Oceania: Antarctica

About Antarctica

Speculation over the existence of a "southern land" was not confirmed until the early 1820s when British and American commercial operators and British and Russian national expeditions began exploring the Peninsula region and areas south of the Antarctic Circle. Not until 1838 was it established that Antarctica was indeed a continent and not just a group of islands. Various "firsts" were achieved in the early 20th century, including: 1902, first balloon flight (by British explorer Robert Falcon SCOTT); 1912, first to the South Pole (five Norwegian explorers under Roald AMUNDSEN); 1928, first fixed-wing aircraft flight (by Australian adventurer/explorer Sir Hubert WILKINS); 1929, first flight over the South Pole (by Americans Richard BYRD and Bernt BALCHEN); and 1935, first transantarctic flight (American Lincoln ELLSWORTH). Following World War II, there was an upsurge in scientific research on the continent. A number of countries have set up year-round research stations on Antarctica. Seven have made territorial claims, but no other country recognizes these claims. In order to form a legal framework for the activities of nations on the continent, an Antarctic Treaty was negotiated that neither denies nor gives recognition to existing territorial claims; signed in 1959, it entered into force in 1961.

Vital Statistics
Capitol City:
Population: no indigenous inhabitants, but ther
Percent below poverty: NA%
Language: Penguin, perhaps
Date of independence:
Form of government: Antarctic Treaty Summary - Internat
Title of Leader: Emperor Penguin, of course
Natural Resources: iron ore, chromium, copper, gold, nickel, platinum and other minerals, and coal and hydrocarbons have been found in small uncommercial quantities; none presently exploited; krill, finfish, and crab have been taken by commercial fisheries
Environmental Issues: in 1998, NASA satellite data showed that the antarctic ozone hole was the largest on record, covering 27 million square kilometers; researchers in 1997 found that increased ultraviolet light coming through the hole damages the DNA of icefish, an antarctic
Agricultural Products: Ice
Trading Partners:


Antarctica Headlines


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