This essay focuses on the history of the exploration and governance of the Antarctic region. I discuss the political and economic history of the Falkland Islands and South Georgia, the early exploration of Antarctica, the race for the South Pole, Ernest Shackleton’s Endurance expedition, and the ownership and governance of Antarctica.I wrote these lectures for the Antarctica Expedition sponsored by Stanford Travel/Study and Zegrahm Expeditions in January 2009.
I first contrast the Falkland Islands and South Georgia – their major exports under British colonization, the causes of the South Atlantic War (1982) between the United Kingdom and Argentina, and the reasons for the economic boom after the war. I next look at the early exploration of the Antarctic region, the contestants in the race to be the first to reach the South Pole, and why Roald Amundsen, a Norwegian, won the race over Robert Falcon Scott and Ernest Shackleton, both Englishmen. I then discuss how Antarctica is governed under the Antarctic Treaty, what commercial and touristic uses are permitted, and how the environment of the Antarctic region is protected. I append a time line, a bibliography, and a description of sites that I visited in Antarctica.
Falkland Islands, Paradise Bay, Cuverville Island and Neko Harbor, Drake Passage and Ushuaia and Buenos Aires,The Western Antarctic Peninsula and Goudier Island, Neko, Deception, Paulette Island and the Eastern Antarctic Peninsula, South Orkney Islands, Elephant, Salisbury Plain and Grytviken, South Georgia, Carcass Island, West Falkland, Conservation of Antarctic Fauna and Flora, Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Seals