Impressment, colloquially "the press" or the "press gang", is the taking of men into a military or naval force by compulsion, with or without notice. Navies of several nations used forced recruitment by various means; the large size of the British Royal Navy in the Age of Sail meant impressment was most associated with Britain. It was used by the Royal Navy in wartime, beginning in 1664 and during the 18th and early 19th centuries as a means of crewing warships, although legal sanction for the practice can be traced back to the time of Edward I of England; the Royal Navy impressed many merchant sailors, as well as some sailors from other European, nations. People liable to impressment were "eligible men of seafaring habits between the ages of 18 and 55 years". Non-seamen were impressed as well. Impressment was criticized by those who believed it to be contrary to the British constitution. Though the public opposed conscription in general, impressment was upheld by the courts, as it was deemed vital to the strength of the navy and, by extension, to the survival of the British influence and realm.
Impressment was a Royal Navy practice, reflecting the size of the British fleet and its substantial manpower demands. While other European navies applied forced recruitment in times of war, this was done as an extension of the practice of formal conscription applied by most European armies from the Napoleonic Wars on; the U. S. Continental Navy applied a form of impressment during the American War of Independence; the impressment of seamen from American ships caused serious tensions between Britain and the Thirteen Colonies in the years leading up to the Revolutionary War. One of the 27 colonial grievances directly highlights the practice, it was again a cause of tension leading up to the War of 1812. After the defeat of Napoleon in 1814, Britain ended the practice. Working and living conditions for the average sailor in the Royal Navy in the 18th century were harsh by modern standards. Naval pay was attractive in the 1750s, but towards the end of the century its value had been eroded by rising prices.
Sailors' pay on merchant ships was somewhat higher during peacetime, could increase to double naval pay during wartime. Until 19th-century reforms improved conditions, the Royal Navy was additionally known to pay wages up to two years in arrears, it always withheld six months' pay to discourage desertion. Naval wages had been set in 1653, were not increased until April 1797 after sailors on 80 ships of the Channel Fleet based at Spithead mutinied. Despite this, there were many volunteers for naval service; the work for individual sailors was less than on merchant ships as the naval crew size was determined by the number needed to man guns, around four times the number of crew needed to sail the ship. While the food supplied by the Navy was plentiful and good by the standards of the day and governments estimated that 50% of the sailors on a given voyage would die due to scurvy; the main problem with recruitment, was a shortage of qualified seamen during wartime, when the Navy had to recruit an extra 20,000 to 40,000 men.
Privateers, the Royal Navy, the Merchant Navy all competed for a small pool of ordinary and able seamen in wartime, all three groups were short-handed. The recruitment figures presented to Parliament for the years 1755–1757 list 70,566 men, of whom 33,243 were volunteers, 16,953 pressed men, while another 20,370 were listed as volunteers separately. Although there are no records that explain why volunteers were separated into two groups, it is these were pressed men who became "volunteers" to get the sign-up bonus, two months' wages in advance and a higher wage. Volunteering protected the sailor from creditors, as the law forbade collecting debts accrued before enlistment; the main disadvantage was that enlisted deserters who were recaptured would be hanged, whereas pressed men would be returned to service. Other records confirm similar percentages throughout the 18th century. Average annual recruitment 1736–1783 All three groups suffered high levels of desertion. In the 18th century, British desertion rates on naval ships averaged 25% annually, with slight difference between volunteers and pressed men.
