National Geographic : 1904 May
TERMINATION LAND THE WESTERN END OF THE ANTARCTIC CONTINENT DISCOVERED BY THE AMERICAN WILKES In the deserved congratulations that are being showered on Captain Scott, of the British Antarctic Expedition; Captain Drygalski of the German; Captain Bruce of the Scottish, and CaptainNordenskjold of the Swedish,for theirgallantachievements in the Far South, the world is apt to forget that the American naval commander Wilkes discovered in I84o, and first announced to the world the antarctic continent, called "East Antarctica," of which Wilkes Land is a part, and that anotherAmerican, Captain Palmer, was the pioneer explorer of the opposite side of the antarctic region known as " West Antarctica." The story of the bold ventures of these Americans in puny sailing vessels is told by Mr Edwin Swift Balch in his "Antarctica," the clearest and most accurate account of south polar exploration that has been published.* O Nthe 17th of February, 1840, Lieut. Charles Wilkes,U. S. N., at the most westerly point of his memorable cruise which first re vealed to the world the existence of a south polar continent, saw appear ances of land to the southwest. It was only another point of the conti nental shore along which he had al ready sailed for some fifteen hundred miles, and all he says of it is the following sentence:t "On the i7th,about 1o a.m., we discovered the barrier extending in a line ahead, and running north and south as far as the eye could reach. Appear ances of land were also seen to the south west, and its trending seemed to be to the northwest. . . . We were now in longitude 97° 37' E., and latitude 640 oi' S." Wilkes charted this land as ex tending from about latitudes 630 30' south to 650 south, and from about lon gitudes 950 west to 970 west, and he gave it the name of Termination Land. Just recently Dr Erich von Drygalski published a paper and chart t giving the results of the cruise of the Gauss to the Antarctic. Onhismap Drvon Drygalski charts a coast line, " Hohes Eisbedecktes Land," in about 660 south latitude and 930 west longitude,as discovered by him- self. Entirely north of 650 south lati tude and entirely east of 95° west longi tude he places the words " Termination Land ?" In his paper, page 23, Dr von Drygalski says: "Als Stiitze dieser Annahme galt ein von Wilkes als Ans chein von Land bezeichnete und mit dem Namen Termination Land belegte sich tung zwischen 950 und 960 0. L. v. Gr. und zwischen 640 und 650 S. B., welche jedoch,wie wir heute annehmen miissen, auf Taiischung beruht hat." And at page 26 he writes : " Nach zwei verge blichen Versuchen, die uns nur iiber das Nichtvorhandensein von Termination Land kunde brachten." In other words, Dr von Drygalski coolly proposes to throw out Admiral Wilkes' discoveries entirely in order to take all the credit to himself. But a comparison of Admiral Wilkes' chart with Dr von Drygalski's chart shows that the latter's " Hohes Eisbe decktes Land"' can be nothing but the west coast of Termination Land; for if on Wilkes' chart we draw a line due southwest from the position of the Vin cennes on the i7th, this line will go through the center of Termination Land; and if on Drygalski's chart we draw a similar line from the position which he * Antarctica. E. S Balch. Philadelphia: Allen, Lane & Scott. 1902. $2.50 net. t Narrative of the United States Exploring Expedition, Philadelphia, 1845, vol. 2, p. 327. SZeitschrift der Gesellschaft fiir Erdkundzu Berlin, 1904, No. I .