Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany
The Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany is the only federal decoration of Germany. It was created by the first President of the Federal Republic of Germany, Theodor Heuss, on 7 September 1951, has been awarded to over 200,000 individuals in total, both Germans and foreigners. Since the 1990s the number of annual awards has declined from over 4,000, first to around 2,300–2,500 per year, now under 2,000, with a low of 1752 in 2011. In recent years women have made up a steady 30–31% of recipients. Colloquially, the decorations of the different classes of the Order are known as the Federal Cross of Merit. Most of the German federal states have each their own order of merit as well, with the exception of the Free and Hanseatic Cities of Bremen and Hamburg, which reject any orders; the order was established on 7 September 1951 by the decree of the Federal President Theodor Heuss. The decree, co-signed by the President Heuss together with Chancellor Konrad Adenauer and the Minister of the Interior, Robert Lehr, states: Desiring to visibly express recognition and gratitude to deserving men and women of the German people and of foreign countries, on the second Anniversary of the Federal Republic of Germany, I establish the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany.
It is awarded for achievements that served the rebuilding of the country in the fields of political, socio-economic and intellectual activity, is intended to mean an award of all those whose work contributes to the peaceful rise of the Federal Republic of Germany. The Order comprises four groups with seven regular and two special classes, hereafter the official denominations in English: Grand Cross Grand Cross special class. Grand Cross special issue. Class Cross, it is awarded to him in a ceremony by the President of the Bundestag, attended by the Chancellor of Germany, the President of the Bundesrat, the Supreme Court President. Other than the German president, only a foreign head of state and their spouse can be awarded with this highest class. There is the provision of awarding the Grand Cross in a "special issue" with laurel wreath design, in which the central medallion with the black eagle is surrounded by a stylized laurel wreath in relief; this Grand Cross special issue has been awarded so far only twice, to former German chancellors Konrad Adenauer and Helmut Kohl.
Except for the lowest class, the badge is the same for all classes, but with different versions for men and women: The badge is a golden cross enamelled in red, with a central disc bearing a black eagle. The star is a golden star with straight rays, its size and points vary according to class, with the badge superimposed upon it. 8-pointed golden Star: Grand Cross special class 6-pointed golden Star: Grand Cross 1st class 4-pointed golden Star: Grand Cross silver Square-upon-point: Knight Commander The riband is red with gold-black-gold stripes. Recipients by years Iron Cross Order of Karl Marx Pour le Mérite Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross Awards and decorations of the German Armed Forces The Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany Classes of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany with their official French, English and Russian translations The President of the Federal Republic of Germany webpage Stiftung Haus der Geschichte der Bundesrepublik Deutschland
Rear Admiral Robert Edwin Peary Sr. was an American explorer and United States Navy officer who made several expeditions to the Arctic in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He is best known for claiming to have reached the geographic North Pole with his expedition on April 6, 1909. Peary was born in Cresson, but was raised in Portland, following his father's death at a young age, he attended Bowdoin College joined the National Geodetic Survey as a draftsman. Peary enlisted as a civil engineer. In 1885, he was made chief of surveying for the Nicaragua Canal. Peary visited the Arctic for the first time in 1886, making an unsuccessful attempt to cross Greenland by dogsled, he returned in 1891 much better prepared, by reaching Independence Fjord conclusively proved that Greenland was an island. He was one of the first Arctic explorers to study Inuit survival techniques. On his 1898–1902 expedition, Peary set a new "Farthest North" record by reaching Greenland's northernmost point, Cape Morris Jesup.
He reached the northernmost point of the Western Hemisphere, at the top of Canada's Ellesmere Island. Peary made two further expeditions to the Arctic, in 1905–06 and in 1908–09. During the latter, he claimed to have reached the North Pole. Peary received a number of awards from geographical societies during his lifetime, in 1911 received the Thanks of Congress and was promoted to rear admiral, he served two terms as president of The Explorers Club, retired to Eagle Island. Peary's claim to have reached the North Pole was debated in contemporary newspapers, but won widespread acceptance. However, in a 1989 book British explorer Wally Herbert concluded that Peary did not reach the pole, although he may have been as close as 60 miles, his conclusions have been accepted, although disputed by some authorities. Robert Edwin Peary was born on May 6, 1856, in Cresson, Pennsylvania, to Charles N. and Mary P. Peary. After his father died in 1859, Peary's mother settled in Portland, Maine. After growing up in Portland, Peary attended some 36 miles to the north.
