Antarctica is the ice-covered continent that surrounds the South Pole and is itself surrounded by the Southern Ocean. It is the fifth largest land mass on the planet.
As the Antarctic Peninsula is the region that boasts the highest average temperature on the continent, which is still slightly below freezing, the landmass remains largely unsettled except for research stations. Though people speculated the existence of a land to the far south for centuries, it was not until the early 1820s that the suspicion was confirmed by British, American and Russian explorers. Though he circumnavigated the continent in the late 1700s, Captain James Cook never actually saw the land for himself.