"Lt. Nobu Shirase
(1861-1946) led Japan's first venture to the South in 1910-12.
(His first name is given variously as Choku and Naoshi.) In the Kainan Maru the expedition reached the Ross Sea
in early March of 1911. Not being able to land they returned to
Australia. The expedition was back in the Ross Sea the following
January and later landed at the Bay of Whales where they encountered
some of Amundsen's party. Using dogs Shirase reached 80 deg 05 min S
on January 28, 1912. The Shirase Coast and Glacier were named for him
as was a Japanese icebreaker."
May 15, 2003
The stamp was issued in 1960 to commemorate the
fiftieth anniversary of the first Japanese Antarctic expedition
Britain established the Ross Sea Dependency in 1923. Shortly
afterwards jurisdiction was given to New Zealand. In 1957 New Zealand
issued a set of stamps for the Ross Dependency including this one with
a map of the New Zealand claim.
Maud Land is south of Africa between Coats Land on the west and
Enderby Land on the east. It was discovered by a Norwegian expedition
in 1930, and named for the Queen of Norway. It became a Norwegian
dependency in 1949. It is mostly a barren plateau covered by a cap of
ice a mile and a half thick. 12,000 foot mountain peaks rise above the
ice sheet. Several countries operate research stations there. The
stamp was issued to commemorate the International Geophysical Year.
Chile formally claimed a part of the Antarctic continent by Decree Law
740, which states: “The Chilean Antarctica, or Chilean Antarctic
Territory, comprises all the islands, islets, reefs, glaciers and
others, known or to be discovered, on the respective territorial sea
lying within the cap limits of Greenwich meridians 53°W and 90°W.” The
stamps were issued in 1947 to publicize its claim. In 1959 Chile
signed the Antarctic Treaty which does not recognize the territorial
claims of any nation, though it continues to maintain its claim of
sovereign rights to the territory.
Argentina also claims a portion of this area, the territory between
25ºW and 74ºW.
The Antarctic Treaty was signed
by twelve nations in 1961. Many of the countries that signed the
treaty have issued stamps commemorating that event and calling
attention to their presence on the Antarctic continent.