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Last updated at 17:21 GMT, Friday, 16 December 2011

100 years of Antarctica discovery


16 December 2011

Norway's prime minister and several hundred scientists and adventurers have gathered at the South Pole to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen's first successful expedition to the world's most southerly point.

Neil Bowdler

Norway's PM marks 100th anniversary of south pole expedition

Norway's PM marks 100th anniversary of South Pole expedition


Click to hear the report


The sound of skis on snow as a group of Norwegians take the final few steps to the southern pole. Not everyone could make it - bad weather had delayed some of those trying to cross the ice and others resorted to planes to make the centenary celebrations.

Amundsen and four other men were the first to reach the southern tip of the planet on December 14th 1911, using sledges, dogs and skis. The Norwegian prime minister Jens Stoltenberg, who arrived by plane ahead of the celebrations, said the 1911 expedition was "one of the most outstanding achievements of mankind," and helped to form his country's national identity.

He also paid tribute to the ill-fated British team led by Robert Scott who Amundsen beat to the pole. They had shown "courage and determination", he said, "in reaching one of the most inhospitable places on earth", and had paid the "ultimate price" after they died on the return journey.

Neil Bowdler


Click to hear the vocabulary


resorted to

used something because of lack of options


snow vehicles with no wheels pulled by animals

outstanding achievements

out of the ordinary feat

national identity

nationality, pride in your country



beat to

defeated in a competition





inhospitable places

area where living conditions are hard

the ultimate price


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