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Discovery of Greenland (Erik the Red)
Born Erik Thorvaldsson, he was credited for establishing the first Norse settlement in Greenland after he was exiled on charges of manslaughter in Norway around the year 982. Called ‘Erik the Red’ for his flaming red hair, he ventured into an expedition with 25 ships, where 14 made the journey while the rest turned back or were lost at sea. The settlement grew with 5000 inhabitants, especially along Eriksfjord and neighboring fjords as immigrants came in from over-populated Iceland.
Discovery of Newfoundland, Canada (Leif Erikson)
The son of Erik the Red, a Viking explorer, he also became a famous explorer just like his father when he embarked on his own expeditions towards North America. Considered the “first European to venture into North America,” he arrived at the place which he called Vinland in the 11th century. Archaeological remains substantiated this claim as they found some remains of Vikings in what is known as Newfoundland, Canada.
First Solo Circumnavigation of the World (Joshua Slocum)
The first man who single-handedly traveled around the world, Joshua Slocum was a Nova Scotian-born naturalized American seaman and adventurer who wrote the book “Sailing Alone Around the World,” chronicling his journey. He started on April 24, 1895 on his self-built gaff-rigged oyster boat named ‘Spray’ from Fairhaven, Massachusetts and returned to Newport, Rhode Island three years later on June 27, 1898, circumnavigating the world at a distance of more than 48,000 miles.
The First Men to Conquer Mt. Everest (Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay)
Edmund Hilary and Tenzing Norgay,a Nepali Sherpa from Darjeeling, India, were part of the ninth British expedition to conquer Mt. Everest led by John Hunt. They reached the summit on May 29, 1953, 11:30 AM local time via the South Col Route. Though they both acknowledged it as a team effort, Tenzing later revealed that it was Hillary who had put his foot first on the summit where they took photographs and buried a few sweets and a small cross before descending. Hunt and Hillary were knighted by Queen Elizabeth in the Order of the British Empire while Tenzing was given the George Medal by UK. They were both nationally recognized inNepal and are honored annually with ceremonies in schools and offices to celebrate their feat.
First Expedition to South Pole (Roald Amundsen)
Roald Engelbregt Gravning Amundsen was a famous Norwegian explorer who was recognized as the first man to reach the South Pole in December 1911 and the first expedition leader to reach the North Pole in 1928. One of the key leaders in the Heroic Age of Antarctic Expeditions, he initially decided to go for Antarctica due to some funding problems and news that other explorers had already conquered the North Pole. Using the ship “Fram,” he and his men left Oslo, Norway on June 3, 1910 for the south. 16 years later, however, Amundsen and 15 of his crew made the first crossing of the Arctic using an airship and landing in Alaska two days later. Since the three previous claims to have arrived at the North Pole were all disputed, Amundsen would be the first man to cross the North Pole by air.