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Biography of Robert Edwin Peary


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Peary, Robert Edwin. Arctic explorer, officer in United States Navy. Born in Cresson, PA, May 6, 1856. Entered United States Navy as civil engineer, October 26, 1881. Assistant engineer on Nicaragua ship canal under government orders, 1884-85; engineer in charge of Nicaragua canal surveys, 1887-88; invented rolling-lock gates for canal. Made reconnaissance, 1886, of the Greenland inland ice-cap, east of Disco Bay, 70 north latitude; chief of arctic expedition of Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, June, 1891, to September, 1892, to northeast angle of Greenland (Independence Bay 81 37' north latitude). Peary discovered and named Melville Land and Heilprin Land, lying beyond Greenland. Made another arctic voyage, 1893-95. Made thorough study of little tribe of Arctic Highlanders. Discovered famous Iron Mountain in 1894 (first heard of by Ross in 1818), which proved to be three meteorites, one of them weighing ninety tons (the largest known to exist). Failed to reach the northern end of Greenland on third trip. Fitted out another ship, and sailed to another Polar expedition in 1905. Made summer voyages, 1896 and 1897, bringing the Cape York meteorites to United States. Commander of Arctic expedition under auspices of Peary Arctic Club of New York City, 1898-1902. Rounded northern extremity of Greenland archipelago, the last of the great Arctic land groups. Named the northern cape, the most northerly land in the world (83 39' north latitude), Cape Morris K. Jesup. In 1906, attained highest north in Western hemisphere (87 6' north latitude). Announced his discovery of the North Pole, 1909. Author: "Northward Over the Great Ice," etc. Robert Edwin Peary died in 1920.