The first explorer to gather evidence of Antarctica's existence was Captain James Cook between 1772 and 1775. It was not until subsequent expeditions (1819-1820) by William Smith and James Bransfield that the shore was sighted. It was another year before the American Captain John Davis actually landed on the continent.
After arriving at Hughes Bay, one of the main concerns of John Davis' American team was to find good hunting grounds to hunt seals.
Despite the 18th and 19th century race to discover the Antarctic, the Ancient Greeks are known to have speculated many centuries earlier that the Arctic had a counterpart around the South Pole. They were the first to name it Anti-Arkitkos, from which the present-day term, Antarctica, is derived.