1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Magallanes

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MAGALLANES (Spanish form of Magellan), a territory of southern Chile extending from 47° S. to Cape Horn and including the mainland from the Argentine frontier to the Pacific coast, the islands extending along that coast, the Fuegian archipelago, and the western half of Tierra del Fuego. Area, about 71,127 sq. m.; pop. (1895), 5170. It is one of the most inhospitable regions of the world, being exposed to cold westerly storms for most of the year. The islands are barren, but the mainland is covered with forests, practically inaccessible to exploitation because of the inclement climate and the wet spongy soil. The coast is indented with bays and fjords and affords remarkable scenery. There is little animal life on land, but the coast is frequented by the seal and sea-otter and the sheltered waters by countless sea-fowl. The only permanent settlements are at Punta Arenas, the capital, on the Straits of Magellan, Palomares on Otway Water, Mina Marta on Skyring Water, and Ultima Esperanza (Last Hope) on the east shore of Worsley Sound. All are east of the Andean ranges and partially sheltered from the westerly storms. In this sheltered region there are open plains where sheep are grazed. A few sheep ranges have been established on Tierra del Fuego. Some nomadic tribes of Indians inhabit Tierra del Fuego and the extreme southern end of the mainland, but their numbers are small. Coal has been found in the vicinity of Punta Arenas, and gold occurs.

See The Voyage of the Adventure and Beagle (1839).