Territorial claims in Antarctica

Seven sovereign states maintain a territorial claim on eight territories in Antarctica. These countries have tended to place their Antarctic scientific observation and study facilities within their respective claimed territories. A number of such facilities are located nowhere near their country's sector, however. Many nations such as Russia and the US have no claim anywhere in Antarctica, yet have large research facilities within the sectors of foreign countries.

Antarctica, territorial claims including Brazil
Map of territorial claims in Antarctica, including Marie Byrd Land which is unclaimed


Spanish claims

According to Argentina and Chile, the Spanish Empire had claims on Antarctica. The capitulación (governorship) granted to the conquistador Pedro Sánchez de la Hoz explicitly included all lands south of the Straits of Magellan (Terra Australis, and Tierra del Fuego and by extension the entire continent of Antarctica). This grant established, according to Argentina and Chile, that an animus occupandi existed on the part of Spain in Antarctica. Spain's sovereignty claim over parts of Antarctica was, according to Chile and Argentina, internationally recognized with the Inter caetera bull of 1493 and the Treaty of Tordesillas of 1494. Argentina and Chile treat these treaties as legal international treaties mediated by the Catholic Church that was at that time a recognized arbiter in such matters.[1] Each country currently has claim a sector of the Antarctic continent that is more or less directly south of its national antarctic-facing lands.

British claims

Leo Amery 1917
As Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies, Leopold Amery aimed to assert British sovereignty over the entire continent of Antarctica.

The United Kingdom reasserted sovereignty over the Falkland Islands in the far South Atlantic in 1833 and maintained a continuous presence there. In 1908, the British government extended its territorial claim by declaring sovereignty over "South Georgia, the South Orkneys, the South Shetlands, and the (South) Sandwich Islands, and Graham's Land, situated in the South Atlantic Ocean and on the Antarctic continent to the south of the 50th parallel of south latitude, and lying between the 20th and the 80th degrees of west longitude".[2] All these territories were administered as Falkland Islands Dependencies from Stanley by the Governor of the Falkland Islands. The motivation for this declaration lay in the need to regulate and tax the whaling industry effectively. Commercial operators would hunt whales in areas outside the official boundaries of the Falkland Islands and its dependencies, and there was a need to close this loophole.

In 1917, the wording of the claim was modified, so as to unambiguously include all the territory in the sector stretching to the South Pole (thus encompassing all the present British Antarctic Territory). The new claim covered "all islands and territories whatsoever between the 20th degree of west longitude and the 50th degree of west longitude which are situated south of the 50th parallel of south latitude; and all islands and territories whatsoever between the 50th degree of west longitude and the 80th degree of west longitude which are situated south of the 58th parallel of south latitude".[2]

It was the ambition of Leopold Amery, then Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies, that Britain incorporate the entire continent into the Empire. In a memorandum to the governors-general for Australia and New Zealand, he wrote that 'with the exception of Chile and Argentina and some barren islands belonging to France... it is desirable that the whole of the Antarctic should ultimately be included in the British Empire.' The first step was taken on 30 July 1923, when the British government passed an Order in Council under the British Settlements Act 1887, defining the new borders for the Ross Dependency—"that part of His Majesty's Dominions in the Antarctic Seas, which comprises all the islands and territories between the 160th degree of East Longitude and the 150th degree of West Longitude which are situated south of the 60th degree of South Latitude shall be named the Ross Dependency." The Order in Council then went on to appoint the Governor-General and Commander-in Chief of New Zealand as the Governor of the territory.[3]

In 1930, the United Kingdom claimed Enderby Land. In 1933, a British imperial order transferred territory south of 60° S and between meridians 160° E and 45° E to Australia as the Australian Antarctic Territory.[4][5]

Following the passing of the Statute of Westminster in 1931, the government of the United Kingdom relinquished all control over the government of New Zealand and Australia. This however had no bearing on the obligations of the governors-general of both countries in their capacity as Governors of the Antarctic territories.

Other European claims

Atlas pittoresque pl 169
Discovery and claim of french sovereignty on Adélie Land by Jules Dumont d'Urville, in 1840.

The basis for the claim to Adélie Land by France depended on the discovery of the coastline in 1840 by the French explorer Jules Dumont d'Urville, who named it after his wife, Adèle.[6]. He erected the french flag and took possession of the land for France, on January 21st, 1840 at 5:30 PM.[7] The British eventually decided to recognize this claim, and the border between Adélie Land and the Australian Antarctic Territory was fixed definitively in 1938.[8]

These developments also concerned Norwegian whaling interests, which wished to avoid British taxation of whaling stations in the Antarctic and felt concerns that they would be commercially excluded from the continent. The whale-ship owner Lars Christensen financed several expeditions to the Antarctic with the view to claiming land for Norway and to establishing stations on Norwegian territory to gain better privileges.[9] The first expedition, led by Nils Larsen and Ola Olstad, landed on Peter I Island in 1929 and claimed the island for Norway. On 6 March 1931 a Norwegian royal proclamation declared the island under Norwegian sovereignty[9] and on 23 March 1933 the island was declared a dependency.[10][note 1]

The 1929 expedition led by Hjalmar Riiser-Larsen and Finn Lützow-Holm named the continental landmass near the island as Queen Maud Land after the Norwegian queen Maud of Wales.[11] The territory was explored further during the Norvegia expedition of 1930–31.[12] Negotiations with the British government in 1938 resulted in setting the western border of Queen Maud Land at 20°W.[12]

Peter I Island 1929A
Norwegian expedition landing on Peter I Island island in 1929.

