The Antarctic Circle is the most southerly of the five major circles of latitude that mark maps of the Earth. The region south of this circle is known as the Antarctic, the position of the Antarctic Circle is not fixed, as of 9 April 2017, it runs 66°33′46. 6″ south of the Equator. Its latitude depends on the Earths axial tilt, which fluctuates within a margin of 2° over a 40, 000-year period, the Antarctic Circle is currently drifting southwards at a speed of about 15 m per year. Directly on the Antarctic Circle these events occur, in principle, exactly once per year, at the December and June solstices, respectively. That is true at sea level, those limits increase with elevation above sea level, in previous centuries some semi-permanent whaling stations were established on the continent, and some whalers would live there for a year or more. At least three children have been born in Antarctica, albeit in stations north of the Antarctic Circle, the Antarctic Circle is roughly 17,662 kilometres long.
The area south of the Circle is about 20,000,000 km2, the continent of Antarctica covers much of the area within the Antarctic Circle
Queen Maud Land
Queen Maud Land is a c.2.7 million-square-kilometre region of Antarctica claimed as a dependent territory by Norway. The territory lies between 20° west and 45° east, between the British Antarctic Territory to the west and the Australian Antarctic Territory to the east. On most maps there had been an area between Queen Maud Lands borders of 1939 and the South Pole until June 12,2015 when Norway formally annexed that area. Positioned in East Antarctica, the territory comprises about one-fifth of the area of Antarctica. The claim is named after the Norwegian queen Maud of Wales, Norwegian Hjalmar Riiser-Larsen was the first person known to have set foot in the territory, in 1930. On 14 January 1939, the territory was claimed by Norway, from 1939 until 1945, Nazi Germany claimed New Swabia, which consisted of part of Queen Maud Land. On 23 June 1961, Queen Maud Land became part of the Antarctic Treaty System and it is one of two Antarctic claims made by Norway, the other being Peter I Island. They are administrated by the Polar Affairs Department of the Norwegian Ministry of Justice, most of the territory is covered by the Antarctic ice sheet, and a tall ice wall stretches throughout its coast.
In some areas further within the ice sheet, mountain ranges breach through the ice, allowing for birds to breed, the region is divided into the Princess Martha Coast, Princess Astrid Coast, Princess Ragnhild Coast, Prince Harald Coast and Prince Olav Coast. The waters off the coast are called the King Haakon VII Sea, there is no permanent population, although there are 12 active research stations housing a maximum average of 40 scientists, the numbers fluctuating depending on the season. Six are occupied year-round, while the remainder are seasonal summer stations, the territory is estimated to cover around 2,700,000 square kilometres. The limits of the claim, put forth in 1939, did not fix the northern and southern limits other than as the beach in Antarctica. With the land lies beyond this beach and the sea beyond. The sea that extends off the coast between the limits of Queen Maud Land is generally called King Haakon VII Sea. There is no land at the coast, the coast consists of a 20-to-30-metre high wall of ice throughout almost the entire territory.
It is thus possible to disembark from a ship in a few places. The other major mountain ranges are the Heimefront Range, Orvin Mountains, Wohlthat Mountains, the ground of Queen Maud Land is dominated by Precambrian gneiss, formed c.1 to 1.2 Ga, before the creation of the supercontinent Gondwana. The mountains consist mostly of crystalline and granitic rocks, formed c.500 to 600 Ma in the Pan-African orogeny during the assembly of Gondwana, in the farthest western parts of the territory, there are younger sedimentary and volcanic rocks
The Equator usually refers to an imaginary line on the Earths surface equidistant from the North Pole and South Pole, dividing the Earth into the Northern Hemisphere and Southern Hemisphere. The Equator is about 40,075 kilometres long, some 78. 7% lies across water and 21. 3% over land, other planets and astronomical bodies have equators similarly defined. Generally, an equator is the intersection of the surface of a sphere with the plane that is perpendicular to the spheres axis of rotation. The latitude of the Earths equator is by definition 0° of arc, the equator is the only line of latitude which is a great circle — that is, one whose plane passes through the center of the globe. The plane of Earths equator when projected outwards to the celestial sphere defines the celestial equator, in the cycle of Earths seasons, the plane of the equator passes through the Sun twice per year, at the March and September equinoxes. To an observer on the Earth, the Sun appears to travel North or South over the equator at these times, light rays from the center of the Sun are perpendicular to the surface of the Earth at the point of solar noon on the Equator.
