National Geographic : 1912 Mar
Photo by Sir Ernest H. Shackleton From "The Heart of the Antarctic," by E. H. Shackleton (J. B. Lippincott Co.) KILLER WHALES SOUNDING OFF THE GREAT ICE BARRIER Land), but sympathizingly adds, "The question of the existence of this land in any other position had been left open." The first break in nearly fourscore years of misrepresentation in British standard works is in the Encyclopedia Britannica, Ilth edition, 1911, where Dr. Mill admits "there can be no doubt that Wilkes saw land along the line where Adelie Land, Kemp Land, En derby Land are known to exist, even if the positions he assigns are not quite accurate." THE CONTINENT OF ANTARCTICA Probably no other standard authority denies the existence of a south-polar continent save the Encyclopedia Britan nica, IIth edition, 1911, which mentions "Australia, the only continent entirely in the southern hemisphere." The Ioth edition, 1902, said: "The hypothesis of a great Antarctic continent, or continen tal archipelago, continuously covered by an ice-sheet, is confirmed by the obser vations of recent explorers, but the evi dence is not yet direct or conclusive." Nearly 40 years since, a distinguished scientist, born on the continent of North America, Sir John Murray, of Challen ger expedition and fame, and one of the eight honorary members of the National Geographic Society, considered the mooted extent of south polar lands and finally outlined their logical continental form as the continent of Antarctica-a fitting and largely accepted name. This great feat of constructive geography de pended on a few-score handfuls of oce anic ooze from the south-polar seas and scanty bits of rocks from scattered lands. Whatever doubts remained as to the accuracy of Murray's deductions have disappeared since the cumulative ul6 coveries of Amundsen, Borchgrevink, Bruce, Drygalski, Gerlache, Larsen, Nordenskiold, Scott, and Shackleton. Indeed, a German scientist has calculated that Antarctica is considerably greater in area than Europe, and that the average elevation is more than double that of Asia. CONCLUSION It has been shown that the primary discovery of Antarctica and its definite recognition as a continent were the out come of American energy and prescience. It is therefore the duty of the 12o,ooo0 members of the National Geographic Society to create a public sentiment that shall honor in our literature and in our history the achievements of Nathaniel B. Palmer and of Charles Wilkes.