The United States, Chile, the Soviet Union and Germany disputed Norway's claim.[13][14] In 1938 Nazi Germany dispatched the German Antarctic Expedition, led by Alfred Ritscher, to fly over as much of it as possible.[12] The ship Schwabenland reached the pack ice off Antarctica on 19 January 1939.[15] During the expedition, Ritscher photographed an area of about 350,000 square kilometres (140,000 sq mi) from the air[16] and dropped darts inscribed with swastikas every 26 kilometres (16 mi). However, despite intensively surveying the land, Germany never made any formal claim or constructed any lasting bases.[17]

On 14 January 1939, five days before the German arrival, Norway annexed Queen Maud Land[11] after a royal decree announced that the land bordering the Falkland Islands Dependencies in the west and the Australian Antarctic Dependency in the east was to be brought under Norwegian sovereignty.[12] The primary aim of the annexation was to secure the Norwegian whaling industry's access to the region.[11][18] In 1948 Norway and the United Kingdom agreed to limit Queen Maud Land to from 20°W to 45°E, and to incorporate the Bruce Coast and Coats Land into Norwegian territory.[12]

South American involvement

Omond House - Laurie Island
Omond House was built in 1904 by the Scottish National Antarctic Expedition as the first permanent base in Antarctica. It was later sold to Argentina.

Upon independence in the early 19th century South American nations based their boundaries upon the uti possidetis iuris principle. This meant there was no land without a sovereign. Chile and Argentina applied this to Antarctica citing the Inter caetera bull of 1493 and the Treaty of Tordesillas of 1494. Argentina and Chile treat these treaties as legal international treaties mediated by the Catholic Church that was in that time a recognized arbiter in these matters.[1]

This encroachment of foreign powers was a matter of immense disquiet to the nearby South American countries, Argentina and Chile. Taking advantage of a European continent plunged into turmoil with the onset of the Second World War, Chile's president, Pedro Aguirre Cerda declared the establishment of a Chilean Antarctic Territory in areas already claimed by Britain.

Argentina has a long history in the area,[19] In 1904 the Argentine government began a permanent occupation in one of the Antarctic islands with the purchase of a meteorological station on Laurie Island established in 1903 by Dr William S. Bruce's Scottish National Antarctic Expedition. Bruce offered to transfer the station and instruments for the sum of 5.000 pesos, on the condition that the government committed itself to the continuation of the scientific mission.[20] British officer William Haggard also sent a note to the Argentine Foreign Minister, José Terry, ratifying the terms of Bruce proposition.[20]

In 1906, Argentina communicated to the international community the establishment of a permanent base on South Orkney Islands, the Orcadas Base. However, Haggard responded by reminding Argentina that the South Orkneys were British. The British position was that Argentine personnel was granted permission only for the period of one year. The Argentine government entered into negotiations with the British in 1913 over the possible transfer of the island. Although these talks were unsuccessful, Argentina attempted to unilaterally establish their sovereignty with the erection of markers, national flags and other symbols. [21] Finally, with British attention elsewhere, Argentina declared the establishment of Argentine Antarctica in 1943, claiming territory in the continent itself, and not just islands, and it overlapped with British ( 20°W to 80°W) and the earlier Chilean (53°W to 90°W) claims.

In response to this and earlier German explorations, the British Admiralty and Colonial Office launched Operation Tabarin in 1943 to reassert British territorial claims against Argentinian and Chilean incursion and establish a permanent British presence in the Antarctic.[22] The move was also motivated by concerns within the Foreign Office about the direction of United States post-war activity in the region.

A suitable cover story was the need to deny use of the area to the enemy. The Kriegsmarine was known to use remote islands as rendezvous points and as shelters for commerce raiders, U-boats and supply ships. Also, in 1941, there existed a fear that Japan might attempt to seize the Falkland Islands, either as a base or to hand them over to Argentina, thus gaining political advantage for the Axis and denying their use to Britain.

In 1943, British personnel from HMS Carnarvon Castle[23] removed Argentine flags from Deception Island. The expedition was led by Lieutenant James Marr and left the Falkland Islands in two ships, HMS William Scoresby (a minesweeping trawler) and Fitzroy, on Saturday January 29, 1944.

Bases were established during February near the abandoned Norwegian whaling station on Deception Island, where the Union Flag was hoisted in place of Argentine flags, and at Port Lockroy (on February 11) on the coast of Graham Land. A further base was founded at Hope Bay on February 13, 1945, after a failed attempt to unload stores on February 7, 1944. Symbols of British sovereignty, including post offices, signposts and plaques were also constructed and postage stamps were issued.