Locations on the Equator experience the quickest sunrises and sunsets because the sun moves nearly perpendicular to the horizon for most of the year. The Earth bulges slightly at the Equator, the diameter of the Earth is 12,750 kilometres. Because the Earth spins to the east, spacecraft must launch to the east to take advantage of this Earth-boost of speed, seasons result from the yearly revolution of the Earth around the Sun and the tilt of the Earths axis relative to the plane of revolution. During the year the northern and southern hemispheres are inclined toward or away from the sun according to Earths position in its orbit, the hemisphere inclined toward the sun receives more sunlight and is in summer, while the other hemisphere receives less sun and is in winter. At the equinoxes, the Earths axis is not tilted toward the sun, instead it is perpendicular to the sun meaning that the day is about 12 hours long, as is the night, across the whole of the Earth. Near the Equator there is distinction between summer, autumn, or spring.
The temperatures are usually high year-round—with the exception of high mountains in South America, the temperature at the Equator can plummet during rainstorms. In many tropical regions people identify two seasons, the wet season and the dry season, but many places close to the Equator are on the oceans or rainy throughout the year, the seasons can vary depending on elevation and proximity to an ocean. The Equator lies mostly on the three largest oceans, the Pacific Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Indian Ocean. The highest point on the Equator is at the elevation of 4,690 metres, at 0°0′0″N 77°59′31″W and this is slightly above the snow line, and is the only place on the Equator where snow lies on the ground. At the Equator the snow line is around 1,000 metres lower than on Mount Everest, the Equator traverses the land of 11 countries, it passes through two island nations, though without making a landfall in either. Starting at the Prime Meridian and heading eastwards, the Equator passes through, Despite its name, its island of Annobón is 155 km south of the Equator, and the rest of the country lies to the north
Its surface area amounts to 266,000 square kilometres. It is one of the most sparsely populated territories in the world, the population is estimated at just over 500,000, of which nearly 40% live in Laayoune, the largest city in Western Sahara. Occupied by Spain until the late 20th century, Western Sahara has been on the United Nations list of non-self-governing territories since 1963 after a Moroccan demand and it is the most populous territory on that list, and by far the largest in area. In 1965, the UN General Assembly adopted its first resolution on Western Sahara, one year later, a new resolution was passed by the General Assembly requesting that a referendum be held by Spain on self-determination. In 1975, Spain relinquished the control of the territory to a joint administration by Morocco. A war erupted between those countries and a Sahrawi nationalist movement, the Polisario Front, which proclaimed the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic with a government in exile in Tindouf, Algeria.
Mauritania withdrew its claims in 1979, and Morocco eventually secured de facto control of most of the territory, including all the major cities and natural resources. The United Nations considers the Polisario Front to be the representative of the Sahrawi people. As of 2017, no member state of the United Nations has ever recognized Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara. However, a number of countries have expressed their support for a recognition of the Moroccan annexation of the territory as an autonomous part of the Kingdom. Overall, the annexation has not garnered as much attention in the community as many other disputed annexations. Internationally, countries such as Russia have taken a generally ambiguous and neutral position on each sides claims, both Morocco and Polisario have sought to boost their claims by accumulating formal recognition, essentially from African and Latin American states in the developing world. The Polisario Front has won recognition for SADR from 37 states. Morocco has won recognition or support for its position from several African governments and from most of the Muslim world, in both instances, recognitions have, over the past two decades, been extended and withdrawn according to changing international trends.
Western Sahara is located in Northern Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean and it borders Algeria to the northeast. The land is some of the most arid and inhospitable on the planet, the land along the coast is low, flat desert and rises, especially in the north, to small mountains reaching up to 600 metres on the eastern side. While the area can experience flash flooding in the spring, there are no permanent streams, at times a cool off-shore current can produce fog and heavy dew. The earliest known inhabitants of Western Sahara were the Gaetuli, depending on the century, Roman-era sources describe the area as inhabited by Gaetulian Autololes or the Gaetulian Daradae tribes
The Dingle Peninsula is the northernmost of the major peninsulas in County Kerry. It ends beyond the town of Dingle at Dunmore Head, the westernmost point of Ireland, the Dingle Peninsula is named after the town of Dingle. The peninsula is commonly called Corca Dhuibhne even when those referring to it are speaking in English. Irelands highest mountain outside Macgillycuddys Reeks, Mount Brandon at 951 m, forms part of a high ridge with stunning views over the peninsula. The Blasket Islands lie off the west coast and they are famous for the literary and linguistic heritage of the former inhabitants. However, these islands have been uninhabited since the 1950s following an evacuation. The western end of the peninsula is a Gaeltacht that has produced a number of notable authors and poets, Ó Siochfhradha. This is the most western part of Ireland, and the village of Dún Chaoin is often referred to as the next parish to America. Músaem Chorca Dhuibhne, situated in the village of Baile an Fheirtéaraigh has exhibitions detailing the archaeology, some of the exhibitions include Ogham stones, artefacts from the excavations at the nearby monastic site of Riasc and objects on loan from the National Museum of Ireland.
