Roald Amundson

Roald Amundsen (1872-1928 has been described as the greatest polar explorer ever. He was the first to navigate the Northwest Passage, the first to reach the South Pole, a navigator of the Northeast Passage, the first to fly to latitude 88° N, and the first to fly over the North Pole and across the Arctic Ocean. He was born at Hvidsten in Borge, near to Fredrikstad in southeast Norway, but the shipowner family moved to Kristiania (Oslo) soon after. Amundsen claimed that he decided in 1887 to become a polar explorer, after he had read about the English explorer Sir John Franklin. Once his mother died, Amundsen gave up medical studies and devoted his time to training and preparations for his own chosen career, not least by gaining his mate’s papers in 1895. In 1897-99 he participated as 1st mate on the Belgian Antarctic Expedition which became the first scientific expedition to winter (although unplanned) in the Antarctic. This was excellent training for Amundsen’s further polar career.