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Last modified: 2024-01-13 by randy young
Keywords: antarctica | south pole | claim | map | antarctica day |
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Flag of Antarctica, as proposed by the Antarctic Treaty Secretariat
Antarctica flag
image by António Martins, 19 January 2007

See also:

Flag of Antarctica?

There is no official flag for Antarctica — mostly because there is no government or other authority to adopt such a flag.
Ole Andersen, 20 February 2000

The real flag of Antarctic was derived from the ATS emblem. [This flag is adopted by ATS as the flag of Antartica.]
Arnaud Leroy, 16 November 2006 and 18 January 2007

The various Antarctic treaties make it clear that no one country can claim any part of that continent as a political possession.
Ron Lahav, 14 March 2005

Flags in Antarctica

The information about the symbols of various Antarctic programs is so hard to get. The gentelman from the Ukrainian Antarctic Center informed me that to his knowledge all countries use their national flags there, but he might be wrong. It is possible that some of the logos are displayed in the form of flags, but I could not find any hard evidence of that.
Chris Kretowicz, 11 May 2001

From occasional footage on the Antarctic, I'd say that both statements are correct: The stations fly the national flags, but they also display(ed?) the logo of their organisations, sometimes in the form of flags. Of course, the researchers may have other things on their minds than caring about flags, so it may be that these are only hoisted on special occasions.
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 12 May 2001

Vexillacta 12 (June 2001) [vxl] includes a flag-oriented interview of Alain Hubert, a Belgian explorer who walked through Antarctica with Dixie Dansercoeur (3,924 km in 99 days, November 1997 - February 1998). Hubert describes their arrival to the American base Amundsen-Scott, which is located on the geographical South Pole. Twelve national flags are hoisted there (outdoors) permanently in an arc. They represent the twelve countries which founded the Antarctic Treaty in 1958:
(I guess the South African flag was changed in due course and the Russian flag replaced the Soviet one.) This "frozen flag garden" was also shown in the last part of M. Palin's TV-series From Pole to Pole.
Ivan Sache, 18 July 2001

I thought the treated was signed in 1959, with only seven countries involved. Is anyone familiar enough with these events how the founding and signing could be so separate?
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 20 June 2016

Signed in 1959 by twelve countries, seven of which have territorial claims.
Tomislav Todorović, 20 June 2016
Source: Wikipedia article

White flag of Antarctica is kept in National Maritime Museum, Greenwich
White Flag of Antarctica flown by the Discovery when she sailed for Antarctica carrying the BANZARE expedition (British, Australian and New Zealand Antarctic Research Expedition) of 1929-31. It was intended as an improvised courtesy flag representing a continent with no flag of its own. The Times noted that during a reception on 1 August 1929, before her departure from London: 'The ship was flying the Union Jack at her forepeak, the white Antarctic flag at the foremast, and the Australian flag at the stern'. The white flag was flown again when the ship left Capetown on her journey south. The flag is made of plain white cotton sheeting, hand sewn with a rope and Inglefield clip attached. There is no hoist, the edge of the flag is turned over the rope. The British, Australian and New Zealand Antarctic Research Expedition 1929-1931 was led by Sir Douglas Mawson (1882-1958). The expedition vessel was the RRS Discovery. In addition to oceanographic research carried out by the expedition, the coast from 47 E to 75 E was charted by ship and aircraft and a new area named MacRobertson Land. After wintering in Australia the expedition returned to the Antarctic and carried out magnetic observations in Commonwealth Bay. The Banzare coast was discovered from the air and the Sabrina Coast named. Princess Elizabeth Land was discovered and the Australian Antarctic Territory annexed for King George V.
Date made - 1929
Reported by Victor Lomantsov, 20 August 2017

Flags for Antarctica

It's interesting to note that (almost) all countries that have or had claims over parts of Antarctica and that have or had adopted flags related to Antarctica, have taken the care of putting under these flags territories outside the Antarctic claims as well.
Jorge Candeias, 6 July 2002

Both Chile and Argentina take this to an extreme unheard of in other instances of borderline engeneering: Not only the 1st order division (resp. Magellan Region and Fireland) includes both disputed and non-disputed territories, but also the 2nd and even 3rd order divisions.
António Martins, 19 January 2007

With the usual exception, that is: in British Antarctic Territory there are no lands outside Antarctica.
Jorge Candeias, 6 July 2002

I daresay the United Kingdom was not so insecure in its claim that it felt the need to do so, as clearly putting other territories in with a claim creates an interesting legal precedent for any future actions which might take place. (It is a tactic used elsewhere in foreign policy, too.)
Colin Dobson, 18 January 2007

Antarctica flag day

December 1st is celebrated as Antarctica Day by a number of Antarctic organizations and individuals. It was founded a decade ago as a way to bring more public awareness to the continent. Because it's a young holiday, the traditions around it aren't quite cemented yet. However, as a flag enthusiast and an Antarctic enthusiast, I think it would be great to have the FOTW community take part in the celebration by flying Antarctic flags of all sorts!
Evan Townsend, 21 November 2020

So this is for any of all the suggested Antarctica flags around?
Elias Granqvist, 23 November 2020

I followed up with Evan—he is a promoter of the True South flag, so he will be flying that one. However, he recognises that no single flag is considered the Antarctic flag, so welcomes the use of any or all proposed flags.
Rob Raeside, 23 November 2020

I'm reaching out ahead of another Antarctic holiday. Midwinter Day is the biggest Antarctic holiday and falls on the southern hemisphere winter solstice (June 20 or 21.) It celebrates the halfway point for people wintering on the continent. Flags have been an important part of this holiday throughout its nearly 120-year history. It would be great to get fellow vexillologists involved by having them fly Antarctic flags of all sorts! (Historic, territorial, proposals, etc.)
Evan Townsend, 18 June 2021