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Tierra Del Fuego

strait, miles, region, territory and square

TIERRA DEL FUEGO, te-eiri del fwa' gO, an archipelago at the extreme south of South America, separated from the mainland by the Strait of Magellan which forms its boundary on the north and northwest, while the Atlantic Ocean bounds it on the east and the Pacific Ocean on the southwest; total area about 19,299 square miles. Politically, it is divided into two parts, each of which will be briefly described. (1) The western part, the area of which is 11,000 square miles, belongs to Chile and is included in the extensive Chilean territory of Magallanes, whose capital, the little town of Punta Arenas, stands on the western (mainland) shores of the strait, and is a port of call for steamships of some Euro pease and Australian lines (Hamburg to Cal lao, etc.). The lands belong to the state. (2) The eastern part, area 8,299 square miles and population about 1,000 whites and several thou sand Indians, belongs to Argentina and forms a territory of that republic, its capital being Ushuaia. Of this region about 1,000,000 acres have passed into private 'ownership and only a small proportion is rented. In the north there are fertile valleys and roads connecting the villages lead through Chilean territory to ports on the southern coast of the Strait of Magel lan. The interior is mountainous or hilly, but well adapted to stock-raising. "The climate of this region," it is said, "though cold, is not severe, inasmuch as the mean temperature, maximum and minimum, as taken during sev eral years, is + 5° C. and — C., respec tively. Calm days are frequent in winter.

Rain increases in the autumn, and in the sum mer dry winds from the southwest and west prevail, and occasionally are of terrific force." (Consult 'Argentine Republic: a Geographical Sketch,' issued by the International Bureau of • American Republics, Washington 1903). There are no navigable rivers, but many streams of moderate size and a number of lagoons. The oldest and in some respects still the most in teresting description of the region of the fa mous strait (of which both shores are now held by Chile) is that one written by Anthony Pigafetta, who accompanied Magellan and told of what they saw in October 1520, mentioning the characteristic storms, the "very great and high mountains covered with snow" surround ing the strait, and finally saying: "In it we found at every half league a good port and place for anchoring, good waters, wood all of cedar and fish like sardines, missiglioni, and a very sweet herb named appio (celery). There is also some of the same kind which is bitter. This herb grows near the springs and from not finding anything else we ate of it for several days. I think that there is not in the world a more beautiful country or a bet ter strait than this one." Pigafetta's sketch map of Magellan's Strait proves that he regarded Tierra del Fuego as a great southern continent stretching toward the antarctic pole. Consult Lord Stanley of Alderley, 'The First Voyage Round the World,' printed for the Hakluyt Society.