UK renames chunk of Antarctic in honor of queen

AP News
Posted: Dec 18, 2012 7:50 AM
UK renames chunk of Antarctic in honor of queen

LONDON (AP) — Britain has renamed a large chunk of icy waste in honor of Queen Elizabeth II.

The Foreign Office announced Tuesday that a 169,000-sq. mile (437,000-sq. kilometer) section of the British Antarctic Territory has been renamed Queen Elizabeth Land to mark the monarch's 60 years on the throne.

The announcement was made as the 86-year-old queen visited the Foreign Office in London on Tuesday. It is the last official engagement of her Diamond Jubilee year.

Foreign Secretary William Hague said that "to be able to recognize the U.K.'s commitment to Antarctica with a permanent association with Her Majesty is a great honor."

Queen Elizabeth Land, which is twice the size of the United Kingdom, covers about a third of the Antarctic territory claimed by Britain in 1908.

The territory has no permanent population but is home to three research stations run by the British Antarctic Survey.

Hold The Damn Vote Already
Derek Hunter

Several other countries, including Norway and New Zealand, claim other parts of the uninhabited continent, which is regulated by an international treaty.

The new name will feature on British maps, but other countries will decide for themselves whether to use it.

The queen also attended a Cabinet meeting Tuesday, and was presented with 60 placemats as a gift from the government.