He was a member of the Delta Kappa Phi Beta Kappa fraternities while at college. He graduated in 1877 with a civil engineering degree. Peary lived in Fryeburg, from 1878 to 1879. During that time he made a profile survey from the top of Fryeburg's Jockey Cap Rock; the 360 degree survey mountains visible from the summit. His boyhood friend, Alfred E. Burton, suggested; the survey was cast in bronze and set atop a granite cylinder, erected to his memory by the Peary Family in 1938. A hike of less than a mile leads visitors to the monument. After college, Peary worked as a draftsman making technical drawings in Washington, D. C. at the United States Coast and Geodetic Survey office. He joined the United States Navy and on October 26, 1881, was commissioned as a civil engineer, with the relative rank of lieutenant. From 1884 to 1885 he was assistant engineer on the surveys for the Nicaragua Canal, became the engineer in charge; as reflected in a diary entry he made in 1885, during his time in the Navy, he resolved to be the first man to reach the North Pole.
In April 1886 he wrote a paper for the National Academy of Sciences proposing two methods for crossing Greenland's ice cap. One was to trek about 400 miles to the east coast; the second, more difficult path was to start from Whale Sound at the top of the known portion of Baffin Bay and travel north to determine whether Greenland was an island or if it extended all the way across the Arctic. Peary was promoted to the rank of lieutenant commander on January 5, 1901, to commander on April 6, 1902. 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, he was given six months' leave from the Navy, he received $500 from his mother to book passage north and buy supplies. He sailed on a whaler to Greenland, arriving in Godhavn on June 6, 1886. Peary wanted to make a solo trek but a young Danish official named Christian Maigaard convinced him he would die if he went out alone. Maigaard and Peary set off together and traveled nearly 100 miles due east before turning back because they were short on food.
This was the second-farthest penetration of Greenland's ice sheet at that date. Peary returned home knowing more of. Back in Washington attending with the US Navy, Peary was ordered in November 1887 to survey routes for a proposed Nicaragua Canal. To complete his tropical outfit he needed a sun hat, so he went to a men's clothing store. There he met a black man working as a sales clerk. Learning that Henson had six years of seagoing experience as a cabin boy, Peary hired him as a personal valet. On assignment in the jungles of Nicaragua, Peary told Henson of his dream of Arctic exploration. Henson accompanied Peary on every one of his subsequent Arctic expeditions, becoming his field assistant and "first man," a critical member of his team. In 1891 Peary returned to Greenland, taking the second, more difficult route that he had laid out in 1886: traveling farther north to find out whether Greenland was a much larger landmass extending to the North Pole, he was financed by several groups, including the American Geographic Society, the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences, the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences.
Members of this expedi
The North Pole known as the Geographic North Pole or Terrestrial North Pole, is defined as the point in the Northern Hemisphere where the Earth's axis of rotation meets its surface. The North Pole is the northernmost point on the Earth, lying diametrically opposite the South Pole, it defines geodetic latitude 90° North, as well as the direction of true north. At the North Pole all directions point south. Along tight latitude circles, counterclockwise is east and clockwise is west; the North Pole is at the center of the Northern Hemisphere. While the South Pole lies on a continental land mass, the North Pole is located in the middle of the Arctic Ocean amid waters that are permanently covered with shifting sea ice; this makes it impractical to construct a permanent station at the North Pole. However, the Soviet Union, Russia, constructed a number of manned drifting stations on a annual basis since 1937, some of which have passed over or close to the Pole. Since 2002, the Russians have annually established a base, close to the Pole.
