Even though it is not exactly sure when this continent was discovered, we have records of Antarctica in modern human times. Antarctica history yet is not that long in modern times. The history of modern human knowledge of this undiscovered place emerges from early Western theories. Stories of a vast continent, known as Terra Australis, exact location unknown. Somewhere believed to exist in the far south of the known planet earth. Antarctica meaning is derived from the opposite of the Arctic Circle. It was coined by Marines of Tyre in the 2nd century AD.
James Cook and the crew on his ship are believed to have. Tossed the Antarctic Circle for the first time by more modern civilizations. However, their ship discovered many of the islands nearby Antarctica, they did not witness Antarctica itself. It was discovered historically by Fabian Gottlieb von Bellingshausen and Mikhail Lazarv. A Russian expedition led by them on 27 January 1820.
There were several expeditions attempting to reach the South Pole in the early 20th century. It was called the “ Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration”. As you can imagine many resulted in injury, cost, and loss of life. A Norwegian reached Antarctica on December 14, 1911. His name was Roald Amundsen. He was racing Briton Rover Falcon Scott.
Francis Drake as many Spanish explorers before him had suspected that there might be an open channel south of Tierra del Fuego, when Schouten and Le Marie discovered the southern point and named it Cape Horn in 1615. They proved that the Tierra del Fuego archipelago was of small extent and not connected to the southern land.
Antarctica history starts with the first land discovered south of the parallel 60 degrees south latitude by William Smith. He sighted Livingston Island on 19 February 1819. Furthermore, he discovered wreckage of a Spanish ship called San Telmo. The first confirmed sighting of mainland Antarctica was on January 27th, 1820.
The precursor to the Heroic Age of Antarctic exploration was the Dundee Antarctic Expedition of 1892. Four Dundee whaling ships traveled to the Antarctic in search of whales. Publications of this expedition were made public which further reignite public interest in Antarctica.
In 1898, the Southern Cross Expedition began and lasted for two years. It was the first expedition to overwinter on the continent Antarctica. Exact location was Cape Adare. It was also the fist expedition to use sleds and dogs. A year after this expedition, the Scottish National Antarctic Expedition is launched. Lead by William Spears Bruce. The first German expedition was according to historic records in 1901. The French organized their first expedition in1903. Australasian Antarctic Expedition took place between 1911-1914.
What brought the “Heroic Age” to a close, was the Shackleton-Rowett Expedition from 1921 to 1922. On board the ship Quest, it’s vaguely defined objectives. It ended in 1922 and the death of Shackleton. No further expeditions were recorded until the Nazi military expedition New Schwabia, during the second world war. After WWII, the United States went to Antarctica on a highly mysterious mission called HighJump. This mission was under lots of controversy due to what exactly happened on the expedition.