3 March 1962: British Antarctic Territory is created

On this day in 1962, Britain formed the British Antarctic Territory administered from the Falkland Islands.

British Antarctic Survey vessel

Britain first staked its claim to a slice of Antarctica back in 1908. But it was only during the Second World War in 1943 that it established its first permanent bases there,at a time when other countries were starting to press similar claims.The top-secret mission, codenamed Operation Tabarin, after a Parisian nightclub, had two objectives: to deny safe anchorages to enemy vessels, and to gather weather data for Allied shipping in the South Atlantic.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Led by marine zoologist James Marr, 14 men worked in the inhospitable conditions during that first year, rising to 21 in the second. From July 1945, the operations were made permanent and renamed the Falkland Islands Dependencies Survey. In 1961, the Antarctic Treaty came into force, which called for the demilitarisation of the region, and friendly scientific cooperation.

On 3 March the following year, the desolate territories administered from the Falkland Islands were reorganised as the British Antarctic Territory. Today it forms the largest of Britain's 14 overseas territories at 1,709,400 square kilometres. Meanwhile, that same year in 1962, the research work was rebranded the British Antarctic Survey.

Aside from the flocks of penguins and herds of seals wallowing in the ice, the only inhabitants of the Territory are the 50 to 100 scientists carrying out environmental research, such as into global climate change although number of tourists have been steadily incresing.

The British Antarctic Territory ifunds itself viataxes paid by scientists, and the interest earned on its capital reserves. But it also drives a rather profitable trade in stamps, which are highly desirable among collectors. No wonder, then, that the Territory runs four post offices.

Also on this day

3 March 1938: Saudi Arabia strikes oil

Read more here




How long can the good times roll?

Despite all the doom and gloom that has dominated our headlines for most of 2019, Britain and most of the rest of the developing world is currently en…
19 Dec 2019

Are we back on the road to serfdom?

The coronavirus crisis has led to levels of state intervention unprecedented in peace time. The Austrian School reminds us of the challenges, say Dan …
22 May 2020

MoneyWeek's quiz of the week, 16-22 May

Test your recollection of the events of the last seven days with MoneyWeek's quiz of the week
22 May 2020
UK Economy

What are negative interest rates and could they happen here?

Negative interest rates – where banks pay you to borrow money – now exist in many parts of the world. John Stepek explains why they are a terrible ide…
18 May 2020

Most Popular

UK Economy

What bounce back loans can tell us about how we’ll pay for all this

The government will guarantee emergency "bounce back loans" for small businesses hit by Covid-19. Inevitably, many businesses will default. And there'…
1 Jun 2020

This looks like the biggest opportunity in today’s markets

With low interest rates and constant money-printing, most assets have become expensive. But one major asset class hasn’t. John Stepek explains why com…
2 Jun 2020

These seven charts show exactly why you must own gold today

Covid-19 is accelerating many trends that were already in existence. The rising gold price is one such trend. These seven charts, says Dominic Frisby,…
3 Jun 2020