In the late 19th and early 20th cent. the Arctic was explored by Nils Nordenskjöld, Roald Amundsen, Donald MacMillan, Richard Byrd, and others. In 1909, Robert E. Peary reached the North Pole. The continent of Antarctica was explored in the first half of the 20th cent. by William Bruce, Jean Charcot, Douglas Mawson, Ernest Shackleton, and others. The South Pole was reached first by Amundsen (Dec. 14, 1911) and almost immediately thereafter (Jan. 18, 1912) by Robert Scott. The airplane provided a new method of antarctic exploration, with George Wilkins and Richard E. Byrd as the pioneers. Since World War II there have been many well-equipped expeditions, most notably those during the International Geophysical Year (1957–58), to the Antarctic.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.