Support my expedition and receive a post card from the southernmost city in the world – Ushuaia – signed by Robert Swan, OBE and I.
The International Antarctic Expedition will depart from Ushuaia, Argentina – the southernmost city in the world.
Ushuaia: quite an interesting place actually…
It is here that the crew of the famous British ship HMS Beagle under the command of Captain Robert FitzRoy arrived in January 1833, during its maiden voyage surveying Tierra del Fuego, and discovered an idigenous community who called themselves the Yamana. Much of the early history of the city and its hinterland is described in Lucas Bridges’s book Uttermost Part of the Earth (1948) – read a very nice summary/review of that book here, to get a glimpse of the early history of Ushuaia.
“These people were canoe people, living mainly on the water, and Fitzroy was concerned by what he saw as a most wretched and unhappy existence. In spite of the cold, these people were almost completely naked and lived in the most basic stick dwellings and wind-shelters. Married women swam naked in the freezing waters to moor the canoes and Fitzroy was shocked for them and their apparent sorrows. However, they were not friendly, but fearful and suspicious, and possibly could become aggressive. Fitzroy somehow captured four of their young people to take back to England. His plan was to ‘civilise’ them and return them to their community later, so they could calm their people and make them open to accepting help.”
Read the whole review and a bit of early history here…
A few decades after FitzRoy and his crew set foot on Tierra del Fuego, during the 1880s, many gold prospectors arrived in Ushuaia following rumors of large gold fields, which proved to be false. And later on, in 1896, a (first) prison was opened, mainly for re-offenders and dangerous criminals as escaping from Ushuaia was really not easy. Later prison populations spent much of their time building the town with timber from surrounding forests.
Nowadays, the main economic activities are fishing, natural gas and oil extraction, sheep farming and ecotourism. Since 2007 Ushuaia has hosted the Bienal de Arte Contemporáneo del Fin del Mundo. The Bienal has gathered over one hundred artists from five continents addressing the motto “think at the End of the World that another world is possible“… And that is an inspiration we will share: imagining and creating a better world.