Robert E. Peary sent word from Indian Harbour, Labrador, that he'd reached the North Pole on September 7, 1909. The North Pole was one of very few earthly destinations no person had set foot in. For nearly 300 years, scientists, researchers, and explorers from around the world attempted the journey, only to fall short or perish in the undetermined conditions of the icy front. Peary and his crew, which included the first African American Arctic explorer, Matthew Henson, set forth on The Roosevelt, the steamboat created for Peary by his sponsors and named after President Theodore Roosevelt, and reached the Arctic on August 6.
Peary's old friend and shipmate, Fredrick Cook claimed to have "reached the North Pole April 21, 1908," over a year before Peary. Though both men's stories were released around the same time in September 1909, for years they would be disputed and analyzed, with researchers, scientists, explorers, and judges examining the evidence of their respective expeditions. Ultimately, Peary became known as the first man to reach the North Pole.
These haunting photos from the Arctic prove that regardless of who first sailed through the icy terrain, the expedition was worthwhile.
Robert E. Peary's Self-Portrait, 1909
Matthew Alexander Henson, The First African American Arctic Explorer, 1909
President Theodore Roosevelt Inspecting The SS Roosevelt Before Its Departure For The North Pole, 1908
The Roosevelt Heading Northward Over The Great Ice, 1914