The Antarctic

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    "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."

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May 15, 2003

     The stamp was issued in 1960 to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the first Japanese Antarctic expedition

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     Great 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.

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     Queen 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.

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     In 1940 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 53W and 90W. 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.

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     Argentina also claims a portion of this area, the territory between 25W and 74W.

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     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.

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