Chilean president Pedro Aguirre Credo was instrumental to the definition of National Antarctic Territory after Norway declared its territorial claims on Antarctic territory. Norway did this on January 14, 1939, which alarmed the Chilean government. They formed a special commission to examine the country’s interests in Antarctica. In the late 1940s, Argentina and Chile recognized each other to have rights in the polar area called American Antarctica. In 1942, Argentina declared its Antarctic rights. On March 4th, 1948, Chile and Argentina signed an agreement on mutual protection and legal defense of its Antarctic territorial rights. The Sovereignty and Antarctic Treaty System.
Chile is the only country that has an actual colony on Antarctica. The Chilean Antarctic Territory is covered almost in its entire in a thick layer of ice and snow. Within the land claimed by Chile, in southwest of the territory are the high summits. It is part of the so called Sentinel range with some of the highest elevations. The Chilean territory has a subglacial lake as well. It was discovered in January 2014.
The Antártica Commune has a population of 150 inhabitants on the Chilean bases, according to the census conducted nationwide in 2012, corresponding to 54 civilians and 96 military. These people are mostly members of the Chilean Air Force and their families, who live mostly in Villa Las Estrellas.
On May 4, 1955, the United Kingdom filed two lawsuits against Argentina and Chile, respectively, before the International Court of Justice for it to declare the invalidity of claims of sovereignty of the two countries on Antarctic and sub-Antarctic areas. On July 15, 1955, the Chilean government rejected the jurisdiction of the Court in that case and on August 1 so did the Argentine government, so the 16 March 1956 claims were filed.
There are four Chilean permanent bases operating through the year, while there are five that remain open only during the summer (December – March) (Seasonal) with four shelters. The largest population center is located in King George Island. The only permanent Chilean base on the Antarctic mainland (Antarctic Peninsula), Base General Bernardo O’Higgins Riquelme, has been in operation since February 18, 1948. It is located on Puerto Covadonga and it is the official communal capital.
For many years, cartographers and European explorers speculated about the existence of the Terra Australis Incognita, a vast territory located in the south of the Strait of Magellan and Tierra del Fuego that reached the South Pole. Nowadays, Antarctica is known. Chile and Argentina are not controlled by Spain anymore. They are fully invested into exploration of Antarctica. Chile is permanently based there. The only country to have such a presence there.
Antarctica has many mysteries yet to be discovered. In order to uncover them, you must be there. Countries that have proper time invested there are in position to find what secrets Antarctica holds. What country will find and disclose what they find is not clear. Maybe, something has been already found. Maybe it is the reason, Antarctica is not really so easy to travel to or investigate. Chile may know more than anyone else. Similar to other countries that have gone on expeditions there. What has been found may not be made public for many years to come.