The southernmost settlements of the world refer to the cities, towns, villages, military and research bases, or weather stations that are located farther south than 45°S latitude.
Since Antarctica is the southernmost continent of the world, most of the world’s southernmost places are located there. Although Antarctica has no permanent cities, towns or villages, it has several temporary and permanent research bases and weather stations that are inhabited seasonally or permanently by research or military staff of different countries that have bases on the continent. The year-round research stations in Antarctica are regarded as the world’s southernmost settlements.
Outside the Antarctic Convergence, the South American nations of Argentina and Chile, and the Oceanian country of New Zealand, claim to host some of the world’s southernmost settlements in the form of cities, towns, and villages.
Also, the slogan “southernmost city or place in the world” has often been used to attract visitors to a city or to Antarctica. Therefore, many places that are not actually the southernmost have claimed to be so in the hopes of boosting tourism. For example, cities such as Ushuaia in Argentina or Punta Arenas in Chile often label themselves as the “southernmost city in the world” to attract visitors.
The Southernmost Permanent Settlement Outside Antarctica
Puerto Toro, Chile, 55°05′00″S 67°04′30″W
Puerto Toro is a tiny hamlet located on the Navarino Island’s eastern coast in Chile. The hamlet was founded in 1892 during the Tierra del Fuego Gold Rush. According to the 2002 census, the hamlet had a permanent population of 36. In the past, Puerto Toro was a thriving town, but after gold in the region was fully exploited, interest in the town decreased and it was reduced to the state of a hamlet.
Southernmost Capital City in the World
Wellington, New Zealand is the southernmost capital city of a sovereign nation in the world. The city hosts a population of about 405,000 and is New Zealand’s second most populous city. Wellington is located in the North Island’s southwestern tip. It is also regarded as the windiest city in the world.
The Southernmost Permanent Settlement in the World
Located at the South Pole, the Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station can be regarded as the world’s southernmost place inhabited by humans. It is a research base of the United States and is located at an altitude of 9,301 feet above sea level on a high plateau. The station was built in 1956 by the Navy Seabees, and has since been rebuilt, relocated, and re-structured several times. There, the sun is down for 6 months a year and up for the other half of the year. Although the number of residents at the research base varies throughout the year, it remains inhabited most of the time. In summer, the peak population is about 200 individuals, and in winter that number drops to about 50 people.