Micaela Lujan 31/07/2019

They say that each place has its history and each story its place. In the extreme south of Argentina and between the last stretch of the Andes Mountains and the Beagle Channel there is a city with its own.

This is Ushuaia: capital located in the province of Tierra del Fuego, with 50,000 inhabitants and known as the southernmost in the world. The word Ushuaia comes from the Yagán language. Ushuaia means "at the bottom" and waia "bay", giving it the name of "Bay at the bottom".

The first to inhabit this area were nomadic groups who, more than 11 millennia ago, came walking from the north to the current territory of Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego. These groups had a type of kinship with the Tehuelches. They were dedicated to hunting, gathering and that is how the Ona and Haush peoples arose. Later, other settlers arrived: the Yámanas and Kawésqar. Both were nomadic groups that moved in canoes, with fishing standing out among their subsistence activities.

In 1869, and with the authorization of the governments of Argentina and Chile, Anglican missionaries arrived with the set objective of evangelizing these peoples. From this mission led by Bishop Waite Hockin Stirling, they settled and began to build their homes. The following year, he was replaced by Thomas Bridges.

In 1884, Commodore Augusto Lassere began an expedition and on October 12 of that same year, he created the Ushuaia Subprefecture on the shores of the Beagle Channel. Thomas Bridges accepted Argentine sovereignty and made the Argentine flag there for the first time.

Every October 12 the founding years of Ushuaia are celebrated. Moving on, the Argentine government supported the mission, but Bridges later decided to abandon his missionary role and founded the Harberton Ranch in 1886 to live with his family. Although over time Ushuaia began to expand and become a picturesque place to live, it was recognized among Argentines only in 1896. The reason? A project of penal colonization during the presidency of Julio Roca, where they sent prisoners who had to serve sentences of long years.

However, as the number of inmates arriving from Buenos Aires was so large, in 1902 the construction of a stone jail began, by themselves. This prison, which today functions as a museum, had a direct route railroad that led the prisoners to the labor camps, located in the current Tierra del Fuego National Park.

The Anglican mission ended at the end of the 19th century and like any history of colonization, it is important to mention that the native peoples had to go through serious suffering: from direct extermination to infectious diseases from which they could not be cured because they were not immunized.

And by 1930, the original towns of the city had almost completely disappeared. Currently, Ushuaia is a tourist city, characterized as "the city at the end of the world" and is recognized worldwide. Every year it receives thousands of tourists who seek to be surprised by the nature that surrounds it and visit every corner where history is breathed.

Here you can book excursions, trips or hotels in Ushuaia.


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