Belgica was a barque-rigged steamship that was built in 1884 by Christian Brinch Jørgensen at Svelvik, Norway as the whaler Patria. In 1896, she was purchased by Adrien de Gerlache for conversion to a research ship, taking part in the Belgian Antarctic Expedition of 1897–1901, becoming the first ship to overwinter in the Antarctic. In 1902, she was sold to Philippe, Duke of Orléans and used on expeditions to the Arctic in 1905 and from 1907–09.

In 1916, she was sold and converted to a passenger and cargo ship, serving Spitsbergen from the Norwegian mainland under the name Isfjord. In 1918, she was sold and renamed Belgica, being converted to a factory ship. Requisitioned by the British in April 1940, she was used as a depôt ship, being scuttled when the Franco-British Expeditionary Force evacuated Harstad. In 2007, plans to build a modern replica of Belgica were announced.


TitlePublication DateDescriptionLink
RV Belgica (1884) (webpage from Wikipedia) A medium length article about the Belgica Link


Patria constructed 1884
Adrien de Gerlache purchases Patria 1896
Patria renamed Belgica 1896-07-04
Belgian Antarctic Expedition sets out 1897-08-16
Belgian Antarctic Expedition crosses Antarctic Circle 1898-02-15
Belgian Antarctic Expedition returns 1899-11-05


NameBegin DateEnd DateStart Head CountEnd Head Count
Belgian Antarctic Expedition 1897 1899


NameDate of BirthDate of DeathShort Biography
Baron Adrien de Gerlache 18661934Baron Adrien Victor Joseph de Gerlache de Gomery (2 August 1866 – 4 December 1934) was an officer in the Belgian Royal Navy who led the Belgian Antarctic Expedition of 1897–99.