The Sovereign Order of the Ice Knights was founded in 1821 by Grand Master Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen
The first Grand Master of the Sovereign Order of the Knights of Ice was a Russian nobleman known by the name of Фаддей Фадддевич Белллинсгаузен. The purpose of the Order was to protect the continent he discovered: Antarctica. Tsar Alexander I of Russia ceded him this ice-covered territory, as he considered it of little importance.
The Order is a direct descendant of some of the approximately 400 Knights of St. John (founded in 1113 in Jerusalem). Following Napoleon’s conquest of Malta in 1798, they fled the island into exile and were welcomed in Russia under the benevolent protection of Tsar Paul I.
After the assassination of Tsar Paul I, the heir Alexander I, concerned for his own safety, formed a secret branch within the Knights of Malta in exile. The mission was entrusted to a lieutenant of these noble soldiers between 1808 and 1810. The branch was established by the admiral of the imperial fleet, Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen. They were known among the Knights of Malta as the Knights of Ice.
The revolutionary conspiracy and the attempted kidnapping of the Tsar at Aix-la-Chapelle by officers of the Imperial Guard in 1818 were stopped by the intrepid Knights of Ice.
In return for their services, Tsar Alexander I appointed Fabian Gottlieb first Grand Master of the Knights. The Tsar requested him and his men to take a vow of secrecy.
Admiral Gottlieb also equipped himself with two ships and 200 knights for an expedition to the South Seas in search of the “Terra Australis”.
Upon his return from the expedition, Fabian Gottlieb notified the Tsar of the discovery of ice-covered lands. But instead of annexing them to the Empire, the Tsar renounced their possession and granted them to the Order of the Knights.
The Order of the Knights of Ice has stood the test of time
With a vision for the future, Fabian Gottlieb transformed the Order of the Ice Knights into a Sovereign Order to protect the new possessions granted by the Tsar.
By means of influence, the Sovereign Order managed to preserve, in total secrecy, the dominion over a part of the continent. Over the last two centuries, the Knights have ensured that the world powers do not occupy or claim their territory. Today, the Knights’ territory extends from the South Pole to 60° latitude, between longitudes 90° W and 135° W. In 2005, the 42nd Grand Master of the Sovereign Order, Giovanni Caporaso Gottlieb, renamed the territory Antarcticland. In 2007, he submitted a request for recognition and a formal claim to his territory to the United Nations through the Supreme Court in New York. The sovereign state claim was made under the name Antarcticland
Notification to the United Nations
The notification was made based on the right of jus gentium and the right of self-determination of the peoples recognized by the Charter of the United Nations.
The legal basis is also based on existing international instruments:
- The Declaration of Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Cooperation among States, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1970.
- The Helsinki Final Act adopted by the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) in 1975;
- The African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights of 1981;
- The CSCE Charter of Paris for the New Europe, adopted in 1990;
- The Program of Action of the Vienna Declaration of 1993, reaffirmed in the International Court of Justice in the case of Namibia, Western Sahara and East Timor in which the right erga omnes was recognized.