Beagle Channel, Tierra del Fuego , Chile


Beagle Channel

Beagle Channel is a strait separating islands of the Tierra del Fuego archipelago, in extreme southern South America . It separates Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego from several smaller islands to the south. Its eastern portion is part of the border between Chile and Argentina . The western part is completely within Chile . Beagle Channel is about 150 miles long and is about three miles wide at its narrowest point. To the west, the Darwin Sound connects it to the Pacific Ocean .   

Several small islands near the eastern end were the subject of long-running territorial disputes between Chile and Argentina ; by the terms of a 1984 treaty they are now part of Chile , while Argentina has most maritime rights. The biggest settlement on the channel is Ushuaia in Argentina .  

Beagle channel is named after the ship HMS Beagle which was involved in two hydrographic surveys of the coasts of ace southern pan of South America in the early 19th century.  During the first, under the overall command of the Australian Commander Phillip Parker King, the Beagle’s Captain Cringle Stokes committed suicide and was replaced by Captain Robert FitzRoy. The second is better known as the voyage of the Beagle because Captain FitzRoy took Charles Darwin along as a gentleman companion, giving him opportunities as an amateur naturalist.  

Along the Navigation through the Beagle Channel and the Garibaldi Fjord one can admire some magnificent glaciers. Among these, the most famous ones are the Germany , France , Italy , and Holland glaciers.



Tierra Del Fuego

Tierra Del Fuego is an archipelago of 28,476 sq miles separated from the southernmost tip of the South American mainland by the Strait of Magellan .  The southern point of the archipelago forms Cape Horn .  

The archipelago consists of a main island, Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego , often simply called Tierra del Fuego or Isla Grande, with an area of 48,100 km2, and a group of smaller islands.  Half of this island and the islands west and south of it, are part of the Magallanes y Antarctica Chilean Region. The capital and chief town is Punta Arenas , situated on the mainland across the strait.  

The eastern part of the archipelago belongs to Argentina , being part of

Tierra del Fuego Province . Its capital a Ushuaia, the biggest city of the archipelago.  The Darwin Range ends in the Mount Bove ; this Range contains many glaciers that even touch the ocean.  

Its name comes from Ferdinand Magellan who was born in Portugal , and was the first European to pass it in 1520. He believed he was seeing the many fires (Fuego in Spanish) of the Amerindians, which were visible from the sea, and that the “Indians” were waiting in the forests to ambush his armada. These were fires lit by the Yamana Indians who lived in the southern part of the island, to ward off the low temperatures in the area.  

The Yamana Indians spent a great deal of their time fishing and hunting from their canoes. They also used to carry a lighted fire aboard. Fire was critical to their survival since they wore no clothing.  Four native Fuegians, including “Jemmy Button” (Orundellico), were brought from Tierra del Fuego by Robert Fitzroy on his first voyage with the Beagle in 1830. They were taken to meet the King and Queen in London and were instant celebrities. The surviving three returned to Tierra de- Fuego with the Beagle with Charles Darwin, who made extensive notes about his visit to the islands.