Ernest Shackleton: The Hero of Antarctic Explorations
Ernest Henry Shackleton was born to an Anglo-Irish family in County Kildare, Ireland, on February 15, 1874. He was the second of ten children and the oldest son of Henry, a doctor, and Henrietta. The family moved to London when Shackleton was a young boy, where he grew up and studied. Rejecting his father's wishes to make him a doctor, Shackleton joined the merchant navy at 16 and became a certified master mariner six years later, in 1898.
In 1901, Shackleton joined Robert Falcon Scott, a renowned British naval officer and explorer, in an Antarctic expedition exploring the South Pole. During that adventure on the ship 'Discovery', Shackleton, with Scott and one other man, achieved the milestone of getting closer to the South Pole than anyone had before. But unfortunately, he fell seriously ill during the expedition and had to return home.
Back in London, Shackleton pursued a career in journalism and became the secretary of the Scottish Royal Geographical Society. He made an unsuccessful attempt at becoming a Member of Parliament in Dundee. Obsessed with reaching the South Pole, the young explorer returned to the sea. In 1907, he again headed to the Antarctic as the leader of the British Antarctic Expedition on the ship 'Nimrod', this time getting even closer to the South Pole and creating a new record.
In 1911, Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen set foot on the South Pole, shattering Shackleton's dream of becoming the first person to reach it. Amundsen's triumph forced Shackleton to change his plans and go a step further to cross Antarctica via the South Pole. With the plan in mind, he started his third voyage, the British Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, from London on August 1, 1914, on the ship 'Endurance'. Unfortunately, the ship became trapped in ice, compelling the crew to abandon the ship to live on the floating ice. After ten months of uncertainty, the ship sank, and in April 1916, the crew set off in three small boats and made their way to Elephant Island in the South Shetland Islands.
The Heart of the Antarctic, published in 1909, and South, an account of his 'Endurance' expedition and its miraculous ending, published in 1919, are Shackleton's publications that sketched his adventures at sea.
Shackleton, along with five crew members, went to find help in a small boat. They spent 16 days crossing 800 miles of the dangerous ocean to reach South Georgia and trekked to a whaling station to arrange a rescue effort. Finally, after four months of searching, Shackleton succeeded in finding aid for his crew stuck in the South Shetland Islands and managed to save every single one of his crew. It was astonishing that none of the crew members died during the two years they were stranded. During World War I, he served in the British army and worked in the multinational North Russia Expeditionary Force as a military advisor during the Russian Civil War.
The Heart of the Antarctic, published in 1909, and South, an account of his 'Endurance' expedition and its miraculous ending, published in 1919, are Shackleton's publications that sketched his adventures at sea. Shackleton attempted a fourth expedition aiming to circumnavigate the Antarctic continent. Unfortunately, Shackleton died of a heart attack at Grytviken, South Georgia, at the outset of the journey on January 5, 1922, and was buried on the island.
Recently, Shackleton's ship, the 'Endurance', was discovered 10,000 feet deep at the bottom of the Weddell Sea by a team of scientists and adventurers, and they released images of the ship on March 9, 2022. Ernest Shackleton's daring Endurance voyage and bravery in saving his crew members are still hailed. The BBC recognised Shackleton as the most notable explorer and one of the most influential personalities of the 20th century.
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