Wrap up warm and take a journey to the icy ends of the earth. From the countless attempts to find the fabled North-West Passage in the Arctic Circle, to the race to reach the South Pole, read about the triumphs and the tragedies of history's polar explorers.
In 1818 John Ross was sent to search for the North-West Passage. He turned back, mistakenly believing there was no passage through Lancaster Sound.
Captain Robert Falcon Scott was the first British explorer to reach the South Pole and explore Antarctica extensively by land in the early 1900s.
Explorer Luke Foxe led an expedition to search for the North-West Passage in 1631. He set out at the same time as rival explorer Thomas James.
Sir Ernest Shackleton was an Anglo-Irish Antarctic explorer, who made three expeditions to the continent, most famously in 1914 on the Endurance.
In 1576 Martin Frobisher was the first English explorer to search for the North-West Passage – the seaway linking the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
Polite society was thrilling to the idea of an undiscovered continent in the south. Was it even there and what would count as proof if it didn’t exist?
Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen was the first man who successfully navigated the North-West Passage by boat, on a voyage that lasted from 1903 to 1906.
In 1907, Ernest Shackleton embarked on an expedition to the South Pole aboard his ship Nimrod. He was almost successful, falling just 97 miles short.
In 1854 Robert McClure was credited as the first man to navigate the North-West Passage – although much of his journey was over ice, rather than water.
In the early 20th century the race was on to reach the South Pole. Robert Falcon Scott led the first British expedition.