Roald Engelbregt Gravning Amundsen (1872--1928) was a Norwegian explorer of polar regions who led the expedition in 1911--1912 which first reached the South Pole. Amundsen, along with Olav Bjaaland, Helmer Hanssen, Sverre Hassel, and Oscar Wisting, arrived at the Pole on December 14, 1911, 35 days before the rival expedition led by Robert Falcon Scott of the United Kingdom. As neither expedition carried the very bulky wireless telegraphy equipment which would then have been the only way to communicate directly from the Pole, Amundsen's success was not publicly announced until March 7, 1912. Amundsen recounted his journey in the book The South Pole: An Account of the Norwegian Antarctic Expedition in the "Fram", 1910--1912.
Amundsen also led the first expedition to traverse the Northwest Passage between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, with 6 others in the ship Gjöa (or Gjøa). In 1903 they traveled via Baffin Bay, Lancaster and Peel Sounds, and James Ross and Rae Straits to spend two winters exploring over land and ice from the place today called Gjoa Haven, Nunavut, Canada. Continuing to the south of Victoria Island, the ship cleared the Arctic Archipelago on August 17, 1905, but had to stop for the winter before going on to Nome on the Alaska Territory's Pacific coast. 500 miles (800 km) away, Eagle City, Alaska, had a telegraph station; Amundsen traveled there (and back) overland to wire a success message (collect) on December 5, 1905. Nome was reached in 1906. Due to water as shallow as 3 feet (1 m), a larger ship could never have used the route.
Amundsen died in 1928 in an airplane crash in the Arctic Ocean; he had been on a rescue mission for the Italian explorer Umberto Nobile. Umberto Nobile's airship, the 'Italia' had crashed. Amundsen's airplane was never found.
The Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station is named jointly after him and his rival.