Roald Engelbregt Gravning Amundsen (1872-1928), polar explorer, was born in Borge, Norway. When he was 20 years old, Amundsen abandoned the study of medicine and joined a seal-hunting expedition to the Arctic. In 1897, he was appointed first mate of the Belgian Antarctic Expedition. While their ship, Belgica, was trapped in ice for thirteen months, the captain developed scurvy and Amundsen was put in command. He managed to save the crew by providing fresh meat from frozen seal carcasses and to free the vessel by blasting a channel out of the ice with dynamite.
During the years 1903-1905, Amundsen, now a licensed sea captain, led an expedition on which he determined the exact location of the Magnetic North Pole and successfully navigated the Northwest Passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific, a route that had eluded European mariners.