Claims of Antarctica

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Country overview: 

ISO codeAQ
Time zoneZones


Several countries have laid claim to territory in Antarctica. The Antarctic Treaty took effect on 1961-06-23, having been ratified by all the claimant nations and a number of others. By its terms, all territorial disputes in Antarctica were suspended. The claimants were not required to relax their claims. No new claims would be allowed. The treaty would be renewed periodically. Until further disposal of the claims, the continent was open to all legitimate uses. The area covered by the treaty is everything south of latitude 60 degrees South. This encompasses all of the Antarctic continent and adjacent islands.

Time zone note: Antarctic research stations generally observe the same time standard as their supply bases. Palmer Station follows mainland Chile time (-4 ~). Amundsen-Scott Station (at the South Pole), McMurdo Station, and Scott Station on Ross Island all follow New Zealand time (+12 ~). This leads to the paradox that at the South Pole, where there is no daylight in the winter and nothing but daylight in the summer, clocks are set forward each spring and backward each fall to "save daylight." For more complete information, see the Antarctica Time Zones page.

Other names of country: 

  1. Danish: Antarktis
  2. French: Antarctique m
  3. German: Antarktis
  4. Italian: Antartide
  5. Norwegian: Antarktis
  6. Portuguese: Antártida f
  7. Spanish: Antártida
  8. Turkish: Antarktika

Origin of name: 

Antipode of the Arctic. Arctic < Greek arktos: bear (for the constellations of the Great and Little Bear)

Primary subdivisions: 

These divisions are obviously not the administrative divisions of a political whole. However, they appear to be the most useful way of subdividing Antarctica.

ClaimHASCWest endEast end
UnclaimedAQ.NT150° W.90° W.
Chile ClaimAQ.CL90° W.80° W.
Chile/UK ClaimAQ.CU80° W.74° W.
Chile/UK/Argentina ClaimAQ.CA74° W.53° W.
Argentina/UK ClaimAQ.AK53° W.25° W.
United Kingdom ClaimAQ.UK25° W.20° W.
Norway ClaimAQ.NO20° W.45° E.
Australia ClaimAQ.AU45° E.136° E.
142° E.160° E.
France ClaimAQ.FR136° E.142° E.
New Zealand ClaimAQ.NZ160° E.150° W.

Territorial extent: 

  1. Unclaimed includes Marie Byrd Land, part of Ellsworth Land, and Peter I Island. Peter I Island is an exception to the unclaimed status. It is claimed by Norway as a dependency.
  2. Chile Claim includes part of Ellsworth Land.
  3. Chile/UK Claim includes part of Ellsworth Land.
  4. Chile/UK/Argentina Claim includes part of Ellsworth Land and the Antarctic Peninsula (Graham Land, Palmer Land). There are also numerous islands, including the South Shetland Islands, of which King George Island is the largest. Prior to the Antarctic Treaty, the South Shetlands and South Orkneys were part of the Falkland Islands Dependencies.
  5. Argentina/UK Claim includes part of Coats Land, part of Berkner Island, and the South Orkney Islands, of which the largest is Coronation Island.
  6. United Kingdom Claim is part of Coats Land.
  7. Norway Claim is Queen Maud Land.
  8. Australia Claim includes Enderby Land, Wilkes Land, and part of Victoria Land.
  9. France Claim is Adélie Land.
  10. New Zealand Claim includes part of Victoria Land, most of the Ross Ice Shelf, the Balleny Islands, and Sturge Island.
  11. The Argentine claim has an area of about 1,230,000 sq. km. If Argentina's claim were recognized, it would be part of the territory of Tierra del Fuego, Antártida e Islas del Atlántico Sur.
  12. The Australian claim has an area of about 6,115,000 sq. km. If Australia's claim were recognized, this area would be an external territory of Australia, named Australian Antarctic Territory.
  13. The Chilean claim has an area of 1,270,000 sq. km. If Chile's claim were recognized, this area would be part of the Chilean region of Magallanes.
  14. The French claim has an area of about 430,000 sq. km. If France's claim were recognized, this area would be part of French Southern and Antarctic Territories (treated as a country in this book).
  15. The New Zealander claim has an area of about 420,000 sq. km. If New Zealand's claim were recognized, it would be an overseas territory of New Zealand, named Ross Dependency.
  16. If Norway's claim were recognized, it would be a dependency of Norway, named Queen Maud Land.
  17. The British claim has an area of about 1,710,000 sq. km. If the United Kingdom's claim were recognized, it would be a territory named British Antarctic Territory.
  18. The total area of Antarctica is about 14,000,000 sq. km.

The UN LOCODE page  for Antarctica lists locations in the country, some of them with their latitudes and longitudes, some with their ISO 3166-2 codes for their subdivisions. This information can be put together to approximate the territorial extent of subdivisions.

Origins of names: 

  1. Adélie Land: named by the French explorer Jules Dumont d'Urville for his wife Adèle.
  2. Ellsworth Land: named for American explorer Lincoln Ellsworth.
  3. Enderby Land: named for the whaling company, Samuel Enderby & Sons, that financed the expedition which discovered it.
  4. Queen Maud Land: named for Queen Maud, consort of Haakon VII of Norway, daughter of Edward VII of England.
  5. Ross Dependency (New Zealand Claim): named for Sir James Clark Ross, a British Antarctic explorer.

Other names of subdivisions: 

  1. Adélie Land: Terra Adelia (Italian); Terre Adélia (Portuguese); Terre Adélie (French)
  2. British Antarctic Territory: Falkland Islands Dependency (obsolete); Territorio Antartico Britannico (Italian); Território Britânico da Antárctica (Portuguese)
  3. Peter I Island: Peter I Øy (Norwegian)
  4. Queen Maud Land: Dronning Maud Land (Norwegian); Königin-Maud-Land (German); Terra da Rainha Maud (Portuguese); Terra Regina Maud (Italian); Terre de la Reine-Maud (French)
  5. Ross Dependency: Dependência de Ross (Portuguese)
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