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Legacies of the Jackson-Harmsworth expedition, 1894–1897

  • Ronald Savitt (a1) and Cornelia Lüdecke (a2)

Frederick George Jackson, the leader of the Jackson-Harmsworth Expedition of 1894–1897, accomplished a great deal during his exploration of Franz Josef Land [Zemlya Frantsa-Iosifa] although his achievements have never been fully acknowledged. Jackson's expedition itself has often been eclipsed by his famous meeting in 1896 with Fridtjof Nansen, absent for 3 years in the Arctic and it has been unfairly coloured by the view that Jackson was no more than an adventurer and sportsman. The research reported in this article evaluates Jackson's plan and management activities. The study developed a set of factors to evaluate his performance arising from a variety of expeditions contemporary with Jackson's. His strong personality and limited personnel managerial experience limited the full extent of what he might have achieved. Yet, Jackson developed a strong exploration model that was based on comprehensive planning, a significant concern for the health and welfare of his companions, the willingness to innovate in a number of activities including sledging, and a commitment to scientific discovery. Although the expedition did not find a route to the North Pole, Jackson confirmed that Franz Josef Land was an archipelago and he gave credence to the consumption of fresh meat as a means of preventing scurvy. One of Jackson's legacies to subsequent explorers was the use of ponies for haulage. He was unable to appreciate the weaknesses in their use and his influence on subsequent Antarctic expeditions often led to undesirable results. But, overall, Jackson was an innovator in a conservative exploration community.

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Polar Record
  • ISSN: 0032-2474
  • EISSN: 1475-3057
  • URL: /core/journals/polar-record
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