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Who Was the First Person to Reach the North Pole? | National Geographic

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Reaching the North Pole is no small feat. While many believe the first person to accomplish this daunting task was either Robert Peary or Frederick Cook, the title might actually belong to an African American explorer named Matthew Henson. ➡ Subscribe: http://bit.ly/NatGeoSubscribe About National Geographic: National Geographic is the world's premium destination for science, exploration, and adventure. Through their world-class scientists, photographers, journalists, and filmmakers, Nat Geo gets you closer to the stories that matter and past the edge of what's possible. Get More National Geographic: Official Site: http://bit.ly/NatGeoOfficialSite Facebook: http://bit.ly/FBNatGeo Twitter: http://bit.ly/NatGeoTwitter Instagram: http://bit.ly/NatGeoInsta Who Was the First Person to Reach the North Pole? | National Geographic https://youtu.be/HNJCl3EtTtE National Geographic https://www.youtube.com/natgeo
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Text Comments (167)
National Geographic (7 months ago)
Largely ignored for nearly a century, Matthew Henson made big contributions to polar exploration. What do you think about Henson's great achievement?
Kerry Li (7 months ago)
National Geographic “Henson is a very humble pioneer who led the way for the next generations to explore the North Pole. I think his descendants should be proud of him.”
Fabian G (6 months ago)
Piri reis
gaming med meg (7 months ago)
The claims that The Robert Peary expedition was the first on the pole has been disputed. The first claim with solid evidence is from the soviet union. Where the pilot Ivan Cherevichnyy landed on the north pole.
Sono (7 months ago)
How about the Inuit who lived in the arctic for millennia. I'm sure they made it there several times before old world people.
Mauro Pantie (7 months ago)
I know : Ragnar Lothbrook
Superficial Serpent (7 months ago)
No one typed Santa, yet. Santa
banny bong (7 months ago)
"always the black guy."
Antony Belanger (7 months ago)
What about santa claus?
Yungflyhero Good (7 months ago)
He's an legend 👌
Márcio Campos (7 months ago)
Yeah, it must have been difficult for him, knowing he actually was the first reching the North Pole. Also, its interesting to see those kind of ships trying getting into the ice, it wasn't easy.
j a (7 months ago)
WIKIPEDIA (7 months ago)
Kalyani Kataki (7 months ago)
Huge Respect! 🍀 Rest in Peace
fred sims (7 months ago)
The 1989 film by TNT Glory and Honor staring Delroy Lindo is about Henson and Perry.
Jahspecs1 (7 months ago)
What the HECK, you know native people got to the North pole centuries before any Europeans or Africans!!! This is like saying Columbus "discovered" something!
some black dude (7 months ago)
Paelorian (7 months ago)
Henson was part of a team effort lead by Peary. They are all the first men known to have visited the North Pole. Why does Henson deserve more credit than any other servant on the expedition? Even if his claim to fame here is that he walked ahead of the rest of the group, he was with two Inuit guides at the time. Why do you tell us Henson's life story but don't even give us the names of the Inuit men who were also there and probably kept him alive? I don't want to bring racial politics into the discussion but that's almost certainly the reason. There's no Inuit Al Sharpton to cry foul on television about lack of representation. This is the difference between being a minority and actually being marginal. Black Americans may be a minority, but they are prominent and influential and so National Geographic produces a biographical video about an Arctic explorer's black valet (butler). Interesting life story, sure. But I can't name one famous Inuit, and neither can most Americans. We're never going to see advertising for Eskimo History Month, even though Alaska is part of the USA and filled with such peoples. Strikes me as myopic to constantly celebrate large minority ethnic groups while greatly disproportionately ignoring smaller groups like indigenous American peoples. I have no objection to learning about Henson, but he didn't lead the expedition nor contribute the most to it's success so it doesn't feel correct to celebrate him to the exclusion of everyone else who participated. Especially when by contrast they are acknowledged merely as nameless Inuit guides. If Henson's notability is based on being one of those three, then the other two are as worthy of biographical detail as Henson.
brandon wright (7 months ago)
You’ll never see this in american books because African Americans aren’t allowed to achieve in books.
rex mundi (7 months ago)
Captain Bob Bartlett.
ZENAS (7 months ago)
Misleading title of the video. smh.
