• Lebanon!

    Lebanon: House in Byblos. Go Now!

    Lebanon
    This country is home to a wide range of people from conservative Muslims and Christians to liberals who embrace the changing world. Explore Lebanon!

  • Belize!

    Belize: Beautiful Coastline. Go Now!

    Belize
    This small country offers a diverse culture, incredible beaches, Mayan ruins, and a wide variety of foods to attract numerous tourists. Go Now!

  • Vatican City!

    Vatican City: Vatican Museums. Go Now!

    Vatican City
    The smallest country in the world offers the heart of Catholicism and among the world's finest art collections, including the Sistine Chapel and the Raphael Rooms (ceiling pictured). Go to Vatican City!

  • United Kingdom!

    United Kingdom: Oxford's Christ Church. Go Now!

    United Kingdom
    This country includes England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland with four distinct cultures to match. Explore the United Kingdom!

  • Germany!

    Germany: Town Hall. Go Now!

    Germany
    Food, beer, natural beauty, and more create a country that's known for its distinct culture and history. Go Now!

  • Peru!

    Peru: Lake Titicaca. Go Now!

    Peru
    More than Machu Picchu, Peru boasts a number of historic cultures from the Nazca to the Incans and dozens of others, including the Aymara who settled Lake Titicaca (pictured). Explore Peru!

History of Antarctica

Antarctica's geological history is as old as time, but the island's contact with people has been relatively short lived and this history reflects that. The island was first confirmed to have been sighted in 1820 and the first person in recent history to have most likely stepped foot on the island was about a year later in February, 1821 when John Davis, an American made land there. After 1821, a few people encountered the island, but it wasn't until the 1840s that it was realized and accepted to be a "new" continent, never before discovered.

By the late 1800s sailing routes to the continent were well known and a number of people had landed on the island. Shortly after this, a race to the south pole began. The two primary contenders were Roald Amundsen, a Norwegian and Robert Scott, a Brit. The two arrived to the pole within weeks of each other, but Amundsen reached the pole first, as Scott and much of his expedition died on their return from the pole.

By the 1950s a number of countries were setting up stations on Antarctica, primarily used as research bases. The United States set up a station at the south pole, called the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station in honor of the poles first two expedition leaders and this station remains in use to this day.

On December 1, 1959 the Antarctic Treaty was signed, which does a number of things, most importantly it restricts all military activity on the continent and encourages scientific research. Today there are a large number of countries with research stations on the island, some of which are permanent and others which are temporary or seasonal.

This page was last updated: February, 2012