Antarctica is the southernmost continent on the planet earth. It has the unique reputation of being the world coldest, driest, highest and windiest place. Antarctica covers an area of 14.0 million km2 (5.4 million sq mi) making it the fifth largest continent on Earth. On average 1,000 to 5,000 people reside in Antarctica yearly in the research stations and science facilities that are spread across the continent. Though most of these stations are only occupied in the summer and spring when the sun is up all the time. During the winter it is always dark and very cold!
Who Discovered Antarctica?
The continent of Antarctica was discovered by Captain James Cook and his crews aboard the HMAS Resolution and Adventure. These two ships were the first to cross the Antarctic Circle on January 17, 1773 and came within 75 miles of the coast of Antarctica, but retreated due to large ice fields. In 1820 three more sighting are recorded. Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen (an Estonian-born captain in the Russian Imperial Navy), Edward Bransfield (a Ireland-born captain in the Royal Navy), and Nathaniel Palmer (an American sealer out of Stonington, Connecticut) all sighted the continent now known as Antarctica. The first landing on Antarctica occurred on 7 February 1821 by an American sealer named John Davis. From then on different expeditions were held to reach the southernmost continent and many of the landmarks on Antarctic bare the name of explorers who discovered them.
Many countries now have scientific research stations on the continent. Antarctica is not owned by any specific country, but is looked after by an international group and is promoted to scientific research and discovery.