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Interesting US History
A Website Devoted to Interesting Events in U.S. History





November 18, 1820

Captain Nathaniel Palmer is the First American to
Lay Eyes on the Continent of Antarctica

On this day in 1820, Captain Nathaniel Palmer, an American sailing captain, ship designer, seal hunter, and explorer saw the Continent of Antarctica from his sloop, the Hero.

At the time, Palmer was searching for new seal rookeries south of Cape Horn. Although others sighted land earlier that year, Palmer was not only the first American to see it but also set foot on land.

Part of the Antarctic Peninsula and the Palmer Archipelago were named after him as well as an Antarctic icebreaker RV Nathaniel B. Palmer and Palmer Station located in the seal islands that Palmer explored.