From an early age, Prince Albert I of Monaco evinced a strong fascination for the polar regions. But it was only after 1898 that he was able to mount four scientific cruises to Svalbard on his yacht, the second Princesse-Alice. The first cruise was an oceanographical and zoological reconnaissance, aimed mainly at adding to the collections of the Musée océanographique de Monaco, the construction of which had just started. In 1899, the focus was on the hydrography and topography of Raudfjorden, of which a map was published. In 1906, meteorology was added to the range of observations and surveys were pursued. The Prince also provided support for two other expeditions, that of the Norwegian, Gunnar Isachsen, to northwestern Spitsbergen, and that of the Scotsman, William Bruce, to Prins Karls Forland. The Prince's expedition in 1907 was aimed at completing the results from the previous summer. Prince Albert also lent his support, either financially, or through gifts or loans of oceanographic instruments, to numerous Arctic and Antarctic explorers. Finally, he showed a keen interest in environmental protection, especially in Svalbard. This is demonstrated by his responses to a questionnaire that Hugo Conwentz sent him in 1912.
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