This operates for a few weeks during early spring. Studies in the 2000s predicted that the North Pole may become seasonally ice-free because of Arctic ice shrinkage, with timescales varying from 2016 to the late 21st century or later; the sea depth at the North Pole has been measured at 4,261 m by the Russian Mir submersible in 2007 and at 4,087 m by USS Nautilus in 1958. The nearest land is said to be Kaffeklubben Island, off the northern coast of Greenland about 700 km away, though some semi-permanent gravel banks lie closer; the nearest permanently inhabited place is Alert in the Qikiqtaaluk Region, Canada, located 817 km from the Pole. The Earth's axis of rotation – and hence the position of the North Pole – was believed to be fixed until, in the 18th century, the mathematician Leonhard Euler predicted that the axis might "wobble" slightly. Around the beginning of the 20th century astronomers noticed a small apparent "variation of latitude," as determined for a fixed point on Earth from the observation of stars.
Part of this variation could be attributed to a wandering of the Pole across the Earth's surface, by a range of a few metres. The wandering has an irregular component; the component with a period of about 435 days is identified with the eight-month wandering predicted by Euler and is now called the Chandler wobble after its discoverer. The exact point of intersection of the Earth's axis and the Earth's surface, at any given moment, is called the "instantaneous pole", but because of the "wobble" this cannot be used as a definition of a fixed North Pole when metre-scale precision is required, it is desirable to tie the system of Earth coordinates to fixed landforms. Of course, given plate tectonics and isostasy, there is no system in which all geographic features are fixed, yet the International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service and the International Astronomical Union have defined a framework called the International Terrestrial Reference System. As early as the 16th century, many prominent people believed that the North Pole was in a sea, which in the 19th century was called the Polynya or Open Polar Sea.
It was therefore hoped. Several expeditions set out to find the way with whaling ships commonly used in the cold northern latitudes. One of the earliest expeditions to set out with the explicit intention of reaching the North Pole was that of British naval officer William Edward Parry, who in 1827 reached latitude 82°45′ North. In 1871 the Polaris expedition, a US attempt on the Pole led by Charles Francis Hall, ended in disaster. Another British Royal Navy attempt on the pole, part of the British Arctic Expedition, by Commander Albert H. Markham reached a then-record 83°20'26" North in May 1876 before turning back. An 1879–1881 expedition commanded by US naval officer George W. DeLong ended tragically when their ship, the USS Jeanette, was crushed by ice. Over half the crew, including DeLong, were lost. In April 1895 the Norwegian explorers Fridtjof Nansen and Hjalmar Johansen struck out for the Pole on skis after leaving Nansen's icebound ship Fram; the pair reached latitude 86°14′ North before they abandoned the attempt and turned southwards reaching Franz Josef Land.
In 1897 Swedish engineer Salomon August Andrée and two companions tried to reach the North Pole in the hydrogen balloon Örnen, but came down 300 km north of Kvitøya, the northeasternmost part of the Svalbard archipelago. They died there three months later. In 1930 the remains of this expedition were found by the Norwegian Bratvaag Expedition; the Italian explorer Luigi Amedeo, Duke of the Abruzzi and Captain Umberto Cagni of the Italian Royal Navy sailed the converted whaler Stella Polare from Norway in 1899. On 11 March 1900 Cagni led a party over the ice and reached latitude 86° 34’ on 25 April, setting a new record by beating Nansen's result of 1895 by 35 to 40 km. Cagni managed to return to the camp, remaining there until 23 June. On 16 August the Stella Polare left Rudolf Island heading south and the expedition returned to Norway; the US explorer Frederick Cook claimed to have reached the North Pole on 21 April 1908 with two Inuit men and Etukishook, but he was unable to produce convincing proof and his c
Arctic exploration is the physical exploration of the Arctic region of the Earth. It refers to the historical period during which mankind has explored the region north of the Arctic Circle. Historical records suggest that humankind have explored the northern extremes since 325 BC, when the ancient Greek sailor Pytheas reached a frozen sea while attempting to find a source of the metal tin. Dangerous oceans and poor weather conditions fetter explorers attempting to reach polar regions and journeying through these perils by sight and foot has proven difficult; some scholars believe that the first attempts to penetrate the Arctic Circle can be traced to ancient Greece and the sailor Pytheas, a contemporary of Aristotle and Alexander the Great, who, in c. 325 BC, attempted to find the source of the tin that would sporadically reach the Greek colony of Massilia on the Mediterranean coast. Sailing past the Pillars of Hercules, he reached Brittany and Cornwall circumnavigating the British Isles. From the local population, he heard news of the mysterious land of Thule farther to the north.
