Antarctic Timeline

Antarctica is known to be one of the most awe-inspiring destinations of the world. With its extraordinary wildlife and icy wilderness, Antarctica will stir a sense of adventure deep down inside of most people who have ever visited this place. But what do we know about its history?  Read below the major events that happened in Antarctica’s history in a comprehensive Antarctic Timeline:

Antarctic History

Beautiful Blue and white icebergs. Photo credit: Shutterstock

Spectacular ice formations in Antarctica. Photo credit: Shutterstock

The Antarctic Timeline

1773 – James Cook becomes the first person to navigate across the Antarctic Circle and proceed to circumnavigate the continent of Antarctica. Although he doesn’t gain a visual on land, he does see deposits of rock in icebergs, which proved to Captain Cook that a southern continent exists

1819-21 –  Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen (a captain in the Russian Imperial Navy) cast his eyes on the Antarctic continent on 27 January 1820, three days before Edward Bransfield (a captain in the British Royal Navy) sighted land, and ten months before Nathaniel Palmer did in November

1830s-40s – Individual British, French and American expeditions confirm the status of Antarctica as a continent after sailing around the continuous coastline.

big ship sailing in sea around antarctica

Ship sailing around Antarctica. Photo credit: Shutterstock.


1898 – In March, Adrien de Gerlache and the crew of the Belgica become trapped in pack ice off the Antarctic Peninsula in their first expedition to the continent. The remaining crew, through extreme hardship and on the edge of insanity, become the first to survive an Antarctic winter as their ship drifts with the ice.

1901-1904 – Captain Robert Falcon Scott, UK, leads his first Antarctic expedition to try to reach the South Pole, with Ernest Shackleton and Edward Wilson. They are forced to turn back two months later having reached 82 degrees south, suffering from snow blindness and scurvy.

1907-1909 – Shackleton leads an expedition and reaches 88 degrees south, the closest to the geographic South Pole to date. He turns back after supplies are exhausted. During the same expedition, Douglas Mawson reaches the South Magnetic Pole and is in the first party to climb Mt Erebus.

pengiuns in the snow

Gentoo Pengiuns in Antarctica. Photo credit: Shutterstock.


1911 On December 14th – Norwegian Roald Amundsen leads a five-man expedition that reaches the geographic South Pole for the first time. Scott’s polar party arrives several weeks later to find they have been beaten, and tragically perish on the return trip.

1911-1914 – Mawson returns to Antarctica to lead the Australasian Scientific Antarctic Expedition, the first to be organised and led by an Australian, pioneering use of aircraft and radio in Antarctic exploration. In January 1913 Mawson begins his solo trek back to his base after his two companions die. Against all odds Mawson survives.

1914-1917 – Shackleton returns to Antarctica in an attempt to complete the first crossing of the continent. Their ship is crushed in the sea ice. The expedition makes its way over ice and water to Elephant Island. A small party led by Shackleton sets out in a small boat for South Georgia. The support party waiting on the other side of the continent is eventually
rescued in 1917.

rusty shipwreck seals on beach antarctica

Shipwreck on Antarctica. Photo credit: Shutterstock.


1928 – Australian Sir George Wilkins and American Carl Benjamin Eielson are the first to fly over Antarctica around the peninsula region.

1911-1914 – Mawson returns to Antarctica to lead the Australasian Scientific Antarctic Expedition, the first to be organised and led by an Australian, pioneering use of aircraft and radio in Antarctic exploration. In January 1913 Mawson begins his solo trek back to his base after his two companions die. Against all odds Mawson survives.

1914-1917 – Shackleton returns to Antarctica in an attempt to complete the first crossing of the continent. Their ship is crushed in the sea ice. The expedition makes its way over ice and water to Elephant Island. A small party led by Shackleton sets out in a small boat for South Georgia. The support party waiting on the other side of the continent is eventually rescued in 1917.

1928 – Australian Sir George Wilkins and American Carl Benjamin Eielson are the first to fly over Antarctica around the peninsula region.

1929-1931 – Mawson leads the British, Australian and New Zealand expedition that explores and maps the coastline of what was in 1936 to become the Australian Antarctic Territory, covering 42% of the continent.

1935 – Caroline Mikkelsen, Norway, is the first woman to set foot, albeit briefly, on Antarctica when she accompanies her husband, Klarius Mikkelsen, a whaling captain.

1957-1958 – During the International Geophysical Year of 1957-58, 12 nations establish 50 stations in Antarctica, the beginning of formal, international cooperation.
The first successful land crossing via the South Pole is led by British geologist Vivian Fuchs with New Zealander Edmund Hillary leading the back-up party, more than 40 years after Shackleton’s failed attempt.

Antarctic timeline: old stamp antarctica

Stamp of Antarctic Treaty. Photo credit: Shutterstock.


1959 – The Antarctic Treaty is signed by 12 countries, including Australia. The treaty comes into effect in 1961 and the first meeting is held in Canberra in recognition of Australia’s effort in negotiations.

1998 – Madrid Protocol enters into force, designating Antarctica’s ‘natural reserve devoted to peace and science’ and prohibiting mining in Antarctica.

 

Trail in the wake of Ernest Shackleton  and his courageous exploration of Antarctica with Chimu Adventures or go on one of the many other trips the to the world’s most remote wilderness. Click here fore more information and inspiration.

 

 

Author: Guest writer

Comments