Heroic Age

It was fitting that Scott named his son, Peter Markham Scott, after Clement Markham, president of the Royal Geographical Society, who took an unknown Royal Navy officer and transformed him into the legendary Scott of the Antarctic. Recent analysis has shown that Scott was neither a fortunate leader nor a good planner—but he achieved much for Antarctic science, and documented some of the definitive events of the Heroic Age of Antarctic exploration.

Markham presided over the Sixth International Geographical Congress, held in London in 1895, and wrote: “The exploration of the Antarctic regions is the greatest piece of geographical exploration yet to be undertaken.” Three important scientific expeditions that flowed from that congress neatly divided the frozen continent: the German expedition led by Drygalski went to the region south of the Indian Ocean; Nordenskjöld traveled to the Antarctic Peninsula; and Britain focused on the Ross Sea.

author: David McGonigal

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