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History of Antarctica

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Stacy Dohm
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« on: October 07, 2010, 01:29:04 pm »

The search for Terra Australis Incognita

In the Western world, belief in a Cold Land—a vast continent located in the far south of the globe to "balance" out the northern lands of Europe, Asia and North Africa—had existed for centuries. Aristotle had postulated a symmetry of the earth, which meant that there would be equally habitable lands south of the known world. The Greeks suggested that these two hemispheres, north and south, were divided by a 'belt of fire'[citation needed].

It was not until Prince Henry the Navigator began in 1418 to encourage the penetration of the torrid zone in the effort to reach India by circumnavigating Africa that the exploration of the southern hemisphere began. In 1473 Portuguese navigator Lopes Gonçalves proved that the equator could be crossed, and cartographers and sailors began to assume the existence of another, temperate continent to the south of the known world.

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