Posted on Jan 30, 2021 173
Humans have always been desperately competing. We have it in our blood to be the best, the first, the unsurpassed. Today most of the Earth is already explored, but only recently the highest peaks, the darkest caves, the most inaccessible points of the planet attracted people like a magnet. They could not conquer the North Pole for a very long time, but it only encouraged potential discoverers. It only surrendered at the end of the first decade of the 20th century. First, U.S. Navy engineer Robert Peary claimed to have reached it on April 6, 1909. Some time later, however, another American, Frederick Cook, informed the world that he had been there a year earlier, in 1908.
Who was the first to conquer the North Pole?
The North Pole is extremely difficult to reach. To reach it, you must overcome an immense distance through treacherous, unpredictable ice fields. Until the 20th century, all attempts to do so ended in failure. One of the first to go there was the British officer William Parry, but he did not get even close. The American Charles Hall failed in 1871. Two decades later, Norwegian explorers Hjalmar Johansen and Fridtjof Nansen were very close to triumphant success, but turned back because of food shortages. The Italian Umberto Cagni came almost close to the pole, but also gave up.
And then it was time for Piri and Cook. They had once been friends, but then quarreled. The former was born in 1856 and was very ambitious. In his expeditions he relied heavily on the help of the natives, but he treated them very consumerist. They tell him to have excavated the graves of northern peoples in order to make money by selling the remains to the American Museum of Natural History. Cook was born nine years later, in 1865. He, too, was ambitious, but he had a much more modern outlook on the world - he was genuinely interested in the lives of indigenous peoples, studying their cultures and languages. The Americans made a joint voyage to Greenland, but Cook declined a second invitation. Why? Because Piri demanded to sign a paper according to which Frederick could not publish reports on the expedition until the “senior comrade” did so.
They did not communicate for several years, but then Pirie, having set off once again for the Arctic, disappeared. It forced cook to go out in search of him, as there was no one else to do so. He found his former friend and cured him of scurvy and other diseases on the way back. Somewhat later, he rescued Piri already in Greenland. This time Cook, a doctor by profession, had to take care of a broken leg. By this point, the Arctic explorers were already irreconcilable competitors.
Both later claimed to have been to the North Pole. Piri was the first to claim this, but he could not provide specific evidence. According to him, the historic event occurred on April 6, 1909. In confirmation of the public was shown a small series of photos. In 1989, experts of the National Geographic Society in the U.S. have carefully studied them, and by some circumstantial evidence concluded that it made them eight kilometers from the North Pole. Many facts raise skepticism as to the veracity of Peary’s story.