Stolbovoy Island is a long and narrow island off the southwest side of the New Siberian archipelago in the eastern part of the Laptev Sea. It is located 184 km away from the Siberian coast and 100 km southwest of Kotelny Island, being thus quite detached from the New Siberian island group, although it belongs to the Lyakhov Islands subgroup of the New Siberian Islands. According to Russian tradition in 1690 the Boyar Maxim Mukhoplev visited the island and found a number of crosses, the tombs of Russian seafarers, there. Stolbovoy was first charted by Yakov Sannikov in 1800. There was a meteorological station located on the north-west coast of the island at the time of the USSR. In 2012 an automatic GLONASS monitoring facility was installed in the same spot. Presently the island belongs to the Sakha Republic administrative division of the Russian Federation. Stolbovoy Island's area is 170 km², its length is 47 km and its maximum width is 10 km. The northernmost point of the island was named Cape Toll, in honor of Russian explorer Eduard Toll.
There is a 5 km long lake in the northeast of the island. It is separated from the sea by a narrow spit. There is a 13 km long river, the Stolbovoy River, running northwards across the central part of the island; the highest point of Stolbovoy Island is 222 meters. The island has 15–70 m high rocky cliffs, the lower relief down to the beach being dominated by step-like stony structures; the climate in the area is exceptionally severe, with prolonged, bitter winters, so that the waters of the Laptev Sea around Stolbovoy Island are covered by ice most of the year. Tectonically deformed sedimentary rocks that accumulated during Late Jurassic to Early Cretaceous periods comprise Stolbovoy Island; these turbidites, which contain the fossils of marine pelecypods, consist of beds of sandstone coarsely and rhythmically interbedded with beds of siltstone and argillite. These rocks have been folded into a synclinal structure, thrust faulted, intruded by small quartz diorite dikes. Cryptogam herb covers barren Stolbovoy Island.
All vegetation consists of dry to wet barren landscapes with scattered, lichens and liverworts. Sedges, dwarf shrubs, peaty mires are absent; these plants form a low-growing plant cover. The plants grow in coarse-grained calcareous sediments Lyakhovsky Islands anonymous, nd, Laptev Sea Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research - Research Unit Potsdam, Germany. BirdLife International, 2008, RU118 Stolbovoy island. BirdLife's online World Bird Database: the site for bird conservation. Version 2.1. Cambridge, UK: BirdLife International. Grigoriev, M. nda, ice-affected pebble beach of Stolbovoy Island Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research - Research Unit Potsdam, Germany Grigoriev, M. ndb, rocky cliffs of Stolbovoy Island Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research - Research Unit Potsdam, Germany
Hjalmar Riiser-Larsen was a Norwegian aviation pioneer, military officer, polar explorer and businessman. Among his achievements, he is regarded a founder of the Royal Norwegian Air Force. Riiser-Larsen was born in Norway. In 1909, aged nineteen, he joined the Norwegian Naval Academy. In 1915 he became a 1st lieutenant in the newly formed Royal Norwegian Navy Air Service. After World War I, he served as the acting head of the RNoNAS's factory until a more senior officer was appointed. In 1921, he joined the Aviation Council part of the Norwegian Ministry of Defence, as a secretary; this gave him the opportunity to study the fledgling military and civil aviation infrastructure for which the Council was responsible. He became a frequent pilot on the air routes used by the new aviation companies. Riiser-Larsen's years of polar exploration began in 1925 when his compatriot Roald Amundsen, the famed polar explorer, asked him to be his deputy and pilot for an attempt to fly over the North Pole. Riiser-Larsen secured the use of two Dornier Do J Wal seaplanes.
The expedition, was forced to land close to the Pole, badly damaging one of the planes. After twenty-six days on an ice shelf, first trying to shovel tons of snow to create an airstrip, until someone suggested the easier way of tramping the snow surface, the expedition's six members squeezed themselves into the remaining plane. Riiser-Larsen somehow managed to coax the overloaded plane into the air and flew the expedition back to the coast of Northern Svalbard; the following year, Riiser-Larsen rejoined Amundsen for another attempt to fly over the Pole, this time with Italian aeronautical engineer Umberto Nobile in his renamed airship, the Norge. Leaving Spitsbergen on 11 May 1926, the Norge completed the crossing two days landing near Teller, Alaska; the flight is considered by many to be the first successful flight over the North Pole, as the other claimants, Frederick Cook, Robert Peary and Richard Byrd, were unable to verify their attempts in full. In 1928, Riiser-Larsen became involved in searching the Arctic for Nobile after he had made a successful flight to the Siberian islands and visited the North Pole once more, but crashed near the coast of the North Eastern part of Svalbard.
