Who Discovered Antarctica really?

The existence of the sixth continent theoretically people know from the beginning of the XVI century.Amerigo Vespucci Expedition 1501-1502 gg.It explored the polar latitudes of the southern hemisphere and landed on the shores of the island of South Georgia.Move on to the pole navigator prevent a cold, solid ice and hummocks.After that, the mysteries of Antarctica attracted to her discovery.On the maps of the continent appeared long before man set foot there, and even up to the time that the first people saw the land covered by ice.Previously it was believed that this continent is the southern tip of South America or Australia, for example, to draw up in 1513 a map Pirireisa.

But who first discovered Antarctica?And what does "discovered"?I Saw?He stepped ashore?I hoist the flag?In this regard, there is no consensus.Russian believe that the continent had the honor of opening the expedition Bellingshausen and Lazarev (January 1820), while the British believe that Antarctica discovered Edward Bransfild (in January 1820).Americans awarded the laurels of the discoverer of the new continent Nathaniel Palmer (November 1820).All of these three expeditions have only seen billowing into the sky shore, but they were unable to get close to them because of the huge area of ​​ice.The first guess hoist the flag of their country Frenchman Dumont d'Urville, but he did so, as it turned out on the island and not in the vast stretch of land.

The Dutch have their own answer to the question of who discovered Antarctica.According to them, it made the ship's captain Dirk Geeritts even in 1559.After the storm that raged in the Strait of Magellan, the ship lost contact with the squadron and mistakenly gone to the south.When cleared up, the Dutch saw the "high ground" and identified their coordinates - 64 ° S.w.However, the Geeritts never claim to be the discoverer of the continent, and we do not know what he meant by "high ground" - perhaps it was one of the islands, which are many on the shelf of the continent.

In January 1773, James Cook approached on ships «Resolution» and «Adventure» to the 67 ° 'S.w., where he was stopped by ice.Not rest on our laurels, he returned the following year and reached 71 ° 15 'south latitude, however, as he moved to the south-west of Tierra del Fuego, the land he never reached, and did not even see.But closer to the coast of the mainland US was lucky enough to ship "Cecilia" a year after the Russian expedition in 1821.But people do not go ashore.If the judge, who discovered Antarctica upon landing, and here we find a discordance.

official date of the first landing on continental rather than ice shelves this mysterious part of the land is considered to be January 23, 1895.That honor fell to two Norwegians: the captain of the fishing ship "Antarctica" Christensen and passenger Karlstenu Borhgrёvinku, a teacher of natural sciences.The teacher, in fact, far from persuaded the ambitious claims of industrial ship captain pull the boat into the water and stop at the bank.There Borhgrёvink collected samples of rocks and described what he saw the Antarctic lichen.But scientists dispute the Argentine championship Norwegians, saying that to find out who discovered Antarctica, is impossible, because these people are not left behind no written evidence.Archaeologists have discovered on the shores of the mainland remains of buildings and artefacts that date back to the beginning of the XVIII century.Obscure whalers unknown nationality have taken his secret to the grave.

Whatever it was, the merit of the Russian expedition to mankind is undeniable.Bellingshausen and Lazarev skirted the mainland and proved that he is surrounded by seas.Weather in Antarctica is not conducive to the promotion of deeper: even in summer it does not melt the ice cover.It was thanks to him that the continent is the highest - its average height of more than 2 thousand meters and the highest point (Vinson Massif) - 5140 meters.The discovery of Antarctica resulted in the least risky and ambitious plans for humanity to get to the South Pole.Laura detect the most southern point of our planet belong Amundsen (1911-12.).