Glacia

Glacia is the southernmost continent on the planet of Kylaris. It is a roughly circular landmass, centred on the South Pole, located entirely below the Glacian Circle, and a significant distance from any other large landmasses. Its surface is almost entirely covered in the Glacian Ice Sheet, the oldest and by far the largest in the world. Its capital and only permanent settlement is yyy.

Much of the biota of Glacia is endemic to it, because of its unique climactic conditions, and its great distance from other land. Glacia is also geographically significant because of its ice sheet, which stores an enormous amount of freshwater and is a source of ice cores, and because of its volcanic activity. yyy is located near the largest active volcanic range in Glacia.

The continent is administered by the International Condominium of Glacia, a Community of Nations-affiliated organisation. It operates as the only territorial agency of the Trusteeship Council, and controls activities in and around Glacia with an eye to promoting culture and science and preserving biodiversity and heritage. The continent was uninhabited aside from a few maritime outposts until the end of the Great War, when the International Condominium was established to regulate those with an interest in establishing bases.

Etymology

Glacia was named by Euclean explorers for its overwhelming glaciation, via Classical Solarian glaciēs, meaning "ice".

History

Glacia was for several millennia the only continent without a human population, but became the host to a number of mostly transient settlements starting around the 18th century, primarily whaling, shipping or fishing stopover points. These settlements were abandoned by the turn of the 20th century, due to a decline in whaling as well as the advent of ships with greater range (making stopovers unnecessary).

In the early 20th century, various countries and private entities became interested in the idea of Glacian exploration and colonisation, for reasons including but not limited to scientific research, imperial prestige, exploitation of mineral and fishery resources, and military or transport bases. While geographic and biological documentation were carried out piecemeal, most schemes came to naught, owing to apparent economic unprofitability and inaccessibility, especially after the Great Collapse. Notably, Gaullica made some territorial claims.

After the aftermath of the Great War, interest in Glacia picked up again, with renewed economic activity, technological advances, and relative global stability. The Trusteeship Council of the Community of Nations created the International Territory of Glacia, which was overseen by the International Condominium of Glacia. This was a body with international oversight through the Community of Nations, and it was granted control of Glacia, with agreement that this was to the exclusion of all previous and future claims. Its remit was over all terrestrial activities in Glacia, with the aims of preserving natural heritage, and promoting scientific research and understanding.

A former outpost of whalers, fishers, exiles and prospectors, located at the base of active shield volcanoes and by a deepwater harbour, yyy was established as the administrative capital. At first, it was merely the most well-established scientific base, but over time, it acquired a permanent population, the only one on Glacia, and it is now a substantial settlement. With a diverse population, it has public infrastructure and services, and industries include scientific research and service industries for inhabitants, but also increasingly servicing outlying bases, micro-scale extractive industry, humanities research, and the settlement is additionally the centre of burgeoning Glacian tourism.