The rate of desertion started high fell after a few months on board a ship, became negligible after a year — because Navy pay ran months or years in arrears, desertion might mean not only abandoning companions in the ship's company, but the loss of a large amount of money earned. If a naval ship had taken a prize, a deserting seaman would forfeit his share of the prize money. In a report on proposed changes to the RN written by Admiral Nelson in 1803, he noted that since 1793 more than 42,000 sailors had deserted; the Impress Service was formed to force sailors to serve on naval vessels. There was no concept of "joining the navy" as a fixed career-path for non-officers at the time since seamen remained attached to a ship only for the duration of its commission, they were encouraged to stay in the Navy after the commission but could leave to seek other employment when the ship was paid off. Impressment relied on the legal power of the King to call men to military service, as well as to recruit volunteers (who were paid a bounty upon joining, unlike presse
Master's mate is an obsolete rating, used by the Royal Navy, United States Navy and merchant services in both countries for a senior petty officer who assisted the master. Master's mates evolved into the modern rank of Sub-Lieutenant in the Royal Navy, while in the merchant service they evolved into the numbered mates or officers. A master's mate was an experienced petty officer who assisted the master but was not in line for promotion to lieutenant. By the mid-eighteenth century, he was far more to be a superior midshipman, still waiting to pass his examination for lieutenant or to receive his commission, but taking rather more responsibility aboard ship. Six master's mates were allowed on a first rate, three on a third rate, two on most frigates. Master's mates were experienced seamen, were selected from the ranks of the quartermasters, who they supervised, or from the ranks of midshipmen who wanted more responsibility aboard ship. Master's mates were allowed to command vessels, walk the quarterdeck, mess in the gunroom with the other warrant officers.
Master's mates were responsible for fitting out the ship, making sure they had all the sailing supplies necessary for the voyage. They hoisted and lowered the anchor, docked and undocked the ship, they would examine the ship daily, notifying the master if there were problems with the sails, ropes, or pulleys. They executed the orders of the master, would command in his place if he was sick or absent. Master's mates worked on a three-watch system, with the lieutenants, so that one served as the deputy to the lieutenant on each watch. Master's mates assisted the master in navigating the ship and directly supervised the quartermasters in steering the ship; the master's mate with the highest seniority was appointed the head of the midshipman's berth and was responsible for teaching mathematics and sailing lore. Master's mates had to keep detailed logs similar to midshipmen, they were responsible for the division of the crew that included the petty officers. Second master was a rating introduced in 1753 that indicated a deputy master on 3rd rate ships of the line or larger.
Master's mates acted as Second Master of vessels too small to be allocated a warranted Master. They were paid more than master's mates, £5 5s per month. A second master was a master's mate who had passed his examination for master and was deemed worthy of being master of a vessel. Second masters were given the first opportunity for master vacancies. Passed midshipmen awaiting promotion elected to become master's mates. Though formally the rating did not lead to promotion to lieutenant, master's mates were paid more than any other rating and were the only ratings allowed to command any sort of vessel. A midshipman who became master's mate earned an increase in pay from £1 13s 6p to £3 16s per month, but reduced his chances at a commission. Over time, however, an appointment of master's mate became considered a normal part of the path to a commission. By the first years of the nineteenth century, the prefix "master's" was dropped for passed midshipman, to distinguish them from master's mates in the navigator's branch.
In 1824 two further grades were introduced, consisting of master's assistants and second-class volunteers. These corresponded to midshipmen and first-class volunteers in the executive line. From this point, passed midshipmen had the rating master's mate, abbreviated as mate, prospective masters had the rating master's assistant; these changes helped eliminate the confusion caused by the mingling of midshipmen in the navigator's branch. In 1838 a Royal Commission, presided over by the Duke of Wellington, recommended the institution of the rank of mate as an official step between midshipman and lieutenant. By 1840 there were two separate "ladders" for promotion: In 1861 mate was abolished in favor of sub-lieutenant; this made no practical difference to the officers in question since they continued to receive the same pay as before. But the new title was more distinctive. In 1867, master was renamed navigating-lieutenant, so at the same time second master was renamed navigating sub-lieutenant and the master's assistant was renamed navigating midshipman.
