Antarctic Exploration Timeline

1900 1910 1920 1930 1940 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010

Notes

How Antarctica was explored and settled by adventurers, imperialists and scientists over the course of a century

This map shows in broad sweeps how the last continent was revealed to humanity: first the accessible, northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula; then routes to the coveted South Pole; next the coasts most easily accessible from South America, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand (see how the bulk of West Antarctica remains relatively unexplored, being inconveniently located south of the Pacific Ocean); finally, the forbidding interior of East Antarctica.

As a gazeteer of Antarctic exploration and settlement, this map is by no means exhaustive. Many of the more northerly Antarctic Islands, for example, were used as bases by whalers as far back as the early 19th century. For some reason, it seems that commercial ventures do not find their way into the history books as easily as military or imperial expeditions.

Before 1945, I've concentrated on the expeditions that opened up the continent. After 1945, when various nations began to establish permanent bases on the continent, largely to press competing territorial claims, I've concentrated on these stations. That's not to say, of course, that all expeditions ceased in 1945. On the contrary, the number of expeditions, as well as sorties from the permanent bases, has exploded over the years, so that if this map were complete, there would be thousands of camp icons dotted over the continent. The representation of stations, however, does aspire to be complete.

Where a later expedition established a camp on the same site as an earlier one, I've generally not credited the latecomers. I've made exceptions, though, such as for Robert Scott's 1911-12 expedition, which arrived at the South Pole a mere month after Roald Amundsen's party had established a camp there.

I've refrained from pressing my own claims. In particular, I've resisted adding a personal camp icon on the Wirth Peninsula, having found myself, rather by accident, in the field party that became the first to set foot on one of those enticing white spaces devoid of icons in Ellsworth Land.

Use the slider to the right of the map to show camps and stations for a particular year. Move your mouse over an icon to show details of that camp or station.

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A text summary of this presentation is shown below for easy reference

Expeditions

Swedish Antarctic Expedition – Snow Hill Island – 1901

Discovery Expedition – Ross Island – 1901

Discovery Expedition – furthest South – 1902

Gauss Expedition – Kaiser Wilhelm II Land – 1902

Scottish National Antarctic Expedition – Coats Land – 1904

Third French Antarctic Expedition – Adelaide Island – 1905

Nimrod Expedition – Mount Erebus – 1908

Nimrod Expedition – Beardmore Glacier – 1908

Nimrod Expedition – furthest South – 1909

Nimrod Expedition – South Magnetic Pole – 1909

Fourth French Antarctic Expedition – Loubet Land – 1909

Amundsen's South Pole Expedition – Bay of Whales – 1911

Amundsen's South Pole Expedition – Axel Heiberg Glacier – 1911

Amundsen's South Pole Expedition – South Pole – 1911

Terra Nova Expedition – Cape Evans – 1911

Terra Nova Expedition – Beardmore Glacier – 1911

Terra Nova Expedition – South Pole – 1912

Second German Antarctic Expedition – Filchner Ice Shelf – 1911

Japanese Antarctic Expedition – furthest South – 1912

Japanese Antarctic Expedition – Alexandra range – 1912

Australasian Antarctic Expedition – Cape Denison – 1912

Australasian Antarctic Expedition – Shackleton Ice Shelf – 1912

Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition – Caird Coast – 1915

Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition – Cape Evans – 1915

Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition – Elephant Island – 1916

John Lachlan Cope – Danco Coast – 1921

Shackleton-Rowett Expedition – Elephant Island – 1922

Hjalmar Riiser-Larsen – Little America – 1929

Hjalmar Riiser-Larsen – Queen Maud Land – 1930

British Australian and New Zealand Antarctic Research Expedition – Mac. Robertson Land – 1930

