Friday, May 1, 2009

Belgian Antarctic Expedition 1897 - 1899

(click to view larger image)
Date of Issue: August 18, 1997
Scott #: 4175E, F, G, H

Thanks to my blogger friend Kallai Ladislau (e-PhilEx) for sending me these set of stamps.

Belgica - Originally named "Patria" was obtained and re-named Belgica for the Belgian Antarctic Expedition led by Commandant Adrien de Gerlache de Gomery of the Belgian Navy. The main aim of the expedition was to find the position of the South Magnetic Pole. The expedition was intended to be summer only, returning before the Antarctic winter began.

The Belgica left Antwerp on August 16th 1897. She crossed the Antarctic Circle on the 15th of Feb 1898 off Palmer Land on the Antarctic Peninsula. The men of the Belgica made the first ever land excursions into Antarctica, spending a week ashore in an attempt to travel inland.

After more than a year trapped in the ice, the crew again supervised by Amundsen and Cook, sawed a channel through the ice over a period of weeks to free the ship which could then return to Belgium.

The persons depicted in the stamp are:
Emil Racovita - Biologist
Frederick A. Cook - Surgeon, anthropologist, and photographer
Roald Amundsen - 1st mate
Adrian de Gerlache - Commandant


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