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Patagonia Bookshelf

Tierra del Fuego: Of Sailors and Savages (1851—1900)
Contacts between ships and natives groups, as reported in the English-language press

NONE  [1887]

(Note: Text dealing with natives is displayed with a contrasting background colour.)


Buenos Ayres, September 2.

The following notice has been issued by the captain of the port here:—

The Marine Prefecture of the Argentine Republic notifies shipmasters that in Ushuaia Bay, Beagle Channel, there exists an Argentine Port Sub-Prefecture, with a staff and appliances sufficient to aid vessels requiring any service, and to assist shipwrecked crews driven on shore. Near the Sub-Prefecture there has been established, during eighteen years past, an English missionary station amongst the tribe of Indians of the Tierra del Fuego (Yagkans). These Indians are nearly all civilized, being of a submissive character, and with some knowledge of the English language. Navigators should have no fear of these Indians, and they can with all confidence make signals, approach the coast or land, sure to be well received by the Indians, who will render any assistance in their power, and provide them with the appliances they have at their disposal, or indicate to them the best and safest direction to follow in order to reach the Sub-Prefecture or English missionary station, distant about 800 yards. These Indians are the best auxiliary forces the Sub-Prefecture can count upon. Many English shipwrecked crews, and also those of other nations, have been saved, received, and attended to by the Argentine Sub-Prefecture, established on Staten Island, and on Tierra del Fuego, Beagle Channel. Within a short time this latter establishment will be transferred to Good Success Bay, where its services are expected to be more rapid and efficacious. On Staten Island there is a lighthouse situated in lat. 54 43 24 S., and long. 63 74 1 W., lighting a sector of 94 degs., comprised between Cape Fourmann, situated to N. 53 W., from the light and the sharp-pointed hill of Cape St. John, situated to N. 41 E of the same light, which is visible from 14 to 15 miles distant. Several of the shipwrecked captains who have been saved by the authorities have declared that they did not dare to approach the land in these regions from fear of the Indians who inhabit them, the Marine Prefecture has thought it necessary to publish this notice. Navigators will thus remember that they may discard all fear, and approach the Argentine coast, and land there in the certainty of finding a hospitable reception.