Hostname: page-component-7d684dbfc8-v2qlk Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2023-10-02T02:45:57.364Z Has data issue: false Feature Flags: { "corePageComponentGetUserInfoFromSharedSession": true, "coreDisableEcommerce": false, "coreDisableSocialShare": false, "coreDisableEcommerceForArticlePurchase": false, "coreDisableEcommerceForBookPurchase": false, "coreDisableEcommerceForElementPurchase": false, "coreUseNewShare": true, "useRatesEcommerce": true } hasContentIssue false

The Arctic voyages of Louis-Philippe-Robert, Duc d'Orléans

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 September 2009

William Barr*
Arctic Institute of North America, University of Calgary, Calgary AB T2N 1N4, Canada (


Louis-Philippe-Robert, Duc d'Orléans (1869–1926), the Orléans claimant to the French throne, mounted four private expeditions to the Arctic, in 1904, 1905, 1907, and 1909. During the first of these, on board his private yacht, Maroussia, and accompanied by his wife, Marie Dorothée, he visited Svalbard where he hunted reindeer while his wife, an accomplished amateur artist, executed a number of delightful paintings. In 1905 he chartered the ice strengthened Belgica and employed Adrien de Gerlache de Gomery as her captain; he also recruited an impressive group of scientists. He again visited Svalbard then pushed west through the pack ice to east Greenland. He was able to penetrate further north along that coast than his predecessors, the Germans under Koldewey in Germania, had in 1869–1870, and discovered and named Île-de-France and the Belgica Bank. He shot large numbers of polar bears. In 1907, again on board Belgica, and again with de Gerlache in command of the ship, and again with a contingent of scientists on board, Orléans headed out into the Kara Sea from Matochkin Shar. Belgica soon became beset in the pack ice and drifted slowly south with the ice to emerge through Karskie Vorota after a very frustrating month. Thereafter an attempt to reach Zemlya Frantsa-Iosifa was foiled by heavy ice. Finally, in 1909, again on board Belgica under de Gerlache's command, Orléans visited Jan Mayen, east Greenland, Svalbard and Zemlya Frantsa-Iosifa, with hunting as his primary aim. From all four expeditions Orléans brought back substantial numbers of skins of birds and mammals that were mounted and displayed in his private museums. On his death they were bequeathed to the French people and exhibited in the specially built Musée du Duc d'Orléans in Paris and later in the Musée National d'Histoire Naturelle. The scientific data and specimens collected by the scientists on the 1905 and 1907 expeditions resulted in a substantial number of scientific reports in their various fields.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2009

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Andrée, S.A., Strindberg, N., and , K. Fraenkel. 1931. The Andrée diaries. Being the diaries and records of S.A. Andrée, Nils Strindberg and Knut Fraenkel during their balloon expedition to the North Pole in 1897. London: John Lane the Bodley Head.Google Scholar
Backlund, O., Jäderin, E., and Engström, F.. 1901. Mesure d'un arc de méridien au Spitsberg. Historique générale et relation des opérations de la mission. La géographie 3: 287310.Google Scholar
Barr, W. 1985. The expeditions of the first International Polar Year 1882–1883. Calgary: Arctic Institute of North America (republished 2008).Google Scholar
Capelotti, P.J. 1999. By airship to the North Pole. An archaeology of human exploration. New Brunswick NJ: Rutgers University Press.Google Scholar
Cook, F. 1900. Through the first Antarctic night. New York: Doubleday and McClure.Google Scholar
Davidson, J. 1984. Melba, Dame Nellie (1861–1931). In: Pike, D.H. (editor). Australian Dictionary of Biography, vol. 10. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press: 475479.Google Scholar
de Gerlache, A. de G. 1902. Quinze mois dans l'Antarctique. Bruxelles: Imprimerie scientifique.Google Scholar
Helland-Hansen, B., and Nansen, F.. 1909. The Norwegian Sea, its physical oceanography based upon the Norwegian researches 1900–1904. Kristiania: Mallingske Bogtrykkeri.Google Scholar
Kjaer, K.-G. 2005. Belgica in the Arctic. Polar Record 41 (218): 205216.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Koldewey, K. 1874. The German Arctic expedition of 1869–70 and narrative of the wreck of the ‘Hansa’ in the ice. London: Sampson Lowe, Marston, Low and Searle.Google Scholar
Lafon, M.-F. 1999. Philippe, Duc d'Orléans (1869–1926). Explorateur, navigateur, naturaliste. Paris: Société Nouvelle des Editions Boubée.Google Scholar
Lecointe, G. 1910. Au pays des manchots. Brussels: J. Lebèque and Coi.Google Scholar
Nordenskjöld, O., Andersson, J.G., Skottsberg, C., and Larsen, C.A.. 1905. Antarctica, or two years among the ice of the South Pole. London: Hurst and Blackett.Google Scholar
Orléans, L.-P.-R. Duc d’. 1904. Une croisière au Spitzberg. Yacht ‘Maroussia’. Paris: Imprimerie Chaix.Google Scholar
Orléans, L.-P.-R. Duc d’.1907a. À travers la banquise du Spitzberg au Cap Philippe, mai-aoüt 1905. Paris: Plon.Google Scholar
Orléans, L.-P.-R. Duc d’. 1907b. Croisière océanographique accomplie à bord de la ‘Belgica’ dans la mer du Groenland en 1905. Résultats scientifiques. Bruxelles: Bulens.Google Scholar
Orléans, L.-P.-R. Duc d’. 1909. La revanche de la banquise. Un été de dérive dans la mer de Kara. Juin-septembre 1907. Paris: Plon-Nourrit.Google Scholar
Orléans, L.-P.-R. Duc d’.. 1910–1912. Campagne arctique de 1907. Bruxelles: C. Bulens.Google Scholar
Orleans, Duke of. 1911. Hunters and hunting in the Arctic. London: David Nutt.Google Scholar
Parry, W.E. 1828. Narrative of an attempt to reach the North Pole, in boats fitted for the purpose, and attached to His Majesty's Ship ‘Hecla’ in the year MDCCCVII under the command of Captain William Edward Parry. . . London: John Murray.Google Scholar
Pergameni, C. 1935. Adrien de Gerlache, pionnier maritime 1866–1934. Bruxelles: Editorial Office.Google Scholar
Pike, A. 1897. A winter in the eightieth degree. In: Chapman A. Wild Norway. With chapters on Spitsbergen, Denmark, etc. London: Edward Arnold: 343351.Google Scholar
Récamier, J. 1927. L'âme de l'exilé. Souvenirs des voyages de Monseigneur le Duc d'Orléans. Paris: Plon.Google Scholar