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Esteban Lucas Bridges (December 31, 1874, Ushuaiamarker – April 4, 1949, Buenos Airesmarker) was an Anglo-Argentine author and explorer. He was the third child and second son of Anglican missionary Reverend Thomas Bridges (1842–98) and "the third white native of Ushuaiamarker" (his elder brother, born in 1872, having been the first) at the southernmost tip of South America. Ushuaiamarker was known as Ooshooia in the indigenous Yaghan language.

His acclaimed book Uttermost Part of the Earth (1948), published one year before his death, is a chronicle that covers nearly a century of the history of his family, who came as missionary settlers to Tierra del Fuegomarker in 1871, although his father had visited, and lived on Keppel Islandmarker in the Falkland Islandsmarker and Tierra del Fuegomarker intermittently since 1856. This literary classic tells a story of the clash of three civilisations: the white men, the Yaghan (Yahgashaga in Yaghan) and the Ona (Shilknum in the Ona language). Having grown up among the indigenous tribes of the island, Lucas Bridges learned the language and customs of both tribes. He was a privileged witness of their lifestyle and beliefs as well as a witness of western civilisation's tragic effect on them. They were decimated by measles, to which they had no resistance; outbreaks in 1884 (following a visit by three Argentine Navy ships), 1924 and 1929 became fatal epidemics with devastating results. Both civilisations (the Ona and the Yaghan) have been erased from the face of the earth.

After his father resigned his position as missionary, Lucas helped him build Estancia Harberton in a sheltered bay chosen by the Yaghans as a safe port.

The Lucas Bridges trail was established to transport sheep from Estancia Harberton, the family home on the coast of the Beagle Channelmarker, to Estancia Viamonte in the northern area of the island.

Lucas went to England to enlist in the army to fight in World War I and in 1917 married Jannette McLeod Jardine (1890-1976). After the war he moved to South Africa where he established a ranch with his brother-in-law. Finally, he moved back Argentina, where he lived out his last years. He died in Buenos Aires and is buried in the Chacarita Cemeterymarker there.

References

  • Obituary: Lucas Bridges, The Geographical Journal 114 (1949) 240–241.


  • Bridges, Lucas, Uttermost Part of the Earth, originally published by Hodder & Stoughton, London, 1948. Re-issued, with an introduction by Gavin Young, Century, London, 1987, ISBN 0-7126-1493-1. Page numbers cited refer to the later edition. Republished 2008, Overlook Press ISBN 978-1585679560 — Exact date of birth, position in family, etc.: p. 67. Father's dates: p. 538. Father's intermittent visits to, and residence in, Falkland Islands and Tierra del Fuego: pp. 42–58. Argentine Navy visit and establishing a sub-prefecture at Ushuaia: pp. 122–3. Outbreaks and effects of measles: pp. 125–7, 136, 520, 532. Indigenous population levels: p. 521.



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