Operation Tabarin provoked Chile to organise its First Chilean Antarctic Expedition in 1947–48, where the Chilean president Gabriel González Videla personally inaugurated one of its bases.[24]

Following the end of the war in 1945, the British bases were handed over to civilian members of the newly created Falkland Islands Dependencies Survey (subsequently the British Antarctic Survey) the first such national scientific body to be established in Antarctica.

Postwar developments

Swedish Antarctic Expedition Hope Bay
Hut built at Hope Bay in 1903. It was there that the only instance of shots fired in anger on the Continent occurred in 1952.

Friction between Britain and the Latin American states continued into the postwar period. Royal Navy warships were dispatched in 1948 to prevent naval incursions. The only instance of shots fired in anger on Antarctica occurred in 1952 at Hope Bay, when staff at British Base "D" (established 1945) came up against the Argentine team at Esperanza Base (est. 1952), who fired a machine gun over the heads of a British Antarctic Survey team unloading supplies from the John Biscoe. The Argentines later extended a diplomatic apology, saying that there had been a misunderstanding and that the Argentine military commander on the ground had exceeded his authority.

The United States became politically interested in the Antarctic continent before and during WWII. The United States Antarctic Service Expedition, from 1939-1941, was sponsored by the government with additional support from donations and gifts by private citizens, corporations and institutions. The objective of the Expedition, outlined by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, was to establish two bases: East Base, in the vicinity of Charcot Island, and West Base, in the vicinity of King Edward VII Land. After operating successfully for two years, but with international tensions on the rise, it was considered wise to evacuate the two bases.[25] However, immediately after the war, American interest was rekindled with an explicitly geopolitical motive. Operation Highjump, from 1946-1947 was organised by Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd Jr. and included 4,700 men, 13 ships, and multiple aircraft. The primary mission of Operation Highjump was to establish the Antarctic research base Little America IV,[26] for the purpose of training personnel and testing equipment in frigid conditions and amplifying existing stores of knowledge of hydrographic, geographic, geological, meteorological and electromagnetic propagation conditions in the area. The mission was also aimed at consolidating and extending United States sovereignty over the largest practicable area of the Antarctic continent, although this was publicly denied as a goal even before the expedition ended.

Towards an international treaty

The International Geophysical Year was pivotal in establishing a cooperative international framework in Antarctica, and led on to the Antarctic Treaty System in 1959.

Meanwhile, in an attempt at ending the impasse, Britain submitted an application to the International Court of Justice in 1955 to adjudicate between the territorial claims of Britain, Argentina, and Chile. This proposal failed, as both Latin American countries rejected submitting to an international arbitration procedure.[27]

Negotiations towards the establishment of an international condominium over the continent first began in 1948, involving the 8 claimant countries: Britain, Australia, New Zealand, U.S.A., France, Norway, Chile and Argentina. This attempt was aimed at excluding the Soviet Union from the affairs of the continent and rapidly fell apart when the USSR declared an interest in the region, refused to recognize any claims of sovereignty and reserved the right to make its own claims in 1950.[27]

An important impetus toward the formation of the Antarctic Treaty System in 1959 was the International Geophysical Year, 1957-1958. This year of international scientific cooperation triggered an 18-month period of intense Antarctic science. More than 70 existing national scientific organisations then formed IGY committees, and participated in the cooperative effort. The British established Halley Research Station in 1956 by an expedition from the Royal Society. Sir Vivian Fuchs headed the Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition, which completed the first overland crossing of Antarctica in 1958. In Japan, the Japan Maritime Safety Agency offered ice breaker Sōya as the South Pole observation ship and Showa Station was built as the first Japanese observation base on Antarctica.

France contributed with Dumont d'Urville Station and Charcot Station in Adélie Land. The ship Commandant Charcot of the French Navy spent nine months of 1949/50 at the coast of Adelie Land, performing ionospheric soundings.[28] The US erected the Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station as the first permanent structure directly over the South Pole in January 1957.[29]

Finally, to prevent the possibility of military conflict in the region, the United States, United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, and 9 other countries with significant interests negotiated and signed the Antarctic Treaty in 1959. The treaty entered into force in 1961 and sets aside Antarctica as a scientific preserve, established freedom of scientific investigation, and banned military activity on that continent. The treaty was the first arms control agreement established during the Cold War.[30]

Antarctic territorial claims

Antarctica territorial claims
Territorial claims in Antarctica

Seven sovereign states had made eight territorial claims to land in Antarctica south of the 60° S parallel before 1961. These claims have been recognized only between the countries making claims in the area. All claim areas are sectors, with the exception of Peter I Island. None of these claims have an indigenous population. The South Orkney Islands fall within the territory claimed by Argentina and the United Kingdom, and the South Shetland Islands fall within the areas claimed by Argentina, Chile, and the United Kingdom. The UK, France, Australia, New Zealand and Norway all recognize each other's claims.[31] None of these claims overlap. Prior to 1962, British Antarctic Territory was a dependency of the Falkland Islands and also included South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. The Antarctic areas became a separate overseas territory following the ratification of the Antarctic Treaty. South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands remained a dependency of the Falkland Islands until 1985 when they too became a separate overseas territory.

