Amazing articles on just about every subject...




Achievements Of The 19th Century:
 Physics

 Evolution

 Geology

 Astronomy

 Anthropology

 Exploration And Discovery

 Education

 Medical Science, Hygiene, And Surgery

 Modern Warfare

 Printing And Publishing

 Read More Articles About: Achievements Of The 19th Century

Exploration And Discovery

( Originally Published Early 1900's )

As an era of exploration and discovery the Nineteenth Century vies with that of which Columbus was the central figure. Some idea may be obtained 0f the vastness of the progress that has been accomplished, by comparing a map of the world a hundred years ago with one showing our present knowledge of the earth's surface. No land has been too remote or forbidding to deter the restless Ulysses of the present Century from an exploration of its profoundest mysteries. Probably the most magnificent and far-reaching result of this intrepid spirit of adventure has been the opening of what has, since the dawn of history, been known as the "Dark Continent." In the beginning of the Century Africa was a blank from 10 degrees north latitude to the confines of Cape Colony.

Before attempting to recount some of the many wonderful discoveries of the era that began with Livingstone and extends down to the present day, it might be well to mention a few of the minor expeditions that have contributed their assistance toward the solution of the African problem. In 1816 Captain Tuckey succeeded in exploring the Congo as far as the first rapids. In August, 1827, Clapperton, in company with Denham, made his famous journey from Tripoli to Lake Chad, and crossed Africa from the Bight of Benin to Sokoto. In 1820-27 a survey of nearly all the west and east coast was made by Captain F. W. Owen, and the north coast by the Beecheys. In 1840 Abyssinia was explored by Dr. Beke, and in 1843-6 Mansfield Parkyns and Chichele Plowden made egress into this forbidden land by way of the Nile. In 1846 John Petherick traversed, the territory from Keneh to Kosseir, and in 1853 entered the land of the Jur. James Richardson was the first European to enter Ghat, and after exploring Fezzan turned to Tripoli in 1850. An expedition, 1851-54, under Dr. Barth, explored the Central Sudan States, the Niger, Shari and Binue and the territory watered by them, and visited Timbuktu. In 1850 Francis Galton made a 2,000 mile journey through the country of the Damara and the Ovampo.

In 1840 the immortal Livingstone, with whose name African exploration is probably more closely associated than with that of any other traveler, went to South Africa as a missionary. The year 1847 found him settled in the very interior, whence, in 1849, he accompanied Oswell and Murray on an expedition in search of Lake Ngami, about which he had obtained some information from the natives. On August 1st he discovered the magnificent sheet of water, and during the few days following explored its borders, afterward making an extended voyage down its outlet, the Zouga. In 1852, after having sent his family to England, Livingstone commenced a journey of discovery that won for him the plaudits of the entire world. For four long years he traversed South Africa from the Cape of Good Hope, passing through Tete, descending the Zambesi to the sea, traveling in all an estimated distance of i 1,00o miles. For this great achievement he received the Victoria Gold Medal of the Geographical Society, and when he visited England in 1856 he was received with distinguished honors. In the spring of 1858 he returned to Africa and (accompanied by Mrs. Livingstone) began his famous Zambesi expedition, which continued until 1864. After following the course of the great stream for a long distance he turned off toward the North and explored the beautiful Lake Nyassa, which he discovered in September, 1859. The death of Mrs. Livingstone at Shupanga, April 27, 1862, was a sad ending for a long succession of brilliant accomplishments, and in 1864 Dr. Livingstone returned to England. He immediately made preparations for another expedition, and in April, 1865, he left his native land, never to return. Nothing was heard from him for a year, and in March, 1867, it was reported that he had been assassinated by the natives. Only occasional stray bits of news regarding his movements were received by the outside world until 1869. Then followed a long silence of two years' duration. Public anxiety had by this time reached a fever heat, and the New York Herald sent out its correspondent, Henry M. Stanley, to search for the missing man. Stanley reached Ujiji in the autumn of 1871. He there found the lost Livingstone alive and well, and received from him an account of his long wanderings and marvelous discoveries. Livingstone and Stanley together now made an exploration of the north end of Tanganyika. In March, 1872, Stanley returned to England, and Livingstone proceeded South to Bangweolo, where he died. In his career as an explorer, Livingstone traversed some 29,000 miles of African soil, most of it new, and he laid open nearly one million square miles of territory that was previously unknown and which had appeared on the map as an absolute blank.