Riiser-Larsen became involved in a search for Amundsen, when he as passenger in a French naval flying boat went missing while he was en route to join the search for Nobile. Nobile and most of his team were found, but Amundsen was not; the Norvegia expeditions were a sequence of Antarctic expeditions financed by the Norwegian shipowner and whaling merchant Lars Christensen during the late 1920s and 1930s. Ostensibly their goal was scientific research and the discovery of new whaling grounds, but Christensen requested permission from the Norwegian Foreign Office to claim for Norway any uncharted territory, found. By the end of the second expedition, two small islands in the Southern Ocean, Bouvet Island and Peter I Island, had been annexed. In 1929 Christensen decided to include aeroplanes in the next expedition and appointed Riiser-Larsen its leader. Riiser-Larsen supervised and took part in mapping most of the Antarctic in this and three further expeditions. More territory was annexed, this time the large area of the continent known as Queen Maud Land.
In 1939, the Norwegian military was downsized and Riiser-Larssen was among those officers finding themselves out of work. However, he was offered a new job by the shipping company Fred. Olsen & Co. as manager of its newly formed airline, DNL. He invited some former naval pilots to join the airline and soon made it the most successful in Norway. In 1946, DNL would be one of the four Scandinavian airlines merged to create the present-day Scandinavian Airlines System. During the Nazi German occupation of Norway, Riiser-Larsen rejoined the Royal Norwegian Navy Air Service. However, both the Norwegian Army and Royal Norwegian Navy Air Services were overwhelmed by the Wehrmacht before he saw combat. Instead, he accompanied the Norwegian cabinet and military leaders into exile in London, before moving on to Canada, to become the first commander of the Royal Norwegian Air Force training camp dubbed Little Norway in Ontario. At the beginning of 1941, Riiser-Larsen returned to London to take up the post of Commander in Chief of the Naval Air Service.
By the end of the war, many of the pilots under his command had become critical of his leadership. He resigned, from the Air Force in 1946. In 1947, Riiser-Larsen again became the head of DNL, a few months before it merged with DDL, SIL and ABA to create SAS, he was the director of the Norwegian region of Scandinavian Airlines Systems 1950-55. He became an advisor to the SAS executive and a regional manager with responsibility for transcontinental air routes. One of these routes, although established after his retirement in 1955, represented the "fulfilment of a vision": the route to North America over the North Pole. In 1951 Riiser-Larsen was chosen as the president of the World Movement for Federal World Government. Riiser-Larsen died in 1965, four days before his seventy-fifth birthday, was buried at Vår Frelsers gravlund in Oslo. Riiser-Larsen Peninsula Riiser-Larsen Sea Riiser-Larsen Ice Shelf Mount Riiser-Larsen Hjalmar Riiser-Larsen, Femti År for Kongen, Oslo: Gyldendal Norsk Forlag, 1958
Charles Francis Hall
Charles Francis Hall was an American explorer of the Arctic, best known for the suspicious circumstances surrounding his death while leading the American-sponsored Polaris expedition in an attempt to be the first to reach the North Pole. The expedition was marred by insubordination and poor leadership. Hall returned to the ship from an exploratory sledging journey, promptly fell ill. Before he died, he accused members of the crew of poisoning him. An exhumation of his body in 1968 revealed that he had ingested a large quantity of arsenic in the last two weeks of his life. Little is known of Hall's early life, he was either born in Rochester, New Hampshire, or in the state of Vermont before moving to Rochester at a young age, where he was apprenticed to a blacksmith at a young age. In the 1840s, he married and drifted westward, arriving in Cincinnati in 1849, where he went into business making seals and engraving plates, he published his own newspaper. Around 1857, Hall became interested in the Arctic and spent the next few years studying the reports of previous explorers and trying to raise money for an expedition intended to learn the fate of Franklin's lost expedition.
