Puerto Hambre, originally
Ciudad del Rey Don Felipe, also known as
Puerto del Hambre and at one time as Port
Famine, is a historic settlement site at Buena
Bay on the west side of the Strait of Magellan approximately 58 km (36 miles) south of Punta
Arenas in the Región
de Magallanes y la Antártica Chilena, Patagonia, Chile.
The coast near Puerto Hambre.
Puerto Hambre lies halfway between the South Pole and Chile's
northern border with Peru. Since Chile claims its Antarctic
territories extending all the way to the pole, this point is
sometimes called the geographical center of Chile. A monument near
the site marks this midpoint.
Spanish settlement was founded in March 1584 by Pedro
Sarmiento de Gamboa as the city of Rey Don Felipe with
around 300 settlers, but conditions were harsh and local vegetation
was sparse. This attempt to colonise the shores of the
Strait ended tragically when the settlers starved or froze to
death, and when the English navigator, Sir Thomas
Cavendish landed at the site in 1587 he found only ruins of the
settlement. He renamed the place Port
Famine, and under this name it later became a base used by
the British Royal Navy.
Monument at the site of Puerto
The name was subsequently
translated into Spanish as Puerto Hambre
or Puerto del
, and these names are still in use.
Navy hydrographic survey ship HMS Beagle under Captain Pringle Stokes
was surveying Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego when he fell into a deep depression, and at
Port Famine in August 1828 he locked himself in his cabin
and shot himself.
He was buried in the cementerio
and his grave is still marked on nautical charts.
Temporary command of HMS Beagle
was given to the Executive
Officer of the Beagle, Lieutenant W.G. Skyring, then taken over by
Flag Lieutenant Robert FitzRoy
FitzRoy became captain of the Beagle
for its second survey
expedition, and as a companion on the voyage he took the young
naturalist Charles Darwin
visited Port Famine
a number of times between 1832 and
1834 during the second
voyage of HMS Beagle
2 May 1843 the first
twenty German immigrants
reached the port of Puerto Hambre.
In February 1968
the ruins of Puerto del Hambre were made a National Monument.
Juan Williams Rebolledo
Bulnes approximately 2 km (1 mile) further south at the
Peninsula called Punta Santa Ana (Santa Ana Point) as a
fort to take possession of the Strait and the Patagonian lands for
A reconstruction of the original fort has been built
complete with the church, chaplain's quarters, jail, powder
magazine, post office and stables.