Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Queen Elizabeth Land

To mark The Queen’s diamond jubilee it is announced by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in Whitehall today that henceforth the southern-most portion of the British Antarctic Territory will be named Queen Elizabeth Land. This large, wedge-shaped chunk of Antarctica extends from latitude 60°00’ S to 90°00’ S, and from 20° W to 80° W. No doubt Her Majesty will be pleased, but she may perhaps chuckle inwardly at the thought that she already has a sizable foothold on Antarctica, and has had it moreover for the past eighty-one years. Princess Elizabeth Land is a portion of the vast Australian Antarctic Territory stretching between 64°56’ S and 90°00’ S and between 73°35’ E and 87°43’ E. It was discovered in February 1931 by the British, Australian and New Zealand Antarctic Research Expedition, and named after Her then Royal Highness Princess Elizabeth of York (aged four) by the late Sir Douglas Mawson. It is, of course, given to few to have huge territories named after them, but it is surely a unique achievement, well into the second decade of the twenty-first century, to be able to add to one’s portfolio in this impressive manner—and that, thanks to the fulcrum of the South Pole, those territories may even abut. How splendid!

No comments:

Post a Comment