British Antarctic Territory

sector of Antarctica claimed by the United Kingdom as one of its British Overseas Territories

The British Antarctic Territory is a sector of Antarctica claimed by the United Kingdom and is a British overseas territory. It is a triangle in Antarctica from the South Pole to 60° S latitude between longitudes 20° W and 80° W. The Territory was formed on March 3, 1962, although the UK first claimed this part of the Antarctic in 1908. Before 1962, the area now covered by the Territory comprised three separate dependencies of the Falkland Islands;

  • Graham Land
  • the South Orkney Islands and
  • the South Shetland Islands.
British Antarctic Territory
Flag of BAT Coat of Arms of BAT
Flag Coat of Arms
Motto: Research and Discovery
Anthem: God Save the King
Location of BAT
Status British overseas territory
Official language(s) English (de facto)
Commissioner Leigh Turner
Administrator Michael Richardson
Area 1.709.400 km² [1]
Population c. 200
Currency Pound Sterling

The Territory overlaps other claims on Antarctica by Argentina and Chile

The Territory is inhabited largely by the staff of research and support stations operated and maintained by the British Antarctic Survey and other organisations.



The United Kingdom has had a presence in the South Atlantic since 1833 when it occupied the Falkland Islands. In 1908 the UK claimed the territory that is British Antarctic Territory today, as well as South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. The territory was governed as three separate dependencies; Graham Land, the South Orkneys, and the South Shetlands, administered from Falkland Islands by the Governor.



In addition to continental Antarctica, within which the BAT claim includes the Palmer Land peninsula, and the Ronne Ice Shelf, Weddell Sea, the territory also includes the South Shetland Islands and South Orkney Islands.



It is administered by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). A Commissioner is appointed and is always the Head of the FCO's Overseas Territories Department.

The Territory has a full suite of laws, and legal and postal administrations. Given the provisions of the Antarctic Treaty System, the Territory does not enforce its laws on foreign nations who maintain scientific bases within the Territory. It is self-financing, with income from the sale of postage stamps and income tax.



The British Antarctic Survey has three permanently staffed research stations in the Territory:


  1. "British Foreign Office - Country Profiles - British Antarctic Territory". Archived from the original on 2010-01-18. Retrieved 2008-12-13.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)

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