While Livingstone was at work in South Africa, Burton and Speke, Grant and Baker, were exploring the magnificent domains of the Upper Nile country. In 1861 Speke and Grant reached Unyanyembe, and the two succeeding years were spent in a march northward to the Victoria Nyanza, the vast inland fresh water lake discovered by Speke in his expedition with Burton in 1857. The outlet of the Nile at Ripon Falls was discovered, and in February, 1863, they met Sir Samuel Baker at Gondokora on the White Nile. There was great joy among the travelers when they met on the shores of this classic stream, and there were many congratulations exchanged. Speke and Grant by their discovery of the main source of the Nile had solved a puzzle that had been exercising the imaginations of geographers since the dawn of history. Sir Samuel related his rediscovery of the Muta Nzige of Speke and of a second vast sheet of water, to which he gave the name of Albert Nyanza. In 1874-79 Gordon Pasha cleared up still further the mystery of the Upper Nile, and obtained much valuable knowledge of the territory on either side of the river. In 1887-9 Stanley headed an English expedition sent out to the relief of Emin Pasha, which resulted in further knowledge regarding the hydrography of the Nile and the Congo.

The expedition which fixed Stanley's fame as one of the greatest explorers the world has ever known was that which began in 1875, when he circumnavigated the Victoria Nyanza, visited Uganda, marched across an unknown country to the river Lualaba, on which he embarked in November, 1876, not knowing where the mighty torrent would lead him. He traveled a distance of 1,800 miles, and when he reached the mouth of the river, in August, 1877, it proved to be the Congo. This was the most important discovery that had ever been made in the exploration of the dark continent. Its consequences were of vast political and commercial importance, among them the founding of the Congo Free State.

Although the opening of Africa has been preeminently an English undertaking, much notable work has been done by French and German expeditions. One of the most remarkable exploits is that of Commander Monteil, a Frenchman, who early in 1893 completed a journey of 4,400 miles, three-fifths of it in humid tropical Africa, and two-fifths in the thirsty desert. He is the first white man to cross from ocean to ocean the country lying below the great northern bend of the Niger River, and he is the second white man to reach Lake Tchad from the Atlantic Ocean. The expedition in 1893 of Lieutenant Von Gotzen across the forests of Central Africa, from sea to sea, was a note-worthy one from a geographical standpoint. In the year 1861 Gerhard Rohlfs began his explorations. Disguised as a Moorish physician, he entered the Kingdom of Morocco, practiced for a time with great success at Fez, and subsequently visited all parts of the country north of the Great Sahara. During a journey to the oasis of Tafilit, in the Sahara, he was attacked by the leaders of the caravan he had joined, robbed, severely wounded and left as dead by the maurauders. A band of passing dervishes found him nearly dying with thirst and loss of blood, and, binding his wounds and giving him a supply of water, left him to continue his journey unmolested. Undaunted by this terrible experience he undertook to reach the oasis of Tuat, which had never been visited by a European. He succeeded in this remarkable venture, secretly measured and mapped it, and then made his way to Tripoli by way of the more northerly Oasis of Chadames. This journey counts among the most important and daring explorations of the Dark Continent.

To name all the men who have within the past forty years devoted their lives, and, in many cases, sacrificed them, to the details of African exploration, would be an impossible task, and to make a selection would be invidious. Scores of scientists and brave missionaries have laid down their lives in attempts to probe the mysteries of the interior, and countless minor expeditions have gone into the heart of the Dark Continent never to be seen or heard of again.

The first man to attempt the solution of the "polar problem" in the present Century was Captain William Scoresby, an Englishman, who pushed his way through terrible difficulties until he reached a latitude of 81 degrees 12 minutes, 42 seconds, on the north of Spitzbergen. In 1818 the British Government sent out two expeditions. One, under Captain James Ross and Lieutenant Edward Parry, was dispatched to Davis Straits, and the other, under Captain Buchan and Lieutenant John Franklin, to Spitzbergen. The latter expedition met with misfortune before it had reached the latitude attained by Captain Scoresby, but the former, with the utmost exertion, succeeded in rediscovering Baffin's Bay, passing by way of Lancaster Sound 400 miles westward, or about half way to Behring Strait. In 1821-3 Parry made a second journey, discovering the Fury and Hecla Straits. In a third attempt (1827) he succeeded in attaining the latitude of 82 degrees 45 minutes north of Spitzbergen, which was no farther than whalers had penetrated in former years, with scarcely a hindrance. He quit his ship, the Hecla, on the northern coast of Spitzbergen and betook himself to his boats. When he had reached 81 degrees, 13 minutes, he encountered difficulties that compelled him to convert his boats into sledges. After a long, perilous journey toward the North he discovered that the ice on which he was traveling was moving Southward as rapidly as he was advancing North, and that he was in the very same latitude as when he started. In the meantime Lieutenant Franklin had started on another expedition, in 1819, and liad succeeded in traversing a long stretch of the coast of Arctic America, passing by the Saskatchewan and the Barren Grounds as far as the Coppermine River, which he followed and explored for 500 miles. In 1826, accompanied by Dr. Richardson, his companion in the former expedition, he descended the Mackenzie River and explored the coast of the continent through 37 degrees of longitude, pushing as far West as 160 miles from Point Barrow, which had been reached from the West in 1826 by Captain Beechey. Meanwhile the viking spirit of Captain Scoresby had not been slumbering. In 1822 he had penetrated the ice-barriers of Eastern Greenland, and had surveyed the coast line from 75 degrees to 69.

