Will humans ever live in Antarctica?

Who Really Discovered Antarctica?

Cook was convinced, however, that there was more to the story. "I firmly believe that there is a piece of land near the pole that is the source of most of the ice that spreads across the vast Southern Ocean," he wrote at the end of the expedition. But “the risk one takes in exploring a coastline in these unknown and icy seas is so great that I can boldly say that no one will ever venture further than I have, and that the lands that may be in the south will never be explored ”. It turned out that at one point Cook had been only 130 kilometers from the coast of Antarctica.

The hunt for Terra Nova

Cook's travels spurred other explorers, but none of them succeeded. The search for the "unknown southern land" was soon seen as an impossible task. But with international rivalries and potential seal hunt gains, the hunt for Antarctica flared up again. The global competition for territory and economic dominance prompted researchers from Russia, England and the United States to search for the land mass.

In 1819 Russia commissioned Fabian von Bellingshausen to sail even further south than Cook. On January 27, 1820, he saw solid ice. It was likely that it was ice shelf connected to the Arctic landmass now known as Queen Maud Land. What he didn't know was that he had company: three days later, British naval officer Edward Bransfield spotted the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula.