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The South African Mint is proud to issue this sterling silver coin commemorating the 100 year anniversary of the discovery of the South Pole and the continent of Antarctica.
Aristotle thought the earth to be round and suggested that the symmetry of a sphere demanded that the earth’s northern region should be balanced by an equal southern region. This idea of earthly balance gave rise to the name we give the southern continent today: Antarktos, or opposite Arktos, the constellation in the northern sky.
Through the ages, explorers have tried to find and unravel the secrets of this mysterious continent. They braved the unforgiving environment to journey ever closer to the South Pole. It was Roald Amundsen and his team who first reached the South Pole on 14 December 1911. They arrived 35 days before Robert Falcon Scott’s group, who reached the South Pole on 17 January 1912.
Antarctica, a harsh yet beautiful continent, compels us to explore and discover. Today approximately 30 countries, including South Africa, operate Antarctic research stations to study global environmental issues like climate change, ozone depletion and sustainable management of marine life. Through scientific research we gain a greater understanding of the effect we have on our planet and how the earth’s ever changing climate will affect us and the environment we live in.