Mont Blanc, meaning "White Mountain", is the highest mountain in the Alps and the highest in Europe west of Russia's Caucasus peaks. It is ranked 11th in the world in topographic prominence; the mountain stands in a range called the Graian Alps, between the regions of Aosta Valley and Savoie and Haute-Savoie, France. The location of the summit is on the watershed line between the valleys of Ferret and Veny in Italy and the valleys of Montjoie, Arve in France, in the middle of what is considered to be the border between the two countries. In June 2015, Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi expressed repeated claims on the territory; the Mont Blanc massif is popular for outdoor activities like hiking, trail running and winter sports like skiing, snowboarding. The three towns and their communes which surround Mont Blanc are Courmayeur in Italy; the latter town was the site of the first Winter Olympics. A cable car ascends and crosses the mountain range from Courmayeur to Chamonix, through the Col du Géant.
The 11.6 km Mont Blanc Tunnel, constructed between 1957 and 1965, runs beneath the mountain and is a major trans-Alpine transport route. The first recorded ascent of Mont Blanc was on 8 August 1786 by Jacques Balmat and the doctor Michel Paccard; this climb, initiated by Horace-Bénédict de Saussure, who gave a reward for the successful ascent, traditionally marks the start of modern mountaineering. The first woman to reach the summit was Marie Paradis in 1808. Nowadays the summit is ascended by an average of 20,000 mountaineer-tourists each year, it could be considered a technically easy, yet arduous, ascent for someone, well-trained and acclimatized to the altitude. From l'Aiguille du Midi, Mont Blanc seems quite close, but while the peak seems deceptively close, La Voie des 3 Monts route requires much ascent over two other 4,000 m mountains, Mont Blanc du Tacul and Mont Maudit, before the final section of the climb is reached and the last 1,000 m push to the summit is undertaken. Each year climbing deaths occur on Mont Blanc, on the busiest weekends around August, the local rescue service performs an average of 12 missions directed to aid people in trouble on one of the normal routes of the mountain.
Some routes require knowledge of high-altitude mountaineering, a guide, all require proper equipment. All routes are long and arduous, involving delicate passages and the hazard of rock-fall or avalanche. Climbers may suffer altitude sickness life threatening if they do not acclimatize to it; the border between Italy and France passes through the summit of Mont Blanc, making it both French and Italian. Since the French Revolution, the issue of the ownership of the summit has been debated. From 1416 to 1792, the entire mountain was within the Duchy of Savoy. In 1723, the Duke of Savoy, Victor Amadeus II, acquired the Kingdom of Sardinia; the resulting state of Sardinia was to become preeminent in the Italian unification. In September 1792, the French revolutionary Army of the Alps under Anne-Pierre de Montesquiou-Fézensac seized Savoy without much resistance and created a department of the Mont-Blanc. In a treaty of 15 May 1796, Victor Amadeus III of Sardinia was forced to cede Savoy and Nice to France.
In article 4 of this treaty it says: "The border between the Sardinian kingdom and the departments of the French Republic will be established on a line determined by the most advanced points on the Piedmont side, of the summits, peaks of mountains and other locations subsequently mentioned, as well as the intermediary peaks, knowing: starting from the point where the borders of Faucigny, the Duchy of Aoust and the Valais, to the extremity of the glaciers or Monts-Maudits: first the peaks or plateaus of the Alps, to the rising edge of the Col-Mayor". This act further states that the border should be visible from the town of Courmayeur. However, neither is the peak of the Mont Blanc visible from Courmayeur nor is the peak of the Mont Blanc de Courmayeur visible from Chamonix because part of the mountains lower down obscure them. After the Napoleonic Wars, the Congress of Vienna restored the King of Sardinia in Savoy and Piedmont, his traditional territories, overruling the 1796 Treaty of Paris.
