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Paragraph on “Who won the race to the South Pole?” complete paragraph for Class 9, Class 10, Class 11 and Class 12

Who won the race to the South Pole?

It was only fully realised, as late as 1820, that the icy wasteland of the Antarctic Continent was in fact, a mainland. This sparked off an it6exploratory fervour equal to that of the Great Age of Discovery at the end of the fifteenth century.

There were as many as 14 major attempts at reaching the South Pole through the hostile and unknown sea landscape of Antarctica before Roald Amundsen and Robert Falcon Scott, on separate expeditions, reached it —only one month apart — in 1911.

Amundsen, a Norwegian, experienced in Polar exploration, began his journey on the ship Fram and on 20 October 1911 he set out on foot with four companions and 52 dogs. They reached the polar plateau by way of the Axel Heiberg glacier at 85 degrees south, arriving at the Pole on 14 December. The return journey took them 38 days and they arrived back at their winter quarters with 1 2 dogs, no loss of human life and with food to spare. It was indeed a successful expedition.

Meanwhile, Captain Scott, naturally un-aware of Amundsen’s success, was trudging on by way of the steep Beardmore glacier, with three man-hauled sledges. Scott, who set out only four days after Amundsen, on 24 October ‘911, took with him motor sledges and ponies as well as dogs. However, the motors soon broke down, the ponies were shot before reaching 83 degrees 3o minutes south, and the dog teams were sent back to base. Later, the remaining part of the sup-porting party was also sent back to base.

This then left Scott with Wilson, Bowers, Oates and Evans who went on to reach the Pole on 18 January 1912.

They were understandably disappointed to discover that Amundsen had beaten them to their goal and, exhausted by their 69 day trek across the ice, and with heavy spirits, they began their disastrous return journey. They encountered exceptionally bad snow blizzards. Evans died a month after they began their hazardous return and Oates, who had become very ill, died the following month. He deliberately walked out of the tent one night into an icy blizzard, killing himself by exposure, as he considered his weak condition was hindering the survival of the others.

The remaining three struggled on, and when only 16 km (10 miles) from food, heat and help, they became camp-bound by a blizzard which lasted nine days. It was here that they finally perished and their frozen bodies were found eight months later.


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