The South Pole refers to both Earth's most southerly point, and the Neutral International Zone surrounding it. The NIZ's border is a perfect circle of radius 175 kilometers, centered on the Pole itself; bordering New Devon to the North and East, Bellinsgauzenia to the South, and Byrdia to the West. It is the only entity on Antarctica not to have a coastline.
The South Pole has a population of roughly 2500 people, almost all of whom live in the South Pole Station - a vast complex of buildings built on the pole itself. Most of the population is composed of scientists and their families from several different nations across the world; politicians and diplomats working with the Antarctic Assembly; and custodians of the Station.
The South Pole is self-governing, but its government (the members of the Antarctic Assembly) are elected by the citizens of Assembly member-states. The NIZ is not a sovereign nation, nor is it a territory of any other nation. Its area is considered truly international soil, with no country claiming sovereignty or jurisdiction over it.
It does not mint its own currency, but accepts several international currencies; though it does print its own postage stamps, and residents can acquire South Pole passports. It is impossible to have sole citizenship to the South Pole, but it is possible to have dual citizenship with the South Pole and other countries.
While it is rare, several people have been born within the NIZ's borders since it was established in 1950. The general protocol for this situation is to grant the child the same citizenship as his or her parents have. In the United States, persons born in the South Pole NIZ with at least one parent with American citizenship are considered "natural born American citizens", and are legally eligible to run for the offices of President and Vice President.
As the southernmost point on the Earth's surface, the South Pole has been widely avoided by humans due to its extreme climate. Antarctic Indigenous Peoples probably visited the pole regularly on hunting and trade journeys; but there are no records or archaeological evidence of any permanent indigenous settlements anywhere near the pole.
During the colonial period, the South Pole was under the jurisdiction of the Russian Viceroyalty of New Irkutsk (now Byrdia), just a few miles south of the border with the Viceroyalty of Yugosiberia (now New Ingria, within the United Republic). The Russians saw no particular value in controlling the South Pole, and the region was left fairly undeveloped, like much of the inland area of Russia's western Antarctic colonies.
In 1918, during the Russian Civil War, the United States occupied New Irkutsk, and claimed it as the Territory of Western Antarctica (later renamed Byrdia) in 1922; while the British occupied New Ingria in 1920, and incorporated it into the Colony of New Devon. For the next few decades, American and British scientists were able to conduct limited research around the South Pole, but they were hampered by poor funding and dangerous weather conditions. In 1948, New Devon became an independent dominion of the British Empire.
In 1949, President Harry S. Truman of the United States finally reached an agreement with a team of scientists and diplomats; and after negotiations with Prime Minister Clement Attlee of Britain, the Governor of Byrdia and the Governor-General and Prime Minister of New Devon; the leaders planned the creation of the NIZ.
An international team from Britain, the United States, Byrdia and New Devon began to establish the NIZ, consisting of military, scientific and diplomatic members. The Zone was officially created on January 1st, 1950, when both Byrdia and New Devon permanently ceded parts of their territory in the creation of the NIZ. President Truman nominated his former Secretary of the Interior, Julius A. Krug, for the position of Director-General, and he was approved by the establishment committee, leading to the beginnings of the South Pole in its modern state.
The Antarctic Assembly was founded early in 1950. At first, the only member-states were American territories and Commonwealth members; but after the French department of Kerguelen joined later that year, membership gradually began to include many more Antarctic nations.