Google celebrates Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen’s South Pole expedition

California,Dec14:Google is celebrating the 105th Anniversary of Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen’s successful expedition to the South Pole. Amundsen initially wanted to be the first to reach the North Pole, but secretly changed the plans to head south after reports of expeditions by Frederick Cook and Robert Peary that both reached the North Pole. Amundsen kept his plans secret from his crew members and financiers.

Funding for the expedition dried out after the reports of other expeditions reaching the North Pole. Amundsen mortgaged his house to fund the expedition and risked utter financial ruin if the expedition to the South Pole were to fail.

Amundsen procured one hundred of the strongest sled dogs for use in the expedition. The ship, Fram, was equipped with a library of three thousand books, musical instruments and a gramophone to keep the morale of the crew high. The secrecy of the expedition and evasive answers from superiors meant that the crew had low morale for a part of the voyage, but everyone wholeheartedly agreed to the change of plans once Amundsen revealed it to the crew.

Fram, the ship used in the Expedition.
Fram, the ship used in the Expedition.

A base was established in the Bay of Whales and there was a disastrous false start where the expedition tried to reach the South Pole when it was too cold. Some sled dogs were lost and the explorers rushed back to base after realising that their start had been premature. After waiting for spring to break, the expedition started again and marched successfully to the South Pole. The expedition planted the flag of Norway over the South Pole and left unmistakable evidence of their presence to make sure that there was no contradictory claims in the future.

The expedition at the South Pole
The expedition at the South Pole

Amundsen surveyed the South Pole thoroughly to make sure that no previous expedition had reached there. British Explorer Robert Falcon Scott also reached the South Pole five weeks after Amundsen’s team. Scott had provided support and equipment to the Amundsen expedition and Amundsen had kept his plans secret from Scott. All members of Scott’s Terra Nova expedition died on the way back from the South Pole, but their diaries were recovered in a rescue mission.

The Dog Sleds
One of the Dog Sleds

Amundsen navigated Fram to Tasmania and informed news organisations of his successful expedition. Eleven dogs of the hundred survived the expedition and some were used as food on the march to the South Pole. Some have criticised Amundsen’s tactics because of the sneaky manner in which he got to the South Pole.

Although the British Press generally lauded his efforts, the ex-Viceroy of India, Lord Curzon, insultingly raised a toast for Amundsen by saying “Three Cheers to the Dogs” when Amundsen addressed the Royal Geographical Society. British explorers had an aversion to using sled dogs on polar expeditions.

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