tho \ao \ooo samµlo| is lovo|od ioto
tho ocoao, its ¨javs¨ a|o oµoood. vhoo tho dovico toochos tho ocoao ûoo|, stabiliziog µlatos
µ|ovoot it t|om diggiog too dooµly o| ooovooly ioto tho ta|gotod a|oa. Uµ toµ io tho |osoa|ch
shiµ, a cablo is µollod that caosos tho javs to closo aod caµto|o sodimoot t|om a lovol doµth
vith mioimom ot disto|baoco to tho ocoao ûoo|.
1ho g|avity co|o| coosists ot a voightod tobo moootod vithio a t|amo. vhoo lovo|od to
tho ocoao ûoo|, it digs vithio tho ta|gotod a|oa to a givoo doµth aod tho tobo nlls vith
sodimoot. 1ho co|o| µooot|atos tho ocoao ûoo| slovly to mioimizo disto|baoco, aod it is |aisod
bac| to tho |osoa|ch vossol vith a vioch. 1ho sodimoot co|o oitho| cao bo sto|od to| lato|
aoalysis o| bo samµlod di|octly oo boa|d tho shiµ. \idoo camo|as a|o somotimos attachod to
tho co|o| to µ|ovido a viov ot tho sodimoots boto|o tho colloctioo µ|ocoss bogios.
1ho g|avity dovico has tho advaotago ot alloviog tho sodimoot to bo colloctod jost as it
is st|atinod oo tho ocoao ûoo|. 1hos, vhoo tho sodimoot is |ot|iovod, it cao bo aoalyzod vith
|osµoct to sizo, toxto|o, aod comµositioo, as voll as datod io a vay simila| to tho datiog ot
goological st|ata oo laod.
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Our understanding of the oceans has progressed immensely over the last
century. Yet we have explored only a fraction of the ocean’s depths. We are
just beginning to understand the interactions between the ocean, the
underlying Earth, and the climate and we still know precious little about
the creatures that live in the sea’s salty waters.
Further Reading
Bascom, Willard. Te Crest of the Wave: Adventures in Oceanography. New
York: Harper and Row, 1988.
Mills, Eric L. Biological Oceanography: An Early History. Ithaca, NY: Cornell
University Press, 1989.
Prager, Ellen J., and Sylvia A. Earle. Te Oceans. New York: McGraw-Hill,
OSTROM, JOHN H. 19282005
American paleontologist John Ostrom revived lagging scientific interest
in dinosaurs when he made a famous fossil discovery in 1964, on the basis
of which he maintained that many dinosaurs were warm-blooded. He also is
known for establishing the evolutionary link between dinosaurs and birds.
John H. Ostrom was born in New York City on February 18, 1928.
Upon entering Union College in Schenectady, New York, in the late 1940s,
he intended to become a doctor. While in college, however, he read Te
Meaning of Evolution (1949) by George Gaylord Simpson, a professor at
Columbia University in New York City, and was drawn to the field of pa-
leontology. Upon receiving his B.S. degree in 1951, Ostrom worked with
Simpson as a field assistant on a fossil expedition in the San Juan Basin of
New Mexico.
From 1951 to 1956, Ostrom served as a research assistant to Edwin
H. Colbert at the American Museum of Natural History. He then enrolled
at Columbia for graduate studies; in 1960, he received his doctorate in ver-
tebrate paleontology. In 1961, Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut,
hired him as an assistant professor in the Department of Geology and
See also:
Darwin, Charles;
Wilkes Expedition.
1928: Born on February 18 in New York City
1951: Begins job as research assistant at the American Museum of Natural History in
New York City
1960: Receives doctorate in vertebrate paleontology from Columbia University
1964: Discovers Deinonychus while excavating fossils in Montana; shortly thereafter,
he argues that some dinosaurs were warm-blooded
1970: Uncovers new specimen of the primitive bird species Archaeopteryx
2005: Dies on July 16 in Litchfield, Connecticut
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Geophysics and as assistant curator of vertebrate paleontology at the uni-
versity’s Peabody Museum of Natural History.
Tree years later, Ostrom made a discovery that proved critical to the
modern study of paleontology. At an excavation site in Montana’s Cloverly
Formation, he and an assistant, Grant Meyer, were walking along a slope
when they saw an animal’s claws and hand bones protruding from the
ground. “At that moment of discovery,” Ostrom later wrote, “it was evident
from the few fragments exposed on the surface that we had stumbled across
something very unusual and quite unlike any previously reported dinosaur.”
He dubbed the site “Te Shrine.” Over the next two years, he and his field-
workers excavated more than 1,000 bones from the site, dating from about
125 million years ago.
Te fossil remains included those of what Ostrom concluded was a
carnivorous dinosaur that walked on two legs and had claws, talons, and a
long tail. He called it Deinonychus, meaning “terrible claw.” Measuring about
3.5 feet tall (1.07 meters) and 9 feet long (2.75 meters), Deinonychus slashed
with its claws and likely hunted in packs.
According to Ostrom, Deinonychus was fleet-footed and very active,
characteristics associated with a high metabolic rate and, therefore, warm-
bloodedness. Moreover, the foot bones of Deinonychus resembled those of
modern-day emus and ostriches, meaning that it had more in common with
mammals and birds than with reptiles. Ostrom further insisted that many
dinosaur species had narrow foot placement and kept their legs under their
bodies, giving them an erect posture. All of these characteristics suggested
a warm-blooded animal.
Ostrom’s interest in the connection between dinosaurs and birds was
triggered by a 1970 visit to a museum in Haarlem, the Netherlands, where
he found that a fossil that had been discovered in 1855 was mislabeled as a
pterosaur, or flying reptile. Ostrom recognized that the fossil actually was a
new specimen of Archaeopteryx, the earliest and most primitive known bird,
dating from about 150 million years ago. He also recognized that it bore
similarities to Deinonychus.
As a result of his discoveries, Ostrom wrote a succession of scientific
papers from 1970 to 1976 arguing that birds were descended from dino-
saurs. It was a revolutionary theory that shook up the world of paleontol-
ogy. In fact, some scientists resisted it for decades.
In 1971, Ostrom had been made full professor at Yale and curator of
vertebrate fossils at the Peabody Museum, where he oversaw one of the most
important collections in the world. In the decades that followed, John Horner
and others made fossil discoveries—such as dinosaur nests and eggs—that
helped confirm Ostrom’s theory of an evolutionary link between dinosaurs
and birds. In 1997, Ostrom was part of an expedition to China that pro-
vided further evidence yet: the discovery of new feathered dinosaurs.
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Ostrom died on July 16, 2005, in Litchfield, Connecticut. “John is
basically responsible for the way we view dinosaurs,” said Horner. “He is
probably the most influential person in dinosaur paleontology in the last
Further Reading
Ostrom, John H. Te Strange World of Dinosaurs. New York: G.P. Putnam’s
Sons, 1964.
Te vast Pacific Ocean has been the scene of explorations both above the
sea and beneath it as nations have pursued territory, riches, and scientific
knowledge. Te largest body of water in the world, the Pacific covers ap-
proximately 64 million square miles (165 million square kilometers), dou-
ble the area of the Atlantic Ocean and larger than that of the planet’s entire
landmass. In stretching from the Bering Strait in the north to the Antarctic
in the south, it encompasses climate zones ranging from frigid to temperate
to tropical.
Deep trenches cut through the ocean’s floor, resulting from the colli-
sion of tectonic plates that cause one to be pushed under the other. In the
East Pacific Rise, a submerged volcanic range parallels the South American
coast. Tis range runs continuously through all of the Earth’s ocean basins,
for roughly 40,000 miles (64,000 kilometers); in the Pacific, it juts above
the water to form Easter Island and the Galápagos.
Geologic formation is ongoing in the Pacific Ocean. In the north -
eastern ocean, the American Plate and the Pacific Plate continue to slip
1567: Álvaro de Mendaña de Neira discovers the Solomon Islands
1642: Abel Janszoon Tasman discovers Tasmania off the southern coast of Australia
1767: Samuel Wallis discovers Tahiti; Louis Antoine de Bougainville journeys to
Samoa and the New Hebrides
1769: Captain James Cook explores New Zealand
1773: Cook crosses the Antarctic Circle
1872: Te Challenger expedition begins the first oceanographic study of the Pacific
1960: Te Trieste dives to the deepest point in the Mariana Trench
2006: Te Integrated Ocean Drilling Program begins exploring beneath the Pacific
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
past each other and produce new fracture zones. Meanwhile, the seafloor
continues to spread (the extension occurs as sea plates move apart) at a rate
of about 1.2 to 4 inches (3 to 10 centimeters) per year.
Early Exploration
Te Age of Discovery resulted in the crisscrossing of the Pacific Ocean by
sailing ships from Portugal, Spain, the Netherlands, England, and France
from the sixteenth through the nineteenth centuries. Most of these expedi-
tions were propelled by the desire for wealth and conquest; however, over
time, more were inspired by the spirit of scientific discovery.
Spain sponsored several notable expeditions. In 1519, Ferdinand
Magellan (ca. 1480–1521), a Portuguese navigator in the service of Spain,
set sail in pursuit of a westward route to the Spice Islands of Asia. Magellan
sailed around South America and into the Pacific. He was killed in a skir-
mish with an indigenous tribe in the Philippines in 1521. Nevertheless, the
following September, one of the five original ships that had set out on the
expedition reached Spain with a crew of just eighteen men, completing the
first successful circumnavigation of the Earth.
In 1567 and again in 1595, the Spanish maritime explorer Álvaro de
Mendaña de Neira led two expeditions into the Pacific in search of an undis-
covered continent, gold, and natives who could be converted to Catholicism.
On his first voyage, he discovered the Solomon Islands in Melanesia; on
his second, he discovered the Marquesas Islands in Polynesia. Mendaña de
Neira’s missions were beset with illness and clashes with the islanders, and
he found no gold.
Te four-year voy-
age of the British
corvette Challenger
in the 1870s marked
the beginning of
modern oceano-
graphic survey. Te
Challenger was the
namesake of the
second U.S. space
shuttle, launched
in 1983. (Time &
Life Pictures/Getty
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Another Spanish navigator, Luis Váez de Torres (birth and death dates
unknown), also set sail in search of the elusive southern continent. In 1606,
Váez de Torres approached the southern coast of New Guinea, thus show-
ing that the island was not attached to some great landmass to the south.
Te strait located between New Guinea and the Australian continent to the
south later took his name—the Torres Strait.
In November 1642, Abel Janszoon Tasman (1603–1659), considered
the greatest of the early Dutch navigators, discovered an island off the
southeast coast of Australia that he named Van Diemen’s Land, after the
governor-general of the Dutch East Indies, Anthony van Diemen. Te is-
land was later renamed Tasmania in his honor. From there, he sailed east,
sighting the northwest coast of New Zealand’s South Island in December
and reaching the northeastern Fiji Islands in January 1643.
On Tasman’s second voyage, in 1644, he mapped the northern coast
of Australia and was able to observe the people who lived there. After that,
however, there was no further exploration of the continent to any significant
degree until the voyages of Captain James Cook in the 1770s.
Among the notable early British explorers, Vice-Admiral John Byron
(1723–1786) circumnavigated the globe from 1764 to 1766, discovering
several islands in the Pacific along the way. Among these were the Tuamotu
Archipelago in central Polynesia, Tokelau near the Samoan Islands, and
Tinian in the northern Mariana Islands.
Samuel Wallis (1728–1795), captain of the HMS Dolphin, set sail in
1766 with secret instructions from the British Admiralty “to discover and
obtain a complete knowledge of the Land or Islands supposed to be situated
in the Southern Hemisphere.” In June 1767, Wallis thought he had found
the tip of a mysterious continent, but it turned out that he had discovered
the island of Tahiti. He wrote in his log,
At two in the morning, it being very clear, we made sail again; at day-break
we saw the land, at about five leagues distant, and steered directly for it; but
at eight o’clock, when we were close under it, the fog obliged us again to lie
to, and when it cleared away, we were much surprised to find ourselves sur-
rounded by hundreds of canoes. . . . When they came within pistol shot of
the ship, they lay by, gazing at us with great astonishment.
Of the island they had discovered, George Robinson, the master of the
Dolphin, wrote,
Te country hade the most Beautiful appearance its posabel to Imagin, from
the shore side one two and three miles Back there is a fine Leavel country
that appears to be all laid out in plantations.
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Philip Carteret (1733–1796) sailed with Wallis’s expedition as com-
mander of the Swallow, but he became separated from the Dolphin in the
Strait of Magellan and continued on his own. In July 1767, Carteret and
his crew discovered Pitcairn Island, a volcanic island in the south-central
Pacific. Te island promptly was named for the fifteen-year-old midship-
man who first spotted it, Robert Pitcairn. Carteret explained,
It is so high, that we saw it at a distance of more than fifteen leagues, and it
having been discovered by a young gentleman, son to Major Pitcairn of the
marines, we called it Pitcairn’s Island.
Captain James Cook (1728–1779) made his first voyage to the Pacific
as captain of the Endeavor in 1768. With him was botanist Joseph Banks.
At Tahiti the following year, Cook observed the transit of Venus across the
sun. In October 1769, he arrived at New Zealand and spent the next six
months exploring its coasts; he discovered that New Zealand consisted of
two islands and was not a part of Antarctica. On April 19, 1770, Cook
sighted the east coast of Australia; he named and explored Botany Bay.
Banks, meanwhile, collected about 800 specimens of Australian flora.
In 1772, Cook began a second expedition to the South Pacific, this
time with two ships, the Resolution and the Adventure. In December 1773,
he crossed the Antarctic Circle, the southernmost point ever reached by a
European explorer until then. By the time he returned home to England in
July 1775—with only one sailor lost on the entire expedition—Cook had
explored vast expanses of the previously unknown Pacific, had proved that
there was no large continent in the temperate regions of the ocean, and had
produced accurate maps of far-flung lands.
For the French, Louis Antoine de Bougainville (1729–1811) under-
took a voyage of discovery around the globe in 1766. In the Pacific, he
sailed to the Samoan and New Hebrides islands in 1767, continuing on
to the Solomon Islands. He named Bougainville Island, to the northeast
of Australia, for himself, before continuing on to the Moluccan Islands (in
In the nineteenth century, English naturalist Charles Darwin (1809–
1882) added to the knowledge of the Pacific with his voyage to the west
coast of South America and the Galápagos Islands aboard the Beagle in the
1830s. In addition to his groundbreaking insights into animal and plant life,
he also gathered important information on the natural history of the sea
and the geology of the islands.
Te modern era of oceanographic expeditions is said to have begun
with the voyage of the British Challenger from 1872 to 1876. Under the di-
rection of Scottish naturalist Charles Wyville Tomson (1830–1882) and
Canadian scientist John Murray (1841–1914), it was the first major sea
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
expedition organized to gather extensive data on ocean features, including
temperature, seawater chemistry, currents, marine life, and the geology of
the seafloor.
Murray wrote,
Our knowledge of the ocean was, literally speaking, superficial. No system-
atic attempts had been made to ascertain the physical and biological condi-
tions of that vast region of the earth’s surface occupied by the deeper waters
of the ocean.
To fill that void, the Challenger sailed almost 69,000 nautical miles
(130,000 kilometers) in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Antarctic oceans with a
full staff of scientists on board. One of the outcomes of the expedition was
the publication of the Report of the Scientific Results of the Exploring Voyage
of H.M.S. Challenger During the Years 1873–1876, which Murray called
“the greatest advance in the knowledge of our planet since the celebrated
discoveries of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.”
K?< G8:@ = @ : = CFFI
lt all tho vato| vo|o d|aiood t|om tho |acinc Ocoao, a soabod ot oxt|omoly |oggod to||aio voold
bo |ovoalod. ||omiooot amoog this to||aios toato|os a|o too| massivo nsso|os that cot th|oogh
tho oo|tho|o |acinc t|om oast to vost. tho Moodocioo |sca|µmoot, vhich |oos |ooghly midvay
botvooo |avaii aod Alas|a, aod tho Mo||ay, Cla|ioo, aod Cliµµo|too ||acto|o zooos. |ach ot
thoso nsso|os moaso|os oµ to ìu milos ¦48 |ilomoto|sj vido, ì,ìuu milos ¦!,ìuu |ilomoto|sj loog,
aod lu,!uu toot ¦ì,2uu moto|sj dooµ. lo tho Sooth |acinc, tho Ma|qoosas ||acto|o zooo |oos
aµµ|oximatoly l,!uu milos ¦2,4uu |ilomoto|sj oast to vost, |oachiog a vidth ot ìu milos ¦48
|ilomoto|sj aod a doµth ot 4,uuu toot ¦l,2uu moto|sj.
1ho µoa|s ot moootaios that tovo| oµ t|om tho ocoao ûoo| to|m tho |avaiiao lslaods, tho
Ma|shall lslaods, aod tho |iji lslaods, amoog otho|s. Abottiog maoy ot tho islaods io tho |acinc
Ocoao a|o dooµ t|oochos, tho dooµost ot vhich is tho Ma|iaoa 1|ooch io tho vosto|o |o|th
|acinc. 1ho 1ooga-|o|madoc 1|ooch oxtoods t|om |ov zoalaod oo|thoast to tho Samoa lslaods,
a distaoco ot l,6uu milos ¦2,6uu |ilomoto|sj, aod |oachos a doµth ot ooa|ly ì4,9uu toot ¦lu,6uu
|a|thqoa|os t|oqoootly sha|o tho |ogioo botvooo |ov zoalaod, 1ooga, aod |ov Goiooa,
as thoy do tho cootioootal moootaios a|oood tho oasto|o Sooth |acinc. A oo|thva|d shitt ot
tho ocoao ûoo| aod a soothva|d slido ot tho Sooth Amo|icao µlato havo µ|odocod massivo
oa|thqoa|os io Chilo. Shitts io tho |acinc aod |o|th Amo|icao µlatos havo µ|odocod oa|thqoa|os
aloog aod ooa| tho Sao Aod|oas |aolt io Calito|oia.
lo all ot thoso vays, tho ûoo| ot tho |acinc Ocoao is a dyoamic oovi|oomoot that iovitos
sciootinc discovo|y.
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
1ho |osoa|ch bathyscaµho Ki`\jk\ vas tho b|aiochild ot Sviss µhysicist aod balloooist Aogosto
|icca|d ¦l884-l962j, vho bogao µo|soiog his idoa to| a dooµ-soa diviog vossol io tho l9ìus.
1ho µ|ojoct vas ioto||oµtod by vo|ld va| ll, toll-scalo dovoloµmoot bogao io l9!2.
Coost|octioo too| µlaco io tho ltaliao city ot 1|iosto aod at otho| locatioos.
vith sciootinc aod oavigatioo oqoiµmoot µ|ovidod by Go|maoy, ltaly, aod Svitzo|laod, tho
Ki`\jk\mado its n|st divo oo Aogost ll, l9!ì. Oo boa|d vo|o Aogosto |icca|d aod his soo, ¦acqoos,
vho too| tho vossol to a doµth ot ! tathoms ¦ìu toot, o| 9 moto|sj.
1ho Ki`\jk\ coosistod ot a ûoat chambo|, to µ|ovido booyaocy aod allov tho vossol to
|oto|o to tho so|taco, aod a soµa|ato µ|osso|o sµho|o, c|oatiog ao a||aogomoot |icca|d callod a
¨bathyscaµho¨ ¦a G|oo| to|m moaoiog ¨dooµ shiµs¨j. Uoli|o simila| soa-diviog vossols, also |oovo
as dooµ sobmo|gooco vossols, tho Ki`\jk\ coold bo osod vithoot attachmoot to a shiµs cablo,
giviog it mo|o t|oodom ot movomoot.
1ho c|ov occoµiod tho µ|osso|o sµho|o, vhich vas attachod to tho oodo|sido ot tho ûoats
aod cooooctod to tho doc| by a vo|tical shatt that |ao th|oogh tho ûoat chambo| aod dovo to
tho sµho|o hatch. 1ho µ|osso|o sµho|o hold tvo µooµlo, cyliodo|s µ|ovidod oxygoo io tho sµho|o.
1ho Ki`\jk\ lato| vas modinod to vithstaod higho| µ|osso|o io dooµo| vato|. |o| tho histo|ic
l96u divo ioto tho Ma|iaoa 1|ooch, tho vossol doµa|tod Sao |iogo, Calito|oia, io Octobo| l9!9
aboa|d tho t|oighto| JXekXDXi`Xaod vas ta|oo to to tho islaod ot Goam. 1ho doscoot, vith
¦acqoos |icca|d aod |oo valsh aboa|d, too| 4 hoo|s aod 48 miootos-ot vhich ooly 2u miootos
vo|o sµoot oo tho ocoao ûoo|. 1ho divo voot smoothly oxcoµt to| tho c|ac|iog ot tho ooto|
|loxiglas viodovs, vhich caosod tho ooti|o vossol to sha|o, at a doµth ot aboot ìu,uuu toot
¦9,uuu moto|sj.
1ho Ki`\jk\ vas |oµlacod by tho Ki`\jk\@@io tho oa|ly l96us. Acco|diog to tho |isto|ic |aval
Shiµ Associatioo, Ki`\jk\@@ sioco has booo imµ|ovod aod chaogod so maoy timos that tov ot its
o|igioal µa|ts |omaio.
Te deep-sea
bathyscaphe Trieste
is retrieved from the
western Pacific Ocean
after its record dive
to the floor of the
Mariana Trench—
the deepest point on
the Earth’s surface—
in 1960. (Tomas J.
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Indeed, the Challenger expedition engaged in nearly 500 deep-sea
soundings, more than 100 bottom dredges, 151 open-water trawls, and 263
water temperature observations. Among its discoveries were 4,715 new
species of marine life and the Mariana Trench—later shown to contain the
deepest point on the Earth’s surface—in the western Pacific.
Modern Exploration
In the latter part of the twentieth century, with space satellites photograph-
ing and collecting data on geographic features across the Earth, scientists
turned their attention to the depths of the world’s oceans—especially the
Pacific—and the seabed beneath.
In 1958, the U.S. Navy bought a Swiss-designed deep-sea submers-
ible called the Trieste, which on January 23, 1960, reached the ocean floor
at a site in the Mariana Trench called Challenger Deep. At a depth of
about 35,800 feet (nearly 7 miles), or 10,900 meters (nearly 11 kilome-
ters), Challenger Deep was—and remains—the deepest known point on
the Earth’s surface. On board the Trieste were the Swiss engineer Jacques
Piccard and Lieutenant Don Walsh of the U.S. Navy, who reported seeing
a kind of flatfish on the ocean floor. Sediment samples identified various
simple organisms, confirming that life could be sustained under the enor-
mous pressure found at such depths.
In 1964, the United States began exploring beneath the Pacific Ocean,
as part of its Deep Sea Drilling Project, with the goal of penetrating the
sediment and crust to learn more about how the ocean evolved. In 1984,
that project was succeeded by the Ocean Drilling Program, and, in 2006, by
the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP), an American-led consor-
tium of twenty-three nations cooperating to explore the Pacific and other
seas. Within the structure of the IODP, the United States operates the
drilling vessel JOIDES Resolution, Japan operates the drilling vessel Chikyu,
and the European Union operates stationary platforms capable of drilling
in environments unsuitable for ships.
In 2008–2009, drilling expeditions in the Pacific were conducted near
the equator at Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, in New Zealand’s Canterbury
Basin, near Antarctica’s Wilkes Land, and off the southeast coast of Japan.
According to a report by the IODP,
Core sediments from the Pacific show evidence of 90 billion tons of microbi-
al organisms living in the deep biosphere. For a long time, scientists believed
that extreme conditions such as high pressure, lack of oxygen, and low supply
of nutrients and energy would make deep, sub-seafloor environments unin-
habitable for any life form. Nonetheless, sea-going investigations have proven
the existence of the deep biosphere.
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Tus, findings from the IODP added to a long line of discoveries both
above and beneath the Pacific Ocean that enhance our understanding of the
Earth and the processes shaping it.
Further Reading
Doubilet, David. Pacific: An Undersea Journey. Boston: Little, Brown, 1992.
Lambert, David. Te Pacific Ocean. Austin, TX: Raintree Steck-Vaughn,
PARK, MUNGO 17711806
A Scottish explorer trained in medicine, Mungo Park led two expeditions
to West Africa, where he explored the Niger River and collected numerous
plant specimens, along with valuable ethnographic and geographic informa-
tion. On his second expedition, he died while trying to escape an attacking
Born on September 11, 1771, in Selkirkshire, Scotland, Mungo Park
was raised in a large family of twelve or thirteen children (accounts vary).
His father, also named Mungo Park, was a tenant farmer of modest means
who worked on an estate called Foulshiels; his mother, Elspeth Hislop, was
the daughter of another tenant farmer. Te younger Mungo was first edu-
cated by a private tutor and then attended the local grammar school.
In 1788, Park entered the University of Edinburgh, where he studied
medicine and botany as he trained to become a surgeon. In 1792, however,
he left the university before completing his final oral examinations. Later
that year, he toured the Scottish Highlands with his brother-in-law, James
Dickson, a prominent botanist.
Trough Dickson, Park met the great botanist Joseph Banks, then
president of the Royal Society. In 1793, after Park passed his exam at the
Company of Surgeons in London, Banks appointed him assistant sur-
geon aboard the Worcester, which set sail in February 1793 for Sumatra
in Southeast Asia. After returning to London the following spring, Park
presented Banks with several exotic Sumatran plants and watercolors he
had painted of twenty species of fish.
See also:
Louis-Antoine de;
Cook, James;
Darwin, Charles.
1771: Born on September 11 in Selkirkshire, Scotland
1793: Journeys to Sumatra in Southeast Asia
1795: Leads an expedition into the African interior via the Niger River
for the purposes of geographical exploration and trade
1805: Leads a second expedition to explore the Niger River
1806: Drowns in the Niger River during an attack by natives
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Excited by his experiences on the journey to Sumatra, Park began con-
templating a scientific expedition to Africa. His desire dovetailed with the
plans of the African Association, which, in 1790, had sponsored an expedi-
tion up the Niger River by Major Daniel Houghton to learn about this
unknown (at least to Europeans) territory and to open a new trade route for
Britain into the African interior. Houghton died before he could complete
the mission.
Park now offered to lead a new expedition, for reasons that he later
ex plained in his book, Travels in the Interior of Africa (1799):
I had a passionate desire to examine into the productions of a country so
little known; and to become experimentally acquainted with the modes of
life, and character of the natives. . . . If I should succeed in rendering the
geography of Africa more familiar to my countrymen, and in opening to their
ambition and industry new sources of wealth, and new channels of com-
merce, I knew that I was in the hands of men of honour.
Te African Association instructed Park to follow the Niger River, to
find out where the river began and ended, and to visit such settlements as
Timbuktu and Houssa.
Park sailed from Portsmouth on May 22, 1795, and reached the north
bank of the Gambia River in June. He then journeyed from Pisania, a British
trading station 200 miles (320 kilometers) inland, and headed for the Niger
Scottish explorer
Mungo Park
recounted his West
African adventures
in a popular 1799
work titled Travels in
the Interior of Africa.
Engravings in the
book included the
Mandinka village of
Kamalia, where Park
recovered from a
life-threatening fever.
(Granger Collection,
New York)
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
River. As he traveled, he kept detailed records of the geography and tribal
cultures he encountered, noting how the people looked and describing their
foods, languages, and societies.
Park encountered many troubles. In the spring of 1796, a band of Moors
captured him and held him prisoner at Benowm, in the Ludamar region.
He escaped in July and reached the Niger a few days later. By then, however,
he was overwhelmed with hunger and fatigue and had been robbed of all his
gold, so he made the decision to forgo trying to reach Timbuktu and instead
turned back to Pisania. On the return trip, he followed the Niger for 300
miles (480 kilometers) to Bamako. At the settlement of Kamalia, he had to
stop in order to recover from a serious fever.
On June 10, 1797, Park finally reached Pisania, where he obtained pas-
sage on an American slave ship headed for South Carolina. At the West
Indies, he transferred to a British ship and arrived back in England that
December. He brought with him a wealth of information and eighty plant
DLE>F G8IB Ë J < J :8G < 8E; ?@ J ;@ J :FM< IP
F= K?< E@ >< I
lo his boo| KiXm\cj`ek_\@ek\i`fi;`jki`Zkjf]8]i`ZX#Moogo |a|| dosc|ibos vhat haµµoood
immodiatoly atto| ho oscaµod t|om tho Moo|s, vho had ta|oo him caµtivo io sµ|iog l/96
¦ho oscaµod that ¦olyj.
lt is imµossiblo to dosc|ibo tho joy that a|oso io my miod, vhoo l loo|od a|oood
aod cooclodod that l vas oot ot daogo|. l tolt li|o ooo |ocovo|od t|om sic|ooss,
l b|oathod t|oo|, l toood ooosoal lightooss io my limbs, ovoo tho |oso|t loo|od
µloasaot. . . . l sooo bocamo soosiblo, hovovo|, that my sitoatioo vas doµlo|ablo,
to| l had oo moaos ot µ|oco|iog tood, oo| µ|osµoct ot nodiog vato|. . . . l bocamo
taiot vith thi|st, aod climbod a t|oo io hoµos ot sooiog distaot smo|o, o| somo
otho| aµµoa|aoco ot homao habitatioo, bot io vaio, oothiog aµµoa|od all a|oood
bot thic| oodo|vood, aod hilloc|s ot vhito saod.
|o also dosc|ibos his n|st oocoooto| vith tho |igo| |ivo|.
1ho ci|comstaoco ot tho |igo|s ûoviog tova|ds tho oast, aod its collato|al µoiots,
did oot . . . oxcito my so|µ|iso, to| althoogh l had lott |o|oµo io g|oat hositatioo oo
this sobjoct, aod |atho| boliovod that it |ao io tho coot|a|y di|octioo, l had mado
soch t|oqooot ooqoi|ios do|iog my µ|og|oss cooco|oiog tho |ivo|, aod |ocoivod
t|om |og|oos ot ditto|oot oatioos, soch cloa| aod docisivo asso|aocos that its
gooo|al coo|so vas kfnXi[jk_\i`j`e^jle# as sca|co lott aoy doobt oo my miod.
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Park was married to Allison Anderson in 1799, and he began practicing
medicine two years later in the Scottish town of Peebles. Ten, in the fall
of 1803, the British government invited him to lead another expedition to
trace the Niger River. Park, who at this time thought the Niger and Congo
rivers were one, agreed to go.
He left Portsmouth on January 31, 1805, arrived at the Gambia River a
few weeks later, and led his expedition inland in April. Battling 100-degree
Fahrenheit (38-degree Celsius) heat and muddy terrain, he reached Pisania
on May 4 and Badoo on May 28. As the party traveled farther inland, the
rains grew heavier and the hordes of mosquitoes grew worse. Fevers and
dysentery ravaged the Europeans.
Park reached the Niger River in August 1805, but, by then, his party
of forty-four had been reduced to twelve, the rest having fallen victim to
disease. Te fatalities included Park’s brother-in-law, Alexander Anderson,
who was stricken by dysentery at Sansanding. Park wrote several letters in
mid-November, including one to his wife, in which he said,
I do not intend to stop or land anywhere, till we reach the coast; which I sup-
pose will be sometime in the end of January.
Trough it all, Park remained focused on a single objective, namely “the
fixed resolution to discover the termination of the Niger or perish in the
attempt.” His resolve proved reckless, however, as it made him attempt to
overcome obstacles that neither he nor his remaining party was in any con-
dition to face. Indeed, he was never heard from again.