Byrd's First Antarctic Expedition – Princess Elizabeth Land – 1931

Lincoln Ellsworth – Dundee Island – 1935

Lincoln Ellsworth – Ellsworth Mountains – 1935

British Graham Land Expedition – Graham Land – 1935

Lars Christensen – Prince Harald Coast – 1936

Third German Antarctic Expedition – Princess Martha Coast – 1939

United States Antarctic Service Expedition – Stonington Island – 1939

United States Antarctic Service Expedition – Trail Inlet – 1940

United States Antarctic Service Expedition – Hilton Inlet – 1940

United States Antarctic Service Expedition – Dyer Plateau – 1940

United States Antarctic Service Expedition – Fosdick Mountains – 1940

Ronne Antarctic Research Expedition – Ewing Iskand – 1948

Ronne Antarctic Research Expedition – English Coast – 1948

Ronne Antarctic Research Expedition – Sweeney Mountains – 1948

Ronne Antarctic Research Expedition – Behrendt Mountains – 1948

Ronne Antarctic Research Expedition – Cape Adams – 1948

Ronne Antarctic Research Expedition – Haag Nunataks – 1948

Stations

Orcadas – Argentinian year-round station – 1904

Deception Island – British year-round station – 1944

Port Lockroy – British year-round station – 1944

Hope Bay – British year-round station – 1945

Sandefjord Bay – British summer-only station – 1945

Cape Geddes – British year-round station – 1946

Stonington Island – British year-round station – 1946

Argentine Islands – British year-round station – 1947

Admiralty Bay – British year-round station – 1947

Melchior – Argentinian summer-only station – 1947

Arturo Prat – Chilean year-round station – 1947

Signy – British summer-only station – 1947

Decepcíon – Argentinian summer-only station – 1948

Bernardo O'Higgins Riquelme – Chilean year-round station – 1948

Port Martin – French year-round station – 1950

Brown – Argentinian summer-only station – 1951

San Martín – Argentinian year-round station – 1951

President Gabriel Gonzalez Videla – Chilean summer-only station – 1951

Esperanza – Argentinian year-round station – 1952

View Point – British summer-only station – 1953

Cámara – Argentinian summer-only station – 1953

Mawson – Australian year-round station – 1954

Horseshoe Island – British year-round station – 1955

Anvers Island – British year-round station – 1955

Belgrano II – Argentinian year-round station – 1955

McMurdo Station – American year-round station – 1955

Danco Island – British year-round station – 1956

Detaille Island – British year-round station – 1956

Dumont d'Urville – French year-round station – 1956

Mirny – Russian year-round station – 1956

Halley – British year-round station – 1956

Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station – American year-round station – 1956

Livingston Island – British summer-only camp – 1957

Prospect Point – British year-round station – 1957

Davis – Australian year-round station – 1957

Risopatrón – Chilean summer-only station – 1957

Syowa – Japanese year-round station – 1957

Scott Base – New Zealand year-round station – 1957

Vostok – Russian year-round station – 1957

Adelaide Island – British year-round station – 1961

Matienzo – Argentinian summer-only station – 1961

Novolazarevskaya – Russian year-round station – 1961

Fossil Bluff – British summer-only camp – 1961

Sub Base Yelcho – Chilean summer-only station – 1962

Molodezhnaya – Russian summer-only station – 1962

SANAE IV – South African year-round station – 1962

Palmer Station – American year-round station – 1965

Petrel – Argentinian summer-only station – 1967

Bellingshausen – Russian year-round station – 1968

Marambio – Argentinian year-round station – 1969

Casey – Australian year-round station – 1969

Lieutenant Rodolfo Marsh M. Aerodrome – Chilean year-round camp – 1969

Eduardo Frei Montalva – Chilean year-round station – 1969

Mizuho – Japanese summer-only station – 1970

Lenindgradskaya – Russian summer-only station – 1971

Rothera – British year-round station – 1975

Primavera – Argentinian summer-only station – 1977

Arctowski – Polish year-round station – 1977

Russkaya – Russian summer-only station – 1980

Neumayer III – German year-round station – 1981

Carlini – Argentinian year-round station – 1982

Soyuz – Russian summer-only station – 1982

Gondwana – German summer-only station – 1983

Dakshin Gangotri – Indian year-round station – 1983

Comandante Ferraz – Brazilian year-round station – 1984

Asuka – Japanese summer-only station – 1984

Artigas – Uruguayan year-round station – 1984

Lieutenant Luis Carvajal Villarroel – Chilean summer-only station – 1985

Great Wall – Chinese year-round station – 1985

Tor – Norwegian summer-only refuge – 1985

Mario Zucchelli – Italian summer-only station – 1986

Law-Racovita-Negoita – Australian/Romanian summer-only station – 1987

Druzhnaya 4 – Russian summer-only station – 1987

Ohridiski – Bulgarian summer-only station – 1988

King Sejong – Korean year-round station – 1988

Zhongshan – Chinese year-round station – 1989

Aboa – Finnish summer-only station – 1989

Maitri – Indian year-round station – 1989

Macchu Picchu – Peruvian summer-only station – 1989

Progress – Russian year-round station – 1989

Juan Carlos I – Spanish summer-only station – 1989

Wasa – Swedish summer-only station – 1989

Refugio Ecuador – Ecuadorian summer-only refuge – 1990

Maldonado – Ecuadorian summer-only station – 1990

Troll – Norwegian year-round station – 1990

Gabriel de Castilla – Spanish summer-only station – 1990

Julio Escudero – Chilean year-round station – 1994

Dallman Lab at Base Jubany – German summer-only station – 1994

Dome Fuji – Japanese summer-only station – 1995

Vernadsky – Ukranian year-round station – 1996

Concordia – French/Italian year-round station – 1997

Browning Pass – Italian summer-only camp – 1997

Ruperto Elichiribehety – Uruguayan summer-only station – 1997

Mid Point – Italian summer-only camp – 1998

Lieutenant Arturo Parodi – Chilean summer-only station – 1999

Sitry – Italian summer-only camp – 2000

Kohnen – German summer-only station – 2001

Enigma Lake – Italian summer-only camp – 2005

S17 – Japanese summer-only camp – 2005

Johann Gregor Mendel – Czech summer-only station – 2006

Princess Elisabeth – Belgian summer-only station – 2009

Kunlun – Chinese summer-only station – 2009

Date

First published 31 December 2013

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