The most important of the early Arctic expeditions was that commanded by Captain John Ross and his nephew, James C. Ross. The ship Victory, which carried the party, left England in 1829, entered Barrow Strait, and into the Gulf of Boothia named in honor of Felix Booth, the patron of the expedition. The projecting peninsula on the left, also named Boothia, was thoroughly explored, as was also King William's Land. On June 1, 1831, a wonderful discovery was made. The Magnetic Pole, the ancient mystery of mariners, was located in the western part of Boothia. For a long time the Rosses were thought to have perished, and in 1833 a relief expedition was sent to their rescue, but before reaching them they had been picked up by a whaling vessel in Barrow Strait, having had to abandon their own ships. In 1837-39 Simpson & Dease, of the Hudson Bay Company, completed the tracing of the coast line westward as far as Point Barrow and eastward to the Castor and Pollux River. The entire outline of the Northern coast of America was not known, however, until 1853, when Dr. John Rae took up and completed the work begun by the Hudson Bay Company people and discovered King William's Land to be an island.

In June, 1845, the indefatigible John Franklin, who had been knighted in 1829 in recognition of his distinguished services as an explorer, was given command of the Erebus and the Terror, and instructed to attempt to discover a practicable northwest passage to India. With the blare of trumpets and the adulations of a whole nation ringing in their ears, the expedition left England to meet one of the most tragic fates of modern times. The last that was seen of the vessels was in July of the same year. No news of the party having reached England, a relief expedition was sent out which returned without finding a trace of the lost ones. Between that and 1854, twenty separate expeditions, at the cost of a million pounds sterling, were sent from England and America in hope of finding if not survivors at least traces of the missing crews. The task seemed hopeless, but after long and persistent endeavors on the part of the British Government, of Lady Franklin and of private explorers, the mystery was finally solved by the expedition of McClintock, in 1857. This steamer made the melancholy discovery that Sir John Franklin died June I I, 1847, off the Northwest coast of King William's Land, and that on April 22, 1848, the Erebus and the Terror were abandoned in the ice. The officers and crew, 105 souls in all, under Captain Crozier, reached King William's Island, whence they attempted to make their way to the Hudson Bay Company's stations. From information gleaned from the Esquimaux, and by subsequently discovered relics of the party, it appears that the poor men fell, one by one, on the way, dying of cold and starvation, and that very few of them ever reached the mainland. The relief expeditions that were sent out with the hope of succoring the ill-fated Franklin party have indirectly led to the richest geographical results. Among the most important of these expeditions is that of Dr. Kane, who sailed from New York, May 30, 1853. Dr. Kane, three years previously, had accompanied Lieutenant De Haven in an expedition for the same purpose. The disappointment that had attended the return of the unsuccessful American and English expeditions only increased the public desire to ascertain the fate of Franklin, and Dr. Kane shared in this anxiety to the extent of contributing his entire fortune to the fitting out of the Advance. The brave officers and crew were unsuccessful in obtaining any trace of Franklin and had to abandon their ship in the ice and travel with sledges and boats for eighty-four days, until they reached the Danish settlements of Greenland. The stories of the suffering and discoveries of this little band of adventurers are among the most thrilling in the history of Arctic exploration. On his return, in 1855, Dr. Kane was awarded gold medals by Congress, by the Legislature of New York and by the Royal Geographical Society of London. He also received the Queen's Medal given to Arctic explorers.

Previous to 1879 Arctic expeditions had left the region north of Behring Strait comparatively unexplored, and on the 8th day of July of that year, the ill-fated Jeannette sailed out of the Golden Gate at San Francisco bound "for that strange land from whose bourne," it may almost be said, "no traveler returns." The Jeannette, formerly the Pandora, a gunboat, was officered and manned from the United States Navy. There were thirty-two souls on board, under the command of Captain De Long, and the ship was provisioned for a three years' cruise. The ship proceeded by way of St. Michaels, Alaska, and thence to Wrangle Land, where the ship was frozen in on the night of September 20. Then came a period of twenty-one months drift in the ice pack, and during the first five months only forty miles was made. Yet several islands were discovered and named. On May 16, 188o, Jeannette Island was sighted in latitude 76 degrees, 47 minutes N.; on May 27, Henrietta Island, 77 degrees, 8 minutes N.; also Bennet Island, in latitude 76 degrees 38 minutes N.