In 1812, searchers from England finally uncovered what had happened
to the determined explorer. Apparently, by early 1806, Park’s party had
dwindled to just five Europeans, including himself and one man who had
gone insane. After leaving Sansanding, the party encountered the Bussa
Rapids on the Niger River below its confluence with the Sokoto River, in
what is now western Nigeria. At that point, their boat became stuck, and
native tribesmen attacked them with arrows and spears.
In an attempt to escape, Park and his men jumped into the river. Tey
drowned in the swift current. One of the expedition’s slaves survived the
incident and later recounted what had happened.
Further Reading
Hudson, Peter. Two Rivers: Travels in West Africa on the Trail of Mungo Park.
London: Chapmans, 1991.
Lupton, Kenneth. Mungo Park: Te African Traveler. New York: Oxford
University Press, 1979.
Park, Mungo, with Kate Ferguson Marsters, ed. Travels Into the Interior of
Africa. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2000.
See also: African
Banks, Joseph.
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
PEARY, ROBERT E. 18561920
Te American Arctic explorer and U.S. Navy engineer Robert Peary
generally is credited as the first person to reach the North Pole, in April
1908—though some doubt and controversy continue to surround the
Robert Edwin Peary was born on May 6, 1856, in Cresson, Pennsyl-
vania, to Charles Nutter Peary and Mary Webster Wiley. His father died
when he was still a young child, and he moved with his mother to Portland,
Maine. As a youngster, he preferred the outdoors and enjoyed hiking in the
woods with friends.
After graduating from Bowdoin College in 1877, Peary worked as a
draftsman in the Office of Coast Survey. In 1881, he joined the U.S. Navy
as a civil engineer with the rank of lieutenant. In 1884–1885, he served
in Nicaragua, helping survey the land for a possible canal through Central
America, connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
Peary made his first two trips to Greenland in 1886 and 1891 and be-
came determined to reach the North Pole. In 1892, he traveled across the
extreme northern part of the Greenland ice cap from Bowdoin Bay, on the
west coast, through what came to be called Peary Land, and then on to
Independence Fjord, on the east coast. (His expeditions were well north
of where the Swedish-Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen had crossed
Greenland in 1888.) Other Peary-led expeditions to the Arctic, from 1893
to 1895, proved notable for the collection of meteorites he brought back to
the United States.
From 1898 to 1902, Peary mapped large parts of the Greenland coast,
although he got no closer than 340 miles (550 kilometers) from the North
Pole. During one of these expeditions, in 1900, he reached the northern-
most point of Greenland and named it Cape Morris Jesup in honor of the
president of the American Museum of Natural History at that time. He
also discovered the northernmost point of land in the world, a small island
called Oodaaq Qeqertaag, also in Greenland (situated 438 miles, or 705
kilometers, south of the North Pole). Te trip proved that the Greenland
ice cap ended at 82° north latitude, well short of the North Pole.
1856: Born on May 6 in Cresson, Pennsylvania
1881: Joins the U.S. Navy as a civil engineer
1886: Makes his first journey to Greenland and resolves to reach the
North Pole one day
1900: Reaches the northernmost point of the Greenland ice cap
1908: On April 6, leads the first team to reach the North Pole
1920: Dies on February 20 in Washington, D.C.
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Aside from the lands explored and the knowledge
obtained, Peary’s journeys to the Arctic provided valu-
able information for his ultimate goal of reaching the
North Pole. To endure the harsh conditions, he relied
heavily on the Inuits, the native peoples of the region.
Peary and his companions studied their way of life and
learned essential skills for surviving in the frigid north.
Te Inuits taught them how to build an igloo and how
to dress warmly in animal fur. Some even traveled with
Peary, helping him hunt for game, drive the dogsleds,
and navigate the land. Tese natives proved indispens-
able to the success of his expeditions.
In his next push for the pole, Peary and his men
reached 87
6' north latitude in April 1906, leaving
him less than 175 miles (280 kilometers) from his goal.
Although cold and hunger forced Peary to turn back, it
was the farthest north anyone had ever traveled.
His next attempt began in July 1908. He left New
York City with twenty-three men aboard the Roosevelt,
bound for the Arctic. Te party arrived at Ellesmere
Island (in northern Canada) and spent the winter
there preparing for the final assault. Peary and his men
left the island on February 28, 1909, with nineteen sleds and 133 dogs.
Te men were organized into teams, each team moving north in stages and
setting up supply depots. Tis technique was subsequently called the Peary
Te expedition was fraught with danger. Blankets of snow fed by fierce
winds pounded the explorers, glare made vision difficult, and the ice proved
unpredictable. One night, while he was trying to sleep, Peary wrote, he
heard “thundering noises” and “felt the ice floor on which I lay quivering.”
He went on:
In an instant it was clear what had happened. A crevasse had suddenly
opened through our igloo, directly under the spot whereupon I slept; and I
. . . with tumbling snow blocks and ice and snow crashing about and crushing
me, with the temperature 48
below zero, was floundering in the open sea!
Fortunately, two of Peary’s Inuit companions saved him.
Peary, along with his African American colleague, Matthew Henson,
and four Inuits, made the final push to the North Pole, reaching the site
on April 6, 1909. From that point on, Peary said little to Henson and kept
him at a distance, apparently because Henson had reached the pole several
minutes ahead of him.
Commander Robert
E. Peary returns
home aboard the
USS Roosevelt in
September 1909,
five months after
reaching the North
Pole. En route home,
Peary learned of
Frederick Cook’s
claim to have beaten
him to the pole—an
enduring source of
controversy. (Hulton
Getty Images)
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
In any event, that September, Peary sent a telegram from Newfoundland
to Te New York Times to announce his triumph. He wired,
I have the pole, April sixth. Expect arrive Chateau Bay, September seventh.
Secure wire control for me there and arrange expedite transmission big story.
Peary’s claim proved controversial from the outset, not least because
the American explorer Frederick Cook had announced days earlier that he
had reached the North Pole in April 1908, a full year earlier. Despite the
dubious aspects of Cook’s claim—and of his reputation—Peary’s doubters
maintained that he had not made it to the pole but had purposefully or
unknowingly miscalculated his location. Tey said that he could not have
returned to his base camp as soon as he did if he had traveled from the true
location of the North Pole.
Photographic evidence, however, suggests that Peary indeed made it all
the way to the pole, or at least within 5 miles (8 kilometers) of it. Moreover,
it was argued, he could have made the return trip as rapidly as he claimed
for several reasons: Te trail back already was familiar; his sleds were carry-
ing fewer supplies and weighed less; the dogs were excited to be returning
|obo|t |. |oa|y did oot staod alooo io claimiog to havo |oachod tho |o|th |olo. lo Soµtombo|
l9u9, jost nvo days boto|o |oa|y soot a tolog|am t|om |ovtooodlaod aooooociog his toat,
a simila| claim vas mado by ||odo|ic| Coo| ¦l86!-l94uj, a µhysiciao t|om |o|toovillo,
|ov Yo||.
Coo| had so|vod as a so|gooo oo |oa|ys l89l oxµoditioo to G|ooolaod. |o |oµo|tod that
ho had |oachod tho |o|th |olo oo Aµ|il 2l, l9u8, ooa|ly a toll yoa| boto|o |oa|y. bad voatho|, ho
said, had dolayod his |oto|o aod tho aooooocomoot ot his achiovomoot.
lo tho mooths aod yoa|s that tollovod, |oa|y aod his soµµo|to|s aod Coo| aod his
soµµo|to|s battlod ovo| vhoso claim vas logitimato. |oa|y sobmittod his ovidooco-ioclodiog
µhotog|aµhs, his log, aod doµth cha|go moaso|omoots-to tho |atiooal Goog|aµhic Socioty.
1ho socioty, a cosµooso| ot |oa|ys oxµoditioo, cooclodod that ho had µassod at loast vithio a
tov milos ot tho µolo. Coo|s caso vas damagod by a dobioos claim ho had mado, that ho had
|oachod tho sommit ot Mooot Mc|ioloy, aod by his c|imioal coovictioo to| mail t|aod io l924.
lo yot aootho| ta|o oo tho coot|ovo|sy, histo|iao |obo|t b|yco cooclodos io his oxhaostivo
vo||, :ffbXe[G\Xip1K_\GfcXi:fekifm\ijpI\jfcm\[ ¦l99/j, that both moo liod. |oitho| ooo,
ho says, |oachod tho |o|th |olo, vith Coo| gottiog oo closo| thao 4uu milos ¦64u |ilomoto|sj
aod |oa|y gottiog oo closo| thao luu milos ¦l6u |ilomoto|sj.
|ovo|tholoss, most schola|s cootiooo to soµµo|t |oa|ys claim to havo booo tho n|st µo|soo
to |oach tho |o|th |olo-o| vo|y closo to it.
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and moved faster; there was a tailwind; and they were able to save time by
using the camps they already had set up. Tat argument gained support in
2005, when a team of British adventurers repeated Peary’s return journey
with replica equipment in less time than it had taken Peary. But none of this
has definitively answered the objections of Cook’s supporters or proven the
case on behalf of either explorer.
Upon his return to the United States, Peary was showered with honors
and awards, including a gold medal from the National Geographic Society,
a formal citation of thanks from Congress, and a promotion by the U.S.
Navy to rear admiral in 1911.
Peary died in Washington, D.C., on February 20, 1920. Surviving him
was his wife, Josephine Diebitach Peary, who had accompanied him on sev-
eral expeditions and given birth to a daughter in the Arctic. Te couple also
had a son, and Peary fathered several children with Inuit women outside of
According to Te New York Times (an ardent Peary supporter), his feat
of reaching the North Pole had “crowned a life devoted to the exploration of
the icy north and the advancement of science.”
Further Reading
Bryce, Robert. Cook and Peary: Te Polar Controversy Resolved. Mechanicsville,
PA: Stackpole, 1997.
Henderson, Bruce. True North: Peary, Cook and the Race to the Pole. New
York: W.W. Norton, 2005.
Herbert, Wally. Te Noose of Laurels: Te Discovery of the North Pole. London:
Hodder and Stoughton, 1989.
In 1869 and 1871, Civil War veteran and geology professor John Wesley
Powell led two daring expeditions down the Colorado River in pursuit of
scientific information, to acquire plant and animal specimens, and to map
the canyon country. Among his other accomplishments, he was the first to
See also: Arctic;
Henson, Matthew.
1834: John Wesley Powell is born on March 24 in Mount Morris, New York
1867: With his wife, Emma, Powell climbs Pike’s Peak in Colorado
1869: Begins his exploration of the Colorado River system on May 24
1871: Leads a second expedition down the Colorado River
1879: With Powell’s help, the Bureau of American Ethnology is founded
1881: Becomes director of the United States Geological Survey
1903: Dies on September 23 in Maine
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explore the Colorado and Green River canyons, the first to pass through the
Grand Canyon, and, later, the first to classify Native American languages.
John Wesley Powell had science and adventure in his blood long before
he conquered the Colorado. He was born in Mount Morris, New York, on
March 24, 1834, to Joseph Powell and May Dean; his family eventually
settled on a farm in Boone County, Illinois. A tailor and lay preacher, Joseph
Powell wanted his son to become a minister, but the young man resisted
him. Instead, John Wesley Powell studied natural science at Illinois College,
Wheaton College, and Oberlin College without taking a degree.
In 1855, Powell walked across Wisconsin for four months, and in 1856
he rowed down a portion of the Mississippi River. Over the next two years,
he journeyed down the Ohio River from Pittsburgh to St. Louis and rowed
portions of the Illinois, Mississippi, and Des Moines rivers.
With the outbreak of the Civil War, Powell served in the Union army.
He lost most of his right arm when he was struck by a musket ball at the
Battle of Shiloh in 1862. He rose to the rank of major before receiving a
disability discharge in January 1865.
Upon leaving the army in 1865, he became professor of geology at
Illinois Wesleyan University and then, in 1867, at Illinois State Normal
University. At that time, he also helped found the Illinois Museum of
Natural History at Bloomington and became its director.
Powell journeyed west for the first time in 1867, when he led an ex-
pedition to the Rocky Mountains in Colorado and, with his wife, Emma,
climbed Pikes Peak. (She was the first woman known to scale the peak.)
Te trip gave Powell the idea to explore the Colorado River, to add what he
called a “mite to the great sum of human knowledge.” Although there had
been some previous exploration of the lower Colorado in the 1850s, the
river was largely unknown.
Powell’s expedition party of ten men included his brother, Walter; O.G.
Howland, a printer and editor; and William Dunn, a hunter and trapper.
Powell assembled four boats for the journey, three of which were made of
oak and contained a watertight compartment. Te fourth, called the Emma
Dean, was a 16-foot (4.9-meter) pilot boat made of pine. Powell brought
along sextants, barometers, chronometers, compasses, and thermometers
for mapping and for recording geographic and weather conditions. From
conception, the journey was to be part adventure and part scientific expedi-
tion, including a search for specimens, geologic studies, and detailed survey-
ing and map work.
Te canoes cast off on the Green River in the Wyoming Territory on
May 24, 1869. By the end of the month, the expedition had entered the
northeast corner of Utah, where they were dwarfed by red sandstone cliff
walls that Powell named Red Canyon. As the party continued down the
Green River, Powell studied geological formations and collected plants and
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fossilized shells. He commanded the pilot boat, looking out for rapids and
other dangers, often ordering it ashore so that the waters could be tested for
depth and current before continuing on.
In early June, while still on the Green River, one of the oak boats got
caught in a rapid and smashed into the rocks. Te three men aboard were
rescued, though some of the scientific instruments were lost; Powell later
retrieved the barometers that had been swept downriver. Indeed, the Green
River proved to be a considerable challenge. As one of the men wrote, “Te
river in this canyon is not a succession of rapids as we have found before,
but a continuous rapid.”
On July 21, the expedition finally reached the Colorado River, with its
more than 150 rapids, and soon entered a magnificent, winding sandstone
chasm that Powell named Glen Canyon. He wrote,
Past these towering monuments, past these mounded billows of orange sand-
stone, past the oak-set glens, past these fern-decked alcoves, past these mural
curves, we glide hour after hour, stopping now and then, as our attention is
arrested by some new wonder.
Ten came the Grand Canyon, which the expedition reached on
August 13. Powell described their arrival:
We are now ready to start our way down the Great Unknown. We have but
a month’s rations remaining. . . . We have an unknown distance yet to run,
an unknown river to explore. What falls there are, we know not; what rocks
beset the channel, we know not; what walls rise over the river, we know not.
Major John Wesley
Powell and his party
gather on the Green
River in Wyoming
in 1871 for a
second expedition
(retracing the first,
two years earlier)
to explore the
Colorado River and
Grand Canyon. Te
second trip yielded
a map and scientific
records. (Stringer/
Hulton Archive/
Getty Images)
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
On August 28, three of the men, exhausted by the journey and con-
cerned about the dangers ahead, quit the expedition. Tey later were killed
by Native Americans.
Also on August 28, Powell and his party encountered—and survived—
the most dangerous rapids of the entire trip. Tey completed their journey
the following day at Grand Wash. Powell later wrote, “Te first hours of
convalescent freedom seem rich recompense for all pain and gloom and
Indeed, toward the end, the expedition had become a struggle for sur-
vival. Little “science” was conducted, and much of the scientific data and all
of the specimens the men had collected were lost.
Powell, though, became a national hero. He was able to recount much
about a river system Americans knew nothing of. Moreover, his second ex-
K?< >I8E; :8EPFE 8J >< FCF>@ :8C G8IB
vith its shoo| |od clitts tovo|iog thoosaods ot toot abovo tho Colo|ado |ivo|, tho G|aod Caoyoo
is a |iod ot oato|al tomµlo-Amo|icao cooso|vatiooist ¦oho Moi| callod it tho ¨g|aodost ot Gods
to||ost|ial citios¨-as voll as a goological µa||. ¨1ho|o is oot a µlaco oo |a|th,¨ says villiam b|ood
ot tho Mosoom ot |o|tho|o A|izooa, ¨vho|o goology is |ovoalod oo soch a taotastic scalo aod io
so moch dotail.¨
1ho caoyoo vas c|oatod aboot 6 millioo yoa|s ago by a combioatioo ot tho oµlittiog ot tho
|a|ths so|taco aod tho cottiog actioo ot tho Colo|ado |ivo|. lt viods 2l/ milos ¦ì49 |ilomoto|sj
ac|oss oo|thvosto|o A|izooa, moaso|iog oµ to l8 milos ¦29 |ilomoto|sj vido aod l milo ¦l.6
|ilomoto|sj dooµ.
vithio it, tho|o a|o a oombo| ot layo|s ot oxµosod |oc|. 1ho toµ layo| coosists ot |aibab
limostooo, doµositod as sodimoot aboot 2!u millioo yoa|s ago aod cootaioiog tossils ot co|al
aod oa|ly sha||s. bolov that is a layo| ot 1o|ovoaµ limostooo, vhich is somo 2!! millioo yoa|s
old, vhich is tollovod by Cocooioo saodstooo, datiog to aboot 26u millioo yoa|s ago, aod sott
|o|mit shalo, t|om aboot 26! millioo yoa|s ago.
|ovo| yot is a layo| ot ioto|-boddod shalos aod saodstooos callod tho Soµai to|matioo,
datiog t|om l4u millioo to 29u millioo yoa|s ago. |oxt comos a layo| ot |odvall limostooo aboot
!uu toot ¦l!u moto|sj thic| aod datiog t|om ììu millioo to ì6u millioo yoa|s ago, tollovod by a
thio layo| ot saodstooo, tho 1omµlo botto, doµositod ì6u millioo to 4lu millioo yoa|s ago.
1ho ooxt th|oo layo|s dato bac| !uu millioo to !/u millioo yoa|s aod coosist ot b|ovo Maov
limostooo, g|ooo b|ight Aogol shalo, aod |ost-|od 1aµoats saodstooo. At tho vo|y bottom ot tho
caoyoo a|o tho oldost ot |oc|s, \ishoo schists aod gooissos, t|om halt a billioo to a billioo o|
mo|o yoa|s ago.
vhotho| ooo viovs tho G|aod Caoyoo t|om tho |ims o| dolvos ioto its iooo| soc|ots, tho
oxµo|iooco is ooo ot comiog ioto cootact vith a scalo ot timo almost iocomµ|ohoosiblo ooxt to
tho |olativoly b|iot µo|iod ot homao oxistooco.
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pedition down the Colorado, in 1871, proved much more successful from a
scientific point of view. He returned home with extensive scientific records,
including a map, photographs, and drawings, as well as biological and geo-
logical specimens.
Tereafter, Powell studied the rivers and rainfall of the West and the
ways in which Native Americans, Spanish settlers, and Mormons used the
land. Concluding that water was the region’s critical resource, in 1878, he
issued a far-reaching land use plan that called for the sharing of scarce water
reserves and advised the federal government to build dams. Settlers, Powell
insisted, would have to learn to work with nature rather than fight it.
Powell’s experience with Native American tribes and culture made
him an ideal director of the new Bureau of American Ethnology, which he
helped found in 1879. As director, he led a group of linguists into the field
to compile the first distributional map of Native American languages—a
valuable resource in Native American studies for decades to come.
From 1881 to 1894, Powell served as only the second director of the
United States Geological Survey. Te government agency had been estab-
lished in 1879 and charged with “classification of the public lands, and ex-
amination of the geological structure, mineral resources, and products of
the national domain.”
Powell died on September 23, 1902, in Maine. By then, he was a re-
nowned geologist and ethnologist. Nevertheless, he is best remembered
for his Colorado River expeditions of 1869 and 1871, and his explorations
of the previously unknown river system and the natural world that sur-
rounded it.
Further Reading
DeBuys, William, ed. Seeing Tings Whole: Te Essential John Wesley Powell.
Washington, DC: Island, 2001.
Dolnick, Edward. Down the Great Unknown: John Wesley Powell’s 1869
Journey of Discovery and Tragedy Trough the Grand Canyon. New York:
HarperCollins, 2002.
Worster, Donald. A River Running West: Te Life of John Wesley Powell. New
York: Oxford University Press, 2001.
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A British learned society established in 1830 to “promote the advancement
of geographical science,” the Royal Geographical Society (RGS) has pur-
sued its mission by sponsoring numerous scientific expeditions, publishing
journals and magazines, staging exhibits and lectures, and recognizing no-
table achievements in the field.
Te Royal Geographical Society evolved from a male-only dining club
in London, an exclusive gathering whose members held informal dinner
debates on current events and scientific issues. In 1830, a small group of
members—including the Admiralty official and geographer John Barrow,
naval officer and Arctic explorer John Franklin, and hydrographer Francis
Beaufort—founded the society, which received its royal charter under
Queen Victoria in 1859. Initially, members convened at the offices of the
Horticultural Society on Regent Street.
By 1840, the RGS had about 700 members and was beginning to com-
pile an impressive library, including some 380 books and 290 maps and
charts. “No work relating to geography, no map or chart extant,” said the
annual report, “should be wanting to the library of the Royal Geographical
Society in London.”
From 1854, the RGS met at 15 Whitehall Place; it moved to Saville
Row in 1870. Te new venue provided a suitable place for explorers to dis-
cuss their findings and projects, study in the library and map room, and
present speeches to audiences. In 1913, the society moved to its present
site, Lowther Lodge in Kensington Gore. It also ended its ban on women
members at that time.
During the nineteenth century, the RGS sponsored expeditions to ad-
vance scientific knowledge, especially of unknown or little-known regions.
Integral to that mission, at least to some, was extending the reach of British
power and influence. Many members supported the growth of the British
1830: Te Royal Geographical Society is founded in London
1832: Te society publishes its first journal
1892: Te Geographical Journal begins publication
1933: Te Institute of British Geographers is formed when a splinter group
breaks away from the Royal Geographical Society
1995: Te Royal Geographical Society and the Institute of British
Geographers merge
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Empire with the imperialistic attitude that this would bring civilization to
those who they viewed as the “uncivilized” people of the world.
In addition, expeditions sponsored by the society often entailed the
inventorying of resources to be exploited. For example, in an 1876 speech
to the Royal Geographical Society, Lieutenant Verney Lovett Cameron ob-
served of East Africa,
Most of the country from the Tanganyika to the West Coast is one of almost
unspeakable richness. Of metals, there are iron, copper, silver and gold; coal
also is to be found; the vegetable products are palm oil, cotton, nutmegs,
besides several sorts of pepper and coffee, all growing wild.
Among the noteworthy expeditions sponsored by the RGS were those
in Guyana by Robert Schomburgk; in Africa by David Livingstone, Richard
Burton, John Hanning Speke, James Augustus Grant, and Joseph Tomson;
and in the Arctic by John Franklin and George Strong Nares.
Te society published its first journal in 1832, with news from its meet-
ings recorded in the Proceedings beginning in 1855. Tis was succeeded
in 1892 by the Geographical Journal, which the society has continued to
publish on a quarterly basis to the present
day. (Since 2000, the Geographic Journal has
ceased reporting RGS news in order to fo-
cus exclusively on original research papers.)
From its inception, the society also has pro-
moted geography as a discipline in British
universities, funding the first geography fac-
ulty positions at the universities of Oxford
and Cambridge.
Te growth of the RGS has not been
without turbulence. By the late 1920s,
younger members were chafing at their in-
ability to get their papers read before the
society or to get them published. As a re-
sult, several of them broke away in 1933 to
form a splinter group called the Institute of
British Geographers (IBG). Te new soci-
ety organized conferences and seminars sep-
arate from the RGS, though the two groups
ultimately cooperated in several endeavors.
Te RGS and IBG began discussing a
merger in 1992, came to an agreement two
years later, and formally merged in 1995.
In May 1890, at a
reception organized
by the Royal Geo-
graphical Society
at London’s Albert
Hall, Henry Morton
Stanley describes
his successful search
in Central Africa
for the lost Scottish
explorer David
Livingstone. (Hulton
Getty Images)
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Te official name of the society became the Royal Geographical Society
(with the Institute of British Geographers).Today, the society is headed by a
president and governed by a board of trustees called the Council. Te latter
consists of twenty-five members, twenty-two of whom are elected by the
fellowship and serve three-year terms; the three other members are honor-
ary. To become a fellow requires five years of membership in the society and
nomination by an existing fellow.
In addition to honorary members and fellowships, the society presents
about a dozen awards and medals for “excellence in geographical research
and fieldwork, teaching and public engagement.” Te most prestigious are
the Founder’s Medal and the Patron’s Medal. Recipients of these awards have
included the Scottish missionary and African explorer David Livingstone
in 1855 and naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace in 1892.
Te Royal Geographical Society is Europe’s largest learned society in
the field and one of the largest in the world, with eight branches in the
United Kingdom and one in Hong Kong. As of 2009, membership exceeded
15,000 from more than 100 countries—including academics, professional
geographers, researchers, and adventurers—with an estimated 150,000
taking part in RGS events and activities.
Further Reading
Cameron, Ian. To the Farthest Ends of the Earth: 150 Years of World Exploration
by the Royal Geographical Society. New York: E.P. Dutton, 1980.
Royal Geographical Society:
See also: Arctic;
Burton, Richard
Francis; Livingstone,
David, and Henry
Morton Stanley;
Speke, John
1728: Vitus Bering, a Dane serving in the Russian navy, sails through the
strait between eastern Siberia and Alaska
1733: Bering becomes the leader of the Great Northern Expedition
1735: Vasili Pronchishchev journeys down the Lena River through Siberia
1820: Ferdinand Petrovich Wrangel begins exploring northern Siberia,
where he finds an open sea (the East Siberian Sea), rather than dry
land, north of the Kolyma River and Cape Shelagski
1821: Count Fyodor Petrovich Litke begins his journey to map the west
coast of Novaya Zemlya, an Arctic archipelago in northern Russia
1826: Litke collects specimens in the Bering Strait
1854: Nikolay Nikolayevich Muravyov-Amursky journeys down the Amur
River between southeastern Siberia and northeastern China
1884: Aleksandr Mikhaylovich Sibiryakov travels across the Ural
Mountains to Tobolsk in southwestern Russia
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In addition to Western Europeans, a number of Russians—or explorers
operating under the Russian flag—took part in scientific expeditions to in-
vestigate Arctic Russia, Siberia, and points farther south and east.
While Western European nations during the Age of Discovery were
searching for a Northwest Passage connecting the Atlantic and Pacific
Oceans, Russia was seeking a Northeast Passage connecting its western
lands and Asian ports, including those in China, India, Japan, and, eventu-
ally, the Americas.
Vitus Bering and the Great Northern Expedition
At the turn of the eighteenth century, Czar Peter the Great was eager to find
the Northeast Passage so as to establish a sea link with Asia. In addition,
he wanted to spread Russian influence to North America and engage his
nation in the kind of scientific research and exploration that had brought so
much prestige to Western European nations.
To pursue those goals, Czar Peter turned to Vitus Bering (1681–1741),
a Dane who had been serving in the Russian navy for years. In 1724, the
czar appointed Bering leader of an expedition to determine whether Asia
and America were connected by land.
Te question had, in fact, been answered earlier. In 1648, Semyon
Dezhnyov (ca. 1605–1672), a Cossack sailor, had guided seven ships
through what later would be named the Bering Strait, which separated the
two continents. Dezhnyov’s report, however, was lost until 1736.
Czar Peter’s instructions to Bering read:
I. At Kamchatka or somewhere else two decked boats are to be built. II.
With these you are to sail northward along the coast, and as the end of the
coast is not known this land is undoubtedly America. III. For this reason you
are to inquire where the American coast begins, and go to some European
colony; and when European ships are seen you are to ask what the coast is
called, note it down, make a landing, obtain reliable information, and then,
after having chartered the coast, return.
Bering sailed from the Siberian peninsula of Kamchatka in 1728 and,
in the course of one month, entered the Bering Strait and journeyed north
into the Arctic Ocean. Although fog kept him from seeing the North
1902: Vladimir Klavdiyevich Arsenyev begins exploring the forests of the Ussuri
River near Manchuria
1913: Boris Vilkitsky leads a hydrographic expedition to study the Northeast Passage
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American coast, his voyage, like Dezhnyov’s eighty years earlier, proved that
there was no land bridge between Asia and America.
From 1733 to 1743, Bering was in charge of Russia’s Great Northern
Expedition, which he conceived and proposed to Czarina Anna (Anna
Ivanovna), who was then in power. Departing again from Kamchatka, the
expedition would map the west coast of North America, sail west to Japan,
and chart the Arctic coast of Siberia.
Czarina Anna accepted the proposal and, in the spirit of Czar Peter’s
fondness for science and exploration, expanded it. Te expedition would
include nearly 1,000 seamen, divided into four squads. One squad was to
travel from Archangel to the mouth of the Ob River, a second from the Ob
to the mouth of the Yenisei River, a third from the mouth of the Lena River
to the mouth of the Yenisei, and a fourth from the mouth of the Lena to the
Chukchi Peninsula and Kamchatka.
Bering himself sailed from Kamchatka aboard the St. Peter in June
1741, accompanied by a second ship, the St. Paul, under the command of
Aleksi Illich Chirikov (1703–1748). Te two ships soon became separated
in a thick fog.
In late July, Bering, aboard the St. Peter, landed in Alaska at Kayak
Island. Accompanying him was German botanist Georg Wilhelm Steller
(1709–1746), who studied the North American plant and animal species
he found on the island.
In November, Bering sighted the Commander Islands east of
Kamchatka. By then, however, disease had felled many of his crewmen.
Te death of Danish
navigator Vitus
Bering, on an island
near Siberia’s Kam-
chatka Peninsula in
1741, is dramatized
in this painting. Te
island, like the sea in
which it is located,
now bears his name.
(Granger Collection,
New York)
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Shortly thereafter, the St. Peter was shipwrecked on the island that would
bear Bering’s name. He died there in December 1741, a victim of scurvy,
along with twenty-eight of his men.
Te Great Northern Expedition continued, however, and forty-five of
the seventy-seven officers and men on the St. Peter survived, arriving back
in Siberia on a small ship they had built. Based on this expedition, Steller
wrote De Bestiis Marinis (Te Beasts of the Sea), published in 1751, in which
he described the fauna of Bering Island, including the northern fur seal, the
sea otter, and the northern sea lion.
Meanwhile, Chirikov and his crew continued to the east. In July 1741,
they reached Prince of Wales Island in extreme southern Alaska. Chirikov
anchored near Cape Addington and sent two parties inland to explore; nei-
ther party was ever heard from again.
In October, Chirikov weighed anchor and sailed to Kamchatka. In
spring 1742, he led an expedition to search for Bering but failed to find
him. He later received the news of Bering’s death from the survivors of the
St. Peter.
Vasili Pronchishchev (1702–1736), a lieutenant in the Russian impe-
rial navy, headed one of the squads in the Great Northern Expedition, with
the assignment to map the shores of the Arctic Ocean from the mouth of
the Lena River to the mouth of the Yenisei River. In 1735, he journeyed
down the Lena on the sloop Yakutska.
Although many of Pronchishchev’s crew became sick from scurvy, in
1736, he reached the eastern shore of the Taymyr Peninsula, where he
discovered several islands. Te expedition was notable for several firsts.
Pronchishchev was the first person to map large parts of the Lena River,
ILJ J @ 8E < OG CFI< IJ @ E 8C 8J B8
\itos bo|iogs oxµoditioo ot l/4l is said to ma|| tho ¨discovo|y¨ ot Alas|a. lo mid-¦oly ot that yoa|,
vhilo bo|iog vas aocho|od ta|tho| oo|th ooa| Caµo St. |lias, Alo|si Chi|i|ov-tho commaodo| ot
tho Jk%GXlc#tho socood shiµ io bo|iogs oxµoditioo-sightod laod io soothoast Alas|a.