Forty-five years after the Second Italian War of Independence, it was replaced by a new legal act. This act was signed in Turin on 24 March 1860 by Napoleon III and Victor Emmanuel II of Savoy, deals with the annexation of Savoy. A demarcation agreement, signed on 7 March 1861, defined the new border. With the formation of Italy, for the first time Mont Blanc was located on the border of France and Italy; the 1860 act and attached maps are still valid for both the French and Italian governments. One of the prints from the 1823 Sarde Atlas positions the border on the summit edge of the mountain; the convention of 7 March 1861 recognises this through an attached map, taking into consideration the limits of the massif, drawing the border on the icecap of Mont Blanc, making it both French and Italian. Watershed analysis of modern topographic mapping not only places the main summit on the border, but suggests that the border should
The Matterhorn is a mountain of the Alps, straddling the main watershed and border between Switzerland and Italy. It is a large, near-symmetrical pyramidal peak in the extended Monte Rosa area of the Pennine Alps, whose summit is 4,478 metres high, making it one of the highest summits in the Alps and Europe; the four steep faces, rising above the surrounding glaciers, face the four compass points and are split by the Hörnli, Leone/Lion, Zmutt ridges. The mountain overlooks the Swiss town of Zermatt, in the canton of Valais, to the north-east and the Italian town of Breuil-Cervinia in the Aosta Valley to the south. Just east of the Matterhorn is Theodul Pass, the main passage between the two valleys on its north and south sides, a trade route since the Roman Era; the Matterhorn was studied by Horace-Bénédict de Saussure in the late eighteenth century, followed by other renowned naturalists and artists, such as John Ruskin, in the nineteenth century. It remained unclimbed after most of the other great Alpine peaks had been attained and became the subject of an international competition for the summit.
The first ascent of the Matterhorn was made in 1865 from Zermatt by a party led by Edward Whymper which ended disastrously when four of its members fell to their deaths on the descent. That climb and disaster portrayed in several films, marked the end of the golden age of alpinism; the north face was not climbed until 1931 and is amongst the three biggest north faces of the Alps, known as "The Trilogy". The west face, the highest of the Matterhorn's four faces, was climbed only in 1962, it is estimated that over 500 alpinists have died on the Matterhorn since the first climb in 1865, making it one of the deadliest peaks in the world. The Matterhorn is composed of gneisses from the Dent Blanche nappe, lying over ophiolites and sedimentary rocks of the Penninic nappes; the mountain's current shape is the result of cirque erosion due to multiple glaciers diverging from the peak, such as the Matterhorn Glacier at the base of the north face. Sometimes referred to as the Mountain of Mountains, the Matterhorn has become an iconic emblem of the Swiss Alps and of the Alps in general.
Since the end of the 19th century, when railways were built in the area, the mountain has attracted increasing numbers of visitors and climbers. Each year, numerous mountaineers try to climb the Matterhorn from the Hörnli Hut via the northeast Hörnli ridge, the most popular route to the summit. Many trekkers undertake the 10-day-long circuit around the mountain; the Matterhorn has been part of the Swiss Federal Inventory of Natural Monuments since 1983. The German name Matterhorn is named for Zermatt. In the Schalbetter map, printed by Sebastian Münster in 1545, the valley is labelled Mattertal, but the mountain has the Latin name Mons Silvius and the German name Augstalberg, Augstal being the German name of Aosta Valley; the 1548 map by Johannes Stumpf gives only Mons Silvius. The French name Cervin, from which the Italian term Cervino derives, stems from the Latin Mons Silvanus, where silva means forest; the change of the first letter "s" to "c" is attributed to Horace Bénédict de Saussure, who thought the word was related to "deer".
Josias Simler hypothesized in De Alpibus Commentarius that the name Mons Silvius was readopted by T. G. Farinetti: "Silvius was a Roman leader who sojourned with his legions in the land of the Salassi and the Seduni, crossed the Theodul Pass between these two places; this Silvius may have been that same Servius Galba whom Caesar charged with the opening up of the Alpine passes, which from that time onward traders have been wanting to cross with great danger and grave difficulty. Servius Galba, in order to carry out Caesar's orders, came with his legions from Allobroges to Octodurum in the Valais, pitched his camp there; the passes which he had orders to open from there could be no other than the St. Bernard, the Simplon, the Theodul, the Moro, it is unknown when the new name of Servin, or Cervin, replaced the old, from which it seems to be derived. The Matterhorn is named Gran Becca by the Valdôtains and Horu by the local Walliser German speaking people; the Matterhorn has two distinct summits, situated at either end of a 100-metre-long exposed rocky crest which forms the Italian/Swiss border.