The peninsula is known for the Ranga, a Spanish cargo vessel that wrecked on the coast in 1982. Far and Away, a 1992 film directed by Ron Howard, was filmed on the peninsula. The film Leap Year is partly set in the Dingle Peninsula, but none of the filming took place in the area
The South Pole, known as the Geographic South Pole or Terrestrial South Pole, is one of the two points where the Earths axis of rotation intersects its surface. It is the southernmost point on the surface of the Earth, situated on the continent of Antarctica, it is the site of the United States Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station, which was established in 1956 and has been permanently staffed since that year. The Geographic South Pole should not be confused with the South Magnetic Pole, the South Pole is at the center of the Southern Hemisphere. For most purposes, the Geographic South Pole is defined as the point of the two points where the Earths axis of rotation intersects its surface. However, the Earths axis of rotation is actually subject to very small wobbles, the geographic coordinates of the South Pole are usually given simply as 90°S, since its longitude is geometrically undefined and irrelevant. When a longitude is desired, it may be given as 0°, at the South Pole, all directions face north.
For this reason, directions at the Pole are given relative to grid north, along tight latitude circles, clockwise is east, and counterclockwise is west, opposite to the North Pole. The Geographic South Pole is located on the continent of Antarctica. It sits atop a featureless, barren and icy plateau at an altitude of 2,835 metres above sea level, and is located about 1,300 km from the nearest open sea at Bay of Whales. The ice is estimated to be about 2,700 metres thick at the Pole, the polar ice sheet is moving at a rate of roughly 10 metres per year in a direction between 37° and 40° west of grid north, down towards the Weddell Sea. Therefore, the position of the station and other artificial features relative to the geographic pole gradually shift over time. The Geographic South Pole is marked by a stake in the ice alongside a small sign, these are repositioned each year in a ceremony on New Years Day to compensate for the movement of the ice. The sign records the respective dates that Roald Amundsen and Robert F.
Scott reached the Pole, followed by a quotation from each man. A new marker stake is designed and fabricated each year by staff at the site, the Ceremonial South Pole is an area set aside for photo opportunities at the South Pole Station. It is located around 180 metres from the Geographic South Pole, Amundsens Tent, The tent was erected by the Norwegian expedition led by Roald Amundsen on its arrival on 14 December 1911. It is currently buried beneath the snow and ice in the vicinity of the Pole and it has been designated a Historic Site or Monument, following a proposal by Norway to the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting. In 1820, several expeditions claimed to have been the first to have sighted Antarctica, with the very first being the Russian expedition led by Faddey Bellingshausen and Mikhail Lazarev. The first landing was probably just over a year when American Captain John Davis, the basic geography of the Antarctic coastline was not understood until the mid-to-late 19th century
Morocco, officially known as the Kingdom of Morocco, is a sovereign country located in the Maghreb region of North Africa. Geographically, Morocco is characterized by a mountainous interior, large tracts of desert. Morocco has a population of over 33.8 million and an area of 446,550 km2 and its capital is Rabat, and the largest city is Casablanca. Other major cities include Marrakesh, Tetouan, Salé, Agadir, Oujda, Kenitra, a historically prominent regional power, Morocco has a history of independence not shared by its neighbours. Marinid and Saadi dynasties continued the struggle against foreign domination, the Alaouite dynasty, the current ruling dynasty, seized power in 1666. In 1912 Morocco was divided into French and Spanish protectorates, with a zone in Tangier. Moroccan culture is a blend of Arab, indigenous Berber, Sub-Saharan African, Morocco claims the non-self-governing territory of Western Sahara as its Southern Provinces. Morocco annexed the territory in 1975, leading to a war with indigenous forces until a cease-fire in 1991.