Chi|i|ov hoadod vost aod aocho|od io tho Shomagio lslaods ¦io tho Alootiao chaioj. 1ho|o,
tho Jk%GXlc vas aµµ|oachod by tvo |aya|s boa|iog Aloots ¦oativo Alas|aosj, aod tho tvo g|ooµs
oxchaogod goods. 1ho Aloots iovitod tho |ossiaos asho|o, vho|o thoy oxchaogod goods agaio tho
ooxt day. 1hoo, tho |ossiaos doµa|tod. lt vas tho n|st di|oct oocoooto| botvooo |o|oµoaos aod
tho oativo µooµlo ot Alas|a ovo| |oco|dod.
|ossiao oxµlo|o|s coodoctod mo|o thao sixty oxµlo|ato|y aod colooizatioo voyagos to
Alas|a botvooo that n|st oocoooto| aod l86l, vhoo tho to||ito|y vas sold by |ossia to tho
Uoitod Statos. lo thoi| voyagos, tho |ossiaos maµµod tho coast ot tho bo|iog Soa aod µo|tioos ot
tho A|ctic, stodiod tho oativo µooµlo, aod |oco|dod oxtoosivo ioto|matioo oo aoimal aod µlaot
lito, |oc|s aod mioo|als, goological toato|os, tho ico µac|, aod tho |ogioos climato.
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
and his wife, Maria, who sailed with him, is believed to have been the first
European woman to explore the Arctic. Both Vasili and Maria died from
scurvy during the journey.
Te Great Northern Expedition’s detachments mapped much of
Russia’s Arctic coast. On May 20, 1742, Semyon Chelyuskin (1700–1764)
reached the northernmost point of Eurasia.
Other Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century Expeditions
From 1817 to 1819, Count Fyodor Petrovich Litke (1797–1882), who had
joined the imperial navy in 1812, took part in a voyage around the world
aboard the Kamchatka. From 1821 to 1824, he mapped the west coast of
Novaya Zemlya—an archipelago in the Russian Arctic—and studied the
southwestern Barents Sea.
Litke took part in another around-the-world voyage from 1826 to 1829.
Tis was a scientific expedition during which he collected specimens in the
Bering Strait as well as on Bonin and Caroline islands in the western Pacific.
Litke also journeyed to Alaska, arriving at Sitka in 1827, and surveyed the
Pribilof Islands, St. Matthew Island, and the Commander Islands. From
Petropavlovsk, he sailed the Siberian coast all the way to St. Lawrence Bay
at Nova Scotia in northeastern Canada.
In addition to being known for his explorations, Litke is known as one
of the founders of the Russian Geographical Society (in 1845); he served as
its first vice president. Also an inventor, he developed a device to record and
K?< J < 8 9< 8I :FE= IFEK< ;
Goo|g vilholm Stollo|s classic l/!l accooot ot his oxµoditioo vith \itos bo|iog to tho bo|iog
Soa, ;\9\jk``jDXi`e`jK_\9\Xjkjf]k_\J\X#ioclodos dosc|iµtioos ot aoimal lito obso|vod oo
va|ioos islaods. Amoog thom vo|o tho maoatoo, soa otto|, soa lioo, aod soa boa| ¦to| soalj, ooo ot
vhich ho toood to voigh aboot 8uu µooods ¦ì6u |ilog|amsj. Stollo| dosc|ibos ao oocoooto| vith
a g|ooµ ot soa boa|s.
All tho malos havo a st|oog odo|. . . . 1hoso old aoimals a|o vo|y c|oss aod vo|y savago.
1hoy livo a vholo mooth io ooo µlaco vithoot tood o| d|io|, thoy slooµ all tho timo,
bot |ago vith oxcoodiog no|coooss at all vho µass by. lodood thoy a|o so vo|y no|co
aod joaloos that thoy voold a hood|od timos |atho| dio thao givo oµ thoi| µlaco. Aod
so it thoy soo a mao thoy go oot to got io his vay aod µ|ovoot his µassiog, ooo ot tho
otho|s moaovhilo gots his µlaco aod is |oady to nght vith him. vhoo vo vo|o obligod
to como ioto cooûict vith thom bocaoso ot tho oocossity ot cootiooiog oo| joo|ooy, vo
th|ov g|oat stooos at thom. 1hoy io to|o voold |ago at tho stooo th|ovo at thom jost as
a dog voold, aod sta|t oµ io donaoco aod nll tho ai| vith thoi| to||iblo |oa|iog. . . .
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
measure ocean tides that was installed along the Arctic and Pacific coasts
in 1841.
Ferdinand Petrovich Wrangel (1797–1870), who was born into a
German noble family and graduated from a Russian naval cadet college in
1815, led an expedition from 1820 to 1824 to explore Siberia. He sailed
into the Arctic Ocean and mapped the still largely obscure Siberian coast,
where he found an open sea (the East Siberian Sea) north of the Kolyma
River and Cape Shelagski, near latitude 70

north. “We beheld,” he wrote,
“the wide, immeasurable ocean spread before our gaze, a fearful and mag-
nificent, but to us a melancholy spectacle.”
In the course of this expedition, Wrangel collected information about
glaciers, magnetic fields, and climatic conditions; he also tried but failed
to find a large island he thought was in the Arctic Ocean. Tat island fi-
nally was discovered in 1867 by an American, Tomas Long, who named it
Wrangel Island.
Nikolay Nikolayevich Muravyov-Amursky (1809–1881) was a major
general in the Russian army until he retired due to illness in 1841. Six years
later, he was appointed governor-general of Irkutsk and Yeniseysk in east-
ern Siberia. From 1854 to 1858, he led expeditions down the Amur River;
the first one included the steamship Argun and seventy-seven barges and
rafts. Muravyov-Amursky’s journeys expanded Russian knowledge of the
region and led to a treaty with China that relocated the border between the
two countries and added significant new territory to Russian Siberia.
In the late nineteenth century, Aleksandr Mikhaylovich Sibiryakov
(1849–1893), a wealthy mine owner, financed several expeditions to
Russian hydrologists
drill for samples in
the frozen Amur
River after explo-
sions at a Chinese
chemical plant in
2005. Te river is
named after Nikolay
who explored the
frontier between
eastern Russia and
China in the 1850s.
(Viktor Drachev/
AFP/Getty Images)
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Siberia, including those of the Finn Adolf Erik Nordenskjöld (1832–
1901) and the Russian Alexander Mikhaylovich Grigoryev (1849–1933).
In addition, Sibiryakov led expeditions of his own. In 1880, he journeyed
to the Kara Sea on the north-central coast of Russia. And in 1884, he trav-
eled by steamer to the mouth of the Pechora River on the Barents Sea, then
overland east across the Ural Mountains and south along the Tobol River
to Tobolsk, in Kazahkstan.
Twentieth-Century Expeditions
In the early 1900s, the Russian explorer Vladimir Klavdiyevich Arsenyev
(1872–1930) described and documented the Ussuri River basin and
the Sikhote-Alin mountain range in the Far East. From 1902 to 1907,
he explored the forests, or taiga, of the Ussuri along the Sea of Japan to
Vladivostok, collecting flora and fauna along the way. His account of three
expeditions, Dersu Uzala (Dersu the Hunter), published in 1923, describes
his relationship with his guide and teacher, Dersu Uzala of the Nanai tribe,
and extols the practical knowledge and wisdom of the Ussurian native.
Arsenyev also wrote several stories dedicated to the native people.
From 1913 to 1915, the hydrographer and surveyor Boris Vilkitsky
(1885–1961) led an Arctic expedition to explore the Northeast Passage.
On this trip, he discovered the Severnaya Zemlya archipelago, along with
Vilkitsky Island, Maly Taymyr Island, and Starokadomsky Island. Te later
phase of the expedition included the first through voyage from Vladivostok
to Archangel. Vilkitsky’s two ships were forced to winter on the west coast
of Taymyr in 1914–1915 and completed their journey to Archangel the
following summer.
All told, Russian explorations of the eighteenth to twentieth centuries
added immeasurably to the knowledge of Siberia, other areas of the Arctic
region, and the northern Far East. Tey also served to expand Russian
territory to the North American continent in Alaska and southeast to
Chinese Manchuria.
Further Reading
Alekseev, A.I. Fedor Petrovich Litke. Fairbanks: University of Alaska Press,
Collins, David N., ed. Siberian Discovery. 12 vols. Surrey, UK: Curzon, 2000.
Fisher, Raymond Henry. Bering’s Voyages: Whither and Why? Seattle:
University of Washington Press, 1994.
Frost, Orcutt. Bering: Te Russian Discovery of America. New Haven, CT: Yale
University Press, 2003.
See also: Arctic.
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
A German-born businessman and archaeologist whose work was sur-
rounded by controversy, Heinrich Schliemann unearthed the site of the
ancient city of Troy in Turkey and discovered rich artifacts at the ruins of
Mycenae in Greece.
Heinrich Schliemann was born on January 6, 1822, in Neubuckow,
Mecklenburg, Germany, to Ernst and Luise Schliemann. His father was a
Protestant minister who enjoyed studying the classics. Heinrich later said
that he first was attracted to studying ancient Troy when, at age eight, his
father gave him a book containing Greek and Roman myths and legends.
Many historians doubt this story, however, and trace his first interest in
Troy to a much later time.
In any event, young Schliemann developed an intense interest in
the Iliad and the Odyssey, the two epic poems by the ancient Greek poet
Homer. Tese classics pertain to the Trojan War and its aftermath. Tis
war is said by historians to have been fought in the twelfth century b.c.e.
between the Greeks of Mycenae and the inhabitants of Troy, in Anatolia,
part of present-day Turkey.
Schliemann received an erratic education. His schooling began at a pri-
vate academy, but he was forced to leave it when his father was accused of
embezzling church funds. Te boy left public school at age fourteen and
went to work for a grocer in Furstenburg, dedicating himself to making
money and learning languages. He proved extraordinarily adept at both.
He saved much of what he earned and taught himself six foreign languages
1822: Born in Neubuckow, Germany, on January 6
1844: Begins working for an import-export company, traveling throughout
1863: Retires from business a millionaire; devotes himself to archaeology
1871: Begins excavation in search of ancient city of Troy at Hissarlik,
Turkey; uncovers several layers of ruins
1873: Discovers a cache of gold and other artifacts, which he calls
“Priam’s Treasure”
1874: Begins excavation at Mycenae, Greece
1876: Inside the Lion Gate at Mycenae, discovers ancient royal grave shafts
and gold death masks
1890: Dies on December 26 in Naples, Italy
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
within a two-year period: Dutch, English, French, Spanish, Italian, and
Schliemann’s proficiency in languages helped him secure a position in
1844 with a large import-export firm, B.H. Schroder, which sent him to
St. Petersburg, Russia, two years later to act as an agent. Schliemann made
considerable money for the company as an indigo trader, traveled through-
out Europe, and eventually came to represent the interests of a number of
trading firms. In 1848, he founded his own merchant house and continued
to prosper.
In 1850, Schliemann set out for California to make his fortune in
the gold rush. Once there, he started a bank in Sacramento that bought
gold dust from prospectors and sold it on the open market, and soon he
amassed a fortune. While Schliemann became a naturalized U.S. citizen
when California became a U.S. state in 1850, two years later, he decided to
sell his business and return to Russia. Later that year, he married Ekaterina
Petrovna Lyshina. Tey had three children, but the marriage proved dif-
ficult. Te couple grew apart, lived separately, and eventually divorced.
In the meantime, Schliemann continued to pursue his interests in lan-
guages and archaeology. He retired from business in 1863 as one of the
wealthiest men of the time and traveled extensively—to India, Singapore,
China, Japan, Cuba, Mexico, France, Italy, and Greece—before settling in
Paris. Schliemann then devoted his energies to archaeological research and
further language study. He undertook graduate studies in Paris and would
become fluent in as many as sixteen languages during his lifetime.
In June 1868, Schliemann spent three days at Pompeii in southern Italy,
where excavations led by Giuseppe Fiorelli were under way. In July, he vis-
ited Mount Aetos, on the island of Ithaca in the Ionian Sea. Tis was be-
lieved to be the location of the palace of Odysseus, king of Ithaca. At Mount
Aetos, Schliemann participated in his first archaeological dig.
In 1869, Schliemann wrote a book in which he maintained that a
mound at Hissarlik in Anatolia was the site of ancient Troy. Tat year,
he also submitted a dissertation on this subject (in ancient Greek) to the
University of Rostock in Germany and received a Ph.D.
His theory conflicted with those of archaeologists who believed ancient
Troy was situated at Bunarbashi (also called Pinarbasi), or at Alexandria
Troas, located on the northwest coast of Asia Minor, or what is today
Turkey. Schliemann had done some excavating at Alexandria Troas in
1868; however, he turned his attention to Hissarlik when he met British ar-
chaeologist Frank Calvert, who had dug trenches at Hissarlik and thought
the site held valuable artifacts.
Also in 1869, Schliemann married Sophie Engastromenos. Her inter-
est in the works of Homer and related history reinforced his.
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Finding Troy
Schliemann began his excavation at Hissarlik in 1871. He soon uncovered
several layers of ruins—a total of eleven cities of Troy from over the centu-
ries. (Archaeologists have since found thirty levels of habitation dating back
to 3000 b.c.e.) He called the bottom layer Troy I and the next layer Troy
II. Since the latter showed evidence of having been burned, as had the city
in the Iliad, Schliemann concluded that this was Homer’s Troy. He and his
team then dug for the treasure said to belong to Priam, the ruler of Troy at
the time of the war. During the course of the search, much of the second
layer was inadvertently destroyed.
In June 1873, Schliemann noticed a copper jug protruding from an ex-
cavation shaft. He later recounted the discovery:
In excavating this wall further and directly by the side of the palace of King
Priam, I came upon a large copper article of the most remarkable form,
which attracted my attention all the more as I thought I saw gold behind
it. On top of this article lay a stratum of red and calcined ruins . . . as hard
as stone, and above this . . . lay [a] . . . wall of . . . fortification . . . which was
built of large stones and earth, and must have belonged to an early date after
the destruction of Troy. In order to withdraw the Treasure from the greed
of my workmen, and to save it for archaeology, I had to be most expeditious.
. . . While the men were eating or resting, I cut out the Treasure with a large
knife, which it was impossible to do without the very greatest exertion and
the most fearful risk of my life, for the great fortification-wall beneath which
I had to dig, threatened every moment to fall down upon me.
An engraving of
1873 depicts Hein-
rich Schliemann’s
excavations at
Hissarlik, Turkey,
the archaeologi-
cal site of ancient
Troy. Tat same
year, Schliemann
unearthed a cache
of gold and other
artifacts he dubbed
“Priam’s Treasure.”
(Rue des Archives/
Granger Collection,
New York)
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
To this, he added,
It would have been impossible for me to have removed the Treasure without
the help of my dear wife, who stood by me ready to pack the things which I
cut out in her shawl and to carry them away.
Among the items Schliemann found were golden earrings and neck-
laces; a copper shield and copper lances and daggers; and a silver dish and
goblet and silver vases. Breaking a promise he had made to the Turkish gov-
ernment to turn over half of his findings, Schliemann smuggled the artifacts
out of the country.
He eventually donated the treasure to a museum in Berlin. He pub -
lished his findings in Trojan Antiquities (1874), Troy and Its Remains (1875),
and Ilios: Te City and Country of the Trojans (1880).
Mycenaean Tombs
With his mission accomplished at Hissarlik, Schliemann turned his
attention to the site of Mycenae in Greece. Mycenae was the home of
Agamemnon, the Greek king at the time of the Trojan War. In 1876, hav-
ing received permission to dig inside the Lion Gate, the entrance to the
royal citadel, Schliemann and his team discovered a grave circle measuring
about 90 feet (27 meters) in diameter that contained five tombs. (In 1951,
archaeologists found a second grave circle.)
Called the Dome Tombs, this was the burial sites of Mycenaean royalty,
whose skeletons were adorned with gold death masks. Upon making his
discovery, Schliemann sent a telegram to the king of Greece stating,
With great joy I announce to Your Majesty that I have discovered the tombs
which the tradition proclaimed by Pausanias indicated to be the graves of
Agamemnon, Cassandra, Eurymedon and their companions, all slain at a
banquet by Clytemnestra and her lover Aegisthos.
Upon uncovering a gold death mask in grave V, Schliemann is said to
have declared, “I have gazed upon the face of Agamemnon.” He wrote this
description of the mask:
Its features are altogether Hellenic, and I call attention to the long thin nose,
running in a direct line with the forehead, which is but small. Te eyes,
which are shut, are large and well represented by the eyelids; very charac-
teristic is also the large mouth with its well-proportioned lips. Te beard is
also well represented, and particularly the moustaches, whose extremities are
turned upwards to a point, in the form of crescents.
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
@ J 8>8D< DEFEË J D8J B 8 ?F8O6
A|chaoologists today cootiooo to dobato tho t|oth ot a oombo| ot |oio|ich Schliomaoos claims.
|o|omost amoog thoso dobatos is tho ooo aboot vhotho| a goldoo mas| Schliomaoo discovo|od
io l8/6 io g|avo \ at Mycooao vas tho doath mas| ot Agamomooo o|, io tact, a to|go|y.
villiam Caldo| lll, ao Amo|icao µ|otosso| ot classics aod ao oxµo|t oo tho vo|| ot
Schliomaoo, a|good io tho l96us that tho to|go|y thoo|y is soµµo|tod by tho tolloviog ovidooco.
l. 1ho Agamomooo mas| is ditto|oot io stylo t|om all otho| Mycooaoao mas|s yot
2. Schliomaoos cootomµo|a|ios accosod him ot µlaotiog nods aod thoo claimiog to
havo discovo|od thom.
ì. Schliomaoo may havo obtaiood tho mas| t|om a |olativo ot his vito vho vas a
4. Schliomaoo lato| claimod to havo oxcavatod objocts that ho vas |oovo to havo
!. 1ho mas| ioclodos a moostacho, tho oµto|ood µositioo ot vhich vas maiotaiood,
Schliomaoo says, by a µomado, tho aocioot G|oo|s had oo |oovo µomados.
|atio |oma|oµooloo, di|octo| ot tho µ|ohisto|ic colloctioo ot tho |atiooal A|chaoological
Mosoom io Athoos ¦vho|o tho mas| oov |osidosj, µoiots oot that most oxµo|ts accoµt tho
aothooticity ot tho a|titact, vhich boa|s
simila|itios to otho| Mycooaoao a|tvo||
toood io tho samo g|avo ci|clo.
Mo|oovo|, it has booo µoiotod oot,
Schliomaoos oxcavatioo vas closoly
soµo|visod by tho G|oo| A|chaoological
Socioty aod tho di|octo| ot G|oo| aotiqoitios.
|ooooth |.S. |aµatio, ao a|t histo|iao at
bostoo Uoivo|sity, has callod to| mic|oscoµic
oxamioatioo aod mato|ials aoalysis that might
holµ |ovoal tho t|oo soo|co aod ago ot tho
A gold mask discovered by Heinrich Schliemann
at Mycenae in 1876 continues to be debated among
archaeologists today. Is it the death mask of King Ag-
amemnon, the legendary Greek leader in the Trojan
War, or a forgery? (Science & Society Picture Library/
Getty Images)
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Te artifact became the most famous of those uncovered at Mycenae.
It has been referred to as “Agamemnon’s Mask,” despite questions regarding
its authenticity and age.
Later Work and Legacy
In 1878, Schliemann discovered more treasures at Troy. Te following year,
he hired an assistant, Wilhelm Dörpfeld, to oversee further archaeological
work at the location. (Dörpfeld concluded that Troy VI, not Troy II, was
the Troy of Homer, but changed his view in 1932 when American archaeol-
ogist Carl William Blegen found substantial evidence suggesting that Troy
VII was the Homeric city.)
Schliemann went on to excavate other sites in Greece, including Ithaca,
Orchomenus, and Tiryns. In the latter location, a dig in 1884 and 1885
uncovered the ruins of a great palace also referred to by Homer.
In 1886, Schliemann sailed down the Nile River with British
Egyptologist E.A. Wallis Budge. Also that year, in the Mediterranean, he
uncovered Aphrodite’s Temple on the island of Kíthira and found Spartan
remains on the island of Sphacteria, which is located at the entrance to the
bay of Pylos in the Peloponnese.
Suffering from chronic ear infections, Schliemann underwent surgery
in August 1890. Following the operation, he became ill and died on
December 26, in Naples, Italy.
Schliemann’s archaeological work remains controversial. Some experts
have charged that he forged or altered some of his finds to make them seem
to be more important. Others have suggested that he combined discoveries
from different locations to make them appear as if they had come from a
single archaeological site. Moreover, according to subsequent researchers,
the treasure he found at Troy predated the Trojan War by more than
1,000 years, and the so-called Mask of Agamemnon has been the object of
skepticism in some quarters. All things considered, however, businessman-
turned-archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann contributed major discoveries
about the classical age and the historical truth of ancient legend.
Further Reading
Moorehead, Caroline. Lost and Found: Te 9,000 Treasures of Troy. New York:
Viking, 1996.
Selden, George. Heinrich Schliemann: Discoverer of Buried Treasure. New
York: Macmillan, 2000.
Traill, David A. Schliemann of Troy: Treasure and Deceit. New York: St.
Martin’s, 1995.
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
American plant researcher, educator, and curator Richard Evans Schultes
has been called the “father of ethnobotany” and the “last Victorian explorer”
for his seminal studies of the relationship between plants and native socie-
ties and for his prolonged field expeditions to remote regions of Mexico
and the Amazon River basin. During the course of a career that spanned
more than half a century, he documented hundreds of new plant species
and cataloged the medicinal uses of thousands of plants.
Schultes was born on January 12, 1915, in Boston, where his father
was a plumber and his mother a homemaker. He was inspired to become a
scientist when, at age six, his parents read him Notes of a Botanist by English
naturalist Richard Spruce. Published in 1908, Spruce’s book recounted
a vivid story of hunting for plant life along the Amazon River and in the
Andes Mountains in South America. About the Andes, Spruce wrote,
I have been much interested to meet here several tribes of plants which I had
not seen since leaving England. I have got, for instance, a Poppy, Horsetail, a
Bramble. . . . In a deep dell on the way to Moyobamba I was delighted to find
a few specimens of that rare plant the Chickweed.
Schultes received his bachelor’s degree from Harvard University in
1937. For his senior thesis, he lived among the Kiowa Indians in Oklahoma
and studied their use of peyote in religious ceremonies.
Working under botanist Oakes Ames at Harvard, Schultes received his
Ph.D. in 1941, with a dissertation again based on fieldwork among indig-
enous peoples. Tis time, he lived among the medicine men in the Mexican
state of Oaxaca, detailing their use of psychedelic mushrooms in his dis-
sertation, “Economic Aspects of the Flora of Northeastern Oaxaca.”
Later in 1941, Schultes made his first trip to the Upper Amazon, as a
Harvard research associate. In Colombia, he studied curare, a plant deriva-
1915: Born on January 12 in Boston
1941: Earns doctorate in botany with dissertation on the use of psychedelic
mushrooms by natives of Oaxaca, Mexico; makes his first trip to the Amazon
River region in South America
1953: Becomes curator of the Oakes Ames Orchid Herbarium at Harvard University
1979: Publishes Plants of the Gods: Origins of Hallucinogenic Use, with Albert
1980: Named director of the Botanical Museum and Edward C. Jeffrey Professor of
Biology at Harvard
2001: Dies in Waltham, Massachusetts, on April 10
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
tive used by shamans as a muscle relaxant. It also was used by other tribal
people as a deadly substance on arrowheads.
Upon the outbreak of World War II in December of that year, Schultes’s
efforts in Amazonia were redirected by the U.S. government, which asked
him to search for a species of rubber tree that would be resistant to disease.
Ultimately, it was believed, this would reduce U.S. dependence on rubber
from Asia, which had come under the domination of Japan. Although his
wartime efforts failed, Schultes later discovered a new species of rubber tree
in Sri Lanka and Malaysia.
In the early 1950s, Schultes lived among the native people of the
Amazon basin for extended periods. His work there triggered a lifelong
concern for the environmental integrity of the region and ongoing efforts to
help save the rain forest and the culture of the people who inhabited it. As
one of his students later observed,
He believed ours would be the last generation fortunate enough to be able
to live and work among these tribes as he had to experience their traditional
way of life firsthand, and to record their vast ethnobotanical knowledge
before the plant species—or the people who used them—succumbed to the
march of progress.
Schultes made extended annual visits to the Amazon region; he even
lived among native peoples who had never seen a white person before. He
plied rivers in a simple aluminum canoe, carrying a single change of cloth-
ing, a machete, a hammock, a camera, and clippers for cutting and collecting
plants. His diet consisted of instant coffee, baked beans, and food provided
by the local tribes. To preserve the plant specimens he collected, he soaked
them in formaldehyde diluted with water and then pressed them between
newspaper sheets.
In all, Schultes collected an estimated 24,000 plant specimens, 120 of
which came to bear his name. Also named for him is a 2.2 million-acre
(890,000-hectare) tract of protected rain forest, established by the govern-
ment of Colombia in 1986. Schultes documented the use of more than
2,000 medicinal plants by a dozen tribes. His studies of plants with hal-
lucinogenic properties would make his books cult favorites among young
people in the United States who experimented with drugs during the 1960s.
His findings also influenced such writers as Aldous Huxley and Carlos
Castaneda, who used and promoted the use of such hallucinogens as a way
to gain better understandings of the inner self.
In 1953, Schultes became curator of the Oakes Ames Orchid
Herbarium at Harvard, and in 1958 , he became curator of economic bota-
ny at the same institution. In 1970, he was named director of the Botanical
Museum and Edward C. Jeffrey Professor of Biology.
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Writing into his eighties, Schultes published a total of ten books and
more than 450 scientific articles. He also took thousands of photographs,
many of which appeared in his published works. Richard Evans Schultes
died in 2001 at age eighty-six in Waltham, Massachusetts, outside Boston.
Further Reading
Davis, Wade. One River: Explorations and Discoveries in the Amazon Rain
Forest. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1996.
Schultes, Richard. Hallucinogenic Plants. New York: Golden Press, 1976.
Schultes, Richard, and Albert Hofmann. Plants of the Gods: Origins of
Hallucinogenic Use. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1979.
Schultes, Richard, and Siri von Reis. Ethnobotany: Evolution of a Discipline.
Portland, OR: Dioscorides, 1995.
Latvian-German explorer, ethnographer, and botanist Georg August
Schweinfurth journeyed into the interior of eastern Africa during the 1860s
and 1870s, making important discoveries about the geography, native peo-
ples, and plant life of the region, and contributing as well to knowledge of
North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula.
Schweinfurth was born on December 29, 1836, in Riga, Latvia. He was
educated at the universities of Berlin, Heidelberg, and Munich, in Germany.
He pursued interests in botany and paleontology and completed his studies
in 1862.
Commissioned to organize collections recently brought from the
Sudan, Schweinfurth resolved to carry out his own explorations of Africa.
In 1863, he journeyed to the Red Sea and spent the next three years ex-
ploring the region that bordered it, including Egypt, traveling inland to
the Nile River and then to Khartoum, in the Sudan, and to the Abyssinian
Highlands in present-day Ethiopia. Along the way, he collected numerous
plant specimens.
1836: Born on December 29 in Riga, Latvia
1856–1862: Educated at universities in Berlin, Heidelberg, and Munich, Germany
1863–1866: Explores the Red Sea region and travels into Africa to Khartoum, Sudan
1869–1871: Explores interior of eastern Africa, discovering the Uele (Welle) River
and the Akka pygmies
1871: Writes Te Heart of Africa, a book about his journey to Eastern Africa.
1873–1876: Conducts expeditions into the Libyan and Arabian deserts
1925: Dies on September 20 in Berlin
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In 1868, Schweinfurth received funding from the German scientific re-
search foundation Humboldt-Stiftung to return to Africa and explore the
region known as the Bahr-al-Ghazal, in what is now southwestern Sudan.
Leaving Khartoum in January 1869, Schweinfurth headed south (up-
stream) on the White Nile River, studying the vegetation along the way. His
journey took him into the midst of several indigenous tribes, namely the
Bongo, Dinka, Diur, Niam-Niam, Mangbetu (Mombuttoo), and Shilluk.
Only a few Europeans, mainly ivory traders, had encountered these peoples
While among the Mangbetu (in what is today the Democratic Republic
of Congo), Schweinfurth discovered the Uele, or Welle, River. He concluded
that it was connected to the Niger River rather than the Nile. In fact, it is a
major tributary of the Ubangi River, which flows into the Congo River.
During the course of his travels in eastern Africa, as part of the ex-
pedition that began in 1869, Schweinfurth became the first European to
encounter the Akka pygmies, confirming centuries-old speculation about a
dwarf race in Africa. He attempted to bring one of the Akka back with him
to Europe, but the captured man died along the way. Schweinfurth collected
numerous plants and insects, but nearly all of his specimens collected to
that date were destroyed in a fire at his campsite in December 1870.
Returning to Khartoum in July 1871, Schweinfurth wrote a book
about his expedition titled Te Heart of Africa, which was published two
years later. In the account, he offered a number of original and insightful
ethnographic descriptions. About the Mangbetu, for example, he wrote,
My relationship with the natives became closer with each passing day. Tere
was always a considerable crowd around my dwelling, avidly watching my
slightest gesture. [Te] . . . women, so cheeky when they are in a group, tend
to be shy when they are on their own. I wanted to observe the details of their
daily lives, but whenever they saw me coming they would scamper into their
dwellings and shut the door in my face.
He also commented on the Niam-Niam, who filed their teeth to
sharpen them and engaged in cannibalism. Tese were a people, reported
Schweinfurth, “with whose name the Mohammedans of the Soudan were
accustomed to associate all the savagery which could be conjured up by a
fertile imagination.”
From 1873 to 1874, Schweinfurth journeyed through the Libyan
Desert with Gerhard Rohlfs, a fellow German explorer. In 1875, he found-
ed a geographic society in Cairo, Egypt, where he was appointed curator of
museums. He undertook the first of a series of expeditions into the Arabian
Desert in 1876 and in the early 1890s made several trips to Eritrea, then an
Italian colony in eastern Africa.
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Schweinfurth devoted the rest of his life to African and Arabian studies
and published several more books, including Artes Africanae; Illustrations
and Descriptions of Productions of the Industrial Arts of Central African Tribes
(1875). He died in Berlin on September 20, 1925.
Further Reading
Schweinfurth, Georg. Te Heart of Africa: Tree Years’ Travels and Adventures
in the Unexplored Regions of Central Africa from 1868 to 1871. Trans.
Ellen E. Frewer. 2 vols. Chicago: Afro-Am Books, 1969.
An English whaling ship captain, Arctic explorer, scientist, and clergyman,
William Scoresby mapped the east coast of Greenland in the 1820s and re-
searched magnetism to improve the performance of the mariner’s compass.
Scoresby was born on October 5, 1789, near Whitby in Yorkshire, on
England’s northeast coast. His father, also named William Scoresby, was
the captain of a whaling ship, on which the boy stowed away in 1799, at
age ten, and took his first trip to sea. Tree years later, William began an
apprenticeship with his father, whaling near Greenland in the summer and
attending school in the winter.
