How Argentina and Chile Used Babies In An Attempt to Own a Piece of Antarctica

By | March 13, 2017

Argentina and Chile have been competing for ownership of Antarctica since 1940. Although several other countries are involved in this “competition”, no one truly possesses the land or has actual sovereignty. Everyone practically dropped their claims when the Antarctic Treaty of 1959 was eventually signed by 45 countries, blocking any nation from attempting to take over this winter wonderland.

Despite the Antarctic Treaty being signed, Argentina and Chile lingered in this competition, both claiming that the Antarctic Peninsula is a mere continuation of the Andes Mountains.

Why is it that both countries want to have ownership to the Antarctic Peninsula? Perhaps due to some reserves of coal, oil and also other minerals, although no one have a vivid idea exactly how much, considering that mining and extracting of coal and oil is illegal.

Augusto Pinochet, the Chilean President visited the Antarctica in 1977 to uphold his country’s dominance in the region. Compared to what the Argentinians did to retaliate, this move was perfectly normal, because the Argentinians resorted to the most extreme action. They dropped a pregnant woman to the desolated and uninhabited continent of Antarctica in the hopes of staking a land claim. She was supposed to deliver the baby on the continent at the Argentinian Esperanza Base.

The woman named Silvia Morello de Palma became the first, in recorded history, to give birth there on the continent. Then on January 7, 1978, she delivered a boy named Emilio Palma, the first person to be born in Atlantica. After this, the Argentine government passed a law to ban any maps of Argentina without Antarctica on it.

Chile then decided to play along and made the controversial dispute even more absurd than it already was. Recently, they sent a married couple to their own Antarctic base so as to claim the very first baby both conceived and born in the territory.

Hence, the baby boom in Antarctica began. By 2009, there were already eleven children born in Antarctica, eight were born at the Argentinian Esperanza Base, meantime the other three were born at Chile’s Base Presidente Eduardo Frei Montalva. The first official Antarctican of Chile is Juan Pablo Camacho Martino, he was born on November 21, 1984.

Both the countries sent couples every year in their bids to obtain their Antarctic territory.

H/T AtlasObscura