Hall went on his first expedition by gaining passage on the George Henry, a whaler commanded by Captain Sidney O. Budington out of New Bedford, they got as far as Baffin Island. Local Inuit told Hall about relics of Martin Frobisher's mining venture at Frobisher Bay on Baffin Island, to which Hall travelled to inspect these items up close, he was assisted by his newly recruited Inuit guides and wife "Joe" Ebierbing and "Hannah" Tookoolito. Hall found what he took to be evidence of the fact that some members of Franklin's lost expedition might still be alive. On his return to New York, Hall arranged for the Harper Brothers to publish his account of the expedition: Arctic Researches and Life Among the Esquimaux, it was edited by William Parker Snow obsessed by Franklin's fate. The two came to a disagreement—mostly due to Snow's slow editing. Snow claimed Hall had used his ideas for the search of Franklin without giving him due credit. During the course of 1863, Hall planned a second expedition to seek more clues on the fate of Franklin, including efforts to find any of the rumoured survivors or their written records.
The first attempt using the 95-ton schooner Active was abandoned due to lack of finances caused by the American Civil War and a troubled relationship with his intended second-in-command Parker Snow. In July 1864, a much smaller expedition departed in the whaler Monticello. During this second expedition to King William Island, he found remains and artifacts from the Franklin expedition, made more inquiries about their fate from natives living there. Hall realized that the stories of survivors were unreliable, either by the Inuit or his own readiness to give them overly optimistic interpretations, he became disillusioned with the Inuit by the discovery that the remnants of Franklin's expedition had deliberately been left to starve. He failed to consider that it would have been impossible for the local population to support such a large group of supernumeraries. Hall's third expedition was of an different character, he received a grant of $50,000 from the U. S. Congress to command an expedition to the North Pole on the USS Polaris.
The party of 25 included Hall's old friend Budington as sailing master, George Tyson as navigator, Emil Bessels as physician and chief of scientific staff. The expedition was troubled from the start as the party split into rival factions. Hall's authority over the expedition was resented by a large portion of the party, discipline broke down. Polaris sailed into Thank God Harbor—present-day Hall Bay—on September 10, 1871, anchored for the winter on the shore of northern Greenland; that fall, upon returning to the ship from a sledging expedition with an Inuit guide to a fjord which he named Newman Bay, Hall fell ill after drinking a cup of coffee. He collapsed in. For the next week he suffered from vomiting and delirium seemed to improve for a few days. At that time, he accused several of the ship's company, including Bessels, of having poisoned him. Shortly thereafter, Hall began suffering the same symptoms, died on November 8. Hall was given a formal burial. Command of the expedition devolved on Budington, who reorganized to try for the Pole in June 1872.
This was unsuccessful and Polaris turned south. On October 12, the ship was on the verge of being crushed. Nineteen of the crew and the Inuit guides abandoned ship for the surrounding ice while 14 remained aboard. Polaris was run aground near Etah and crushed on October 24. After wintering ashore, the crew sailed south in two boats and were rescued by a whaler, returning home via Scotland; the following year, the remainder of the party attempted to extricate Polaris from the pack and head south. A group, including Tyson, became separated as the pack broke up violently and threatened to crush the ship in the fall of 1872; the group of 19 drifted over 1,500 miles on an ice floe for the next six months, before being rescued off the coast of Newfoundland by the sealer Tigress on April 30, 1873, would have all perished had the group not included several Inuit who were able to hunt for the party. The official investigation that followed ruled. However, in 1968, Hall's biographer, Chauncey C. Loomis, a professor at Dartmouth College, made an expedition to Greenland to exhume Hall's body.
To the benefit of the
The Arctic Ocean is the smallest and shallowest of the world's five major oceans. The International Hydrographic Organization recognizes it as an ocean, although some oceanographers call it the Arctic Mediterranean Sea or the Arctic Sea, classifying it a mediterranean sea or an estuary of the Atlantic Ocean, it is seen as the northernmost part of the all-encompassing World Ocean. Located in the Arctic north polar region in the middle of the Northern Hemisphere, the Arctic Ocean is completely surrounded by Eurasia and North America, it is covered by sea ice throughout the year and completely in winter. The Arctic Ocean's surface temperature and salinity vary seasonally as the ice cover melts and freezes; the summer shrinking of the ice has been quoted at 50%. The US National Snow and Ice Data Center uses satellite data to provide a daily record of Arctic sea ice cover and the rate of melting compared to an average period and specific past years. Human habitation in the North American polar region goes back at least 50,000–17,000 years ago, during the Wisconsin glaciation.
