De Long, George Washington (1844–1881), a United States explorer. De Long was born in New York City and graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1865. After an Arctic expedition in 1873, De Long was appointed captain of the Jeannette, a ship fitted out by the New York Herald for a three-year Arctic voyage. The object of the expedition was to reach the North Pole. The Jeannette sailed from San Francisco in July, 1879, passed through the Bering Strait, then cruised the coast of northern Asia.
In September, 1879, the Jeannette became trapped in the ice and drifted until it was crushed in June, 1881. The explorers divided into two groups and set out for Siberia by different routes. De Long and 12 companions died of starvation; the others reached safety. The bodies of those who perished, and De Long's records, were found in 1882. Although the expedition failed to reach the North Pole, it did discover new Arctic islands and more accurately mapped the area.