The Bellingshausen Sea lies between Thurston Island, off the coast of Ellsworth Land, and Alexander Island, which is off the coast of the Antarctic Peninsula. This stretch of Antarctica is approximately opposite South America between longitudes 80° and 90° west. The sea is named after Fabian von Bellingshausen, a Russian naval officer, who led an expedition to the Antarctic Circle from 1819 to 1821. Von Bellingshausen discovered Alexander I Island and named it after the then tsar of Russia, who commissioned the expedition. Alexander I Island and Peter I Island were the first two land masses identified within the Antarctic Circle. Most of the sea lies under the ice shelf which surrounds Antarctica.
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