Cartographic expeditions to Greenland

Sketch map of the Arctic coasts as mapped around 1900. The largest white gaps are in NE Greenland and the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Note that most of Axel Heiberg Island and several more islands named by Otto Sverdrup are missing. Note also Robert Peary's postulated strait between Peary Land and North Greenland - a claim disproven by the First Thule Expedition led by Knud Rasmussen and Peter Freuchen.[1]

This is a list of recognised pioneering expeditions to Greenland that contributed to the cartography of the territory.


Expedition Name Year(s) Area explored Leader
Pining-Pothorst Expedition 1472 Southeast? Greenland Didrik Pining and Hans Pothorst
Third Northwest Passage Voyage 1578 South Greenland Martin Frobisher
Danish Allday Expedition 1579 South Greenland John Allday
John Davis’ Expeditions to the Northwest Passage 1583-87 Southwest Greenland John Davis
Christian IV's Expeditions 1605-07 Southeast Greenland John Cunningham
Godske Lindenov
Carsten Richardson
(James Hall)
Hall Expedition 1612 Southwest Greenland James Hall and William Baffin
English Button Expedition 161213 Southwest Greenland Button
Josias Hubert
Baffin Expedition 1616 West Greenland William Baffin
Walløe Expedition 1751-53 Southeast Greenland Peder Olsen Walløe
Ross Expedition 1818 Northwest Greenland John Ross
Scoresby's Voyage to the Northern Whale-Fishery in the Baffin of Liverpool 1822 East Greenland William Scoresby
Commissioners for the Discovery of the Longitude at Sea Expedition 1823 East Greenland Douglas Charles Clavering and Edward Sabine
Graah Expedition 1828-30 Southeast Greenland W. A. Graah
La Lilloise Expedition 1833 Southeast Greenland Jules de Blosseville
Inglefield Expedition 1852 Northwest Greenland Edward Augustus Inglefield
First German North Polar Expedition 1868 Northeast Greenland Carl Koldewey
Second German North Polar Expedition (Germania and Hansa) 1869-70 Northeast Greenland Carl Koldewey
British Arctic Expedition 1875-76 North Greenland George Nares
J. A. D. Jensen Expedition 1878 Inland ice in West Greenland J. A. D. Jensen
Umiak Expedition 1883-85 Southeast Greenland Gustav Holm and Thomas Vilhelm Garde
2nd Dickson expedition led by Nordenskiöld 1883 West Greenland and East Greenland at Ammasalik Adolf Erik Nordenskiöld
Upernavik Mapping Expedition 1886-87 Northwest Greenland Carl Ryder
Nansen Expedition 1888 Across the inland ice Fridtjof Nansen
Ryder’s East Greenland Expedition (Hekla) 1891-92 Scoresby Sund system Carl Ryder
Peary's North Greenland Expeditions 1891-92 North Greenland Robert Peary
Swedish NW Greenland Expedition 1892 Northwest Greenland Johan Alfred Björling
Peary's North Greenland Expeditions 1893-95 North Greenland Robert Peary
Ingolf Expedition 1895-96 East Greenland C.F. Wandel
Peary's Peary Arctic Club Expedition 1898-1902 North Greenland Robert Peary
Sverdrup Expedition 1898 Northwest Greenland Otto Sverdrup
Carlsbergfund Expedition to East Greenland 1898-1900 Coast between Ammassalik Island and Scoresby Sound G. C. Amdrup
Swedish Greenland Expedition to search for Andrée 1899 Northeast Greenland Alfred Gabriel Nathorst
Literary Expedition 1902-04 Northwest Greenland Ludvig Mylius-Erichsen and Knud Rasmussen
Expédition Arctique du Duc D'Orléans 1905 East Greenland Prince Philippe, Duke of Orléans
Denmark Expedition 1906-08 Northeast-North Greenland Ludvig Mylius-Erichsen
Alabama Expedition[2] 1909-12 Northeast Greenland Ejnar Mikkelsen
First Thule Expedition 1912 North Greenland Knud Rasmussen and Peter Freuchen
Danish Expedition to Queen Louise Land 1912-13 Crossing the inland ice in North Greenland J.P. Koch
Second Thule Expedition 1916-18 North Greenland Knud Rasmussen
Third Thule Expedition[3] 1919 North Greenland Knud Rasmussen
Fourth Thule Expedition 1919-20 East Greenland Knud Rasmussen
Bicentenary Jubilee Expedition[4] 1921–23 North Greenland Lauge Koch
Fifth Thule Expedition[5] 1921-24 Knud Rasmussen
Cambridge Expedition to East Greenland 1926 Northeast Greenland James Wordie
1929-30 Expedition to East Greenland 1929–30 Northeast Greenland Lauge Koch
Sixth Thule Expedition 1931 Northeast Greenland Knud Rasmussen
British Arctic Air Route Expedition 1930-31 East Greenland Gino Watkins
1932-33 East Greenland Expedition 1932-33 East Greenland Gino Watkins until his death, then Frederick Chapman
Gefion Expedition 1932 Northeast Greenland Johannes Gerhardt Jennov and Alf Trolle
Scoresby Sund Committee's 2nd East Greenland Expedition 1932 East Greenland Ejnar Mikkelsen
Three-year Expedition to East Greenland 1931-34 East Greenland Lauge Koch
Mørkefjord Expedition 1938-39 Northeast Greenland Eigil Knuth
British North Greenland Expedition 1952–54 North and Northeast Greenland James Simpson
1956-58 Expedition to East Greenland 1958-59 East Greenland Lauge Koch

Notes and references

  1. From Ostenfeld, C.H. (1902) Flora Arctica, Part 1. Copenhagen, Nordiske Forlag.
  2. Recovering remains of the ill-fated Denmark Expedition
  3. depot-laying for Roald Amundsen's polar drift in Maud
  4. commemorating the bicentennial jubilee of Hans Egede's landing in Greenland
  5. From Thule across Arctic Canada to Nome, Alaska

See also

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