February 15, 1874

Arctic explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton was born on this day in 1874 in Co. Kildare. Shackleton was the son of a privileged Anglo-Irish family originally from Yorkshire. At age 16, he left school to go to sea as an apprentice and was a certified Master Mariner by 1898. After befriending the son of the main financial backer for the National Antarctic Expedition, Shackleton was named third officer on the ship Discovery, but was sent home due to ill health. Shackleton then worked at finding funds for another Antarctic trip to claim the South Pole for England. He and his crew, sailing under the Nimrod Expedition, reached the furthest southern point at that time, just 112 miles shy of the magnetic South Pole.

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