On the 14th December 1911, Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen led a team of four others to become the first to reach the South Pole. They arrived five weeks ahead of British explorer Robert Falcon Scott, and successfully made it back to their basecamp whereas Scott did not.
Amundsen originally planned to become the first to reach the North Pole, but changed his target to the South Pole after he learned of the now-disputed claim by rival American explorers that they had already reached it. Keeping his new plan secret, even from his crew, his ship departed Norway on the 9th August. He only told them of their destination a month later, shortly before they left their final port on the island of Madeira.
Amundsen’s ship arrived in an Antarctic inland known as the Bay of Whales on the 14th January 1911, where the crew established a base known as Framheim. They then spent the next three months preparing depots across the Ross Ice Shelf, prior to the onset of Antarctic winter.
As soon as the sun returned at the end of August, Amundsen attempted to reach the pole but was forced to turn back due to the harsh conditions. A second attempt that began in mid-October was much more successful, seeing them arrive at the pole almost 2 months later.
As well as being the first expedition leader to reach the South Pole, Amundsen is also the first person to be universally recognised as reaching the North Pole as a result of his 1926 air expedition, making him the first person also to reach both poles.