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The Story of Greatest Greenland’s Explorers: When, Why, and How

22 October 2020

If you asked what is one of the most mysterious and attractive places in the world, we’d definitely say Greenland. This land was an enigma for many explorers trying to conquer it. Its uncertain and continuously changeable weather imbues the entire island with such an enticing aura. 

The dramatic contrast between the winter prolong and seem-to-be eternal darkness and endless summer lights amazes and scares. Being explored at every turn now, Greenland was a blank space at the end of the 18th century until several explorers who had much of audacity decided to find out more about this island. 

Let’s follow big explorers in history to know their challenges, motivation, and results of their discovery of Greenland!

Discovery of Greenland | Ragnar blog

Who Discovered Greenland?

Greeland is not all about infinite snow and ice, but the land of magnificent nature. No wonder it has disturbed the minds of many explorers. Believe us or not, exploring Greenland is exciting.

There is no evidence who exactly discovered Greenland. But what we know is that Erik the Red is an Icelandic Norse explorer and murderer named Greenland. He was exiled to this island after killing two people and gave this land such a name that doesn’t suit it at all with its snowy cape and eternal cold. 

“Greenland” was supposed to lure more potential settlers. Thus, the 10th century became a year when Europeans, precisely Icelandic Vikings, discovered the island and created the first settlements in Greenland.

Since Ragnar is devoted to researching oceans and lands, you have a chance to join us and get the whole researcher experience. Together, we’ll follow Greenland’s explorers’ paths observing its vast lands, climate, flora & fauna, and coming closer to its marine habitats.

Conducting such studies is crucial because, in such a way, we’re getting to know our world, and it also helps to notice and improve environmental problems. With such studies’ help, we may know which animals are in danger and which land needs specific actions to be saved from negative impacts. 

But now, let’s embark on a short historical trip to this island along with the big names of Greenland discovery. 

Mysterious and attractive Greenland

Fridtjof Nansen

The Icelandic explorer, Fridtjof Nansen, had a severe case of wanderlust. It must be Tuesday for him to “get lost” in the cold to live along with his dog and enjoy that picturesque scenery, which gave him excellent survival skills. If you look at Nansen’s biography, he seems to be a superman with lots of unique skills and capabilities. Being a brilliant explorer and zoologist, Nansen also was a great skier and skater and broke a skating world record on a national cross-country championship. 

When he was a student, he embarked on a sea trip landing in Greenland and making a range of impressive discoveries. Nansen found out that the Gulf Stream flows deep through the ocean, and the ice forms on the water’s surface. These facts are obvious now, but they were a mystery before. 

Fridtjof Nansen’s expedition to Greenland

Since Greenland was an unexplored territory back then, Nansen ventured to be the first man to cross Greenland. Since he didn’t find any support for his suicidal mission from the country, he gathered a team of desperate people and organized this trip by himself. 

The first thing this fantastic Greenland explorer did when landing the island was destroying the ships, so the team had no other way to go back home except crossing the land. Nevertheless, the expedition was successful, and the team crossed the island from the east to the west, observing all of its amenities and measuring its vast lands.

Fridtjof Nansen - Icelandic explorer of Greenland

Robert Peary

There is a hot discussion about who discovered the North Pole. Robert Peary is known as a person who did the first to step on its icy land, but many believe Frederick Cook got there before Peary. Nevertheless, both of the explorers made several notable expeditions to Greenland. 

What’s particular about Robert Peary was his insane wanderlust. Broken legs or severe cold never stopped him from exploring these lands. 

Rober Peary’s expedition to Greenland

In 1886, Peary put on his warmest outfit, borrowed money from his mother, and headed to the Greenland ice cap. But his clothes weren’t very helpful, and due to severe weather, he went back. 

After this expedition, Peary gained a notorious reputation. This Greenland explorer appreciated the amenities of nature as much as he neglected the well-being of others. During the Greenland expedition, he ordered his team to open graves of indigenous people  and sell their remains to the American Museum of Natural History in NYC.

Robert Peary - Greenland explorer

Frederick Cook

Dramatic events turned Frederick Cook from a curious man into a great explorer. When his wife and baby died, he found an escape in books and articles about exploration topics. So, joining Peary’s expedition to Greenland seemed a logical solution to him. 

Frederick Cook’s expedition to Greenland

As well as Peary, Cook had a keen interest in indigenous people, but in a different way. This Greenland explorer communicated with different people who settled Greenland and learned their dialects to know more and more about their culture, traditions, and life. Different approaches to the Greenland expedition parted Cook and Peary’s ways. But in 1901, Cook returned to the Arctic to rescue Peary, who got lost.

Frederick Cook - Greenland explorer

Why did Greenland Explorers find this land so attractive?

The answer to this question is simple. Greenland was full of mystery. No one explored it, and no one knew what secrets could lurk there. For those explorers who couldn’t imagine their life without conquering new territories, Greenland was a honey pie. With its eye-pleasing views, extreme climate, and diverse flora and fauna, it was luring more and more explorers. And it  still does.

Fridtjof Nansen, Robert Peary, and Frederick Cook were among those great Greenland explorers who couldn’t resist the land’s charms either do we. Facing many challenges and obstacles, these men still manage to reach Greenland’s virgin vastitude and disclose its secrets and peculiarities. 

These days exploring Greenland is a much easier and safe, and more pleasurable experience. Knowing well the importance of conducting studies on this mystical land, Ragnar continues its research activities.

Join us, and you’ll admire all the beautiful views and amenities of Greenland and get to know it from the inside out!

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