The British Antarctic Territory is a British overseas territory in Antarctica. The area has been claimed by the United Kingdom since 1908 and was for a long time considered a subsidiary of the Falkland Islands.

After the conclusion of the Antarctic Treaty in March 1962, the territory claimed by the British was incorporated into the new “British Antarctic Territory” BAT.

This region covers the area of Antarctica south of the 60th parallel south and between the 20th and 80th longitudes west.

In addition to a sector of the Antarctic mainland up to the South Pole, which includes, among other things, the entire Antarctic Peninsula, the island groups of the South Orkney Islands and the South Shetland Islands off the peninsula are also other components of the BAT.

In addition to the sector between the 20th and 25th parallel west, which is claimed only by Great Britain, the states of Chile and Argentina also claim claims for the larger part of this area. As a result, the claims of all three countries overlap on the Antarctic Peninsula.

However, like all others, British claims to this territory are not recognized internationally.

The political status of the seventh continent is now regulated by the Antarctic Treaty of 1961. This includes free access for all citizens of all nations.

The state of Great Britain now maintains the two manned research stations Rothera and Halley all year round. Their local post offices sell stamps specially issued for the BAT.

As part of my long Antarctic cruise with the “Celebrity Infinity” in January 2018, I traveled to the BAT area for two days.

One that stands out is certainly Elephant Island, which was covered by a thick blanket of fog until late morning. As the fog slowly cleared, the high snow-covered peaks of the island suddenly appeared, which caused an unexpected surprise.

When the sun came out around midday, with temperatures around zero degrees, I was able to admire the unique beauty of this Antarctic island. The numerous light blue glaciers, the many whales jumping around and countless dancing penguins formed a unique backdrop for spectacular photos.

Towards the afternoon visibility became increasingly poor again and Elephant Island disappeared again behind a thick wall of fog.