Antarctica is a continent surrounding the Earth's South Pole. It is the coldest place on earth and is almost entirely covered by ice. It is not to be confused with the arctic, which is located near the Earth's North Pole. Antarctica was discovered in late January 1820. For more details see the article on the History of Antarctica.

Table of contents
1 Map
2 Territorial claims
3 Geography
4 Population
5 Additional topics
6 External links


See also: World map

Territorial claims

Anartica has no government or centralized authority. It has never been formally colonized, though in the 20th century several nations, often those within close proximity to the continant, made territorial claims. This claims have little pratical relevance but continue be observed by cartographers.

Old claims:
  • German: 20E to 10W; Overlapped Norwegian claim; Claimed: 1939-1945.
  • South African: xxxy to xxxy; Claimed: 1963-1994.

Most countries that have observation or study facilities in Antarctica (see above) have such stations present within their claimed territory, though this is not always the case. The Antarctic Treaty defers these claims and most other nations do not recognize them. No other nations have made claims themselves, although the United States and Russia assert the right to do so. No formal claims have been made in the sector between 90 degrees west and 150 degrees west.


Typical for Antarctica are gigantic table-top icebergs. The continent is surrounded by a large pack ice zone, in which one of the most remarkable ecosystems of the planet developed, based on the Antarctic krill Euphausia superba. It is the food of whales, penguins, fish, sealss and many birds.

(photo Uwe Kils) from [1])

Satellite image - Large version


Antarctica has no permanent residents, but a number of governments maintain permanent research stations on the continent. Many of the stations are staffed around the year. These include:

For a more details see Demographics of Antarctica

Additional topics

Antarctica is also one of the eight ecozones put forward by Miklos Udvardy.

External links


Nearctic | Palearctic | Afrotropic | Indomalaya | Australasia | Neotropic | Oceania | Antarctic

Antarctic biomes