James Cook was the first to cross the Antarctic Circle, at 66″33′, in 1773 – 75, as he circumnavigated the Antarctic. He didn’t actually see the continent, however.
In 1840, Dumont d’Urville of France was the first to set foot on the Antarctic continent. He named it Terre-Adélie, after his wife. Around the same time, Wilkes, of the United States, and Ross, of England, were also attempting to solve the mystery of this huge white windswept landmass.
For the next 60 years or so, everyone seemed to lose interest in this part of the world. It was not until 1897 that De Gerlache, of Belgium, arrived in Antarctica, accompanied by a young Norwegian by the name of Roald Amundsen.
Since December 14, 1911, the Norwegian flag has been floating on the bottom of the globe. On that day, a Norwegian expedition led by that same Amundsen finally reached the South Pole. It was the outcome of a fantastic race pitting Scott, of England, against Amundsen. The Norwegian, with the help of his sled dogs, beat Scott by one month. Scott reached the South Pole, but perished on the return journey.