Henrik Johan Bull

Birth: 1844


Henrik Johan Bull (13 October 1844 - 1 June 1930 ) was a Norwegian businessman and whaler. Henry Bull was one of the pioneers in the exploration of Antarctica. Bull was born at Stokke in Vestfold County, Norway. He attended school in Tønsberg and worked for several years as a businessman in Tønsberg. During the late 1880s, he traveled to Melbourne, Australia, where he was associated with a company in shipping and trade.

In 1893, Norwegian whaling and shipping magnate Svend Foyn agreed to financially support an Antarctica expedition led by Henrik Bull in search of the elusive Right whale. Svend Foyn was a businessman who patented the grenade-harpoon gun which was to be used for whaling. The ship provided by Svend Foyn was the Antarctic, a three masts barque equipped with a steam engine. It was also equipped with eleven harpoon guns, an arsenal of explosives, eight whaleboats and a thirty-one man crew.

The ship was captained by Leonard Kristensen (1857-1911). The crew included Carsten Borchgrevink, who later lead the Southern Cross Expedition to Antarctica. Over the course of the two-year expedition, they visited Tristan da Cunha, the Prince Edward Islands, Îles Crozet, Îles Kerguelen, the Balleny Islands, Campbell Island and Possession Islands. On 19 January 1895, a small party landed on Possession Island, a rocky island about 2 miles long.

On 24 January 1895, a boat was put ashore with six men including Bull, Leonard Kristensen, Carsten Borchgrevink and seaman Alexander von Tunzelmann at Cape Adare, Antarctica. At the time they believed they were the first men to set foot on Antarctica - and they are certainly the best confirmed - but unknown to them sealer John Davis, had made a disputed claim that he stepped onto the Antarctic Peninsula much earlier in 1821.

In 1898, Henrik Johan Bull wrote his memories of the expedition in his book, Sydover. Ekspeditionen til Sydishavet i 1893-1895. The book was also published in English under the title The Cruise of the'Antarctic' to the South Polar regions (London & New York: Edward Arnold, 1896). He later founded a company engaged in the fishing, sealing and whaling industry. Bull died in Oslo, Norway at 85 years of age.


Per Gramsborg. "The first man to have set foot on the Antarctic continent". I: The Norseman, nr 2 (1992)

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