11 famous places that don’t really exist
In 1906, explorer Robert E. Peary set out to reach the North Pole. He was unsuccessful, but in the book he wrote upon his return to civilization, he said he saw a distant land looking north from the northernmost place in Canada. He named it “Crocker Land”, after George Crocker, the banker who financed his expedition.
In 1909 Peary and Frederick Cook claimed to have been the first person to set foot on the North Pole. Cook said he got there without crossing Crocker Land, leading Peary’s supporters to conclude he must have been lying. Rather than tell his followers that he had invented Crocker Land in an attempt to extract more money from his banker friend, Peary remained silent and Donald Baxter MacMillan organized an Arctic expedition to map Crocker Land. and to prove that Cook was a liar. . “I am certain that strange animals will be found there,” MacMillan wrote at the time, “and I hope to discover a new race of men.”
MacMillan’s party established a base in northwest Greenland, and in March 1913 MacMillan and his party set out on a 1,200 mile journey across the tundra to Crocker Land. The arduous journey sapped the explorers’ resolve, and everyone turned around and went home except Macmillan, Navy Ensign Fitzhugh Green, and their two Inuit guides, Piugaattoq and Ittukusuk. This motley crew reached the edge of the Arctic Ocean on April 11.
They set out across the treacherous frozen ocean in search of Crocker Land, and on April 21, Macmillan saw a huge island in the distance! Even though Piugaattoq said it was a mirage, the crew pushed further north. After five days of crossing the rapidly melting ice cap, Mcmillian realized his guide had been right, and they turned around and came back to dry land just before the sea ice broke up.
Later in the expedition, Green murdered Piugaattoq after an argument over directions. Macmillan and the rest of the Americans covered up the crime, telling the Intuit that Piugaattoq had died in an avalanche. Stranded by the weather, not all members of the expedition survived house until 1917.
Despite their claims, it appears that neither Cook nor Peary reached the North Pole. The first verified trip to the pole was Roald Amundsen’s expedition in 1926.