The main achievement in the life of Roald Amundsen is considered by many to be the fact that he became the first person in history to reach the South Pole of the Earth. But he also made a number of other discoveries that are not inferior in importance to his Antarctic expedition.
Amundsen was a Norwegian, and when he began his famous expedition to Antarctica, at the same time another team, a British one, headed by explorer Robert Scott, went there. It was a real competition, all of them wanted to get to the South Pole first. Arriving at the South Pole, Scott found that Amundsen’s team was 34 days ahead of him. Unfortunately, Scott’s team perished on a way back.
Roald Amundsen became one of the first two people (the second one was his teammate, a polar explorer Oscar Wisting) to visit both poles of the Earth. He made these expeditions in 1911 and 1926.
The Northwest Passage is a sea route that runs through the Arctic Ocean, it connects the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. People have been trying to cross it for centuries, to explore a short way from one ocean to another, but Amundsen was the first to succeed.
The father of the famous researcher became rich during the Crimean War in the middle of the XIX century. He supplied France and Great Britain, who fought against Russian Empire, with hay and straw, and made a fortune on these supplies.
Roald Amundsen had three brothers – Jens, Gustav, and Leon, and he was the youngest in the family. His brother Jens became quite a famous inventor, he came up with new technologies for the production of powdered milk and margarine.
In his childhood, the future conqueror of Antarctica used to have a hothead. He was involved in lots of fights as a child and a teenager. He was also called arrogant.
He built up his muscles well in his youth. However, not entirely of his own free will – both he and his brothers were taught to play sports in every possible way. Parents built gymnastic equipment in the courtyard of the house so that all the Amundsen brothers quickly became good gymnasts.
One of the most interesting facts of Amundsen’s biography is that expeditions to the North Pole were made before him, but their results were considered doubtful. His expedition there was the first, the result of which is considered indisputably proven and irrefutable.
Roald Amundsen became the first person in the world to circumnavigate the world through both polar circles. He set this record during an expedition organized by him and passed by the Northern Sea Route along the coast of Siberia.
Many objects bear the name of the famous explorer: Amundsen Glacier, Amundsen Sea, Amundsen Mountain, and so on. There is also a bay named after him, a hollow in the ocean, a crater on the Moon, an asteroid, a frigate, a research center, and much more.
Amundsen devoted his entire life to research. He never married and has had no children. He spent most of his life on expeditions and long tours to different countries, during which he gave lectures. However, he was in a long-term relationship with three women (at different times), and all three were married at that moment.
He made his expeditions not only by land and sea but also by air, becoming one of the pioneers of Arctic aeronautics. He flew from Norway to Alaska on the airship “Norway” in May of 1926. It was the first flight across the Arctic.
There is no grave of Roald Amundsen. When he was already 55 years old, he learned about the disaster that befell the Italian explorer Umberto Nobile, whose airship crashed in the Arctic. Soon Amundsen flew out in search of him on a special seaplane, but the plane went missing with the entire crew. At the same time, Nobile and the surviving members of his team were soon after rescued by a Soviet icebreaker.
Amundsen’s behavior changed in the last years of his life. He became very hot-tempered and unpredictable, he was even called insane and claimed that he had lost his mental balance. However, perhaps this is not true: during these years he successfully performed in Japan, where he was appreciated very highly, and no one found his behavior weird.