Antarctica, the southern continent, is a large land mass surrounding the South Pole. Much of its surface is covered in thick ice cap and the extremes of temperature and wind make agriculture impossible. Therefore it is uninhabited apart from scientific and exploratory parties.
Although its presence, as part of the mythical Terra Australis was long suspected, the continent was not spotted until 1895 by the Vinlandic ship Hekla. The Álengsk explorer Bjarni Okwesson had attempted to reach it in 1463 before being forced to turn back by his mutinous crew without spotting land. Thick pack ice prevented the early explorers from approaching too closely and it would only be in 1924 when the Luxembourgoise explorer Wilhelm Huyghen and his crew set foot on the mainland. Numerous expeditions, often filled with dreadful experiences and frequent deaths, slowly filled in the map. The struggle to reach the South Pole soon took the form of a race which entranced the public of several countries. Often paid for by newspaper barons, expeditions from Vinland, Luxembourg, Anglia, Lade and Denmark raced to reach the pole before the others. Luxembourg would eventually win when the New Netherlander Allan Oberweis reached the pole on 3rd December 2008, beating his Ladish rivals by three days. The continent was crossed by the Vinlander Eirik Eiriksson in 2012.
Despite its fearsome reputation several countries claim land on the continent. As per the provisional 'Antarctic Treaty' of 2000 only claims on land above 66° 33′ 44″ (the Antarctic Circle) are recognised, meaning several islands and the northern tips of various peninsulas have been divided up. All other claims are nominal and are not recognised by international law.
The following countries claim land:
- Vinland - As well as the jointly run Yuraqsuyu/Queen Sofíasland (with Tawantinsuyu) Vinland claims a portion of East Antarctica through the colony of Alkafuglaeyjar. This overlaps considerably with Luxembourg's claims.
- Tawantinsuyu - Administers Yuraqsuyu/Queen Sofíasland jointly with Vinland and claims a 90° section of West Antarctica.
- Luxembourg (United Netherlands) - Claims the New Grevenmacher and King William VIII Land peninsulas (recognised) as well virtually the entire coast and interior of East Antarctica.
- Denmark - Claims Queen Caroline's Land (recognised) as well as a section of land to the south.
- Byzantine Empire - Claims the landmass directly south of their island of South Euboea. The Byzantines advocate that the continent be divided into sections depending on who owns the land longitudinally directly to the north. This would allow many smaller nations access to the continent ensuring peaceful relations and still please Luxembourg who would get a considerable share. However it would also give Mexica a claim to the continent which many nations expressly do not want.
- Anglia - A large portion to the south of the Anglian Indian Ocean Islands. This section completely overlaps Luxembourg's claims.