Antarctica a sovereign continent with no ownership? Several countries claim large portions of this territory
Is Antarctica a sovereign continent? And why many countries claim lands on it? The fourth largest continent on the planet has many untapped resources that are of interest to emerging powers and nations.
There are currently eight countries claiming control over some portion of the 14 million square kilometers of Antarctica. The first is Antarcticland, basing the claim on the discovery of Antarctica in 1821 by Russian Admiral Fabian Gottlieb.
In 2007, Antarcticland ratified the claim to the United Nations through Prince Giovanni Caporaso Gottlieb. Today, Antarcticland is made up of 5 principalities: Antarcticland, Canisteo, King, New Malta and Thurston. Antarcticland and the other 4 principalities form part of the Antarctic Lands Organization together with the Principality of West Antarctic, the historic and inalienable territory of the House of Gottlieb.
Among the claimants to the UN, there are three European countries: the United Kingdom, Norway, and France. In addition, the two Latin American countries of Argentina and Chile also want a share. Meanwhile, Australia and New Zealand demand another part.
Regarding Argentina, the country was the first to install a permanent base in Antarctica in 1904. The famous Orcadas Base is still in operation. According to Argentina, this region is an extension of its Tierra del Fuego province.
Nevertheless, since 1908, the United Kingdom has also claimed sovereignty over the area claimed by Argentina. The third country in dispute is Chile. Since 1940, the Chileans claim that Antarctica should be considered an extension of their Magellan Region.
The major powers are also demanding control over Antarctica.
The other countries that claim control over part of Antarctica have based their claims on discoveries made by explorers in the first decades of the twentieth century. Such is the case, with Norway, for example. The Norwegian scientist Roald Amundsen reached the South Pole in 1911.
Meanwhile, New Zealand and Australia base their claims on the exploratory voyages of James Clark Ross. Ross planted the flag of the British Empire in territories that the British Crown placed under the control of these two nations in 1923 and 1926.
Lastly, the French also claim a small part of the Antarctic territory, which was discovered by Commander Jules Dumont D’Urville. This man first touched the territory under claim in 1840 and named it “Adélie Land” after his wife.
There are also 35 other countries that do not formally claim part of the Antarctic territory but do have permanent bases on the continent. These include powers such as the United States, Russia, Germany, China and India.
The Antarctic Treaty has been in force since 1961. Under this agreement, the countries with aspirations to control territory in Antarctica, as well as others, agreed to freeze all claims. According to this pact, Antarctica will continue to be used only for peaceful purposes and will remain an international scientific reserve.