Mount Everest, which lies in the Himalayas, is the Earth’s highest mountain. The international border between China and Nepal runs across the precise summit point. Mount Everest is called ‘Sagarmatha‘ in Nepali and ‘Chomolungma‘ in Tibetan. Both mean ‘Holy Mother’.
For the longest time, Kanchenjunga in Himalayas was considered to be the highest mountain. In 1847, when British ruled India, Britisher Andrew Waugh was the Surveyor General of India. He was in charge of mapping and surveying the Indian territories. While he was surveying the Himalayas, he noticed that there was a peak beyond the Kanchenjunga that looked taller than it. Now to confirm their findings, British officials needed to enter Nepal or Tibet.
But at that time Britishers were looked upon with suspicion as they were taking over countries and ruling them. So they were not allowed to enter either Nepal or Tibet. Nevertheless, Andrew Waugh and his team didn’t give up and made observations from places that they were allowed into. The peak was named Peak XV.
Based on their calculations, in 1852, Radhanath Sikdar, an Indian mathematician, declared Everest as the world’s highest peak. However, the news was kept secret, and it was only in 1856 that it was formally announced that Peak XV was the highest in the world.
How did Peak XV become Mount Everest? Though many local names for this peak existed in Nepal and Tibet since centuries, Britishers didn’t have a clue about it as they were never allowed inside these countries. In the end, Everest got named after George Everest who was Surveyor General of India before Andrew Waugh.
Did you know?
- New Zealander Edmund Hillary and Nepalese Sherpa Tenzing Norgay were the first to reach the top of Mount Everest on May 29, 1953.
- Junko Tabei, a Japanese mountain-climber, became the first woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest on May 16,1975.
Look at this amazing video of recent explorers getting to the top of Mount Everest. Remember it’s no easy feat!