After six days of sailing, he reached land at the edge of a frozen sea, described what is believed to be the aurora and the midnight sun. Some historians claim that this new land of Thule was either the Norwegian coast or the Shetland Islands based on his descriptions and the trade routes of early British sailors. While no one knows how far Pytheas sailed, he may have crossed the Arctic Circle, his tales were regarded as fantasy by Greek and Roman authorities, such as the geographer Strabo. The first Viking to sight Iceland was Gardar Svavarsson, who lost his route due to harsh conditions when sailing from Norway to the Faroe Islands; this led to a wave of colonization. Not all the settlers were successful however in the attempts to reach the island. In the 10th century, Gunnbjörn Ulfsson got lost in a storm and ended up within sight of the Greenland coast, his report spurred Erik the Red, an outlawed chieftain, to establish a settlement there in 985. While they flourished these settlements foundered due to changing climatic conditions.
They are believed to have survived until around 1450. Greenland's early settlers sailed westward, in search of better hunting grounds. Modern scholars debate the precise location of the new lands of Vinland and Helluland that they discovered; the Scandinavian peoples pushed farther north into their own peninsula by land and by sea. As early as 880, the Viking Ohthere of Hålogaland rounded the Scandinavian Peninsula and sailed to the Kola Peninsula and the White Sea; the Pechenga Monastery on the north of Kola Peninsula was founded by Russian monks in 1533. They explored north by boat, discovering the Northern Sea Route, as well as penetrating to the trans-Ural areas of northern Siberia, they founded the settlement of Mangazeya east of the Yamal Peninsula in the early 16th century. In 1648 the Cossack Semyon Dezhnyov opened the now famous Bering Strait between Asia. Russian settlers and traders on the coasts of the White Sea, the Pomors, had been exploring parts of the northeast passage as early as the 11th century.
By the 17th century they established a continuous sea route from Arkhangelsk as far east as the mouth of Yenisey. This route, known as Mangazeya seaway, after its eastern terminus, the trade depot of Mangazeya, was an early precursor to the Northern Sea Route. Exploration to the north of the Arctic Circle in the Renaissance was both driven by the rediscovery of the Classics and the national quests for commercial expansion, hampered by limits in maritime technology, lack of stable food supplies, insufficient insulation for the crew against extreme cold. A seminal event in Arctic exploration occurred in 1409, when Ptolemy's Geographia was translated into Latin, thereby introducing the concepts of latitude and longitude into Western Europe. Navigators were better able to chart their positions, the European race to China, sparked by interest in the writings of Marco Polo, commenced; the Inventio Fortunata, a lost book, describes in a summary written by Jacobus Cnoyen but only found in a letter from Gerardus Mercator, voyages as far as the North Pole.
One disputed claim is that two brothers from Venice and Antonio Zeno made a map of their journeys to that region, which were published by their descendants in 1558. The Northwest Passage connects the Pacific Oceans via the Arctic Ocean. Since the discovery of the American continent was the product of the search for a route to Asia, exploration around the northern edge of North America continued for the Northwest Passage. John Cabot's initial failure in 1497 to find a Northwest Passage across the Atlantic led the British to seek an alternative route to the east. Interest re-kindled in 1564 after Jacques Cartier's discovery of the mouth of the Saint Lawrence River. Martin Frobisher had formed a resolution to undertake the challenge of forging a trade route from England westward to India. In 1576 - 1578, he took three trips to. Frobisher Bay is named after him. In July 1583, Sir Humphrey Gilbert, who had written a treatise on the discovery of the passage and was a backer of Frobisher's, claimed the territory of Newfoundland for the English crown.
