Read e-book online Antarctica PDF

By David Day

ISBN-10: 0199670552

ISBN-13: 9780199670550

For hundreds of years it used to be suspected that there has to be an undiscovered continent within the southern hemisphere, yet explorers did not locate one. On his moment voyage to the Pacific, Captain cook dinner sailed additional south than any of his competitors yet nonetheless did not sight land. He needed to be content material with claiming sub-Antarctic islands for England's King George. It used to be no longer until eventually 1820 that the continent's frozen coast was once ultimately sighted. Territorial competition intensified within the 1840s while British, American, and French expeditions sailed south to chart extra parts of the continent that had become referred to as Antarctica. For the subsequent centuries, the race to say specific ownership of Antarctica has gripped the mind's eye of the area. Antarctica: A Biography is the 1st ever significant foreign background 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 this present day, as governments, scientists, environmentalists, and oil businesses compete for regulate. On one point it's the tale of explorers struggling with the weather within the such a lot adverse 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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3 Mapmakers nevertheless tried to make sense of the new discoveries, both for dilettante geographers at home and for the merchants and mariners who wanted reliable maps for their own voyages to the region. Mapping and naming islands and other land masses was important not only for safe navigation but also for countries making claims to new territories. Securely attaching a name to a territory was a crucial step towards its acquisition. It is not surprising, then, that British and American mapmakers depicted the new-found territories in different ways.

Because he saw few icebergs at the limit of his southerly voyage, and because he believed that icebergs were generated from land, Weddell concluded that the land beyond the South Shetlands, including Graham and Palmer Land, did not extend any further south than 73° S. 15 It gave credence to those who argued that the South Pole was at the centre of an unfrozen sea, rather than being the centre of a frozen, southern continent. An American writer went even further, arguing that the earth was an oblate spheroid composed of ‘several concentric spheres, with polar openings’ thousands of kilometres across.

The battle was only abandoned when the approaching Americans noticed that the much-vaunted beach was largely devoid of seals. 36 Bellingshausen’s two vessels sailed into this tense situation, having spent three months traversing isolated and dangerous seas without sighting another ship. Bellingshausen had hoped to be the first navigator to confirm the existence of the southern continent 1780–1820 35 but was now confronted by the small American boat Hero and its youthful Captain Palmer. Invited aboard the Vostok, Palmer explained to the Russians how he had come in partnership with three other American boats and had managed to kill thousands of seals during the previous four months, leading Bellingshausen to note that killing on such a scale must cause seal numbers to ‘rapidly decrease’, as had happened on South Georgia.

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Antarctica by David Day


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