In August 1792, the Genevan geologist and explorer Horace Bénédict de Saussure made the first measurement of the Matterhorn's height, using a sextant and a 50-foot-long chain spread out on the Theodul glacier. He calculated its height as 4,501.7 m. In 1868 the Italian engineer Felice Giordano measured a height of 4,505 m by means of a mercury barometer, which he had taken to the summit; the Dufour map, afterwards followed by the Italian surveyors, gave 4,482 m as the height of the Swiss summit. In 1999, the summit height was determined to be at 4,477.54 m above sea level by using Global Positioning System technology as part of the TOWER Project and to an accuracy of less than one centimetre, which allows future changes to be tracked. The topographic prominence of the Matterh
Australasia comprises Australia, New Zealand, some neighbouring islands. It is used in a number of different contexts including geopolitically, physiographically, ecologically where the term covers several different but related regions. Charles de Brosses coined the term in Histoire des navigations, he derived it from the Latin for "south of Asia" and differentiated the area from Polynesia and the southeast Pacific. In Australia "Australasia" is considered to be Australia, New Zealand, New Guinea, the neighbouring islands of the Pacific, while in New Zealand it means Australia, New Zealand and former New Zealand dependencies. Richards, Kel. "Australasia". Wordwatch. ABC News Radio. Retrieved 2006-09-30. Media related to Australasia at Wikimedia Commons
Asia is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located in the Eastern and Northern Hemispheres. It shares the continental landmass of Eurasia with the continent of Europe and the continental landmass of Afro-Eurasia with both Europe and Africa. Asia covers an area of 44,579,000 square kilometres, about 30% of Earth's total land area and 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area. The continent, which has long been home to the majority of the human population, was the site of many of the first civilizations. Asia is notable for not only its overall large size and population, but dense and large settlements, as well as vast populated regions, its 4.5 billion people constitute 60% of the world's population. In general terms, Asia is bounded on the east by the Pacific Ocean, on the south by the Indian Ocean, on the north by the Arctic Ocean; the border of Asia with Europe is a historical and cultural construct, as there is no clear physical and geographical separation between them. It has moved since its first conception in classical antiquity.
The division of Eurasia into two continents reflects East–West cultural and ethnic differences, some of which vary on a spectrum rather than with a sharp dividing line. The most accepted boundaries place Asia to the east of the Suez Canal separating it from Africa. China and India alternated in being the largest economies in the world from 1 to 1800 CE. China was a major economic power and attracted many to the east, for many the legendary wealth and prosperity of the ancient culture of India personified Asia, attracting European commerce and colonialism; the accidental discovery of a trans-Atlantic route from Europe to America by Columbus while in search for a route to India demonstrates this deep fascination. The Silk Road became the main east–west trading route in the Asian hinterlands while the Straits of Malacca stood as a major sea route. Asia has exhibited economic dynamism as well as robust population growth during the 20th century, but overall population growth has since fallen. Asia was the birthplace of most of the world's mainstream religions including Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Sikhism, as well as many other religions.
Given its size and diversity, the concept of Asia—a name dating back to classical antiquity—may have more to do with human geography than physical geography. Asia varies across and within its regions with regard to ethnic groups, environments, historical ties and government systems, it has a mix of many different climates ranging from the equatorial south via the hot desert in the Middle East, temperate areas in the east and the continental centre to vast subarctic and polar areas in Siberia. The boundary between Asia and Africa is the Red Sea, the Gulf of Suez, the Suez Canal; this makes Egypt a transcontinental country, with the Sinai peninsula in Asia and the remainder of the country in Africa. The border between Asia and Europe was defined by European academics; the Don River became unsatisfactory to northern Europeans when Peter the Great, king of the Tsardom of Russia, defeating rival claims of Sweden and the Ottoman Empire to the eastern lands, armed resistance by the tribes of Siberia, synthesized a new Russian Empire extending to the Ural Mountains and beyond, founded in 1721.
The major geographical theorist of the empire was a former Swedish prisoner-of-war, taken at the Battle of Poltava in 1709 and assigned to Tobolsk, where he associated with Peter's Siberian official, Vasily Tatishchev, was allowed freedom to conduct geographical and anthropological studies in preparation for a future book. In Sweden, five years after Peter's death, in 1730 Philip Johan von Strahlenberg published a new atlas proposing the Urals as the border of Asia. Tatishchev announced; the latter had suggested the Emba River as the lower boundary. Over the next century various proposals were made until the Ural River prevailed in the mid-19th century; the border had been moved perforce from the Black Sea to the Caspian Sea into which the Ural River projects. The border between the Black Sea and the Caspian is placed along the crest of the Caucasus Mountains, although it is sometimes placed further north; the border between Asia and the region of Oceania is placed somewhere in the Malay Archipelago.