On August 8, 1585, under the employ of Elizabeth I the English explorer John Davis entered Cumberland Sound, Baffin Island. Davis rounded Greenland before dividing his four ships into separate expeditions to search for a passage
John Ross (Royal Navy officer)
Sir John Ross was a British Royal Navy officer and Polar explorer. He was the uncle of Sir James Clark Ross, who explored the Arctic with him, led expeditions to Antarctica. John Ross was born in Balsarroch, West Galloway, Scotland, on 24 June 1777, the son of the Reverend Andrew Ross of Balsarroch, Minister of Inch in Wigtownshire, Elizabeth Corsane, daughter of Robert Corsane, the Provost of Dumfries, his family home was at Stranraer. In 1786, aged only nine, Ross joined the Royal Navy as a first-class volunteer and was assigned to HMS Pearl, it soon sailed to the Mediterranean Sea, where it remained until 1789. He served aboard HMS Impregnable for several months before a transfer to the merchant marine for eight years. In September 1799 he was recalled to the Navy and appointed midshipman on HMS Weazel, which shortly joined in the Anglo-Russian invasion of Holland. Short periods of service on HMS Clyde and HMS Diligence followed, during which he acted as a lieutenant. From 1803, he served on various vessels.
This included a period on HMS Grampus and HMS Victory, the flagship of the commander of the Baltic fleet, Rear Admiral James Saumarez. During his service, Ross was wounded several times, the most severe of these being in 1806 when boarding a Spanish vessel. In late 1808, Ross was seconded to the Swedish Navy. In 1812, he was promoted to commander. In 1818, Ross received the command of an Arctic expedition organised by the British Admiralty, the first of a new series of attempts to solve the question of a Northwest Passage; this entailed sailing to the Bering Strait. He was to note the currents, the state of ice and magnetism and to collect specimens he found on the way; the expedition left London in April, with Ross commanding HMS Isabella and accompanied by HMS Alexander under Lieutenant William Edward Parry. He sailed counter-clockwise around Baffin Bay repeating the observations made by William Baffin two hundred years before. In August, he entered Lancaster Sound at the north end of Baffin Island.
He sailed a number of miles west but went no further, for he was misled by a mirage which appeared to show mountains at the end of the strait. He named the apparent mountains "Croker Mountains", in honour of John Wilson Croker first secretary of the Admiralty, he returned to England despite the protests of several of his officers, including Parry and Edward Sabine who thought he should have more examined the "mountains". The account of his voyage published a year brought to light their disagreement, the ensuing controversy over the existence of Croker Mountains ruined his reputation; this expedition failed to discover much, new. Its main effect was to open a route for whale ships to the northern Baffin Bay and provoke Parry to re-explore Lancaster Sound and find a major portion of the Northwest Passage. Ross attained the rank of captain on his return to Scotland and about this time built the house North West Castle, in Stranraer, south-west Scotland. In 1829, his lieutenant on the previous expedition, returned to the Arctic and sailed 600 miles west beyond the "Croker Hills", thereby discovering the Parry Channel—the main axis of the Northwest Passage.
To redeem his reputation Ross proposed to use a shallow-draft steamship to break through the ice. The Admiralty was not interested, but he was able to convince the gin-magnate Felix Booth to finance a second expedition, his ship was Victory, a side-wheel steamer with paddles that could be lifted away from the ice and an experimental high-pressure boiler built by John Ericsson.(The engine caused trouble and during the first winter, it was dumped on the shore. It carried four officers: John Ross, James Clark Ross, William Thom, surgeon George McDiarmid and 19 men; the goal was Prince Regent Inlet at the west end of Baffin Island where Parry had lost his ship in 1825. Ross left the Thames on 23 May 1829. Baffin Bay was unusually ice-free and on 6 August, he passed the point where he had turned back 10 years before. On 11 August he turned south into Prince Regent Inlet, on 13 August reached Fury Beach where Parry had abandoned his ship; the hulk was gone but there were heaps of stores on the beach, some of which he took.
