Ernest Shackleton (1874-1922)

Ernest Shackleton

1874 On the 15th of February, in Kilkea, Kildare District, Ireland, Ernest Shackleton was born. He was an Irish polar explorer who missed only 157 km to be the first man who arrived to South Pole and who crossed Antarctic Ocean in an open boat, saving all his people after the ship they were in had sunk.

1890 Shackleton enrolled to mercantile marine and sailed to Far East and America before getting his certificate. Then he became an Officer within Union Star and he also enrolled to Navy reservists department.

1901-1903 He took part in Discovery expedition done by Robert Falcon Scott as a Lieutenant and he also went together with Scott and Edward Wilson to a sledding expedition over Ross Ice Shelf, until 82 degrees, 16 minutes South Latitude, the Southernmost point that had been reached at that moment. He went back home earlier than it had been established; he was sick but decided to become the first man who would have reached the South Pole.

1907-1908 Shackleton returned to Antarctica but this time as the Head of expedition, Nimrod, during which some sleds led by Shackleton reached 88 degrees and 23 minutes South Latitude, only 97 miles (157 km) far of South Pole. Another expedition’s team reached Magnetic South Pole. The both groups endured extreme conditions, starving being the strongest enemy. “After all, difficulties are only situations that must be overcome”, wrote Shackleton on his diary. Being always ready to endure the conditions close to his people, he was very loved by these who lovingly told him “the Boss”. At home he was considered a hero and when he returned to England he was ennobled.

1914-1916 After few months he tried to achieve money and after he had chosen 56 volunteers, Shackleton went again towards South on August 1914 while World War I was going to start. He was about to cross Antarctica from a camp near Weddell Sea, crossing South Pole to McMurdo Sound, but Endurance expeditionary vessel met unusually hard ice and drifted for ten months before being crushed. The ship disappeared under  the ice cap but Shackleton and his people succeeded to survive. After five months spent under Ice Shelf, when the ice under their legs stated to crack, Shackleton led his people to rescue boats that they had picked up from Endurance and, in the end, the whole team landed on Elephant Island, in Southern Shetland Islands.

Then, Shackleton left to one of the most dangerous and daring sea crossings. Together with five people he sailed by the strongest rescue boat of whaler, that was called James Caird, over 1300 km on a sea full of ice and troubled by storms to Southern Georgia. Once they arrived there, the crew must have crossed a mountainous island that was also covered by snow in order to get help from a rescue boats harbour on the Northern shore of that island. Shackleton led four rescue expeditions until he succeeded to get out all people from Elephant Island. The fact he was able to save all his people was his greatest accomplishment.

1922 On the 5th of January, Ernest Shackleton died at Grytvicken, South Georgia.[1]



1 - Ernest Shackleton (1874-1922),

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