For two long years nothing was heard of the Jeannette, and during all this time she was drifting helplessly and surely to destruction. On the 11th of June, 1881, the end came, and the ship was crushed to dust beneath a mountain of ice from one of those sudden upheavals that had so often threatened her during her long sojourn upon this floating island. Fortunately, the catastrophe had been anticipated, and the crew had been divided into three parties, which put out in small boats. They were then in latitude 77 degrees north, near New Siberia Island, 500 miles from the mouth of the Lena river. The boats succeeded in keeping together until the night of September 12, when a terrible storm sent them drifting in different directions toward the Siberian coast. The boat containing Lieutenant Chipp and his crew was never heard from, but the boats of Captain De Long and Chief Engineer Melville landed at points near the mouth of the Lena. It was a barren, desolate shore that De Long stepped upon, with no trace of its ever before having been trodden by a human being. Melville's crew was more fortunate in finding a landing place, and they immediately instituted a search for their superior officer. Many weeks afterward tracks were discovered, and with the assistance of native guides, the searching party were at last successful in finding the location of the last bivouac. The bodies of De Long and his companions were found lying about the charred embers of the fire they had built. De Long's diary was by his side, his pencil grasped in his frozen fingers, showing that the delicious rest of that sleep which precedes death by freezing had overtaken him in the act of making an entry in the sad record of his sufferings. On April 7, 1882, the remains of the whole party were laid in one grave, with a pile of stone and a wooden cross to mark the spot. During the winters of 1882-3 and 1883-4 the bodies were transported across Siberia on dog sleds, a distance of 5,761 miles, to the eastern terminus of the railroad to Moscow, whence the funeral cortege moved on to America, special honors being paid to it all along the route.

The next important Arctic expedition was that undertaken by A. W. Greely (then a lieutenant in the United States Army), who started in the ship Proteus in the summer of 1881, with twenty-five explorers and provisions to last a little over two years. Headquarters were made in Discovery Harbor in August of that year, and the Proteus returned to the United States. The chief object of the expedition was to establish a scientific international polar station in Lady Franklin Bay, as recommended by the Hamburg International Polar Commission of two years before, and to this end excursions were made into the surrounding country to obtain the true position and outline of Grinnell Land. Captain James Lockwood was entrusted with the most important field work of the expedition. In March, 1882, in company with Sergeant Brainard, they set out on a journey that fixed Lockwood's fame as an Arctic explorer. They crossed Robeson channel to New-man Bay on dog sleds with the thermometer ranging from 30 to 55 degrees below zero. After reaching Cape Bryant, on the north coast, they sent back all their attendants except one Esquimaux servant, and proceeded northward to an island in latitude 83.20, less than 350 miles from the pole, where, on May 15, Lockwood unfurled to the breeze the United States flag, exultant in the thought that it waved in a higher latitude than had any flag before. The little party returned to Fort Conger June 17, the journey having occupied sixty days and covering a distance of 1,069 miles. The expedition was rich in scientific and geographical results. The recorded boundary of known land had been extended twenty-eight miles nearer the pole, and 125 miles of hitherto undiscovered coast line mapped out. As previously arranged with the Government, the Neptune was sent out with fresh supplies in 1882 and the Proteus in 1883. Neither of these vessels reached Discovery Harbor, and the Proteus was crushed by the ice and sunk. Their supplies running low, the expedition abandoned their quarters and reached Cape Sabine in October with supplies for only two months. Their sufferings during the succeeding year were intense. Sixteen died of starvation, among them the brave Lockwood, one was drowned and one shot to death for stealing food from the commissary stores. In the meantime the public anxiety had grown intense, and the United States fitted out another relief expedition. Captain Schley (since the famous commodore of the American-Spanish war), with three ships, Thetis, Bear and Alert, reached Cape Sabine June 22, 1884, and took off the seven survivors, then at the point of death. Lieutenant Greely was' unable to appear in public for some time after his rescue, but as soon as he was able, he was received with enthusiasm, not only in his own country, but abroad.

