Robert Edwin Peary Sr. (May 6, 1856 – February 20, 1920) was an American explorer who claimed to have reached the geographic North Pole with his expedition on April 6, 1909.
Robert Edwin Peary was born on May 6, 1856, in Cresson, Pennsylvania, to Charles N. and Mary P. Peary. After his father died in 1859, Peary's mother took the boy with her and settled in Portland, Maine. On August 11, 1888, Peary married Josephine Diebitsch, a business school valedictorian who worked at the Smithsonian Institution when she was 19–20 years old, replacing her father after he became ill and filling his position as linguist. They had two children together, Marie Ahnighito and Robert Peary, Jr. Due to his life as an explorer, Peary was frequently gone for years at a time. In their first twenty-three years of his marriage, he spent only three with his wife and family. He missed the birth of his son and his early death.
While in the Arctic years later, Peary had a long-term relationship with an Inuit woman, Aleqasina (who is estimated to have been 14 when they began). She bore him at least two children, including a son Kali, identified in the late 1980s when he was an octogenarian.
Admiral Peary died in Washington, D.C. on February 20, 1920. He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
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