Antarctica Famous Firsts


Some Antarctica famous firsts.

Because Antarctica is such a difficult region to explore, there are undoubtedly as many ‘firsts’ to still be recorded on this continent than there already are. But Antarctica, which is a word that comes from the Greek, was actually first ‘discovered’ by the Greeks although they had never actually visited there. They derived the concept from the fact that they knew about the Arctic from the Arktos, or bear, constellation and they determined that in order for there to be balance on Earth, there must be a counterpart to the Arktos. This, they decided, would be known as Ant-Arktos, which is the opposite of bear. Since this first guesstimate of Antarctica, there have been many firsts since then. Here are just a few of the biggest ones in history:

  • In January 1773, James Cook became the first person to cross Antarctica. He crossed the continent three times while doing so, making him also the first person to circumnavigate Antarctica as well. He didn’t spot any land on his travels but did see many rock deposits, which suggested that there was a continent lying somewhere below. His thoughts about the trip? He stated, “I make bold to declare that the world will derive no benefit from it.”

  • Actually seeing the land on the continent was a privilege reserved for Captain Thaddeus Bellingshausen, who was a Russian officer in the Navy and also crossed the continent during the years of 1819 – 1821. He located the continent along the latitudinal and longitudinal lines on January 27, 1820 and described it as, “an ice field covered with small hillocks.” Not only was this the actual first discovery of Antarctica but it was the first continent that was truly ‘discovered’, by the definition that there were no native people occupying the land before it was unearthed.

  • February 7, 1821 saw the first landing on Antarctica. It was by the American sealer Captain John Davis although this is not recognized by all historians.

  • Although teams sometimes travel to the continent today to set up camp and spend months at a time exploring the area, the first time a group of people wintered on Antarctica was in the winter of 1821 and it was not a planned trip. An officer with ten of his crew was sailing from England on the Lord Melville. They were trying to reach King George Island, just north of the Antarctica peninsula, so that they could spend the winter there. They became shipwrecked on Antarctica and it was not until the next summer that a rescue team came for them.

  • In 1911, the South Pole, which is located on Antarctica, was reached for the first time on December 14 by a man from Norway named Roald Amundsen. He went with a crew of five other men.

  • In 1912, radio was first used on Antarctica. The man who radioed from the continent did so from his base at Commonwealth Bay. He had just returned from a treacherous trip from George V Land and he had been travelling with two friends, who had died on the return back. It was also at this time that a new part of Antarctica’s coast was first discovered.

  • In 1935 Lincoln Ellsworth, from the United States, accompanied her husband on a whaling expedition to Antarctica. The moment her foot touched land that was within Antarctica’s known boundaries, she became the first woman on Antarctica.

Antarctica Famous Firsts

Antarctica Famous Firsts

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