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Patagonia Bookshelf

The Perils of Cape Horn (1872 - 1882)
Calamities, sufferings and atrocities: as told by survivors and observers


Wrecks  ;  Attacks  ;  Fear of Attack  ;  Misinformation / Prejudice

Ships Wrecked
newsclip THE WRECK OF THE SAN RAPHAEL / Starvation on a desert island — Eight men and one woman lost — The account given by Indians / The starvation to death of eight of the crew and one woman belonging to Liverpool ship San Rafael, on a desert island near Cape Horn, after they fad left the ship in a burning state, is fully confirmed by advices received by the owners, Messrs. Balfour, Williamson & Co., Liverpool. [...] newsclip The Loss of the Fleetwood. / The schooner Kate Weston, Capt. Ellis, which arrived at this port yesterday from Pernambuco, June 5, brought as passenger Mr. Babson, first officer of the ship Fleetwood of Boston, which he reports was lost off Cape Horn May 4, by coming into contact with an iceberg, causing the ship to sink in a short time, and obliging the officers and crew to escape in the boats.
The Wreck of the San Rafael
(USA) New York Times
10 September 1876
The Loss of the Fleetwood
(USA) New York Times
30 June 1859
newsclip SEA AND SHIP NEWS / The Wreck of the John Gilpin — History of the Herefordshire — Captain Ropes' statement / The clipper ship, John Gilpin, whose loss off Cape Horn, in January last we have already detailed, was built at Boston in 1852, was owned by Junnewell & Brewer, was 1,088 tons burthen, rated A 2, and valued at $55,000. She was principally insured in Boston, and there were also large insurances in New-Bedford and New-York on her cargo, which was valued at about $350,000. She had on board 395 barrels of sperm oil, 6,374 barrels whale oil, and 227,693 pounds of bone. newsclip WRECKED ON CARANZA ROCK. / LOSS OF THE JOHN ELDER — PREDICAMENT OF CHILEAN REFUGEES. / London, Jan. 19. — The Pacific Steam Navigation Company's mail steamer John Elder, from Valparaiso for Liverpool, has been wrecked on Caranza Rock, in the Strait of Magellan. All the passengers and the crew of the steamer were saved, but the vessel herself, it is expected, will be a total loss.
The Wreck of the John Gilpin
(USA) New York Times
16 April 1858
Loss of the John Elder
(USA) New York Times
20 January 1892
Ships and Crews attacked by Indians
newsclip MASSACRE BY SAVAGES. / The "Valparaiso and West Coast Mail" of 3rd April reports a painful occurrence. The British brigantine Propontis, Captain Barnes, while passing the Straits of Magellan, encountered contrary winds, and was driven on the 3rd March ninety miles south of the Colony of Punta Arenas. [...] newsclip Wreck of the American Ship Manchester — Captain Murdered by the Indians at Cape Horn — Eighteen of the Crew Perished. / From the Valparaiso Mercury, June 30. / We have been favored with the distressing account of the wreck and total loss of the Manchester, on the 28th of August, last year, in lat. 55° S. We presume it to be the statement of the captain's son, one of the survivors of the ill-fated vessel.
Massacre by Savages
(NZ) North Otago Times
15 August 1871
Wreck of the American ship Manchester
(USA) New York Times
14 August 1855
newsclip TERRORS OF THE STRAITS OF MAGELLAN. / Fuegian Wreckers Becoming more Daring.
Terrors of the Straits of Magellan
(NZ) Ashburton Guardian
14 November 1900
Crews fearful of Attack by Indians
newsclip WRECKS IN MAGELLAN STRAITS. / NORFOLK, Va. Nov. 20. — According to reports ten ships are ashore in the Straits of Magellan. The steamship Kurdistan, Capt. Littlehale, reported six, and the Heedless, Capt. Milton, reported four. Each vessel came through the straits bound here for coal, and had an extremely rough voyage. / While off the Patagonian coast the wrecked vessels could be discerned, but owing to the heavy weather and the treacherous formation of the coast line, neither vessel dared approach, and the names of the wrecked steamships or fate of the crews could not be learned. The wrecks stretched for several miles. / Judging from a former experience of the Kurdistan, the crews of the wrecked vessels may have been devoured by cannibals. The Kurdistan was disabled in the straits once, and the crew was obliged to give battle to the man-eaters.
Wrecks in Magellan Straits
(USA) New York Times
21 November 1899
Misinformation and Racial Prejudice
newsclip SCOTCH SAILORS EATEN BY SAVAGES / Some short time ago Mrs Captain Hall received a letter from Mr Charles Samson, first officer of the Glasgow barque Roseneath which foundered in the straits of Magellan on the 12th May last, announcing his safe arrival at Valparaiso, and the murder of his four companions by savages. [...]
Scotch Sailors eaten by Savages
(NZ) Poverty Bay Herald
6 January 1883