British Explorers

British Explorers

In the history of the exploration of the earth there are a number of personalities who hold a special place through their extraordinary human dedication and the imperturbability of their goals.


THOMAS EDWARD LAWRENCE was involved in the excavations of the ancient oriental ruins of Karkemisch on the northern Euphrates (today the Syrian-Turkish border area). During World War I (1914-1918) Colonel LAWRENCE was one of the British officers involved in driving the Ottoman Empire back from Arabia. During this time, what is now Iraq and Jordan were surveyed and mapped for the first time. Because LAWRENCE had won the trust and great influence among the Arabs, he was used as an agent to push back the Turks with the help of an uprising by the Arabs. In 1918 he marched into Damascus (in present-day Jordan) as the leader of the Arab armed forces. He kept his experiences in Arabia in the narrative Seven Pillars of Wisdom (1926, German The seven pillars of wisdom). His role as the legendary leader of the Arabs was filmed under the title Lawrence of Arabia. After the war he became a member of the Royal Air Force and took on a different name.


DAVID LIVINGSTONE from Scotland is considered one of the most important Africa researchers . He went to Africa as a doctor and missionary. As an opponent of the slave trade, he took the view that the opening up of the inland areas would have to open up further trade opportunities for the Africans in order to curb the slave trade. From 1849 until the end of his life he carried out several expeditions in the interior of Africa. During his expedition across the Zambezi River, he discovered the Victoria Falls; On other trips LIVINGSTONE mapped the area of ​​the inner African lakes (Lake Tanganyika, Lake Nyassa). During his research trip to search for the sources of the Nile (1865-71) he was considered lost for a long time. The search for the on behalf of the is legendary New York Herald working reporter HENRY MORTON STANLEY to Livingston. After a nine-month journey, the expedition found LIVINGSTONE in a village on Lake Tanganyika, where he had ended his journey sick and starved to death. He had become too weak for the long walk to the coast.

In the heart of Africa, the STANLEY welcomed the LIVINGSTONE, who believed it could not be found, with the famous words: Dr. Livingston, I presume?
STANLEY was fascinated by LIVINGSTONE’s commitment. He saw him as a friend and role model and spent a few more weeks with him. LIVINGSTONE died during his last voyage on May 1, 1873 near Lake Bangweolo (Zambia) in interior Africa.


ROBERT FALCON SCOTT , Captain of the Royal Navy, and his expedition were the tragic losers in the contest to conquer the South Pole. To get there, SCOTT and his companions, BOWERS, EVANS, OATES and WILSON were 35 days late during the final stage. The Norwegian ROALD AMUNDSEN, an experienced Arctic explorer, had anticipated them. The decision to use ponies instead of sled dogs for transport, and to pull the food sled by oneself during the last stage, meant overburdening one’s strength and ultimately proved fatal. Two of the men lost their lives during the march back; SCOTT and the other two did not manage to reach the rescue supply station during their 93-day march, as they were weakened by the disappointment, the cold and the hardships and were prevented from moving on by a persistent snowstorm. The dead and SCOTT’s diary entries were found eight months later by a search expedition. The public reacted with great sympathy to SCOTT’s fate and that of his men and appreciated his performance more than the AMUNDSENs.


ERNEST SHACKLETON , British Antarctic explorer, went down in the history of Arctic exploration for his courage and willingness to make sacrifices in saving his expedition team. His expedition broke off in 1914 with the ship Endurance to cross the Antarctic by land from the Wedell Sea on the Atlantic side to the Ross Sea on the Pacific side. Before the ship reached the planned starting point, it was trapped in the Wedell Sea by the ice. For two days the crew tried in vain to free the ship from the ice. The ice drove the ship away from Antarctica for nine months until it was crushed by the ice on October 27, 1915. The crew had to leave the ship. On November 21, 1915, the crushed ship sank.

The men transported the lifeboats to the open sea on sledges and reached Elephant Island by boat in April 1916 . In Europe no one thought of SHACKLETON’s expedition anymore; the first world war had since broken out and drew everyone’s attention.

SHACKLETON saw no other possibility of return than to venture with five men of the crew on a boat at the risk of their own lives to reach the island of South Georgia, 800 miles away, and to get help from the local whaling station. After 17 days through the stormy icy sea, they had achieved the unbelievable. They hadn’t missed the tiny island and were able to go ashore. From the landing site, the men walked 36 hours before they found the whaling station. It was not until the fourth rescue attempt that SHACKLETON managed to rescue the rest of the crew from the elephant island with the help of a ship belonging to the Chilean government. After his death in 1922, SHACKLETON was buried on the island of South Georgia at the request of his wife. SHACKLETON was recognized for his sacrifice in the Nobility raised.


HENRY MORTON STANLEY came to fame through his successful search for LIVINGSTONE. So it was no problem for him to get English and American newspapers to finance his own research trips. He explored the course of the Congo and the Congo area several times and thus prepared the development of the Congo by the Belgian colonial administration. His investigation of Lake Victoria confirms earlier assumptions about the source tributaries of the Nile (White and Blue Nile). He published the record of his experiences under the titles How I found Livingstone (1872) and Through the Dark Continent (1878).

STANLEY was from Wales; He came to America as a sixteen-year-old cabin boy without parents and led a very eventful life until he started working as a newspaper reporter. His real name was JOHN ROWLANDS. An American merchant who adopted him gave him the name by which he later became known.

British Explorers