Posts Tagged ‘antarctica2011’

Antarctica: Who Claims It As Their Own?

Monday, August 2nd, 2010
A rockhopper penguin on the Falklands Islands

A rockhopper penguin on the Falklands Islands

We know there aren’t any indigenous groups who claim Antarctica, so which country actually has political control of it? The answer is pretty simple, but the explanation is a little more complex.

The answer is: No one.

Here’s why: It wasn’t until the early 1820s when British and American commercial operators began exploring the region, as did official British and Russian national expeditions. Even then, Antarctica was not confirmed to be a continent until 1840, since many groups believed there were only clusters of islands around the South Pole. The area did not become the focus of attention or human activity until early in the 20th century. After World War II, Antarctica became a multi-national center for scientific research.

During this time period, seven countries have attempted to make territorial claims. However, not all countries recognize these claims. As a result, no country has claim to the region. Instead, the Antarctic Treaty  was negotiated and signed in 1959—and it states that no country may deny nor give recognition to existing territorial claims.

29 countries now collaborate in scientific research in Antarctica, with most of the work being done during the summer season when the population balloons to 4,490 people (from its winter population of 1,100 people). The majority of the population is from Argentina, Chile and Australia, but includes scientists from India, South Korea, the Ukraine, and South Africa. Truly a worldwide effort in scientific research!

Click here  for more information on Smithsonian Secretary G. Wayne Clough’s recent visit to the white continent

Have you been to Antarctica? Share your favorite memories with us.

Antarctica

Monday, June 28th, 2010

One of the perks of working at the Smithsonian is the amazing people we meet on a daily basis. Michael Lang, the Study Leader for our Antarctica trip, definitely leads the pack. As the Smithsonian Scientific Diving Officer, he directs one of the nation’s largest civilian scientific diving programs. Lang’s fascinating job takes him all over the world, to waters both cold and warm. Here, he talks about dipping into the seas off Antarctica, into an underwater world few might ever experience.

Learn more about our adventure to Antarctica and explore the amazing views in person! Want to learn more about our world’s oceans? Check out the new Ocean Portal!
Are you a SCUBA diver? What was your best diving adventure?