Fridjfot Nansen

Fridjfot Nansen was born in Norway in October 1861. He was one of the best skaters and skiers in his school, winning the national cross-country skiing championship twelve times. He also broke the world record for one mile skating when he was 18 years old! He went to the University of Christiania and studied zoology.

In 1882 Nansen went to the Arctic Ocean on a sealing vessel; his first expedition. After this trip, he took a few years off before embarking on his next journey, cross the Greenland icecap. He and his team successfully returned to Norway in 1889 as heroes.

Nansen spent the next few years creating himself a very special ship he named the Fram. He designed this ship so it would not be crushed by the ice pressure in the Artic. In 1893, Nansen and twelve crew men set off to try and drift in the Artic ice all the way to the North Pole. The ship did not drift towards the pole as fast as Nansen had hoped though, so he and Hjalmar Johansen tried to reach the pole by sled. Because of bad conditions, the two explorers only made it to 86 degrees and 14 minutes north, the closest to the pole any man had come, but still short of their goal. He and his crew returned to Norway in 1896.

After returning home, Nansen became first a professor at the University of Christiania, then the ambassador of Norway to London. He also participated in creating the League of Nations and was in charge of many of its projects. In 1922, Nansen got the Nobel Prize for Peace for his work. He died on May 13, 1930.