Has Anyone Ever Been Born in Antarctica?

Sometimes odd questions occur to me. I write them down, and, by asking people or the Internet, try to learn the answer. This is one such question:

I wrote it on a piece of cardboard, and it subsequently went through the wash.

This question was easy to answer, courtesy of Wikipedia:

At least ten children have been born in West Antarctica. The first was Emilio Marcos Palma, born on January 7, 1978 to Argentine parents at Esperanza, Hope Bay, near the tip of the Antarctic peninsula. In 1984, Juan Pablo Camacho was born at the Presidente Eduardo Frei Montalva Base, becoming the first Chilean born in Antarctica. Soon after, a girl, Gisella, was born at the same station. In 2001, National Geographic reported that eight children had been born at Esperanza alone.

As you might expect, a baby born in Antarctica doesn’t get an Antarctic passport–there’s no such thing. Instead, they receive their parents’ nationality. What happens if their parents come from different nations? I’m not sure.


  1. Never would have thought to ask that question, but here’s one that I’ve always wondered: how does one get a job in Antarctica? I mean, I understand the need for scientists and researchers, but what about support staff? How does someone (aka, me) get a job doing things like cooking, cleaning, maintenance, IT, communications, babysitting, etc?

  2. You’ve probably gotta know somebody. But if you’re determined, I bet you could get to know somebody. Some experience in cold climates (Canada?) might help.

    As for the passport thing, first, if the parents are of different nationalities, my guess is that the law of the nation running the station they’re at would apply. If the parents are unmarried, most countries probably assign the mother’s citizenship to the child. If they are married — well, whether Chile’s rules are different from America’s, or Russia’s, or New Zealand’s, I don’t know.

  3. I think the default nationality for children is their mother’s citizenship. I know when Molly was born in Germany, she didn’t qualify for a German passport or Eric’s British passport. She was stuck with mine. So even being born to an EU national in an EU country…no dice for a passport.

    1. Yes, that’s true for EU countries now. Though, I think when we were in Ireland, they still offered the loophole that if you gave birth on Irish soil, your kid got an Irish passport. They had some difficulty with pregnant African women intentionally visiting the country so that their children would have a Western passport. They’ve since closed that loophole.

  4. I once knew someone who accidentally conceived a kid in Antarctica, but went back to the US for the birth. Still, that should count for something, right?

  5. Antarctica is made up of different regions owned by different countries. Depending on which region you’re born in, you will be given the nationality of the country that owns it.

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