Jean Baptiste Auguste Charcot

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Jean-Baptiste Etienne Auguste Charcot was born in France in 1867. He trained as a doctor but gave up his medical practice to become a polar explorer. He led the French Antarctic Expedition, 1903-1905. The expedition prepared to search for the missing Swedish South Polar Expedition, 1901-1904 (leader Nils Otto Nordenskjld), but found that the expedition had already been rescued. His ship Le Francais, with a complement of 22 men, then wintered at a station on Booth Island, off the West coast of the Antarctic Peninsula. Charcot charted the West side of Palmer Archipelago and also discovered and roughly charted Loubet Coast southwards to Adelaide Island.

Prevented by pack ice from exploring further south, Charcot returned to France and organized the French Antarctic Expedition, 1908-1910, commissioning a new expedition ship Pourquoi Pas? . This expedition visited the South Shetland Islands and the northern Antarctic Peninsula, wintering at Petermann Island in 1909. Charcot charted the West coast of the Peninsula and islands southwards to Adelaide Island and Alexander Island. He sailed south again in the Bellingshausen Sea to within sight of Peter I y, discovering a further ice-bound coast, now called Charcot Island.

These two expeditions established his reputation as a leader in the fields of scientific oceanography, research and survey. After service in the First World War, he continued polar work with a series of ten summer expeditions to the Arctic (1926-1936), in which many young explorers were trained. He died in 1936 on board his ship Pourquoi Pas? in a storm off Iceland.

Published works, Notice sur les titres et travaux scientifiques du Dr J-B. Charcot (French) Masson et Cie, Paris (1921) SPRI Library Shelf 92[Charcot, J B.]

From the guide to the Jean Baptiste Charcot collection, 1907 - 1936, (Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge)

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creatorOf Jean Baptiste Charcot collection, 1907 - 1936 Scott Polar Research Institute
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associatedWith Charcot Jean-Baptiste 1876-1936 person
associatedWith Debenham Frank 1883-1965 person
associatedWith Pourquoi Pas? (ship) corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Antarctica Discovery and exploration


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