Mate was revived in 1913 for the accelerated promotion of promising ratings, mates ranked with sub-lieutenants but messed separately. In 1931 the title was abandoned again, mates were re-mustered as sub-lieutenants. In the U. S. Navy, the rank of master's mate was established 1797 as a warrant officer rank, but it was disestablished in 1813. After 1843 no more warrants were issued but those, appointed continued to hold their office and received their pay. In 1865, it was replaced by the rating mate. By an act of the United States Congress in 1906, the mates on the U. S. Navy retired list were promoted to the next higher grade if they had creditable American Civil War service, which most of them had, they were rated with the lowest grade of warrant officer. Master's mate was re-established in 1838 as a rating for experienced seamen, was not considered a Warrant rank. At the same time sailing master was renamed master, master commandant was renamed commander, some masters were commissioned as officers, formally "Master in line for
The Northwest Passage is, from the European and northern Atlantic point of view, the sea route to the Pacific Ocean through the Arctic Ocean, along the northern coast of North America via waterways through the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. The eastern route along the Arctic coasts of Norway and Siberia is accordingly called the Northeast Passage; the various islands of the archipelago are separated from one another and from the Canadian mainland by a series of Arctic waterways collectively known as the Northwest Passages or Northwestern Passages. For centuries, European explorers sought a navigable passage as a possible trade route to Asia. An ice-bound northern route was discovered in 1850 by the Irish explorer Robert McClure; until 2009, the Arctic pack ice prevented regular marine shipping throughout most of the year. Arctic sea ice decline has rendered the waterways more navigable for ice navigation; the contested sovereignty claims over the waters may complicate future shipping through the region: the Canadian government maintains that the Northwestern Passages are part of Canadian Internal Waters, but the United States and various European countries claim that they are an international strait and transit passage, allowing free and unencumbered passage.
If, as has been claimed, parts of the eastern end of the Passage are 15 metres deep, the route's viability as a Euro-Asian shipping route is reduced. A Chinese shipping line is planning regular voyages of cargo ships using the passage to the eastern United States and Europe, after a successful passage by Nordic Orion of 73,500 tonnes deadweight tonnage in September 2013. Loaded, Nordic Orion sat too deep in the water to sail through the Panama Canal. Before the Little Ice Age, Norwegian Vikings sailed as far north and west as Ellesmere Island, Skraeling Island and Ruin Island for hunting expeditions and trading with the Inuit and people of the Dorset culture who inhabited the region. Between the end of the 15th century and the 20th century, colonial powers from Europe dispatched explorers in an attempt to discover a commercial sea route north and west around North America; the Northwest Passage represented a new route to the established trading nations of Asia. England called the hypothetical northern route the "Northwest Passage".
The desire to establish such a route motivated much of the European exploration of both coasts of North America. When it became apparent that there was no route through the heart of the continent, attention turned to the possibility of a passage through northern waters. There was a lack of scientific knowledge about conditions. Explorers thought; the belief that a route lay to the far north persisted for several centuries and led to numerous expeditions into the Arctic. Many ended in disaster, including that by Sir John Franklin in 1845. While searching for him the McClure Arctic Expedition discovered the Northwest Passage in 1850. In 1906, the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen first completed a passage from Greenland to Alaska in the sloop Gjøa. Since that date, several fortified ships have made the journey. From east to west, the direction of most early exploration attempts, expeditions entered the passage from the Atlantic Ocean via the Davis Strait and through Baffin Bay. Five to seven routes have been taken through the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, via the McClure Strait, Dease Strait, the Prince of Wales Strait, but not all of them are suitable for larger ships.
From there ships passed through waterways through the Beaufort Sea, Chukchi Sea, Bering Strait, into the Pacific Ocean. In the 21st century, major changes to the ice pack due to climate change have stirred speculation that the passage may become clear enough of ice to permit safe commercial shipping for at least part of the year. On August 21, 2007, the Northwest Passage became open to ships without the need of an icebreaker. According to Nalan Koc of the Norwegian Polar Institute, this was the first time the Passage has been clear since they began keeping records in 1972; the Northwest Passage opened again on August 25, 2008. It is reported in mainstream medias that ocean thawing will open up the Northwest Passage for various kind of ships, making it possible to sail around the Arctic ice cap. and cutting thousands of miles off shipping routes. Warning that the NASA satellite images indicated the Arctic may have entered a "death spiral" caused by climate change, Professor Mark Serreze, a sea ice specialist at the U.
