The Antarctic

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American Explorers

Nathaniel Palmer

     Nathaniel Palmer was the first American to sight the Antarctic continent in 1820 while scouting for seals. The peninsula he sighted bears the name Palmer Land.

SCN 2386

Charles Wilkes

     Lieutenant Wilkes commanded the first American exploration of the Antarctic Ocean in 1838. In 1899 he sailed as far south as possible and described the coast of the continent.

SCN 2387

Richard E. Byrd

     Richard Byrd's first polar expedition was in 1926 as the navigator on the first plane to fly over the North Pole. Byrd made five expeditions to Antarctica. On the first in 1928-30 he established "Little America" as his base camp and mapped a large part of the continent. He also make the first airplane flight to the South Pole. In 1933-35 he proved that Antarctica was a single continent, and studied the polar weather.  He also made an expedition in 1939-41,  commanded Operation High Jump in 1946-47, and participated in the first phase of Operation Deep Freeze in 1955-56. A stamp issued in 1933 commemorated Byrd's expeditions to that point.

SCN 2388

Lincoln Ellsworth

     Lincoln Ellsworth made the first Trans-Antarctic flight, from Dundee Island to the Bay of Whales, November 23 to December 5, 1935 on the Polar Star. He reported the discovery of "Eternity Range," naming it "James W. Ellsworth Land" (Ellsworth Land) for his father, and claimed it for the United States. Four landings were made during the 2,300 mile flight, however the plane ran out of fuel twelve miles short of the abandoned base at Little America. They walked for six days to reach Little America. He and his crew were rescued in January 1936.

SCN 2389

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