Dreams of Arctic flights
French aerial polar expedition projects 1872–1906
Nyckelord:Polar exploration, French history, Société de Géographie de Paris, Société de Navigation Aérienne, History of Flight, Ballooning
From the 1870s to the 1900s, several French men had the idea of flying to the North Pole in a balloon and submitted their ideas either to the Paris Geographical Society or to the very active French association of aeronauts. Some of these projects elicited enthusiasm, others indifference or ridicule. None of them were realised, although some came much closer than others to gathering enough money to launch towards the Arctic. This article analyses these expedition projects and argues that the reason for their failure was that, while both the French aeronauts and geographers had Arctic dreams, they were not compatible. They imagined the polar regions and the role of an explorer too differently for them to be able to come to an agreement as to what expeditions were worth supporting: as a result, none of these projects concretised.
Copyright (c) 2023 Alexandre Simon-Ekeland
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