This surname Danish and Norwegian surname of AMUNDSON was originally from the Norman personal name of HAMO, composed of the elements HA (high) and MUND (protection). The practice of adopting surnames spread to Denmark and Norway from Germany, during the late Middle Ages, but until the 19th century, they were neither fixed nor universal. The Danish state has in recent years been encouraging the adoption of a wider range of surnames. A notable member of the name was Roald Engelbrecht Gravning AMUNDSEN (l872-l928). He was a Norwegian explorer, the first man to navigate the Northwest Passage and to reach the South Pole. He was born in Borge and early abandoned his medical studies in favour of a life at sea. In l897 he served with the Belgian Antarctic Expedition as first mate of the "Belgica", the first vessel to over-winter in Antarctica. From l902 to l906 he sailed the Northwest Passage from east to west. In l9l0 he sailed in the "Fram" in an attempt to reach the North Pole, but hearing that someone had already beaten him to it, he switched to the Antarctic and reached the South Pole in December l911, one month ahead of Captain Scott. In l928 he disappeared while searching by plane for "Nobile" and his airship "Italia" which had gone missing on another flight to the Pole. He published several books including "My Life as an Explorer" (l927). Surnames as we know them today were first assumed in Europe from the 11th to the 15th Century. The employment in the use of a second name was a custom that was first introduced from the Normans. They themselves had not long before adopted them. It became, in course of time, a mark of gentler blood, and it was deemed a disgrace for gentlemen to have but one single name, as the meaner sort had. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face, and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield and embroidered on his surcoat, the flowing and draped garment worn over the armour.
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