Antarctica by David Day

By David Day

For hundreds of years it was once suspected that there needs to be an undiscovered continent within the southern hemisphere, yet explorers didn't locate one. On his moment voyage to the Pacific, Captain prepare dinner sailed additional south than any of his competitors yet nonetheless didn't sight land. He needed to be content material with claiming sub-Antarctic islands for England's King George. It was once no longer until eventually 1820 that the continent's frozen coast used to be eventually sighted. Territorial competition intensified within the 1840s whilst British, American, and French expeditions sailed south to chart extra parts of the continent that had emerge as known as Antarctica. For the subsequent centuries, the race to assert unique ownership of Antarctica has gripped the mind's eye of the realm. Antarctica: A Biography is the 1st ever significant overseas historical past of this forbidding continent--from the eighteenth century voyages of discovery to the explorers of the early 20th century, down to the fierce rivalries of at the present time, as governments, scientists, environmentalists, and oil businesses compete for keep watch over. On one point it's the tale of explorers scuffling with the weather within the so much adversarial position on the earth as they try for private triumph, advertisement achieve, and nationwide glory. On a deeper point, it's the tale of countries trying to contain the antarctic into their very own nationwide stories--and to say its frozen wastes as their very own.

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24 By the time of this publication, an armada of sealers had already descended on the islands and flensed many of the hapless fur seals of their skins and boiled down the blubber of the elephant seals. Oblivious to the activities of Bransfield and Smith and the crescendo of killing on the rocky beaches, Bellingshausen continued his daring circumnavigation, venturing much further south than Cook had done. After surviving furious gales that almost swamped his ships, and with winter darkening the days and extending the pack ice, Bellingshausen finally quit these dangerous climes in midMarch 1820 and headed for Port Jackson.

Yet there was no sense of disappointment revealed in the journal of the phlegmatic Bellingshausen, who did not bother landing on the first two islands that he encountered. Nor did he try to claim them, except by giving them Russian names. Not knowing that the British had already done so – naming them Smith Island and Snow Island – Bellingshausen named the two islands in memory of recent military victories over Napoleon. 33 In fact, by the time of Bellingshausen’s arrival, the islands already had multiple names.

But it was the pullulating life on the rocky shore that made the place a valuable acquisition. Poynter reported how they came upon many elephant seals. , they betrayed their astonishment in a stifled bellow’. 16 The rich killing gave the voyage purpose and profit. Following his instructions, Bransfield claimed the place for the king, ‘with due ceremony’, formally naming it New South Britain and the landing point as George’s Bay. Of course, Smith had already done so the previous year in his private capacity.

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