What Are the Countries in Antarctica?

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Antarctica, the fifth largest continent, contains no individual countries or groups of people. However, there are seven countries that claim parts of the continent, and there are many other countries that send groups of scientists and workers each year.

The continent of Antarctica is located in and comprises 20 percent of the Antarctic region of the Southern Hemisphere. It sits in what is known as the Antarctic Convergence, which is where the cold, north-bound Antarctic waters meet the warmer ocean waters.

Antarctica contains no countries or permanent residents. However, nearly 4,000 people visit the continent each year, some of whom are considered semi-permanent residents because as part of scientific communities they remain for extended periods of time. There are also research stations located across the continent that are run by many different countries. The continent is protected from activities such as mineral mining, military activities and nuclear waste disposal and testing through the Antarctic Treaty of 1959. The Treaty has been signed by a number of nations which support the scientific exploration and study on Antarctica.

National Geographic suggests that Argentina, Australia, Chile, France, New Zealand, Norway and the United Kingdom presently claim parts of the continent. Additionally, Australia, Georgia, New Zealand, Norway and the United Kingdom claim the island territories within the Convergence that surround Antarctica.