Peace processes have thus far failed to break the political deadlock, Morocco is a constitutional monarchy with an elected parliament. The King of Morocco holds vast executive and legislative powers, especially over the military, foreign policy, the king can issue decrees called dahirs which have the force of law. He can dissolve the parliament after consulting the Prime Minister, Moroccos predominant religion is Islam, and the official languages are Arabic and Tamazight. The Moroccan dialect, referred to as Darija, and French are widely spoken, Morocco is a member of the Arab League, the Union for the Mediterranean, and the African Union. It has the fifth largest economy of Africa, the full Arabic name al-Mamlakah al-Maghribiyyah translates to Kingdom of the West, although the West in Arabic is الغرب Al-Gharb. The basis of Moroccos English name is Marrakesh, its capital under the Almoravid dynasty, the origin of the name Marrakesh is disputed, but is most likely from the Berber words amur akush or Land of God.
The modern Berber name for Marrakesh is Mṛṛakc, in Turkish, Morocco is known as Fas, a name derived from its ancient capital of Fes. The English name Morocco is an anglicisation of the Spanish Marruecos, the area of present-day Morocco has been inhabited since Paleolithic times, sometime between 190,000 and 90,000 BC. During the Upper Paleolithic, the Maghreb was more fertile than it is today, twenty-two thousand years ago, the Aterian was succeeded by the Iberomaurusian culture, which shared similarities with Iberian cultures. Skeletal similarities have been suggested between the Iberomaurusian Mechta-Afalou burials and European Cro-Magnon remains, the Iberomaurusian was succeeded by the Beaker culture in Morocco
A prime meridian is a meridian in a geographical coordinate system at which longitude is defined to be 0°. Together, a meridian and its antimeridian form a great circle. This great circle divides the sphere, e. g. the Earth, if one uses directions of East and West from a defined prime meridian, they can be called Eastern Hemisphere and Western Hemisphere. The most widely used modern meridian is the IERS Reference Meridian and it is derived but deviates slightly from the Greenwich Meridian, which was selected as an international standard in 1884. The notion of longitude was developed by the Greek Eratosthenes in Alexandria, and Hipparchus in Rhodes, but it was Ptolemy who first used a consistent meridian for a world map in his Geographia. The main point is to be comfortably west of the tip of Africa as negative numbers were not yet in use. His prime meridian corresponds to 18°40 west of Winchester today, at that time the chief method of determining longitude was by using the reported times of lunar eclipses in different countries.
Ptolemys Geographia was first printed with maps at Bologna in 1477, but there was still a hope that a natural basis for a prime meridian existed. The Tordesillas line was settled at 370 leagues west of Cape Verde. This is shown in Diogo Ribeiros 1529 map, in 1541, Mercator produced his famous 41 cm terrestrial globe and drew his prime meridian precisely through Fuertaventura in the Canaries. His maps used the Azores, following the magnetic hypothesis, but by the time that Ortelius produced the first modern atlas in 1570, other islands such as Cape Verde were coming into use. In his atlas longitudes were counted from 0° to 360°, not 180°W to 180°E as is usual today and this practice was followed by navigators well into the 18th century. In 1634, Cardinal Richelieu used the westernmost island of the Canaries, Ferro, 19°55 west of Paris, the geographer Delisle decided to round this off to 20°, so that it simply became the meridian of Paris disguised. In the early 18th century the battle was on to improve the determination of longitude at sea, between 1765 and 1811, Nevil Maskelyne published 49 issues of the Nautical Almanac based on the meridian of the Royal Observatory, Greenwich.
Maskelynes tables not only made the lunar method practicable, they made the Greenwich meridian the universal reference point. In 1884, at the International Meridian Conference in Washington, D. C.22 countries voted to adopt the Greenwich meridian as the meridian of the world. The French argued for a line, mentioning the Azores and the Bering Strait. In October 1884 the Greenwich Meridian was selected by delegates to the International Meridian Conference held in Washington, united States to be the common zero of longitude and standard of time reckoning throughout the world
Guinea /ˈɡɪni/, officially the Republic of Guinea, is a country on the West coast of Africa. Guinea has a population of 10.5 million and an area of 245,860 square kilometres, the president is directly elected by the people and is head of state and head of government. The unicameral Guinean National Assembly is the body of the country. The judicial branch is led by the Guinea Supreme Court, the highest, the country is named after the Guinea region. Guinea is a name for the region of Africa that lies along the Gulf of Guinea. It stretches north through the tropical regions and ends at the Sahel. Guinea is a predominantly Islamic country, with Muslims representing 85 percent of the population, Guineas people belong to twenty-four ethnic groups. French, the language of Guinea, is the main language of communication in schools, in government administration, and the media. Guineas economy is dependent on agriculture and mineral production. It is the second largest producer of bauxite, and has rich deposits of diamonds.
