South Shetland Islands

South Shetland Islands, barren, snow-covered archipelago off N Antarctic Peninsula, W Antarctica; Livingston and King George islands are the largest. The South Shetlands were bases for sealers in the 19th cent., whalers in the early 20th cent., and also for antarctic exploration; they now have scientific bases. The South Shetlands, discovered by the British mariner William Smith in 1819, are claimed by Great Britain, Argentina, and Chile.

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