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The Arctic ship Danmark

  • Kjell-G. Kjaer (a1) and Hilary Foxworthy (a2)

Abstract

The steam barque Danmark, used on Ludvig Mylius-Erichsen's expedition to northeast Greenland (1906–08), was originally a Scottish whaler named Sir Colin Campbell, built in 1855 in Sunderland. After nine years of whaling out of Peterhead, in 1865 Sir Colin Campbell started the transportation of cryolite from the mines of Ivigtut in southwest Greenland to the United States and several European ports. This trade lasted for 103 years, until 1968. In the early 1870s, the ship was sold to Norwegian owners, renamed Magdalena, fitted with a steam-engine, and used as part of the Tønsberg sealing fleet. In 1894 she was the ship in which Roald Amundsen made his first voyage to the Arctic. In 1905 Magdalena was chartered by the estate of William Ziegler for a relief expedition to Bass Rock, northeast Greenland, to search for members of the Fiala-Ziegler expedition. The next year she was sold to the Danmark-Expedition and renamed Danmark. The main task for the expedition was to survey the coast from 77°N to Independence Bay, an area that was completely unknown. In addition to geographical exploration, much ethnographical, ornithological, zoological, hydrographical, meteorological, and botanical work was carried out on the expedition. In 1909, Danmark was sold to the mining company Grønlandske Minedrifts Aktieselskab of Copenhagen. She made voyages every year to Greenland, returning with copper and graphite. In 1916 she was chartered by the American Museum of Natural History to bring home the members of the Crocker Land Expedition. When in December 1917 she returned to Denmark, her captain did not know that, in their two years' absence, the coastal signals had been changed due to conditions in World War I. Danmark grounded off Høganes, Sweden; condemned, she was sold to a breaker's yard, and her masts, sails, engine, and other fittings were sold at auction the following year.

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The Arctic ship Danmark

  • Kjell-G. Kjaer (a1) and Hilary Foxworthy (a2)

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