British Antarctic Territory

Travel Guide Antarctica British Antarctic Territory



The British Antarctic Territory (BAT) is a sector of Antarctica claimed by the United Kingdom as one of its British Overseas Territories. It comprises the region south of 60°S latitude and between longitudes 20°W and 80°W, forming a wedge shape that extends to the South Pole. The Territory was formed on 3 March 1962, although the UK's claim to this portion of the Antarctic dates back to Letters Patent of 1908 and 1917.

The Antarctic Treaty, signed by all relevant regional claimants, does not in itself either recognise or dispute any territorial claims, leaving this matter to individual signatories. Most of the world's countries do not recognise any national claims to Antarctica. Australia, France, New Zealand, Norway and the United Kingdom, all of whom have territorial claims on the continent, mutually recognise each other's claim.




The British Antarctic Territory includes the Antarctic Peninsula, the South Shetland Islands, South Orkney Islands and numerous other offshore islands, the Ronne Ice Shelf (Weddell Sea), parts of Coats Land, and a triangle of central continental Antarctica converging on the South Pole.

Over 99 per cent of the territory's land surface is covered by a permanent ice sheet, up to about 5,000 metres (16,000 ft) thick. The highest peak was thought to be Mount Jackson, on the Antarctic Peninsula, at 3,184 metres (10,446 ft). However, in 2017 Mount Hope was calculated to be taller at 3,239 metres (10,627 ft).




Unsurprisingly there are no cities in the BAT, only research stations including:

On Antarctica:

  • United Kingdom - Rothera Research Station on Adelaide Island (since 1975, Year-round)
  • United Kingdom - Halley Research Station on the Brunt Ice Shelf (since 1965, Year-round)
  • United Kingdom - Fossil Bluff Logistics Facility on Alexander Island (since 1961,Summer only)
  • United Kingdom - Sky Blu Logistics Facility in Ellsworth Land (since 1993, Summer only)

On the South Orkney Islands:

  • United Kingdom - Signy Research Station on Signy Island (since 1947, Summer only)
  • Argentina - Orcadas Base on Laurie Island (since 1904, Year-Round)

On the South Shetland Islands:

  • Argentina - Jubany (since 1953, Year-round)
  • Argentina - Base Decepción (since 1948, Summer only)
  • Bulgaria - St. Kliment Ohridski (since 1988, Summer only)
  • Brazil - Comandante Ferraz Base (since 1984, Year-round)
  • Chile - Presidente Eduardo Frei Base (since 1969, Year-round)
  • Chile - Professor Julio Escudero Base (since 1994, Year-round)
  • Chile - Captain Arturo Prat Base (since 1947, Year-round)
  • Chile/USA - Shirreff Base (since 1990, Summer only)
  • China - Chang Cheng / Great Wall (since 1985, Year-round)
  • Ecuador - Pedro Vicente Maldonado Base (since 1990, Summer only))
  • Spain - Juan Carlos I Base (since 1988, Summer only)
  • Spain - Gabriel de Castilla Base (since 1989, Summer only)
  • South Korea - King Sejong Station (since 1988, Year-round))
  • Peru - Machu Picchu Research Station (since 1989, Summer only)
  • Poland - Henryk Arctowski Polish Antarctic Station (since 1977, Year-round)
  • Russia - Bellingshausen Station (since 1968, Year-round)
  • Uruguay - Artigas Base (since 1984, Year-round)



Getting There

By Plane

The Rothera Reseach station is the biggest one in the BAT, with a population of around 250 people. It also has a gravel airstrip that is used by Dash-7 airplanes coming in from Stanley at the Falkland Islands.

By Boat

The only realistic way to visit the Antarctic is via a cruise, there are a number of operators which sail from Santiago.




There is no accommodation available to the public so a ship is the only real option.


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This is version 10. Last edited at 16:32 on Aug 21, 19 by Utrecht. 4 articles link to this page.

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