The Maluku Islands in Indonesia are considered to lie on the border of southeast Asia, with New Guinea, to the east of the islands, being wholly part of Oceania. The terms Southeast Asia and Oceania, devised in the 19th century, have had several vastly different geographic meanings since their inception; the chief factor in determining which islands of the Malay Archipelago are Asian has been the location of the colonial possessions of the various empires there. Lewis and Wigen assert, "The narrowing of'Southeast Asia' to its present boundaries was thus a gradual process." Geographical Asia is a cultural artifact of European conceptions of the world, beginning with the Ancient Greeks, being imposed onto other cultures, an imprecise concept causing endemic contention about what it means. Asia does not correspond to the cultural borders of its various types of constituents. From the time of Herodotus a minority of geographers have rejected the three-continent system on the grounds that there is no substantial physical separation between
Papua is the largest and easternmost province of Indonesia, comprising most of Western New Guinea. It is bordered by the nation of Papua New Guinea to the east, the province of West Papua to the west, the Pacific Ocean to the north, the Arafura Sea to the south. According to the 2010 census by Statistics Indonesia, Papua had a population of 2,833,381, majority of whom are Christians; the province is divided into one city. Its capital and largest city is Jayapura; the province was called Irian Jaya and comprised the entire Western New Guinea until the inauguration of the province of West Papua in 2003. In 2002, Papua adopted its current name and was granted a special autonomous status by the Indonesian legislation. Puncak Jaya is the province's highest mountain as well as the highest point of Indonesia. "Papua" is internationally recognised name for the province. During the Dutch colonial era the region was known as part of "Dutch New Guinea" or "Netherlands New Guinea". Since its annexation in 1969, it became known as "West Irian" or "Irian Barat" until 1973, thereafter renamed "Irian Jaya" by the Suharto administration.
This was the official name until the name "Papua" was adopted in 2002. Today, the indigenous inhabitants of this province prefer to call themselves Papuans; the name "West Papua" was adopted in 1961 by the New Guinea Council until the United Nations Temporary Executive Authority transferred administration to the Republic of Indonesia in 1963. "West Papua" has since been used by Papuans as a self-identifying term by those demanding self-determination, refers to the whole of the Indonesian portion of New Guinea. The other Indonesian province that shares New Guinea, West Irian Jaya, has been renamed as West Papua, or Papua Barat; the entire western New Guinea is referred to as "West Papua" internationally – among networks of international solidarity with the West Papuan independence movement. The province of Papua is governed by a directly elected governor and a regional legislature, People's Representative Council of province of Papua. A government organisation that only exists in Papua is the Papuan People's Council Papuan People's Council), formed by the Indonesian Government in 2005 as a coalition of Papuan tribal chiefs, tasked with arbitration and speaking on behalf of Papuan tribal customs.
Indonesian sovereignty over Papua dates back to 1969, when Indonesia conducted a referendum on the self-determination of the peoples of Papua under an agreement with the United Nations to respect any result. Instead of conducting a democratic referendum amongst the general population, Indonesian security forces forcibly coerced a small number of tribal elders to vote to join Indonesia; the agreement with the UN was nominally upheld, was recognised by the international community in spite of protests. This intensified the independence movement among indigenous West Papuans, deepening the Papua conflict, which began when the Dutch withdrew from the East Indies in 1963; the conflict has continued to the present, with Indonesian security forces being accused of numerous human rights abuses in their suppression of the independence movement. The Indonesian government maintains tight control over the region, barring foreign journalists or rights monitors from entering. In 1999 it was proposed to split the province into three government-controlled sectors, sparking Papuan protests.
In January 2003 President Megawati Sukarnoputri signed an order dividing Papua into three provinces: Central Irian Jaya and West Papua. The formality of installing a local government for Jaraka in Irian Jaya Barat took place in February 2003 and a governor was appointed in November; the creation of this separate Central Irian Jaya Province was blocked by Indonesian courts, who declared it to be unconstitutional and in contravention of the Papua's special autonomy agreement. The previous division into two provinces was allowed to stand as an established fact; the province of Papua is one of three provinces to have obtained special autonomy status, the others being Aceh and West Papua. According to Law 21/2001 on Special Autonomy Status, the provincial government of Papua is provided with authority within all sectors of administration, except for the five strategic areas of foreign affairs and defense, monetary and fiscal affairs and justice; the provincial government is authorised to issue local regulations to further stipulate the implementation of the special autonomy, including regulating the authority of districts and municipalities within the province.
Due to its special autonomy status, Papua province is provided with significant amount of special autonomy funds, which can be used to benefit its indigenous peoples. But the province has low fiscal capacity and it is dependent on unconditional transfers and the above-mentioned special autonomy fund, which accounted for about 55% of total revenues in 2008. After obtaining its special autonomy status, in order to allow the local population access to timber production benefits, the Papuan provincial government issued a number of decrees, enabling: a Timber Logging Permit for Cus
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.