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A satellite composite image of Antarctica
A satellite composite image of Antarctica

Antarctica (from Greek ἀνταρκτικός, opposed to the arctic) is a continent surrounding the Earth'South_Pole" title ="South Pole">South Pole. It is the coldest place on earth and is almost entirely covered by ice. It is not to be confused with the Arctic, which is located near the Earth'North_Pole" title ="North Pole">North Pole.

Antarctica was discovered in late January 1820. For more details see the article on the History of Antarctica.

Antarctica is the fifth largest continent in area, after Asia, Africa, North America, and South America. However, it is by far the smallest in population: indeed, it has no permanent population at all. It is also the continent with the highest average altitude, and the lowest average humidity of any continent on Earth, as well as the lowest average temperature.

It has been assigned the Internet ccTLD .aq.


Antarctic Climate

Main article: Climate of Antarctica. See-also: sea level rise.


Main article: Geography of Antarctica

Territorial claims

Territorial claims of Antarctica
Territorial claims of Antarctica

Several nations, particularly those close to the continent, made territorial claims in the 20th century. These claims have little practical relevance but continue to be observed by cartographers.

Most countries that have observation or study facilities in Antarctica have those facilities within their claimed territory. The Antarctic Treaty defers these claims and most other nations do not recognize them. No other nations have made claims themselves, although the United States and Russia assert the right to do so.

No formal claims have been made in the sector between 90 degrees west and 150 degrees west.

Former claims

Tabletop icebergs in Antarctica
Tabletop icebergs in Antarctica


Palmer Station
Palmer Station

It is usually estimated that at a given time there are at least 1000 people living in Antarctica. This varies strongly with season.

Antarctica has no permanent residents, but a number of governments maintain permanent research stations on the continent. Many of the stations are staffed around the year. These include:

Emilio Marcos Palma was the first person born in Antarctica, his mother having been sent there by the Argentinian government to give birth.

Literature set in Antarctica

See also

External links

Continents of the World
Asia | Africa | North America | South America | Antarctica | Europe | Australia

(The Pacific Islands in Oceania are not part of any continent)

Regions of the World

Antarctica | East Asia | Central Asia | Southeast Asia | South Asia | North Asia | Middle East | Levant | Arabia | North Africa | Central Africa | Great Lakes | Congo | Guinea | Sahel | Sudan | West Africa | East Africa | Southern Africa | Great Plains | Central America | Caribbean | Andean States | Eastern South America | Northern South America | Western Europe | Eastern Europe | Northern Europe | Scandinavia | Southern Europe | Central Europe | Balkans | Australasia or Australia | Micronesia | Melanesia | Polynesia
(For more, visit subcontinent and subregion)

ca:Antàrtida cs:Antarktida cy:Antarctica da:Antarktis de:Antarktis es:Antártida eo:Antarkto fa:جنوبگان fr:Antarctique hr:Antarktika io:Antarktika is:Suðurskautslandið it:Antartide he:אנטארקטיקה lt:Antarktida hu:Antarktisz nl:Antarctica ja:南極大陸 no:Antarktis nds:Antarktis pl:Antarktyda pt:Antártica ru:Антарктида simple:Antarctica fi:Etelämanner sv:Antarktis uk:Антарктида wa:Antartike zh:南极洲

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