2005 Antartica: The History of Antartica

The Antarctic Continent corresponds to all of the lands and ices located at 62° 23′ S, 58° 67′ W, 120 kilometers off the coast of Antarctica in the Southern Ocean. It has a surface of approximately 13,5 million square kilometers. In this vast continent, Argentina, Australia, Chile, France, Norway, New Zealand and the United Kingdom support territorial claims.
The Antarctic is the coldest, windiest and driest continent on Earth. At the Ex-Soviet Union´s Vostok Research Station the winter of 1983 was registered as the lowest temperature of the century, which came to -89,2°C. The average annual temperature in the central plateau is of -55,4°C. Near the coast, on the other hand, it rarely manages to register close to -40°C. During the austral summer in the coastal zones and islands, the temperature remains close to 0°C.
The Antarctic is one of our last borders, a vast and insufficiently explored continent, that contains geological history of Gondwana’s supercontinent and is considered to be a natural laboratory for modern scientific experiments, where military facilities and nuclear explosions are prohibited. Baleen whales, Killer whales, Weddel’s seals, Antarctic seals and penguins compose the fauna that feed on the rich Antarctic waters. The landscape, the fauna and the marine life are the principal attractions for the tourist. This is one of the few places in the world that remains virgin, for this reason it constitutes an important reserve of the biosphere.
More Information: There is no where in the world a place as impressive as the Antarctic Continent. Over 60% of the island’s surface is permanently glaciated, not only marking its topography but also has influenced its evolution. Covering an area of about 14.000.000 km², Antarctica is the second smallest continent after Australia. It is covered by high mountains and is considered to be the highest of the six continents.
It is also the windiest, coldest and the least populated area of the entire planet. Human habitation of King George Island is limited to research stations belonging to Argentina, Brazil, Chile, China, South Korea, Poland, Russia, and Uruguay . Most of these stations are permanently manned, carrying out research into areas as diverse as Biology, Ecology, Geology, and Paleontology.
The cap of ice that covers almost the entire continent represents the largest reservoir of water containing 90% of the world’s ice and 68% of its water. Strangely the rainfalls in Antarctica are few, the annual average rainfall is only 5mm making this continent the largest desert in the world.
According to the Antarctic Treaty signed in 1959, the Antarctic jurisdiction applies to the region between the parallel of latitude 90 and the Pole South. The search for the Antarctic was the last greatest adventure of the epoch of global explorations. It is an epic history that spreads throughout several centuries. In the Western world, beliefs in a Terra Australis — a vast continent located in the far south of the globe to”balance” out the northern lands of Europe, Asia and north Africa — had existed for centuries.
The first confirmed sighting of Antarctica cannot be accurately attributed to one single person. It can, however, be narrowed down to three individuals. According to the National Science Foundation[1], United States House of Representatives’ Peter DeFazio[2], NASA[3] and the University of California San Diego[4] Fabian von Bellingshausen, a captain in the Russian Imperial Navy, Edward Bransfield, a captain in the British navy, and Nathaniel Palmer, an American sealer out of Stonington, Connecticut, all sighted Antarctica within days or weeks of each other. Bransfield supposedly saw Antarctica on January 27, 1820, three days before Palmer sighted land. T
he first landing on Antarctica was arguably only slightly more than a year later by American sealer, Captain John Davis. Davis claimed to have set foot on Antarctica on February 7th, 1821.
Project: Antarctica 2005
South Shetland Islands: “Villa Las Estrellas” – King George Island
Text of the Antarctic Treaty