The next American to strive for the honors of Arctic discovery was Lieutenant Robert E. Peary, United States Navy, who was sent out in June, 1891, by the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia. The object of the expedition was to explore the north and northwest coasts of Greenland from the land side. Lieutenant Peary was accompanied by his wife and a number of scientists detailed by the Academy. The expedition sailed June 6, on the Arctic whaler Kite, Captain Richard Pike commander. The journey was unmarked by fatalties, and the explorers succeeded in attaining 83 degrees, 24 minutes, a still higher latitude than reached by Lockwood and Brainard. In 1893 Peary made a second expedition, accompanied again by his wife and a party of scientific men. After sending home the vessel, the party went into camp on the west coast of Greenland, where a daughter was born in September. The winter of 1893-94 was spent in preparations for sledge exploring. On March 6 they set out on a journey which resulted in the survey and map-ping of 150 miles of coast line hitherto unknown. A relief auxiliary expedition, headed by Henry S. Bryant, and including Professor William Libbey, of Princeton, as geographer, Professor T. C. Chamberlain, of the University of Chicago, as geologist, and Dr. Axel Ohlin, of Sweden, zo÷logist, opened communication with Peary on August 1, and reached Falcon Bay August 20. They returned August 26, leaving only Lieutenant Peary and his two volunteers, Lee and Henson, to complete their explorations next season. A second relief party brought back the explorers to the United States in 1895. The amount of knowledge which the Peary expeditions have contributed to science is incalculable. His survey covers 1,000 miles of the coast of Greeland. The direction of the coast, the bays indicated and the islands discovered, make an entirely new map. Eleven islands, not on previous charts, have been marked accurately, and 100 glaciers have been located where only ten were known before. They did not get as far north as their predecessors, but the real success of the expedition in scientific results surpasses all previous and later Arctic attempts.

The Jackson-Harmsworth expedition of 1894-97, which left England in the whaler Windward, solved some most interesting geographical problems. The northern coasts of Franz Joseph Land were accurately determined, and the much vexed problem of Gillies Land was decided. It is now quite clear that this land does not lie where geographers have been in the habit of putting it. The map of British Franz Joseph Land was practically completed, and the new map entirely revolutionizes old ideas of the territory. Instead of a continental mass 0f land, as was long supposed, there is a vast number of small islands, to the north of which is an open sea, the most northerly open sea in the whole world, and which has been named the Queen Victoria sea.

This long catalogue of daring Arctic adventures was brought to a fitting climax by the return of Dr. Fridjof Nansen, the Norwegian explorer, whose triumph it is to have gone nearer the pole by 200 miles than any of his predecessors. On June 24, 1893, the wonderfully constructed Fram left Kristiana. The success of the expedition was no doubt due largely to this vessel, which was built on a plan calculated to resist the stupendous power of crushing ice floes. On the 10th of September the northern point of Siberia had been safely rounded, and the Fram pushed eastward toward the New Siberian Islands. On September 25, at a latitude of 78 degrees, 45 minutes, the vessel was frozen in about 150 miles north of the western part of these islands. Then began the routine of the drift. The ship was arranged for the winter, and a wind-mill erected for electric service. This drift continued until September, 1894, when Dr. Nansen concluded that he and a companion would attempt a sledge journey over the ice by which he could explore further to the northward. On March 14 a start was made with three sledges and nine dogs each. On the first day only nine miles was made, the temperature ranging from 40 to 45 below zero. They pushed on by these slow stages until April 8, when a chaos of ice blocks barred the way. The latitude attained was 83 degrees, 13 minutes, 6 seconds, in east longitude 95 degrees. Progress was so slow and with no sign of improvement, that the gigantic task of covering the 200 miles intervening between that point and the pole had to be abandoned, and it was decided to turn to the southward. Then began a terrible struggle for life. Exhausted nature began to assert itself, and on the 12th of the month the pair slept so long that their watches run down. As the dogs began to die from exhaustion they-were killed and fed to the survivors. At first some of them refused to eat it, but hunger soon destroyed all scruples against canine diet. Not. until the 24th of the following July did the sight of land gladden the eyes of the weary travelers, and then it was but a barren snow covered shore; yet twenty-two days of terrible struggle elapsed before the land was reached. Almost impossible ice, lanes and pools had to be crossed on short rations, and Nansen writes : "Inconceivable toil. We never could go on with it if it were not for the fact that we must. On the 7th open water was reached. The two surviving dogs were regretfully killed, and after many struggles with the ice along shore, on the 15th of August the pair set foot on the solid earth for the first time in two years. It was now too late for them to attempt to travel further south, and winter quarters were made on one of the islands of the Franz Joseph archipelago. Here in dull misery and squalor, the winter was passed in a half comatose condition. They ate and slept and kept a few observations going." Nansen's journal shows no complaints or repinings, although for more than two years no food except whale blubber had passed his lips. On the 19th of May they left their winter lair. After many vicissitudes and dangers, on June 17 Nansen heard the bark of a dog and in a few moments was shaking hands with the members of the Jackson-Harmsworth expedition. Their task was ended and the victory won. The journey of Nansen and Johansen from the Fram to their winter quarters was, in round numbers about 500 nautical miles, and the distance made averaged three miles a day. The distance from their winter quarters to the nearest frequented harbor in Spitzbergen was 540 miles. Had Hansen not met with the English expedition, the result in the end must have been disastrous to him and his companion. Truly fortune favors the brave.

