Matthew Henson 1866-1955

The Early Life

When Henson was 11 he decided to head to sea. He was on sea for 5 years. When he came back, he worked at a hat shop until in 1887, when Robert Edwin Peary hired Henson to sail.

Why He Sailed

Matthew Henson explored because he was adventurous. Matthew Henson just couldn't stay away from the sea.

Obstacles Henson Faced

An obstacle Matthew Henson faced was being black. Matthew Henson grew up around the time of segregation, so he did not have rights.


Together, Henson, Peary, and the crew reached Greenland where they met Eskimos's. The Eskimos's taught the crew how to survive in the bitter cold. Even though Henson and Peary were not the first to reach Greenland, they were the longest explorers to stay, (not including Eskimos). On April 6, 1909, they made history by being the first to reach the North Pole. Before reaching the North Pole, they had made many trips trying.

fun Fact

Did you know that at an early age, Henson lost his Mother? When Henson was four, his Father moved him and his siblings to Washington D.C, where his Father died a few years later. This left Henson and his siblings in the care of his other family members

About Henson

Matthew Henson was a very determined person. Henson had to get through life without his parents. He also had to deal with not having equal rights. Then he had to be determined to get through the harsh cold and reach Greenland and the North Pole. Henson did not give up once.

A Natives Persective

From an Eskimos perspective, they helped Henson a lot. While Henson was in Greenland, he embraced the Eskimos culture. He learned the language and the Natives arctic skills to help him survive.

Two of Matthew Henson's most famous trips

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