125 years RV Belgica
The Belgian Antarctic Expedition of 1897 – 1899
At the end of the 19th century, much was still unknown about Antarctica. The Belgian Antarctic Expedition of 1897 – 1899 was the first expedition to overwinter in the Antarctic region, and is considered the first expedition of the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration. From March 3rd 1898 until March 14th 1899, the crew was stuck in the ice of the Bellingshausen Sea aboard the Belgica.
The expedition was led by Belgian commander Adrien de Gerlache de Gomery, and the crew consisted of nine Belgians, six Norwegians, two Poles, one American, one Romanian, and one cat named “Nansen”. Among them were Dr. Frederick Cook and Roald Amundsen, explorers who would later attempt the respective conquests of the North Pole and South Pole. Though the circumstances were severe, the expedition returned with an important collection of scientific data and the first annual cycle of observations from Antarctica. The stage was set for later Antarctic expeditions …