Exploration of Greenland 1888–1951


Map Code: Ax00878

In the 19th century there was an obsession with exploration, which generated a competitive drive to be the first to map unexplored and dangerous terrain. This was perhaps the case with Norwegian explorer, Fridtjof Nansen, whose team, in 1888, used cross-country skis to be the first to cross Greenland’s icy interior. American explorer, Robert Peary, crossed northern Greenland in 1891–92 to establish whether it was an island or a peninsula.  From 1912–13, the German geophysicist, Alfred Wegener, in a team led by the Danish explorer Johan Koch, studied polar air circulation and plate tectonics in northern central Greenland. Wegener’s observations established that continents move across the Earth’s surface. Wegener died in 1930, on a final expedition. In 1949–51, a French polar expedition led to the remapping of parts of northern Greenland and the discovery of several fjords. It was the first on record to reach the North Pole.

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