Antarctica, Earth’s southernmost continent, faces numerous threats from climate change, but many people don’t know very much about the isolated area. The Onion looks back at a history of exploration, scientific study, and human activity in Antarctica.


1490:

Lost European explorers perplexed by how cold India is.


1820:

Discovery of Antarctica sends world ice prices plummeting.


1911:

Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen beats British explorer Robert Falcon Scott in the race to the South Pole after Scott falters during the critical Ross Ice Shelf sprint stage.

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1917:

Ernest Shackleton completes the first successful mission to get a boat stuck in Antarctic pack ice and be forced to live miserably on a floe for months.

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1935:

Caroline Mikkelsen becomes the first person to experience sexism on Antarctica.


1959:

The Antarctic Treaty is signed in Washington, placing a moratorium on natural resource exploitation and preventing penguins from industrializing the continent and entering the 20th-century global economy.

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1991:

The ratification of the Madrid Protocol declares Antarctica to be a “natural reserve, devoted to peace and science” for the remaining 50 years of its existence.

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2005:

The film March Of The Penguins documents Antarctica’s disturbing descent into fascism.

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2018:

Look, it’s perfectly normal for some continents to shrink, okay? Happens all the time.

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