Crocker Land: An Expedition To a Non-Existent Island

In 1906, Robert Peary had just returned from an unsuccessful trip to the Arctic. The veteran explorer had hoped to reach the North Pole, but bad weather and dwindling supplies forced him to turn back when he was within 175 miles of his target.

Back home, Peary immediately began planning for his next expedition. But before he could do that, he had to find benefactors who would support his expedition financially. Peary’s 1906 expedition was partially funded by American businessman George Crocker who gifted $50,000 for the trip. Hoping to extract another healthy contribution from Crocker, Peary decided to name a previously undiscovered island after him. The alleged island was spotted by Peary about 130 miles northwest of Cape Thomas Hubbard, one of the most northerly parts of Canada. Peary mentioned the island briefly in his 1907 book Nearest the Pole, where he claimed to have seen “the faint white summits of a distant land” from the summit of Cape Colgate, about 2,000 feet above sea level.

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Map showing the approximate location of Crocker Land. Credit: Brom Bones Books


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