Antarctica 200

Artists impression 'Williams', 1819. Credit: Andrew Robinson

2019 marks 200 years since the discovery of what was then named ‘New South Britain’.  This discovery, by the British Master Mariner William Smith, triggered a series of later discoveries, ultimately leading to what we know today as ‘Antarctica’.

A series of events and activities across the UK, including regions with an Antarctic links, will be taking place to mark this significant anniversary.

Key Discovery Dates

19 February 1819 – William Smith in the Williams discovers what are known today as the South Shetland Islands.

16 October 1819 – William Smith in the Williams lands on King George Island – the first landing on Antarctic territory.

27 January 1820 – Fabian Gottlieb van Bellingshausen first sights ice shelves which comprise the Antarctic mainland (discovery of Antarctica).

30 January 1820 – Edward Bransfield sights land on the Antarctic Peninsula (both ice and land), on board Williams mastered by William Smith

16 November 1820 – Nathaniel Palmer sites Trinity Peninsula. US crew first to land on peninsula (16 November 1820)

6 December 1821 – George Powell on board the Dove discovers (with Palmer on the James Monroe) the South Orkney Islands

Learn more

We used #UKinAntarctica200 to share some snippets of the UK’s history in Antarctica.