Arctic Scientist
In 1806, as first officer aboard the whaling ship Resolution, William
Scoresby sailed to latitude 81
30', the farthest north anyone had sailed in
the eastern hemisphere to that time. Later that year, back on land, he began
1789: Born on October 5 near Whitby, England
1799: Takes first whaling trip as a stowaway on his father’s ship
1806: Begins studying chemistry and natural philosophy at the University of
Edinburgh in Scotland
1811: Becomes the captain of a whaling ship; investigates atmospheric refraction
at sea
1822: Surveys 400 miles (650 kilometers) of Greenland’s east coast; quits whaling to
become a clergyman
1823: Publishes Journal of a Voyage to the Northern Whale-Fishery
1831: Helps found the British Association for the Advancement of Science
1856: Sails to Australia; discovers that a ship’s polarity reverses in the southern
magnetic hemisphere, thus making an important discovery in the development
of the mariners’ compass
1857: Dies on March 21, 1857 in England
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studying chemistry and natural philosophy at the University of Edinburgh
in Scotland.
At Edinburgh, Scoresby became friends with Robert Jameson, a pro-
fessor who encouraged him to undertake research in the northern seas.
Scoresby later would provide Jameson with specimens from the Arctic, and
the professor would present Scoresby’s papers to natural history societies.
In 1811, Scoresby took over command of the Resolution. Tat same
year, he was married for the first time. (He would be married a total of three
On successive whaling voyages, he made scientific studies of the atmo-
sphere, the sea, wildlife, and the workings of the mariner’s compass. He
compiled detailed weather reports made in the Greenland Sea, including
comparisons of the temperature and humidity at the sea’s surface, at deck
level, and at the masthead. Using a diving thermometer of his own inven-
tion, he established that Arctic waters are warmer at lower depths than at
the surface—the opposite of what is found in tropical waters. In another
study, careful investigation of atmospheric refraction led him to conclude
that mirages and fogs in the Arctic are caused by layers of air with contrast-
ing temperatures.
With each whaling expedition, Scoresby undertook a new scientific
investigation of Arctic conditions and natural phenomena. On one trip, he
made a rigorous study of snowflakes, which he placed under a microscope.
He drew pictures of the flakes and classified them according to the weather
conditions in which he found them. He concluded that snowflakes were
more varied in shape in the Arctic than those found in milder climates.
In 1819, Scoresby was elected to Britain’s Royal Society to which
he presented an original paper, “On the Anomaly in the Variation of the
Magnetic Needle.” Te following year, he published An Account of the Arctic
Regions, a two-volume work that brought together all of his own observa-
tions and those of other Arctic explorers. It was a landmark work in the
field of Arctic science.
In 1822, Scoresby surveyed and charted some 400 miles (650 kilome-
ters) of Greenland’s east coast, designating place-names that, for the most
part, still are used today. His exploration provided the first detailed infor-
mation about the region.
Humphry Davy, a British scientist renowned for his work in chemistry,
recognized the importance of Scoresby’s expedition in a letter to him:
I congratulate you on your safe return and on the success that has attended
your researches. Your spirit of enterprise and your devotion to the cause of
science amidst pursuits of so different a character entitle you to the warmest
thanks of all those who are interested in the progress of natural knowledge
and do honour to your country.
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New Horizons
Te journey to Greenland, as it turned out, would be Scoresby’s last voyage
to the Arctic. Upon returning to England, he learned of his first wife’s death
and quit whaling to study for the ministry in the Church of England. After
two years of study at Cambridge University, he obtained his degree from
Queen’s College and was ordained in 1825.
Scoresby’s decision to forsake the sea, however, did not deter him from
his passion for science. In 1823, he had published Journal of a Voyage to the
Northern Whale-Fishery, Including Researches and Discoveries on the Eastern
Coast of West Greenland, which earned him yet more recognition within the
scientific community and helped him gain election as a fellow of the Royal
Society of London in 1824.
Becoming the first chaplain at the Mariners’ Floating Church in
Liverpool in 1827, Scoresby remarried the following year and moved on to
the chaplaincy at Bedford Chapel in Exeter. As he carried out his clerical
responsibilities, he remained heavily involved in the scientific community,
helping to found the British Association for the Advancement of Science
in 1831.
In 1837, Scoresby became vicar at Bradford, and, in 1839, he obtained
his doctor of divinity degree. At Bradford, he dedicated himself to helping
the poor and founded five schools for the children of mill workers.
Exhausted by church work, Scoresby took a trip to the United States
in 1844 to restore his health but returned to England some six months
later. With his strength continuing to decline, in 1847 he resigned from the
Upon the death of his second wife, in 1848, he returned to America
and, during the trip, compiled important data on the height of waves in the
Atlantic Ocean. Back in England, he married for a third time, in 1849, and
moved to Torquay (now part of Torbay) in coastal Devonshire.
During his years away from the sea, Scoresby engaged in a number
of scientific investigations. Te most prominent was his study of magne-
tism and its effect on the mariner’s compass. In general, he believed, the
compasses of the time were poorly constructed and rendered inaccurate by
the iron used in ship construction. To solve the problem, he would need to
identify the grade of steel that would be most accurate for the instrument,
determine the optimal shape for the needle, and measure the degree of de-
viation on ships with iron hulls or steam engines. After extensive research,
he favored the use of compound magnets for additional strength and the
best grade of steel to compensate for differences in bar quality.
In 1856, Scoresby sailed to Australia aboard the iron-hulled passenger
ship Royal Charter with the goal of recording the ship’s magnetic effects and
determining if its polarity reversed in the southern magnetic hemisphere.
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He confirmed the reversal for all the iron on the ship and concluded that
compasses on board should be positioned aloft to avoid distortion. In addi-
tion, he advised, a ship’s compass could not be set just once on a long voyage
but had to be regularly checked for accuracy and adjusted when needed.
Scoresby died on March 21, 1857, at his villa in Torquay. His Journal
of a Voyage to Australia and Round the World, for Magnetical Research was
published two years later.
Further Reading
Scoresby, William, Jr. An Account of the Arctic Regions. 1820. New York:
Augustus M. Kelley, 1969.
———. Journal of a Voyage to the Northern Whale-Fishery. 1823. Whitby, UK:
Caedmon, 1980.
Stamp, Tom, and Cordelia Stamp. William Scoresby, Arctic Scientist. Whitby,
UK: Caedmon, 1976.
An English naval officer and explorer, Captain Robert Falcon Scott led
what turned out to be the second expedition to reach the South Pole. He
arrived there in January 1912, a month and three days after the Norwegian
explorer Roald Amundsen. Scott and four other men died on the trip back
to their base camp.
Robert Falcon Scott was born on June 6, 1868, near Devonport,
England, to John Edward Scott, a brewer and the owner of a small country
estate, and Hannah Cunning, who came from a well-to-do family. At age
thirteen, Robert, nicknamed “Con” by his parents, entered the British Royal
Navy as a cadet. He attended naval school at Dartmouth and was made a
midshipman in 1883. From 1887 to 1888, he attended the Royal Naval
College at Greenwich.
See also: Arctic
1868: Born on June 6 near Devonport, England
1883: Becomes a midshipman in the Royal Navy
1900: Appointed commander of the British National Antarctic Expedition
1901–1904: Explores Antarctica and becomes the first person to travel as
far south as the 80th parallel
1910: Leaves England as commander of the Terra Nova in an attempt to
become the first person to reach the South Pole
1911: Begins assault on the South Pole on October 24
1912: Learns that Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen has reached the
South Pole; reaches the Pole himself on January 17; dies in late
March on the return trek to base camp
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British National Antarctic Expedition
Scott had no burning ambition to become a polar explorer, but he saw it as
a route to promotion through the ranks of the Royal Navy to commander
and eventually captain. In 1899, therefore, when he was still a lieutenant, he
accepted an offer to lead an expedition to Antarctica.
Te Royal Society and the Royal Geographical Society were working
together to raise money for such an effort, and Scott was selected by expedi-
tion organizer Clements Markham in May 1900. His official designation
was commander of the British National Antarctic Expedition. Because the
mission was principally scientific, other members of the expedition included
naturalist Tomas Vere Hodgson, director of marine biological laboratories
at the Marine Biological Station in Plymouth; geologist Hartley Ferrar, a
recent graduate of Cambridge University; and physicist Louis Bernacchi,
veteran of a recent Antarctic expedition.
Scott commanded the three-masted sailing ship Discovery, which was
specially designed and built for Antarctic research. Te expedition left
England on August 6, 1901, and headed south from New Zealand in late
December. Members of the Discovery Expedition, as it was referred to, be-
gan charting the Antarctic coastline and established a settlement on a cove
in McMurdo Sound that they christened Winter Quarters Bay.
In November 1902, Scott and two other men—Ernest Shackleton and
Edward Wilson—set out on foot, heading south. Tey became the first
humans to reach as far south as latitude 82
17’, some 500 miles (800 kilo-
Robert Falcon Scott
(rear, center) and
members of his ill-
fated Antarctic mis-
sion pose for a self-
timed photograph
at the South Pole in
January 1912. Te
five men had trouble
finding their route
back and perished in
the harsh conditions.
(Granger Collection,
New York)
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meters) from the South Pole. “Certainly dog driving is the most terrible
work one has to face in this sort of business,” Scott wrote.
On December 5, he observed,
Te events of the day’s march are now becoming so dreary and dispiriting
that one longs to forget them when we camp; it is an effort to record them in
a diary. Our utmost efforts could not produce more than three miles for the
whole march.
During the course of the expedition, which continued until 1904, Scott
and his fellow explorers also surveyed the coast of Victoria Land and made
the first penetration of the rim of the Polar Plateau. In the latter instance,
Albert Armitage, Scott’s second-in-command, became the first person to
cross the western mountains and reach the Antarctic ice cap. (Scott, at the
time, was venturing south.) Bernacchi recorded the event:
A typical [Antarctic] glacier followed to its source. . . . A distance of about
140 miles . . . sledged over in a mountainous, glacial region at 78 deg. South
[reaching] an altitude of about 14,500 feet . . . accomplished by men [with]
little or no previous experience of glacial traveling.
Te Discovery Expedition garnered much public interest in Great
Britain, and Scott returned home a hero. Nevertheless, the scientific re-
cord of the expedition met with considerable criticism from the scientific
community. Te president of the Physical Society of London, for example,
called for a “scientific court martial” when it was shown that the expedition
had confused true and magnetic compass bearings and that wind measure-
ments had been botched as well.
Terra Nova Expedition
In 1908, Scott married Katherine Bruce, a sculptor, and they had a son,
Peter Markham Scott, in 1909. In 1910, Scott took up command of a new
scientific expedition to the Antarctic. Funded by private donors and the
British government, the voyage would be undertaken on the ship Terra
Nova, for an express purpose. Scott announced,
Te main object of the expedition, is to reach the South Pole and secure for
the British Empire the honour of that achievement.
At the same time, however, science was to be an important part of the
expedition. Te party included three geologists, a physicist, a meteorologist,
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two biologists, a person to conduct magnetic measurements, and a specialist
to oversee hydrographical surveys.
Also on board the Terra Nova were twenty Siberian-bred ponies and
thirty-four sled dogs. According to Scott’s plan, the ponies would haul sup-
plies part of the way inland and then be killed for meat. Te key means of
transportation would be three motorized sleds, which had been little tested,
“man-hauling,” whereby sleds would be pulled by the explorers themselves,
and sleds pulled by dogs and ponies.
Te Terra Nova left England on June 1, 1910, with Scott staying be-
hind to raise more money, which helped fund the expedition. He joined
the ship in South Africa and sailed from there to New Zealand, depart-
ing for Antarctica on November 26, 1910. By then, Scott had learned that
Amundsen also was on his way to Antarctica with the goal of becoming the
first person to reach the South Pole.
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Establishing a base camp at Cape Crozier, as Scott had intended, was
made impossible by rough seas, and the expedition moved on to Cape
Evans in McMurdo Sound. After setting up operations there, Scott and his
men began erecting supply depots along the route to the pole. Meanwhile,
others in the expedition, dubbed the Western Party, explored the Koettlitz
Glacier; a Northern Party conducted research at Cape Adare; and a group
in the main party began a study of emperor penguins at Cape Crozier.
Scott’s trek to the South Pole began on October 24, 1911. Several men
set out on motorized sleds; Scott joined them with dogsleds and ponies on
November 1. A total of sixteen men, ten ponies, and twenty dogs began the
Bad weather hampered the explorers from the start, and the motorized
sleds broke down repeatedly; the team had failed to bring along the tools
and parts needed to keep the sleds running. Te ponies also proved to be
a mistake, as they suffered from exhaustion from struggling through the
deep snow. Despite his earlier expedition to Antarctica, Scott had failed to
anticipate how extreme the conditions really would be.
As the party crossed the Polar Plateau, the men’s energy began to wane.
Ten, on January 16, 1912, they came across the remains of a camp and
tracks left by dogs and sleds. Amundsen had been there before them. In his
diary, Scott noted,
Tis told us the whole story. Te Norwegians have forestalled us and are first
at the Pole.
Scott chose four men to join him for the final assault on the South Pole:
Henry Robertson Bowers, Edward Wilson, Lawrence Oates, and Edgar
Evans. Despite insufficient food and clothing, the band of explorers sol-
diered on through blizzards and numbing cold. Tey began suffering from
dehydration as well, a result of severe exertion in the frigid environment.
Finally, on January 17, Scott and his four partners reached the Pole.
Te temperature was -22 degrees Fahrenheit (-30 degrees

Celsius), with
a bitter wind whipping the air. Even more bitter was their sighting of the
Norwegian flag. Amundsen had reached the pole thirty-four days earlier.
Scott wrote in his diary,
Te Pole. Yes, but under different circumstances from those expected. We
have had a horrible day . . . Good God! Tis is an awful place and terrible
enough for us to have laboured to it without the reward of priority.
On the return trip to base camp, the five men had trouble finding
the path they had taken. Scott had marked his supply depots poorly. On
February 11, amid a raging blizzard, the members of the party became lost
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in a series of ice ridges while making their way down Beardmore Glacier.
When the weather cleared briefly, Scott stopped to collect geological speci-
mens, when he should have forged ahead.
Just before running out of food, the men finally found a supply de-
pot. But on February 17, Evans died from complications resulting from a
concussion. Ten in mid-March, Oates wandered from his tent and never
Te expedition party now consisted of Scott, Wilson, and Bowers, who
soon found themselves trapped in a blizzard with their food supply dwin-
dling. Te three men set up a tent on March 21 and lay down to await death.
Te last of them, perhaps Bowers or Scott, died some eight days later. Teir
bodies were found on the Ross Ice Shelf on November 12, 1912, a mere 11
miles (18 kilometers) from a supply depot but with at least 130 miles (210
kilometers) still between them and the base camp.
In his diary, which was discovered with his body, Scott left a departing
Te causes of the disaster are not due to faulty organization but to misfor-
tune in all risks which had to be undertaken. We took risks, we knew we
took them; things have come out against us, and therefore we have no cause
for complaint, but bow to the will of Providence, determined still to do our
best to the last.
In truth, although the elements played an important role in what hap-
pened, Scott’s preparation and planning paled in comparison to those of
Amundsen. His supply depots were too few, too small, and too far apart.
He relied too much on man-hauling, when dogsledding would have been
more efficient and less exhausting. And he failed to leave clear instructions
with the expedition members left behind at the base camp about what to
do should he be delayed on the return trip. Irregardless of such mistakes in
judgment and the expedition’s failure to reach the Pole first, the real tragedy
was the loss of life, despite their heroic efforts, of Scott and his four fellow
Further Reading
Baughman, T.H. Pilgrims on the Ice: Robert Falcon Scott’s First Antarctic
Expedition. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2008.
Crane, David. Scott of the Antarctic: A Life of Courage and Tragedy. New York:
Vintage Books, 2007.
Huntford, Roland. Scott and Amundsen: Te Race to the South Pole. New York:
Atheneum, 1984.
Jones, Max. Te Last Great Quest: Captain Scott’s Antarctic Sacrifice. New York:
Oxford University Press, 2003.
See also: Amundsen,
Roald; Antarctica.
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Anglo-Irish explorer Ernest Shackleton was one of the preeminent figures
of the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration, known for his bravery in lead-
ing his stranded men to safety during a scientific expedition in 1914–1917
that failed to reach the South Pole.
Shackleton was born on February 15, 1874, in County Kildare, Ireland,
to Henry Shackleton, a farmer, and Henrietta Letitia Sophia Gavan. When
Ernest still was a child, his father quit farming to train for a career in med-
icine at Trinity College in Dublin. In 1884, Henry moved the family to
Sydenham, now part of London, where he worked as a doctor.
Ernest loved to read and, after receiving schooling at home, at age thir-
teen he entered Dulwich College, a top public school for boys. He found
school to be boring, however, and earned only mediocre grades. At age six-
teen, he decided to apprentice on a sailing ship, the Hoghton Tower, operated
by the North Western Shipping Company.
Discovery Expedition with Robert Falcon Scott
Enamored of seafaring and seeking the kind of adventure he had read about
in books, Shackleton thrilled at the chance to sail around the world. After
four years at sea, he passed the exam required to become a first mate. By
1898, he had been certified as a master mariner, which meant he could com-
mand a British ship anywhere in the world.
1874: Born on February 15 in County Kildare, Ireland
1898: Is certified as a master mariner, which qualifies him to command a
British ship
1901: Sails for Antarctica as part of Robert Falcon Scott’s Discovery
1909: On the Nimrod expedition, comes within about 110 miles (175
kilometers) of the South Pole on January 9, the closest approach by
any explorer to date; is knighted in November
1915: Reaches Antarctica aboard the Endurance in attempt to journey
across the continent; the ship is trapped in ice and the men are forced
to abandon it
1916: On May 10, reaches South Georgia Island with two other men on a
mission to rescue the Endurance crew
1920: Plans the Shackleton-Rowett Expedition to circumnavigate
1922: Dies of a heart attack on South Georgia Island on January 5
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Te following year, Shackleton was hired by the Union-Castle Line
to operate a passenger ship between Southampton in England and Cape
Town in South Africa. With the outbreak of the Boer War (1899–1902) in
southern Africa that October, he commanded a troop ship for Britain.
It was at this time that Shackleton met Cedric Longstaff, an army lieu-
tenant whose father was helping to finance the British National Antarctic
Expedition, known as the Discovery Expedition after its ship. Trough this
connection and thanks to the impression he made on Clements Markham,
an explorer who was overseeing the expedition as president of the Royal
Geographic Society, Shackleton was appointed to the Discovery as third of-
ficer. Te appointment brought him one step closer to realizing a dream he
had once had, which he related to a reporter:
[S]trangely enough, the circumstance which actually determined me to
become an explorer was a dream I had when I was twenty-two. We were
beating out from New York to Gibraltar, and I dreamt I was standing on
the bridge in mid-Atlantic and looking northward. It was a simple dream.
I seemed to vow to myself that some day I would go to the region of ice
and snow and go on and on till I came to one of the poles of the earth, the
end of the axis upon which this great round ball turns.
Under the leadership of Robert Falcon Scott, the Discovery Expedition
left London on July 31, 1901. Te explorers stopped at Cape Town before
proceeding to New Zealand and reaching Antarctica in early January 1902.
With scientists Edward Wilson and Hartley Ferrar, Shackleton
sledded from McMurdo Sound to the Great Ice Barrier. Scott then chose
Shackleton and Wilson to join him on an exploratory probe toward the
South Pole. Te team departed on November 2, 1902, and eventually
reached as far south as latitude 82

17', about 500 miles (800 kilometers)
north of the pole. Fighting frostbite, snow blindness, and scurvy, the party
trudged its way back to the Discovery by February 4.
Te journey greatly weakened Shackleton, whose scurvy caused him to
spit up blood, and Scott sent him back to England on a relief ship. Some
historians have claimed, inconclusively, that Scott removed Shackleton
from the expedition because he was popular with fellow crewmen and
thereby posed a challenge to Scott’s leadership.
Voyage of the Nimrod
Upon his return to England, Shackleton worked briefly as a reporter for
Royal Magazine. In January 1904, he became a secretary of the Royal
Scottish Geographical Society.
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By that time, he had already begun his campaign to lead a return ex-
pedition to Antarctica, raising money and then presenting a proposal to
London’s Royal Geographical Society for reaching the South Pole. He laid
out his plan in the March 1907 edition of the Geographical Journal. He
would employ three separate parties. He wrote,
One party will go east, and, if possible, across the Barrier to the new land
known as King Edward VII Land, follow the coastline there south, if the
coast trends south, or north if north, returning when it is considered neces-
sary to do so. Te second party will proceed south over the same route as that
of the southern sledge-party of the Discovery; this party will keep from fifteen
to twenty miles [24 to 32 kilometers] from the coast, so as to avoid rough
ice. Te third party will possibly proceed westward over the mountains and,
instead of crossing in a line due west, will strike towards the magnetic Pole.
Shackleton made no bones about his priorities, adding,
I do not intend to sacrifice the scientific utility of the expedition to a mere
record-breaking journey, but say frankly, all the same, that one of my great ef-
forts will be to reach the southern geographical Pole. I shall in no way neglect
to continue the biological, meteorological, geological, and magnetic work of
the Discovery.
Te Nimrod left Lyttelton Harbor in New Zealand, bound for
Antarctica, on January 1, 1908. Tree weeks later, Shackleton and his crew
reached Great Barrier Inlet near the Ross Ice Shelf. Seeing numerous whales
at the location, he renamed it the Bay of Whales.
In early February, Shackleton established a settlement at Cape Royds,
not far north of where the Discovery had been based at McMurdo Sound.
At the lodging site built by the crew, meteorologist Jameson Adams set up
equipment to measure air temperature, wind speed and direction, and water
evaporation. On a nearby ridge, Adams measured wind speeds in excess of
100 miles (160 kilometers) per hour. Biologist James Murray built a sled to
lower beneath the ice and drag along with a bucket attached to it to collect
small fish and other marine animals. Other crew members studied the local
geology and the aurora.
Shackleton, along with Adams, Eric Marshall, and Frank Wild, de-
parted base camp on October 29, 1908, in an attempt to reach the South
Pole. By January 2, 1909, however, they had neared exhaustion. Shackleton
wrote in his journal,
I cannot think of failure yet. I must look at the matter sensibly and consider
the lives of those who are with me. . . . Man can only do his best.
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Two days later, he wrote,
Te end is in sight. We can only go for three more days at the most,
for we are weakening rapidly.
Finally, on January 9, stopped by a raging blizzard, the expedition
members marked their farthest assault by planting the Union Jack and a
brass cylinder containing documents. Tey had reached 88

23' south lati-
tude, which was about 110 miles (175 kilometers) from the pole, by far the
closest anyone had yet come. Te men nearly starved to death on their re -
turn to base camp. Shortly after their arrival, the Nimrod sailed for England.
Despite their failure to reach the South Pole, the members of the
expedition were hailed as heroes upon reaching home. Other achievements
by members of the team included the first ascent of Mount Erebus and
reaching the South Magnetic Pole.
Within months of his return in 1909, Shackleton published a book
about the expedition, Te Heart of the Antarctic. He received a gold medal
from the Royal Geographic Society and was knighted by King Edward
Voyage of the Endurance
In the months that followed, Shackleton undertook a succession of busi-
ness ventures that proved largely unfruitful, earning his livelihood with a
heavy schedule of lectures about the Nimrod Expedition. All the while, he
harbored a desire to return south.
Members of
Ernest Shackleton’s
Antarctic odyssey
of 1914–1916 pull
an open whaleboat
across the snow.
Shackleton and five
others sailed just
such a vessel 1,200
miles (1,900 kilo-
meters) across icy
seas to save them-
selves and other
members of the
expedition. (Hulton
Getty Images)
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Two events in particular influenced Shackleton’s plans for another
journey to Antarctica. In December 1911, Norwegian explorer Roald
Amundsen reached the South Pole, ending any hope Shackleton had of
making it there first. Ten, in early 1912, German explorer Wilhelm
Filchner failed in his attempt to make a continental crossing of Antarctica,
because an iceberg split apart and made it impossible for him to establish a
base. Shackleton resolved to accomplish the continental crossing based on
plans devised by Scottish explorer William Speirs Bruce.
K?< 9L@ C ;@ E> F= K?< E NDURANCE
1ho ill-tatod vossol io vhich ||oost Shac|lotoo aod his c|ov lott |oglaod to| Aota|ctica io l9l4
may voll havo booo tho st|oogost voodoo shiµ ovo| boilt. 1ho <e[liXeZ\vas dosigood by Olo
Aaodo|od |a|soo, a |o|vogiao bosioossmao vho tooodod a comµaoy to soll sµocializod µaiots
aod coatiogs to tho shiµµiog iodost|y, aod tho shiµ vas coost|octod at tho ||amoaos shiµya|d io
Saodotjo|d, |o|vay.
1ho µ|ojoct vas soµo|visod by Ch|istiao ¦acobsoo, vho hi|od ooly shiµv|ights vho had booo
to soa oo vhaliog o| sailiog shiµs. |o boliovod that thoi| di|oct oxµo|iooco vith soch shiµs io
oµo|atioo gavo thom mo|o oxµo|tiso aod a g|oato| cooco|o to| tho qoality ot thoi| vo||.
¦acobsoo vas a stic|lo| to| dotail. 1ho<e[liXeZ\# o|igioally ch|istoood tho GfcXi`j#had
booo boilt to| otho| ovoo|s to ca||y too|ists to tho A|ctic to hoot µola| boa|. 1o vithstaod tho
ha|sh A|ctic cooditioos, ¦acobsoo iostallod dooblo t|amiog th|ooghoot tho shiµ aod mado tho
bov mo|o thao 4 toot ¦l.2 moto|sj thic|, osiog vood t|om a sioglo oa| t|oo, tho shaµo ot vhich
µ|ovidod a oato|al co|vod dosigo.
vhoo it vas comµlotod, tho shiµ
moaso|od l44 toot ¦44 moto|sj loog aod 2!
toot ¦8 moto|sj vido at tho boam. lt voighod
ì92 toos.
1ho GfcXi`jvas laoochod oo |ocombo|
l/, l9l2, bot it vas oovo| osod io tho too|ist
t|ado. lostoad, Shac|lotoo booght it to|
S6/,uuu aod |ooamod it tho <e[liXeZ\ atto|
his tamilys motto. =fik`kl[`e\m`eZ`dlj#
moaoiog ¨by oodo|aoco vo cooqoo|.¨
Ernest Shackleton’s three-masted Endurance, said to
be the strongest wooden ship built to date, heels to
port, after becoming trapped in ice in the Weddell Sea
of Antarctica. It sank there in November 1915. (Rue
des Archives/Granger Collection, New York)
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Shackleton dubbed his journey the Imperial Trans-Antarctica
Expedition. He employed two ships: the Endurance, from which he and
five other men planned to cross Antarctica starting at Vahsel Bay, and the
Aurora, which was to be stationed about 1,800 miles (2,900 kilometers)
away, on the opposite end of the continent at McMurdo Sound. Te expe-
dition was financed mainly by private funds, with some monies contributed
by the British government.
Shackleton’s mission ran into trouble from the start. Te Endurance
reached Antarctica at the Weddell Sea in January 1915, but it promptly
became entrapped in ice. Pressure from the frozen mass soon damaged the
hull, which began taking on water in late October. Te men were forced to
abandon ship, and the Endurance sank about a month later.
For weeks, Shackleton and his colleagues camped on ice floes, hop-
ing they would drift to safety at Paulet Island, where a supply cache was
located. In early April 1916, however, the floe on which they had settled
broke apart, and the men were forced to take to their lifeboats. Five days
later, they reached Elephant Island, a deserted outcropping in the Southern
Ocean. From there, it was decided that Shackleton and four other men
would set sail for South Georgia Island and arrange for the rescue of those
left behind.
Te small party left Elephant Island in April 1916 aboard one of the
expedition’s open lifeboats, the James Caird (named for the mission’s chief
sponsor), which had been substantially refitted and strengthened by ship’s
carpenter Henry McNish. Shackleton and his team took with them four
weeks’ worth of food. “For if we did not make South Georgia in that time,”
he wrote, “we were sure to go under.”
Te men sailed for fifteen days, during which the James Caird nearly
capsized and illness brought two of the men close to death. One of the party
later wrote,
It might be said that [Shackleton] kept a finger on each man’s pulse. When-
ever he noticed that a man seemed extra cold and shivered, he would im-
mediately order another hot drink of milk be prepared and served to all. He
never let the man know that it was on his account, lest he become nervous
about himself.
Finally, on May 8—after 1,200 miles (1,900 kilometers) at sea—the
five men came within sight of South Georgia Island. A ferocious gale nearly
hammered the boat against the shore, and roiling water tore open parts of
the hull. “I think most of us had a feeling that the end was very near,” wrote
Shackleton. Two day later, however, the James Caird reached shore safely.
Te men disembarked, staggered to a nearby stream, and fell to their knees
to drink.
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Yet another arduous journey awaited them, for they had landed far
from any human settlement on the island. Rather than take to the sea again
in search of the South Georgia whaling station, at Stromness, Shackleton
sent two of the men, Frank Worsley and Tom Crean, across the island on
foot. For thirty-six hours, Worsley and Crean labored across mountainous
terrain and glacial mud, reaching the station on May 9.
A boat was dispatched to pick up the three other men, and Shackleton
promptly began planning a mission to rescue the twenty-two men still on
Elephant Island. After three unsuccessful attempts, foiled by sea ice, the
mission was accomplished with the help of a small tug, the Yelcho, on loan
from the Chilean navy. Te crew of the Endurance was saved.
In May 1917, Shackleton returned to England, which was in the midst
of World War I. Volunteering his services, he was sent to South America
that October as a goodwill ambassador and diplomat. Not having been
in foreign service, however, he proved unsuccessful at persuading the
Argentine and Chilean governments to side with the Allies in the conflict.
He returned home in May 1918.
By 1920, Shackleton was planning another expedition to Antarctica,
this time with the goal of circumnavigating the continent. He obtained
financing from John Quiller Rowett, a wealthy businessman and patron
of science, for what was designated the Shackleton-Rowett Expedition.
Shackleton, however, had been drinking heavily and was suffering from
heart problems. In fact, he had suffered a heart attack in Rio de Janeiro,
Brazil, but refused medical treatment.
A refitted Norwegian whaling ship, the Quest, was purchased for the
Shackleton-Rowett Expedition. Te Quest reached South Georgia Island
on January 4, 1922. Shackleton summoned the ship’s doctor early the next
morning. He suffered another heart attack and died shortly thereafter.
At the request of his wife, Emily, Shackleton was buried on March 5,
1922, on South Georgia Island. He had once written: “Sometimes I think I
am no good at anything but being away in the wilds just with men.”
Further Reading
Alexander, Caroline. Te Endurance: Shackleton’s Legendary Antarctic
Expedition. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1998.
Huntford, Roland. Shackleton. New York: Carroll and Graf, 1998.
Plimpton, George. Ernest Shackleton. New York: DK, 2003.
See also: Antarctica;
Royal Geographical
Society; Scott,
Robert Falcon.
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Te Society of Woman Geographers (SWG) was founded in 1925 to bring
together women who took part in world exploration; were interested in
geography, anthropology, or related fields; and had “done distinctive work
[that] added to the world’s knowledge.” Established in New York City, the
society first organized chapters in New York and Washington, D.C., and
then expanded to Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.
A nonprofit professional society and social organization, SWG was es-
tablished at a time when women were excluded from the most prestigious
exploration and research societies, and indeed from many scientific orga-
nizations and institutions. For decades, women had been barred from the
most prominent geographical associations, such as the Royal Geographical
Society in London (though it began admitting women in 1913) and the
Explorers Club in New York (which maintained its ban until 1981). It was
in response to such exclusion that four friends in New York, all of whom
had traveled and written extensively—Marguerite Harrison, Blair Niles,
Gertrude Emerson Sen, and Gertrude Mathews Shelby—decided to begin
the society.