S. National Snow and Ice Data Center said: "The passages are open. It's a historic event. We are going to see this more and more as the years go by."On the other hand, some thick sections of ice will remain hard to melt in the shorter term. Such drifting and large chunks of ice in springtime, can be problematic as they can clog entire straits or damage a ship's hull. Cargo routes may therefore be slower and uncertain, depending on prevailing conditions and the ability to predict them; because a plurality of containerized traffic operates in a just-in-time mode and the relative isolation of the passage, the Northwest
Ireland is an island in the North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel, the Irish Sea, St George's Channel. Ireland is the second-largest island of the British Isles, the third-largest in Europe, the twentieth-largest on Earth. Politically, Ireland is divided between the Republic of Ireland, which covers five-sixths of the island, Northern Ireland, part of the United Kingdom. In 2011, the population of Ireland was about 6.6 million, ranking it the second-most populous island in Europe after Great Britain. Just under 4.8 million live in the Republic of Ireland and just over 1.8 million live in Northern Ireland. The island's geography comprises low-lying mountains surrounding a central plain, with several navigable rivers extending inland, its lush vegetation is a product of its mild but changeable climate, free of extremes in temperature. Much of Ireland was woodland until the end of the Middle Ages. Today, woodland makes up about 10% of the island, compared with a European average of over 33%, most of it is non-native conifer plantations.
There are twenty-six extant mammal species native to Ireland. The Irish climate is influenced by the Atlantic Ocean and thus moderate, winters are milder than expected for such a northerly area, although summers are cooler than those in continental Europe. Rainfall and cloud cover are abundant; the earliest evidence of human presence in Ireland is dated at 10,500 BC. Gaelic Ireland had emerged by the 1st century AD; the island was Christianised from the 5th century onward. Following the 12th century Norman invasion, England claimed sovereignty. However, English rule did not extend over the whole island until the 16th–17th century Tudor conquest, which led to colonisation by settlers from Britain. In the 1690s, a system of Protestant English rule was designed to materially disadvantage the Catholic majority and Protestant dissenters, was extended during the 18th century. With the Acts of Union in 1801, Ireland became a part of the United Kingdom. A war of independence in the early 20th century was followed by the partition of the island, creating the Irish Free State, which became sovereign over the following decades, Northern Ireland, which remained a part of the United Kingdom.
Northern Ireland saw much civil unrest from the late 1960s until the 1990s. This subsided following a political agreement in 1998. In 1973 the Republic of Ireland joined the European Economic Community while the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland, as part of it, did the same. Irish culture has had a significant influence on other cultures in the field of literature. Alongside mainstream Western culture, a strong indigenous culture exists, as expressed through Gaelic games, Irish music and the Irish language; the island's culture shares many features with that of Great Britain, including the English language, sports such as association football, horse racing, golf. The names Éire derive from Old Irish Eriu; this in turn comes from the Proto-Celtic *Iveriu, the source of Latin Hibernia. Iveriu derives from a root meaning'fat, prosperous'. During the last glacial period, up until about 10,000 BC, most of Ireland was periodically covered in ice. Sea levels were lower and Ireland, like Great Britain, formed part of continental Europe.
By 16,000 BC, rising sea levels due to ice melting caused Ireland to become separated from Great Britain. Around 6000 BC, Great Britain itself became separated from continental Europe; the earliest evidence of human presence in Ireland is dated at 10,500 BC, demonstrated by a butchered bear bone found in a cave in County Clare. It is not until about 8000 BC, that more sustained occupation of the island has been shown, with evidence for Mesolithic communities around the island; these Mesolithic communities lived as hunter-gatherers across the island until about 4000 BC. Some time before 4000 BC, Neolithic settlers arrived introducing cereal cultivars, domesticated animals such as cattle and sheep, large timber building, stone monuments; the earliest evidence for farming in Ireland or Great Britain is from Co.. Kerry, where a flint knife, cattle bones and a sheep's tooth were carbon-dated to c. 4350 BC. Field systems were developed in different parts of Ireland, including at the Céide Fields, preserved beneath a blanket of peat in present-day Tyrawley.
