Fun Facts Friday: Thor Heyerdahl

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Thor Heyerdahl (6 October, 1914 – 18 April, 2002) was a noted Norwegian adventurer who authored more than 10 books.

Books by Thor Heyerdahl*

Books by Thor Heyerdahl*

1)      He was the son of a master brewer and showed great interest in zoology from an early age, even creating a museum in his childhood home.

2)      He studied zoology and geography at the University of Oslo, while at the same time privately studying the Polynesian culture and history. The world’s largest private collection of books and papers on Polynesia was owned by a wealthy merchant in town named Bjarne Kroepelien and was available to the young student. The collection is now a part of the the University of Oslo Library)

3)      He served in the Free Norwegian Forces from 1944, after Nazi Germany left.

4)      In his Kon-Tiki expedition, Mr. Heyerdahl and his crew sailed 8,000 miles across the Pacific Ocean on a hand built raft. Out of the 1948 adventure, Mr. Heyerdahl published his book The Kon-Tiki Expedition: By Raft Across the South Seas (Kon-Tiki ekspedisjonen, also known as Kon-Tiki: Across the Pacific in a Raft).

5)      The 1955-1956 expedition to Easter Island also produced a book, Easter Island: The Mystery Solved(1989), in which Mr. Heyerdahl claimed the island was colonized by the South American people of Hanau eepe before the Polynesians Hanau momoko arrived in the mid 1600s.

6)      In 1969 and 1970, the adventurer build two papyrus boats, aptly named Ra I and Ra II, to attempt to cross the Atlantic Ocean from Morocco. The boats were based on drawings and models from ancient Egypt. Ra I was ripped apart by water and storms about 100 miles before the Caribbean islands (traveling about 4,000 miles).
Ra II succeeded! You can read about the adventure in the book The Ra Expeditions

7)      In 1977, Mr. Heyerdahl built the Tigris, a boat made of reeds to prove that Mesopotamia (Parkistan) and the Indus Valley Civilization (western India) could have visited each other. The mission was a great success, the crew, however, burnt the Tigris as a protest against war.

8)      Even though Thor Heyerdahl’s theories are still questionable and many unproven, they did increase public interest in ancient history and anthropology.

9)      After his death, Thor Heyerdahl got a state funeral in Oslo.

10)   As a tribute to his famous grandfather, Olav Heyerdahl retraced the Kon-Tiki expedition in 2006.

Books by Thor Heyerdahl*

Zohar — Man of la Book
*Ama­zon links point to an affil­i­ate account

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