Tierra del Fuego or
TF (Spanish for "Land of
Fire", ; ) is an archipelago
off the southernmost tip of the South
American mainland, across the Strait of Magellan. The southern point of the archipelago forms
- "Land of Fire" redirects here. For info on the
fictional nation, see World
Earliest humans settlement occurred more than 10,000 years ago.
Yaghan people were some of the earliest known
humans settling in Tierra del Fuego, with certain recognizable
archeological sites at locations such as Navarino Island within the islands of Tierra del
Tierra del Fuego derives from the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand
Magellan sailing for the Spanish Crown, who was the first
European to visit these lands in 1520.
He believed he was
seeing the many fires (fuego
in Spanish) of the Yaghan
, which were visible from the sea and that the
"Indians" were waiting in the forests to ambush his armada
. Originally called the "Land of Smoke," it was
later changed to "Land of Fire."
Four native Fuegians
, including "Jemmy Button
" (Orundellico), were brought from
Tierra del Fuego by Robert FitzRoy
his first voyage with the HMS
in 1830. They were taken to meet the King and Queen in
London and were to an extent celebrities.
surviving three returned to Tierra del Fuego with the
with Charles Darwin
who made extensive notes about his visit to the islands.
According to the Boundary
treaty of 1881
Tierra del Fuego was divided between Argentina
and Chile; previously it was claimed by both countries in its
entirety.18.507,3 km2 belongs to Argentina (38,57% of total
surface), 29.484,7 km2 belongs to Chile (61,43% of Tierra del
Fuego's total surface).
The climate in this region is very inhospitable. It is a subpolar
) with short, cool summers and long,
wet, moderate winters: the precipitation averages a year.
Temperatures are steady throughout the year: in Ushuaia they hardly
surpass in summers and average in winters. Snowfall can occur in
summer. The cold and wet summers help preserve the ancient glaciers
. The southernmost islands possess
subantarctic climate typical of tundra that makes the growth of
trees impossible. Some areas in the interior have a polar climate.
the world with similar climates to southern Tierra del Fuego are:
islands, Iceland, Alaska
Peninsula and Faroe Islands.
Only 30% of the islands have forests, which are classified as
northeast is made up by steppe and cool semidesert.
There are six species of tree found in Tierra del Fuego: Canelo or
Winter's Bark (Drimys
, Pilgerodendron uviferum
southernmost conifer in the world , and three kinds of Southern Beech
; Nothofagus antarctica
the evergreen Nothofagus
. Very delicious fruits grow in open spaces in
these forests, such as beach
) and calafate
), which were
and are collected respectively by Indians and countrymen. These
forests are unique in the world for having developed in a climate
with such cold summers. Tree cover extends very close to the
southernmost tip of South America. Winds are so strong that trees
in wind-exposed areas grow twisted by the force of winds, and
people call the trees "flag-trees" for the shape that they need to
take in the fight with the wind. Tree vegetation extends as far south as
the Isla de los
Estados, Navarino Island and the north of Hoste Island.
At altitudes above , dwarf nothofagus
communities are found. Going further south, Wollaston
Islands and the south of Hoste Island are covered by
Image:Nothofagus pumilio.jpg|Nothofagus pumilio
Forests from Tierra del Fuego have expanded beyond local
importance; they have been a source of trees that have been planted
abroad in places with practically the same climate but which were
originally devoid of trees like Faroe Islands and nearby
archipelagos. Most species were gathered from the coldest places in
Tierra del Fuego, sites mainly with tundra borders. This effort
resulted in positive changes, as the heavy winds and cool summers
in the Faroe Islands did not allow the growth of trees from other
regions in the world. The imported trees are used ornamentally, as
curtains against wind, and for fighting erosion caused by storms
and grazing in the Faroe Islands.
Among the most notable animals in the archipelago that are found:
, introduced in the
1940s, have proliferated and caused considerable damage to the
Like mainland Chile and Argentina to the north, the archipelago
boasts some of the finest trout fishing in the world. Sea Run Brown Trout
often exceed , particularly in rivers such as the Rio Grande and
San Pablo and in the Lago
Much of this water is private, catch and release
and fly fishing
The main industries are oil
, natural gas
. On the Argentine side there are
several electronic companies
established. Tierra del Fuego is also home to the small brewing
, which produces three beers under the Beagle brand
- C. Michael Hogan (2008) Bahia Wulaia Dome Middens, Megalithic Portal,
ed. Andy Burnham
- Martínez Crovetto, Raúl. 1968. Estudios Etnobotánicos. Nombres
de plantas y su utilidad según los indios Onas de Tierra del Fuego.
Revista de la Facultad de Agronomía y Veterinaria de la Universidad
del Nordeste, Corrientes, Argentina
- Højgaard, A., J. Jóhansen, and S. Ødum (eds) 1989. A century of
tree planting in the Faroe Islands. Føroya Frodskaparfelag,
- Bridges, Lucas. 1948. Uttermost Part of the Earth.
Reprint with introduction by Gavin Young, Century Hutchinson, 1987.
- Keynes, Richard. 2002. Fossils, Finches and Fuegians:
Charles Darwin's Adventures and Discoveries on the Beagle, 1832-1836. Harper Collins
Publishers, London. Reprint: 2003.
- Bollen, Patrick. 2000. "Tierra del Fuego" B/W Photobook.
Belgium. ISBN 90-209-4040-6
- Moss, Chris. Time Out magazine Nov 19-25: www.timeout.com/travel/features/469/tierra-del-fuego