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The American Experience
Image map: dates 1902 - 1988
1916


April
Ernest Shackleton and crew head out from Elephant Island in a makeshift open sea craft. Following a voyage of 16 days they arrived at South Georgia, also in Antarctica. Determined to reach a whaling station at Stromness, Shackleton and crew set across the frozen island on foot. Although his expedition failed in its stated objective, Shackleton considered the trek a success. "The comradeship and resource of the members...was worthy of the highest traditions of Polar service," he later declared.


1926

Byrd and Bennett
May
Americans Richard E. Byrd and Floyd Bennett are the first to fly over the North Pole. The veracity of their feat will later be called into question and will be the subject of controversial debate for years to come.


1928


December
Australia's Sir George Hubert Wilkins is the first man to fly over Antarctica.


1929


November
Operating out of his base, Little America, on the Bay of Whales, Richard E. Byrd, along with three others, completes a 1600-mile flight over the South Pole.


1934


August
Naturalist and explorer William Beebe and engineer Otis Barton set out to plunge deeper into the ocean than anyone had ever gone. Through the use of a bathysphere, Beebe and Barton descended to a record-setting depth of 3,028 feet off the coast of Bermuda. The record stands for fifteen years before Barton himself breaks it.


1947


April
Norwegian scientist and explorer, Thor Heyerdahl, sets out to cross the Pacific Ocean in boat made of balsa logs, bamboo, and hemp to "support a theory that the South Sea islands were peopled from Peru." His vessel, the "Kon-Tiki", carried a crew of six from Peru and arrived in Tahiti 108 days later.


1953


May
New Zealander Edmund Hillary, along with Nepalese guide Tenzing Norgay, completes the first successful ascent of Mount Everest.


1958


August
The U.S. nuclear-powered submarine the "Nautilus", commandeered by William R. Anderson, becomes the first ship to cross beneath the entire length of the North Pole.



1902 - 1915 | 1916 - 1958 |1961 - 1969 | 1975 - 1983 | 1986 - 1998

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