An extensive field system, arguably the oldest in the world, consisted of small divisions separated by dry-stone walls. The fields were farmed for several centuries between 3500 BC and 3000 BC. Wheat and barley were the principal crops; the Bronze Age – defined by the use of metal – began around 2500 BC, with technology changing people's everyday lives during this period through innovations such as the wheel. According to John T. Koch and others, Ireland in the Late Bronze Age was part of a maritime trading-network culture called the Atlantic Bronze Age that included Britain, western France and Iberia, that this is where Celtic languages developed; this contrasts with the traditional view that their origin lies in mainland Europe with the Hallstatt culture. During the Iron Age, a Celtic language and culture emerged in Ireland. How and when the island became Celtic has been debated for close to a century, with the migrations of the Celts being one of the more enduring themes of archaeological and linguistic studies.
The most recent genetic research s
Bombardment of Algiers (1816)
The Bombardment of Algiers was an attempt by Britain and the Netherlands to end the slavery practices of Omar Agha, the Dey of Algiers. An Anglo-Dutch fleet under the command of Admiral Lord Exmouth bombarded ships and the harbour defences of Algiers. There was a continuing campaign by various European navies and the American navy to suppress the piracy against Europeans by the North African Barbary states; the specific aim of this expedition, was to free Christian slaves and to stop the practice of enslaving Europeans. To this end, it was successful, as the Dey of Algiers freed around 3,000 slaves following the bombardment and signed a treaty against the slavery of Europeans. However, this practice did not end until the French conquest of Algeria. Following the end of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815, the Royal Navy no longer needed the Barbary states as a source of supplies for Gibraltar and their fleet in the Mediterranean Sea; this freed Britain to exert considerable political pressure to force the Barbary states to end their piracy and practice of enslaving European Christians.
In early 1816, Exmouth undertook a diplomatic mission to Tunis and Algiers, backed by a small squadron of ships of the line, to convince the Deys to stop the practice and free the Christian slaves. The Deys of Tunis and Tripoli agreed without any resistance, but the Dey of Algiers was more recalcitrant and the negotiations were stormy. Exmouth believed that he had managed to negotiate a treaty to stop the slavery of Christians and returned to England. However, due to confused orders, Algerian troops massacred 200 Corsican and Sardinian fishermen who were under British protection just after the treaty was signed; this caused outrage in Britain and Europe, Exmouth's negotiations were seen as a failure. As a result, Exmouth was ordered to sea again to punish the Algerians, he gathered a squadron of five ships of the line, one 50-gun spar-decked frigate, four conventional frigates, five bomb ships. HMS Queen Charlotte—100 guns—was his flagship and Rear Admiral David Milne was his second in command aboard HMS Impregnable, 98 guns.
This squadron was considered by many to be an insufficient force, but Exmouth had unobtrusively surveyed the defences of Algiers. He believed that more large ships would have interfered with each other without being able to bring much more fire to bear. In addition to the main fleet, there were four sloops, eight ships' boats armed with Congreve rockets, some transports to carry the rescued slaves; when the British arrived in Gibraltar, a squadron of five Dutch frigates and the corvette Eendragt, led by Vice-Admiral Theodorus Frederik van Capellen, offered to join the expedition. Exmouth decided to assign them to cover the main force from Algerian flanking batteries, as there was insufficient space in the mole for the Dutch frigates; the day before the attack, the frigate Prometheus arrived and its captain W. B. Dashwood attempted to secretly rescue his wife and infant; some of the rescue party was arrested. The attack was described by the U. S. Consul; the plan of attack was for the larger ships to approach in a column.
They were to sail into the zone where the majority of the Algerian guns could not be brought to bear. They were to come to anchor and bombard the batteries and fortifications on the mole to destroy the defences. HMS Leander—50 guns—was to anchor off the mouth of the harbour and bombard the shipping inside the mole. To protect Leander from the shore battery, frigates HMS Severn and Glasgow were to sail inshore and bombard the battery. Troops would storm ashore on the mole with sappers of the Corps of Royal Engineers. Exmouth in Queen Charlotte anchored 80 yd off the mole, facing the Algerian guns. However, a number of the other ships anchored out of position, notably Admiral Milne aboard HMS Impregnable, 400 yards from where he should have been; this error exposed them to fiercer Algerian fire. Some of the other ships anchored in positions closer to the plan; the unfortunate gap created by the misplaced HMS Impregnable was closed by the frigate HMS Granicus and the sloop Heron. In their earlier negotiations, both Exmouth and the Dey of Algiers had stated that they would not fire the first shot.
