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.
Research stations and territorial
claims in Antarctica (2002).
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
Nations with history of Antarctic
Seven sovereign states
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 has 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 recognize each others' claims, 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
The Antarctic areas became a separate
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
Subantarctic island territories
Four island territories located north of the 60° South circle of latitude
associated with the continent of Antarctica. None of these
territories has an indigenous population.
[[Image:Antarctica, territorial claims.svg|thumb|Territorial claims
of Antarctica according to the Antarctic Treaty
The Antarctic Treaty and related agreements regulate international relations
to Antarctica, Earth
's only continent
without a native human population.
treaty has now been signed by 46 countries, including the United
Kingdom, the United States, and the now-defunct Soviet Union.
The treaty set aside Antarctica as a
scientific preserve, established freedom of scientific
investigation and banned military activity on that
. This was the first arms
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.
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.
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
areas except Peter I
Island are sectors, the borders of which are defined by
degrees of longitude.
In terms of
, 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
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
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
What the treaty does affect are new claims
- No activities occurring after 1961 can be the basis of a
- No new claim can be made.
- No claim can be enlarged.
- Districts of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands excluding
- Includes the Scattered Islands in the
Indian Ocean, which is associated with Africa
- However, the Norwegian government has stated in 2003 that the
northern extent of the Norwegian territory conforms to general
practice by extending from the shore.