At this time, falling sea levels allowed people to move across the Bering land bridge that joined Siberia to north west North America, leading to the Settlement of the Americas. Paleo-Eskimo groups included the Pre-Dorset; the Dorset were the last major Paleo-Eskimo culture in the Arctic before the migration east from present-day Alaska of the Thule, the ancestors of the modern Inuit. The Thule Tradition lasted from about 200 B. C. to 1600 A. D. around the Bering Strait, the Thule people being the prehistoric ancestors of the Inuit who now live in Northern Labrador. For much of European history, the north polar regions remained unexplored and their geography conjectural. Pytheas of Massilia recorded an account of a journey northward in 325 BC, to a land he called "Eschate Thule", where the Sun only set for three hours each day and the water was replaced by a congealed substance "on which one can neither walk nor sail", he was describing loose sea ice known today as "growlers" or "bergy bits". Early cartographers were unsure whether to draw the region around the North Pole as water.
The fervent desire of European merchants for a northern passage, the Northern Sea Route or the Northwest Passage, to "Cathay" caused water to win out, by 1723 mapmakers such as Johann Homann featured an extensive "Oceanus Septentrionalis" at the northern edge of their charts. The few expeditions to penetrate much beyond the Arctic Circle in this era added only small islands, such as Novaya Zemlya and Spitzbergen, though since these were surrounded by pack-ice, their northern limits were not so clear; the makers of navigational charts, more conservative than some of the more fanciful cartographers, tended to leave the region blank, with only fragments of known coastline sketched in. This lack of knowledge of what lay north of the shifting barrier of ice gave rise to a number of conjectures. In England and other European nations, the myth of an "Open Polar Sea" was persistent. John Barrow, longtime Second Secretary of the British Admiralty, promoted exploration of the region from 1818 to 1845 in search of this.
In the United States in the 1850s and 1860s, the explorers Elisha Kane and Isaac Israel Hayes both claimed to have seen part of this elusive body of water. Quite late in the century, the eminent authority Matthew Fontaine Maury included a description of the Open Polar Sea in his textbook The Physical Geography of the Sea; as all the explorers who travelled closer and closer to the pole reported, the polar ice cap is quite thick, persists year-round. Fridtjof Nansen was the first to make a nautical crossing of the Arctic Ocean, in 1896; the first surface crossing of the ocean was led by Wally Herbert in 1969, in a dog sled expedition from Alaska to Svalbard, with air support. The first nautical transit of the north pole was made in 1958 by the submarine USS Nautilus, the first surface nautical transit occurred in 1977 by the icebreaker NS Arktika. Since 1937, Soviet and Russian manned drifting ice stations have extensively monitored the Arctic Ocean. Scientific settlements were established on the drift ice and carried thousands of kilometers by ice floes.
In World War II, the European region of the Arctic Ocean was contested: the Allied commitment to resupply the Soviet Union via its northern ports was opposed by German naval and air forces. Since 1954 commercial airlines have flown over the Arctic Ocean; the Arctic Ocean occupies a circular basin and covers an area of about 14,056,000 km2 the size of Antarctica. The coastline is 45,390 km long, it is surrounded by the land masses of Eurasia, North America, by several islands. It is taken to include Baffin Bay, Barents Sea, Beaufort Sea, Chukchi Sea, East Siberian Sea, Greenland Sea, Hudson Bay, Hudson Strait, Kara Sea, Laptev Sea, White Sea and other tributary bodies of water
Umberto Nobile was an Italian aviator, aeronautical engineer and Arctic explorer. Nobile was a developer and promoter of semi-rigid airships during the period between the two World Wars, he is remembered for designing and piloting the airship Norge, which may have been the first aircraft to reach the North Pole, and, indisputably the first to fly across the polar ice cap from Europe to America. Nobile designed and flew the Italia, a second polar airship. Born in Lauro, in the southern Italian province of Avellino, Nobile graduated from the University of Naples with degrees in both electrical and industrial engineering. In 1906 he began working for the Italian state railways, where he worked on electrification of the rail system. In 1911 his interests turned to the field of aeronautical engineering, he enrolled in a one-year course offered by the Italian Army. Nobile had always been fascinated by the work of airship pioneers such as Ferdinand von Zeppelin; when Italy entered World War I in 1915, the 29-year-old attempted three times to enlist, but was rejected as physically unfit for service.
