Shackleton, Sir Ernest Henry (1874–1922), a British Antarctic explorer. During 1907–09, he led an expedition attempting to reach the South Pole. Bad weather and lack of food forced his party to turn back. They had come, however, within 97 miles (156 km) of the pole—the farthest point south reached to that time. He was knighted upon his return to Great Britain.
Shackleton's next expedition, begun in 1914, was intended to be a transantarctic crossing, but before reaching the continent his ship, the Endurance, became trapped and was crushed by pack ice. The expedition made a perilous 200-mile (320-km) trip by sledge and boat to the South Shetland Islands. From there Shackleton and five crew members in small boats went 800 miles (1,300 km) by sea to South Georgia Island to send help to the rest of his party. He died while on his fourth Antarctic expedition.
Shackleton was born in Kilkee, Ireland. His first Antarctic exploration was with the Robert Scott expedition of 1901–04.