Monday, November 11, 2013

10th Anniversary of the Antarctic Treaty

Norway issued this stamp on the First Day Cover issued in Oslo on 23.6.1971 commemorating the 10th Anniversary of the Antarctic Treaty. The picture on the stamp is that of Roald Engelbert Gravning Amundsen (16 July 1872 - 18 June 1928) who was a Norwegian explorer of polar regions. He led the Antarctic expedition (1910-12) to discover the South Pole in December 1911, and he was the first expedition leader to undisputedly reach the North Pole in 1926. Amundsen is also known as the first to traverse the Northwest Passage (1903-06).  I am giving a small brief in the succeeding paragraphs to emphasise the importance being given to Antarctica by some nations.
The Antarctic Treaty and related agreements, collectively called the Antarctic Treaty System (ATS), regulate international relations with respect to Antarctica, Earth's only continent without a native human population. For the purposes of the treaty system, Antarctica is defined as all of the land and ice shelves south of 60°S latitude. The treaty, entering into force in 1961 and currently having 50 signatory nations, sets aside Antarctica as a scientific preserve, establishes freedom of scientific investigation and bans military activity on that continent. The treaty was the first arms control agreement established during the Cold War. The Antarctic Treaty Secretariat headquarters have been located in Buenos Aires, Argentina, since September 2004.
Queen Maud Land is a c. 2.7 million-square-kilometre (1 million sq mi) region of Antarctica claimed as a dependent territory by Norway. The territory lies between 20° west and 45° east, between the British Antarctic Territory to the west and the Australian Antarctic Territory to the east. The latitudinal limits of the territory are not officially defined. Positioned in East Antarctica, the territory comprises one-sixth of the total area of Antarctica. The claim is named for theNorwegian queen Maud of Wales (1869–1938).
Norwegian Hjalmar Riiser-Larsen was the first person known to have set foot in the territory, in 1930. On 14 January 1939, the territory was claimed by Norway. From 1939 until 1945, Germany claimed New Swabia, which consisted of part of Queen Maud Land. On 23 June 1961, Queen Maud Land became part of the Antarctic Treaty System, making it a demilitarised zone. It is one of two Antarctic claims made by Norway, the other being Peter I Island. They are administrated by the Polar Affairs Department of the Norwegian Ministry of Justice and Public Security in Oslo.
Most of the territory is covered by the Antarctic ice sheet, and a tall ice wall stretches throughout its coast. In some areas further within the ice sheet, mountain ranges breach through the ice, allowing for birds to breed and the growth of a limited flora. The region is divided into the Princess Martha Coast, Princess Astrid Coast, Princess Ragnhild Coast, Prince Harald Coast and Prince Olav Coast. The waters off the coast are called the King Haakon VII Sea.
There is no permanent population, although there are 12 active research stations housing a maximum average of 40 scientists, the numbers fluctuating depending on the season. Six are occupied year-round, while the remainder are seasonal summer stations. The main aerodromes for intercontinental flights, corresponding with Cape Town, South Africa, are Troll Airfield, near the Norwegian Troll research station, and a runway at the Russian Novolazarevskaya Station.

Thank you Pia for this nice FDC.

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