Mülius-Eriksen Ludwig

(15.01.1872-25.11.1907)

Dutsky polar explorer, ethnographer, journalist. The head of two expeditions to Greenland (1902-1904, 1906-1908), who made a significant contribution to the study, mainly of its north-eastern regions.

Born in Viborg, Denmark, in the family of a policeman, but grew up in Ringkøbing . Shortly after graduation, he moved to Copenhagen, worked as a journalist, combining journalistic activities with studies at the university, which he graduated in 1895.

In Copenhagen  Eriksen met and became close friends with the future outstanding Danish polar explorer Knud Rasmussen, who was born in Greenland and spent his childhood and youth there. Rasmussen's stories about Greenland gave Erikson a desire to visit this mysterious island.

For many years, in order to protect local tribes from the negative influence of European civilization, visiting Greenland was forbidden to everyone except for Danish civil servants and missionaries. Announcing his first expedition to the island, Mühlius-Erisksen announced his intention to describe the life, culture and folklore of the Greenland Eskimos, especially in contrast to life in Danish settlements in the western part of the island. The expedition was called "literary". Mülius-Erisksen took the artist Harald Moltke , ornithologist and physician Alfred Bertelsen, and Knud Rasmussen, a journalist and translator, as companions for himself. Later, the Greenlandic priest Jørgen Brenlund joined the Danes as a translator.

In mid-July 1902 travelers landed in Gothaube, from where they went north by boat and dog sledding to the north and spent the winter in Jacobshavn. In March 1903 they reached Upernavik and continued on their way north through Melville Bay (with the exception of Bertelsen, who preferred to stay). On the way, Moltke fell seriously ill, but they were able to reach the land of the Eskimos of the Etai tribe and spent among them almost a year. As a result of the work, Harald Moltke made an excellent album of portraits and landscapes, Milius Eriksen formulated his views on the Danish influence on the lives of the Inuit, Rasmussen with his perfect knowledge of the Inuktitu conducted a detailed study of the life, customs and culture of this little-known people.

 

Expedition of Müllius-Eriksen 1902-1904 years

 

The results of the expedition in Denmark were considered so significant that the expedition, which began as a private initiative, received official recognition, the Danish government took over all its debts, and also initiated a number of reforms.

The purpose of the expedition of 1906-1908 was the study of the north-eastern region of Greenland . The expedition was funded by the Danish government, theCarlsberg Foundation and private donations. The expedition included 28 people, including captain Johan Peter Koch, cartographer Nils Heg-Hagen, meteorologist and physicist Alfred Wegener, Peter Freihen, artists Auge Bertelsen and Acton Fries , assistants Henning Bistrup and Gustav Tostrup, as well as dog drivers - a priest Jørgen Brenlund and Tobias Gabrielsen.

On 24 June 1906 the ship of the Danmark expedition (Denmark) sailed from Copenhagen and in the middle of August safely reached Greenland and dropped anchor in the bay of Denmarkshavn. On the shore of the bay on the Djemani-Land Peninsula (Land of Germany) an expeditionary base was organized, with which over the next two years various parties carried out the studies provided for by the program (in total, the expedition members overcame more than 4000 miles in sledges).

The main journey was undertaken by Muli-Erickson, accompanied by nine people at the end of March 1907. March 28 the party went to the north. At 80° N .Bistrup, Wegener, Tostrup and Karl Ring turned back, and the six continued their journey to Crown Prince Christian's Land , simultaneously discovering Lambert's Land and Hovgard Island . At 81° 30'N and 18°W, the batch I divided, and Koch, Gabrielsen, and Bertelsen went farther north, and Mülius-Eriksen, Heg-Hagen, and Brenlund went west to Independence Fjord. On May 7, the Koch party reached Peary Land at Cape Eiler-Rashmussen, and five days later reached Guria at Cape Vikof, the most eastern point reached by Robert Peary in 1900, thereby finally proving that Greenland is an island.

On May 27, the games of Koch and Müllius-Eriksen met by chance at the mouth of the newly discovered Danish Fjord, the mapping of which delayed Muli-Eriksen.Replenishing food supplies at the expense of the supplies of the Koch lot, Mülius-Eriksen went west to complete the study of the Independence Fjord and the Piri Strait, allegedly connecting the fjord and the Ners Strait. The Koch party, in turn, went back, and on June 23, returned safely to base. The party of Ludwig Mühlius-Eriksen had not returned to the base before the onset of winter.

 

Expedition of Müllius-Eriksen 1906-1908

 

The first attempt to search for the missing was made on September 23. The search party Toastrup was able to reach only Mallemuk Fjord north of Hovgard Island, open water prevented further advancement. A second attempt was made only next year. March 10, 1908 in search of the party headed by Johann Koch. Less than 200 miles from the ship, he found an uncovered depot, and a hundred meters away there was a small snow cave, inside which was the body of Jørgen Brenlund. With him was his diary and Heg-Hagen maps.

As followed from the diary of Brenlund, as well as from the later found records of Eriksen, the party reached the head of the “Independence Strait” (proving that it was a fjord), simultaneously discovering and mapping Hagen-fjord, as well as the Academy Glacier and Navy Cliff. On June 4 the party turned back, but because of the melting of the ice, it was unable to cross the Danish fjord, and was forced to set up camp on its western shore, waiting for the ice to disappear again. All this time, travelers were extremely limited in nutrition and fuel, by the end of August, eating almost only meat from their own dogs and rare prey from hunting. By October 19 after replenishing the reserves from the two previously established depot, the party reached the northern coast of Mallemukfjord (at about the same time the party Toastrup was on the southern coast, but they were separated by open water), but could not overcome this obstacle. Heg-Hagen died on November 15 and Muli-Eriksen 10 days later. Brenland was able, as a result, to reach the warehouse left by Toastrup a few weeks earlier, but he also did not have the strength to go further. The latest entry in Brenlund's diary: “... I can’t go any further because of my frostbitten legs and total darkness ... The bodies of the rest ... about two and a half leagues from here. Hagen died on November 15, Mulius about ten days later. Jorgen Brenlund.

 

Monument to Mülius Eriksen in Ringkebing

 

The bodies of Mühlius-Eriksen and Heg-Hagen were never found, despite repeated searches, including the expedition of Einar Mikkelsen. Nevertheless, Mikkelsen found Eriksen's reports for August – September 1907, which he left in the Guries on his way to the south.

Geographical results obtained at the price of the life of the L. Mühlius-Eriksen group and the efforts of J.-P. Koch turned out to be significant: the coastline of Northeast Greenland over 1,700 km was discovered and put on the map. This made it possible to complete the identification of the general contour of the greatest island of the planet (2176 thousand sq. Km.).

Peninsula (Mülius-Eriksen Land) - the region of northeastern Greenland between Peary Land and Independence Fjord.

Mountain peak in Svedrup glacier, Melville Bay.

Mys in Peary Land.

 

Return to the main page