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16th January, 1820 Antarctica was discovered

Antarctica was discovered On the 16th of January, 1820 Antarctic Expedition, led by Russian explorer Thaddeus Bellingshausen, approached the shores of the unknown continent. This date is considered to be the date of the discovery of Antarctica.

After a few days Russian sailors went back to the coastal ice of Antarctica. On the 17th of February 17 sloops "Peace" and "East" reached 15 ° east and 69 ° south. Antarctic autumn began. Bad weather conditions have created additional difficulties: raging winds, sails and rigging of the ships became covered with ice. Plus, the courts needed to be repaired.

Bellingshausen decided not to risk it, so the expedition went to Australia. The ships divided to swim different routes and explore unfamiliar areas of the ocean, and map them.

 In Port Jackson (Sydney) sailing sloops were repaired, the expedition renewed stocks of provisions. In May, the court again set sail. At this time, the course was set to Polynesia. In the tropical part of the Pacific Oceannavigators discovered 15 islands, which were named in honor of the Russian generals.

Thaddeus Bellingshausen went down in history as the discoverer of Antarctica. From early childhood he dreamt to be a sailor. At the age of 10 he was enrolled in the Naval Cadet Corps. While a student he sailed to England, and then served in the Navy. In 1803 Bellingshausen was enrolled in the world expedition led by Lisyansky and Kruzenshtern where he mastered scientific observation and got excellent practical experience in navigation. When put in charge of the Bellingshausen Antarctic expedition, he hadaII captain rank.

Since the days of the ancient world there was a legend about the existence of the earth that connects Africa and Asia. This vast area of ​​land has been charted on a map by Claudius Ptolemy in the II century BC. In 1595 the cartographer named Mercator mapped the southern continent. In 1819 Bellingshausen was ordered to urgently come to St. Petersburg for the organization of an Antarctic expedition. Russian Antarctic expedition is a brilliant example of the great geographical discoveries. During the voyage 29 islands were charted on the mapand extensive meteorological, hydrographic and astronomical researches were done. Bellingshausen described the tropical regions, and explained the cause of ocean currents. 

This Day in History 16-01-2013