||C. F. Hall with Eskimo
Farthest North (1850s-1870s)
Although the aim of Kane's 1853-1855
expedition was to search for Franklin, there is suspicion that
he had a greater interest in finding a route to the North Pole.
He ended up surveying a narrow channel between Greenland and
Ellsmere Island. The ship's surgeon from Kane's expedition,
Isaac Israel Hayes, launched another expedition to the Pole
by the same route in 1860, but added few new discoveries. Charles
Francis Hall also took the Kane Basin approach in 1871, but
after easily passing through Kane Basin and Kennedy Channel
and on the very edge of the Arctic Ocean, Hall fell suddenly
ill and died.
The theory of an 'Open Polar Sea' was revived in the 1850s by
the eminent German geographer August Petermann. Petermann rejected
the Kane Basin approach, leading to the German North Polar Expeditions
in 1868 and 1869 along northeast Greenland, which were led by
Karl Koldewey. Later, Petersen organized Austro-Hungarian (because
Germany was at war with France) expeditions in the northern
Barents Sea, which were led by Karl Weyprecht and Julius von
Payer, and discovered the Franz Josef Land archipelago in 1873.
Sherard Osborn was the impetus for the British Arctic Expedition
from 1875 to 1876. It was led by George Strong Nares, and attained
the highest latitude for a ship, reaching the very shores of
the Arctic Ocean at 82°28'N. A polar sledge party led by Albert
Hastings Markham proceeded farther north manhauling sledges
across the pack ice, but fell well short of the Pole.
Berton, P., The Arctic Grail: The Quest for the Northwest
Passage and the North Pole, 1818-1909, Viking Penguin, New
York, 672 pp., 1988.
Holland, C., ed., Farthest North: The Quest for the North
Pole, Carroll & Graf Publishers, New York, 311 pp., 1994.
The Opening of the Northeast Passage (1878-1879)
Backed by the king of Sweden and two businessmen, Nils Nordenskjöld
took the Vega from Göteborg, along the coast of Siberia, and
despite the ice packs, got to 180° longitude by early September.
Frozen in for the winter, Nordenskjöld waited and bartered with
the local Chukchi people. The following July, the Vega was freed
from the ice, and continued to Yokohama, Japan. Nordenskjöld
was decorated and received allocations from around the world
for this achievement. When the Vega reached Stockholm on April
24, King Oscar declared it a national holiday.
Imbert, B., North Pole, South Pole: Journeys to the Ends
of the Earth, Harry N. Abrams, Publishers, New York, 192