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Robert E. Peary


Born: 6 May 1856
Died: 20 February 1920
Birthplace: Cressen, Pennsylvania
Best known as: North Pole expedition leader

Robert Edwin Peary, his assistant Matthew Henson and four Inuit men were the first to reach the North Pole on 6 April 1909. An officer in the United States Navy, it was Commander Peary's eighth attempt to reach the pole in two decades of exploring arctic regions. When he returned, however, a former colleague from his 1891 Greenland expedition, Dr. Frederick Cook, claimed to have reached the North Pole a year before. In 1911 a congressional inquiry concluded that Peary, who had been promoted to Rear Admiral, deserved the credit. In recent years the weight of opinion has shifted clearly to Peary's side, with a nod to the accomplishments of Henson as well.

Extra credit:

The four Inuits who reached the North Pole were Oatah, Egingwah, Ookeah and Seegloo… Peary’s wife Josephine joined him on several of his expeditions.

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