South Without a North: The South Sandwich Islands

(South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands)
A Cook and a Sandwich
Although a few other explorers spotted the South Sandwich Islands, it was the great British navigator James Cook who made the first landing in 1775.  Claiming the isles for Britain, Cook named them after John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich (for whom the sandwich is named).  

So Where Does the "South" Come From?

Cook sailed across the globe and named many places.  One of those landings was at the Hawaiian Islands.  Except Cook did not call them "Hawaii" - instead he also named them "Sandwich" - creating  the need for a north/south distinction.  Hawaiians eventually took control of their islands' name, but the originally uninhabited South Sandwich Islands have retained Cook's naming.  
Click here for a National Geographic article and photo gallery about the South Sandwich Islands. 

For more about James Cook, check out this Crash Course World History video.

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