Commissioned in the Italian air force, Nobile spent the war overseeing airship construction and developing new designs. The Italian military had used airships as early as 1912, during the Italo-Turkish War, for bombing and reconnaissance. Italy built about 20 M-class semi-rigid airships with a bomb load of 1000 kg which it used for bombing and anti-shipping missions; the Italians used other, smaller airships, some of them British-built. None of Nobile's designs flew until after the war. In July 1918, Nobile formed a partnership with the engineers Giuseppe Valle, Benedetto Croce and Celestino Usuelli, which they called the Aeronautical Construction Factory. During this period he lectured at the University of Naples, obtained his test pilot's license and wrote the textbook Elementi di Aerodinamica, he became convinced that medium-sized, semi-rigid airships were superior to non-rigid and rigid designs. The company's first project was the Airship T-34, designed for a trans-Atlantic crossing; when the British R34 crossed the Atlantic in 1919, Nobile and his partners sold the T-34 to the Italian military.
The U. S. Army acquired the ship, commissioned it as the Roma; the Roma crashed in Norfolk, Virginia in 1922 after hitting high tension power lines, killing 34. That same year, in the face of political instability and threats to nationalize his company, Nobile traveled to the U. S. to work as a consultant for Goodyear in Ohio. He returned to Italy in 1923 and began construction of a new airship, the N-1. According to his biography and numerous articles, he was caught up in a web of political and professional intrigue with competitors and detractors, his principal antagonists seem to have been General Gaetano Arturo Crocco, a competing airship manufacturer, General Italo Balbo, chief of the air force general staff, who sought to develop Italy's air fleet with heavier-than-air craft rather than the airships Nobile designed. In autumn 1925 Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen sought out Nobile to collaborate on a flight to the North Pole – still at that time an unreached goal for aviators – using an airship.
Amundsen had in spring 1925 flown to within 150 nautical miles of the North Pole, in a pair of Italian-built Dornier Wal flying boats along with the American millionaire-adventurer Lincoln Ellsworth and the pilot Hjalmar Riiser-Larsen, but their planes were forced to land near 88 degrees North and the six men were trapped on the ice for 30 days. The Italian State Airship Factory, which had built Nobile's N-1, made it available for the expedition 29 March 1926. Amundsen insisted in the contract that Nobile should be the pilot and that five of the crew should be Italian. On 14 April the airship left Italy for Leningrad in Russia with stops at Oslo. On its way towards its Arctic jumping-off point, Ny-Ålesund at Vestspitsbergen, Svalbard it made a stop at the airship mast at Vadsø. On 29 April Amundsen was dismayed at the arrival of Richard E. Byrd's American expedition which aimed to reach the Pole. On 9 May, after Byrd and Floyd Bennett departed in their Fokker F-VII and returned less than 16 hours claiming to have overflown the Pole, Amundsen was one of the first to congratulate them.
The Norge crew pressed ahead with their flight. Byrd's co-pilot Bennett is said to have admitted that they faked their flight to the Pole. On 11 May 1926, the Norge expedition left Svalbard. Fifteen and a half hours the ship flew over the Pole and landed two days in Teller, Alaska. In retrospect, the Norge crew achieved their aim of being the first to overfly the Pole: Byrd's 9 May flight, acclaimed for decades as the prestigious first Polar flyover, has since been subjected to several credible challenges, including the discovery of Byrd's flight diary which showed that navigational data in his official report was fraudulent; the Norge "Rome to Nome" flight was acclaimed as another great milestone in flight, but disagreement soon erupted between Nobile, Amundsen on the flight, as to who deserved greater credit for the expedition. The controversy was exacerbated by Mussolini's government, which trumpeted the genius of Italian engineering and ordered Nobile on a speaking tour of the U. S. further alienating Amundsen and t
Fredrik Hjalmar Johansen was a Norwegian polar explorer. He participated on the third Fram expeditions, he shipped out with the Fridtjof Nansen expedition in 1893–1896, accompanied Nansen to notch a new Farthest North record near the North Pole. Johansen participated in the expedition of Roald Amundsen to the South Pole in 1910–1912. Born at Skien in Telemark county, Norway, he was the son of Maren Pedersdatter. He was the second eldest son in a family of five children, he attended Royal Frederick University to study law in Christiania. However, he performed poorly at law school, due to a low attendance of lectures. At the age of 21, Johansen's father died. After dropping out of school, Hjalmar worked in an office job at Bratsberg. However, by that time he had made his mark as an athlete. In gymnastics he became Norwegian champion in 1885 in Fredrikshald and world champion in 1889 in Paris. Johansen joined Nansen's polar expedition with Fram in 1893. After Fram froze fast, he became an assistant to Sigurd Scott-Hansen with his meteorologic studies.