The Dey's plan was to allow the fleet to anchor and to sortie from the harbour and board the ships with large numbers of men in small boats. But Algerian discipline was less effective and one Algerian gun fired a shot at 15:15. Exmouth began the bombardment; the Algerian flotilla of 40 gunboats made an attempt to board Queen Charlotte while the sailors were aloft setting sail, but twenty-eight of their boats were sunk by broadsides, the remaining ran themselves on shore. After an hour, the cannon on the mole were silenced, Exmouth turned his attention to the shipping in the harbour, destroyed by 19:30. One unmanned Algerine frigate was destroyed after being boarded by the crew of Queen Charlotte's barge, who set it on fire. Three other Algerine frigates and five corvettes were destroyed by the fire of rockets; the burning shipping drifting in the harbour forced some bombarding ships to manoeuvre out of their way. Impregnable was isolated from the other ships and made a large and tempting target, attracting attention from the Algerian gunners who raked he
An able seaman is a naval rating of the deck department of a merchant ship with more than two years' experience at sea and considered "well acquainted with his duty". An AB may work as a day worker, or a combination of these roles. Once a sufficient amount of sea time is acquired the AB can apply to take a series of courses/examinations to become certified as an officer. At sea an AB watchstander's duties include standing watch as lookout. A helmsman is required to maintain a steady course, properly execute all rudder orders and communicate utilizing navigational terms relating to heading and steering. A watchstander may be called upon to stand security-related watches, such as a gangway watch or anchor watch while the ship is not underway. An AB day worker performs general maintenance, repair and upkeep of material and areas in the deck department; this can include maintenance of the ship's metal structures such as chipping, cleaning and painting. Areas in need of such maintenance include the hull, superstructure, cargo gear, smoke stack.
Day workers frequently perform maintenance on lifeboats, rescue boats and liferafts, emergency and damage control gear. For many vessels, being a dayworker is a position granted to senior AB's, since it allows more time for rest and relaxation. An AB may be called on to use emergency, damage control, safety equipment. Able seamen perform all operations connected with the launching of lifesaving equipment. An AB is expected to be able to operate deck machinery, such as the windlass or winches while mooring or unmooring, to operate cargo gear. Able seamen require advanced training, including lifeboatman certification; the ship's boatswain, if carried, is a senior AB. The boatswain is in charge of the able seamen and ordinary seaman that comprise the unlicensed deck crew, reports directly to the chief mate; the Code of Federal Regulations establishes in 46 CFR 12.05 five categories of able seaman for the United States Merchant Marine: Able Seaman—Any Waters, Unlimited. Requires three years service on deck on vessels operating on the oceans or the Great Lakes.
Able Seaman—Limited. Requires 18 months service on deck in vessels of 100 gross tons or more which operate in a service not confined to the rivers and smaller inland lakes of the United States. Able Seaman—Special. Requires 12 months service on deck on vessels operating on the oceans, or the navigable waters of the United States including the Great Lakes. Able Seaman—Special. Requires six months service on deck on vessels operating on the oceans, or the navigable waters of the United States including the Great Lakes. Able Seaman—Sail. Requires six months service on deck on sail or auxiliary sail vessels operating on the oceans or the navigable waters of the United States including the Great Lakes. Time served in certain training programs and school ships may be substituted for the time of service listed above. Special certificates of service are available for Great Lakes -- 18 months service. For the United States Merchant Marine, the Code of Federal Regulations establishes in 46 CFR 12.05 examination requirements for the certification of able seamen, which includes: Competence as a lifeboatman, including showingtraining in all the operations connected with the launching of lifeboats and liferafts, in the use of oars.
