Robert Peary

Robert Edwin Peary (May 6, 1856 - February 20, 1920) was an American explorer who is usually credited as the first person to reach the Geographic North Pole on April 6, 1909. However the only evidence that supported his claim were his journals. In 1996, a copy of Peary's personal record was discovered and using these documents it was shown that Peary was at least 20 miles (32 km) short of the North Pole.

He set off with 23 men on July 6, 1908, but by the time he reached the North Pole only five of his men, Matthew Henson, Oatah, Egingwah, Seegloo, and Ookeah, remained. In ahis diary for the 7th April (but actually written up much later when preparing his journals for publication, Peary wrote "The Pole at last!!! The prize of 3 centuries, my dream and ambition for 23 years. Mine at last [..]".

He was also the author of several books, the most famous being Northward over the Great Ice (1898) and Nearest the Pole (1907). The movie Glory & Honor by Kevin Hooks (200) chronicles his journey to the pole.

In his book Ninety Degrees North, polar historian and author Fergus Fleming describes Peary as "undoubtedly the most driven, possibly the most successful and probably the most unpleasant man in the annals of polar exploration."

He was a graduate of Bowdoin College, Maine. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery, next to Matthew Henson.


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