Discover the 12 Sovereign States of Antarctica: A Complete Guide

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Discovering the 12 countries in Antarctica

Antarctica is one of the most spectacular and mesmerizing regions on the planet, known for its icy landscapes, incredible fauna, and a long history of exploration. This frozen continent is chiefly governed by scientific communities, but there are 12 countries in Antarctica that have set claims to the territory. In this article, we will explore these countries to help you understand and discover more about this unique region.

The treaty that governs Antarctica

Before we delve into the list, it is important to understand the governing body that oversees Antarctica. In 1959, the Antarctic Treaty was signed, which declared that the continent would be used exclusively for peaceful purposes and scientific research. This treaty has since been ratified by 54 countries, including the 12 countries in Antarctica that have made territorial claims.

The 12 countries in Antarctica

The 12 countries in Antarctica may come as a surprise, as many assume that it is an uninhabited continent. However, these countries have set claims to different areas on the continent, which can be seen in the map below:

Map of 12 countries in Antarctica

Let’s explore each of these 12 countries in Antarctica in more detail:

1. Argentina

Argentina claims a sector of Antarctica called “Argentine Antarctica,” which includes the South Orkney Islands and the Weddell Sea. The country has two research centers on the continent that support the Argentine Antarctic Program and scientific activities, as well as a museum.

2. Australia

Australia has the largest territorial claim in Antarctica, covering 42% of the continent known as the Australian Antarctic Territory. The country has four research stations in Antarctica, which support the Australian Antarctic Program run by the Australian Antarctic Division.

3. Chile

Chile claims a section of Antarctica called the “Chilean Antarctic Territory,” which covers the land between longitude 53°W and 90°W. The country has four research stations in Antarctica.

4. France

France claims a portion of Antarctica called the “Adélie Land,” which is south of Australia’s claim. The country has the Dumont d’Urville Station in Adélie Land, which supports research on climate, geophysics, and other scientific disciplines.

5. New Zealand

New Zealand has a claim on the Ross Dependency, which covers an area of 450,000 square kilometres around the Ross Sea and is the country’s only Antarctic territorial claim. The country operates the Scott Base research facility in the area.

6. Norway

Norway’s claim on Antarctica is Queen Maud Land, an area in the eastern part of the continent. The country has two research stations, Troll and Tor, which support Norwegian scientific projects and work closely with other countries’ research stations as well.

7. Russia

Russia has two territorial claims in Antarctica: “Russkaya” in Enderby Land and “Queen Maud Land.” The country has numerous research stations on the continent, including Vostok Station, which recorded the coldest temperature on Earth in 1983 at -128.6 °F (-89.2 °C).

8. United Kingdom

The UK has a claim on the British Antarctic Territory, which is the largest of the 14 British Overseas Territories. The country operates the Rothera Research Station on Adelaide Island, which studies topics such as the effects of climate change and ozone depletion.

9. United States

The United States has a claim on the Ross Dependency, which it shares with New Zealand. The country has three permanent research stations in Antarctica that support the United States Antarctic Program and other international scientific projects.

10. Belgium

Belgium has a claim on a section of the continent called “Belgian Antarctic Territory,” which is situated on the coast of Queen Maud Land. The country operates the Princess Elisabeth Station, which focuses on research related to climate change and renewable energy.

11. Germany

Germany claims an area of Antarctica called “New Swabia,” which is situated along the coast of Queen Maud Land. The country has scientific research stations, notably the Neumayer-III research station, which focuses on the local biological system and the effects of climate change.

12. Japan

Japan’s claim on Antarctica is known as the “Syowa Station,” which is located on East Ongul Island. The country operates the station to study meteorology, geology, and other scientific disciplines.


Note: As per instructions, there is no conclusion in the article.

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