Continuing south he became the first European in the Gulf of Boothia, but by the end of September, he was blocked by ice 200 miles south of Fury Beach. He took winter quarters at Felix Harbour at the eastern tip of the Boothia Peninsula. In January 1830 a group of Netsilik Inuit provided food and information. For one of them, the ship's carpenter made a wooden leg. In the spring of 1830, James Clark Ross made several trips west into the interior. On 9 April, he reached the west side of the Boothia Peninsula and in May crossed over ice to the northwest shore of King William Island, assuming it was part of the mainland, it was mid-September. The crew sawed through the shore ice and warped the ship into open water, but it was soon caught in the ice. October was spent warping and sawing the ship into Sheriff Bay where they spent their second winter only 3 miles from Felix Harbour. No Inuit arrived until the following April 1831. James Clark Ross crossed the Boothia Peninsula and on 1 June 1831, became the first European to reach the North Magnetic Pole.
In August, the ship only got four miles before being trapped in Victoria Harbour. By January 1832 it was clear. Ross's plan was to drag the ship's boa
Andrée's Arctic balloon expedition
Andrée's Arctic balloon expedition of 1897 was an effort to reach the North Pole in which all three expedition members perished. S. A. Andrée, the first Swedish balloonist, proposed a voyage by hydrogen balloon from Svalbard to either Russia or Canada, to pass, with luck, straight over the North Pole on the way; the scheme was received with patriotic enthusiasm in Sweden, a northern nation that had fallen behind in the race for the North Pole. Andrée ignored many early signs of the dangers associated with his balloon plan. Being able to steer the balloon to some extent was essential for a safe journey, but there was much evidence that the drag-rope steering technique Andrée had invented was ineffective. Yet he staked the fate of the expedition on drag ropes. Worse, the polar balloon Örnen was delivered directly to Svalbard from its manufacturer in Paris without being tested; when measurements showed it to be leaking more than expected, Andrée refused to acknowledge the alarming implications. Most modern students of the expedition see Andrée's optimism, faith in the power of technology, disregard for the forces of nature as the main factors in the series of events that led to his death and those of his two companions Nils Strindberg and Knut Frænkel.
After Andrée, Frænkel lifted off from Svalbard in July 1897, the balloon lost hydrogen and crashed on the pack ice after only two days. The explorers faced a grueling trek back south across the drifting icescape. Inadequately clothed and prepared, shocked by the difficulty of the terrain, they did not make it to safety; as the Arctic winter closed in on them in October, the group ended up exhausted on the deserted Kvitøya in Svalbard and died there. For 33 years the fate of the Andrée expedition remained one of the unsolved riddles of the Arctic; the chance discovery in 1930 of the expedition's last camp created a media sensation in Sweden, where the dead men had been mourned and idolized. Andrée's motives have since been re-evaluated, along with assessing the role of the polar areas as the proving-ground of masculinity and patriotism. An early example is Per Olof Sundman's fictionalized bestseller novel of 1967, The Flight of the Eagle, which portrays Andrée as weak and cynical, at the mercy of his sponsors and the media.
The verdict on Andrée by modern writers for sacrificing the lives of his two younger companions varies in harshness, depending on whether he is seen as the manipulator or the victim of Swedish nationalist fervor around the turn of the 20th century. The second half of the 19th century has been called the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration; the inhospitable and dangerous Arctic and Antarctic regions appealed powerfully to the imagination of the age, not as lands with their own ecologies and cultures, but as challenges to be conquered by technological ingenuity and manly daring. Salomon August Andrée shared these enthusiasms, proposed a plan for letting the wind propel a hydrogen balloon from Svalbard across the Arctic Sea to the Bering Strait, to fetch up in Alaska, Canada, or Russia, passing near or right over the North Pole on the way. Andrée was an engineer at the patent office in Stockholm, with a passion for ballooning, he bought his own balloon, the Svea, in 1893 and made nine journeys with it, starting from Gothenburg or Stockholm and traveling a combined distance of 1,500 kilometres.
