Sunday, May 9, 2010

History of Bouvet Island Culture

Bouvet Island was discovered on January 1, 1739, by Jean-Baptiste Charles Bouvet de Lozier, who commanded the French ships Aigleand Marie. However, the island's position was not accurately fixed and Bouvet did not circumnavigate his discovery, so it remained unclear whether it was an island or part of a continent.

The island was not sighted again until 1808, when it was spotted by one Lindsay, the captain of the Enderby Company whaler Swan. Though he didn't land, he was the first to correctly fix the island's position.

The first successful landfall dates to December 1822, when Captain Benjamin Morrell of the sealer Wasp landed, hunting for seals. He was successful and took several seal skins.

On December 10, 1825, one Captain Norris, master of the Enderby Company whalers Sprightly and Lively, landed on the island, named it Liverpool Island, and claimed it for the British Crown.

In 1898, the German Valdivia expedition of Carl Chun visited the island but did not land.

The first extended stay on the island was in 1927, when the Norwegian "Norvegia" crew stayed for about a month; this is the basis for the territorial claim by Norway, who have named the island Bouvetøya (Bouvet Island in Norwegian). The island was annexed onDecember 1 1927, by a Royal Norwegian Decree of January 23 1928, Bouvetøya became a Norwegian Territory. The United Kingdomwaived its claim in favor of Norway the following year. In 1930 a Norwegian act was passed that made the island a dependent area subject to the sovereignty of the Kingdom (but not a part of the Kingdom).

In 1964, an abandoned lifeboat was discovered on the island, along with various supplies; however, the lifeboat's passengers were never found.

In 1971, Bouvet Island and the adjacent territorial waters were designated a nature reserve. In the 1950s and 1960s, there was some interest from South Africa to establish a weather station, but conditions were deemed to be too hostile. The island remains uninhabited, although an automated weather station was set up there in 1977 by the Norwegians.

On September 22, 1979, a satellite recorded a flash of light (which was later interpreted as having been caused by a nuclear bombexplosion or natural event such as a meteor) in a stretch of the southern Indian Ocean between Bouvet Island and Prince Edward Islands. This detonation, since dubbed the Vela Incident, scattered radioactive debris over a wide area (it was detected by scientists in the Australian Antarctic Territory). No country has ever admitted responsibility for the test, though suspects include South Africa, Israeland Taiwan.

Despite being uninhabited, Bouvet Island has the Internet country code top-level domain (ccTLD) .bv, though it is not used. A handful ofamateur radio expeditions have gone to this remote location (call signs used here begin with 3Y). Bouvet Island falls within the UTC Ztime zone. Atlantic/St_Helena is the zone used in the time zone database.


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