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  Roald Amundsen was the first explorer to reach the South Pole. He was also the first explorer to take a ship through the Northwest Passage. And he was one of the first explorers to fly over the Arctic.

Early Life Roald Amundsen was born on 16th July 16 1872 in Norway. His mother wanted him to be a doctor but he wanted to build ships.

Early Expeditions In 1897 Roald went to Antarctica for the first time. From 1903 to 1906 he travelled through the Northwest Passage on a ship. This is a sea route around the northern Canadian coast. Explorers had tried to find the North-West Passage for hundreds of years. Amundsen learned how to live in the cold. When he went to the South Pole, he decided to use dogs to pull things and he decided to wear animal fur.

The South Pole Amundsen wanted to be the first man to go to the North Pole. However, the American explorer, Robert Peary, got there first in 1909. So Amundsen decided to be the first man to reach the South Pole. But the British explorer, Robert Scott, also wanted to be the first man to reach the South Pole. Amundsen left Norway in June 1910. He set up his base sixty miles closer to the Pole than Scott. Amundsen left his base on 19th October 1911. With him were 4 men and 52 dogs. They reached the South Pole on 14th December 1911. Scott reached the South Pole one month later. Amundsen was the first man at the South Pole.

Later Expeditions From 1918 to 1920, Amundsen explored the north of Russia. Polar bears attacked him. In 1926 Amundsen flew over the North Pole in an airship, The Nobile. He was the first man to fly over the North Pole.

Death In June 1928, Amundsen went to look for some people. Their airship had crashed in the Arctic. But Amundsen’s plane also crashed. Nobody could find his body. Amundsen was dead. © CLIL360 2014 All rights reserved. May be photocopied for use in the classroom. Images from Wikimedia Commons and are in public domain.

Roald Amundsen