Johansen was an expert dog driver. Using skis and sled dogs, Johansen accompanied Nansen on their joint closest approach to the North Pole, 86 degrees 14 minutes north, in 1895. On their way home and Nansen were forced to spend the winter on Franz Josef Land because of severe damage to their kayaks when crossing open channels in the ice. During the expedition, Johansen once fell through the ice and was saved by Nansen, received a blow on his head by a polar bear. On the return of the Nansen parties to Norway and other members of the crew of the Fram were celebrated as heroes. Johansen was promoted to captain in the Norwegian infantry at the garrison in Tromsø; however he drank and in 1907 he was asked to resign his position in the army. Between the years 1907 to 1909, Johansen participated in four expeditions to Svalbard. In 1910 he was one of Amundsen's men in Antarctica. Amundsen and his men, racing for the South Pole with Robert Falcon Scott, started out for the South Pole too early in the season and had to return to base camp at the Bay of Whales.
Johansen had disagreed with the early start and had to rescue a less experienced member of the party, Kristian Prestrud, from freezing to death on the return journey. Amundsen had taken the best dogsled and sped off towards the camp without regard for his men as a storm approached; as a result and Johansen had no tent or cooking equipment to melt snow and had no choice but to press on for the camp in a blizzard with extreme windchill and a dangerous descent towards the base camp. Johansen carried him to the base camp. However, the mishap enraged Amundsen. Upon their return to the Bay of Whales, Johansen quarrelled with Amundsen in front of the other men, he further disciplined Johansen by ordering him to subordinate himself to Prestrud, ordering the two men to embark on a minor expedition towards King Edward VII Land while the other members of the main expedition resumed their trek towards the Pole. The Amundsen party reached the South Pole and reunited with the subsidiary party. On the expedition's landfall in Tasmania Amundsen dismissed Johansen from the Fram, paid him off, ordered him to return separately to Norway.
Once Johansen had left Amundsen's party, the triumphant leader made the entire remaining crew sign a paper that stated that they were to keep quiet about the whole expedition. Amundsen was to have the sole right of writing about it in his soon-to-be-published book. After returning separately to Norway, Johansen found that he was never to be credited by Amundsen for any contribution to the expedition, including his heroic rescue of Prestrud. Johansen was awarded the South Pole Medal, the Royal Norwegian award instituted by King Haakon VII in 1912 to reward participants in Roald Amundsen's South Pole expedition. However, Johansen had resumed drinking alcohol, became clinically depressed and in 1913 committed suicide, his wife Hilda Øvrum and their four children survived him. After his death, Johansen's reputation drifted into obscurity. In 1997, biographer Ragnar Kvam, Jr. published a biography of the forgotten explorer, Den tredje mann: Beretningen om Hjalmar Johansen. As a result of this and other work, Johansen's place in the story of Norwegian polar exploration is being rehabilitated.
In 2005, the International Hydrographic Organization approved the proposal by an American arctic scientist to name Hjalmar Johansen Seamount, a newly discovered volcanic edifice on the floor of the Arctic Ocean northwest of Spitzbergen. The location is 82 degrees, 57 minutes N, 3 degrees, 40 minutes W; the top of the undersea mountain lies at a water depth of 4800 meters. Hjalmar Johansen With Nansen in the North Ragnar Kvam Den tredje mann: Beretningen om Hjalmar Johansen ISBN 978-8205248847
Albert Hastings Markham
Admiral Sir Albert Hastings Markham was a French- born, British explorer and officer in the Royal Navy. In 1903 he was invested as a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath, he died in London, England at the age of 76. He is remembered for designing the flag of New Zealand. Albert Markham was the fifth son of Captain John Markham, who had retired from the navy because of ill health with the rank of lieutenant. John Markham's grandfather, William Markham, had been Archbishop of York. Albert was born in Bagnères-de-Bigorre in the Hautes-Pyrénées department of France, where the family lived before moving to a farm on Guernsey. At age thirteen Albert was sent to London to live with his aunt, the wife of his uncle David Markham, at 4 Onslow Square. Neighbours included novelist William Thackeray, he was educated at Eastman's Royal Naval Academy. Markham's father was short of money for his education and had for some time tried to find a naval officer willing to sponsor Albert for admission to the navy.
