South Georgia provides a terrestrial record of postglacial environmental change from a largely oceanic zone of the Earth. The record is representative of the southern westerlies and provides a link between Antarctica and the temperate zones of southern South America. Evidence from glacial geomorphology, slope stratigraphy, and analyses of environmental indicators in peat and lake cores is used to interpret this record. Wastage of the full-glacial ice cap was interrupted by a late-glacial stade of the outlet and valley glaciers before ca. 10,000 yr B.P. Plant growth had begun at low altitude (<50 m) on the sheltered (lee side) northeast coast within the late-glacial moraine limits by 9700 yr B.P. Environmental conditions on slopes above 80 m probably were too rigorous for a stable vegetation cover until ca. 6400 yr B.P. This was followed by a period from 5600 to 4800 yr B.P. when conditions were warmer than at present by up to 0.6°C. Periods of climatic cooling occurred at ca. 4800-3800 yr B.P., ca. 3400-1800 yr B.P., and within the last 1400 yr. The most extensive Holocene advance of South Georgia glaciers culminated just before 2200 yr B.P. These Holocene temperature changes of between 0.5 and 1.0°C are comparable in scale and timing to those identified from recent analyses of Vostok ice cores from the Antarctic ice sheet.