Who Discovered the South Pole?

Barbara J. Feldman

The South Pole is the southernmost point of the Earth’s surface. It is in Antarctica, at an elevation of 9300 feet, surrounded by miles and miles of icy terrain. It was discovered on December 14, 1911 by Roald Amundsen (1872-1928), who led an expedition of four men, four sleds and fifty-two sled dogs, who all returned safely from their explorations. The second expedition, led by Captain Robert F. Scott (1868-1912) was not as fortunate. After successfully reaching the South Pole, all five men died trying to return to base camp.

  • American Museum of Natural History: Antarctica5 stars

    Although this AMNH site is written for teachers, students will find much here to help with homework and research reports. The bulk of the educational content is contained in PDFs that open in small (annoying) pop-up windows, but can be easily printed. In addition to this page about the exploration of Antarctica, there are also sections on Extreme Temperatures, Hazards to Humans and Organisms of Antarctica. "The first man to reach the South Pole, Norwegian Roald Amundsen , explored both the Arctic and the Antarctic."

  • Cool Antarctica: Roald Amundsen5 stars

    "Before the [Roald Amundsen] expedition set off to drift over the North Pole, news reached Amundsen of Peary's attainment of the their goal. Plans were hastily changed and Amundsen set out to lead the party that would the first to reach the South Pole instead." Paul Ward, a British teacher, worked for two years as a zoologist in Antarctica, fulfilling a dream that started when he was a teenager. Other valuable clicks include a photo gallery, and an Antarctica fact file.

  • PBS: Alone on the Ice: Roald Amundsen4 stars

    "A powerfully built man of over six feet in height, Amundsen was born into a family of merchant sea captains and prosperous ship owners in 1872." This PBS bio of Roald Amundsen is part of their Alone on the Ice website. Alone on the Ice is a television movie about Commander Richard E. Byrd's exploration of the Antarctica, but also includes coverage of other famous Arctic and Antarctic explorers, such as Amundsen, Bernt Balchen and Floyd Bennett.

  • Science Discovery: Top 10 Doomed Expeditions: Robert Falcon Scott to the South Pole5 stars

    Although Robert F. Scott did not lead a successful round trip expedition to the South Pole (bummer), he did make Science Discovery's top ten list of doomed expeditions and was celebrated as hero in England. "Overcome by foul weather and bitter cold, the entire party eventually died on the return trip, with Scott making a final journal entry in March 1912. Their remains were found some eight months later and, despite their deaths, the explorers were heralded in Britain as national heroes."

  • South-Pole.com: An Antarctic Time Line: 1519 - 19595 stars

    South-Pole.com webmaster Gary Pierson merges his love of stamps with his ham radio hobby in this fan site "dedicated to the heroic explorers of our polar regions and the surrounding islands." Much of the site is illustrated with interesting and relevant postal covers he received from ham radio enthusiasts working in Antarctica. This particular page is a time line of Antarctic exploration, with links to pages about explorers such as Roald Amundsen and Robert F. Scott.

  • Honorable Mentions

    The following links are either new discoveries or sites that didn't make it into my newspaper column because of space constraints. Enjoy!


    Cite This Page

  • Feldman, Barbara. "Who Discovered the South Pole?." Surfnetkids. Feldman Publishing. 29 Nov. 2011. Web. 1 Aug. 2014. <http://www.surfnetkids.com/resources/who-discovered-the-south-pole/ >.


  • About This Page

  • By . Originally published November 29, 2011. Last modified March 9, 2014.

  • The South Pole
    The South Pole
    by Roald Amundsen
    (Paperback)
    - Usually ships in 24 hours
    Price: $9.89

    Nothing Ever Happens at the South Pole
    Nothing Ever Happens at the South Pole
    by Stan Berenstain, Jan Berenstain
    (Hardcover)
    - Usually ships in 24 hours
    Price: $1.86

    The South Pole: A Narrative History of the Exploration of Antarctica (National Geographic Adventure Classics)
    The South Pole: A Narrative History of the Exploration of Antarctica (National...
    by Anthony Brandt
    (Paperback)
    - Usually ships in 24 hours
    Price: $2.71