|The search for Antarctica was the last great adventure of global exploration.
It's an epic tale spanning centuries of high adventure, from the "unknown
southern land" of the ancients to the first recorded sightings of the
continent in 1820. Antarctica was finally explored, and plundered, during
an Age of Discovery by whalers and sealers who ventured into icy
waters below the Antarctic Convergence. Then came an Heroic Era, when
the great explorers such as Robert Scott, Ernest Shackleton, Douglas Mawson
and Roald Amundsen ventured ever deeper into the vast whiteness of the
interior, in search of the final "holy grail" of discovery, the
With the coming of the Mechanical Era, airplanes replaced huskies as the vehicle of choice for conquering a continent. Finally came the advent of the Scientific Era, and the lessons of the 18-month-long International Geophysical Year (1957-1959), which shed the light of knowledge on Antarctica. The land's history reaches a pinnacle with the signing of the Antarctic Treaty, protecting the last continent for future generations and centuries.