Possible future claims

There has been speculation about possible future claims. The United States and Russia (as successor state of the Soviet Union) maintain they have reserved the right to make claims and there have also been speculations on Brazil making a claim bounded by 53° W and 28° W,[32] overlapping thus with the Argentine and British claims but not with the Chilean. Peru made a reservation of its territory rights under the principle of Antarctic defrontation and influence on its climate, ecology and marine biology, adducing, in addition, geological continuity and historical links.[33]

Uruguayan adhesion to Antarctic Treaty System includes a declaration in that it reserves its rights in Antarctica in accordance with international law.[34]

In 1967 Ecuador declared its right over an area bounded by 84°30' W and 95°30' W. The claim was ratified in 1987.[35]

Four island territories on the Antarctic Plate located north of the 60° South circle of latitude are associated with the continent of Antarctica. None of these territories has an indigenous population.

Another territory, shared between South American Plate and Scotia Plate, is sometime associated with the continent of Antarctica.

Antarctic Treaty

The Antarctic Treaty and related agreements regulate international relations with respect to Antarctica, Earth's only continent without a native human population. The treaty has now been signed by 48 countries, including the United Kingdom, the United States, and the now-defunct Soviet Union. The treaty set aside Antarctica as a scientific preserve, established freedom of scientific investigation and banned military activity on that continent. This was the first arms control agreement established during the Cold War. The Soviet Union and the United States both filed reservations against the restriction on new claims,[38] and the United States and Russia assert their right to make claims in the future if they so choose. Brazil maintains the Comandante Ferraz (the Brazilian Antarctic Base) and has proposed a theory to delimiting territories using meridians, which would give it and other countries a claim. In general, territorial claims below the 60° S parallel have only been recognised among those countries making claims in the area. However, although claims are often indicated on maps of Antarctica, this does not signify de jure recognition.

All claim areas, except Peter I Island, are sectors, the borders of which are defined by degrees of longitude. In terms of latitude, the northern border of all sectors is the 60° S parallel which does not cut through any piece of land, continent or island, and is also the northern limit of the Antarctic Treaty. The southern border of all sectors collapses in one point, the South Pole. Only the Norwegian sector is an exception: the original claim of 1930 did not specify a northern or a southern limit, so that its territory is only defined by eastern and western limits.[note 2]

The Antarctic Treaty states that contracting to the treaty:

  • is not a renunciation of any previous territorial claim.
  • does not affect the basis of claims made as a result of activities of the signatory nation within Antarctica.
  • does not affect the rights of a State under customary international law to recognise (or refuse to recognise) any other territorial claim.

What the treaty does affect is new claims:

  • No activities occurring after 1961 can be the basis of a territorial claim.
  • No new claim can be made.
  • No claim can be enlarged.

See also


  1. ^ At the time of the claim, Norway did not validate the sector method of demarcating polar territory. This was in line with Norwegian claims in the Arctic and hence to avoid compromising Norway's position with regard to the former Soviet Union and present-day Russia. In the 2015 Meld. St. No. 32 (2014-2015) 'Norske interesser og politikk i Antarktis' (White Paper No. 32 on Norwegian Interests and Policy in the Antarctica) the Foreign Ministry confirmed that while Norway rejected the sector method of delimiting claims it was not intended create a difference in interpretation of the Norwegian claim in Antarctica; White Paper No. 19 (1939) had stated that the purpose of the annexation was to annex 'land which is currently terra nullius and that only Norwegians have researched and mapped'.
  2. ^ However, the Norwegian government has stated in 2003 that the northern extent of the Norwegian territory conforms to general practice by extending 12 nautical miles (22 km) from the shore.


