The “Real” North Pole

Admiral Robert Peary’s Account

In 1908, Admiral Robert Peary (1856-1920) set out on his quest for the North Pole from Ellesmere Island, accompanied by Matthew Henson and four Inuits. He claimed to have reached the North Pole on April 6, 1909, though his achievement has been questioned. Nevertheless, Congress recognized Peary’s achievement and offered him appreciation in 1911, the year in which he retired from the navy with the rank of rear admiral. However, in the 1980s, a re-examination of his diary and notes cast doubt on the success of the trip.

Due to navigational errors and record-keeping mistakes, he may have missed the North Pole by fifty kilometers or more. On May 3, 1952, U.S. Lieutenant Colonel Joseph O. Fletcher of Oklahoma stepped out of a plane and walked to the precise location of the North Pole, the first person to do so undisputedly and thus proving that there are no holes at the North or South Poles.


Further Reading