In the nineteenth century when the Arctic was truly terra incognita, a few men, some adventurous and some foolish, were inspired to leave their world behind them and seek fame in this cold, unknown land. Some acquired lasting fame, some came home disappointed, and some never came back at all. Today many of their names are enshrined on the islands, capes, fjords, etc. found on maps of the Arctic.
The North Pole was the ultimate goal of many of the early expeditions, but many of the later ones were interested in the native peoples, the archaeology, the geography, the geology, or the climate of the Arctic. Much of the Arctic is a frozen ocean, but the northernmost land is found in a region of Greenland called Peary Land, named for Robert Peary in recognition of his exploration of the region prior to his 1909 attempt to reach the North Pole.
In 1900 during a traverse of Greenland’s north coast Peary reached a cape which he determined to be the northernmost point of land in the Arctic, and thus in the world.
As a thank you to one of his financial supporters, he named it Cape Morris Jesup, and for the next 69 years the world considered the cape held the distinction of “world’s most northerly point of land.” However, in 1969 this title passed to an island, Kaffeklubben, just twenty mile to the east.
My book Beyond the Edge chronicles the history of this part of the Arctic. It relates the story of early explorers as they struggled up the coast of northwest Greenland, and the traverses that brought Peary and others to the north coast of what is now known as Peary Land. It tells of modern adventurers who still seek an unknown northern island in the Arctic.
Interested in learning more about arctic adventures? Get your copy of Beyond the Edge today!