North America Polar Regions, Baffin Bay to Lincoln Sea


This map of the Arctic regions, published in 1903 by the Hydrographic Office of the U.S. Department of the Navy, shows the routes of three 19th-century British and American polar expeditions: the U.S.S. Polaris Expedition in 1871–72, under Captain C.F. Hall; the British Arctic Expedition in 1875–76, under Captain G.S. Nares, Royal Navy; and the Lady Franklin Bay Expedition in 1881–84, under Lieutenant A.W. Greely, U.S. Army. The map is annotated in red and blue to show two more recent expeditions led Robert E. Peary in 1900 and 1902. Relief is shown by contours, hachures, and spot elevations. Ocean depths are given in fathoms, heights in feet. The illustration at the top gives a view of the north coast of Greenland looking southward, with mountains shown in relief. Peary (1856–1920), a U.S. Navy officer, made a total of eight Arctic voyages, all starting from the west coast of Greenland. On his voyage of 1900, he reached and named Cape Morris Jesup at the northern tip of Greenland. The map includes an illustration of Peary and a companion raising the American flag over a cairn at the cape, which at 83° 39’ North is identified as “probably the most northern land on the Globe.” On this same voyage, Peary ventured for the first time onto the pack ice and traveled as far north as 84° 17’ (the map shows 83° 50’) before turning back. In 1906 Peary claimed a “furthest north” of 87° 06’. On yet another expedition, in 1909, Peary claimed, on April 7, finally to have reached the North Pole, at 90° North. He was accompanied by the African-American explorer Matthew Henson and four Greenland Eskimos, who had pushed off from the larger expedition comprised of seven Americans, 17 Eskimos, 19 sledges, and 133 dogs. Later analyses of Peary’s personal log book and other evidence from the journey, however, have questioned his navigational record and raised doubts about whether he and Henson ever actually reached the pole.

Last updated: April 13, 2016