February 20 – Celebrating the First Woman in Antarctica!

Posted on February 20, 2016

On this date in 1935, Caroline Mikkelsen became the first woman to set foot in Antarctica.

Mikkelsen, born in Denmark, was married to a Norwegian man named Captain Klarius Mikkelsen. The two were on an expedition to Antarctica – an expedition paid for by Lars Christensen, a shipowner and whaling magnate with money to burn – and he liked to “burn” it by funding explorations of Antarctica!

On this date in 1935, the expedition made landfall at the Vestfold Hills, in Antarctica. Mikkelsen and others left the ship and built a cairn – a pile of stones – to support the flag of Norway. They took a photo to memorialize the moment.

Mount Caroline Mikkelsen in Antarctica is named for her.

By the way, Lars Christensen's wife Ingrid also traveled to Antarctica that same year. She is considered one of the first women to visit Antarctica and the very first woman to fly over Antarctica in an airplane.

Ingrid Christensen Coast in Antarctica is named for her.

More firsts...

AWE made history when four American women
became the first women to reach the South Pole
on foot. It may have been the first all-women
expedition to Antarctica.

Read about this adventure in the book
Four to the Pole.
In 1820, several expeditions claimed to have been the first to see the ice shelf of Antarctica.

The first person to set foot on Antarctica was probably American Captain John Davis, a seal hunter, in 1821.

Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen was the first to reach the South Pole in 1911.

The first child known to be born in Antarctica is Emilio Marcos Palma, born on January 7, 1978. His parents are Argentine citizens; he was born at the Esperanza Base.

This is now-grown Emilio Palma, in Antarctica!
I cannot see any record for “first child to step foot on Antarctica” – so little Emilio Palma (now grown up, of course!) may have been the first child in Antarctica, although he may not have literally “stepped foot” on the continent.

  • or National Geographic – this report is about average people, tourists, not researchers, going to Antarctica!

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