Krapulapoika (7 months ago)
>we wuz kungz n shiet
Jake Underwood (7 months ago)
The REEL story? I don’t get it.
16 Trolls (7 months ago)
He was overlooked because of his skin colour smh
jagodon460 (7 months ago)
It's only fair to make people more aware of this guy and his achievement.
Haage (7 months ago)
We wuz explorez n sheeeeeeiiit
ari20 (8 months ago)
Here comes another propoganda to change the history ...Politics everywhere. First to reach the Geographic North Pole Frederick Cook, and his two Inuit men, Aapilak and Ittukusuk, on April 21, 1908. Second, Robert Edwin Peary, Matthew Henson and four Inuit women: Ootah, Seegloo, Egingway, and Ooqueah on April 6, 1909
Lorry (8 months ago)
The Indigenous/Inuit were the first!
ZQMBGN (8 months ago)
This video was quite bad. Eve you says it is not sure. And if you don't have proof of this, why not consider the natives like the "russian" tribes the first ones to reach it? They most probably did it
papabear4242 (8 months ago)
And what about the rest of the crew? How many other people are we still ignoring?
Max Millz (8 months ago)
Imagine all the other African American people that haven't got the recognition they deserve ??
Valentina Guadalupe. (8 months ago)
We Don't!
arrowghost (8 months ago)
If I would to answer if I were a kid, I would say "Santa Claus"! XD
Macky1101 (8 months ago)
So the Inuits weren't the first ones to reach the North Pole? I thought they lived there? Why does a black person need to be recognized for reaching the north pole? He was the hired help. Did the Inuits get recognized as the first persons to reach the north pole?
Reggie James (1 month ago)
hired help is clearly a racially charged statement to undervalue his achievement. Inuits were the first for sure, before the expedition.
Bandicoot (8 months ago)
Yogi Bear, was the first bear, to reach the North pole, at the same time.
Mk S. (8 months ago)
I love stories like this, rediscovering people who have contributed to history but may not have been widely acknowledged. Super proud of you Henson!
Jose Casillas (8 months ago)
Nobody knows .
New Message (8 months ago)
Non Native* you mean.
生霊Ikiryo (8 months ago)
Peary and his team never made it to the pole. The time and distances covered cannot match reality. They are credited yes, but they were actually nowhere near the pole.
LuDimezofKush (8 months ago)
Always after death that people are recognized. Whats the point
Shamsulazhar (8 months ago)
What an incredible life that this guy has led.
Z1BABOUINOS (8 months ago)
_Legend has it_ he met Santa and 2 polar bears there. They had a Coke. And if _Legend has it_ I have to believe it. Affirmatively and retroactively. 🎅
Actress Taraji P Hanson's great great grandfather
Slonkey_Monkey (8 months ago)
it was Santa offcourse
Emil LaCour (8 months ago)
He was a good boi
Dino Mike (8 months ago)
Oh oh alt right is going to throw a hissy fit
NorfolkSoutherns#1Fan (8 months ago)
Santa Claus! 😃
Suzanne Noel (8 months ago)
Based on Henson's own words, "I may BE the first person to reach the point." Nobody bothered to even give further contribution to the two Inuits that helped Perry. Does anyone even know the names of these two men or are they just blips in history and not worth even knowing who they were? For all we know one of them may have been the first person there. Both the Inuits and Henson left 34 minutes ahead of Perry.
Israel Jaramillo (8 months ago)
ya but they weren't american so you know how that is
chavamara (8 months ago)
Wouldn't the first person to reach the North Pole likely have been an Inuit person?
Israel Jaramillo (7 months ago)
watch the video smarty pants
MrMSandin (8 months ago)
Re nordico (8 months ago)
We wuz explorers n shieeeet
The Rambler (8 months ago)
"Legend has it" ? ??, seriously?, this is what you're going with?.
T. Meriadoc (8 months ago)
Inuit isnt a language, I'm surprised NG would make a mistake like that. The language of the Inuit is called Inuktitut.
Noah (7 months ago)
T. Meriadoc I've watched some videos about Iqaluit before. I don't really mind the cold very much so I would probably like it there.
T. Meriadoc (7 months ago)
Noah yes I live in Iqaluit avout 250km south of the arctic circle.
Noah (7 months ago)
T. Meriadoc Do you live in the arctic?
CUBEN BEAR (8 months ago)
Billy Boyuk (8 months ago)
Beautifully explained.
