When and who was Antarctica discovered as a continent?

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March 04, 2010 7:15PM

Captain James Cook was the first to cross the Antarctic Circle on the 17th of January, 1773, and reached a latitude of 67 degrees 15 minutes S. It is not clear whether or not he actually set eyes on Antarctica since the ice pack prevented any further southward progress. In January, 1820, as a result of an earlier expedition where he was blown off course, the British Royal Navy sent William Smith as pilot with Edward Bransfield to search the waters south of the newly claimed South Shetland Islands. It is subsequently claimed that they are the first to see the Antarctic Peninsula. On the 27th of January, 1820, Russian, Fabian Gottlieb von Bellinghausen, becomes the first person to see the Antarctic continent. In January,1821, Bellingshausen returns to the Antarctic and completes a circumnavigation of Antarctica being only the second explorer, after Cook, to do so. In February, American sealer John Davis arguably becomes the first person to land on the Antarctic continent. A Norwegian scientist immigrant to Australia, Carsten Egeberg Borchgrevink (1864-1934), became the first man to set foot on the Antarctic when he stepped on to Cape Adare on the 24th of January, 1895. From 1894-95 he devoted his time to exploration of Antarctica. He attempted to reach the South Pole in 1897. During this expedition, he was the first to discover lichen in the Antarctic, and reached a latitude of 78 degrees 5 minutes S.