08 Who first set foot on Antarctica?

The honor of the first step onto the Antarctic Continent probably belongs to the crew of a boat from the Cecilia, an American vessel skippered by John Davis. On 7 February 1821 he recorded “… open cloudy weather and light winds a standing for a large body of land in that direction SE at 10 am close in with our boat and sent her on shore … I think this southern land to be a continent.” The landing probably took place at Hughes Bay (64°13´S 61°20´W), and much pre-dates the other documented claim, that of the Norwegian businessman Henryk Johann Bull, who led a whaling expedition to the Ross Sea region in 1895. The area is now the Davis Coast, but the names of the crew who made the historic one-hour landing are unknown.

author: David McGonigal

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