Rafi Lake (8 months ago)
His story deserves a Hollywood biopic.
Lisandro Julian (8 months ago)
First explorer, inuit are people you know
dh 1234 (7 months ago)
They don't even name the Inuit men. Sad These men would be popsicles without Inuits.
Israel Jaramillo (8 months ago)
watch the whole video then add your contribution they mentioned the inuits
ronzchoy azodnem (8 months ago)
Nayan kc (8 months ago)
How about Inuit people
Israel Jaramillo (8 months ago)
did u not watch the whole video they mentioned the inuit
Cyanetix NA (8 months ago)
Jan Hen (8 months ago)
nah check your facts. neither Paery nor Henson reached the north pole. the first to reach the pole was probably Iwan Papanin and by foot Walter Herbert.
Jeremy Edwards (8 months ago)
Thanks Nat Geo,more people need to know about this
VeronV (8 months ago)
Roald Amundsen
out here (8 months ago)
We will know more about who was first once the ice melts :)
Slashplite (8 months ago)
First who reached the North Pole were Siberian tribes from Russia. But native people dont count right?
Gunnar René Øie (2 months ago)
Except France is a place where you can find food. The North Pole is just a geographic point in a constantly shifting ice pack far away from their food sources, and they'd be stupid to go there in the first place. It's similar to why the locals didn't climb Mt. Everest until they did so as part of foreign expeditions - why do something so difficult and dangerous without any reward?
Blas Gabbert (7 months ago)
I totally agree, just like the Columbus, Viking theory of who discovered America. More interest and discussion should be directed towards the natives of prehistory. I can’t deny an African America getting credit which is awesome, but credit should be distributed and accredited accordingly, not through rhetoric or semantics.
Israel Jaramillo (8 months ago)
he was black get over it
Aelux (8 months ago)
María Martínez This statement is stupid. If i travel through France without knowing I was in France, I was still in France. The same applies here. Just because they may not have known it was a significant point doesn't mean they werent there.
María Martínez (8 months ago)
Question is, if they passed by the place, were they aware they were at the North Pole? You need instruments to determine the place, there isn't any natural visible mark in it. Probably those peoples couldn't care less about an imaginary point in the middle of the ice sheet. Here we are talking about a very specific scientific endeavor, no one is saying it was a place totally unknown to the human species. The Inuit guides knew the place, but they hadn't determined the Pole's location. This expedition did.
FreeZy (8 months ago)
Mr. Witwicky😂
icewolf026 (8 months ago)
boo hoo people were racist back than we know we get but apart from it being more material for antiracism propaganda does it even matter
Celtic Ruskie (8 months ago)
First recorded im sure vikings made it there
Mr Popeye (8 months ago)
In reality no one actually knows who was or is the first person..
Rand Huso (8 months ago)
How sad.
Requios (8 months ago)
Your videos are so much better with a narrator. Thanks!
inkee - (8 months ago)
Taravalo (8 months ago)
überguy (8 months ago)
Siege Yasharahla (8 months ago)
Taravalo (8 months ago)
Spottting It (8 months ago)
Anindya S. Dhar (8 months ago)
Kerry Li (8 months ago)
Love your history videos being narrated by a lady with a beautiful voice. She always makes my day!!! Thank you NG. BTW Henson is a very good looking guy!!!
TheGreen Jarret (8 months ago)
Do a cameo on Innuits meat fermenting habits. Would be awesome.
AnimalsAndReports (8 months ago)
It seems uncertain who really was first
Gunnar René Øie (2 months ago)
Amundsen is the first person who was indisputably there, but I guess we'll never know if Cook or Peary were there before him.
James Jones (7 months ago)
AnimalsAndReports hater
ÐΔz (7 months ago)
Israel Jaramillo don't rise to the troll's they wait for comments like this to bate on
ÐΔz (7 months ago)
AnimalsAndReports yeah but how interesting is it hearing about inuits reaching the North Pole practically a standard vacation for them
Israel Jaramillo (8 months ago)
hating cuz he was black huh
Taravalo (8 months ago)
Hahahahahahaha 😆 not a European 🤷🏾‍♀️
Allejandro Rojas (7 months ago)
Taravalo hahahahahahahabaha not a human.
Alex (8 months ago)
Taravalo Did your tribe discover fire before being enslaved?
