Rasmussen, Knud Johan Victor (kənōtˈ yōˈhän vĭkˈtôr räsˈmŏsən) [key], 1879–1933, Danish arctic explorer and ethnologist. Born in Greenland of Eskimo ancestry on his mother's side, he began (1902) 30 years of exploration and of study of the Eskimo. He sought confirmation of his theory that Eskimos are derived from the same stock as the native North Americans, having originally migrated from Asia. In 1910 he established his Thule station at Cape York, Greenland, the base for seven expeditions, five led by Rasmussen himself. He explored (1921–24) some 29,000 mi (46,000 km) of arctic North America and was the first to traverse the Northwest Passage by dog sled when he crossed the ice of Viscount Melville Sound. Rasmussen also disproved the existence of Peary Channel and Independence Bay. In 1932 he went on his last expedition, from Thule to SE Greenland for ethnological and archaeological data. His translated works include Greenland by the Polar Sea (1921) and Across Arctic America (1927) in addition to several studies of the Eskimo.
See P. Freuchen, I Sailed with Rasmussen (1958).
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