If somebody left their country with a few hundred or even thousand others, took supplies and all materials needed to start there, could somebody form a country in Antarctica?

The first answer is obviously not, the Antarctic act prevents land ownership, but if the new country chose to rebel from this, and make their own land ownership laws, and persist with force, could they declare a sovereign nation?

  • 2
    This is more politics than law. Nothing other than actual violent actions can prevent someone or group to declare a sovereign nation (see Catalonia, Kosovo); whether that is recognized or not is another matter; and even if it's widely recognized, it may not have effective control of its supposed territory (e.g. Palestine); even if it's largely unrecognized, it may still have effective control of its territory (e.g. Taiwan).
    – xngtng
    Commented Jan 24, 2022 at 15:37
  • Agree with xngtng. International law is fuzzy and to a large degree works on a consensus basis. If everyone recognizes you, you're a country. The Antarctic Act says that the major players will not recognize you. Who are you going to trade with? You're not going to grow your own pineapples
    – MSalters
    Commented Jan 24, 2022 at 16:22

1 Answer 1


The Antarctic Treaty does not nullify claims or prevent land ownership, and most of Antarctica is claimed by one of a handful of countries. However, these claims are not recognized by most countries. There are many entities that are not universally recognized, including the Republic of Somaliland which is recognized by no-one (January 2022). One should include declaration-only micronations such as Liberland. In other words, you can say whatever you want, declaration does not make it so.

A new nation could, in principle, can be created as it was done in the case of East Timor and South Sudan, which underwent processes of self-determination. These were lands that had permanent populations, unlike Antarctica. Such a process of peaceful nation-creation would, without doubt, involve the intervention of the UN to determine if this new nation represented "the will of the (resident) people".

  • Penguins demand rights!
    – Tiger Guy
    Commented Jan 24, 2022 at 18:17
  • Mostly I'd agree, but what the UN says or not is pretty much irrelevant. Recognition is pretty much a country by country process with the UN playing very little role in it.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Jan 25, 2022 at 2:28

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