Wednesday, December 19, 2012

British Antarctic Territory twice the size of UK named for Queen Elizabeth, 3rd Antarctic plot named for Windsors so far, reminder 'that Britain has not forgotten its stake in this distant land'- BBC


12/18/12, "UK to name part of Antarctica Queen Elizabeth Land," BBC

"Part of Antarctica is to be named Queen Elizabeth Land in honour of the Queen, it was announced as she made a historic visit to Downing Street. She is the first monarch since 1781 - during the US war of independence - to attend a cabinet meeting....

The Queen joined the cabinet while they were updated on a range of forthcoming parliamentary business.
After leaving Downing Street she went with Foreign Secretary William Hague to the Foreign Office, where it was announced that the southern part of the British Antarctic Territory had been named.  

The territory, covering 169,000 sq miles - almost twice the size of the UK - was previously unnamed, the Foreign Office said....
The Foreign Office said there was a precedent - there was already a Princess Elizabeth Land in East Antarctica, which was named after the Queen before she took the throne, and in 2006 an unnamed mountain range in the Antarctic peninsula was named the Princess Royal Range in tribute to the Queen's daughter....

It is believed to be the first time a monarch has attended peace-time cabinet since George III in 1781. George I ceased to chair cabinet in 1717. The Queen's father, King George VI, attended war cabinet during the Second World War."...

By David Shukman, BBC science editor:

"Twice the size of the United Kingdom, Queen Elizabeth Land is a strange, beautiful and dangerous world of towering mountains and infinite ice.

Inland is a desolate vision of vast peaks and massive glaciers inching towards the coast. But the shoreline is the scene for the delicate waddling of penguins and the lumbering of elephant seals.

The profusion of wildlife is among the most astounding of the natural world. Geographically closest to South America, this slice of Antarctica is where the British presence has been strongest for the past fifty years with a

long record of brave expeditions and Union flags planted in vicious gale

The naming of Queen Elizabeth Land is another reminder - in the centenary year of the death of Captain Scott - that Britain has not forgotten its stake in this distant land."

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