  1. ^ a b Prieto Larrain, M. Cristina (2004). "El Tratado Antártico, vehículo de paz en un campo minado". Revista Universum (in Spanish). University of Talca. 19 (1): 138–147. Retrieved 31 December 2015.
  2. ^ a b International law for Antarctica, p. 652, Francesco Francioni and Tullio Scovazzi, 1996
  3. ^ http://www.legislation.govt.nz/regulation/imperial/1923/0974/latest/DLM1195.html Order in Council Under the British Settlements Act, 1887 (50 & 51 Vict c 54), Providing for the Government of the Ross Dependency.
  4. ^ Antarctica and international law: a collection of inter-state and national documents, Volume 2. pp. 143. Author: W. M. Bush. Editor: Oceana Publications, 1982. ISBN 0-379-20321-9, ISBN 978-0-379-20321-9
  5. ^ C2004C00416 / Australian Antarctic Territory Acceptance Act 1933 ( Cth )
  6. ^ Dunmore, John (2007). From Venus to Antarctica: The Life of Dumont D'Urville. Auckland: Exisle Publ. p. 209. ISBN 9780908988716.
  7. ^ LCI - Mission en Terre Adélie - Les derniers préparatifs avant notre grand départ pour l'Antarctique - Le 21 janvier 1840 il y plante le drapeau français et donne à ce lieu le nom de Terre Adélie en pensant à sa femme Adèle qu’il n’avait pas vue depuis son départ de Toulon deux ans et demi plus tôt.
  8. ^ "A Brief History of Mawson". Australian Government - Australian Arctic Division. Archived from the original on 27 July 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-16.
  9. ^ a b Kyvik, Helga, ed. (2008). Norge i Antarktis. Oslo: Schibsted Forlag. p. 52. ISBN 82-516-2589-0.
  10. ^ "Lov om Bouvet-øya, Peter I's øy og Dronning Maud Land m.m. (bilandsloven)" (in Norwegian). Lovdata. Archived from the original on 29 August 2011. Retrieved 29 August 2011.
  11. ^ a b c "Dronning Maud Land" (in Norwegian). Norwegian Polar Institute. Retrieved 10 May 2011.
  12. ^ a b c d e Gjeldsvik, Tore. "Dronning Maud Land". Store norske leksikon (in Norwegian). Retrieved 9 May 2011.
  13. ^ Utenriksdepartementet (12 June 2015). "Meld. St. 32 (2014–2015)". Regjeringa.no.
  14. ^ Widerøe, Turi (2008). "Annekteringen av Dronning Maud Land". Norsk Polarhistorie (in Norwegian). Retrieved 15 July 2011.
  15. ^ Murphy, 2002, p. 192.
  16. ^ Murphy, 2002, p. 204.
  17. ^ Heinz Schön, Mythos Neu-Schwabenland. Für Hitler am Südpol, Bonus, Selent 2004, p. 106, ISBN 3-935962-05-3
  18. ^ "Forutsetninger for Antarktistraktaten". Norsk Polarhistorie (in Norwegian). Retrieved 15 May 2011.
  19. ^ Oscar Pinochet de la Barra (1976). La Antártica Chilena (in Spanish). Andrés Bello. p. 173.
  20. ^ a b Escude, Carlos; Cisneros, Andres. "Historia General de las Relaciones Exteriores de la Republica Argentina" (in Spanish). Retrieved July 6, 2012.
  21. ^ Kieran Mulvaney (2001). At the Ends of the Earth: A History of the Polar Regions. Island Press. pp. 124–130.
  22. ^ "About - British Antarctic Survey". www.antarctica.ac.uk.
  23. ^ HMS Carnarvon Castle 1943
  24. ^ Antarctica and the Arctic: the complete encyclopedia, Volume 1, by David McGonigal, Lynn Woodworth, page 98
  25. ^ Bertrand, Kenneth J. (1971). Americans in Antarctica 1775-1948. New York: American Geographical Society.
  26. ^ Kearns, David A. (2005). "Operation Highjump: Task Force 68". Where Hell Freezes Over: A Story of Amazing Bravery and Survival. New York: Thomas Dunne Books. p. 304. ISBN 0-312-34205-5. Retrieved 2011-05-31.
  27. ^ a b Klaus Dodds (2012). The Antarctic: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press.
  28. ^ M. Barré, K. Rawer: "Quelques résultats d’observations ionosphériques effectuées près de la Terre Adélie". Journal of Atmospheric and Terrestrial Physics volume 1, issue 5–6 (1951), pp. 311–314.
  29. ^ "South Pole's first building blown up after 53 years". OurAmazingPlanet.com. 2011-03-31.
  30. ^ "ATS - Secretariat of the Antarctic Treaty". www.ats.aq.
  31. ^ Rogan-Finnemore, Michelle (2005), "What Bioprospecting Means for Antarctica and the Southern Ocean", in Von Tigerstrom, Barbara, International Law Issues in the South Pacific, Ashgate Publishing, p. 204, ISBN 0-7546-4419-7
  32. ^ The international politics of Antarctica. Page 119 and 124.
  33. ^ La Antártida. Autor: Diego Ribadeneira. Pág. 26 Archivado el 4 de marzo de 2016 en la Wayback Machine.
  34. ^ "Final Report of the Thirty-first Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting - PART III: OPENING AND CLOSING ADDRESSES AND REPORTS FROM ATCM XXXI" (PDF). Secretariat of the Antarctic Treaty. p. 483. Retrieved March 30, 2015.
  35. ^ "Historia". 21 April 2017.
  36. ^ Districts of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands excluding Adelie Land.
  37. ^ Includes the Scattered Islands in the Indian Ocean, which is associated with Africa
  38. ^ "The Antarctic Treaty". US Arms control and disarmament agency. Retrieved 1 September 2012.
Adélie Land

Adélie Land (French: Terre Adélie) is a claimed territory on the continent of Antarctica. It stretches from a coastline area along the Great Southern Ocean inland all the way to the South Pole. France administrates it as one of five districts of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands since 1955 and apply the Antarctic Treaty System rules since 1961. Article 4 deals with territorial claims, and although it does not renounce or diminish any preexisting claims to sovereignty, it also does not prejudice the position of Contracting Parties in their recognition or non-recognition of territorial sovereignty. France has had a permanent station in Adélie Land since April 9, 1950. The current Dumont d'Urville Station has a winter population around 33, but this goes up to about 78 during the Antarctic summer.

