Dividing Antarctica: The Work of the Seventh International Geographical Congress in Berlin 1899


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Abstract

Antarctic historians seldom look beyond the Sixth International Geographical Congress held in London in 1895 to locate the origins of the late-nineteenth-century renewal of interest in the region. Moreover, these scholars pay near-exclusive attention to Resolution 3 of that Congress, which marked the exploration of Antarctica as “the greatest piece of geographical exploration still to be undertaken.” Far-less often analyzed is the subsequent Berlin Congress of 1899, to which fell the actual coordination of the independent national expeditions proposing to set for the Far South. This paper, then, will examine the Seventh International Geographical Congress held in Berlin in 1899. It suggests that the 1899 Congress set off a period of exploration (1901-1904) in Antarctica motivated more by competition than collaboration. To organize and direct the aims of these Antarctic voyages, delegates at the 1899 Congress formulated a research program structured around a strict demarcation of each nation’s zone of activity. This essay will show how this partitioning of Antarctic space, though oft-recognized by scholars as a scheme indicative of the desire for international collaboration, betrayed the deeper international tensions and imperial priorities that had stained Antarctic deliberations during the years between the London and Berlin Congresses.



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"Polarforschung"
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30007
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Luedtke, B. (2011): Dividing Antarctica: The Work of the Seventh International Geographical Congress in Berlin 1899 , Polarforschung, Bremerhaven, Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research & German Society of Polar Research, 80 (3), pp. 173-180 .


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