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France was arguably the first colonial power on Antarctica (depending on one's definition of the continent), with its earliest claim dating to January 24th, 1772; and its first permanent settlement, Port-aux-Français, dating to November 1772.
Since then, France has had a continuous presence on the continent, with the only exception being the period of 1810-1815, when its Antarctic territories were seized by Britain during the Napoleonic Wars; before being returned to France following the Congress of Vienna.
Currently, France's only remaining Antarctic possession is the Department of Kerguelen, which was also its first Antarctic colony. Since 1946, Kerguelen has been an integral part of France, rather than a separate territory.
French Antarctic possessions:
- Port Louis — 1764-1767 (Port Louis was located in the Falkland Islands, generally considered a part of South America rather than Antarctica)
- Kerguelen — 1772-1810; 1815-present
- French Antarctica — 1828-1841
- Adélie — 1919-1940