southernmost extremity of America1
that is unique unto itself. It is an archipelago full of
high mountains capped with snow.
The first explorers saw the campfires of Native Americans here and they named
Tierra Del Fuego, which is Spanish for Land of Fire.
Punta Arenas at Latitude
53.9º S. Longitude 70º.55' W
Cape Horn, Latitude 57º.48' S. Longitude 67°19´ W where the ocean is
renowned for its fits of bad weather, and many ships throughout history including the Whaling Ship Essex have had a rough time trying to reach the Pacific Ocean by this route.
It includes all the islands between the straights of Magellan and the Drake Passage. The Largest of these Islands (Isla Grande) includes the City of Ushuaia which ,being situated at 54 degrees South, boasts that it is the southernmost city in the world.
The first Native Americans in Tierra Del Fuego were members of four tribes. These were the Yaghan,the Ono,the Alacaloof, and the Aush. It was their fires that gave the region its name. When Magellan visited in 1520 the land south of his strait was known as Terra Australis Nondem Cogita and was believed to connect to an unknown continent at the south Pole. Today we call this continent Antarctica
and there is some 600 miles of water separating it from America. Magellan did not know this. Sir Francis Drake in 1578 first set eyes on what is today called the Drake Passage after going through The Strait, at that time it was thought that Terra Australis Nondem Cogita continued unbroken and the only connection the Atlantic and Pacific had was via narrow channels in an isthmus.Drake failed to fully understand what he had seen and he turned and went West. Later in 1615 A Dutch navigator named Le Maire traveled From the East around the cape, but he thought the Small island to the east of his route was part of Terra Australis. It wasn't until 1641 when Brower sailed east of Staten Island that They finally decided that the connecting isthmus
to the Southern Continent did not exist so perhaps this 600 mile wide stretch of water should have been named the Brower Passage. In 1769
Captain James Cook passed here on his way west and later in 1831 The HMS Beagle bearing Naturalist
made a closer study of the land passing through what is now called the Beagle Channel. In warmer climates colonization followed quickly but Tierra Del Fuego remained without colonists into the nineteenth century. It was then that a Missionary named Thomas Bridges started a family there. The livestock and Sheep which they raised had to be brought in from elsewhere.
Modern Tierra Del Fuego
In modern Tierra Del Fuego the native language is Spanish but many people also speak English.
During all seasons world travellers come to Ushuaia as Tourists. In the WinterJune through September it is a
and in the summer a seaport and a jumping off place for anyone wanting to visit Antarctica by the shortest route. It is a place of charm and incredible beauty and like
Punta Arenas,Ushuaia is accessible by both sea and air. Whether sailing in through the Beagle Channel or flying into its airport visitors will find Ushuaia a great place.