Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Forgotten Lands: Northern Antarctica

Republic of Northern Antarctica

Capital: New Bristol
Population: 34,881 (2008)
Area: borders undefined
Independence: 1982

Economy: Based on tourism, supplemented by modest mineral exports and seasonal commercial fishing. Visiting scientific missions are a significant source of revenue. Heavily dependant on imports for manufactured goods and foodstuffs.
Per Capita Income: US$52,080
Languages: English
Literacy Rate: 100%

When Disraeli made his famous remark that “the Frenchman yearns for glory as the Northern Antarctican yearns for summer,” he revealed as much about the latter nationality as the former. While the long, dark, and of course extremely cold winters make life on “the Underside” challenging, natives can look forward to the relatively mild summer, with its influx of tourists from all over the world and its frequent days of 24-hour sunshine.

Northern Antarctica has the unusual distinction of being the only country to span all 24 time zones – although some of these are home only to two or three isolated settlers. Eighty-seven percent of Northern Antarcticans live in the country’s four “cities” – of which the largest, Queen Maud, has a population of only 9,400. None of the cities are connected by road, due to the difficulty of building and maintaining highways in the harsh local environment. AntarticAir, the national airline, is the cities’ primary connection to each other and to the outside world. With hubs in Santiago and Auckland as well as New Bristol, it is also the country’s largest employer.

Few issues are more hotly debated among Northern Antarcticans than petroleum exploration. Exploiting Antarctic oil reserves would undoubtedly lead to enormous growth and economic development, but many fear that such rapid growth would destroy the existing Northern Antarctic way of life.

Cold-weather sports enthusiasts often remark at the failure of the R.N.A. to field a team for the Winter Olympics, which might reasonably be expected to enjoy considerable success. The small and dispersed population of the Republic has prevented the organization of a nation Olympic committee to date, but a movement is afoot to field a small team for the 2014 Games.

Flag: Three horizontal stripes of light blue, deep blue, and white. The design is pictographic, representing the typical view seen daily by the North Antarctican: ice in the foreground, the polar sea stretching to the horizon, and the pale Antarctic sky overhead.

National Anthem: “Land of Long Winters.”

1 comment:

Dug said...

Makes me wonder what happened in 1982. Independence from who? Bloody uprising? Peaceful treaty? I'll dig out my "World Almanac" and look it up.