Ejnar Mikkelsen

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Mikkelsen, 1906, Flaxman Island, Alaska

Ejnar Mikkelsen (23 December 1880 in Vester-Brønderslev – 1 May 1971 in Copenhagen), was a Danish polar explorer and author. He is most known for his expeditions to Greenland.

Biography[edit]

He was born in Vester Brønderslev, Jutland. He served in the Georg Carl Amdrup expedition to Christian IX Land, East Greenland (1900), and in the Baldwin-Ziegler expedition to Franz Joseph Land (1900–02).[1]

With Ernest de Koven Leffingwell he organized the Anglo-American polar expedition which wintered off Flaxman Island, Alaska, in 1906-07. They lost their ship, but in a sledge journey over the ice they located the continental shelf of the Arctic Ocean, 65 miles (105 km) offshore, where in 2 miles (3 km) the sea increased from 50 meters (164 ft) to more than 690 meters (2264 ft) in depth.[2]

Organizing an expedition to map out the northeast coast of Greenland, to recover the bodies of Mylius-Erichsen and Lieutenant Höeg-Hagen and their records, Mikkelsen wintered 1909-10 at Shannon Island, East Greenland. His wooden ship, the Alabama, was trapped in the ice of Shannon and, while he was exploring, the rest of the party returned home on a whaler. Remaining with his engineer, Iversen, Mikkelsen succeeded by a series of hazardous sledge journeys in recovering the lost records and in disproving the existence of Peary Channel.[2]

The two explorers returned to Shannon island to find the crew gone, but, they had salvaged timbers and planking and erected a small cottage. Mikkelsen and Iversen then spent two winters at the cottage before they were rescued, in the direst of extremities, by a Norwegian whaler in summer 1912.[2] The so-called Alabama cottage has survived, intact, and was photographed during a visit by Danish Navy inspection ship Ejnar Mikkelsen in September 2010.[3]

In 1924, he led an expedition to settle what later came to be Scoresbysund.[2]

In 1970 on his 90th birthday a national tribute was paid to him in Denmark, he died in Copenhagen a few months later on 1 May 1971.[4]

In 2009 the Royal Danish Navy named the second Knud Rasmussen class patrol vessel the HDMS Ejnar Mikkelsen.[5]

Works[edit]

  • Conquering the Arctic Ice (London, 1909)
  • Lost in the Arctic (1913) Some of his Greenland expeditions are recounted here.
  • Mylius-Erichsen's Report on the Non-Existence of Peary's Channel (1913)
  • Tre Aar par Grönlands Ostkyst (1914)
  • Norden For Lov og Ret, a story (1920)
    • translated as Frozen Justice (1922)
  • John Dale, a novel (1921)
  • Two Against the Ice, with a foreword by Lawrence Millman (Steerforth Press, 2003)

References[edit]

  1. ^ * Wikisource-logo.svg Rines, George Edwin, ed. (1920). "Mikkelsen, Ejnar". Encyclopedia Americana. 
  2. ^ a b c d Mills, William James (2003) "Mikkelsen, Ejnar (1880-1971)" Exploring polar frontiers: a historical encyclopedia, Volume 1 pp 426 ff, ABC-CLIO ISBN 1-57607-422-6, ISBN 978-1-57607-422-0
  3. ^ Danish Armed Forces, FORSVARET, Greenland Command, press release, 11 September 2010, Ejnar Mikkelsen back at Shannon Island after 98 years Google translate, 26 Sept 2010.
  4. ^ "Captain Einar Mikkelsen." Times [London, England] 5 May 1971: 18. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 22 Mar. 2014.
  5. ^ "Update: Denmark's Arctic Assets and Canada's Response — Northern Deployment 2009: Danish Navy & CCG in the High Arctic". Canadian American Strategic Review. September 2009. Archived from the original on 2009-09-12. 

Further reading[edit]