Harrison was a reporter and travel writer who became a spy for the
United States in 1918. She expected to begin an assignment with U.S.
military intelligence in Germany, but the war ended before she could do
so. During the early 1920s, she served as a spy in Japan, China, and Russia,
where she gathered information on the Bolshevik Revolution.
Blair Niles—the pen name of Mary Blair Rice—was a novelist and
travel writer who had written about her life among native peoples in Mexico
and South America. In 1926, she visited Devil’s Island, the French penal
colony off the coast of French Guiana, and recorded the life of one of its
prisoners. Te resulting book, Condemned to Devil’s Island (1928), was an
international best seller that prompted prison reform.
Gertrude Emerson Sen, an expert on Asia, eventually settled in India
and reported on its culture. And Gertrude Mathews Shelby engaged in eth-
nographic research, including the study of African languages in America.
Harriet Chalmers Adams was named the SWG’s first president
in 1925, and she served in that position for eight years. Adams was an
1925: Te society is founded in New York City; Harriet Chalmers Adams becomes
the organization’s first president
1930: Te society presents its first medal, to aviator Amelia Earhart
1984: Astronaut Kathryn D. Sullivan carries the society’s flag as a member of the
space shuttle Challenger crew
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American explorer, writer, and photographer who traveled extensively in
South America, Asia, and the South Pacific and published accounts of her
journeys in National Geographic magazine.
In 1930, the society presented its first gold medal (for a contribution
of “major significance”) to aviator Amelia Earhart, who had become the
first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean two years before. Other
early SWG members included first lady Eleanor Roosevelt, photographer
Margaret Bourke-White, mountain climber Annie Peck, and anthropolo-
gist Margaret Mead.
Membership in the society is gained through nomination and election.
Active members are individuals who have conducted research and field-
work; are prominent in their disciplines; specialize in a particular geographic
area; and have recorded their work in books, articles, films, photographs, or
art. Associate members are frequent travelers who have made contributions
to geographic education, research, and exploration but have not recorded
their findings in permanent form.
Although members share a strong interest in geography and explora-
tion, their pursuits are diverse. Tose elected to the SWG have included
anthropologists, ethnologists, explorers, mountain climbers, big-game
hunters, environmentalists, aviators, artists, journalists, photographers, li-
brarians, and archivists.
Today, the Society of Woman Geographers has approximately 500
members. Its headquarters in Washington, D.C., also is the site of a library,
archive, and museum of works by members. As opposed to formal organ-
ization activities, the SWG emphasizes “personal association and inter-
change of ideas” among members.
In addition to its Gold Medal, awarded periodically to women of special
accomplishment in their field, the society regularly bestows an Outstanding
Achievement Award (for a contribution of “lasting benefit to Science, the
Arts, or Humanity”) and designates “Flag Carriers” to bring the SWG
banner on expeditions of distinction. For example, astronaut Kathryn D.
Sullivan was chosen to carry the society’s flag as a member of the space
shuttle Challenger crew in 1984.
Further Reading
Anema, Durlynn. Harriet Chalmers Adams: Adventurer and Explorer. Aurora,
CO: National Writers Press, 2004.
Olds, Elizabeth. Women of the Four Winds. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1985.
Society of Woman Geographers.
See also:
Explorers Club.
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Te first nations to launch humans into space, the Soviet Union and the
United States, did so as much—or more—to gain political and military
advantage in the cold war as for scientific reasons. Te early missions, in
the 1960s, consisted of suborbital and orbital flights around the Earth
that led, on the part of the United States, to the landing of men on the
With the end of the cold war and the breakup of the Soviet Union in
1991, Russia continued to send people into space on a regular basis, as did
the United States. China began human space flight in 2003.
From the outset, space flights have been more than propaganda stunts.
Tey have contributed significantly to knowledge of the Moon and other
celestial bodies; they have expanded greatly the information needed for
humans to function more effectively in space; and they have contributed
directly to scientific knowledge pertaining to the Earth’s environment, hu-
man life, and supporting technologies.
1961: Soviet Yuri Gagarin reaches outer space and orbits Earth aboard Vostok 1, April
12; Alan Shepard is first American in space, aboard the Freedom 7, May 5
1962: John Glenn makes the first manned orbital flight of Earth for the United States,
on the Friendship 7
1963: Soviet Valentina Tereshkova, aboard Vostok 6, is the first woman in space
1965: Soviet Alexei Leonov walks in space, March 18; the United States launches its
first manned Gemini space capsule
1968: Te United States launches its first manned Apollo flight; Apollo 8 orbits the
1969: Te Soviet Union docks space capsules Soyuz 4 and Soyuz 5, and men transfer
between them, January 14–15; American Neil Armstrong sets foot on the
Moon, July 20
1971: Te Soviet Union launches the Salyut 1 orbiting space laboratory
1975: Historic joint space mission begins when Apollo 18 docks with Soyuz 19
1981: Te United States launches its first space shuttle, Columbia
1998: Te International Space Station, developed by the United States, Russia, Japan,
Canada, and the European Space Agency, is assembled in orbit
2003: Te People’s Republic of China launches into space its first astronaut, aboard
the Shenzhou 5 capsule; the spacecraft makes fourteen orbits of Earth
2009: U.S. space shuttle Endeavour carries seven astronauts to the International Space
Station, setting a record for the most people in the same space vehicle at the
same time: thirteen
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
First Humans in Space
After a decade or more of rocket testing, artificial satellite missions, and
even the launching into space of a stray Russian dog (Laika, aboard Sputnik
2 in 1957), the era of human space flight began on April 12, 1961, when
Soviet air force Colonel Yuri Gagarin was hoisted out of the Earth’s atmo-
sphere from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. He was aboard
the Vostok 1 space capsule designed by rocket scientist Sergey Pavlovich
Korolyov. Gagarin completed a single orbit of the Earth, reentered the at-
mosphere, ejected himself from the capsule, and parachuted to the ground
in the Saratov Oblast in southeastern Russia. Gagarin was one of twenty
original cosmonauts, six of whom were trained for early space flight at
Zvezdny Gorodok, or Star Town, near Moscow. Gagarin’s mission had been
preceded by several flights that had carried a dummy, Laika, or nothing.
Gagarin was chosen for the historic flight just four days before its
launch. Vostok 1 circled the Earth at an altitude of 112 to 203 miles (180
to 326 kilometers) for one hour and forty-eight minutes. It traveled at a
speed of 5 miles (8 kilometers) per second. Although a last-minute glitch in
the firing of the reentry rockets nearly doomed the flight, the Soviet space
program received worldwide acclaim for its accomplishment and enjoyed a
major propaganda boost in its competition with the United States.
Barely four months later, on August 6, the Soviets followed up
Gagarin’s mission with a seventeen-orbit flight by cosmonaut Gherman
Titov aboard Vostok 2. Once again, problems beset the spacecraft. Te
capsule’s heating system ceased functioning, resulting in a frigid interior
and a disoriented cosmonaut.
Nevertheless, the mission rein-
forced Soviet prowess in human
space exploration.
During this time, the Unit-
ed States had been pursuing
Project Mercury (1959–1963)
to send men into space. Te
project was under the direction
of the National Aeronautics
and Space Administration
(NASA). As a result of the
Soviet success with Gagarin,
NASA decided to move up its
first flight, a suborbital mis-
sion to be undertaken by Alan
Shepard, one of the program’s
seven original astronauts, cho-
Te age of manned
space exploration
began on April
12, 1961, with the
108-minute flight of
Vostok 1, which car-
ried Soviet cosmo-
naut Yuri Gagarin
on a single Earth
orbit. (Rolls Press/
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
sen for training in 1959. Shepard flew on May 5, 1961, aboard a Mercury
capsule dubbed Freedom 7. He was lifted into space from Cape Canaveral,
Florida, by a Redstone rocket.
Te flight lasted a mere fifteen minutes, during which Shepard barely
had time to experience weightlessness. Still, the mission achieved its goal
of proving that NASA could launch a man into space and that the capsule
would work. Tree weeks later, in a historic address to Congress, President
John F. Kennedy committed the United States to “landing a man on the
Moon and returning him safely to the Earth” before the end of the decade.
Te United States launched a second suborbital flight on July 21, 1961,
carrying another member of the Mercury Seven, Virgil “Gus” Grissom.
Te mission was another success for NASA, even though the door to the
capsule, Liberty Bell 7, opened prematurely upon landing in the Atlantic,
nearly drowning Grissom. Te Liberty Bell 7 was lost at sea, but America
celebrated another manned space flight.
Te first manned orbital flight for the United States took place on
February 20, 1962, with John Glenn aboard the Friendship 7, launched from
Cape Canaveral by an Atlas rocket. Glenn circled the Earth three times on
a flight that lasted some five hours. Te mission included a few glitches,
including a faulty automatic orientation system that forced Glenn to revert
to manual control, and concern upon reentry that the capsule’s heat shield
was loose, a potentially fatal problem. But the capsule splashed down safely,
and the mission demonstrated the capability and promise of the American
space program at a time when the Soviets seemed to be dominating the
Te six manned flights of Project Mercury produced little in the way of
pure scientific knowledge, as they included few true experiments. Tey were
intended mainly to test the effects of space travel on humans and to advance
flight capabilities so that future astronauts could be sent to the Moon.
Te Soviets, meanwhile, achieved another historic first in June 1963,
when they sent the first woman into space. Cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova
flew aboard Vostok 6.
About two years later, on March 18, 1965, a pair of cosmonauts were
sent aloft in the Voskhod 2 capsule equipped with a collapsible airlock,
which allowed pilot Alexei Leonov, attached to a 17-foot (5-meter) tether,
to engage in the first-ever space walk. Te extravehicular activity (EVA)
lasted nearly twenty minutes.
Project Gemini
NASA made the transition to a two-person space capsule with Project
Gemini (1965–1966). Te broad goal of this program was to develop the
capabilities and technologies necessary for advanced space flight.
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Te first manned mission in the program, Gemini 3, took place on
March 23, 1965, with astronauts Grissom and John Young making three
Earth orbits. Gemini 4, on June 3, featured a flight time of nearly eighteen
hours (sixty-six orbits) and the first space walk by a U.S. astronaut, Edward
White. For twenty-three minutes, White propelled himself in space while
tethered to the capsule and using a hand-held maneuvering gun, which fired
short bursts of gas.
The Gemini program included many more scientific experiments
than had been undertaken in Project Mercury. In 1963, NASA began
soliciting research proposals through its Office of Space Sciences and
Office of Manned Space Flight. The Manned Space Flight Board, cre-
ated in 1964, decided which experiments would be performed on which
missions. (The procedure would be continued with Gemini’s successor,
Project Apollo.)
One approved experiment explored the possibility of radiation dam-
age to human cells, certainly a concern for any space flight of long dura-
tion. Human blood samples, sealed in an aluminum box, were exposed
to a precise amount of radiation in zero gravity and chromosomal ab-
errations then studied. Another experiment examined how cells might
be affected by near weightlessness. Te eggs of a sea urchin were fertil-
ized, and changes brought about by low gravity were observed as the eggs
Among other highlights of the Gemini program were the 220 orbits
and 330 hours in space recorded by Gemini 7 astronauts Frank Borman and
James Lovell in December 1965; the first rendezvous in space, when Gemini
6 (with Walter “Wally” Schirra and Tomas Stafford on board) and Gemini
7 closed to within 1 foot (.3 meters) of each other on December 15; and the
first retrieval of an object (a test package) in space by Michael Collins and
John Young on Gemini 10 in July 1966.
Project Apollo and Project Soyuz
Te program to fulfill President Kennedy’s vision and land a man on the
Moon—Project Apollo—was being planned and tested even before the last
Gemini flight in November 1966. NASA weighed two options for accom-
plishing the goal. One was to assemble a large craft in space and send it
to the Moon from there. Te other was to launch a capsule, or command
module, that would carry a smaller lunar lander into space; pilot the com-
bined vehicles into Moon orbit; separate the lander from the capsule for
a descent to the Moon’s surface; then return the lander to the command
module for the flight back to Earth. NASA decided on the second option,
using a three-person capsule to be launched from Earth atop a powerful
Saturn V rocket.
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Te Soviets also had resolved to send men to the Moon and had devel-
oped a strategy similar to NASA’s. Te Soviet plan, however, entailed more
cumbersome maneuvers for the capsule and the Moon craft, and the overall
effort was beset by problems. U.S. intelligence analysts reported as early as
1965 that the Soviets had fallen behind in the race to the Moon and that
the Russian program was proving “unsuccessful.”
In 1966, with Project Gemini in full swing, NASA readied its first
Apollo capsule for a test flight around the Earth. In the rush to meet its
deadline, however, NASA apparently accepted a faulty command module,
which was beset by technical problems; several last-minute alterations were
Tragedy struck on January 27, when Apollo 1 astronauts Grissom,
White, and Roger Chaffee were training in the command module. A fire
erupted, and the flames spread rapidly in the pure-oxygen environment.
Te three astronauts had difficulty opening the hatch and suffocated in the
fumes. Te cause of the fire never was ascertained definitively, but it was
believed to have been started by an electrical short circuit. As a result of
the incident, NASA redesigned the capsule’s hatch and ended the use of a
pure-oxygen environment on the ground. It was another two years before a
modified command module was readied and Project Apollo resumed.
Meanwhile, the Soviet manned-space program, Soyuz, continued to
flounder. Russian engineers had developed a modified Soyuz capsule ca-
pable of carrying two men to the Moon. In April 1967, however, the cap-
sule experienced difficulties while orbiting the Earth, carrying cosmonaut
Vladimir Komarov. First, the automatic altitude control system failed, and
then, during the descent to Earth, the capsule became caught in its para-
chute lines. Soyuz 1 plummeted to Earth, killing Komarov and causing the
Soviets to suspend future flights.
Te United States launched its first manned Apollo flight, Apollo 7, on
October 11, 1968, piloted by astronauts Schirra, Donn Eisele, and Walter
Cunningham. Later that month, on October 26, 1968, the Soviets launched
Soyuz 3, with cosmonaut Georgi Beregovoy aboard. Te Russians intended
to send two cosmonauts on a flight around the Moon in December 1968,
but problems with the launch rocket forced the mission to be postponed.
Te United States thus became the first nation to send men around
the Moon. In December 1968, Apollo 8 astronauts Borman, Lovell, and
William Anders made ten lunar orbits, broadcasting views from the com-
mand module to Earth-bound television viewers on Christmas Day. Lovell
observed, “Te earth from here is a grand oasis in the vastness of space.”
In another key step by the Soviet Union, two manned Soyuz capsules,
Soyuz 4 and Soyuz 5, succeeded in docking in space in January 1969, and
cosmonauts transferred between them. But a rocket failure the following
month was another setback in the Soviet lunar program.
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Men on the Moon
Te culmination of NASA’s efforts since the agency’s founding—and the
realization of President Kennedy’s dream of 1961—came with Apollo 11.
Launched on July 16, 1969, its command module, Columbia. carried Edwin
“Buzz” Aldrin, Neil Armstrong,, and Collins, as well as a lunar landing
module named Eagle.
On July 20, with Columbia in lunar orbit (piloted by Collins), Armstrong
and Aldrin transferred into the lander, released it from the command mod-
ule, and descended to the surface of the Moon. “Tranquility Base here,” ra-
dioed Armstrong. “Te Eagle has landed.”
Ten Armstrong slowly backed down the Eagle’s ladder and set foot
onto the powdery lunar terrain at 10:56 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. Upon
stepping onto the surface, Armstrong uttered the historic statement he had
prepared before the mission began: “Tat’s one small step for man, one giant
leap for mankind.” (Armstrong made a small error in the line he had prac-
ticed. He had intended to say, “Tat’s one small step for a man . . .”)
People around the world watched a grainy television image of
Armstrong and Aldrin, who joined him outside the lander fifteen minutes
later, bounding about the Moon. Te two astronauts worked for two hours
and thirty-one minutes, Armstrong scooping up specimens and Aldrin
hammering core tubes (cylinders used to collect soil samples) into the sur-
face. Tey also planted a plaque and an American flag.
After spending some time in the Eagle—for a total of twenty-one hours
on the Moon—the astronauts fired up the lunar lander. Te Eagle and its
passengers rejoined the command module the following day.
On the next Moon mission, Apollo 12, launched on November 14,
1969, astronauts Charles “Pete” Conrad and Alan Bean walked about 1
mile (1.6 kilometers) around three lunar craters, while Richard Gordon
remained in the command module. Conrad and Bean collected soil samples
and 7 pounds (3.2 kilograms) of rocks, spending a little more than thirty-
one hours on the lunar surface.
For the purpose of scientific research, astronauts on missions begin-
ning with Apollo 12 and continuing through Apollo 14–17 left behind a
set of instruments called the Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package
(ALSEP). Using ALSEP, scientists were able to measure and assess vari-
ous physical properties and phenomena, including the internal structure of
the Moon (by detonating small explosives and measuring the seismic shock
waves); atmospheric pressure; the behavior of charged particles; the rate at
which heat flows from the Moon’s interior; the distance from the Earth to
the Moon (accomplished by firing a laser at the Earth); and the properties
of solar wind, lunar gravity, and the lunar magnetic field. Engineers used
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
signals sent from Earth to control the ALSEP system and run the various
experiments. Te ALSEP stations continued operating until September
Te successes of the Apollo 11 and Apollo 12 missions were followed
by the harrowing and nearly disastrous flight of Apollo 13, with astro-
nauts Fred Haise, James Lovell, and John Swigert. Te command module,
Odyssey, was launched on April 11, 1970, atop a Saturn V rocket. Te
Saturn V’s second stage cut off too early, leaving the third stage to work
harder; however, this problem was overcome.
K?< C LE8I C 8E;< I 8E; < OG < I@ D< EKJ G8:B8><
1ho laodiog modolo ¦|Mj that t|avolod to tho Mooo oo tho Aµollo ll missioo, oamod <X^c\#
coosistod ot ao ascoot stago aod a doscoot stago. 1ho tvo stagos |omaiood cooooctod to oach
otho| as thoy laodod oo tho looa| so|taco.
1ho ascoot stago, vhich voold bo osod to ta|o tho ast|ooaots bac| to tho commaod
modolo, hoosod tho moo io a µ|osso|izod comµa|tmoot vith oo soats. lt had a hatch, th|oogh
vhich tho ast|ooaots coold ooto| aod loavo, aod t|iaogola| viodovs oo oitho| sido ot tho hatch.
1ho doscoot stago vas shaµod li|o ao octagoo, aod it coosistod ot ao oogioo aod too|
laodiog logs vith tootµads. Attachod to ooo ot tho logs vo|o a small µlatto|m aod a laddo|,
vhich tho ast|ooaots climbod dovo to |oach tho looa| so|taco. As tho |M doscoodod to tho
so|taco, tho doscoot oogioo slovod its aµµ|oach to allov to| a sott toochdovo. vhoo tho
ast|ooaots |oto|ood to tho commaod modolo, oogioos oo tho ascoot stago t|ood thom t|om tho
doscoot stago aod µlacod thom bac| io looa| o|bit.
1ho Aµollo ll ast|ooaots vho laodod oo tho mooo b|ooght vith thom tho |a|ly Aµollo
Sciootinc |xµo|imoots |ac|ago ¦|AS||j, a µ|odocosso| to tho Aµollo |ooa| So|taco |xµo|imoots
|ac|ago ¦A|S||j osod oo lato| looa| missioos. 1ho |ASA| coosistod ot tvo sola| µaools to
µ|ovido µovo|, ao aotoooa, aod a commooicatioos systom to| soodiog data to aod |ocoiviog
data t|om g|oood statioos oo |a|th.
1ho sciootinc iost|omoots io tho |AS||
ioclodod a soismomoto| to moaso|o g|oood
movomoot io o|do| to doto|mioo tho
µ|oµo|tios ot tho looa| c|ost aod ioto|io|,
aod a dost collocto| to gatho| samµlos.
Te Passive Seismic Experiment Package
(PSEP) contained scientific instruments
used in lunar-surface experiments by
Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and
Buzz Aldrin in July 1969. (Science & Society
Picture Library/Getty Images)
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
On April 13, the Odyssey was proceeding toward the Moon when
a loud bang shook the command module. Tere followed a sudden loss
of oxygen, and the fuel cells that provided power to Odyssey began to
In order to save the astronauts, NASA mission control in Houston
ordered Haise, Lovell, and Swigert to activate the lunar lander, Aquarius,
before the fuel cells gave out completely. Tis would enable them to use the
guidance system necessary to go around the Moon and steer back toward
Earth, while using the oxygen supply on Aquarius. At the same time, it was
vital for the astronauts to conserve energy and reduce their water intake to
a mere one-fifth of normal. As Odyssey limped back to Earth over the next
three days, temperatures in the module dropped to 37

degrees Fahrenheit
(3 degrees Celsius), and condensation covered the walls.
Te tired and dehydrated crew made it back to Earth with a splash-
down in the Pacific Ocean, and they were picked up by the crew of the
aircraft carrier USS Iwo Jima. Later, a review board blamed the accident
on a defective prelaunch test that had failed to detect problems with the
oxygen tank fans. When Swigert had turned on the fans, a short circuit had
started a fire and caused an explosion, rupturing one of the oxygen tanks
and damaging another.
Te incident postponed further Apollo missions for nine months.
Finally, on July 26, 1971, James Irwin, David Scott, and Alfred Worden
headed to the Moon aboard Apollo 15.
On the surface of the Moon, Scott and Irwin used a battery-powered
rover to travel 5 miles (8 kilometers) and to investigate the Hadley Rille
landing site, a steep, V-shaped gorge. During their eighteen hours on the
Moon, the astronauts scooped up soil, took core tube samples, and collected
rocks, including the first green Moon rocks and a white crystalline rock.
On Apollo 16, launched on April 16, 1972, Tomas Mattingly and John
Young (with Charles Duke piloting the command module) used a lunar
rover to travel more than 16 miles (26 kilometers) on the Moon’s surface,
exploring mountains and craters. Tey also collected 213 pounds (97 kilo-
grams) of soil and rocks.
Te final manned Moon mission, Apollo 17, was carried out in
December 1972. With Ronald Evans in the command module, Eugene
Cernan and Harrison Schmitt explored the surface in three separate excur-
sions. Tey drove the lunar rover a record 21 miles (34 kilometers) and set
another record by staying on the ground for seventy-five hours at one time.
Early Space Stations
Meanwhile, the continued failure of the Soviets’ N-1 launch rocket caused
them to drop their plans for a manned Moon mission and instead focus on
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
building a space station to orbit the Earth. In April 1971, the Soviet Union
launched the Salyut 1 space station, the first in a series of Earth-orbiting
research facilities.
In June of that year, cosmonauts Georgi Dobrovolsky, Viktor Patsayev,
and Vladislav Volkov succeeded in docking their Soyuz 11 capsule with
Salyut. Tey stayed aboard the space station for four weeks, during which
they monitored the Earth’s surface and atmosphere, conducted biomedi-
cal experiments, observed distant stars, and tended the first space garden.
Troubles with the station’s operating system forced the cosmonauts to leave
earlier than planned, and their capsule lost its oxygen supply on the descent
to Earth. All three men died.
Te United States launched its own space station, Skylab 1, on May 14,
1973, but it too encountered problems. A failure of the space station’s solar
panels caused the cooling system to malfunction and the temperature inside
the station to rise too high.
Te first of three crews to visit Skylab—Charles Conrad, Joseph
Kerwin, and Paul Weitz—lifted off eleven days later. Guided by NASA
engineers, they made the necessary repairs: Tey attached an external para-
sol to cool down the space station, fixed one of the solar panels, and restored
power to the batteries. Te mission continued for a total of twenty-eight
days in space and 404 Earth orbits. During that time, the astronauts took
7,000 photos of the Earth and 30,000 of the Sun.
Tree times larger than Salyut, Skylab included a dining room and ex-
ercise machines for the well-being of astronauts on extended stays. Te last
crew to arrive at Skylab, in November 1973, spent a record eighty-four days
in space. During their stay, the three astronauts—Gerald Carr, Edward
Gibson, and William Pogue—engaged in a series of medical experiments
and, using a telescope, took the first photographs of the birth of a solar
Te year 1975 brought a historic first in space exploration—and cold
war cooperation—as the United States and the Soviet Union undertook a
joint mission of docking Apollo 18 and Soyuz 19 with each other on July 17.
Te American crew consisted of Vance Brand, Donald “Deke” Slayton, and
Tomas Stafford. Te Soviet crew consisted of Valeri Kubasov and Alexei
Leonov. After docking, Slayton and Stafford entered the Soyuz spacecraft.
Later, Leonov entered the Apollo capsule, where the astronauts engaged in
joint astronomical observations and took photographs of the Earth. Te
Soviets launched a total of nine Salyut space stations between 1971 and
Te next generation of Soviet space stations, called Mir, began with
a launch in February 1986. Modular in design and construction, Mir was
larger than its predecessor. With special welding techniques developed for
outer space, Mir was enlarged further over the next ten years. Intended
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as a long-term research base, Mir became the first consistently inhabit-
ed space facility. Soviet scientist-cosmonauts engaged in a wide variety of
experiments and astrophysical observations, including the detection of a
In 1993, the United States and Russia agreed on another, more sus-
tained joint project, working to establish an International Space Station
with Mir as a training ground. U.S. space shuttles transported supplies to
Mir, where American astronauts took up occupancy.
In 1995, a series of launches by the United States and the Soviet
Union carried astronauts and cosmonauts to Mir. In one instance, Norman
Tagard flew with two cosmonauts aboard the Soyuz TM-21. Tis made
him the first American astronaut to fly aboard a Russian spacecraft. Mir
remained in operation until March 2001, when it was deemed antiquated
and was sent into a lower orbit so it could break up over the South Pacific.
In all, the station was occupied for more than twelve of its fifteen years and
was visited by astronauts from thirteen different nations.
Te Space Shuttle
As the Apollo Project was drawing to a close in 1972, the United States
began development of a reusable space shuttle—a major change from the
Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo capsules. “All of a sudden,” said one member
of the astronaut corps, “we had tires, we had wheels, and we had wings, and
we had elevons and control surfaces and payload bay doors.”
After repeated delays, the space shuttle Columbia was launched on April
12, 1981, with a two-man test crew of Crippen and Young. Strapped to
rocket boosters during liftoff, the shuttle lost sixteen of its thermal tiles—
surface material to protect the spacecraft from the intense heat of reentry.
NASA engineers determined that the damage did not risk the safe return
of the crew, and Columbia orbited the Earth thirty-six times before landing
airplane-style at Edwards Air Force Base in California.
NASA called the space shuttle the “space transportation system,” or
STS. Te shuttle’s original purpose was to carry material and supplies for
a new space station similar in design to Skylab. When plans for the space
station were suspended, the shuttle program was reoriented for scientific
experimentation and the launching of satellites. Because the shuttle’s or-
bit was too low for most satellites to be released from its cargo bay, rocket
boosters were used.
In November 1982, two communications satellites were launched from
Columbia on mission STS-5. Tis was the shuttle’s first operational mis-
sion; the preceding flights had been tests of the worthiness of the spacecraft.
It carried a four-man crew.
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In June 1983, as part of STS-7, Sally Ride, aboard the space shuttle
Challenger, became the first U.S. woman to travel into space. Te crew also
included two physicians, who conducted biomedical experiments to gath-
er information about space sickness. In its cargo bay on mission STS-9,
launched in November 1983, Challenger carried Spacelab, a reusable work-
shop and research laboratory used on board the shuttle. More than seventy
experiments in life science, space physics, materials technology, and other
fields were carried out in Spacelab.
NASA planned to launch fifteen shuttle missions in 1986 and hoped
to begin launching thirty per year in 1988. Critics claimed that NASA was
emphasizing speed over safety and public relations over a more slow-paced
and carefully planned scientific program.
On January 28, 1986, Challenger inexplicably exploded seventy-three
seconds after launch, killing all seven astronauts aboard, including the first
schoolteacher chosen for a spaceflight, Christa McAuliffe.
Investigators later found that faulty seals on the solid-fuel rocket boost-
ers had allowed flames to emerge from one side and penetrate the giant
external fuel tank. (Te external fuel tank was strapped beneath the shuttle,
and attached to the sides of the tank were two solid rocket boosters.) Te
intense heat compromised a strut holding one of the boosters to the tank,
causing the strut to break loose. Tis, in turn, caused the nose of the booster
to shift and pierce the fuel tank. Hydrogen and oxygen poured out of the
tank and created a fireball, which caused the shuttle to explode into tiny
pieces that plunged into the Atlantic Ocean.
Te U.S. space
shuttle Endeavour
carries components
of the Japanese
Experiment Module
( JEM, or Kibo) to
the International
Space Station in
2009. JEM is used
for research in
space medicine, bio-
technology, physics,
materials technology,
and communica-
tions. (NASA/
Getty Images)
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
After the accident, no shuttles were flown for thirty-two months. A
number of improvements were made to the entire shuttle fleet, and the
shuttle flight program resumed with the successful mission of Discovery,
STS-26, in September 1988.
Achievements of the shuttle program have included the launch of the
Hubble Space Telescope from Discovery in April 1990 (STS-31); of the
Ulysses solar probe, built by the European Space Agency, from Discovery
in October 1990 (STS-41); of the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory
from the Atlantis in April 1991 (STS-37); and of the Upper Atmosphere
Research Satellite to measure atmospheric pollution, from Discovery in
September 1991 (STS-48). Te space shuttle program also has launched a
number of communications satellites for private corporations and spy satel-
lites for U.S. intelligence agencies.
In addition, the space shuttle program has provided an important venue
for core scientific research, especially on Spacelab. For example, Life Sciences
1 mission in June 1991 was the first exclusively dedicated to studying the
effects of weightlessness on humans and other living organisms, analyzing
how the muscles of rats change in the outer space environment.
Te shuttle program suffered its second major disaster on February
1, 2003, when Columbia disintegrated over Texas as it was reentering the
Earth’s atmosphere. All seven crew members were killed. Te breakup of
the shuttle resulted from an incident that had happened during launch. A
piece of insulation foam had broken away from the shuttle’s external fuel
tank, struck the leading edge of the left wing, and damaged the tiles on the
shuttle’s surface that were needed to protect it from the intense heat gener-
ated during reentry.
In the aftermath of this disaster, the shuttle program was suspended in-
definitely. Nevertheless, President George W. Bush committed the United
States to resuming space shuttle flights once they were deemed safe and
using them to help complete the space station. He also pursued plans to
develop a new spacecraft for travel to the Moon and to Mars.
On July 26, 2005, some ten months after the date originally targeted
by NASA, the space shuttle flight program resumed as Discovery roared
into space from Cape Canaveral on mission STS-114. Again, a piece of
foam tore away from the fuel tank; fortunately, this one missed striking the
shuttle. Te mission proceeded successfully, but NASA grounded flights
for another year as it addressed the foam and tile problem once more.
In May 2009, the space shuttle Atlantis carried out the fifth and final
servicing mission to the Hubble Telescope (STS-125). Ten, in July, the
shuttle Endeavour carried supplies and equipment to the International
Space Station (ISS; see below). In doing so, it set a new record for the most
people in one space transportation device at the same time: thirteen astro-
nauts in the orbiting station and docked shuttle, including astronauts from
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Japan and Canada. Two of the astronauts conducted a space walk to install
a Japanese experimental facility that housed scientific instruments, such as
those to measure the ionosphere.
With the end of the space shuttle program scheduled for 2010, work
and planning proceeded on the next major U.S. initiative—the Constellation
program. Long-term goals of the project include developing the capabilities
and technologies to open the next frontier in space, expanding operational
capabilities away from Earth, and pursuing fundamental scientific research.
