List of Antarctic territorial claims


List of Antarctic territorial claims

This is an alphabetical list of Antarctic territories and territorial claims. The Antarctic Treaty prohibits new claims from being made after 1961 as well as the expansion of existing claims, but does not suspend preexisting claims. Currently there are seven claimant nations who maintain a territorial claim on eight territories in Antarctica. These countries have tended to site their scientific observation and study facilities in Antarctica within their claimed territory. It is sometimes stated that the Antarctic Treaty defers or suspends these claims. However, Article IV of the treaty, which deals with the issue of territorial claims, merely specifies that previously asserted claims are not affected by the treaty.

Antarctic Territorial Claims

Seven sovereign states have made eight territorial claims to land in Antarctica below the 60° S parallel before 1961. These claims have been recognized only between the countries making claims in the area. All claim areas are sectors, with the exception of Peter I Island. None of these claims have an indigenous population. The South Orkney Islands fall within the territory claimed by Argentina and United Kingdom; and the South Shetland Islands fall within the areas claimed by Argentina, Chile, and the United Kingdom. The UK, France, Australia, New Zealand and Norway all recognise each others claims, [Citation |last=Rogan-Finnemore |first=Michelle |year=2005 |contribution = What Bioprospecting Means for Atarctica and the Southern Ocean |editor-last = Von Tigerstrom |editor-first = Barbara |title=International Law Issues in the South Pacific |publisher=Ashgate Publishing |pages=204 |isbn=0754644197] which do not overlap. Prior to 1962, British Antarctic Territory was a dependency of the Falkland Islands and also included South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. The Antarctic areas became a separate overseas territory following the ratification of the Antarctic Treaty. South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands remained a dependency of the Falkland Islands until 1985 when they too became a separate overseas territory.

Official claims



Subantarctic Island Territories

Four island territories located north of the 60° South circle of latitude are sometimes associated with the continent of Antarctica. None of these territories have an indigenous population.

*flagicon|Norway "Bouvet Island" (Norwegian dependency)
*"flag|French Southern Territories"Districts of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands excluding Adelie Land.] Includes the Scattered Islands in the Indian Ocean, which is associated with Africa]
*flagicon|Australia "Heard Island and McDonald Islands" (Australian overseas territory)
*"flag|South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands" (British overseas territory)

Antarctic Treaty

:legend|#6d78fe|Argentina]

The Antarctic Treaty and related agreements regulate international relations with respect to Antarctica, Earth's only continent without a native human population. The treaty has now been signed by 46 countries, including the now-defunct Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States, and set aside Antarctica as a scientific preserve, established freedom of scientific investigation and banned military activity on that continent. This was the first arms control agreement established during the Cold War. The Soviet Union and the United States both filed reservations against the restriction on new claims, and the United States and Russia assert their right to make claims in the future if they so choose. Brazil maintains the Comandante Ferraz (the Brazilian Antarctic Base) and has proposed a theory to delimiting territories using meridians, which would give territories to Argentina, Uruguay, Peru and Ecuador too. In general, territorial claims below the 60° S parallel have only been recognised among those countries making claims in the area. However, claims are often indicated on maps of Antarctica - this does not signify "de jure" recognition.

All claim areas except Peter I Island are sectors, the borders of which are defined by degrees of longitude. In terms of latitude, the northern border of all sectors is the 60° S parallel which does not cut through any piece of land, continent or island, and is also the northern limit of the Antarctic Treaty. The southern border of all sectors collapses in one point, the South Pole. Only the Norwegian sector is an exception: the original claim of 1930 did not specify a northern or a southern limit, so that its territory is only defined by eastern and western limits. [However, the Norwegian government has stated in 2003 that the northern extent of the Norwegian territory conforms to general practice by extending convert|12|nmi|km|0 from the shore.]

The Antarctic Treaty states that contracting to the treaty:
* is not a renunciation of any previous territorial claim.
* does not affect the basis of claims made as a result of activities of the signatory nation within Antarctica.
* does not affect the rights of a State under customary international law to recognise (or refuse to recognise) any other territorial claim.

What the treaty does affect are "new claims":
* No activities occurring after 1961 can be the basis of a territorial claim.
* No new claim can be made.
* No claim can be enlarged.

References

See also

* Antarctic Treaty System
* Antarctica
* History of Antarctica


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