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History of Antarctica

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Stacy Dohm
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« on: October 07, 2010, 01:29:19 pm »

The doubling of the Cape of Good Hope in 1487 by Bartolomeu Dias first brought explorers within touch of the Antarctic cold, and proved that there was an ocean separating Africa from any Antarctic land that might exist. In 1513, the Ottoman Turkish admiral Piri Reis drew a world map that has been said to show part of the Antarctic continent.

Ferdinand Magellan, who passed through the Straits of Magellan in 1520, assumed that the islands of Tierra del Fuego to the south were an extension of this unknown southern land, and it appeared as such on a map by Ortelius: Terra australis recenter inventa sed nondum plene cognita ("Southern land recently discovered but not yet known").[citation needed]

European geographers connected the coast of Tierra del Fuego with the coast of New Guinea on their globes and allowing their imaginations to run riot in the vast unknown spaces of the south Atlantic, south Indian and Pacific oceans. They sketched the outlines of the Terra Australis Incognita ("Unknown Southern Land"), a vast continent stretching in parts into the tropics. The search for this great south land or Third World was a leading motive of explorers in the 16th and the early part of the 17th centuries.

Quirós in 1606 took possession for the king of Spain all of the lands he had discovered in Australia del Espiritu Santo (the New Hebrides) and those he would discover "even to the Pole".

Francis Drake like Spanish explorers before him had speculated that there might be an open channel south of Tierra del Fuego. Indeed, when Schouten and Le Maire discovered the southern extremity of Tierra del Fuego and named it Cape Horn in 1615, they proved that the Tierra del Fuego archipelago was of small extent and not connected to the southern land.

Finally, in 1642 Tasman showed that even New Holland (Australia) was separated by sea from any continuous southern continent.

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