Of the daring Professor A. S. Andree, of Stockholm, there can nothing be said. Under the patronage of the King of Sweden and the endorsement of the Czar of Russia, he started for the pole in a huge balloon in May, 1897, and up to the present time nothing authentic has been seen of or heard from him.

In this great international race for the north pole, the search for the south pole has not been neglected. Ant-arctic exploration began with the year 1820, when the Russian expedition, under Bellinghausen, discovered the islets of Petra and Alexandria. In 1821 Captain George Powell discovered the South Orkneys. In 1831 Captain John Biscoe discovered Enderby's Land, but did not get within twenty miles of it by reason of the ice. He also discovered Adelaide Island and landed on it. In 1838 Captain John Bellew and Captain Freena discovered a group of volcanic islands, one peak of which rose to a height of 12,000 feet. In 1839 Dumont d'Urville discovered Terre Adelie and Cote Clair, two islands. It remained, however, for Captain Charles Wilkes, commanding the United States exploring expedition during the years 1838-42, to really discover, explore and make certain the existence of land around the southern pole. Towards the close of December, 1839, Captain Wilkes and his squadron, consisting of the United States flagship Vincennes, the Peacock, the schooner Flying Fish and the brig Porpoise, set out for New South Wales and by January 1, had reached latitude 43 degrees south. It was midsummer weather for that region and preparations were made to secure the interior of the vessels from cold and wet, which inevitably lay in store for them. The bold navigators were sailing into a sea of mystery and doubt and no one knew what was before them. On January 3 the fog became so thick that the flagship's horns were not heard by the other vessels and they became scattered. On the 10th the first icebergs were met by the Vincennes, and on the 11th she was unable to proceed for the impassable barrier of bergs before her. In the meantime the Peacock had reached Macquerie Island, and the Porpoise was sighted not far off. For many days thereafter the three vessels of the squadron skirted westward along the ice barrier. On the 19th the officers of the flagship distinctly saw high land, leaving no possible doubt of the discovery of the Antarctic continent. Soundings brought up mud and great bowlders were found on the icebergs. All efforts, however, to pass the great perpendicular wall of crystal were futile, and after many narrow escapes from being ground to powder by the ice, days of slow creeping through mist and fog, the three ships pointed for the Auckland islands.

The expedition sent out by the British Government in 1839-43 in the Erebus and Terror, under Captain (afterward Sir) James Ross, was rich in geographical results. The two vessels which were destined, a few years later, to carry the ill-fated Franklin party to its doom, succeeded in reaching the latitude of 78 degrees, 11 minutes S. in February, 1842, without mishap. In the first year Kerguelen Island was surveyed, and in the following year Victoria Land was sighted in 70 degrees S. latitude. Proceeding southward along the coast capped with lofty mountains, an active volcano, Mt. Erebus, 12,400 feet, was sighted in latitude 77 degrees, 30 minutes; also an extinct volcano, Mt. Terror, 10,900 feet, but owing to impenetrable ice barriers, further progress was impossible. What was immediately beyond this high, perpendicular cliff of crystal could not be imagined, and to the present day remains a sublime mystery. With the departure of Capt. Ross from that terra incognita of the South Polar Sea, more than half a century ago, its darkness and desolation became a memory only, although an expedition under Borchegevink left in 1898 to attempt the solution of the mystery.

