1900 – 1959 Pin Pricks & Antarctic Pretensions

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Link – 1900 to 1959

South Georgia, the South Sandwich Islands, the South Orkney Islands and the South Shetlands. Stepping stones to Antarctica. The little-known continent that held, just possibly, unknown riches.

King Edward Cove, Grytviken, Cumberland Bay, South Georgia, 1922

South Georgia Whaling Station 1922

Britain’s Empire, arguably the greatest in the world’s history – in extent if nothing else – reached south. Argentina, with the annexation of Patagonia so recently completed, saw its own chance to gain the sub-Antarctic Islands and even part of Antarctica itself.

Not capable of challenging the might of Britain, Argentina chose a course of annoyance and repeated claims – pin pricks in the Lion’s hide.

However, with the USSR turning its gaze towards the southern Pole, the USA perceived the potential for greater conflict. So, with a little prompting from the UK, the means was found to freeze most of the potential flash-points. To hold all claims in abeyance. Argentina found itself with no choice but to agree.

The multi-lateral accord known as the Antarctic Treaty survives to this day.

 

Relevant Resources:

British Letters Patent of 1908 and 1917 constituting the Islands Dependencies

Fitzmaurice and Stamps: February 1936

Anthony Eden to Sir N. Henderson (Buenos Aires) – August 28, 1936

US Government: Blue Book on Argentina 1946

List of British Non-Self Governing Territories presented to the UN – October,21 1946

Argentine and Chilean Decrees relating to the Antarctic 1947/48

Argentine and Chilean Decrees relating to the Antarctic 1942 to 1949

Foreign Service Despatch: US Embassy Buenos Aires to State Department – May 17, 1955 “Argentina rejects British proposal for Arbitration Claims of Antarctic Territories”