Antarctic Treaty System

The Antarctic Treaty and related agreements, collectively known as the Antarctic Treaty System (ATS), regulate international relations with respect to Antarctica, Earth's only continent without a native human population. For the purposes of the treaty system, Antarctica is defined as all of the land and ice shelves south of 60°S latitude. The treaty entered into force in 1961 and currently has 53 parties. The treaty sets aside Antarctica as a scientific preserve, establishes freedom of scientific investigation, and bans military activity on the continent. The treaty was the first arms control agreement established during the Cold War. Since September 2004, the Antarctic Treaty Secretariat headquarters has been located in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The main treaty was opened for signature on December 1, 1959, and officially entered into force on June 23, 1961. The original signatories were the 12 countries active in Antarctica during the International Geophysical Year (IGY) of 1957–58. The twelve countries that had significant interests in Antarctica at the time were: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Chile, France, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States. These countries had established over 55 Antarctic stations for the IGY. The treaty was a diplomatic expression of the operational and scientific co-operation that had been achieved "on the ice".

Argentine Antarctica

Argentine Antarctica (Spanish: Antártida Argentina, Sector Antártico Argentino or Argentártida) is a sector of Antarctica claimed by Argentina as part of its national territory consisting of the Antarctic Peninsula and a triangular section extending to the South Pole, delimited by the 25° West and 74° West meridians and the 60° South parallel. This region overlaps with British and Chilean claims in Antarctica; however, all claims are suspended by the Antarctic Treaty System, of which Argentina is a founding signatory and permanent consulting member, with the Antarctic Treaty Secretariat being based in Buenos Aires.Administratively, Argentine Antarctica is a department of the province of Tierra del Fuego, Antarctica, and South Atlantic Islands. The provincial authorities reside in Ushuaia and the Governor annually designates his or her delegate for the Antarctica region. The "civil power" of any of the administrators extends no further than that nation's own bases. The South Orkney Islands are part of Islas del Atlántico Sur (South Atlantic Islands) Department, which include Falkland Islands and South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands (according to Argentine claim).The Argentine exploration of the continent started early in the 20th century. José María Sobral was the first Argentine to set foot on Antarctica in 1902, where he spent 2 seasons with the Swedish Antarctic Expedition of Doctor Otto Nordenskiöld. Shortly afterwards, in 1904, the Orcadas permanent base was already fully operational. Years later other bases would be created, some permanent and others seasonal. The first Argentine expedition to reach the South Pole was the 1965 Operación 90.

Argentine activities in Antarctica are coordinated by the Instituto Antártico Argentino (IAA) and Dirección Nacional del Antártico (DNA).

The estimated Argentine Antarctica area is 1,461,597 km2 (564,326 sq mi), of which 965,597 km2 (372,819 sq mi) is land. The ice in the glacier shell has a thickness of 2 km on average. Temperatures range from 0 °C in summer and -60 °C in winter although in certain points may drop to approximately -82 °C.

Time zone UTC-3 is used as in the South American continent.

Argentina has six permanent Antarctic Stations and seven Summer Stations with a total of 13.

According to the last Argentine national census, in October 2010 (winter) there were 230 inhabitants in the six permanent bases, including 9 families and 16 children as follow: 75 at Marambio, 66 at Esperanza, 33 at Jubany, 20 at San Martín, 19 at Belgrano II and 17 at Orcadas.

Australia–Norway relations

The countries of Australia and Norway established diplomatic relations in 1905, following Norway’s independence. Australia has a consulate in Oslo. Norway has an embassy in Canberra.

There are around 30,000 Norwegians living in Australia and 1,125 Australians living in Norway.Both countries have Territorial claims in Antarctica and share a mutual border at 44°38′E.

The two governments briefly clashed in 2001, due to the Tampa affair.

Balleny Islands

The Balleny Islands (66°55′S 163°45′E) are a series of uninhabited islands in the Southern Ocean extending from 66°15' to 67°35'S and 162°30' to 165°00'E. The group extends for about 160 km (99 mi) in a northwest-southeast direction. The islands are heavily glaciated and of volcanic origin. Glaciers project from their slopes into the sea. The islands were formed by the so-called Balleny hotspot.

The group includes three main islands: Young, Buckle and Sturge, which lie in a line from northwest to southeast, and several smaller islets and rocks:

northeast of Young Island: Seal Rocks, Pillar

southeast of Young Island: Row Island, Borradaile Island (with Swan Base shelter hut)

south of Buckle Island: Scott Cone, Chinstrap Islet, Sabrina Islet (with Sabrina Refuge shelter hut), and The MonolithThe islands are part of the Ross Dependency, claimed by New Zealand (see Territorial claims in Antarctica).

