That part of the Antarctic continent known as Wilkes Land was named in his honour.
The belief in a vast Antarctic continent stretching far into the temperate zone had never been abandoned, and was vehemently asserted by Charles Dalrymple, a disappointed candidate nominated by the Royal Society for the command of the Transit expedition of 1769.
Dr Klaatsch's view is that they are survivals of a primitive race which inhabited a vast Antarctic continent of which South America, South Africa and Australia once formed a part, as evidenced by the identity of many species of birds and fish.
It is probable that the Antarctic continent measures about 13,000,000 sq.
Modern naturalists consider that many of the problems of Australia's remarkable fauna and flora can be best explained by the following hypothesis: - The region now covered by the antarctic ice-cap was in early Tertiary times favoured by a mild climate; here lay an antarctic continent or archipelago.
The voyage of Drake across the Pacific was preceded by that of Alvaro de Mendana, who was despatched from Peru in 1567 to discover the great Antarctic continent which was believed to extend far northward into the South sea, the search In Pacific. for which now became one of the leading motives of Pacific. exploration.
That Wilkes discovered an Antarctic continent was long doubted, and one of the charges against him when he was court-martialled was that he had fabricated this discovery, but the expedition of Sir Ernest Shackleton in 1908-1909 corroborated Wilkes.
Leaving Hampton Roads on the 18th of August 1838, it Mopped at Madeira and Rio de Janeiro; visited Tierra del Fuego, Chile, Peru, the Paumotu group of the Low Archipelago, the Samoan islands and New South Wales; from Sydney sailed into the Antarctic Ocean in December 1839 and reported the discovery of an Antarctic continent west of the Balleny islands; visited the Fiji and the Hawaiian islands in 1840, explored the west coast of the United States, including the Columbia river, San Francisco Bay and the Sacramento river, in 1841, and returned by way of the Philippine islands, the Sulu archipelago, Borneo, Singapore, Polynesia and the Cape of Good Hope, reaching New York on the 10th of June 1842.