British naval officer and explorer of Antarctica, born in Devonport, England. Scott entered the Royal Navy at the age of 14. In 1900 he was placed in command of the National Antarctic Expedition. Leaving England in 1901, Scott established a land base on the shores of McMurdo Sound, in Antarctica. He explored to the east of the Ross Ice Shelf and named Edward VII Peninsula.
He also led a party that achieved a record latitude of 81° 17′ south and sledged over Victoria Land.
The expedition, which returned in 1904, was responsible for scientific discoveries of marked importance.
In 1910 Scott embarked on a second Antarctic expedition, with the aim of being the first man to reach the South Pole. He again landed at McMurdo Sound and with four companions began a trek of 2964 km (1842 mi), the longest continuous sledge journey ever made in the polar regions. Scott reached the South Pole on January 18, 1912, only to find the tent and flag of the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen, who had achieved the goal 5 weeks earlier. The return journey ended in the loss of the entire party. Petty Officer Edgar Evans died from a fall; Captain Lawrence Oates sacrificed his life, hoping thus to save his comrades; Henry R. Bowers, Dr. Edward Wilson, and Scott perished of starvation and exposure on March 29, 1912, within 18 km (11 MI) of a supply depot. Their bodies, along with valuable documents and specimens left by Scott in his tent, were found by a search party almost eight months later. His diaries and other documents were published as Scott’s Last Expedition (1913). He is also the author of The Voyage of the Discovery (1905).
“Scott, Robert Falcon,” Microsoft® Encarta® Online Encyclopedia 2001
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