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Why is Tierra del Fuego called like this?

Tierra del Fuego is an archipelago located at the southern tip of the American continent. It is a fascinating environment, with a great history behind it and with a very remarkable ecological and environmental value. However, do you know why Tierra del Fuego is called like that ? If you want to discover it, keep reading AgroCorrn and we will tell you about it.

What is Tierra del Fuego

The Land of Fire is a group of islands located right at the end south of the American continent . In this way, it is located right at the point where the Pacific Ocean, the Atlantic Ocean and the Antarctic Ocean meet. This region is famous for having the well-known Strait of Magellan , which allows passage between the Pacific and the Atlantic without having to completely surround the archipelago of the islands of Tierra del Fuego.

Tierra del Fuego is made up of a large number of islands. However, of all of them, there is one that stands out from the rest due to its size, and that is called the Big Island. The Big Island of Tierra del Fuego is located just south of the Strait of Magellan, and is the best known place in all of Tierra del Fuego. In addition to this large island, the archipelago is made up of an infinity of smaller islands . For the most part, these islands extend to the east and south of the Big Island, towards the Pacific and Antarctic Oceans respectively.

To which country does Tierra del Fuego belong?

The Tierra del Fuego archipelago is administratively divided between the countries of Chile and Argentina , the easternmost part corresponding to Chile and the westernmost part to Argentina. Likewise, the Big Island is divided between both nations:

  • Tierra de Fuego Chile : in the case of Chile, the territory that belongs to it is constituted as the province of Tierra del Fuego (made up of the islands in the area), as well as the Antarctic region belonging to this country. The capital of the entire region is the city of Porvenir, located in the Chilean part of the Isla Grande.
  • Tierra de Fuego Argentina : Likewise, in the case of Argentina, we would be talking about the province of Tierra del Fuego, Antarctica and the South Atlantic Islands. That they constitute the same territorial administration area, whose capital is Ushuaia, also located in one of the areas of Isla Grande.

In the following article we will talk about the environmental problems of Latin America .

Why is Tierra del Fuego called like this?

Despite what you may think, the origin of the name Tierra del Fuego does not come from the presence of volcanoes in the area . In reality, this name is due to the European sailors who arrived in this territory around the 16th century.

This archipelago was originally inhabited by various pre-Columbian tribes. In fact, there are archaeological testimonies that the area was populated for more than 10,000 years, so it can be assured that the human presence in the region is very old. Some of the tribes that populated this region during the arrival of the European navigators were the Yagans, the Kawésqar and the Patagonians, among others. These towns were quite well adapted to the climate of the area, especially to the cold that characterizes the entire region. However, despite this constant cold, they had a habit of wearing hardly any clothes. This made these pre-Columbian peoples have acquired the custom of lighting many bonfires to warm themselves. In fact, it was common for them to carry small bonfires even on the canoes or boats that they used to move between the different islands.

When the European sailors arrived in the region, one of the things that surprised them the most was the soaring presence of plumes of smoke. Logical consequence of the abundance of these bonfires that the original peoples used to keep warm. In fact, it is attributed to the expedition of Fernando de Magallanes that reached the region in August 1520 the name of “Tierra de Smokes” , which was the name given to the area as a result of the abundance of smoke columns that had in the zone. Later, this name would become popular, generically naming the southern archipelago of the American continent.

Finally, it would be the Spanish King Carlos I himself who would modify the name , changing it from “Tierra de Smokes” to “Tierra del Fuego”. This name became popular again and, in the end, it would be the name by which the entire region would be known. Thus, when asked why Tierra del Fuego is so called, the answer is that it refers to the multitude of bonfires that the original peoples of the area made to protect themselves from the cold.

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