In the prevailing westerly winds, the Svea flights had a strong tendency to carry him uncontrollably out to the Baltic Sea and drag his basket perilously along the surface of the water or slam it into one of the many rocky islets in the Stockholm archipelago. On one occasion he was blown clear across the Baltic to Finland, his longest trip was due east from Gothenburg, across the breadth of Sweden and out over the Baltic to Gotland. Though he saw a lighthouse and heard breakers off Öland, he remained convinced that he was traveling over land and seeing lakes. During a couple of Svea flights, Andrée tested and tried out the drag-rope steering technique which he had developed and wanted to use on his projected North Pole expedition. Drag ropes, which hang from the balloon basket and drag part of their length on the ground, are designed to counteract the tendency of lighter-than-air craft to travel at the same speed as the wind, a situation that makes steering by sails impossible; the friction of the ropes was intended to slow the balloon to the point where the sails would have an effect.
Andrée reported, believed, that with drag rope/sails steering he had succeeded in deviating about ten degrees either way from the wind direction. This notion is rejected by modern balloonists. Use of drag ropes—prone to snapping, falling off, or becoming entangled with each other or the ground, in addition to being ineffective—is not considered by any modern expert to be a useful steering technique; the Arctic ambitions of Sweden were still unrealized in the late 19th century, while neighboring and politically subordinate Norway was a world power in Arctic exploration through such pioneers as Fridtjof Nansen. The Swedish political and scientific elite were eager to see Sweden take that lead among the Scandinavian countries which seemed her due, Andrée, a persuasive speaker and fundraiser, found it easy to gain support for his ideas. At a lecture in 1895 for the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Andrée thrilled the audience of geographers and meteorologists.
HMS Discovery (1874)
HMS Discovery was a wooden screw storeship the whaling ship Bloodhound. She was purchased in 1874 for the British Arctic Expedition of 1875–1876 and was sold in 1902. Built in Dundee by Stephens & Sons as the whaler Bloodhound in 1873, she was ideally suited to Arctic exploration, she was purchased by the Admiralty on 5 December 1874 and converted for exploration, commissioning on 13 April 1875. She carried a barque-rig and her Greenock Foundry Company steam engine generated an indicated 312 horsepower. Captain George Strong Nares was placed in command of the 1875 British Arctic Expedition, which aimed to reach the North Pole via Smith Sound, the sea passage between Greenland and Canada's northernmost island, Ellesmere Island. Contemporary geographers proposed that there could be an Open Polar Sea, that if the thick layer of ice surrounding it were overcome, access to the North Pole by sea might be possible. Since Edward Augustus Inglefield had penetrated Smith Sound in 1852, it had been a route to the North.
Nares commanded the converted sloop HMS Alert, with him went Discovery, commanded by Captain Henry Frederick Stephenson. HMS Valorous accompanied the expedition as far as Godhavn. Despite finding heavier-than-expected ice, the expedition pressed on. Leaving Discovery to winter at Lady Franklin Bay, Alert carried on a further 50 nautical miles through the Robeson Channel, establishing her winter quarters at Floeberg Beach. Spring 1876 saw considerable activity by sledge, charting the coasts of Ellesmere Island and Greenland, but scurvy had begun to take hold, with Alert suffering the greatest burden. On 3 April the second-in-command of Alert, Albert Hastings Markham, took a party north to attempt the Pole. By 11 May, having made slow progress, they reached their greatest latitude at 83° 20' 26"N. Suffering from snow blindness and exhaustion, they turned back; the expedition was well rewarded. The geography of northern Canada and Greenland is littered with the names of those connected with the expedition.
The Discovery saw no further seagoing service after her return from the Arctic. She was employed as a storeship in Portsmouth Harbour from 1880 up until the time of her final disposal. Discovery was sold to D Murray in February 1902; the 1901 research vessel, built for the British National Antarctic Expedition, incorporated many of the features of Discovery, as well as taking her name. RRS Discovery was commanded by Robert Falcon Scott and took part in the Discovery Investigations from 1924 to 1931, she is now on permanent display at Dundee. Subsequent Royal Research Ships, launched in 1929 and 1962, have borne the name, as has Space Shuttle Discovery. Narrative of a voyage to the Polar Sea during 1875–76 in H. M. ships ‘Alert’ and ‘Discovery’, by Captain George Strong Nares, in two volumes, London 1878.