South Georgia, island, c.1,450 sq mi (3,760 sq km), S Atlantic Ocean, c.1,200 mi (1,930 km) E of Cape Horn. A dependency of the Falkland Islands from 1908 to 1985 (along with the South Sandwich Islands, a group of nine small, volcanic islets c.450 mi/724 km SE of South Georgia), it and the South Sandwich Islands are a dependency of Great Britain and, like the Falklands, are claimed by Argentina. The number of people on the island fluctuates seasonally; there is no permanent population, but a scientific station is located at Grytviken. Capt. James Cook took possession of South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands in 1775. Ernest Shackleton visited the South Georgia on his expeditions and is buried there, and sealers or whalers were based on the island from the late 1700s to the mid-1900s. Since the 1990s the island's penguins, seals, and other wildlife have made it a minor tourist attraction.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.