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Exploration of Antarctica

Land Claims in Antarctica

In 1908 Britain revived long-standing territorial claims, based on discovery, to South Georgia, the South Shetland, South Orkney, and South Sandwich islands, as well as Graham Land, to justify the control and taxation of whaling in those areas. In 1923 Britain claimed the Ross Ice Shelf and adjacent coasts (now Ross Dependency) for similar reasons. In 1924 France claimed Adelie Land, a narrow sector of East Antarctica where Dumont d'Urville had landed in 1840. In 1933 Britain claimed the sectors of East Antarctica that BANZARE had explored as an Australian territory; this area was formally declared the Australian Antarctic Territory in 1936. Spurred by the possibility of a German claim, Norway in 1939 claimed the sector of East Antarctica later called Queen Maud Land, along with Peter I Island and Bouvetoya. When Britain set up wartime stations in the peninsular region in 1943, Argentina and Chile lodged rival claims to the sector. Because U.S. policy for Antarctica states that all nations should have free access for peaceful pursuits, the U.S. government did not support claims made by American explorers and does not recognize any foreign territorial claims.

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