Alex Hern (8 months ago)
Just this story coincide with who was the first to play rock n roll? 😉
Gene Hakman (8 months ago)
You lose a lot of credibility when you claim that a dude from Maryland was an expert dogsledder and Arctic guide. Shouldn't the title of this video be: "how a guy who worked for the leader of an exhibition may have got to the North Pole a few minutes early"?
ihsaket 9ine6ix (7 months ago)
Gene Hakman how do you loose credibility??
Julius Njoka (8 months ago)
Gene Hakman ..happenstance I guess??..language skills, etc notwithstanding? ..yep..thats a thought too!
MyNameIs Philip (8 months ago)
The "first" lol. How silly to say such things. How about the first "modern" person.
Azliana Lyana (8 months ago)
At last, he was finally given the recognition he deserved. Good job National Geographic for giving the recognition that was long due. Thanks for sharing with us this important piece of information.
shahbaz anjum (8 months ago)
What a life.. Wow
Between the Lines Media (8 months ago)
The first person was an unknown Inuit. Obviously. So why you pushing propaganda NatGeo? Checking how dumb we are again?
Dude Chill (7 months ago)
thehappiesthour so to answer his question...yeah xD
thehappiesthour (8 months ago)
Skyler Coy watch the video it actually said that 🤦🏾‍♀️
Justin Trudeau (8 months ago)
We wuz arktik exploraz n shiet
ihsaket 9ine6ix (7 months ago)
Justin Trudeau what are you trying to prove??
ihsaket 9ine6ix (7 months ago)
Uganda Knuckle cucks?? Are you alt right or something?? and that joke is old it isn't even funny. And he did make it to the North Pole a place where you will Probobly never go.What are you trying to prove exactly??
Justin Trudeau (7 months ago)
Uganda Knuckle thank you brudda
WIKIPEDIA (7 months ago)
Lmao you triggered 3 cucks good job
Justin Trudeau (8 months ago)
Admiral Roberto “Wow so original” 😝
Intellectual Hazard*/_\* (8 months ago)
It was Captain Nemo from 20k leagues under the sea
Eleanorbrush (7 months ago)
I sometimes wish that I had my very own Nautilus
Pink Pussy (8 months ago)
Santa did
Katherine Uribe (8 months ago)
Good information!
WolfyWolf Man (8 months ago)
The santa
Rick Deckard (8 months ago)
Ya so what's new, I'm still waiting for Tenzing Norgay to get the recognition he deserves. What about the Inuit men who helped them get there, they're probably first but don't make a big stink and pat themselves on the back about it like Whites do.
Asereth Enyaj (8 months ago)
I'm me (8 months ago)
Cave men
Mr. White (8 months ago)
Negrophilia is just sad.
Tech 7 World (8 months ago)
Yishkah's dream (8 months ago)
Here comes the angry racist....
Mr. White (8 months ago)
Racism is the ability to notice patterns.
Lando Calrissian (8 months ago)
Captain Archibald Armundsen Witwicky
turtle shark (8 months ago)
Thank you so much for the videos. Love you're voice.
The Young Adventurer (8 months ago)
Damm I was hoping id be the first person😭😭😭
The Young Adventurer (8 months ago)
Captain Marsman haha lol😂
CHAS1422 (8 months ago)
Best to tell the story as it is. We should honor the entire team, including Henson.
ᅚᅚᅚlega (8 months ago)
but only henson is black
CHAS1422 (8 months ago)
Gareth Williams (8 months ago)
CHAS1422 and the Inuit?
the fucking police (8 months ago)
The vikings did.
Mr. White (8 months ago)
jompelis midi, Yeah, North America.
jompelis midi (8 months ago)
not even North America
ÐΔz (8 months ago)
North America yes North pole most certainly not
Dogifish (8 months ago)
WIKIPEDIA (7 months ago)
Vikangz* dey wuz black 'n shiet
ÐΔz (8 months ago)
Hidden figure's
ihsaket 9ine6ix (7 months ago)
Gene Hakman how is it inflated??
ÐΔz (7 months ago)
Gene Hakman how is it inflated
Gene Hakman (8 months ago)
ÐΔz good comparison, seems like they're inflating this guy's contributions as much as that movie did for those ladies.
Mr. White (8 months ago)
So totally fictional?

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