Air hijacking

List of firsts

This is a list of the first man/woman/object etc., to do something or the first occurrence of an event.


Laws and Constitution


from Antiquity to the 17th Century

18th Century onwards

*Unofficial: Edith Bolling Galt Wilson, United States (1919)
*Official: Sükhbaataryn Yanjmaa, Mongolia (1953)

in Canada

=Justices of the Supreme Court of Canada=

in the United States of America
See main article List of firsts in the United States

Crime and Punishment

Society and economy


Travel and Exploration

See also List of circumnavigations.

Rail transport


Geographic North Pole

  • First to reach the Geographic North Pole (disputed): there are two claimants, Frederick Cook, accompanied by two Inuit men, Ahwelah and Etukishook, on April 21, 1908 and Robert Edwin Peary and his employee Matthew Henson and four Inuit men Ootah, Seegloo, Egingway, and Ooqueah on April 9, 1909. Neither claim is widely accepted today.
  • First to fly over the North Pole (disputed): On May 9, 1926, Americans Richard E. Byrd and pilot Floyd Bennett claimed a successful flight over the North Pole in a Fokker F-VII Tri-motor called the Josephine Ford. This claim, widely accepted at first, has been credibly challenged since.
  • First to fly over the North Pole (accepted): On May 12, three days after the Byrd flight, Norwegian Roald Amundsen and his American sponsor Lincoln Ellsworth flew over the Pole in the semi-rigid airship Norge, designed and piloted by Italian Umberto Nobile.
  • First people to reach it: Aleksandr Kuznetsov (Soviet Union) and others, landed by plane, April 23, 1948 - a better claim than Lt. Col. Joseph O. Fletcher and Lt. William P. Benedict, who landed their plane on May 3, 1952
  • First naval vessel to reach it: the USS Nautilus (SSN-571). August 3, 1958
  • First to reach the North Pole by surface travel: team led by Sir Wally Herbert. 1968-69
  • First (confirmed) surface conquest: Ralph Plaisted. April 19, 1968
  • First confirmed expedition to reach the North Pole without resupply: Will Steger International Polar Expedition. May 1, 1986. Team members were: Paul Schurke, Brent Boddy, Richard Weber, Geoff Carroll, Ann Bancroft and a team of 21 dogs. Brent Boddy & Richard Weber became the first Canadians to reach the North Pole on foot while Ann Bancroft became the first woman to trek to the Pole.
  • First surface crossing of the Arctic Ocean on skis: Polar Bridge expedition, 1988, the Soviet-Canadian transpolar ski expedition that crossed 1800 kilometres of Arctic Ocean from Northern Siberia to Ellesmere Island National Park Reserve in Canada, via the North Pole. First surface crossing of the Arctic Ocean on skis. Richard Weber (Canadian team leader) became the first person to reach the North Pole from both sides of the Arctic Ocean.
  • First hot air balloon flight launched from the North Pole: Global Concern Expedition lead by Richard Weber. 1989
  • First attempt to journey to the North Pole and return using only human resources: 1992 Weber Malakhov Expedition. Richard Weber and Mikhail (Misha) Malakhov departed from Ward Hunt on March 13. Eighty-five days later, on June 14, they reached 89 degrees 39. With only 39 kilometers short of the Pole, they had to make the decision to turn back if they wanted to have any hope of returning to Ward Hunt. On June 21, due to the lack of ice, they were picked up by an airplane and brought back to safety.
  • First commercial North Pole Expedition: Weber Malakhov North Pole Dash.1993 Richard Weber and Dr. Mikhail (Misha) Malakhov pioneered the first commercial North Pole expedition. Today numerous companies take more than 100 people annually to the Pole.
  • First confirmed journey to the North Pole and return using only human resources: 1995 Weber Malakhov Expedition. Richard Weber and Dr. Mikhail (Misha) Malakhov became the first to reach the North Pole and return to their starting point on land (Ward Hunt, Canada), with no outside help, no dogs, air planes, or re-supplies. They departed Ward Hunt on February 14 and reached the Pole eighty one days later, on May 12. On June 15, they were back at Ward Hunt establishing a record of 108 days for the longest unsupported polar journey. They are the only people to have reached the Pole four times.
  • First time that an all women group has reached the pole from a Russian based departure: Women Quest 2001 guided by Josée Auclair. April 2001.
  • First persons to reach the North Pole during the Arctic winter: Borge Ousland and Mike Horn. March 23, 2006
  • First reigning monarch to reach it: Albert II, Prince of Monaco. Easter Sunday, 16 April, 2006
  • First expedition to reach the North Pole on snowshoes exclusively: April 26, 2006 North Pole Classic. Richard Weber guided Conrad Dickinson to the North Pole with no re-supplies. This was Richard Weber’s fifth full North Pole expedition. He has trekked to the North Pole more than anyone in history.
  • On 21 February 2007 HRH Prince Edward announced the first British Army Expedition the Geographic North Pole, to be led by Captain Andrew Cooney (the youngest person to walk to the South Pole)
  • First to dive to geographic North Pole sea bottom: Arktika 2007 expedition on August 2, 2007, by two MIR submarines. Crew members were: Arthur Chilingarov, Anatoly Sagalevich and Vladimir Gruzdev on MIR-1; Yevgeny Chernyaev, Mike McDowell and Frederik Paulsen on MIR-2.
  • First American morning news show to reach the North Pole: Today show reached by Matt Lauer

Magnetic North Pole

Mount Everest

Beyond the Earth

Science, Discoveries, Inventions, and Innovations

Natural History

  • First homo sapiens: the Omo Remains include Omo I, the earliest known fossils of Homo sapiens (idaltu), dated to around 190,000 years ago. This is considerably older than the 160,000-year-old Herto remains, which had been thought to be the earliest humans, and suggests that, if humans did originate in Africa as is currently thought, they did not expand from there for much longer than previously thought.
  • First European child born in the New World: Snorri Þorfinnsson
  • First observed transit of a planet across the sun, Mercury, by Pierre Gassendi in 1631.
  • First international scientific collaboration: Observation of the transit of Venus 1761 and 1769
  • First confirmation of extrasolar planets: Three bodies orbiting PSR B1257+12 by Aleksander Wolszczan and Dale Frail in 1992.
  • First confirmation of an active volcanic eruption occurring on a seamount: by scientists at the University of Hawai‘i on Lo‘ihi in 1996

Life Sciences



Traffic Lights

Nuclear weapons

Information and Communications Technology

Computers, the Internet, and the World Wide Web



  • First football player to be knighted: Sir Stanley Matthews, (1965)
  • First football player to take a penalty shootout: George Best, in the semi-finals of the Watney Cup, England (1970)
  • First football player to miss a penalty shootout: Dennis Law, in the semi-finals of the Watney Cup, England (1970)
  • First major football tournament to be settled by a penalty shootout - UEFA European Football Championship 1976, Czechoslovakia vs. West Germany (a penalty score of 5-3 respectively)
  • First football World Cup match to be decided by a penalty shootout: the 1982 semi-finals between West Germany and France (a penalty score of 5-4 respectively)
  • First football World Cup final match to be decided by a penalty shootout: 1994 final between Brazil and Italy, at Pasadena, California (a penalty score of 3-2 respectively).





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