In Asia vast progress has been made during the Century in laying down with approximate accuracy the great features of that stupendous continent. India has been accurately surveyed, the task beginning in 1800 and ending in 1883. The Himalayas and other features of Central Asia are now portrayed on maps with almost absolute accuracy as regards general outlines. Mt. Everest and other lofty peaks have been measured, and the forbidden land of Thibet has been invaded by a number of daring travelers, the last and most intrepid of whom are A. H. Savage Landor and Dr. Sven Hedin. Much of our present knowledge of Persia is due to the daring of W. Moorcroft and G. Trebeck in 1819-25, and of Alexander Burnes in 1836-38. In 1838 Lieutenant Wood, of the Indian Navy, discovered Lake Sirikol, supposed to be the source of the Oxus. The valley of the Ganges was traversed in 1847-50 by Sir Joseph Hooker. In 1848 Eastern Turkestan was entered by R. B. Shaw, who collected material for a general map of that unknown country. In 1885 Chinese Turkestan and northern Thibet were explored by A. D. Carey. The coasts of China and Tartary were investigated and accurately surveyed for the first time by the English admiral, Colliston, during the fifties, and in 1862 Captain Blakiston surveyed the Yang-tse-Kiang for a distance of 900 miles. In 1876-1880 extensive studies of the geography of China were made by E. C. Baber, and in 1881 A. R. Colquhoun made a long and perilous journey across Southern China. Mrs. Isabella Bird Bishop's journey through the interior of Japan, in 1879, was a noteworthy feat, and contributed a vast amount of knowledge regarding a country about which very little had been known. In 1882 Korea was extensively explored by Mr. Caries, the British consul. Prior to 1853 there was practically nothing known of Arabia. In that year Richard Burton, the African explorer, made an audacious visit to Mecca and Medinah. The journey was made at the risk of his life and resulted in an extensive knowledge of the geography of the country and much in-formation regarding the sacred cities of the Mohammedans and the pilgrims who flocked thereto.

The most daring feat of exploration on the North American continent recorded in the present Century is the expedition headed by Captain Meriwether Lewis and Captain William Clarke, which was sent out by President Jefferson in the summer of 1803 for the purpose of exploring the country lying between the Missouri River and the Pacific Ocean. This vast stretch of territory was then in absolute possession of the Indians, and no travelers ever set out upon a more dangerous journey. In the spring of 1804 they began the ascent of the Missouri River, having passed the previous winter on the banks at its confluence with the Mississippi. They could travel only by slow stages, owing to frequent surprises from the Indians, who showed themselves extremely hostile to the encroachments of the whites. The second winter was passed in the Mandans, and not until the middle of June did they reach the great falls. A short distance above this point they discovered the three concurring streams, which they named Jefferson, Madison and Gallatin, in honor of the President, Secretary of State and Secretary of the Treasury. They ascended the Jefferson to its source, and accompanied by a guide from the Shoshone tribe of Indians, they traveled through the fastness of the mountains until September 22, when they entered the plains of the great western slope. On October 7 they embarked in canoes on the Kooskoosky, which proved to be a branch of the Columbia River, and by November 15, after many thrilling escapes from death, they met the tide of the great Pacific, having traveled more than four thousand miles from the confluence of the Missouri and the Mississippi. The third winter was passed on the south bank of the Columbia River, the explorers devoting every moment of their time to surveying and investigating the surrounding territory. The homeward journey, with all its dangers, was begun on March 23, 1806, and they reached St. Louis September 23, after an absence of two years and four months. In return for the invaluable services rendered the nation in opening this immense territory, Congress made grants of land to all the members of the expedition. Lewis was made Governor of Missouri, and Clarke was appointed a member of his staff.

Few explorers have begun the careers for which they were destined, under such romantic circumstances as did the "Pathfinder," as John Charles Fremont is commonly called. As a young topographical engineer in 1840 he was engaged in Washington in preparing a report of some minor expeditions which he had made a couple of years before. Here he became engaged to Miss Jessie Benton, the daughter of a Missouri Senator, much against the wishes of her parents. Through the potent influence of Colonel Benton, the unwelcome suitor received peremptory orders to go to the Western frontier and make an examination of the Des Moines River. The commands were instantly complied with, the young officer returned, and after secretly marrying the young lady, projected a geographical survey of the entire United States from the Missouri River to the Pacific ocean. This gigantic task be-gun May 2, 1842, was successfully accomplished in the incredibly short time of four months. As soon as his re-ports had been submitted to Congress he planned another and still more extensive expedition, and in May, 1843, he commenced a journey, the ultimate object of which was to explore and survey the terra incognita lying between the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific ocean. On September 6, after traveling 1,700 miles, Great Salt Lake was seen shimmering in the distance. Up to that time nothing accurate had been known about this great inland sea. The upper tributaries of the Columbia were next accurately surveyed, and the journey extended to Vancouver. Re-turning by the Southeast route, leading from the Columbia to the Colorado River, he found himself in an unknown region encompassed by lofty mountain peaks. It was now late in November, and death confronted the whole party, forty in all. The beautiful summer land of California lay beyond the rugged, snow clad mountain chains, but the Indians declared that no man could cross. Exorbitant re-wards were offered, but none were great enough to induce an Indian to attempt to guide the party. At this juncture Fremont won his famous sobriquet of the "Pathfinder." He led his company out and began one of the most thrilling feats in history. Without a guide he crossed the terrible barriers that stood between life and death, and in forty days from beginning the ascent the party was at Sutter's Fort on the Sacremento. When his half perishing men had been restored sufficiently the homeward journey was made. The Sierra Nevadas were crossed, Salt Lake re-visited, and in July, 1844, Kansas was entered from the South Pass. In the spring of 1845 the "Pathfinder" set out with a third expedition to explore the great basin of the Rocky Mountains and the coast of Oregon and California. The skirmishing preliminary to the breaking out of the Mexican war prompted him to now defend the territory he had discovered and explored, and under his leader-ship in less than a month all northern California was freed from Mexican authority. On July 4, 1846, he was elected Governor of California. During the progress of the Mexican war, he got into difficulties with his superior military officers, was ordered to Washington, court-martialed, and relieved of his command. Undaunted and undiscouraged, he started out on a fourth expedition across the Continent in October. This time the route was along the Rio Grande, through the then unknown country of the fierce Apaches, Comanches, and Utes. Of all his expeditions this was the only unfortunate one. His guide lost his way, and they were stranded far in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in dead of winter. One by one the horses and mules began to die and finally the men. Their sufferings were horrible, and finally cannibalism was re-sorted to. Fremont, with a remnant of emaciated and half delerious men, succeeded in finding their way back to Sante Fe. No sooner had he recovered from the effects of his terrible experiences than he started out again with a party of thirty, who succeeded in reaching California in the spring of 1849 without serious difficulty.

