Belgica's Antarctic Toponymic Legacy

Alexandre Thys, Charles W. Finkl, Roger Charlier, Marie-Claire Chaineux

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)


It might be argued that this paper does not sensu stricto contribute to "polar science." It, however, rekindles aspects of its history and of that of both oceanography and cartography. Obviously the interest for the polar regions was keen in the 19th century and elicited financial support. The paper may lift anew the veil that has somewhat dimmed the light that should shine on polar science achievements of Belgian explorers and scientists.

Knowledge of the names of geographic features in the Antarctic is probably less widespread, and yet, there are many Belgian names on and near the southernmost continent. Most names were given by the head of the first-ever Antarctic expedition to spend a winter on the southernmost continent. Belgian Royal Navy Lieutenant Adrien de Gerlache de Gomery's expedition in the Antarctic brought back a wealth of scientific information. His trip ended precisely 111 years ago, and has been--literally--carved in stone as the Belgica is indeed one of the 20 oceanographic vessels Prince Albert I of Monaco selected to be represented on the façade of the Musée Océanographique de Monaco.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1168-1171
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Coastal Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2010


  • Belgium
  • polar
  • expedition

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