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What Happened to Amelia Earheart?

Diana Bocco
Updated May 23, 2024
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Amelia Earheart vanished nearly 70 years ago, but her fate remains one of America's greatest mysteries.

Born on 24 July 1897 in Atchison, Kansas, Amelia Earheart was taught early on not to conform to traditional rules. Her maternal grandfather was a former federal judge who believed girls should fight for their place in society. Amelia wasn't a typical girl: she preferred climbing trees to reading poetry, and riding her sled downhill instead of taking peaceful walks in the countryside.

Amelia Earheart had the idea of following a career in a male-oriented field, and for some time, mechanical engineering was at the top of her list. After the beginning of World War I, however, Amelia opted to receive training as a nurse's aide, immediately obtaining a position at Toronto's Spadina Military Hospital. Many speculate that it was there that her love for aviation started.

Even before she obtained her pilot's license at the age of 24, Amelia Earheart had already broken the women's record for flying up to 14,000 feet. Once she got her license, Amelia continued to fly while holding a series of jobs, including teaching and writing a column on flying for the local newspaper.

In 1928, Amelia Earheart accompanied pilot Wilmer Stultz on one of the first transatlantic flights. While her function on that particular flight was simply to keep the flight log, it inspired Amelia to set her own record. On 20 May 1932, Amelia Earheart broke that record, becoming the first female to fly solo across the Atlantic. Other record-breaking flights followed, including the one that ended in her disappearance.

On 2 July 1937, as Amelia Earheart was attempting to circle the globe and landing back in California, her plane vanished. After leaving Lae, New Guinea, Amelia and her co-pilot lost communication with land and were never seen again.

There are several theories as to what happened to Amelia Earheart on that fateful morning. The official theory is that she went down in the Pacific, either due to lack of gas or a technical malfunction. This, however, does not explain why there were no remains found of the plane or its contents.

A popular theory is that Amelia Earheart was captured by the Japanese while flying over the Marshall Islands. Conspiracy buffs believe Amelia was a spy, and this would account for her capture and consequent imprisonment. Recently, a theory has resurged linking Amelia Earheart to remains found on Gardner Island, in central Pacific Ocean, which lead to the speculation that Amelia may have crashed and perished on the then-inhabited territory.

PublicPeople is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Diana Bocco
By Diana Bocco , Former Writer
Diana Bocco, a versatile writer with a distinct voice, creates compelling long-form and short-form content for various businesses. With a data-focused approach and a talent for sharing engaging stories, Diana’s written work gets noticed and drives results.

Discussion Comments

By anon156124 — On Feb 25, 2011

i think amelia crashed and died. i am a third grader and i want to know what happened to her!

By anon151132 — On Feb 09, 2011

i think amelia earheart was a great person. I'm trying

to find out information about her for a class report.

By anon135356 — On Dec 18, 2010

The japanese captured her? In l937? no war? how? I read about it but don't understand.

By anon129758 — On Nov 25, 2010

i agree with you all. amelia was the most amazing person who was gave us females something to be proud. i am really inspired by her.

By anon127903 — On Nov 17, 2010

i think amelia earhart didn't disappear. she came back as a different person.

By anon123416 — On Nov 01, 2010

i am doing a report on amelia earhart. I think she is a great woman. she is my hero. If her plane crashed it was probably because it was out of fuel.

By anon120274 — On Oct 20, 2010

i believe that she was not a spy. i am a sixth grader reading a book about Amelia Earhart and it is packed in with thousands of possibilities but when it all comes together it doesn't make sense!

By anon77579 — On Apr 14, 2010

I think that like all of you, Amelia Earhart was thee most amazing woman she gave us females something to be proud of. her heart and love of flying made her most known, but she truly was an amazing person.

By anon53792 — On Nov 24, 2009

I have read an official book, and on a small island nearby Howland Island (her destination)

they found a cigarette lighter and a size nine shoe! and the last time they could remember amelia wore a size 9! interesting!

By anon49126 — On Oct 17, 2009

Its amazing how till this day no one knows what really happened to Amelia Earheart. One thing for sure is that she's inspired women to pursue what they want to achieve in life.

By anon31308 — On May 03, 2009

I think she was a great women who certainly touched my heart. I hope she's not found though her disappearance makes me appreciate what she did even more. Power to women everywhere.

By anon23516 — On Dec 27, 2008

My grandfather was in the Marshall Islands, Iwo Jima, etc.. In WWII. He passed away 9 years ago. He told me that while in the islands, they received information that an American woman and man were executed by the Japanese. Around the time Earhart disappeared. They're commanders told them not to discuss this with anyone. I wonder how many american women were in that area at that time.

By anon15146 — On Jul 02, 2008

Although nobody knows what became of her, we know her braveness changed the lives of the girls. I'm really inspired by her.

By anon11396 — On Apr 15, 2008

Amelia Earhart was a brave woman. you did good in

writing this information. I hope through your research people may know the truth.- anonymous fifth grader

By anon11395 — On Apr 15, 2008

I think both of those theories are good. If scientists

did a D.N.A test on the remains the second theory may be the right one. I hope we find out the truth

of her disappearance.- anonymous fifth grader

Diana Bocco

Diana Bocco

Former Writer

Diana Bocco, a versatile writer with a distinct voice, creates compelling long-form and short-form content for various...
Learn more
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