The British Antarctic Territory and Pobjoy Mint have announced the release of a brand new £2 coin to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of the formation of the British Antarctic Territory in 1962.
The British Antarctic Territory was officially established by a Statutory Instrument – the British Antarctic Territory Order in Council 1962/400. This came into effect on 3rd March 1962 and constituted the British Antarctic Territory as “…all islands and territories whatsoever between the 20th degree of west longitude and 80th degree of west longitude which are situated south of the 60th parallel of south latitude…”.
The Territory includes the South Shetland Islands, South Orkney Islands and the Antarctic Peninsula, and extends to the South Pole.
The British Antarctic Territory forms the largest and most southerly of the UK’s 14 Overseas Territories, with over 99% of the Territory covered in a permanent ice sheet.
The UK’s claim to this part of Antarctica is the oldest of any made on the continent. The permanent UK presence in Antarctica began in 1944 with Operation Tabarin, which continued through the Falkland Islands Dependency Service (FIDS). For the past 60 years the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) has provided a year-round presence in the British Antarctic Territory, leading the UK’s scientific research in Antarctica, and playing a crucial role in understanding the impacts climate change on the continent.
The coin design shows an outline of Antarctica with the British Antarctic Territory highlighted within a marked sector alongside the Coat of Arms and the date of the anniversary.