He only succeeded in doing so after Albert had passed the normal entry age of fourteen, but by good luck the admiralty at that time had decided to experiment with accepting older cadets. His aunt's son Clements Markham, eleven years older than Albert, had joined the navy before leaving to become a geographer and explorer, he exerted a considerable influence on his career. When away from Clements and his wife Minna, who for much of his life he regarded as his only family, Albert was moody and defensive, he had a strong sense of duty as a naval officer, which compelled him to serve with a strict adherence to rules and established practices, strong religious convictions. He did not smoke, allowing that a gentleman might have an occasional cigar, but believing that cigarettes were for effeminate weaklings and that a black pipe ruined mind and body, he disapproved of those who did. He found it difficult to socialise with other officers, he disliked the peacetime navy, with its endless social engagements and ritual displays.
Markham's family emigrated to the United States and John Markham bought a farm at La Crosse in Wisconsin. Albert visited them twice and he was unimpressed, he found the trains slow, the hotels disreputable, travelling companions murderous. He was impressed by the wild grandeur and wildlife of the Mississippi Valley and was invited to hunt with General Mackenzie in Indian territory. Throughout his life he enjoyed hunting all manner of beasts; the only killing at which he showed disgust was the drawn-out deaths of whales, which he saw on Arctic voyages. He married Theodora Gervers in 1894, with. Markham had no great conviction for a naval career, but accepted the constraints it placed upon him in return for the opportunities it presented to further his other interests, he followed the advice he had been given to join and stick with the navy, although he suffered from seasickness and disliked the customary cruelty of service punishments. However, his austere upbringing had better suited him to the rigours of navy life than had his cousin's.
Markham joined the Royal Navy in 1856 at the age of 15 and spent the first eight years of his career on the China Station, travelling out in HMS Camilla and serving on Niger, HMS Retribution, Imperieuse, HMS Coromandel and HMS Centaur. His brother John was in Hong Kong, where he was suffering food poisoning from arsenic added to flour by local Chinese. Chinese pirates were the chief preoccupation of the navy as they would make raids on the harbour. On one occasion aged fifteen Markham led a party of two marines against a pirate junk; the pirates abandoned ship and those captured were taken ashore and beheaded. On another occasion he commanded a lorcha armed with a 12-pounder howitzer against a pirate ship holding two British captives. After a three-hour fight he boarded the ship with five men while outnumbered and took eleven prisoners; the British prisoners were found to have been crucified, so the pirates were executed. He became acquainted with a British Consulate official who encouraged an interest in ornithology and shooting snipe.
In 1862, Markham received a promotion to lieutenant. In 1864, he returned to Britain where he took naval exams and stayed with Clements and his wife Minna, at what was to be his only permanent home in England for 30 years. In November he was appointed to the last three-decker constructed for the Royal Navy, Victoria, in the Mediterranean. Life sailing in the Levant was less dangerous, only required the arrival of a British ship to settle a dispute. There was plenty of time for leave and Markham visited Turkey, the Holy Land and the Aegean islands. Appointment to the fleet patrolling the eastern end of the Mediterranean was considered by many as less desirable than the western patrol which visited France and Italy, but the historical sites in the east suited Markham's interests, he kept a journal describing the places he visited. One of his greatest delights was to meet Minna and Clements ashore and to accompany them on archaeological expedition in the region. In 1868, Markham was appointed first lieutenant of Blanche on the Australia Station where he helped suppress "blackbirding", the illegal trading of slaves between Queensland and the South Sea Islands.
This included time spent as an acting commander on Rosario. The issue was not straightforward, because the Queensland government was ambivalent towards the trade, which provided workers for its plantations; some of the native workers were pleased to be trave