Matthew Henson, polar explorer.
Click on image for full size
Photo by Robert Peary, 1908.
Matthew Henson - Polar Explorer
Matthew Henson was an explorer around 1900. He explored the Arctic around the North Pole. In 1909, a group led by the famous American explorer Robert E. Peary tried to make it to the North Pole. Matt Henson was in that group.
Matt Henson spent nearly 20 years exploring the Arctic with Peary. He learned a lot about surviving in the cold from the Inuit people who live there. Henson (an African-American) learned the Inuit language and became very good at driving dog sleds. Peary once said that Henson "was more of an Eskimo than some of them".
Matthew Alexander Henson was born near Washington, D.C. on August 6, 1866. He became an orphan at the age of 11. Young Matt found a job as a cabin boy on a ship in Baltimore. The captain of that ship taught him how to read and write.
Matt Henson met Robert Peary in 1887. He went on many journeys with Peary. In 1909, Peary led a group that tried to make it to the North Pole. Henson and four Inuit men were also in that group. Peary claimed the group made it to the Pole, but some historians aren't sure whether he really did or not.
In 1912 Henson wrote a book about his explorations titled "A Negro Explorer at the North Pole". Later, in 1947, he worked with author Bradley Robinson on another book. That book, called "Dark Companion", was Henson's biography. Matt Henson died on March 9, 1955.
The National Geographic Society awarded Matt Henson a medal for exploration and discovery. A middle school in Maryland (near the place where Matt was born) is named after Henson. So is a United States Navy ship that studies the oceans.
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
Our online store
includes issues of NESTA's quarterly journal, The Earth Scientist
, full of classroom activities on different topics in Earth and space science, ranging from seismology
, rocks and minerals
, and Earth system science
You might also be interested in:
How did life evolve on Earth? The answer to this question can help us understand our past and prepare for our future. Although evolution provides credible and reliable answers, polls show that many people turn away from science, seeking other explanations with which they are more comfortable....more
Florence Bascom, who lived from 1862 until 1945, was one of the most important geologists in the United States. She studied mineral crystals by looking at them very closely with a microscope. She also...more
Niels Bohr was a Danish physicist who lived between 1885-1962. He studied the structure of atoms and developed a new theory about how the electrons in an atom were arranged. After helping build the first...more
Marie Curie was a physicist and chemist who lived between 1867-1934. She studied radioactivity and the effects of x-rays. She was born Maria Skłodowska in Warsaw, Poland. Women could not study then...more
Albert Einstein was a German physicist who lived between 1879-1955. He is probably the most well-known scientist in recent history. Have you heard of Einstein's famous theory? It is called the theory...more
Robert Goddard was an American physicist who lived between 1882-1945. He studied rockets and showed how they could be used to travel into outer space and to the Moon. Goddard experimented with different...more
Werner Heisenberg was a German physicist who lived between 1901-1976. Heisenberg is most famous for his "uncertainty principle", which explains the impossibility of knowing exactly where something is...more
Edwin Hubble was an American astronomer who lived between 1889-1953. He spent a lot of time looking at groups of stars and planets, called galaxies, and trying to explain their motion. He found that all...more