The northwest coast of the peninsula is believed to have been mapped by the British navigator Edward Bransfield in Jan., 1820, and was explored by sealers in 1820–21. First considered to be part of the continent, the peninsula was later (1928) thought to be a group of islands; the John Rymill expedition (1934–37) proved its peninsularity. It was originally named Palmer Peninsula by Americans for Nathaniel Palmer, a U.S. captain who explored the area in Nov., 1820. In 1832, Britain claimed it and called it Graham Land and Trinity Peninsula. Argentina claimed it in 1940 as San Martin Land and Chile in 1942 as O'Higgins Land. In 1964, by international agreement, the entire feature was called the Antarctic Peninsula; Graham Land, Trinity Peninsula, and Palmer Land are used as local names. The peninsula is now the site of numerous research stations.
The disintegration of a Rhode Island–sized expanse of one section of the Larsen ice shelf over a few weeks time in 2002, although directly due to locally warmer temperatures, was also regarded by some scientists as a result of the more general global warming. It was the largest of several ice shelf retreats on the peninsula that have occurred since the 1960s. The Larsen ice shelf has since been much further reduced, most dramatically in 2017 when a Delaware-sized iceberg separated from another section of the ice shelf.
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