Antarctica has always been a continent appealing to the imagination. Not only because of its harsh natural conditions, isolated location and heavenly serenity, but also because of the remaining opportunities for mankind on this untouched piece of ‘No Man’s Land’.
Since 1961, when the Antarctic Treaty was signed, Antarctica has been a preserve to be used only for scientific investigation, environmental protection and other peaceful purposes. Despite this, the continent is the site of a geopolitical power game. More and more countries mark their presence on the continent with science stations. Several nations reserve the right to claim parts of Antarctica in the future. Argentina has even formed a village around Base Esperanza with permanent residents and their families, so Antarctica can no longer be called uninhabited. Some children can even claim this Antarctic base is their birthplace. But also challenges on individual level can be found at this most extreme place on earth. Many expeditions take place in the urge to arrive somewhere nobody has ever been before and tourist ships are claiming landing sides for a certain amount of time. I started to collects historic and current maps of Antarctica, showing the various, sometimes overlapping, claims to Antarctica.
1. ‘Süd Polar Meer’, showing Antarctica as undiscovered territory, Germany, 1906.
2. ‘Antarctic Continent Exploration Map’, showing historical expedition routes, Argentina, 2005.
3. ‘The Antarctic Continent’, overview of historical explorers, Ocean Explorer Maps, UK, 2009.
4. ‘Descriptio Terrae Subaustralis’, first printed map to focus solely on the Antarctic, showing Antarctica as unknown Australian territory, Amsterdam, 1616.
5. ‘Neueste Karte vom Süd-Pol’, Germany, 1845.
6. ‘South Polar Chart’, showing Antarctica as ‘probable extent of Victoria Land’, UK, 1901.
7. ‘Global Navigation and Planning Chart’, US, 1985.
8. Map depicting the section of Antarctica claimed as Australian territory, Australia, 2007.
9. Online map of Antarctic territorial claims.
10. Online map visualising historical British Empire claims in Antarctica, 2016,
11. Argentinian stamp showing the region claimed as Argentinean Antarctic Territory, 1966.
12. Norwegian stamp depicting ‘Queen Maud Land’ as a dependent territory of Norway, 1957-8.
13. Pocket globe, part of a series of works by Esther Kokmeijer entitled Definition World.
14. Online map of Antarctic claims, Germany.
15. Map of Antarctica’s ice shelves and contours, Australian Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, 2009.
16. Mapping the Antarctic, The American Geographical Society, 1958.
17. ‘Antarctica, International Travel Map’, Canada, 2007.
18. ‘Antarctica, International Travel Map’, with insert showing territorial claims, Canada, 2007.
19. Online ‘Mapa Bicontinental de la República Argentina’, depicting the Antarctic Peninsula as Argentinean territory, Argentinean Ministry of Defense, 2009.
20. Antarctic science stations and territorial claims, ?.
21. ‘Mapa Turístico’, depicting the Antarctic Peninsula as Chilean territory, Chili, 2018.
22. ‘Magnetic Anomaly Map of the Antarctic’, showing the variation in strength of the magnetic field, UK, 2000.
23. ‘World Mapping Project’, combining expedition routes, Antarctic science bases, territorial claims and penguin habitats, Germany, 2013.
24. ‘Building a Continent for Science’, infographic showing Antarctic science bases, The Polar Museum, University of Cambridge.
25. Online oceanographic map of the Antarctic Ocean, National Geographic Atlas of the World.
26. ‘Antarctica’, map with territorial claims, Australia, 1986.
27. ‘Antarctica’, map without territorial claims, Australia, 1986.
28. ‘Antarctica’, map with climate and sea-ice information, British Antarctic Survey, UK, 2015.
29. ‘Antarctica, A New Age of Exploration’, satellite mapping of climate change on Antarctica, National Geographic, 2010.
30. ‘Fossil Map of Antarctica’, American Geographical Society, US, 1970.
31. ‘Global Navigation and Planning Chart’, adapted with Tipp-Ex by Esther Kokmeijer, 2018.
32. ‘Antarctica’, Norwegian Polar Institute, 2013.
33. ‘Landsat Image Mosaic of Antarctica’, British Antarctic Survey, UK, 2007.
34. Online map of Antarctic time zones.
35. Online map of Antarctic science stations.
36. ‘Antarctica’, map of expeditions and permanent science bases, US, 1945.
37. ‘Planning Chart for the Antarctic Region’, navigation map, UK, 1993.