Ernest Henry Shackleton

Shackleton, Sir Ernest Henry

Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton, 1874–1922, British antarctic explorer, b. Ireland. The first of his voyages to Antarctica was made as a member of the expedition (1901–4) of Robert F. Scott. Shackleton was invalided home in 1903, but the experience gained on the Scott expedition aided him greatly as commander of a south polar expedition (1907–9). In the course of this expedition Mt. Erebus was ascended, the south magnetic pole was located, and the polar plateau was crossed to a point less than 100 mi (160 km) from the South Pole. The scientific results of the expedition were of vast importance. Knighted in 1909, Shackleton published that year an account of his expedition, The Heart of the Antarctic.

As commander of a transantarctic expedition, he set out in 1914, planning to enter the Weddell Sea and cross on foot over the south polar region to the Ross Sea, a distance of c.2,000 mi (3,200 km). When his ship Endurance was crushed in the ice in Oct., 1915, he led his party some 180 mi (290 km) to safety at Elephant Island; from there Shackleton with five companions in a lifeboat made a voyage of c.800 mi (1,290 km) through wild seas, then crossed rugged, glaciated South Georgia Island to reach (May, 1916) a whaling station on its north coast. Shackleton rescued his Elephant Island party and later returned to the Weddell Sea to pick up others left there earlier in the expedition. His South (1919) is an account of the whole expedition. In 1921 Shackleton sailed on the Quest to study Enderby Land but died on ship and was buried on South Georgia Island.

See biography by R. Huntford (1985); C. Alexander, The Endurance (1998); E. J. Larson, An Empire of Ice (2011).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

The Heart of the Antarctic: The Story of the British Antartic Expedition 1907-1909
Sir Ernest Shackleton.
Birlinn, 2000
Sir Ernest Shackleton (1874-1922) Irish-Born Explorer Ernest Shackleton Contributed to Several Antarctic Expeditions but Is Best Known for His Heroic Survival Effort during His Final Expedition
Amodeo, Christian.
Geographical, Vol. 77, No. 2, February 2005
Great Adventures and Explorations from the Earliest Times to the Present, as Told by the Explorers Themselves
Vilhjalmur Stefansson; Olive Rathbun Wilcox.
Dial Press, 1952 (Revised edition)
Librarian’s tip: "Shackleton Near the Pole" begins on p. 739
The Explorers: Great Adventurers Tell Their Own Stories of Discovery
G. R. Crone; G. R. Crone.
Thomas Y. Crowell, 1962
Librarian’s tip: "Ernest Henry Shackleton 1874-1922" begins on p. 330
Bring 'Em Back Alive Kenneth Branagh Keeps 'Shackleton' Moving Forward Even as His Antarctic Expedition Gets Icebound
Cox, Ted.
Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), April 5, 2002
'Shackleton': Filming a Feat of Endurance
M. S. Mason of The Christian Science Monitor.
The Christian Science Monitor, April 5, 2002
Sir James Wordie, Polar Crusader: Exploring the Arctic and Antarctic
Michael Smith.
Birlinn, 2004
Librarian’s tip: Discusses Shackleton throughout, especially chapters 11-13
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