On May 6, 1856, Robert E. Peary, who claimed discovery of the North Pole, was born in Cresson, Pennsylvania.
During the early years of the twentieth century, the conquest of the North and South poles became the object of fervent international competition. Teams from Russia, Norway, Italy, and the United States vied to be the first to fly their nation's flag at the summit of the world. Many expeditions, such as the failed Ziegler Expedition pictured above, sought to explore the Arctic from the northernmost point of Russia, Franz Josef Land. Robert Peary set his sights on Greenland as the launching ground of a northward dash to the pole.