Robert E Peary was born on May 6th, 1856 in Cresson, Pennsylvania. He grew up in southern Maine and graduated from Portland High School. After high school, Peary went to Bowdoin College and graduated in 1877 as a civil engineer. After a few years working as a town surveyor in Maine, Peary moved in Washington DC. While living in Washington he worked for the Coast and Geodetic Survey and the US Navy Civil Engineers Corps. He also met Mathew Henson. Later these two would go on many expeditions together.
Soon Peary started to become interested in exploration. He went to Greenland a few times and studied the different routes to the North Pole, trying to determine which was the best. He also found pieces of a meteorite in Cape York, Greenland. One of these pieces weight 75 tons!
In 1905 Peary’s ship the Roosevelt was built and set off on an expedition into the Arctic. Though Peary and his crew didn’t reach the North Pole on this expedition, they did get farther north than anyone before. In 1909 Peary tried to get to the North Pole again, this time by sled. On April 6th, 1909 Peary, Henson, and the Inuits Igginguaq, Sigluk, Odaq, and Ukkaujaaq made it to the North Pole!
After the success of his expedition Peary returned home to Washington DC to his wife and two children. He spent the rest of his life giving speeches and writing about his adventures. Peary died on February 20th, 1920.