Te Constellation program entails the development of new, more pow-
erful booster rockets—designated Ares I and Ares II—and a next-gener-
ation space capsule, called Orion, to take crews and cargo to the ISS. Tat
vehicle is scheduled to be operational in 2014 or 2015. Until then, people
and supplies traveling to the ISS likely will do so on Russian spacecraft or
perhaps American commercial spacecraft.
Te International Space Station and Beyond
Te International Space Station was developed as a research facility by the
space agencies of the United States, Russia, Japan, and Canada, and by the
European Space Agency. Assembly of the space station began in orbit in
1998 and was scheduled to continue into the year 2011. Te ISS has been
occupied continuously since November 2000 and is expected to remain in
use until at least 2015.
Te multinational facility has been used to conduct research in biology,
physics, astronomy, and meteorology. Scientists aboard the space station
have studied the effects of long-term weightlessness on the human body,
including muscle atrophy and bone loss, and on the internal functioning of
plants and animals.
Physicists, meanwhile, have explored the question of whether fluids
that do not mix well on Earth mix better in outer space. A range of experi-
ments has been conducted to gain a better understanding of the structure
and properties of these and other materials so they might be processed bet-
ter on Earth.
Another important investigation has focused on the atmosphere, pollu-
tion, and energy. A set of experiments has studied how to control fuel emis-
sions and other polluting agents, contributing to the goal of clean, efficient
energy on Earth. Future research will focus on the ozone and water vapor
in Earth’s atmosphere, along with cosmic rays, cosmic dust, and antimatter
and dark matter in the universe. Te Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, sched-
uled to be carried to the ISS aboard STS-134 in 2010, measures cosmic
rays as part of fundamental research in particle physics.
With work on the ISS continuing, the roster of nations taking part in
human space exploration has grown. Te People’s Republic of China joined
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the ranks of countries with human spaceflight capability on October 15,
2003, when astronaut Yang Liwei was launched aboard Shenzhou 5 and
spent about twenty-one hours in space.
Several other countries and space agencies have announced or begun
human spaceflight programs, among them India, Japan, Iran, Malaysia, and
Turkey. As of 2009, individuals who have flown in space have hailed from
nearly forty nations.
< OG < I@ D< EKJ FE K?< @ EK< IE8K@ FE8C J G8:< JK8K@ FE
|oo| timos la|go| thao |ossias Mi|, vhich |oµ|osootod tho µ|ovioos gooo|atioo ot sµaco |osoa|ch
tacilitios, tho loto|oatiooal Sµaco Statioo ¦lSSj-oodo| coost|octioo sioco l998-cootaios six
labo|ato|ios dodicatod to sciootinc |osoa|ch. lmµo|taot |osoa|ch has ioclodod.
l. 1ho g|ovth aod aoalysis ot µ|otoio c|ystals to ioc|oaso oodo|staodiog ot µ|otoios,
oozymos, aod vi|osos aod, io to|o, holµ io tho dovoloµmoot ot oov d|ogs caµablo ot
t|oatiog caoco|, diabotos, omµhysoma, aod immooo systom diso|do|s.
2. 1ho stody ot loog-to|m oxµoso|o to |odocod g|avity, ioclodiog chaogos to tho homao
hoa|t, a|to|ios, voios, aod booo doosity. 1ho Coot|itogo Accommodatioo Modolo oo
boa|d has booo osod to c|oato cooditioos |aogiog t|om zo|o g|avity to dooblo |a|th
g|avity as a vay ot comµa|iog tho g|avitatiooal ottocts oo µlaots aod aoimals. G|avity
oo tho Mooo aod Ma|s also has booo simolatod to µ|oµa|o ast|ooaots to| toto|o sµaco
ì. Aoalysis ot tho sµaco oovi|oomoot, ioclodiog tho ottocts ot vacoom cooditioos aod tho
|is| ot sµaco dob|is oo mato|ials osod io boildiog sµacoc|att. A |aogo ot oxµo|imoots,
|olyiog oo oqoiµmoot attachod to tho oxto|io| ot tho lSS, has add|ossod issoos io
toodamootal µhysics, osµocially basic to|cos ot oato|o that a|o ditncolt to aoalyzo io tho
|a|ths g|avitatiooal sµho|o.
4. Obso|vatioos ot tho |a|th to
gaio a botto| oodo|staodiog
ot ho||icaoos, volcaooos, tho
ottocts ot doto|ostatioo, tho
sµ|oad ot ai| aod vato| µollo -
tioo, aod otho| µhooomooa.
Dutch and Russian astronauts of the European
Space Agency perform an experiment aboard
the International Space Station in 2004. Like
other visitors to the facility, the team carried
out an extensive series of experiments
in a variety of fields. (Getty Images)
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Further Reading
Beattie, Donald A. Taking Science to the Moon: Lunar Experiments and the
Apollo Program. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001.
Bond, Peter. Te Continuing Story of the International Space Station. New York:
Springer, 2002.
Chaikin, Andrew. A Man on the Moon: Te Voyages of the Apollo Astronauts.
New York: Penguin, 2007.
Chien, Philip. Columbia, Final Voyage: Te Last Flight of NASA’s First Space
Shuttle. New York: Copernicus, 2006.
DeGroot, Gerard. Dark Side of the Moon: Te Magnificent Madness of the
American Lunar Quest. New York: New York University Press, 2006.
Hansen, James R. First Man: Te Life of Neil A. Armstrong. New York: Simon
and Schuster, 2005.
Russian Federal Space Agency:
Swanson, Glen E., ed. Before Tis Decade Is Out: Personal Reflections on the
Apollo Program. Washington, DC: National Aeronautics and Space
Administration, 1999.
Tsymbal, Nikolai, ed. First Man in Space: Te Life and Achievement of Yuri
Gagarin. Moscow: Progress, 1984.
U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration:
Wolfe, Tom. Te Right Stuff. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1979.
1946: First scientific exploration in space: the United States launches instruments
mounted on a V-2 rocket to measure cosmic radiation
1957: First artificial satellite, Soviet Sputnik 1, sent into space; first dog, Laika, lifts off
in Sputnik 2
1958: Te United States sends its first artificial satellite, Explorer 1, into space,
1959: Soviet satellite Luna 1 accomplishes the first flyby of the Moon
1960: Te United States launches TIROS 1, first in a series of highly successful
weather satellites
1962: Te United States launches Telstar 1, the first satellite to transmit television
1966: Soviet Luna 10, launched March 31, becomes the first satellite to orbit the
Moon; U.S. lunar probe Surveyor becomes the first spacecraft to soft-land on
the Moon, June 2
1971: U.S. space probe Mariner 9 orbits Mars, discovers Olympus Mons, an extinct
1975: Soviet Venera 9 orbits Venus and sends a lander to the surface
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Unmanned space exploration was made possible in the second half of the
twentieth century by the development of rockets capable of sending heavy
payloads into space, the cold war competition for global influence between
the United States and the Soviet Union, the desire to further scientific re-
search and technological development, and the sheer allure of outer space.
Te first Earth-orbiting satellites, developed in the late 1950s and ca-
pable of little more than measuring radiation, have evolved into complex
devices built to transmit television signals, detect military operations, sur-
vey weather developments, measure infrared signals, inventory the Earth’s
resources, and peer into deep space. In a few short decades, unmanned space
exploration moved far beyond Earth’s orbit, with probes sent to the Moon,
Mars, Mercury, the Sun, and Venus, and to the fringes of the solar system
and beyond.
First Artificial Satellites
Te first man-made object to reach outer space was a V-2 rocket, developed
and utilized as a ballistic missile by Germany during World War II. Te
first scientific exploration in space was a cosmic radiation experiment con-
ducted by the United States with devices aboard a V-2 rocket, launched in
May 1946. Later that year, fruit flies became the first living beings sent into
outer space, also aboard a U.S. V-2 rocket.
1986: Giotto, launched by the European Space Agency, investigates Halley’s
1990: Te United States launches the Hubble Telescope from the space
shuttle Discovery
1995: U.S. space probe Galileo, launched by the space shuttle Atlantis, orbits
1997: Mars Pathfinder completes a soft landing on the Martian surface and
releases the rover Sojourner to investigate
2003: Te United States sends Mars Exploration Rovers (MERs) Spirit and
Opportunity to the planet’s surface
2004: U.S. interplanetary spacecraft Cassini-Huygens begins orbiting
Saturn; flies close by the moon Phoebe; releases a probe to the surface
of the moon Titan
2006: Te United States launches New Horizons, to study Pluto
2007: China launches the Chang’e 1 orbiter to study the Moon’s geological
2009: U.S. Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter orbits and studies the Moon;
findings indicate that the Moon could contain layers of water, in the
form of dirty ice, beneath its dry soil
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Te important advance of controlled orbital spaceflight came on
October 4, 1957, with the successful launch by the Soviet Union of an ar-
tificial satellite, Sputnik 1. Carried aloft by an R-7 rocket, the 184-pound
(83-kilogram) satellite—about the diameter of a beach ball—orbited the
Earth at an altitude of 150 miles (240 kilometers). Sputnik’s transmitters
broadcast a radio signal in the form of beeps that allowed scientists to mea-
sure the electron density in the ionosphere, along with the temperature and
atmospheric pressure.
Barely a month later, on November 3, 1957, the Soviets followed with
the launch of Sputnik 2, a larger satellite consisting of three parts: a top
section containing instruments for measuring radiation; a middle section
housing a radio transmitter; and a lower section that held a dog, Laika.
She had undergone extensive training to acclimate to the compartment and
the rigors of space travel. Laika died a week after liftoff when her supply of
oxygen ran out.
Te Sputnik program had grown out of an agreement between the
Soviet Union and the United States to use satellites in scientific experi-
1ho vo|lds n|st a|tincial satollito-Jglke`b(, laoochod by tho Soviot Uoioo oo Octobo| 4, l9!/-
vas tho b|aiochild ot |oc|ot dosigoo| So|goy |avlovich |o|olyov, vho vas tho cooot|ys chiot
sµaco oogiooo|, |o|olyov o|igioally had vaotod to µlaco a l-too satollito µac|od vith sciootinc
oqoiµmoot ioto |a|ths o|bit. bot µ|obloms vith that sµacoc|att caosod him to µostµooo a
laooch attomµt ¦it voold achiovo soccoss as Jglke`b * io l9!8j aod oµt to| a simµlo| dosigo that
voold ooablo tho Soviots to sood a satollito ioto sµaco ahoad ot tho Amo|icaos.
Jglke`b ( vas a small alomioom ball, moaso|iog ooly 2ì iochos ¦!8 cootimoto|sj io diamoto|.
lt had tvo aotoooao, a |adio t|aosmitto|, aod a tomµo|ato|o |ogolatioo systom. lt also ca||iod
th|oo silvo|-zioc batto|ios. 1vo ot tho batto|ios µovo|od tho |adio t|aosmitto|. 1ho otho| batto|y
µovo|od tho tomµo|ato|o |ogolatioo systom, vhich coosistod ot a tao, a doal tho|mal svitch, aod
a tho|mal coot|ol svitch to |ooµ tho satollito t|om ovo|hoatiog.
1ho satollito omittod a simµlo ¨booµ, booµ¨ |adio sigoal oo tvo vavoloogths, vhich tho
Soviots hoµod voold bo hoa|d by amatoo| |adio oµo|ato|s vo|ldvido as µ|oot that Jglke`b(
vas o|bitiog |a|th. lodood, aoyooo µossossiog a sho|t-vavo |ocoivo| coold dotoct tho satollito
as it µassod ovo|hoad. Soviot sciootists aoalyzod Jglke`b (s |adio sigoals to gaogo tho oloct|oo
doosity ot |a|ths iooosµho|o, vhilo ioto|matioo oo tomµo|ato|o aod µ|osso|o vas oocodod io
tho do|atioo ot tho booµs.
|ovs |oµo|ts t|om tho Soviot Uoioo vo|o motod io tho immodiato atto|math ot tho laooch.
bot voll boto|o Jglke`b( |oooto|od tho |a|ths atmosµho|o aod bo|ood oµ, oo ¦aooa|y 4, l9!8,
oovsµaµo|s a|oood tho globo vo|o hailiog tho Soviot toat vith soch hoadlioos as ¨Sµaco Ago ls
|o|o¨ aod ¨|ossia vios |aco loto Ooto| Sµaco.¨
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ments developed for the International
Geophysical Year. Te success of the
Sputnik program, however, far exceed-
ed this goal. It was an important moral
and ideological victory for the Soviet
Union in the cold war, allowing the
Russians to portray their communist
nation as being technically, education-
ally, and even morally (in the sense of a
society dedicated to serious rather than
frivolous employment) more advanced
than America’s capitalist one.
Under pressure to respond, the
United States prematurely attempted
to launch a test satellite aboard a
Vanguard rocket in December 1957.
Te rocket failed immediately upon takeoff, crashed onto the launchpad,
and exploded. (Due to secrecy on the part of the Russian government, the
exact number of failed Soviet launches has never been disclosed.)
Finally, on January 31, 1958, a four-stage Jupiter rocket propelled the
U.S. Explorer 1 satellite into space from Cape Canaveral, Florida. During
the satellite’s 111 days in space, an onboard detector discovered a belt of
radiation around the Earth. It was named the Van Allen belt in honor of
James Van Allen, who had designed the measuring instrument.
On May 15, 1958, the Soviets launched Sputnik 3, an orbiting geo-
physical research station. Its instruments, powered, in part, by solar panels,
measured meteoroids, magnetic fields, and the radiation belt. Sputnik 4 fol-
lowed on May 15, 1960, carrying a Vostok space capsule intended for use
in the country’s manned program. Later that year, the Soviets sent two dogs
into space aboard Sputnik 5 and brought them safely back to Earth—a cru-
cial step toward sending human beings into space.
However, the Soviet space program suffered a tragic setback in October
24, 1960, when an unmanned rocket exploded on launch at the Baikonur
Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, killing up to 100 workers on the ground.
Another explosion at the site in June 1963 took seven lives.
Meanwhile, in July 1958, President Dwight D. Eisenhower created
a new government agency to direct the American space initiative: the
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Eisenhower’s
primary purpose was twofold: to develop satellites capable of spying on the
Soviet Union and to avert a communist propaganda victory by sending a
man into space before the Soviets did. A well-funded federal civilian agency
was deemed essential to maintaining a large-scale, competitive U.S. space
A stray dog named
Laika paved the
way for human
space travel aboard
the Soviet space-
craft Sputnik 2 on
November 3, 1957.
Laika proved that
a living passenger
could survive the
launch into space,
but she later
died in orbit.
Getty Images)
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To test the effects of high-gravity acceleration and prolonged weight-
lessness, critical factors for human spaceflight, on January 21, 1960, the
United States launched a rhesus monkey named Little Sam into Earth or-
bit. Te primate was returned safely to Earth; the capsule was recovered as
well. (Little Sam lived until 1982.)
In January 1961, in preparation for Alan Shepard’s historic first flight
aboard a Mercury capsule in May, a chimpanzee named Ham was catapult-
ed into space. Ham carried out simple maneuvers, pulling levers in response
to flashing lights (as he had been trained to do on Earth) before landing
unharmed sixteen minutes later. (Ham lived until 1983.)
Te Soviet Sputnik 7 spacecraft, launched on February 4, 1961, and
Sputnik 8, launched on February 12, 1961, carried Venera satellites that
would be launched to explore Venus. Sputnik 7 proved to be a failure, but
Sputnik 8 succeeded in ejecting the probe into the solar system. Sputnik
9 and Sputnik10, the Soviets’ last tests before sending cosmonaut Yuri
Gagarin into space on April 12, 1961, each carried a space dummy and a
dog on one Earth orbit; both missions were successful.
Television, Military, Spy, and Weather Satellites
Unmanned space exploration took an important new turn on July 10, 1962,
when the United States launched Telstar 1, the first space satellite to trans-
mit television signals. Designed by the American Telephone and Telegraph
Company (AT&T), Telstar 1 was placed in an elliptical Earth orbit so that
its signals could be distributed to television stations on both sides of the
Atlantic Ocean, including ones in the United States, Great Britain, and
Telstar 1’s low altitude, however, limited its use to just 102 minutes per
day. Moreover, the day before the satellite’s launch, the United States deto-
nated a high-altitude thermonuclear bomb. Te increase in radiation from
that and subsequent nuclear test explosions damaged Telstar 1’s transistors,
and it went permanently out of service in February 1963. Tree months
later, it was replaced by Telstar 2.
In 1978, the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) became the first televi-
sion network to use satellites to send signals to its affiliate stations. Until the
1990s, satellite television signals were too weak to be picked up on Earth
except by large, parabola-shaped “dish” antennas.
Today, however, digital broadcast satellites can send signals directly to
houses outfitted with antenna dishes as small as 15 inches (38 centimeters)
in diameter. Tese satellites also can transmit hundreds of channels simul-
taneously and, unlike the Telstar satellites, use geostationary orbits that
keep them in a fixed position relative to the ground and thus able to operate
around the clock.
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Satellites also have been used by a number of countries for defense-
related purposes. On November 6, 1970, the United States launched its
first satellite as part of the Defense Support Program (DSP), to send data
continuously to the Missile Warning Center in Colorado. Sensors aboard
the satellite were designed to detect nuclear detonations and the launching
of intercontinental ballistic missiles.
Over the years, DSP satellites have undergone major improvements
and enhancements. Tey now have more sensors, can withstand laser jam-
ming, and can maneuver to escape an attacking satellite. In 1991, a DSP
satellite was used to detect Iraqi ballistic missiles being launched against
U.S. troops during Operation Desert Storm.
Far more elaborate was the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), an
elaborate antiballistic missile system—part of it based in space—proposed
by President Ronald Reagan’s administration in 1983. Although the Star
Wars program, as it was dubbed, never came to complete fruition (or full
funding), it did serve as a starting point for ongoing research and develop-
ment in space-based missile defense.
In the arena of national intelligence, the first U.S. reconnaissance (spy)
satellites, code-named Corona, were launched in 1959 and 1960. Te satel-
lites carried a camera and sent the film back to Earth in canisters, which
were retrieved in midair as they parachuted down. Te Soviets launched
their first successful camera-toting spy satellite, Zenit, in April 1962. Since
then, hundreds of spy satellites have been used by the United States, Russia,
China, and Israel, and, jointly, by France,
Spain, and Italy.
Spy satellites typically orbit the Earth
at an altitude of 100 miles (160 kilome-
ters). Te most recent ones carry high-res-
olution, multispectral digital photography
systems, which take visible light and infra-
red pictures. Tese satellites can discern
objects as small as a person and can be used
in battlefield situations.
Another important use of satellites is
to collect data on meteorology. Te satellite
Explorer 6, sent aloft in August 1959, radi-
oed the first pictures of clouds. Te first op-
erational weather satellite, launched by the
United States on April 1, 1960, was called
the Television and Infrared Observation
Satellite, or TIROS 1. Te cameras aboard
TIROS 1 could record cloud patterns, but
the satellite operated for only eighty-nine
Satellite television
transmission and
high-speed data
began with the U.S.
launch of Telstar 1
in July 1962. Te
multifaceted sphere,
measuring 3.3 cubic
feet (1 meter) in
diameter, provided
the first transatlantic
tele vision feed.
(Science & Society
Picture Library/
Getty Images)
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
days. Te Soviets launched their first weather satellite in 1962, followed by
the European Space Agency (ESA) in 1977, and China in 1988.
Today, there are more than 200 weather satellites orbiting the Earth,
sixty of which originated in the United States. Tese satellites photograph
clouds; record atmospheric and water temperatures; track hurricanes; de-
termine if hailstorms and tornadoes are forming; measure land and ocean
wind speeds, rainfall, snow cover, and ground moisture; and map ocean
Infrared, X-ray, and Remote-Sensing Satellites
Infrared satellites carry special telescopes to detect objects in space that,
while too cool to produce much visible light, produce infrared light. In-
frared light is a form of electromagnetic energy with wavelengths longer
than those of visible light, making it invisible to the human eye.
Te telescopes on infrared satellites can detect dust grains around
newly forming stars, as well as gas and dust from dying stars. And because
infra red telescopes can penetrate cosmic dust, they can be used to view
the Milky Way and other galaxies, providing valuable information to
Te United States, in cooperation with Great Britain and the
Netherlands, launched the Infrared Astronomical Satellite (IRAS) in
January 1983. In November 1995, the ESA sent the Infrared Space
Observatory into orbit.
X-ray observatory satellites comb outer space for the source of X-rays
and measure their strength, both vital information for astrophysicists. Te
United States launched the first such satellite, Uhuru, in 1970. It discovered
X-rays pulsating from an object named Centaurus X-3 and led scientists
to theorize that, because gas was being heated to millions of degrees and
releasing X-ray energy, this was a neutron star absorbing gas from a neigh-
boring star.
X-ray satellites also have been launched by Japan, Russia, and the ESA.
In 2007, the orbiting X-ray telescopes XMM-Newton and Chandra dis-
covered a pair of galaxy clusters merging into one, affirming that galaxy
clusters can collide faster than previously thought.
Remote-sensing satellites carry devices designed to take images of vis i-
ble and infrared electromagnetic wavelengths. Tese satellites also may in-
clude synthetic aperture radar, which beams radio waves toward the ground
and then records their reflection. Remote-sensing technology also can pen et -
rate cloud cover, vegetation, and even soil. Remote-sensing satellites chart
previously hidden geographical features, show how land use is changing, un-
cover objects for archaeologists, measure pollution, and contribute to hurri-
cane and flood relief by revealing changes brought about by such disasters.
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Te first satellite dedicated to remote sensing was Landsat 1, launched
by the United States in 1972; the last satellite in the program, Landsat 7,
was launched in 1999. Te Landsat satellites, some of which are still func-
tioning, photograph the Earth’s surface every sixteen days. Other such sat-
ellites have been sent into space by Canada, China, Japan, Russia, and the
Te Hubble Telescope
Among the most publicized and scientifically fruitful unmanned space
instruments has been the Hubble Telescope, named for U.S. astronomer
Edwin Hubble (1889–1953). Hubble proved that other galaxies were mov-
ing away from our own Milky Way, a conclusion important to the big bang
theory, which seeks to explain what happened at the beginning of the uni-
verse. (According to this theory, the universe was extremely compact, dense,
and hot until a cosmic explosion 10 billion to 20 billion years ago caused it
to begin expanding, cooling, and taking the form we know today—a form
that continues to change.)
Te Hubble Tele-
scope has produced
astonishing photo-
graphs of distant
space objects—such
as this column of
molecular hydrogen
gas and dust—and
has led scientists to
important new un-
derstandings of the
universe and astro-
physical phenomena.
(Science & Society
Picture Library/
Getty Images)
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Te Hubble Telescope was launched by the United States from the
space shuttle Discovery on April 24, 1990, and it orbits the Earth at an al-
titude of 320 miles (515 kilometers). Te telescope, whose orientation is
controlled from the ground, has two cameras to record its findings.
Already late and over budget at the time of its launch, Hubble was im-
mediately beset by problems. First, it was discovered that the telescope’s
main mirror had been improperly designed and had to be replaced, at a
cost of more than $1 billion; astronauts aboard the space shuttle Endeavour
made the change during a spacewalk in early December 1993. Te telescope
also was serviced or repaired on subsequent shuttle missions in 1997, 1999,
2002, 2005, and 2009.
A collaboration between NASA and the ESA, Hubble includes a high-
resolution spectrograph for recording ultraviolet, visible, and near-infrared
wavelengths, which can reveal the temperature, chemical makeup, and
motion of planets, dust clouds, and stars. In addition, Hubble contains a
faint-object camera designed to detect extremely distant and dim objects,
and a Near-Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer (NICMOS)
that is used to detect cool-temperature objects and those that emit infrared
In May 2009, astronauts aboard the space shuttle Atlantis made several
repairs to the Hubble Telescope that were expected to extend its life. Te
Hubble Telescope will remain in service at least until NASA launches its
next-generation space observatory: the James Webb Space Telescope, an
infrared scanning instrument scheduled to become operational in 2013.
(Webb was head of NASA from 1961 to 1968.)
Te Moon
Te first successful flyby of the Moon—within 3,100 miles (5,000 kilo-
meters) of the surface—was accomplished by a Soviet satellite, Luna 1, in
January 1959. Tis was followed in September by the flight of Luna 2, a
satellite that became the first Earth object to strike the Moon when it was
deliberately crashed into the surface east of Mare Serenitatis (the Sea of
Serenity). Before its demise, Luna 2 sent back information confirming that
the Moon lacks a magnetic field and radiation belts. Ten, in October 1959,
Luna 3 took the first hazy photographs of the dark side of the Moon.
Following several failed attempts to soft-land a satellite on the Moon,
the Soviets succeeded on February 3, 1966, with Luna 9, which sent photo-
graphs from the surface.
In April 1966, Luna 10 became the first satellite to orbit the Moon,
providing scientific measurements—and the Soviet government with a
major propaganda victory in the cold war. Luna 17 landed on the Moon
in November 1970 and released an eight-wheeled rover that rode across
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the surface, performed soil tests, measured X-rays, and calculated the exact
distance between the Moon and the Earth.
Te United States also sent space probes to the Moon as part of its
Ranger and Surveyor programs. Like the Soviet Luna program, Ranger and
Surveyor included failures as well as successes. Te Ranger spacecraft were
designed to crash on the lunar surface, and, in July 1964, Ranger 7—making
the first successful flight in the program—transmitted photographs of the
approaching terrain for twenty minutes before impact.
Te first U.S. soft landing on the Moon was accomplished by Surveyor
1 in June 1966; this feat was replicated by Surveyors 3, 5, 6, and 7 through
early 1968. Surveyor 6 was the first space vehicle to lift off the surface of
the Moon as well as land on it. Te Surveyor satellites that succeeded in
landing took photographs and employed instruments to sample the lunar
surface—providing important data that confirmed the texture of the soil
would support astronauts on foot.
Another important breakthrough for the United States came in January
1998, when it placed the Lunar Prospector in low-polar orbit around the
Moon, where the spacecraft remained until being intentionally crashed into
the surface in July 1999. Te mission yielded a detailed map of the Moon’s
surface composition, along with information about the planet’s origins
and resources. Scientific research on the mission also included the discov -
ery of ice in the polar craters of the Moon and the mapping of its gravity
Te United States sent the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO)
a round the Moon in June 2009 as part of the American Vision for Space
Program. Te goals of that program include sending astronauts back to the
Moon as a follow-up to the lunar landing missions of the late 1960s and
early 1970s, creating a three-dimensional map of the Moon’s surface, and
surveying lunar resources.
With the winding down of the cold war in the early 1990s, other
countries began sending probes to the Moon. Japan launched its Hiten
spacecraft into Earth orbit in January 1990; the Hiten, in turn, launched
a smaller satellite, the Hagoromo, into lunar orbit. When the transmitter
aboard the Hagoromo failed, in October 1991, Japanese space scientists suc-
ceeded in redirecting the Hiten to the Moon. Eighteen months later, it was
deliberately crashed on the lunar surface. In September 2007, the Japanese
launched the Kaguya lunar probe, which orbited and surveyed the Moon
for two years.
Te People’s Republic of China joined lunar exploration by satellite in
October 2007 with its Chang’e 1 orbiter, which was named for a Chinese
Moon goddess. For the first mission in the Chinese Lunar Exploration
Project, Chang’e 1 assembled a three-dimensional image of the Moon’s geo-
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logical features, mapped the chemical elements on the surface, measured
the depth of lunar soil, and studied solar wind. Chang’e 2 was scheduled for
2010 or 2011.
India’s first lunar mission came with the October 2008 launch of the
Chandrayaan-1 satellite, which orbited the Moon and released an impact
probe to the surface that November. Te probe struck the lunar south pole
in an experiment to determine whether ice was present. Among the scien-
tific instruments aboard Chandrayaan-1 were a mapping camera, a spectral
imager, and a gamma ray spectrometer.
Te Sun and Mercury
Between 1960 and 1968, the United States sent several small unmanned
space probes to orbit the Sun as part of the Pioneer program. Pioneer 5,
launched in March 1960, carried high-energy particle detectors and a
magnetic-field detector and measured how magnetic fields were changed by
solar flares. Pioneers 6 through 9 measured the structure and flow of solar
wind; the spacecraft were positioned in orbit in such a way that astronomers
could use the data they collected to forecast solar storms up to two weeks
before they occurred. NASA scientists remained in contact with several of
the Pioneer probes into the early 1990s, and with Pioneer 6 until 1997.
Te innermost of the solar system’s planets, Mercury, has been little
explored. Te U.S. Mariner 10, which flew by Venus in February 1974,
came close to Mercury that March, at a distance of about 430 miles (700
kilometers). After looping around the Sun, it made its second flyby that
December and its last in March 1975. Mariner 1 mapped a little less than
half of Mercury’s surface and discovered that the planet’s atmosphere con-
sists mainly of helium. It also found that Mercury has a magnetic field and
an iron-rich core.
In January 2008, a NASA spacecraft known as the Mercury Surface,
Space Environment, Geochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) probe
made another flyby of Mercury and discovered great variability in the plan-
et’s magnetic field. It also produced images of Mercury’s previously unre-
corded surface and detected magnesium in the planet’s atmosphere.
Venus became the object of exploration when, in 1961, the Soviet Union
began its Venera program, with the goal of landing a probe on the planet.
Of the eight initial Venera craft, two descended toward the planet’s sur-
face and sent back data that revealed the atmospheric pressure was ninety
times greater than Earth’s, surface temperatures exceeded 9,000 degrees
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Fahrenheit (4,982 degrees Celsius), and 97 percent of the atmosphere was
carbon dioxide.
In October 1975, the Soviet Union succeeded in landing two probes on
the Venusian surface. Venera 9, launched on June 8, 1975, consisted of an
orbiter and a lander. Te orbiter had engines to break its speed and help it
to circle the planet. Te lander included parachutes to slow its descent and a
“crush ring” to absorb the shock of impact with the surface, and was encased
in a sphere built to protect it from heat and atmospheric pressure. Te land-
er touched down on the Venusian surface on October 22 and transmitted
data, including one photograph, for fifty-three minutes.
Venera 10, launched on June 14, 1975, also landed a surface vehicle on
October 25; it provided several photos of Venus’s surface. Other Venera
satellites, some landers and some orbiters, followed. Te last in the program
was Venera 16, which orbited Venus and mapped the planet’s northern
hemisphere in October 1983.
In December 1978, the U.S. probe Pioneer Venus 1 orbited Venus and
mapped nearly the entire planet with its radar. Also arriving that month was
Pioneer Venus 2, which consisted of four separate atmospheric probes. One
of the probes used a parachute to slow its descent, while the three remaining
probes plunged straight through Venus’s atmosphere.
A more extensive mapping of Venus was accomplished by the Magellan
mission in 1989 and 1990. NASA’s first interplanetary probe since Pioneer
in 1978, the probe Magellan was launched from the space shuttle Atlantis
on May 4, 1989, and propelled by a solid-fuel rocket. By August 1990,
the spacecraft had arrived at Venus and begun an elliptical orbit. Circling
the planet, Magellan mapped the surface with radar. Before the mission
ended in October 1994, the probe sent back images of 98 percent of the
In November 2005, the European Space Agency launched Venus
Express, its first probe of that planet. Arriving at Venus in April 2006, the
spacecraft deployed a variety of scientific instruments: a magnetometer to
measure the planet’s magnetic field; three spectrometers, to measure the
atmosphere, analyze radiation, and observe the electromagnetic spectrum;
and a transmitter to send radio waves and measure them as they travel
through the atmosphere or bounce off the surface. Initial findings from
these experiments indicate that Venus once had oceans and that it currently
experiences lightning more frequently than does Earth.