The country was at the core of the 2014 Ebola outbreak, human rights in Guinea remain a controversial issue. In 2011 the United States government claimed that torture by security forces, the land that is now Guinea belonged to a series of African empires until France colonized it in the 1890s, and made it part of French West Africa. Guinea declared its independence from France on 2 October 1958, from independence until the presidential election of 2010, Guinea was governed by a number of autocratic rulers. What is now Guinea was on the fringes of the major West African empires, the Ghana Empire is believed to be the earliest of these which grew on trade but contracted and ultimately fell due to the hostile influence of the Almoravids. It was in period that Islam first arrived in the region. The Mali Empire was ruled by Mansa, the most famous being Kankou Moussa, shortly after his reign the Mali Empire began to decline and was ultimately supplanted by its vassal states in the 15th century. The most successful of these was the Songhai Empire, which expanded its power from about 1460 and it continued to prosper until a civil war over succession followed the death of Askia Daoud in 1582.
The weakened empire fell to invaders from Morocco at the Battle of Tondibi just three years later, the Moroccans proved unable to rule the kingdom effectively, and it split into many small kingdoms
Mauritania /mɔːrɪˈteɪniə/, officially the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, is a country in the Maghreb region of western Africa. The country derives its name from the ancient Berber Kingdom of Mauretania, approximately 90% of Mauritanias land is within the Sahara and consequently the population is concentrated in the south, where precipitation is slightly higher. The capital and largest city is Nouakchott, located on the Atlantic coast, the government was overthrown on 6 August 2008, in a military coup détat led by General Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz. On 16 April 2009, Aziz resigned from the military to run for president in the 19 July elections, about 20% of Mauritanians live on less than US$1.25 per day. Mauritania suffers from several human rights issues, including slavery, as at least 4% of the population are enslaved against their will, the Bafours were primarily agriculturalist, and among the first Saharan people to abandon their historically nomadic lifestyle. With the gradual desiccation of the Sahara, they headed south, many of the Berber tribes claimed Yemeni origins.
There is little evidence to such claims, but a 2000 DNA study of Yemeni people suggested there might be some ancient connection between the peoples. Other peoples migrated south past the Sahara to West Africa, in 1076, Moorish Islamic warrior monks attacked and conquered the large area of the ancient Ghana Empire. Over the next 500 years, Arabs overcame fierce resistance from the population to dominate Mauritania. The Char Bouba war was the final effort of the peoples to repel the Yemeni Maqil Arab invaders. The invaders were led by the Beni Hassan tribe, the descendants of the Beni Hassan warriors became the upper stratum of Moorish society. Hassaniya, a Berber-influenced Arabic dialect that derives its name from the Beni Hassan, berbers retained a niche influence by producing the majority of the regions marabouts, those who preserve and teach Islamic tradition. Imperial France gradually absorbed the territories of present-day Mauritania from the Senegal River area and upwards, in 1901, Xavier Coppolani took charge of the imperial mission.
Through a combination of strategic alliances with Zawiya tribes, and military pressure on the Hassane warrior nomads, he managed to extend French rule over the Mauritanian emirates. Trarza and Tagant quickly submitted to treaties with the colonial power, Adrar was finally defeated militarily in 1912, and incorporated into the territory of Mauritania, which had been drawn up and planned in 1904. Mauritania was part of French West Africa from 1920, French rule brought legal prohibitions against slavery and an end to inter-clan warfare. During the colonial period, 90% of the population remained nomadic, many sedentary peoples, whose ancestors had been expelled centuries earlier, began to trickle back into Mauritania. After gaining independence, larger numbers of indigenous Sub-Saharan African peoples entered Mauritania, educated in French language and customs, many of these recent arrivals became clerks and administrators in the new state
New Swabia was explored by Germany in early 1939 and named after that expeditions ship, the Schwabenland, itself named after the German region of Swabia. Like many other countries, Germany sent expeditions to the Antarctic region in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, as the 19th century ended Germany began to focus on Antarctica. The first German expedition to Antarctica was the Gauss expedition from 1901 to 1903, led by Arctic veteran and geology professor Erich von Drygalski, this was the first expedition to use a hot-air balloon in Antarctica. It found and named Kaiser Wilhelm II Land, the second German Antarctic expedition was led by Wilhelm Filchner with a goal of crossing Antarctica to learn if it was one piece of land. As happened with such early attempts, the crossing failed before it even began. The expedition discovered and named the Luitpold Coast and the Filchner Ice Shelf, a German whaling fleet was put to sea in 1937 and, upon its successful return in early 1938, plans for a third German Antarctic expedition were drawn up.