An examination, conducted only in English, consisting of questions regarding:lifeboats and liferafts, the names of their essential parts, a description of the required equipment. In the actual demonstration, the applicant shall show ability by taking command of a boat and directing the operation of clearing away, swinging out, lowering the boat into the water, acting as coxswain in charge of the boat under oars; the AB shall demonstrate ability to row by pulling an oar in the boat. The applicant shall demonstrate knowledge of the principal knots, bends and hitches in common use by tying them; the applicant must demonstrate to the satisfaction of the officer in charge, marine inspection, knowledge of pollution laws and regulations, procedures for discharge containment and cleanup, methods for disposal of sludge and waste material from cargo and fueling operations. In 2004, studies indicate that a typical qualified Able Seaman sailing without an ITF contract might earn around $800 in total compensation.
Some notable able seamen from the merchant service include: Perce Blackborow, stowaway AB on Shackleton's voyage to Antarctica John Brightman, Baron Brightman, an English Chancery barrister and a judge of the House of Lords Joseph Curran, American labor leader Charles Lindley, a Swedish socialist and trade union
Antarctica is Earth's southernmost continent. It contains the geographic South Pole and is situated in the Antarctic region of the Southern Hemisphere entirely south of the Antarctic Circle, is surrounded by the Southern Ocean. At 14,200,000 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, which extends to all but the northernmost reaches of the Antarctic Peninsula. Antarctica, on average, is the coldest and windiest continent, has the highest average elevation of all the continents. Most of Antarctica is a polar desert, with annual precipitation of only 200 mm along the coast and far less inland; the temperature in Antarctica has reached −89.2 °C, though the average for the third quarter is −63 °C. Anywhere from 1,000 to 5,000 people reside throughout the year at research stations scattered across the continent. Organisms native to Antarctica include many types of algae, fungi, plants and certain animals, such as mites, penguins and tardigrades.
Vegetation, where it occurs, is tundra. Antarctica is noted as the last region on Earth in recorded history to be discovered, unseen until 1820 when the Russian expedition of Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen and Mikhail Lazarev on Vostok and Mirny sighted the Fimbul ice shelf; the continent, remained neglected for the rest of the 19th century because of its hostile environment, lack of accessible resources, isolation. In 1895, the first confirmed. 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, 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, protects the continent's 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 BC Marinus of Tyre used the name in his unpreserved world map from the 2nd century CE. The Roman authors Hyginus and Apuleius used for the South Pole the romanised Greek name polus antarcticus, from which derived the Old French pole antartike attested in 1270, from there the Middle English pol antartik in a 1391 technical treatise by Geoffrey Chaucer. Before acquiring its present geographical connotations, the term was used for other 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. The long-imagined south polar continent was called Terra Australis, sometimes shortened to'Australia' as seen in a woodcut illustration titled Sphere of the winds, contained in an astrological textbook published in Frankfurt in 1545.
Although the longer Latin phrase was better known, the shortened name Australia was used in Europe's scholarly circles. In the nineteenth century, the colonial authorities in Sydney removed the Dutch name from New Holland. Instead of inventing a new name to replace it, they took the name Australia from the south polar continent, leaving it nameless for some eighty years. During that period, geographers had to make do with clumsy phrases such as "the Antarctic Continent", they searched for a more poetic replacement, suggesting various names such as Antipodea. Antarctica was adopted in the 1890s. Antarctica has no indigenous population, there is no evidence that it was seen by humans until the 19th century. However, in February 1775, during his second voyage, Captain Cook called the existence of such a polar continent "probable" and in another copy of his journal he wrote:" believe it and it's more than probable that we have seen a part of it". However, belief in the existence of a Terra Australis—a vast continent in the far south of the globe to "balance" the northern lands of Europe and North Africa—had prevailed since the times of Ptolemy in the 1st century AD.
In the late 17th century, after explorers had found that South America and Australia were not part of the fabled "Antarctica", geographers believed that the continent was much larger than its actual size. Integral to the story of the origin of Antarctica's name is that it was not named Terra Australis—this name was given to Australia instead, because of the misconception that no significant landmass could exist further south. Explorer Matthew Flinders, in particular, has been credited with popularising the transfer of the name Terra Australis to Australia, he justified the titling of his book A Voyage to Terra Australis by writing in the introduction: There is no probability, that any other detached body of land, of nearly equal extent, will be found in a more southern latitude.