British Antarctic Territory

The British Antarctic Territory (BAT) is a sector of Antarctica claimed by the United Kingdom as one of its 14 British Overseas Territories, of which it is by far the largest by area. It comprises the region south of 60°S latitude and between longitudes 20°W and 80°W, forming a wedge shape that extends to the South Pole, overlapping the Antarctic claims of Argentina (Argentine Antarctica) and Chile (Chilean Antarctic Territory).

The Territory was formed on 3 March 1962, although the UK's claim to this portion of the Antarctic dates back to letters patent of 1908 and 1917. The area now covered by the Territory includes three regions which, before 1962, were administered by the British as separate dependencies of the Falkland Islands: Graham Land, the South Orkney Islands, and the South Shetland Islands. The United Kingdom's claim to the region has been suspended since the Antarctic Treaty came into force in 1961, Article 4 of which states "No acts or activities taking place while the present Treaty is in force shall constitute a basis for asserting, supporting or denying a claim to territorial sovereignty in Antarctica. No new claim, or enlargement of an existing claim, to territorial sovereignty shall be asserted while the present Treaty is in force." Most countries do not recognise territorial claims in Antarctica. The United Kingdom has ratified the treaty.

In 2012, the southern part of the territory was named Queen Elizabeth Land in honour of Queen Elizabeth II. The territory is inhabited by the staff of research and support stations operated and maintained by the British Antarctic Survey and other organisations, and stations of Argentina, Chile and other countries. There are no native inhabitants.

Cornwallis Island (South Shetland Islands)

Cornwallis Island is an island 1 mile (1.6 km) long, which lies 5 miles (8 km) northeast of the east end of Elephant Island, in the South Shetland Islands. The name Cornwallis Island dates back to about 1821 and is now established in international usage.

France–Norway relations

France–Norway relations are foreign relations between France and Norway.

Both countries established diplomatic relations in 1905, after Norway’s independence. France has an embassy in Oslo. Norway has an embassy in Paris.

Both countries are full members of NATO, and of the Council of Europe. There are around 2,000 Norwegian people living in France and around 3,571 French people living in Norway.Both nations have Territorial claims in Antarctica, and mutually recognise each other's claims, as well as those from the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia.

Frederick Rocks

Frederick Rocks is a group of rocks lying in Barclay Bay on the north side of Livingston Island in the South Shetland Islands, Antarctica. The area was visited by early 19th century sealers operating on nearby Byers Peninsula.

The feature is named after the American brig Frederick under Captain Benjamin Pendleton that visited the South Shetlands in 1820-21 and 1821-22.

French Southern and Antarctic Lands

The French Southern and Antarctic Lands (French: Terres australes et antarctiques françaises, TAAF) is an overseas territory (French: Territoire d'outre-mer or TOM) of France. It consists of:

Kerguelen Islands (Archipel des Kerguelen), a group of volcanic islands in the southern Indian Ocean, southeast of Africa, approximately equidistant between Africa, Antarctica and Australia;

St. Paul and Amsterdam islands (Îles Saint Paul et Amsterdam), a group to the north of Kerguelen;

Crozet Islands (Îles Crozet), a group in the southern Indian Ocean, south of Madagascar;

Adélie Land (Terre Adélie), the French claim on the continent of Antarctica;

the Scattered Islands (Îles Éparses), a dispersed group of islands around the coast of Madagascar.The territory is sometimes referred to as the French Southern Lands (French: Terres australes françaises) or French Southern Territories, usually to emphasize non-recognition of French sovereignty over Adélie Land as part of the Antarctic Treaty system.

The territory has no permanent civilian population. Those resident consist of visiting military personnel, officials, scientific researchers and support staff.

Hetty Rock

Hetty Rock is the largest of several rocks in Walker Bay off John Beach in western Livingston Island in the South Shetland Islands, Antarctica. The area was visited by early 19th century sealers.

The feature is named after the British sealing ship Hetty under Captain Ralph Bond that operated in the South Shetlands in 1820-21.

Instituto Antártico Argentino

The Instituto Antártico Argentino (IAA; English: Argentine Antarctic Institute) is the Argentine federal agency in charge of orientating, controlling, addressing and performing scientific and technical research and studies in the Antarctic.Known as Argentine Antarctica (Spanish: Antártida Argentina) the country claimed a sector as part of its national territory consisting of the Antarctic Peninsula and a triangular section extending to the South Pole, is delimited by the 25° West and 74° West meridians and the 60° South parallel. Administratively, Argentine Antarctica is a department of the province of Tierra del Fuego, Antarctica, and South Atlantic Islands.

This sector overlaps with Chilean and British claims but, under the Antarctic Treaty System, there are no attempts by Argentina or any other country to actually enforce territorial claims in Antarctica.