Te first spacecraft to fly by Mars was the U.S. probe Mariner 4. It came
within 6,200 miles (10,000 kilometers) of the planet on July 14, 1965.
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Images from the vehicle showed the surface of Mars to be barren and cra-
tered, with an atmospheric pressure too low to allow for liquid water on the
surface. In 1969, Mariner 6 and Mariner 7 traveled closer to the planet and
produced sharper, but similar, images.
Ten, in November 1971, Mariner 9 became the first space probe to
orbit Mars. A dust storm impeded the transmission of images at first, but
Mariner 9 eventually sent more than 7,300 photos, which revealed two pre-
viously unknown geological features: Olympus Mons, an extinct volcano
reaching a height of 78,000 feet (24,000 meters), and a long valley that was
named Valles Marineris.
Two more American spacecraft, Viking 1 and Viking 2, went into Mars
orbit in 1976 and sent landers to the surface. Te orbiters took tens of
thousands of photos and detected water vapor in the Martian atmosphere.
Te landers transmitted panoramas of the landscape and collected vital in-
formation about the planet’s climate and seismic activity.
Te major breakthrough in Martian exploration came on July 4, 1997,
when the U.S. spacecraft Pathfinder landed on the planet’s surface. Te
probe had slowed its descent by using a parachute and braking rockets, and
cushioned its landing through the use of airbags. Time magazine reported,
Across the U.S. and much of the world, the ship’s successful arrival was
greeted with the most attention accorded an otherworldly landing since,
perhaps, Apollo 11 touched down on the moon 28 years ago. At the Pasa-
dena convention center, near NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, where the
Pathfinder mission was being run, a standing-room-only crowd of more than
NASA engineers
demonstrate the
Mars Exploration
Rover (MER), a
six-wheeled robotic
device deployed to
the planet’s surface
to search for, collect,
and analyze rocks,
minerals, and soil.
(Robyn Beck/AFP/
Getty Images)
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
2,000 people whooped and wept as the pictures from Pathfinder streamed
onto a 25-ft. screen. On the Internet, NASA sites that promised to post the
pictures as soon as they became available recorded a staggering 100 million
hits on Friday alone.
Once on Mars, Pathfinder released a six-wheeled robotic rover called
Sojourner. Roaming the rocky surface, Sojourner sent 550 photographs back
to Earth—these were in addition to the 16,500 sent by Pathfinder—and
analyzed chemical properties at some sixteen locations on Mars.
In September 1997, the Mars Global Surveyor, another U.S. probe,
reached the Red Planet (so called because of its reddish appearance, caused
by iron dioxide present on its surface), went into orbit, and began send-
ing data back to NASA scientists. Laser beams sent from the spacecraft to
the surface revealed topographical details, including the existence of vast
plains in the northern hemisphere. A thermal emission spectrometer re-
corded temperatures and, by detecting chemicals, enabled a mineral map to
be made of the entire planet. Te Surveyor also produced more than 25,000
photographs, which have revealed sand dunes and gullies, perhaps caused
by now-extinct water flows.
In 2003, as part of its Mars Exploration Rover (MER) program, the
United States sent two more robotic rovers to the Martian surface, Spirit
Oo ¦oly 6, l99/, tvo days atto| tho DXijGXk_Ôe[\i sµacoc|att laodod io tho A|os \alloy |ogioo
ot tho |od |laoot, Jfaflie\i, a |obotic |ovo| oo vhools, vas |oloasod t|om GXk_Ôe[\i aod bogao
oxµlo|iog tho µlaoot. Jfaflie\i vas oamod to| Sojoo|oo| 1|oth, tho oiootoooth-cooto|y At|icao
Amo|icao vomao vho advocatod agaiost slavo|y aod to| vomoos |ights.
1ho |ovo| vas dosigood by a toam ot |atiooal Ao|ooaotics aod Sµaco Admioist|atioo ¦|ASAj
sciootists aod oogiooo|s lod by ¦acob Matijovic aod |oooa Shi|loy. Moaso|iog ooly lu iochos
¦2! cootimoto|sj high, 2 toot ¦u.6 moto|sj loog, aod l.! toot ¦u.4! moto|sj vido, aod voighiog
22 µooods ¦lu |ilog|amsj, Jfaflie\i vas µovo|od by a ûat sola| µaool aod |ollod aboot oo six
vhools. 1ho |obotic dovico did mo|o thao |oact to commaods t|om |a|th. lt had laso| oyos aod
aotomatic µ|og|ammiog that allovod it to avoid oooxµoctod obstaclos io its µath.
Jfaflie\i movod slovly-ooly l.! toot ¦u.46 moto|sj µo| miooto-aod it stoµµod t|oqoootly
to so|voy tho to||aio. vhilo oo Ma|s, tho |ovo| t|avolod a total ot aboot ì2! toot ¦luu moto|sj
aod µo|to|mod chomical aoalysos ot |oc|s aod soil at sixtooo sitos ooa| tho laodiog sito. lt also
soot bac| !!u closo-oµ imagos ot tho Ma|tiao laodscaµo aod millioos ot moaso|omoots ot
atmosµho|ic µ|osso|o, tomµo|ato|o, aod viod.
Jfaflie\i coasod oµo|atiog Soµtombo| 2/, l99/, haviog voll oxcoodod its oxµoctod lito sµao
ot sovoo days. lt |omaios oo tho µlaoots so|taco.
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(MER-A) and Opportunity (MER-B). Te primary scientific objective of
the mission was to collect more information about the planet’s geology, es-
pecially anything it might reveal about water activity. Te rovers continued
in operation into 2009.
Te Outer Planets and Beyond
Jupiter has been the object of eight space probes, all of them American and
only one of which orbited the planet. Te first, Pioneer 10, was launched
in March 1972 and began its flyby of Jupiter in late November 1973. Te
probe encountered intense radiation as it flew within 81,000 miles (130,000
kilometers) of the planet’s chemical clouds and confirmed what most scien-
tists had suspected: Jupiter’s distinctive red spot was a giant storm. Pioneer
11, which passed within 21,000 miles (34,000 kilometers) of Jupiter in
December 1974, made the first investigations of the planet’s expansive polar
Te Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 planetary probes—the last spacecraft in
NASA’s Mariner series and the first to reach the outermost planets—made
their closest approaches to Jupiter in March and July 1979, respectively.
Important discoveries about Jupiter by the Voyager probes included three
new moons, a ring system, and evidence of volcanic activity on one of the
planet’s moons (Io).
In 1992, the spacecraft Ulysses investigated Jupiter’s magnetic field,
then continued its scheduled journey farther into space. In 1995, Galileo—
launched by the shuttle Atlantis in October 1989—became the first space-
craft to orbit Jupiter. It surveyed the planet and its moons for eight years,
and it revealed that three Jovian moons have very thin atmospheres and
might contain liquid water beneath their surfaces. In 1995, Galileo sent a
small probe into Jupiter’s atmosphere; in the one hour before it was de-
stroyed by the heat and intense atmospheric pressure, the probe sent back
considerable data about the planet’s atmosphere.
Te year 2000 brought a flyby of Jupiter by the Cassini-Huygens space-
craft, a joint effort by NASA and the ESA. Tis flyby yielded some of the
most extensive images of the planet to date—about 26,000 photos in all—
including features as small as 40 miles (64 kilometers) in diameter. And, in
September 2006, another planetary probe en route to the edge of the solar
system and beyond, New Horizons, flew close enough to get a boost (or “as-
sist”) from the planet’s gravitational field. (Te satellite came within about
1.7 million miles, or 2.3 million kilometers, of the planet.)
Te first space probe to visit Saturn was Pioneer 11, which had inves-
tigated Jupiter in late 1974. In September 1979, Pioneer 11 passed within
13,000 miles (21,000 kilometers) of Saturn, later crossing the orbit of
Neptune and becoming the first spacecraft to leave the solar system. Te
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
first high-resolution images of Saturn came from the flyby of Voyager 1 in
1980, which also passed near one of the planet’s moons, Titan, and exam-
ined its atmosphere. Additional images of Saturn were taken in August
1981 by Voyager 2, which used a radar system to measure the temperature
and density of the upper atmosphere.
In July 2004, the Cassini-Huygens spacecraft—consisting of the Cassini
orbiter and Hugyens probe—reached Saturn and began orbiting. On July
11, the piggybacked vehicle flew close by the moon Phoebe and returned
a series of close-up photos. In December, Cassini released Huygens to
land on the surface of Titan, the largest of Saturn’s moons. Te probe
transmitted photos showing what might be a shoreline and islands, and re-
vealed clouds of methane. Te probe continued to send back data for more
than an hour after landing. Before the Cassini-Hugyens mission ended in
2008, it confirmed the existence of four previously unknown moons of
Te planets Uranus and Neptune have been visited by only one space-
craft, Voyager 2. Te spacecraft made its closest approach to Uranus in
January 1986, coming within 50,600 miles (81,500 kilometers); notable
discoveries included a magnetic field and ten previously unknown moons.
In 1989, Voyager 2 came within 3,000 miles (4,800 kilometers) of Neptune’s
north pole, revealing four planetary rings, six moons, and the existence of
Te New Horizons probe, meanwhile, launched by the United States
in January 2006, is on course to visit the dwarf planet Pluto and its three
known moons. Te probe is scheduled to arrive at Pluto in July 2015 and
then continue on to study the Kuiper Belt, a region beyond the solar system
that contains frozen objects called “ices,” made largely of methane, ammo-
nia, and water.
Aside from planetary probes, Giotto, a spacecraft launched by the
European Space Agency on July 2, 1985, made a flyby of Halley’s Comet on
March 14, 1986. Giotto entered the comet’s atmosphere, passed within 400
miles (644 kilometers) of the comet and 640 miles (1,030 kilometers) of its
nucleus, and survived despite being hit by several particles. Giotto transmit-
ted the first close-up images of Halley’s Comet and the first images ever of a
comet’s nucleus. Scientists then were able to set Giotto on a different course,
using a gravitational slingshot through the Earth’s atmosphere to propel it
to Comet Grigg-Skjellerup, which it passed in July 1992.
NASA initiated a new phase in deep space exploration in March 2009
with the launch from Cape Canaveral of the new Kepler Space Telescope,
designed to identify planets such as Earth that orbit suns other than ours.
Te $600 million device, which was sent into orbit around the Sun, can
observe distant stars in the Milky Way Galaxy and measure the size and
orbit of every planet that passes in front of them. By the year 2013, ac-
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
cording to one scientist involved with the project, Kepler likely will have
located hundreds of planets, perhaps thousands, that may be home to
intelligent life.
Further Reading
Brunier, Serge. Space Odyssey: Te First Forty Years of Space Exploration.
Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2002.
Cadbury, Deborah. Space Race: Te Epic Battle Between America and the Soviet
Union for Dominion in Space. New York: HarperCollins, 2006.
Godwin, Robert. Te Lunar Exploration Scrapbook: A Pictorial History of
Lunar Vehicles. Burlington, Canada: Apogee, 2007.
Harland, David M. Jupiter Odyssey: Te Story of NASA’s Galileo Mission. New
York: Praxis, 2000.
Mishkin, Andrew. Sojourner: An Insider’s View of the Mars Pathfinder Mission.
New York: Berkeley, 2003.
Winchester, Jim, ed. Space Missions: From Sputnik to SpaceShipOne, Te
History of Space Flight. San Diego, CA: Tunder Bay, 2006.
English explorer John Hanning Speke discovered Lake Victoria in eastern
equatorial Africa and correctly identified it as the principal source of the
Nile River.
He was born on May 4, 1827, in Jordans, Somerset, England, to William
Speke and Georgina Elizabeth Hanning. John’s father was a captain in the
British army, and he directed his son toward a military career. In 1844, John
Speke began serving in the army of the East India Company and was active
in the Punjab campaign, which included battles at Ramnagar, Sadullapur,
and Chilianwala, and in Gujarat.
1827: Born on May 4 in Jordans, England
1844: Begins serving in the army of the East India Company
1854: Joins an expedition to East Africa under Richard Burton to explore Somaliland
1856: Begins a second expedition to East Africa under Burton to find the source of
the Nile River
1858: With Burton, discovers Lake Tanganyika
1859: Announces to the Royal Geographical Society that Lake Victoria is the source
of the Nile
1862: Discovers the place where the Nile leaves Lake Victoria and names it Ripon
1863: Publishes Journal of the Discovery of the Source of the Nile
1864: Dies on September 18 from gunshot wounds suffered while partridge hunting
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
In 1854, Speke joined an expedition to
East Africa under the explorer Richard Burton,
with the purpose of traversing Somaliland
(now Somalia). Both Burton and Speke were
attacked by tribesmen and severely wounded.
Speke nearly died, but recovered and went on to
serve in the Crimean War (1853–1856). Burton
also recovered, returned to England, and fought
in the Crimean War.
Lake Tanganyika and Lake Victoria
Despite friction between the two men over what
Speke believed was Burton’s questioning of his
bravery in Somaliland, the two men teamed up
in 1856 for another expedition to East Africa.
Teir shared goal was the discovery of a vast in-
land “sea” called Ujiji (Lake Tanganyika, which
lies between the Democratic Republic of the
Congo and Tanzania) and the source of the Nile
River (found to be at Lake Victoria, on the bor-
ders of Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda).
Traveling inland from Zanzibar in June
1857, the two Englishmen were beset by tropi-
cal disease throughout the journey. In addition,
Speke temporarily lost his hearing after a beetle crawled inside his ear and
had to be removed with a knife.
Speke and Burton reached their destination, Lake Tanganyika, in
February 1858. Speke had been nearly blinded by an illness and could not
clearly see the body of water they had discovered. (He later regained his
sight.) After exploring the lake for three months, and with Burton now ill,
the two men prepared to head back to the East African coast—only to be
told of a large lake to the north.
On July 9, with Burton still too sick to make the journey, Speke set
out in search of the lake. Several weeks later, in August, he discovered the
lake and named it Victoria Nyanza (Lake Victoria). He believed it was the
source of the Nile River, but he had lost most of his survey equipment and
was unable to determine the depth or size of the lake or to make other
investigations. Burton rejected Speke’s claim, insisting that the source of the
Nile was Lake Tanganyika.
Speke returned to England in May 1859, about two weeks ahead of
Burton. During those two weeks, Speke delivered a speech to the Royal
Geographical Society and published an article in Blackwood’s Magazine
English explorer
John Hanning
Speke reached Lake
Victoria in 1858
and correctly identi-
fied it as the source
of the Nile River.
He also collected a
wealth of scientific
information on the
geography, climate,
flora, and fauna of
East Africa. (Apic/
Hulton Archive/
Getty Images)
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
in which he told of the expedition and announced that he had found the
source of the Nile.
Burton was furious. By reporting on the mission first, he believed that
Speke had violated an agreement between the two men to make a joint an-
nouncement of their findings. He also was angry that Speke had advanced
his claim for Lake Victoria as the source of the Nile without Burton having
an opportunity to argue for Lake Tanganyika. Te subsequent split between
the two explorers was deep and permanent.
Ripon Falls and the Source of the Nile
Under the sponsorship of the Royal Geographical Society, Speke returned
to Africa in 1860 with James Augustus Grant, a friend and an officer in
the British army, for the purpose of confirming Lake Victoria as the source
of the Nile. On September 25, 1860, Speke’s party of 217, including por-
ters and armed men, departed Zanzibar. Te expedition was soon halted,
however, as disputes among his interpreters caused negotiations with local
tribes to break down and prevented him from gaining assurances of safe
passage. Grant, meanwhile, had embarked on a more northerly route, only
to have his caravan attacked and his supplies stolen.
Together, the two men resumed their journey in September 1861.
Grant became ill in January 1862, and Speke continued north into Uganda
without him. In February, Speke arrived at the palace of King Mutesa and
negotiated with the ruler to obtain permission to travel onward.
Finally, in July 1862, Speke reached the Nile River on the northwest
shore of Lake Victoria, in Uganda. On July 28, he found the site at which
the Nile River exits the lake and named it Ripon Falls (after Lord Ripon,
the British undersecretary of state for war who had been instrumental in
arranging the expedition).
Speke began following the river downstream (north) from the lake, but
he was forced away from the water by hostile local tribes. He later returned
to the Nile, rejoined Grant, and reached Gondokoro, a trading depot in
southern Sudan, in February 1863. From Khartoum, which was farther
north, Speke sent a telegram to London in which he declared, “Te Nile is
In carrying out the expedition, Speke and Grant became the first
Europeans to cross equatorial eastern Africa. In doing so, they explored
500 miles (800 kilometers) of territory never before seen by Europeans.
But because Speke had been unable to follow the river downstream the en-
tire distance from Ripon Falls to Gondokoro, some questioned whether he
had really found the source of the Nile. His old companion and nemesis,
Burton, expressed particular skepticism, insisting that there was no proof
that the river that intersected with Lake Victoria was indeed the Nile.
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Back in London, Speke appeared again before the Royal Geographical
Society—this time, to announce that he had found the source of the Nile—
and was widely celebrated. In December 1863, he published a book on the
expedition, Journal of the Discovery of the Source of the Nile, which was widely
read but poorly edited, and its accuracy was questioned. Te following year,
Speke published a second work, What Led To the Discovery of the Source of
the Nile.
Burton, meanwhile, still insisted that Lake Tanganyika, not Lake
Victoria, was the true source of the Nile. Te two rivals were scheduled to
J G < B< Ë J J :@ < EK@ = @ : = @ E;@ E>J
lo l86ì, ¦oho |aooiog Sµo|o µoblishod AflieXcf]k_\;`jZfm\ipf]k_\JfliZ\f]k_\E`c\#io
vhich ho µ|ovidod a vivid accooot ot tho advooto|o ho oxµo|ioocod io |ast At|ica. |o also
µ|osootod a voalth ot sciootinc nodiogs io too| catogo|ios. ¨Goog|aµhy,¨ ¨Atmosµho|ic Agoots,¨
¨|lo|a,¨ aod ¨|aooa.¨
Uodo| Goog|aµhy, ho v|oto.
1ho cootiooot ot At|ica is somothiog li|o a dish to|ood oµsido dovo, haviog a high
aod ûat coot|al µlatoao, vith a higho| |im ot hills so||ooodiog it.
Uodo| Atmosµho|ic Agoots, ho disµlayod a cha|t shoviog ¨tho oombo| ot days oo vhich |aio
toll ¦mo|o o| lossj do|iog tho ma|ch ot tho |ast At|icao |xµoditioo t|om zaoziba| to Goodo|o|o.¨
Aboot tho viods, ho obso|vod.
lo tho d|yo| soasoo thoy blov so cold that tho soos hoat is oot dist|ossiog, aod io
coosoqoooco ot this, aod tho avo|ago altitodo ot tho µlatoao, vhich is ì,uuu toot [9uu
moto|sj, tho gooo|al tomµo|ato|o ot tho atmosµho|o is vo|y µloasaot, as l toood t|om
oxµo|iooco, to| l val|od ovo|y ioch ot tho joo|ooy d|ossod io thic| vooloo clothos,
aod sloµt ovo|y oight botvooo blao|ots.
Uodo| |lo|a, Sµo|o ootod.
1ho|o oxists a |ogola| g|adatioo ot to|tility, so|µ|isiogly |ich oo tho oqoato|, bot
doc|oasiog systomatically t|om it.
Aod oodo| |aooa, ho obso|vod.
Ooo thiog ooly toods to diso|gaoizo tho cooot|y, aod that is va| caosod, io tho n|st
iostaoco by µolygamy, µ|odociog a tamily ot halt-b|otho|s, vho, all asµi|iog to soccood
thoi| tatho|, nght cootiooally vith ooo aootho|, aod ma|o thoi| chiot aim slavos aod
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
debate the issue on the morning of September 16, 1864, at a meeting of the
British Association for the Advancement of Science, when tragedy struck.
On the afternoon before the debate, Speke went hunting for partridges in
the Wiltshire countryside. As he was climbing over a wall, his gun fired ac-
cidentally, leaving a wound in his left side. When a friend approached him,
Speke said weakly, “Don’t move me.”
Within fifteen minutes, the man who had correctly concluded that
Lake Victoria was the source of the Nile was dead, at the age of thirty-eight.
In his honor, a red granite obelisk was erected in London’s Kensington
Gardens. According to a contemporary observer, “Speke’s nature displayed
a truly remarkable blend of indomitable determination with the spirit of
perennial youth.”
Further Reading
Carnochan, W.B. Te Sad Story of Burton, Speke, and the Nile; Or, Was John
Hanning Speke a Cad? Stanford, CA: Stanford General, 2006.
Maitland, Alexander. Speke. London: Constable, 1971.
Speke, John Hanning. Journal of the Discovery of the Source of the Nile. 1863.
Mineola, NY: Dover, 1996.
See Livingstone, David
STARK, FREYA 18931993
An English travel writer and explorer, Freya Madeleine Stark journeyed
throughout the Middle East, including areas where few Western men, and
fewer Western women, had ever traveled before. Her observations of the
land, peoples, and everyday life—recorded in some two dozen books—are
known for their poetic beauty and incisive analysis.
See also: Burton,
Richard Francis;
Royal Geographical
1893: Born on January 31 in Paris
1927: Travels to Lebanon and is enchanted by the Middle Eastern desert
1929: Undertakes solo expedition through Persia to the Caspian Sea
1932: Publishes Baghdad Sketches
1934: Publishes Te Valleys of the Assassins
1936: Awarded the Mungo Park Medal by the Royal Geographical Society;
publishes Te Southern Gates of Arabia
1951: Publishes Beyond Euphrates
1972: Named a dame of the British Empire
1993: Dies at age 100 on May 9 at her home in Asolo, Italy
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Born on January 31, 1893, in Paris to British painters who moved
frequently, Stark was raised in several locations, including rural England
and London. She spent much of her youth in northern Italy, however, and
was educated by tutors at her grandmother’s house in Genoa. Because of
her travels and education, she could speak English, French, German, and
At age nine, she read Te Book of the Tousand Nights and a Night
(1885), also known as Te Arabian Nights, and was captivated by its tales
of Arabia and Persia. Te book stimulated her interest in the Middle East
and a desire to travel to the region. So, too, did the frequent relocations by
her family. As she later said,
I loved languages . . . and I loved to travel. My sister and I were brought up to
travel; we wandered about [and] I always had a feeling for learning languages,
and Arabic covers the greatest number of countries with the most interesting
history that was within my reach. I never thought of Far Eastern languages,
but I could learn Arabic, and it covers the greatest area. And, strangely, I
thought when I was about 20 that the countries where oil was being found
were going to be the most interesting in my life.
Stark studied literature at Bedford
College in London and then served as a
battlefield nurse during World War I. She
completed a course in Arabic at the School
of Oriental and African Studies at the
University of London and in 1927 decided
to travel to Lebanon. Once there, she imme-
diately fell in love with the desert. “I never
imagined that my first sight of [it] would
come as such a shock of beauty and enslave
me right away,” she wrote.
In 1929, Stark undertook difficult solo
expeditions from Baghdad to Lorestan
Province (in western Persia, now Iran) and
to the mountains of Mazandaran Province
on the Caspian Sea, where she nearly died
of malaria and dysentery. Over the next
twelve years, she traveled extensively in
Arabia, Iraq, Lebanon, Persia, and Syria.
She mapped a remote part of the Elburz
Mountains in Persia and explored remote
southern Arabia, where few Westerners
had ever before ventured.
Dame Freya Stark
lived and traveled
throughout the
Middle East from
the 1920s to 1950s.
In many areas, she
was one of the first
Western women
to do so. Her more
than thirty books
about the region, the
people, and her ex-
periences are consid-
ered classics. (Hulton
Getty Images)
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
During World War II, Stark joined Britain’s Ministry of Information
and took part in Arabic radio broadcasts aimed at getting nations in the
Middle East to support the Allies or at least convincing them to remain
neutral. She was particularly influential in Yemen, where she traveled with
a projector and films that she showed to audiences as part of an Allied pro-
paganda campaign.
In Cairo, Egypt, she founded a secret anti-Fascist society called the
Brothers of Freedom, which advocated in the Middle East for democracy
and religious tolerance. She later recalled,
We started with 12 friends and gradually spread. . . . In a year or two we had
over 100,000 people in the committees who wanted to help us.
Beginning in the 1950s, even as she spent much of her time writing,
Stark continued to travel and explore. She kept on doing so into her later
years. For example, she voyaged down the Euphrates River on a raft in her
Stark wrote twenty-four books about her travels, all published by the
John Murray company in London, as well as an autobiography and eight
volumes of letters, which reveal the wealth of her friendships and the excite-
ment of her adventures. Stark’s books are known for their spirit, lucidity,
and fascination with landscapes. In Baghdad Sketches (1932), for example,
she wrote,
I like these slow yellow streams. As they silt up or shift in their lazy beds,
they remove cities boldly from one district to another. Tey are as indolent,
and wayward, powerful, beneficent and unpitying as the Older Gods whom
no doubt they represent; and there is no greater desolation in this land than
to come upon their dry beds, long abandoned, but still marked step-by-step
with sand-colored ruins of the desert.
Freya Stark was awarded the Mungo Park Medal for exploration by
the Royal Scottish Geographical Society in 1936. In 1972, she was named
dame of the British Empire (the equivalent of knight). She died on May 10,
1993, at her home in Asolo in northeast Italy; she was 100 years old.
Further Reading
Geneisse, Jane. Passionate Nomad: Te Life of Freya Stark. New York: Modern
Library, 2001.
Moorehead, Caroline. Freya Stark. New York: Viking, 1985.
Moorehead, Lucy, ed. Letters of Freya Stark. 8 vols. Salisbury, UK: Compton
Russell, 1974–1982.
Stark, Freya. Te Freya Stark Story. New York: Coward-McCann, 1953.
See also: Royal
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
An American anthropologist and author best known for her books about
dog and cat behavior, Elizabeth Marshall Tomas also explored remote
areas of sub-Saharan Africa in researching her compelling studies of the
Bushmen and Dodoth peoples.
She was born Elizabeth Marshall in Boston on September 13, 1931,
to Laurence Marshall, a civil engineer and cofounder of the Raytheon
Company (then called the American Appliance Company), and Lorna
McLean, an English teacher and ballerina. She attended Abbot Academy,
a girls’ boarding school in Andover, Massachusetts. Following her gradu-
ation from the academy in 1949, Elizabeth attended Smith College in
Northampton, Massachusetts.
Her father interrupted her schooling the following year to take the
family on a trip to the Kalahari Desert in Botswana (at that time, the
Bechuanaland Protectorate) in southwestern Africa. He was seeking ad-
venture and a different kind of educational experience for himself and his
family. Without formal academic training, the Tomases plunged into an
anthropological study of the Bushmen. At the time, the Bushmen had little
contact with the modern outside world and followed traditional lifeways,
subsisting as hunters and gatherers.
From 1950 to 1955, Elizabeth Marshall made several journeys to
Botswana to study the Bushmen, spending a full year with them in 1952.
She also resumed her college studies, transferring from Smith College to
Radcliffe College in Cambridge, Massachusetts. During her junior year, she
wrote a short story about the Bushmen titled “Te Hill People,” which won
a fiction contest held by Mademoiselle magazine. After getting her degree
from Radcliffe in 1954, Marshall married Stephen Tomas; the couple
would have two children.
1931: Born on September 13 in Boston
1950: Visits the Kalahari Desert in southwestern Africa with her family
1959: Publishes Te Harmless People, a study of the Bushmen in Africa
1965: Publishes Te Warrior Herdsmen, about the Dodoth people of
1993: Te Hidden Life of Dogs becomes a best seller
2006: Publishes Te Old Way: A Story of the First People, about the
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Further research among the Bushmen resulted in Elizabeth Marshall
Tomas’s first book, Te Harmless People (1959), an anthropological study
of life in the tribe written in unusually vivid, nonscientific prose. Te book
found a wide audience. Tomas updated the work in the 1980s to consider
the effect of modern influences, especially alcohol and a wage-labor system,
on Bushman society.
Tomas journeyed again to Africa in 1960, this time to study the
Dodoth people in Uganda. Unlike the Bushmen, the Dodoth were warriors
who raised cattle. Based on that expedition and her studies of Dodoth life,
Tomas wrote Te Warrior Herdsmen, published in 1965.
According to a reviewer for Te New York Times, the book contained
“few ethnographic facts of the more conventional sort” but was “more like
the personal journal of an exciting adventure.” Nevertheless, the reviewer
continued, it conveyed an “underlying anthropological understanding,”
showing that “the Dodoth are real people of the twentieth century caught
up in the trials and tribulations of emergent Africa.”
Tomas’s first novel about indigenous cultures, Reindeer Moon (1987),
tells the story of a teenage girl who lived in a hunter-gatherer tribe of Siberia
about 20,000 years ago. Te Animal Wife (1990) is a companion novel set
in the same location and time period.
At the same time that she was conducting her anthropological studies
and writing works of fiction and nonfiction based on them, Tomas also
was pursuing a passion she had had since childhood: animals and animal
behavior. Objects of her study included elephants at zoos in the United
States and in the wilds of Namibia (in southwestern Africa). With scientist
Katy Payne, she discovered that elephants communicate by using sounds
too low for human beings to hear. Tomas also studied wolf packs on Baffin
Island, off the northeastern coast of Canada, and she found that they ex-
hibit an orderly social structure.
Tomas began making a rigorous study of a friend’s husky, Misha, fol-
lowing the dog as it wandered about. Ten, she studied Misha’s interactions
with her own dogs and the offspring of these dogs. From her investigation
came the book Te Hidden Life of Dogs (1993), which reached Te New
York Times best-seller list—and remained on it into 1994.
In this book, Tomas sought to answer the basic question, “What
do dogs want?” Misha’s primary mission, she concluded, was to establish
dominance over other dogs. Her portrayal of the canine world in human
terms—with references to “depression,” “marriage,” and the like—was vivid
and appealing to readers but objectionable to some dog experts. Behavioral
scientists criticized her for anthropomorphizing dogs and argued that her
understanding of dog consciousness was actually an understanding of the
human reaction to dog consciousness.
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Tomas followed her best seller about dogs with a book about cats, Te
Tribe of the Tiger: Cats and Teir Culture (1994). In this work, she discusses
cats as house pets, as well as her own encounters with lions and tigers in
Africa. Her subsequent works about animals have included Te Social Lives
of Dogs: Te Grace of Canine Company (2000) and Te Hidden Life of Deer:
Lessons from the Natural World (2009). Despite the popular format of these
books, Tomas tries to provide readers with behavioral insights based on
rigorous study and scientific observations.
In Te Old Way: A Story of the First People (2006), Tomas returns
to the Ju/Wasi Bushmen of southwestern Africa. Tis book encompasses
an autobiographical account of her travels, a family memoir, and updated
observations and reflections on native customs.
Further Reading
Tomas, Elizabeth Marshall. Te Hidden Life of Dogs. Boston: Houghton-
Mifflin, 1996.
———. Te Old Way: A Story of the First People. New York: Farrar, Straus and
Giroux, 2006.
———. Warrior Herdsmen. New York: W.W. Norton, 1981.
Afrikaner writer, journalist, World War II hero, explorer, and conser-
vationist Laurens van der Post also was a political advisor to Great Britain,
1906: Born on December 13 in Philippolis, South Africa
1926: Publishes a magazine critical of racial segregation in South Africa
1939: Joins the British Army in World War II
1943: Taken prisoner by Japanese troops in Indonesia
1952: Publishes Venture to the Interior, a best seller about his travels in
Nyasaland (Malawi)
1955: Undertakes expedition into the Kalahari Desert in southwestern
Africa to study the Bushmen
1977: Takes Prince Charles of England on safari in Kenya, Africa, and
organizes the World Wilderness Congress to serve as an international
environmental forum
1981: Knighted by Queen Elizabeth II
1996: Dies on December 16 in London
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
a friend and follower of Swiss psychologist Carl Jung, and an opponent of
apartheid who introduced the Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert to the out-
side world in a series of popular books and television documentaries.
