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100 years since the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition

Courage and determination: this is Ernest Shackleton

by Giulia Perfetti
April 9th, 2015

“After the conquest of the South Pole by Amundsen, who, by a narrow margin of days only, was in advance of the British Expedition under Scott, there remained but one great main object of Antarctic journeyings–the crossing of the South Polar continent from sea to sea”.

These were the words of Ernest Shackleton in 1914, the English-Irish explorer who could not stand the humiliation dealt by Norway following numerous British expeditions to reach the Antarctic.

Having previously undertaken two other expeditions to the continent (Discovery and Nimrod), for the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, aboard the Endurance, Shackleton and his team wanted to make history: to cross the Antarctic on foot (1914).

The story goes that after a year and a half of silence, on 20 May 1916 Shackleton and some of his team reached the whaling station of Stromness (in South Georgia). The mission was not completed, but the images still remain in the memory showing the Endurance trapped in the sea ice, the crew camped among the ice and Shackleton with his team crossing part of the continent on foot. He would save them all. The date was 30 August 1916.

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