The Jeannette Expedition of 1879–81 was an attempt led by George W. De
Long to reach the North Pole using a route through the Bering Strait to
the fabled temperate Open Polar Sea. The expedition was financed by
James Gordon Bennett, Jr., the proprietor of the New York Herald, and
based on the ocean current theories of the German cartographer August
Petermann. The attempt failed; the expedition’s ship, USS Jeannette
(pictured), drifted in the polar ice for nearly two years before being
crushed and sunk, north of the Siberian coast. De Long then led his men
on a journey by boat and sled to the Lena Delta. Before ultimate rescue,
more than half of the ship’s complement died, including De Long. During
Jeannette’s long drift the expedition discovered what were later called
the De Long Islands, and collected significant meteorological and
oceanographic data. Although the ship’s fate demolished the long-
standing Open Polar Sea theory, the appearance in 1884 of debris from
the wreck on the south-west coast of Greenland indicated that an Arctic
current carried the ice from east to west. This discovery inspired
Fridtjof Nansen to mount his Fram expedition nine years later.
Today’s selected anniversaries:
War of the Sicilian Vespers: An Aragonese fleet of galleys
inflicted a crushing defeat on an Angevin fleet at Malta, forcing
Charles I of Naples to postpone his plan to invade Sicily.
French and Indian War: French forces defeated the British at
Fort Carillon on the shore of Lake Champlain in the British Colony of
Joseph Bonaparte approved the Bayonne Statute, a royal charter
intended as the basis for his rule as King of Spain during the
The first issue of The Wall Street Journal, the world’s most
circulated business daily newspaper, was published.
In response to student protests at Rangoon University, Burmese
General Ne Win ordered the demolition of the school’s Students Union
Wiktionary’s word of the day:
1. To take out of service or to render unusable.
2. To remove or revoke a commission.
3. To remove or revoke a formal designation.
Wikiquote quote of the day:
I would rather hire a man with enthusiasm, than a man who knows
–John D. Rockefeller
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