Van der Post was born on December 13, 1906, at Philippolis in the
Orange River Colony (now the Orange Free State province of the Republic
of South Africa). His father, of Dutch descent, was Christian Willem
Hendrik van der Post, a prominent South African political leader and law-
yer. His mother, of German descent, was Lammie van der Post. Laurens
was the thirteenth of fifteen children.
Youth and Early Career
As a child, Laurens van der Post worked on his father’s farm, enjoyed read-
ing books, and attended Grey College in Bloemfontein from age eleven. In
1925, he became a cub reporter for the Natal Advertiser in Durban. Te fol-
lowing year, he began publishing with two other writers a satirical magazine
that advocated the integration of the white and black races in South Africa.
I< DFM8C F= K?< 9LJ ?D< E
Althoogh tho boshmoo ot sootho|o At|ica had booo µ|otoctod t|om ooc|oachmoot sioco l96l,
vhoo tho b|itish colooial aotho|ity ot bochoaoalaod ¦today botsvaoaj c|oatod tho Coot|al
|alaha|i Gamo |oso|vo oo thoi| aocost|al laod, tho govo|omoot ot botsvaoa bogao ao agg|ossivo
|olocatioo µ|og|am io tho mid-l99us .
1ho goals ot tho µ|og|am, otncials maiotaio, a|o to µ|otoct vildlito oo tho |oso|vo aod to
iotog|ato oativo boshmoo ioto tho cooot|ys social aod ocooomic lito. lo tact, tho govo|omoot
claims, it has bocomo cloa| that tho boshmoo a|o |oady to givo oµ thoi| t|aditiooal |olo as
hooto|s aod gatho|o|s to bocomo ta|mo|s aod ho|dsmoo.
Oµµoooots c|iticizo tho µolicy as ooo ot to|cod |olocatioo. So|vival loto|oatiooal, a g|ooµ
basod io G|oat b|itaio that soµµo|ts t|ibal commooitios io tho nght to hold ooto thoi| laods,
claims that tho botsvaoa govo|omoot soo|s tho |omoval ot tho boshmoo io o|do| to mioo to|
diamoods oo tho |oso|vo. Mo|oovo|, So|vival loto|oatiooal cha|gos, tho boshmoo havo booo
¨to|to|od, boatoo oµ o| a||ostod to| soµµosodly ovo|-hootiog o| hootiog vithoot co||oct
licoosos.¨ 1ho govo|omoot also has booo accosod ot |odociog tho boshmoos vato| soµµly by
dost|oyiog a vato| µomµ oo tho |oso|vo aod d|aioiog oato|al bodios ot t|oshvato|.
lo |ocombo| 2uu6, a coo|t io botsvaoa |olod that tho govo|omoot had iodood µo|socotod
tho boshmoo, vho had booo ¨to|cibly aod v|oogly doµ|ivod ot thoi| µossossioos.¨ by that timo,
hovovo|, tov it aoy boshmoo |omaiood oo tho |oso|vo.
Mo|o thao l,uuu boshmoo oxµ|ossod tho iotootioo ot |oto|oiog to thoi| homolaod, ovoo
thoogh tho govo|omoot vas oot comµollod to |osto|o so|vicos io tho a|oa. lo Aµ|il 2uu8, tho
Uoitod |atioos |omao |ights Cooocil issood a c|iticism ot tho botsvaoa govo|omoot to|
bloc|iog tho boshmoos |oto|o.
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Authorities shut down the magazine after three issues. Van der Post later
said that he had grappled with two problems in his youth:
One was that my people [the Dutch] had been conquered by the British just
a few years before I was born. . . . Tough I like the English without reserva-
tion, I had inherited this bitterness. Te second problem was the fact that I
loved the black peoples of Africa. . . . It was a great shock to me, when I was
sent away . . . [to Grey College] to find that I was being educated into some-
thing which destroyed the sense of common humanity I had shared with the
black people.
After several months at sea, marrying, and starting a family in England,
Van der Post returned to South Africa in 1929 and worked as a journalist
for the Cape Times, a newspaper in Cape Town. Again, he criticized racial
segregation, writing in one article, “Te future of civilization of South Africa
is, I believe, neither black or white but brown.”
Back in England in the early 1930s, Van der Post began socializing with
the Bloomsbury Group, a collection of prominent intellectuals and writ-
ers that included John Maynard Keynes, E.M. Forster, Virginia Woolf, and
Leonard Woolf. In 1934, the Woolfs published Van der Post’s first novel, In
a Province, about the damage being done to South Africa by its racial and
ideological divisions.
By this time, Van der Post had taken to heavy drinking in the face of
personal problems. He was especially torn between the loyalty he felt for
his wife and family and the love he felt for an English actress with whom he
was having an affair.
With the outbreak of World War II in 1939, Van der Post joined the
British army and soon rose to the rank of captain with the Intelligence
Corps in East Africa. In early 1942, he was transferred to the Dutch East
Indies (now the Republic of Indonesia), where, it was felt, he could help the
Allied war effort due to his ability to speak both English and Dutch. As a
military commander, he succeeded in evacuating from Java Allied personnel
who had been captured by the Japanese.
In April, however, Van der Post himself was taken prisoner. He spent
the rest of the war at two prison camps in Japan, Sukabumi and Bandung,
where he dedicated himself to lifting the morale of fellow prisoners. He later
wrote three books about his wartime experiences: A Bar of Shadow (1954),
Te Seed and the Sower (1963), and Te Night of the New Moon (1970).
Studies of African Tribes
With the end of World War II, Van der Post remained in Indonesia, where
he worked for two years to help reconcile differences between Indonesian
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nationalists and the Dutch colonial authority. Te effort failed, and Van der
Post left as British troops withdrew. He returned to England in 1947, by
which time, a revolution was under way in Indonesia.
Between 1948 and 1965, Van der Post tended his farm in South Africa
while writing books and engaging in several explorations of southern Africa.
In 1951, he published a best-selling work called Venture to the Interior, about
his travels in Nyasaland (then a British protectorate, today the country of
Tis work reflected the influence of Jung, who posited two aspects of
the human unconscious: the personal unconscious (the repressed thoughts
and feelings accumulated during an individual’s life) and the collective
unconscious (the inherited memories, symbols, experiences, and feelings
common to people in all cultures). Accordingly, Van der Post maintained
in Venture to the Interior, everyone’s personality is divided between primi-
tive and civilized components; the former is instinctive and subjective, the
latter objective and rational. His own journey in Africa, he observed, was
more than geographical; it was a journey into the “inward, nebulous, sub-
conscious, disquieting, where Africa becomes a spiritual continent.”
In the early 1950s, Van der Post undertook an extensive study of the
Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert in the Bechuanaland Protectorate (now
Botswana), in southwestern Africa. In 1954, he lectured at the Jung Institute
in Zurich, Switzerland.
In 1955, he published the book Te Dark Eye in Africa, in which he
asserted that the white oppression of blacks comes from a desire to sup-
press what he called the “instinctive man” (as opposed to the rational man),
which he said resides in the “dark brother.” Tat same year, he returned to
Bechuanaland for an expedition sponsored by the British Broadcasting
Company (BBC), which yielded a six-part television documentary in 1956
and led to his writing the book Te Lost World of the Kalahari (1958).
By this time, Van der Post was considered a leading expert on the
Bushmen. He would write several more books about them, including two
novels set near the Kalahari. His writing emphasized the outside pressures
being faced by the Bushmen; the response to his observations prompted
the British colonial government in 1961 to establish the Central Kalahari
Game Reserve, where the Bushmen were to live undisturbed. By the 1990s,
however, the Bushmen were being forced out of their homeland by the gov-
ernment, and Van der Post joined the fight against the relocation program.
Ironically, the Bushmen were being removed in part as a result of the ex-
panding cattle ranching he had promoted back in the 1950s.
Van der Post also cultivated relationships in the high echelons of the
British government, advising officials on issues of conservation and South
African policy. In 1977, he took Prince Charles of England on an African
safari in Kenya, and, with the South African conservationist Ian Player, he
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
organized the World Wilderness Congress in Johannesburg, South Africa,
to serve as an international environmental forum. Two years later, he ad-
vised Britain’s Prime Minister Margaret Tatcher on South African issues.
In 1981, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.
Van der Post died in London on December 16, 1996, leaving extensive
research and writings about the Bushmen and environmental issues. He
had published a total of twenty-six books, many of them anthropological
studies based on personal experiences and adventures. Aside from Te Lost
World of the Kalahari, his major works on the Bushmen include Te Heart
of the Hunter (1961) and Testament to the Bushmen (1984).
In the years since his death, Van der Post has been accused of fabricat-
ing certain information in his memoirs and other books. For example, some
have challenged his claims to have explored territory previously unseen by
white men. In his writings, however, Van der Post expressed the noblest
sentiments about Africa and life in general. He once observed,
I’ve always said that there are two great sources of corruption. Corruption by
power, and corruption by suffering. We have got to hold out against powerful
men and societies who dominate vulnerable and less-powerful people—and
other forms of life. And we must take an equally strong stand against becom-
ing bitter, and vengeful, and cynical, and even anarchical because of what oth-
ers have inflicted on us. It is the hallmark of a truly integrated person that he
will not allow his suffering to turn him sour. Te history of Africa has never
been a pleasant one, but I believe that there is a place in Africa for anybody
to live in dignity and love.
Further Reading
Jones, J.D.F. Storyteller: Te Many Lives of Laurens van der Post. London: John
Murray, 2001.
Van der Post, Laurens. About Blady: A Pattern Out of Time. New York:
William Morrow, 1991.
———. Venture to the Interior. New York: William Morrow, 1951.
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
A British naturalist and geographer who wrote on issues as disparate as
politics, spiritualism, and the environment, Alfred Russel Wallace was the
first to formulate the theory of evolution by natural selection, even before
Charles Darwin published his own conclusions on the subject.
Born on January 8, 1823, in Usk, Monmouthshire, Wales, to Tomas
Vere Wallace and Mary Anne Greenell, Alfred was the eighth of nine chil-
dren. He attended grammar school at Hertford in England. At age fourteen,
he left school for London, where he learned surveying from his brother
Despite his limited formal education, Alfred was an avid reader and
enjoyed studying maps. He pursued an education on his own, reading and
attending lectures, and worked briefly as a watchmaker. In 1839, William
took him to Hertfordshire to work as his assistant in the surveying busi-
ness. Alfred’s curiosity also extended to astronomy, agriculture, and botany,
all of which he studied zealously.
During the course of his surveying, Alfred Russel Wallace witnessed
firsthand the plight of farmers in the wake of the passage of enclosure laws,
which restricted their access to land. Beginning in 1750, such laws allowed
the closing off by wealthy landowners of fields and common lands where
farmers traditionally had grazed their animals. An enclosure law passed in
1845 strengthened the practice, which Wallace addressed in an essay titled
“Te South-Wales Farmer.” (Te essay was published years later.)
1823: Born on January 8 in Usk, Wales
1848: With naturalist Henry Walter Bates, undertakes an expedition to the Amazon
River basin in South America
1853: Publishes A Narrative of Travels on the Amazon and Rio Negro
1858: Writes an essay in which he formulates the theory of evolution based on natural
1881: Becomes president of the Land Nationalisation Society, which he founded to
promote equal access to English real property (land and that which is attached
to it, such as buildings)
1890: Named by the Royal Society of London for the Improvement of Natural
Knowledge as the first recipient of the Darwin Medal, issued for “his
independent origination of the theory of evolution through natural selection”
1913: Dies November 17 in Broadstone, England
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Meanwhile, in 1843, Wallace had become a master in the Collegiate
School at Leicester. Tere, he began experimenting with phrenology,
hypnotism, and telepathy, interests he would pursue later in life, much to
the chagrin of those who considered them foolish eccentricities. While at
Leicester, Wallace met the naturalist Henry Walter Bates, who introduced
him to the study of entomology.
South America and the Malay Archipelago
Wallace returned to surveying in 1846. Two years later, he convinced Bates
to accompany him on an expedition to the Amazon basin in South America
to collect insects, animals, and plants. For reasons unknown, the two natu-
ralists parted company in 1850. Wallace remained in South America until
1852; Bates stayed for eleven years.
While in South America, Wallace surveyed a large part of the Amazon
River. He determined that numerous details on existing maps were incor-
rect, including the locations of islands, the existence of parallel channels,
and the width of the river at various locations. He studied the habitats and
languages of the various peoples he encountered; collected a wide variety of
insect and bird specimens; and compiled detailed notes on his observations
and discoveries.
In his published account of the expedition, A Narrative of Travels on
the Amazon and Rio Negro (1853), Wallace reported at least one impor-
tant scientific observation: the Amazon River limited the range of animal
species in the immediate vicinity. For example, on one side of the river, he
found a butterfly with sky-blue wings; on the other side, he found a similar
species with indigo-colored wings. Neither species commingled with the
other, which later prompted Wallace to consider the relationship between
geographic influence and evolution.
Te expedition to South America was dogged by tragedy. In 1851,
Wallace’s younger brother, Herbert, who had joined him on the trip, died of
yellow fever. Ten, on the return trip to England, the ship on which Wallace
was traveling, the Helen, caught fire at sea, forcing him, the other passen-
gers, and the crew into open boats. All of the notes and specimens he had
not previously sent to England were lost.
On his next expedition, from 1854 to 1862, Wallace journeyed to the
Malay Archipelago, where he traveled among the islands, collected biologi-
cal specimens, and wrote scientific articles. He discovered that the archi-
pelago is divided by a strait (today called “Wallace’s Line”) and that, as in the
Amazon basin, geography shaped life-forms. West of the strait, he found
the flora and fauna to be Asian in its physical attributes; east of the strait,
he discovered the native species to be Australian.
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Teory of Evolution Trough
Natural Selection
In 1853, after returning from his trip to South
America, Wallace wrote a paper, “On the Habits of
Butterflies of the Amazon Valley,” that clearly antici-
pated the theory of evolution through natural selec-
tion. For instance, he wrote of the Heliconia species,
[Tey] are exceedingly productive in closely allied
species and varieties of the most interesting descrip-
tion and often have a very limited range. . . . [As]
there is every reason to believe that the banks of the
lower Amazon are among the most recently formed
in South America, we may fairly regard those insects,
which are peculiar to that district, as among the
youngest of species, the latest in the long series of modi-
fications which the forms of animal life have undergone.
[Italics added.]
Wallace later claimed that the theory of evolution through natural
selection came to him while he was suffering a severe case of malaria in
1858. Gripped by fever in the Molucca Islands, he began thinking about
the theory of philosopher Tomas Malthus that war, famine, disease, and
infertility are natural checks on the growth of human population. Likewise,
Wallace thought, such elements also must control the growth of animal
Based on this thinking, Wallace wrote an essay—titled “On the Ten -
dency of Varieties to Depart Indefinitely from the Original Type: Instabil-
ity of Varieties Supposed to Prove the Permanent Distinctness of Species.”
In this work, he maintained that the life of wild animals is a strug gle for
existence based on self-preservation and the survival of infant offspring.
In June 1858, Wallace sent the paper to his friend and fellow naturalist
Charles Darwin, to ask his opinion and in case it might help Darwin in his
own work on the origin of species. Darwin was stunned, as Wallace’s essay
contained the very ideas he had formulated on the subject. In short, the two
men had reached the same conclusion independently.
Facing a dilemma, Darwin decided to submit extracts of his own previ-
ous writings, along with Wallace’s paper, to the prestigious Linnean Society
of London. Te writings of both men were read at a meeting of the society
on July 1 and published as a single paper in the society’s journal under the
names of Darwin and Wallace.
After expeditions in
the Amazon basin
and Malay Archipel-
ago to collect animal
and plant specimens,
Alfred Russel Wal-
lace began formulat-
ing the theory of
evolution by natural
dently from Charles
Darwin—in the
mid-1850s. (Granger
Collection, New York)
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
History would give credit largely to Darwin, in part because his land-
mark book on the subject, On the Origin of Species (1859), articulated the
theory in detail and triggered widespread hostile reaction. Wallace would
become one of the forgotten men of modern biological science despite the
essential similarity—and originality—of his theory.
Wallace returned to England from Southeast Asia in 1862, by which
time he had gained prominence as a natural scientist and geographer. Four
years later, he married Annie Mitten, the daughter of a botanist, with whom
he would have three children.
In 1869, he published a well-received account of his experience in
Southeast Asia, Te Malay Archipelago: Te Land of the Orang-Utan and the
Bird of Paradise, which he followed in 1870 with Contributions to the Teory
of Natural Selection. His Geographical Distribution of Animals (1876), which
was published in two volumes, and Island Life (1880) placed the geographic
dispersal of living and extinct animals in an evolutionary context.
8C = I< ; ILJ J < C N8C C 8:< 8E;
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lo sovo|al boo|s aod ossays, Alt|od |ossol vallaco omµhasizod a |oy asµoct ot his thoo|y
ot ovolotioo. Chaogos io sµocios a|o di|octly |olatod to chaogos io goog|aµhy, climato, aod
vogotatioo. lo K_\>\f^iXg_`ZXc;`jki`Ylk`fef]8e`dXcj¦l8/6j, ho v|oto.
|ato|alists havo oov a||ivod at tho cooclosioo, that by somo slov µ|ocoss ot
dovoloµmoot o| t|aosmotatioo, all aoimals havo booo µ|odocod t|om thoso vhich
µ|ocodod thom, aod tho old ootioo that ovo|y sµocios vas sµocially c|oatod as thoy
oov oxist, at a µa|ticola| timo aod io a µa|ticola| sµot, is abaodoood as oµµosod to
maoy st|i|iog tacts, aod oosoµµo|tod by aoy ovidooco. 1his modincatioo ot aoimal
to|ms too| µlaco vo|y slovly, so that tho histo|ical µo|iod ot th|oo o| too| thoosaod
yoa|s has ha|dly µ|odocod aoy µo|coµtiblo chaogo io a sioglo sµocios. |voo tho timo
sioco tho last glacial oµoch, vhich oo tho vo|y lovost ostimato most bo t|om !u,uuu to
luu,uuu yoa|s, has ooly so|vod to modity a tov ot tho higho| aoimals ioto vo|y slightly
ditto|oot sµocios. 1ho chaogos ot tho to|ms ot aoimals aµµoa| to havo accomµaoiod,
aod µo|haµs to havo doµoodod oo, chaogos ot µhysical goog|aµhy, ot climato, o| ot
vogotatioo, sioco it is ovidoot that ao aoimal vhich is voll adaµtod to ooo cooditioo
ot thiogs vill |oqoi|o to bo slightly chaogod io coostitotioo o| habits, aod tho|oto|o
gooo|ally io to|m, st|octo|o, o| coloo|, io o|do| to bo oqoally voll adaµtod to a chaogod
cooditioo ot so||ooodiog ci|comstaocos. Aoimals moltiµly so |aµidly, that vo may
coosido| thom as cootiooally t|yiog to oxtood thoi| |aogo, aod thos aoy oov laod
|aisod abovo tho soa by goological caosos bocomos immodiatoly µooµlod by a c|ovd
ot comµotiog iohabitaots, tho st|oogost aod bost adaµtod ot vhich alooo soccood io
maiotaioiog thoi| µositioo.
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Over the years, Wallace moved frequently in England, living in London,
in Grays in Essex, and in Parkstone and Broadstone, both in Dorset. He
earned some money from his books and by selling specimens he had col-
lected during his expeditions to museums, but he never held a salaried posi-
tion, and he invested his money carelessly. As a consequence, he sank into
poverty. In 1881, he was rescued by a small pension that was granted to
him by the British government at the behest of two friends, Darwin and
naturalist Tomas Huxley.
Also in 1881, Wallace was elected president of the new Land
Nationalisation Society, which enabled him to address some of the social
and economic issues facing England, including trade policy and land re-
form. Returning to the plight of farmers, which he had been exposed to as
a young surveyor, Wallace advocated the view that the government should
help those disposed of land to rise out of poverty by buying arable acre-
age and renting it to small farmers. In 1886, he made his last trip outside
England, a ten-month lecture tour of the United States.
Wallace spent his later years immersed in the spiritualist world of me-
diums, criticizing the many scientists and others who dismissed such inter-
ests as quackery. He asked,
Now what do our leaders of public opinion say
when a scientific man of proved ability again
observes a large portion of the more extraordi-
nary phenomena, in his own house, under test
conditions, and affirms their objective reality;
and this not after a hasty examination, but after
four years of research?
In 1890, Wallace was named the first recipi-
ent of the biennial Darwin Medal, awarded for
important work in Darwinian science by the
Royal Society of London for the Improvement
of Natural Knowledge. In 1892, he received the
Linnean Society’s Gold Medal and the Royal
Geographical Society’s Founder’s Medal. During
his lifetime, he published a total of twenty-one
books, in addition to numerous articles and
Alfred Russel Wallace died on November 17,
1913, in Broadstone, southwest England, where
he was buried. Two years later, a commemorative
marble medallion in his honor was unveiled in
London’s Westminster Abbey.
Te first scientific
paper on the theory
of evolution by
natural selection,
“On the Tendency of
the Species to Form
Varieties,” coau-
thored by Charles
Darwin and Alfred
Russel Wallace,
was published on
August 20, 1858.
(Granger Collection,
New York)
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Further Reading
Camerini, Jane R., ed. Te Alfred Russel Wallace Reader: A Selection of Writings
from the Field. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002.
Fichman, Martin. An Elusive Victorian: Te Evolution of Alfred Russel Wallace.
Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004.
Raby, Peter. Alfred Russel Wallace: A Life. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University
Press, 2001.
Smith, Charles H., and George Beccaloni, eds. Natural Selection and Beyond:
Te Intellectual Legacy of Alfred Russel Wallace. New York: Oxford
University Press, 2008.
An American mountaineer, photographer, and cartographer, Bradford
Washburn also was the director of the New England Museum of Natural
History; the founder and longtime director of the Boston Museum of
Science; and the leader of a project in the 1970s to map the Grand Canyon
in Arizona.
Bradford Washburn was born on June 7, 1910, to Henry and Edith
Washburn in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His father was dean of the
Episcopal Teological School, and his mother was an amateur photog-
rapher. He later said that his mother was the first to put a camera in his
hands, and added: “It is probably fair to say that my mother contributed to
my sense of adventure and that my father contributed to my appreciation
for detail and accuracy.”
From boyhood, Washburn climbed mountains. At age eleven, he scaled
Mount Washington in New Hampshire, which at 6,288 feet (1,917 me-
ters) is the tallest peak in the northeastern United States. He later recalled
how attracted he had become to “hiking on mountain trails and sharing
See also:
Bates, Henry Walter;
Darwin, Charles.
1910: Born on June 7 in Cambridge, Massachusetts
1921: Climbs the highest peak in the northeastern United States, Mount
Washington in New Hampshire
1933: Receives an undergraduate degree from Harvard University
1937: Explores Mount Lucania in Canada, the highest unexplored peak in
North America
1939: Becomes director of the New England Museum of Natural History
1951: Makes the first-ever ascent of Mount McKinley, in Alaska, by way of
the mountain’s West Buttress
1974: Compiles a map of the inner part of the Grand Canyon, in Arizona
1978: Completes a map of the center section of the Grand Canyon
2007: Dies on January 10 in Lexington, Massachusetts
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
the thrills of discovery with close friends.” By age sixteen, Washburn had
ascended the Matterhorn in Switzerland and Mont Blanc in the French
Alps. Te following year, he published his first book, Among the Alps with
Bradford (1927).
Washburn received his undergraduate degree in 1933 from Harvard
University, where he was a member of the mountaineering club. Its mem -
bers climbed remote peaks in Alaska and Canada. He returned to Harvard
years later, earning a master’s degree in geology and geography in 1960.
Satisfying his appetite for adventure in another way—not unrelated to
his interests in mountain climbing and photography—Washburn trained
to become a pilot and flew solo for the first time at Boeing Field in Seattle
in 1934. One year later, he earned his private flying license. By this time,
to help plan expeditions, Washburn had taken to shooting aerial photo-
graphs of mountains that he was interested in climbing—and for their
sheer beauty.
Washburn’s most momentous and hair-raising early climb took place in
1937, when he attempted to climb Mount Lucania (17,146 feet, or 5,226
meters) in Canada’s Yukon Territory. Te third highest peak in Canada,
Mount Lucania also was the highest unclimbed mountain in North America
at the time. Two years earlier, members of a climbing party had quit their
ascent to the summit and declared it unlikely that anyone would ever reach
the peak because of the formidable terrain.
When the National Geographic Society sponsored Washburn, then
twenty-six, for his attempt, the society’s president at the time, Gilbert
Grosvenor, said to him,
Bradford Washburn,
one of America’s
leading mountain-
eers of the 1930s
and 1940s, was also
a pioneering figure in
mountain photogra-
phy and cartography.
He later founded
and directed the
Boston Museum
of Science. (Robert
Lackenbach/Time &
Life Pictures/Getty
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Yours is the first expedition we have entrusted to a man as young as yourself,
and your remarkable record . . . might very naturally lead you to be a little
over-confident and take risks . . . that an older man might not venture to take.
Washburn was accompanied on the climb by another young American
mountaineer, Robert Bates, who also was twenty-six at the time, and he was
flown to the site by Bob Reeve, a notable Alaskan bush pilot. Washburn in-
structed Reeve to land them on Walsh Glacier, just south of the mountain.
Unknown to the team, however, an unusual warm spell had turned the top
of the glacier to mush, and the plane was entrapped immediately upon land-
ing. Several days passed before the ice hardened and Reeve could depart.
Washburn and Bates spent three weeks hauling supplies to their base
camp. Finally, on July 9, they made their final assault from the base of the
summit pyramid, wading through waist-high snow. “We fought on as I have
never fought in my life,” Washburn wrote.
Te two climbers reached the summit later that afternoon. “Our yell of
triumph could have been heard in Timbuctoo!” Washburn recorded in his
N8J ?9LIEË J :8D< I8 @ E J G8:<
As a moootaio climbo| aod µhotog|aµho|, b|adto|d vashbo|o too| his camo|as to astooishiog
hoights to µ|odoco n|sthaod imagos to| tho a|mchai| oxµlo|o|. Yot ho oovo| imagiood that ooo
ot his camo|as voold ooo day bo osod to ta|o µicto|os io ooto| sµaco. Soch vas tho caso io May
2uu9, tvo yoa|s atto| vashbo|os doath, vhoo U.S. sµaco shottlo ast|ooaot ¦oho G|oostold osod
tho camo|a do|iog a :fcldY`Xmissioo to |oµai| tho |obblo 1oloscoµo.
G|oostold, himsolt a climbo| vho lato| scalod Mooot Mc|ioloy, had booo a t|iood ot
vashbo|os.1ho ast|ooaot too| vith him oo tho :fcldY`X a zoiss Maxima| b 4x! camo|a, mado
io l929, that vashbo|o had osod as a ¨µoc|ot¨ camo|a. lo aooooociog his iotootioo boto|o tho
missioo, G|oostold said.
b|ad livod jost a t|omoodoos lito. |o is ooo ot my ho|oos aod do|iog tho l92us did jost
a taotastic oombo| ot climbs all ovo|. As µa|t ot that ho sta|tod µioooo|iog tho oso ot
camo|as t|om ai|µlaoos. . . . l donoitoly µlao to ta|o somo µicto|os ot |obblo vith tho
zoiss camo|a bot also ot moootaios, vhich l |oov b|ad voold aµµ|ociato.
G|oostold addod that ho voold oso tho camo|a ooly iosido tho shottlo, bocaoso cooditioos
io ooto| sµaco might |oio tho aotiqoo iost|omoot. 1ho camo|a, vhich boloogs to tho Amo|icao
Alµioo Clob, |omaios oo disµlay at tho b|adto|d vashbo|o Amo|icao Moootaiooo|iog Mosoom io
Goldoo, Colo|ado.
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
On their return, Washburn and Bates trudged 150 miles (240 kilo-
meters) from base camp through the surrounding wilderness to reach the
small town of Burwash Landing. From there, a bush pilot took them to
Valdez, Alaska.
Washburn’s wife, Barbara, accompanied him on a number of expedi-
tions, including on his fourth climb to the summit of Canada’s Mount
McKinley, in 1947. Tis made her the first woman to scale that mountain,
which at 20,320 feet (6,194 meters) is the highest in North America.
In 1951, Washburn made the first-ever ascent of Mount McKinley by
way of the mountain’s West Buttress, thus opening a new route that is used
by most climbers today. He later recalled,
McKinley is the biggest and most beautiful peak of the really big mountains
of the world that was really accessible to me. When we first went in there, it
was unmapped and virtually unexplored.
In Alaska, Washburn took his photography to a new level, recording
images of the wilderness from the ground and the air. As his prints revealed,
he was interested in natural beauty as much or more than he was interested
in scientific observation. His black-and-white photos later were shown at
New York’s Museum of Modern Art and in London’s Victoria and Albert
As a cartographer, Washburn used aerial photography to survey the
landscape and make measurements of its features. In 1960, for example, he
used this technique to map Mount McKinley.
In 1974, with the help of staff members from National Geographic mag-
azine, Washburn used helicopters to scale peaks in and around the Grand
Canyon in Arizona and then measured contours and distances with lasers
and reflecting prisms. Te result was a detailed map of the Inner Canyon,
followed four years later by a map of the central part of the canyon.
Perhaps his greatest cartographic achievement was a topographic
map of the highest mountain in the world, Mount Everest, which is in the
Himalayan Mountains on the border of Nepal and Tibet. Te map was
published in National Geographic in 1998 and distributed to more than 10
million readers.
In addition, Washburn was named director of the New England
Museum of Natural History, in Boston, in 1939; he spent the next forty
years working to improve it. Under his leadership, the museum was rebuilt
and reestablished as the Boston Museum of Science on a site spanning the
Charles River between Boston and Cambridge. Washburn retired as direc-
tor of the museum in 1980, but he held the title of honorary director for
the rest of his life. According to one observer, Washburn made the museum
(c) 2011 M.E. Sharpe, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
a “leading center for science” by bringing its exhibits more in line with recent
research and theory.
Washburn wrote several more books, including Mount McKinley: Te
Conquest of Denali (1991). His writings and photographs also appeared in
a number of magazines, including Life and National Geographic. He died
from heart failure at his home in Lexington, Massachusetts, on January 10,
2007, at age 96.
Further Reading
Sfraga, Michael. Bradford Washburn: A Life of Exploration. Corvallis: Oregon
State University Press, 2004.
Washburn, Bradford. Mount McKinley’s West Buttress: Te First Ascent, Brad
Washburn’s Logbook, 1951. Williston, VT: Top of the World, 2003.
Washburn, Bradford, and Lew Freedman. Bradford Washburn: An
Extraordinary Life. Portland, OR: West Winds, 2005.
Eccentric English naturalist and explorer Charles Waterton traveled
through British Guiana (now Guyana) in South America to collect the
plant from which the poisonous substance curare—used by natives on ar-
rowheads and later in Europe as a muscle relaxant—is derived.
Charles Waterton was born on June 3, 1782, at Walton Hall, his family’s
estate in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, England. His family was wealthy, aris-
tocratic, and devoutly Roman Catholic. Charles embraced the faith as well
and later would develop close ties with Catholic leaders at the Vatican in
Italy. He was educated at a small Catholic school near the town of Durham
in northern England and then Stonyhurst, a Jesuit school in Lancashire.
After a brief time in Spain, Waterton journeyed to British Guiana in
1804 to take car