Sverdrup Otto Neumann 
(31.10.1854–26.11.1930)


Outstanding Norwegian polar traveler. 
Born in Bindalen, in Helgeland. H. Sverdrup - his cousin. Seventeen years Sverdrup made his first voyage, in 1878 passed the navigator exam and went to sea for several years as a captain of the ship. 
His fate was such that he first became famous, speaking as the second number on the brilliant expeditions of F. Nansen, but even this allows us to consider him the greatest polar explorer. He was a fellow Nansen on an expedition to Greenland (1888–1889) and a captain of the Fram during an expedition to the Central Arctic (1893–1896). After Nansen left the ship for a hike to the pole, Sverdrup headed the expedition for a year and a half. Nansen had no doubts about the successful completion of the drift. 
At the same time, Sverdrup is also known as the chief leader of the most difficult expeditions to the Arctic.

In 1898–1902 on the basis of the plan developed by Nansen, Sverdrup conducted an expedition on the Fram, the purpose of which was to pass through the Canadian archipelago to the northern shores of Greenland and into the Central Arctic Basin. The expedition was subsidized by the Norwegian capitalists Axel Geyberg (Heiberg) and the brothers Ellef and Amund Ringnes. The expedition set sail, taking food for 5 years. In August 1898, the Fram entered the Smith Strait between Greenland and Ellesmere Island, where it was necessary to get up for wintering, during which Ellesmere Island was surveyed on dog sleds.

 

"Fram" in the ice


The following year, the ice situation did not allow it to pass to the north, and Sverdrup headed west to the Jones Strait, where they got up for the second wintering already off the southern coast of Ellesmere Island. Before the onset of the polar night, the southern coast of the island was put on the map. In the spring, in the course of sledding routes, the Norwegians discovered the island of Axel-Heiberg and explored its western coast. In the summer of 1900, the Jones Strait was managed to pass, but the ice was not allowed to continue, and the expedition had to return to the Jones Strait and stay there for the third wintering. In this campaign the outlines of the northwestern coast of Devon Island were refined. With the onset of spring 1901, the polar explorers in two teams completed extended sled routes, during which the major islands of Ellef-Ringnes and Amund-Ringnes were discovered, and the eastern coast of Axel-Heiberg and the western coast of Ellesmere island were examined in detail. In 1901, it was not possible to get rid of ice. During the fourth wintering, in April – May, the Norwegians in a sleigh walked along the narrow Eureka Strait (Eureka) between the Axel-Heiberg and Ellesmere islands, climbed northward into the Nansen Strait and explored both its banks. In the summer of 1902, the Fram was finally able to free itself from ice captivity.Despite the fact that due to the opposition of the powerful forces of nature, the expedition failed to achieve its main geographic goal, its scientific results turned out to be brilliant. Approximately 150 thousand square meters were discovered and mapped. km of arctic lands, conducted a large amount of scientific observations. Sverdrup managed to create an amazingly efficient, well-coordinated team, all of whose members made a significant contribution to the achievements of the expedition. Naturally, many newly discovered objects appeared on the map, named after the comrades of Sverdrup: Danish Edward Bey (Beyfjord),   G. Isaksen, Swede Herman Georg Simmons (peninsula), P.L. Henriksen, Sverre Hassela (strait), Oluf Rones (peninsula), Ivar Phosheim (peninsula). 
The return of the expedition to Norway was triumphant. 
In 1914–1915 Sverdrup headed an expedition organized with Russian money aboard the ship "Eclips", equipped at the request of the Russian government to search for the missing expeditions of V.A. Rusanov and G.L. Brusilov. "Eclips" wintered off the coast of Taimyr, 300 km from the ships of the Arctic Ocean hydrographic expedition. A powerful radio station available on the "Eclips" served as a repeater for the radiograms of Russian sailors and provided a reliable connection between the expedition and St. Petersburg. "Eclips" was evacuated to the mainland by a group of Russian sailors, who duly appreciated the warm welcome provided by the Norwegians. Guests also noted the excellent living conditions on the "Eclips": excellent clothes, varied food, providing a choice of up to 15 first courses, up to 75 second and third. Of course, the main merit in this was Sverdrup, who spent his ninth wintering. Leaving the "Eclips", grateful Russian sailors, as a token of gratitude to Sverdrup for the excellent reception, carried him in his arms around the ship.

 

Sverdrup on "Eclips"

(from the archive of N.I. Evgenov)

O. Sverdrup with his group came to "Taimyr". 1915

(from the archive of N.I. Evgenov)


In 1920, on the icebreaker Svyatogor, Sverdrup took part in the liberation of the icebreaker steamer Solovei Budimirovich from the ice, which was carried away from the Czech Bay to the Kara Sea, and in 1921, at the invitation of the Soviet government, participated in the Kara expedition. 
The role of Sverdrup in perpetuating the Fram is great. After the march to Antarctica, the Norwegian government believed that the Fram was hardly suitable for further use.So thought R. Amundsen, planning his expedition to the Arctic. He received permission to remove from the Fram everything that could be useful to him for equipping the vessel of the Maud expedition, and removed from the famous veteran all the masts and arms, davits with rigging, steering gear, rigging, sails and much more. By 1917, the "Fram" was a pitiful sight. But the people of Norway did not imagine that the Fram would no longer exist. The public stood up for him, the press, Sverdrup stood at the head of this movement. On his initiative, the Fram Conservation Committee was established, which, after many years of struggle, obtained funds for the restoration of the vessel and its conservation. Sverdrup made sure that all the details were restored as they were on his expedition. The idea of Sverdrup to install the Fram on the beach inside a special pavilion was completed in 1936 after the death of the famous captain.

He died in the suburb of Oslo Sandvika. He was buried in Oslo at the Western Civil Cemetery.

 

Western civil cemetery in Oslo

 

Here's how the obituary said about Sverdrup Yu.M. Shokalsky: “Sverdrup was an extremely silent man and wrote a little; He took the richest experience of polar navigation. You had to know him closely - and then he became more talkative and lively and was an amiable and interesting conversationalist. He was extremely simple and alien to conceit”.

The merits of Sverdrup were awarded the Norwegian Order of St. Olaf, the Danish Order of Merit and the Russian Order of St. Anna of 2 degrees. 
Islands in the north of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago in the Queen Elizabeth Islands group. The largest are Axel-Heiberg, Amund-Ringnes, Axel-Ringnes.

 

Sverdrup Island in the Kara Sea

(photo by EA Gusev)


An island in the Kara Sea 60 miles north of Dickson Island. Opened by O. Sverdrup in 1893, named in his honor by the head of the expedition F. Nansen. 
An island in the Lincoln Sea near the northwest coast of Greenland. 
Land in the south of Ellesmere Island in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Opened and named by the expedition of O. Sverdrup on the "Fram". 
Cape on the east coast of Victoria Island in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Discovered and named in 1905 during a boat trip by Lieutenant G. Hansen, a member of the expedition of R. Amundsen on the "Joa".

Cape and mountains on the eastern shore of the Smerenburg fjord, island of Western Spitsbergen. The coordinates are 79º 40'N    11º 00'E. 
Mountain (plateau) on the northern shore of Taimyr. Called R. Amundsen in 1919. 
Strait between the islands of Nansen and Bonevi in the archipelago of Nordenskiöld. Named by E.V. Toll in 1901. Led by O. Sverdrup, the Fram first passed through this strait. 
Strait between the islands of Axel-Heiberg and Mien in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. 

Bay (Sverdrup-Inlet) in the Bay of Baer on Devon Island in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago.
Glacier on the west coast of Greenland in the Baffin Sea.

 

Return to the main page