The most important work in South America was done by the great German naturalist, Alexander von Humboldt, who, having left Corunna under the patronage of the Spanish government, went to Cumana and Caracas ; thence in February, 1800, he began his great exploration of the Orinoco. Sailing for fifty-four days up the Magdelena he reached Bogota and in September he began his journey southward through a vast country that had been practically unknown. He reached Quito, January 6, 1802, and spent the first half of the year in studying the peculiarities of the equatorial Republic, and in scaling and measuring its lofty mountain peaks. The Peruvian Andes were traversed the Chimborazo was scaled to an altitude of 19,286 feet. He followed the Orinoco from its mouth to its source and made a wonderfully accurate map of the river and surrounding country and established the existence of a communication between the water systems of the Orinoco and Amazon, determining the exact position of the bifurcation. Aside from the geographical results of this expedition it was of importance in furnishing him materials upon which he deduced great principles for the organization of the sciences of meteorology and physical geography. The geological and botannical results were of almost equal importance, and these, with the observations made during his Asiatic exploration and other voyages were the basis of his famous work, the Cosmos.

In 1825 Pentland, a British consul, began a series of explorations which led him through the greater part of Peru, Chili, and Bolivia. Like his predecessor, Humboldt, he paid especial attention to the topography of the Andes, measuring their summits and discovering numerous passes. The coast survey from the La Plata to Cape Horn and around to Guayaquil was undertaken and accomplished in 1826-36 by King and Fitzroy, accompanied a portion of the time by the young naturalist, Charles Darwin. In 1835-44 British Guiana was explored by R. H. Schomburgk, the botanist. The rivers of the country were traced to their sources for the first time, and the great basins of the Amazon and Orinoco explored and mapped out. In 1872 Patagonia was traversed by Commander Musters for a distance of 960 miles of latitude, most of which had never been trodden before by European feet. The region of the Magellan Straits was explored in 1876 by the Challenger force, who landed also in Terre del Fuego. An adequate idea can be obtained of the vastness of the research that has been brought to bear in South American territory, when one looks at a map of that Continent fifty years ago. Not a single pass over the Andes was shown for a distance of 500 miles between Chili and Argentina, while today there are a hundred between a latitude of 22 degrees and 35 degrees.

The exploration of Australia has been a strictly English enterprise. The exploration of the interior was begun immediately after the founding of the convict settlement in Botany Bay in 1815. The first important expedition was that led by Edward John Eyre in 1841 from Adelaide to King George's Sound, 1,040 miles distant. The Darling and Murray Rivers were explored by Captain Stuart in 1844-45, and he succeeded in reaching a point within a short distance of the interior of the Continent. After this development was rapid. Augustus Gregory in 1856 ascended the Victoria River to its source, made a long and painful journey to the Gulf of Carpentaria and arrived at Brisbane, having marched a distance of 6,500 miles through absolutely new territory. Queensland was explored in 1843-6 by Leichardt, and in 1857-60 the great lakes and mountain ranges of West Australia were explored by Warburton, McDouall, Stuart, Swindon, and a host of others. South Australia received a careful survey and exploration at the hands of the McKinley expedition of 1861-2. From 1875 until the present time expeditions have been constantly in the field, opening new territory and discovering lakes and rivers theretofore unknown.

Home | More Articles | Email: info@oldandsold.com