history of antarctica

In Egypt Ptolemy agreed that geographical equilibrium required an unknown southern continent, but he believed the unknown land would be populated and fertile. Indeed, the explorers were promised a bonus of 100 gold francs each if they reached 75°S, with another 20 francs for each additional degree gained toward the Pole. ‘By having our hands daily imbued in the blood of animals, ’ wrote American William Dane Phelps in 1871, ‘our natures were so changed, that acts of cruelty, which, one year previous, would have been revolting to us, we now seemed to enjoy…’. In a small prefab wooden hut, nine men spent the winter. About 99% of Antarctica is covered by ice. Scotia followed the coast for 240km, but the fast ice continually kept the ship two or three frustrating kilometers offshore. By January 9, 1909, the foursome had trudged to within 180km of the Pole before being forced by dangerously dwindling supplies of food to turn and run for home. Since nothing had been heard of the Swedish expedition, three search parties had been dispatched. The plane was parked overnight on an ice floe, and a massive breakup early the next morning left the aircraft dangling by its wingtips from two separate pieces of the floe. It is still in use today. With winter’s onset, the two remaining planes were cached in snow shelters. In 1903 he joined Charcot’s Français expedition, but resigned in Pernambuco, Brazil because he had recently become engaged and missed his fiancée too much to prolong the separation. Antarctica, unlike any other continent, was postulated to exist long before it was actually discovered. On August 15, 1908, he again sailed from Le Havre, this time in the newly built and amusingly named Pourquoi Pas? The charting of Earth’s magnetic field, with its simplifications for navigation, was another major incentive for these expeditions. Amundsen’s Fram (Forward), used by Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen on his unsuccessful attempt to reach the North Pole, sailed from Norway on August 9, 1910. The expedition got a late start sailing south, leaving Punta Arenas on December 14. The ship sank 45km from tiny Paulet Island, and the men spent 16 days sledging provisions and small boats to it. There, Filchner met aboard Fram with Amundsen, who was on his triumphant return from the Pole. That afternoon, Ninnis disappeared down an apparently bottomless crevasse with his team of dogs – and most of the party’s food, all of its dog food and its tent. Others have correctly pointed out that the Antarctic pack was known to be at its most navigable late in summer. This treaty, which was an unprecedented landmark in diplomacy, preserves the continent for nonmilitary scientific pursuits and placed … At Antarctic’s helm was Larsen, the Norwegian who had already discovered Oscar II Land during a previous expedition in 1892–94. Even as Endurance prepared to sail, the firestorm ignited by the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife on June 28, 1914 began engulfing Europe. While the polar party was out, Douglas Mawson and Alistair Mackay, with Professor David again leading, hiked nearly 1600km to the South Magnetic Pole, reaching it on January 16, 1909, the first time it had been visited. After making its final detachment from the Australian continent, about 40 million years ago, Antarctica settled into its present polar position and began to cool dramatically. These planes were considered revolutionary for their time, having no wires or exposed controls that offered extra wind resistance. Being beset during winter was one thing, but when spring and then summer arrived, the men began to feel desperate, especially after sawing, drilling and even dynamiting the 5m- to 6m-thick ice did nothing to free the ship. Finding no seals, they steered east, and on December 6, 1821, sighted a large island of a new group. Despite Bellingshausen’s discoveries – and his duplication of his hero Cook’s circumnavigation of Antarctica – he returned to Russia to find that his countrymen had little interest in his voyage. The timeline of discovering Antarctica and the ‘race’ to the South Pole, from first sighting to Scott, Amundsen, Shackleton and more. He was buried on the ridge above Cape Adare. With the Pole won, Bavarian army Lieutenant Wilhelm Filchner (1877–1957) decided to tackle another Antarctic question: whether the Weddell and Ross seas were joined by a channel, as some geographers posited. The sealers came from Britain, the Cape Colony (now part of South Africa), France, Tasmania and New South Wales (in present-day Australia), New Zealand and the United States. With the International Geophysical Year (IGY) in 1957–58, the present scale of scientific investigation of Antarctica began, and on December 1, 1959, the twelve countries that were active in Antarctica during the IGY signed the Antarctic Treaty. Ten million years later, Gondwana began the enormously slow process of breaking into the pieces we recognize today, and the continents, subcontinent and islands began moving into their present positions. Preparing the pelts required the removal of the guard hairs, a technique for many decades known only by the Chinese. When Southern Cross returned on January 28, 1900, to pick up the expedition, it had proven a critical fact: humans could survive Antarctica’s winter ashore, using a wooden hut as a base for exploration. Heading east in search of the Magnetic Pole, Dumont d’Urville’s lookouts were astonished one afternoon to see an American man-of-war emerge from the fog, running before the wind straight toward them. But on December 20, taking off again from Deception, they flew for 11 hours across the Peninsula and along its eastern side, covering 2100km and reaching as far as 71°20´S. Good fortune was to be on his side, although the elements made Ross earn it. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. The first man to actually see the continent of Antarctica was an Estonian named Fabian von Bellinngsingshausen on 27 January 1820. Bransfield was put aboard Williams, and they sailed south from Valparaiso, Chile. But they quickly established the identities of their fellow expeditioners, renaming the point of their rendezvous ‘Cape Well Met.’. Sailing on, he decided to winter at a sheltered bay on the north coast of Booth Island, a place he named Port Charcot for his father. After reaching Cape Town, he wired Berlin for permission to return to the Antarctic the following season. Two months passed, however, before the bottom of the canal cracked open, on February 8, 1903, and the ship was freed. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. Honoring his wife by naming the new territory for her, Dumont d’Urville was the only early explorer to so honor his wife, though another Frenchman, Charcot, later followed his example. The flight failed, but he reached the Pole in 1926, three days after Byrd’s flight. Tamarereti, a Polynesian explorer, also saw the icy south, according to oral tradition. Borchgrevink’s stunning fundraising success infuriated the British exploration establishment, headed by the Royal Geographical Society, which was preparing its own Antarctic expedition. Landing at Cape Adare convinced Borchgrevink it was possible to survive an Antarctic winter ashore, so he decided to organize his own expedition to be first to accomplish it. The Belgian ship Belgica, under command of Adrien de Gerlache, became the first vessel to winter in Antarctic waters when, from March 1898 to March 1899, it was trapped and drifted in pack ice of the Bellingshausen Sea. A Brief History of the Exploration of Antarctica. Two factors conspired, however, against anyone going to look for this mysterious undiscovered continent. But sealers considered their discoveries proprietary and kept the information to themselves (although drunken sailors were not always able to restrain from boasting about newfound sealing grounds). The works’ owner, William Beardmore, took a liking to Shackleton and agreed to sponsor an Antarctic expedition. One popular event, held on Belgian King Leopold’s birthday, was the ‘Grand Concourse of Beautiful Women’ – 464 illustrations of beauties ‘representing all kinds of poses and dress and undress’ were selected from a Paris journal and judged according to 21 characteristics, including ‘rosy complexion, ’ ‘underclothes, ’ ‘most beautiful face’ and ­‘sloping, alabaster shoulders.’ The men hoped that once the expedition returned to civilization, the winners would agree to appear before the committee to receive their prizes. Despite being far behind, Shirase and six of his men formed a ‘dash patrol’ and in a symbolic gesture, headed south with dogs and sledges. Polar Star finally took off from Dundee Island at the tip of the Peninsula on November 22, 1935, headed for the Bay of Whales on the Ross Ice Shelf. Of Bordeaux and a toast was raised to the opposite of the ships, Cook ’ s last was. Antarctic Peninsula, discovered Oscar II Land during a previous expedition in,. 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