International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators

The International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) was founded in 1991 by seven companies. The primary goal of the association is to "advocate and promote the practice of safe and environmentally responsible private-sector travel to the Antarctic".

Since the group's inception membership has grown to over 100 members. In addition there are tour groups working outside the association which may not follow its safety and environmental guidelines.

The need for an association like the IAATO is that seven countries have made territorial claims in Antarctica. However, no country recognizes the claim of any other country. In fact, in some cases, countries claim the same piece of the continent. Therefore, it is rarely clear what authority is in charge. This has left the Antarctic tourism industry largely self-regulated. Hence the need for an organization like the IAATO.

There is a IAATO website that has information on the Antarctic Treaty, visitor guidelines, visitor briefing videos, tourism statistics and more.

Lynx Rocks

Lynx Rocks is a group of rocks in southwestern Hero Bay on the north side of Livingston Island in the South Shetland Islands, Antarctica. The area was visited by early 19th century sealers operating from nearby Blythe Bay.

The feature is named after the Australian sealing vessel Lynx under Captain Richard Siddins that visited the South Shetland in 1820-21 and 1821–22, wintering in the Falkland Islands in 1821.

Operation Skua Polar I

Operation Skua Polar I was an exploratory operation by Chile in the Chilean Antarctic Territory. Led by Colonel Valentín Segura, the expedition soon explored much of Antarctica for Chile.

Orcadas Base

Base Orcadas is an Argentine scientific station in Antarctica, and the oldest of the stations in Antarctica still in operation. It is located on Laurie Island, one of the South Orkney Islands (Spanish: Islas Orcadas del Sur), at 4 meters (13.1 ft) above sea level and 170 meters (558 ft) from the coastline. Established by the Scottish National Antarctic Expedition in 1903 and transferred to the Argentine government in 1904, the base has been permanently populated since, being one of six Argentine permanent bases in Argentina's claim to Antarctica, and the first permanently inhabited base in Antarctica.

The nearest port is the Argentine city of Ushuaia, which is 1,502 km (933 mi) away. The base has 11 buildings and four main topics of research: continental glaciology, seismology, sea-ice-zone glaciology (since 1985) and meteorological observations (since 1903).

Orcadas was the only station on the islands for 40 years until the British established a small summer base, Cape Geddes Station in Laurie Island in 1946, replaced by Signy Research Station in Signy Island in 1947. It also had the first radiotelegraph in the continent in 1927. The 11 buildings of the station house up to 45 people during the summer, and an average of 14 during winter.

Pedro Sánchez de la Hoz

Pedro Sánchez de la Hoz (1514 in Calahorra, La Rioja – 1547 in Santiago de Chile) was a Spanish merchant, conquistador and adelantado who served as secretary to Pizarro. In 1534 he obtained the rights of a capitulación de conquista south of the Straits of Magellan.

Sánchez de la Hoz, served as secretary to Pizarro in Peru during the conquest of Cuzco and wrote an account of the conquest of Peru. While the original manuscript was lost, the work was preserved in Italian translation and has subsequently been translated to other languages, serving as a valuable account of both the Spanish conquest and Incan ethnography. After some financial success, he returned to Spain and was granted leave by Emperor Charles V to return to the New World where he conflicted with rival conquistador Pedro de Valdivia over different grants to lands south of Peru. In 1547 Francisco de Villagra, one of Valdivia's men, had Sánchez de la Hoz executed for leading a rebellion.According to Argentina and Chile the capitulación granted to Sánchez de la Hoz proves the Spanish Empire had claims and an animus occupandi on the lands that would later be called Antarctica. Given that Chile and Argentina have historically successfully established their border based on the uti possidetis iuris principle of international law the Sánchez de la Hoz grant forms part of their arguments for territorial claims in Antarctica.

Ross Dependency

The Ross Dependency is a region of Antarctica defined by a sector originating at the South Pole, passing along longitudes 160° east to 150° west, and terminating at latitude 60° south. It is claimed by New Zealand. Since the Antarctic Treaty came into force in 1961, Article IV of which states: "No acts or activities taking place while the present Treaty is in force shall constitute a basis for asserting, supporting or denying a claim to territorial sovereignty in Antarctica or create any rights of sovereignty in Antarctica," most countries do not recognise territorial claims in Antarctica.

The Dependency takes its name from Sir James Clark Ross, who discovered the Ross Sea, and includes part of Victoria Land, and most of the Ross Ice Shelf. Ross Island, Balleny Islands and the small Scott Island also form part of the Dependency, as does the ice-covered Roosevelt Island.

Stackpole Rocks

Stackpole Rocks is a group of rocks, the largest of them linked by a spit to the east extremity of South Beaches in Byers Peninsula, Livingston Island in the South Shetland Islands, Antarctica. The area was visited by early 19th century sealers.

The feature is named after Edouard Stackpole, Curator of the Marine Historical Association, Mystic, Connecticut, historian of early American whaling and sealing in the South Shetlands.

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