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Keppel Island ( ) is one of the Falkland Islandsmarker, lying between Saunders Islandmarker and Pebble Islandmarker, and near Golding Islandmarker to the north of West Falklandmarker on Keppel Soundmarker. It has an area of just under 40 square kilometres (15 sq mi).

History

The island is named after First Lord of the Admiralty, Admiral Augustus Keppel.

The island became a sheep farm in 1885, initially doubling as a missionary settlement aimed at the Yaghan people of Tierra del Fuegomarker. More recently, it became a nature reserve. It also has a small settlement on the east coast, but no permanent population.

Missionary station

The mission on Keppel Island was established by the South American Missionary Society in 1855, initially under Captain William Parker Snow, and remained in operation until 1898. It had been proposed by Captain Allen Gardiner, founder of the Society, before his death in 1851, as a less hostile environment from which to gain the confidence of the Yaghan and learn their language. From 1856, several of the Yaghan were induced to move to Keppel Island, and learnt farming techniques and some English. After some setbacks, the mission succeeded in founding a mission at Ushuaiamarker in 1869, under the leadership of Waite Stirling.

The Yahgans did not arrive on the island until a few years after the building of "Cranmer Station" (named for Thomas Cranmer, the protestant martyr) near Committee Bay. One of the more famous visitors to Cranmer Station (in 1860) was Jemmy Button who had learnt English, and visited England aboard the Beagle in 1830-31.

Today, the mission bailiff's house, the chapel and the stone walls of the Yaghan dwellings still remain intact; some provide foundations for present day buildings. Today the ruins are listed buildings and represent amongst the oldest in the islands.

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