In honor of her Diamond Jubilee, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II will have a large portion of the British Antarctic region renamed in her honor.
Queen Elizabeth Land, as the area will be known, is situated south of the Weddell Sea and between longitudes 20°W and 80°W. It is bounded on the North side by the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf, to the North East by Coats Land, on the East by Queen Maud Land and extending on the West side to a line between the South Pole and Rutford Ice Stream, east of Constellation Inlet.
The renaming of Queen Elizabeth Land was announced on December 18th, 2012 on the occasion of a visit by the Queen to the British Foreign Office in London. British Foreign Secretary William Hague, said that the naming was “a fitting tribute at the end of Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee year”.
Queen Elizabeth Land is not the first area of land to be named in Queen Elizabeth’s honor. Queen Elizabeth II received her first renaming honor in 1931, when Princess Elizabeth Land was discovered and named for her in the Australian Antarctic Territory. After becoming Queen in 1953, a mountain range was discovered in the Ross Dependency and named The Queen Elizabeth Range in her honor.
Queen Elizabeth II was also the inspiration for The Queen Elizabeth Islands, a group of over 2,100 islands within the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. They are primarily part of the Nunavut territory, with the rest being part of the Northwest Territories. Initially known as the Parry Archipelago, they were renamed in honor of Queen Elizabeth II upon her coronation in 1953.
The first British Royal to have land named in her honor was Queen Victoria. In 1841, an area bordering what is now the Ross Dependency was discovered and named Victoria Land. A mountain range within the area was also named the Prince Albert Mountains, in honor of Victoria’s beloved husband Prince Albert.