Sierran Antarctic Territory
|Sierran Antarctic Territory|
|Special territory of the Kingdom of Sierra|
|Motto(s): Achievement through discovery|
(and largest city)
620,000 sq mi |
0/sq mi (0/km2)|
|• Highest point||
14085 ft (2517 m)
|• Lowest point||sea level|
|Political status||Unincorporated, unorganized special territory|
|Lord Proprietor||James Kjellberg|
|Lieutenant Governor||Linda Cook|
|Legislature||Sierran Antarctic Program (de facto)|
|• Upper house||None|
|• Lower house||None|
|K.S. House delegation||None|
|Abbreviations||SA, KS-SA, SA, SAT|
It, alongside the Pacific Crown Islands, are the only Sierran territories which are classified as unincorporated, unorganized territories. It is the only Sierran territory to be designated as a special territory. The Sierran Antarctic Territory is officially governed and administered directly by Her Royal Majesty's Government, although it is de facto administered and managed by the Sierran Antarctic Program, a government agency under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Interior which oversees Sierra's scientific research and exploration activities in Antarctica. There are no native inhabitants although the territory is populated by a semi-permanent community of scientists, researchers, and base personnel who are involved in the Sierran Antarctic Program or other international research programs. There are a total of 11 research bases and stations in Sierra, of which 6 are administered by Sierra, and the remaining 5 are administered by other countries. The largest research base in Sierran Antarctica is the Jörgen–Sven Base, which serves as the de facto capital of the territory.
The vast majority of the geographically remote territory is covered by the Antarctic ice sheet, with little bedrock exposed at all. Throughout much of its coast, for much of the year, it is covered in ice, making navigation difficult. There are a number of mountain ranges which rise above the ice sheet, including Mount Reeves, the tallest mountain in Sierran Antarctica.
Public access to the territory is heavily restricted, as individuals require authorization by the Sierran Antarctic Program to enter and travel within the territory. Much of the territory is protected and preserved from human development in order to maintain the ecological health of the region. It is home to flora and fauna endemic to the rest of Antarctica, hosting some of the largest colonies and breeding grounds of Emperor penguins in Antarctica.
History[edit | edit source]
Sierra began conducting expeditions to Antarctica during the mid-1920s. The Sierran government sponsored a team of scientists and researchers under the direction of Jörgen Bengtsson to explore the Antarctic continent. Bengtsson was an aviator and scientist who had served in the Sierran Royal Navy and worked as a senior official for the Royal Surveyors Corps. Bengtsson and his expeditionary crew embarked on a fleet consisting of two ships and four airplanes. The flagship Bengtsson sailed on was the Spirit of the Pacific. Bengtsson landed on Antarctic soil on October 29, 1928 and his men set up a small camp named Discovery Base in what is now known as Eights Coast. The team was equipped with snowmobiles and snow dogs, and their aim was to survey the land and take photographs of the unexplored section of Antarctica. A Sierran flag was planted at Discovery Base and marked the nation's unofficial claim over the area and surrounding vicinity.
The 1928 expedition was considered a success and Bengtsson persuaded Parliament to establish a government program committed to Sierra's continued exploration and research activities in Antarctica. The Sierran Antarctic Program was established in the Antarctic Research and Discovery Initiative Act of 1931 and its inaugural expedition was in 1931. The objective of these subsequent expeditions was to establish a permanent base on Antarctica and to chart out the region known as Charles I Land.
Geography and climate[edit | edit source]
Nearly all of the Sierran Antarctic Territory is covered by ice sheet. It is one of the coldest and driest places on Earth, featuring an ice cap climate (Köppen: EF). It is a frozen desert that experiences little precipitation and temperature that reaches a maximum of between 5 °C (41 °F) and 15 °C (59 °F) during the summer and a minimum of between −80 °C (−112 °F) and −89.2 °C (−128.6 °F) during the winter. Weather conditions can be unpredictable and can change dramatically, including weather conditions that are particularly dangerous to exposed humans. The Antarctic Weather Danger Classification is used by Sierran Antarctic research stations to assess local weather conditions for safety purposes.
Flora and fauna[edit | edit source]
Population[edit | edit source]
Legal status and administration[edit | edit source]
The Sierran Antarctic Territory is an unincorporated, unorganized territory of Sierra and is the only territory that is given a special status. It is governed by the Antarctic Treaty System which mandates that Antarctica be used only for peaceful purposes, namely for scientific research, international scientific cooperation, and ecological preservation. All military activities and actions are prohibited. While Sierra's claims over the Sierran Antarctic Territory are recognized by the other main signatories of the Antarctic Treaty System, the territory is not recognized by the League of Nations and operates as de facto international territory. A number of foreign-operated bases exist within the Sierran Antarctic Territory, including those operated by Brazoria, Korea, the Netherlands, Sweden, Tondo, the United Commonwealth, and the United Kingdom.
Sierran law applies only to Sierran nationals in the Territory, as well as foreign nationals of countries who do not maintain bases within the Territory. Foreign nationals of countries who maintain bases within the Territory are exempt. Primary legislation affecting the Territory is reserved to Parliament while local legislation and policymaking is made at the discretion of the Sierran Antarctic Program based in the Territory. The Program is responsible for all day-to-day operations and administration within the Territory, and has full jurisdiction over the Territory as far as the Antarctic Treaty System and Parliament permits.
Individuals born in the Sierran Antarctic Territory are eligible for citizenship based on birthright unless they were born to foreign diplomats who were serving in an official, active capacity at the time of the child's birth or born to enemy forces engaged in hostile occupation of the territory. To date, no individual has ever been confirmed born in the Sierran Antarctic Territory.