Friday, December 21, 2012

Queen Elizabeth II Land!

Map: Queen Elizabeth land, Antarctica

As a tribute to Queen Elizabeth II's 60 years as by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and of Her other Realms and Territories, Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith, the British Foreign Office has named a 196,000 square mile area of Antarctica Queen Elizabeth II Land.  Imperialsim just doesn't seem to have a conscience.  If somebody isn't living in a place, even a very inhospitable place, nation-states feel that it's only right to just move in and make  it part of their own operation.  Actually, it's OK even if there are folks living there as long as they're numerically or technologically inferior.  Nation-states love to honor their own by naming conquered territory and the prominent features thereof for their most effective gangsters or most beloved leaders.  One  Norwegian claim in the Antarctic, Queen Maud Land, is named for the the consort of King Haakon VII and is divided into the Princess Martha Coast, Princess Astrid Coast, Princess Ragnhild Coast, Prince Harald Coast, Prince Olav Coast and the King Haakon VII Sea.

Australia claims Wilkes Land, named after an American explorer and divided into areas named after other fellows that accompanied his expedition in 1838-42, a small ship, and the wife of a French ship captain.

France itself claims Terre Adelie, named after the wife of French explorer Jules Sebastien Cesar Dumont d'Urville in 1840.

Marie Byrd Land, most remote and unexplored spot on earth, is named after famed depression era aviator Richard Byrd's wife and a portion of it remarkably  remains unclaimed even today  A well-armed and provisioned gang could maybe set up their own country there.  Nonetheless, it has features with names that honor prominent Americans:  the Rockefeller Mountains, the Edsel Ford Ranges, the Walgreen Coast, the Horlick Mountains, all financial supporters of Byrd's expeditions.  It might have cost a little more but having a mountain range on earth named after you seems better than the International Star Registry naming a dot of light billions of miles away after your girl friend.

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