As part of the Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition he reached the South Pole overland in 1958. He is recognized as the first person to reach both poles of the Earth. It has been 100 years (and two days) since the New York Times announced that Robert E. Peary had reached the North Pole on April 16, 1909, making him the first man to … The controversy has been going for nearly 90 years, … Matthew Henson, an African American explorer who was born in Charles County Maryland on August 8, 1866, was the first person in history to reach the North Pole. Both claimed to be first to reach the North Pole on foot. At a young age, he was orphaned and lived with his aunt in Washington DC. However, he quit school in order to be a sailor. Unlike the South Pole, which lies on a land mass, the North Pole is actually in a vast sea covered by floating ice. He subsequently reached the North Pole, making him the first person to reach both poles and summit Everest. In 1908, the unsung African American explorer was the first of a six-man team to reach the North Pole. It is not clear who was the first to reach the North Pole. Or did he? In 1909 a bitter controversy involved two American explorers, Frederick A. Cook and Robert E. Peary. On May 9, 1926, Admiral Richard Byrd became the first to fly over the North Pole. You might think it was Robert Peary or Frederick Cook, however the title could actually belong to an African American explorer named Matthew Henson. Along with two pilots, the two explorers flew to the northernmost latitude ever reached by an aircraft, making Amundsen and Ellsworth the first men to get that far as well. What’s more, he was the first person to lead an expedition to traverse the Northwest Passage in the Arctic. The intrepid Norwegian was the first person to have visited both North and South Poles, and he was also the first to reach the South Pole in 1911. On May 3, 1952, U.S. Finding the North Pole is tricky. He studied and spoke Inuktitut better than any other Westerner on the expedition, leading to successful trade and navigation relations with the local Inuit. Another American called Robert Peary announced that he had reached the Pole in 1909, but because his men were not … Peary went to Bowdoin College. Born in 1866, only a year after the end of the Civil War, Henson grew up in Maryland. Who was the first person to reach the North Pole? He was the first man to go to the South Pole. As a result, he made several trips to Greenland as he planned on his world shaking achievement. Lieutenant Colonel Joseph O. Fletcher of Oklahoma stepped out of a plane and walked to the precise location of the North Pole, the first person to … His 1926 air expedition to the North Pole came 17 years after Robert E. Peary became the first man to reach it (this is open to debate according to historians). He was born in May 1856 in Cresson-Pennsylvania. The first man to reach the North Pole was Robert Peary. 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