The third German Antarctic Expedition was led by Alfred Ritscher, a captain in the German Navy, the main purpose was to find an area in Antarctica for a German whaling station, as a way to increase Germany’s production of fat. Besides the disadvantage of being dependent on imports, it was thought that Germany would soon be at war, another goal was to scout possible locations for a German naval base. On 17 December 1938 the New Swabia Expedition left Hamburg for Antarctica aboard the MS Schwabenland which could carry, the secret expedition had 33 members plus the Schwabenlands crew of 24. On 19 January 1939 the ship arrived at the Princess Martha Coast, in an area which had lately been claimed by Norway as Queen Maud Land, nazi German flags were placed on the sea ice along the coast. Seven photographic survey flights were made by the ship’s two Dornier Wal seaplanes named Passat and Boreas, eight more flights were made to areas of keen interest and on these trips some of the photos were taken with colour film.
Altogether they flew over hundreds of thousands of kilometres and took more than 16,000 aerial photographs. On its return trip to Germany the expedition made oceanographic studies near Bouvet Island and Fernando de Noronha, meanwhile the Norwegian government had learned about the expedition through reports from whalers along the coast of Queen Maud Land. Because the area was first explored by a German expedition, the name Neuschwabenland is still used for the region on some maps, some geographic features mapped by the expedition were not named until the Norwegian-British-Swedish Antarctic Expedition, led by John Schjelderup Giæver. Others were not named until they were remapped from aerial photographs taken by the Norwegian Antarctic Expedition, Germany made no formal territorial claims to New Swabia. No whaling station or other lasting bases were built there by Germany until the Georg-von-Neumayer-Station, germanys current Neumayer-Station III is in the region. List of Antarctic expeditions D. T.
Murphy, German exploration of the polar world
It contains the geographic South Pole and is situated in the Antarctic region of the Southern Hemisphere, almost entirely south of the Antarctic Circle, and is surrounded by the Southern Ocean. At 14,000,000 square kilometres, it is the fifth-largest continent, for comparison, Antarctica is nearly twice the size of Australia. About 98% of Antarctica is covered by ice that averages 1.9 km in thickness, Antarctica, on average, is the coldest and windiest continent, and has the highest average elevation of all the continents. Antarctica is a desert, with precipitation of only 200 mm along the coast. The temperature in Antarctica has reached −89.2 °C, though the average for the quarter is −63 °C. Anywhere from 1,000 to 5,000 people reside throughout the year at the research stations scattered across the continent. Organisms native to Antarctica include many types of algae, fungi, protista, where it occurs, is tundra. The continent, remained neglected for the rest of the 19th century because of its hostile environment, lack of easily accessible resources.
In 1895, the first confirmed landing was conducted by a team of Norwegians, Antarctica is a de facto condominium, governed by parties to the Antarctic Treaty System that have consulting status. Twelve countries signed the Antarctic Treaty in 1959, and thirty-eight have signed it since then, the treaty prohibits military activities and mineral mining, prohibits nuclear explosions and nuclear waste disposal, supports scientific research, and protects the continents ecozone. Ongoing experiments are conducted by more than 4,000 scientists from many nations, the name Antarctica is the romanised version of the Greek compound word ἀνταρκτική, feminine of ἀνταρκτικός, meaning opposite to the Arctic, opposite to the north. Aristotle wrote in his book Meteorology about an Antarctic region in c.350 B. C, marinus of Tyre reportedly used the name in his unpreserved world map from the 2nd century A. D. Before acquiring its present geographical connotations, the term was used for locations that could be defined as opposite to the north.
For example, the short-lived French colony established in Brazil in the 16th century was called France Antarctique, the first formal use of the name Antarctica as a continental name in the 1890s is attributed to the Scottish cartographer John George Bartholomew. Antarctica has no population and there is no evidence that it was seen by humans until the 19th century. Explorer Matthew Flinders, in particular, has credited with popularising the transfer of the name Terra Australis to Australia. Cook came within about 120 km of the Antarctic coast before retreating in the face of ice in January 1773. The first confirmed sighting of Antarctica can be narrowed down to the crews of ships captained by three individuals, according to various organisations, ships captained by three men sighted Antarctica or its ice shelf in 1820, von Bellingshausen, Edward Bransfield, and Nathaniel Palmer