Fildes Peninsula

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The peninsula lies at the south-western end of King George Island and is the site of several research stations.
View of the peninsula from Maxwell Bay
Uruguay's Artigas Bass on Maxwell Bay near the eastern end of the peninsula

The Fildes Peninsula is a 7 km (4.3 mi) long peninsula that forms the south-western end of King George Island in the South Shetland Islands of Antarctica. It was named from association with nearby Fildes Strait by the UK Antarctic Place-Names Committee in 1960.


The peninsula is the most extensively snow-free coastal area in summer on the island, most of which is permanently covered by ice. It is separated at its tip from Nelson Island by Fildes Strait, only 370 m wide at its narrowest. It is bounded on its south-east coast by Maxwell Bay, which is also known as Fildes Bay, and on its north-west by the open waters of the Southern Ocean. Geologically, the peninsula is a tableland made up of old coastal landforms, with numerous rocky outcrops and an average height of 30 m above sea level.[1] Research stations on the peninsula include Chile’s Base Presidente Eduardo Frei Montalva and Profesor Julio Escudero Base, China’s Great Wall Station, Russia’s Bellingshausen Station and Uruguay’s Artigas Base.

Running E-W between Fildes Peninsula, King George Island, and Nelson Island, was known to the nineteenth-century sealers; charted and named Filde's [sic] Strait or Sound by Capt. Robert Fildes, English sealing captain from Liverpool, who visited the South Shetland Islands in the brig Cora, 1820-21, and in the brig Robert, 1821-22, and who prepared the first comprehensive sailing directions for the islands (Fildes, 1821c). Field's [sic] Strait

  • Latitude: 62° 13' 57.8" S- 62.233° Unknown precision
  • Longitude: 58° 59' 56.4" W- 58.999° Unknown precision
  • Altitude: Not recorded Unknown precision
  • Region: Not recorded
Fildes Peninsula was named for Robert Fildes.
  • This material is held at Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge
  • Reference Number(s) GB 15 Robert Fildes
  • Dates of Creation 1820-1829
  • Name of Creator Robert Fildes
  • Language of Material English.
  • Physical Description Expedition material

The collection consists of material relating to the British sealing voyages, 1820-1821 and 1821-1822.

Administrative / Biographical History Robert Fildes was born on 13 July 1793 in Liverpool, England. He commanded merchant vessels from 1814, but the direction of his career changed when the news of the discovery of the South Shetland Islands by William Smith reached England in 1820. Ship owners learned that a quick profit was to be made from the fur seals that inhabited these islands. His father-in-law, Henry Wood, bought the brig Cora and Fildes was appointed master, leading the British sealing voyage, 1820-1821, from Liverpool. The expedition visited the Falkland Islands and South Shetland Islands, but Cora was wrecked on Desolation Island on 6 January 1821. Fildes prepared several charts and the first sailing directions for the islands while living in a hut made from the wreck. He and some of the crew were taken back to Liverpool aboard Indian. For personal quotes and more information see the book: The Crystal Desert: Summers in Antarctica - Much is written there of the early sealing expeditions with quotes of the shipwreck of the Cora from the pen of Robert Fildes.

The voyage of the Cora had brought Fildes financial loss, and he had to find another ship. Henry Wood offered him command of the brig Robert and Fildes again led a British sealing voyage, 1821-1822, from Liverpool. This expedition visited the Falkland Islands and Fildes made a comprehensive report about the South Shetland Islands. Robert was moored in Clothier Harbour for most of the summer but in March 1822, the brig sank.

After a brief period of unemployment on his return to England, Fildes became master of the brig Frances Ernest, a command he held for four years. Fildes died on 28 December 1827, shortly after the brig was badly damaged in a severe storm. Fildes Peninsula, at the southwestern end of King George Island, South Shetland Islands, is named for him

Antarctic Specially Protected Area[edit]

Eight separate sites on the peninsula have been collectively designated an Antarctic Specially Protected Area (ASPA 125) largely because of their paleontological values. The area contains outcrops with fossils dating from the Late Cretaceous to the Eocene, including footprints of both vertebrate and invertebrate animals as well as plant fossils with impressions of leaves and fronds, trunks, and pollen grains and spores. Sites comprising the ASPA are Fossil Hill, Holz Stream, Glacier Dome Bellingshausen, Halfthree Point, Suffield Point, Fossil Point, Gradzinski Cove and Skua Cove.[1]


  1. ^ a b "Fildes Peninsula, King George Island" (PDF). Management Plan for Antarctic Specially Protected Area No. 125: Measure 6, Annex. Antarctic Treaty Secretariat. 2009. Retrieved 2013-09-29. 

Coordinates: 62°12′S 58°58′W / 62.200°S 58.967°W / -62.200; -58.967