61 Facts About Robert Peary


Robert Peary is best known for, in April 1909, leading an expedition that claimed to be the first to have reached the geographic North Pole.


Robert Peary attended Bowdoin College, then joined the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey as a draftsman.


Robert Peary enlisted in the navy in 1881 as a civil engineer.


Robert Peary visited the Arctic for the first time in 1886, making an unsuccessful attempt to cross Greenland by dogsled.


Robert Peary was one of the first Arctic explorers to study Inuit survival techniques.


Robert Peary received several learned society awards during his lifetime, and, in 1911, received the Thanks of Congress and was promoted to rear admiral.


Robert Peary served two terms as president of The Explorers Club before retiring in 1911.


Robert Edwin Peary was born on May 6,1856, in Cresson, Pennsylvania to Charles N and Mary P Peary.


Robert Peary graduated in 1877 with a civil engineering degree.


Robert Peary was promoted to the rank of lieutenant commander on January 5,1901, and to commander on April 6,1902.


Robert Peary made his first expedition to the Arctic in 1886, intending to cross Greenland by dog sled, taking the first of his own suggested paths.


Robert Peary was given six months' leave from the Navy, and he received $500 from his mother to book passage north and buy supplies.


Robert Peary sailed on a whaler to Greenland, arriving in Godhavn on June 6,1886.


Robert Peary wanted to make a solo trek, but Christian Maigaard, a young Danish official, convinced him he would die if he went out alone.


Robert Peary returned home knowing more of what was required for long-distance ice trekking.


Back in Washington attending with the US Navy, in November 1887 Robert Peary was ordered to survey likely routes for a proposed Nicaragua Canal.


Robert Peary went to a men's clothing store where he met 21-year-old Matthew Henson, a black man working as a sales clerk.


Robert Peary was financed by several groups, including the American Geographic Society, the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences, and the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences.


Robert Peary took his wife along as dietitian, though she had no formal training.


Robert Peary was unloaded with the rest of the supplies at a camp they called Red Cliff, at the mouth of MacCormick Fjord at the north west end of Inglefield Gulf.


Unlike most previous explorers, Robert Peary had studied Inuit survival techniques; he built igloos during the expedition and dressed in practical furs in the native fashion.


Robert Peary relied on the Inuit as hunters and dog-drivers on his expeditions.


Robert Peary pioneered the system of using support teams and establishing supply caches for Arctic travel, which he called the "Peary system".


Robert Peary studied the people and kept a journal of her experiences.


In 1891, Robert Peary shattered his leg in a shipyard accident but it healed by February 1892.


On May 3,1892, Robert Peary finally set out on the intended trek with Henson, Gibson, Cook, and Astrup.


Robert Peary claimed that this sighting of Axel Heiberg Island was prior to its discovery by Norwegian explorer Otto Sverdrup's expedition around the same time.


Robert Peary achieved a "farthest north" for the western hemisphere in 1902 north of Canada's Ellesmere Island.


Robert Peary was promoted to lieutenant commander in the Navy in 1901 and to commander in 1902.


Robert Peary discovered Cape Colgate, from whose summit he claimed in his 1907 book that he had seen a previously undiscovered far-north "Crocker Land" to the northwest on June 24,1906.


Robert Peary continued with five others: Henson, Ootah, Egigingwah, Seegloo, and Ooqueah.


Robert Peary was promoted to the rank of captain in the Navy in October 1910.


Robert Peary retired from the Navy the same day, to Eagle Island on the coast of Maine, in the town of Harpswell.


Robert Peary served twice as president of The Explorers Club, from 1909 to 1911, and from 1913 to 1916.


In early 1916, Robert Peary became chairman of the National Aerial Coast Patrol Commission, a private organization created by the Aero Club of America.


Peary used his celebrity to promote the use of military and naval aviation, which led directly to the formation of United States Navy Reserve aerial coastal patrol units during World War I After the war, Peary proposed a system of eight airmail routes, which became the genesis of the US Postal Service's airmail system.


In 1914, Robert Peary bought the house at 1831 Wyoming Avenue NW in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of Washington, DC, where he lived until his death on February 20,1920.


Robert Peary began renovating the house in 1920, shortly before his death, after which the renovation was taken over by Josephine.


Robert Peary's mother accompanied them on their honeymoon, and she moved into their Philadelphia apartment, which caused friction between the two women.


Robert Peary's daughter wrote several books, including The Red Caboose a children's book about the Arctic adventures published by William Morrow and Company.


Robert Peary appears to have started a relationship with Aleqasina when she was about 14 years old.


Robert Peary bore him at least two children, including a son called Kaala, Karree, or Kali.


Robert Peary found Peary's son Kali and Henson's son Anaukaq, then octogenarians, and some of their descendants.


Robert Peary gained national recognition of Henson's role in the expeditions.


Robert Peary has received criticism for his treatment of the Inuit, for fathering children with Aleqasina and for bringing back a small group of Inughuit Greenlandic Inuit to the United States along with the Cape York meteorite, which was of significant local importance as the only source of iron for tools and Robert Peary sold for $40,000 in 1897.


Robert Peary left the people at the museum when he returned with the Cape York meteorite in 1897, where they were kept in damp, humid conditions unlike their homeland.


Robert Peary made them presents of ornaments, a few knives and guns for hunting and wood to build sledges.


Robert Peary eventually helped Minik travel home in 1909, though it is speculated that this was to avoid any bad press surrounding his anticipated celebratory return after reaching the North Pole.


Some polar historians believe that Robert Peary honestly thought he had reached the pole.


Robert Peary's account has been newly criticized by Pierre Berton and Bruce Henderson.


Robert Peary did not submit his evidence for review to neutral national or international parties or to other explorers.


Robert Peary's claim was certified by the National Geographic Society in 1909 after a cursory examination of Robert Peary's records, as NGS was a major sponsor of his expedition.


Historian Larry Schweikart examined it, finding that: the writing was consistent throughout, there were consistent pemmican and other stains on all pages, and all evidence was consistent with a conclusion that Robert Peary's observations were made on the spot he claimed.


Schweikart compared the reports and experiences of Japanese explorer Naomi Uemura, who reached the North Pole alone in 1978, to those of Robert Peary and found they were consistent.


In 1984, the National Geographic Society, a major sponsor of Robert Peary's expeditions, commissioned Wally Herbert, an Arctic explorer himself, to write an assessment of Robert Peary's original 1909 diary and astronomical observations.


The NGS commissioned the Foundation for the Promotion of the Art of Navigation to resolve the issue, which concluded that Robert Peary had indeed reached the North Pole.


Robert Peary's expedition possessed 4,000 fathoms of sounding line, but he took only 2,000 with him over an ocean already established as being deeper in many regions.


Robert Peary stated in 1909 Congressional hearings about the expedition that he made no longitudinal observations during his trip, only latitude observations, yet he maintained he stayed on the "Columbia meridian" all along, and that his soundings were made on this meridian.


In 2005, British explorer Tom Avery and four companions re-created the outward portion of Robert Peary's journey using replica wooden sleds and Canadian Eskimo Dog teams.


The lunar crater Robert Peary, appropriately located at the moon's north pole, is named after him.


Major General Adolphus Greely, leader of the ill-fated Lady Franklin Bay Expedition from 1881 to 1884, noted that no Arctic expert questioned that Robert Peary courageously risked his life traveling hundreds of miles from land, and that he reached regions adjacent to the pole.