William Smith (mariner)

William Smith (mariner)

William Smith (born c. 1775 in Blyth, Northumberland) was the English captain who discovered the South Shetland Islands, an archipelago near Antarctica.

In 1819, while sailing cargo on the "Williams" from Buenos Aires to Valparaíso, he sailed further south round Cape Horn in an attempt of catching the right winds. On 19 February 1819 he spotted the new land at 62° West but did not land on it. The naval authorities did not believe his discovery, but on a subsequent trip on 16 October he landed on the largest of the islands. He named the island King George Island and the archipelago South Shetland Islands in honour of the Shetland Islands which are to the north of Scotland. At the beginning of the following year, 1820, the "Williams" was chartered by the Royal Navy, and dispatched with Smith and Lieutenant Edward Bransfield onboard to survey the newly discovered islands, discovering also the Antarctic Peninsula in the process.

See also

* Livingston Island


* [http://www.antarctic-circle.org/rosove.htm Antarctic Voyages and Expeditions] , retrieved on March 2 2005
* Glasgow Digital Library: [http://gdl.cdlr.strath.ac.uk/scotia/vserm/vserm0202.htm Scotland and the Antarctic: Nineteenth Century] , retrieved on March 2 2005
* Ashgate Publishing: [http://www.history.ac.uk/ihr/Resources/Books/ashgate1.html The Discovery of the South Shetland Islands, 1819-1820: The Journal of Midshipman C. W. Poynter] , summary of the book retrieved on March 2 2005

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