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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


Internet searches

Searches were conducted free-of-charge on the publicly accessible newspaper archives of the National Libraries of Australia and New Zealand, and of the U.S. Library of Congress. Additional searches were made on the website of the New York Times, and via the Google search engine. Several of the articles used were originally published in British papers: a search of the (paid) UK newspaper archives would undoubtedly be productive, but it is unclear whether additional events would be found.

Search keywords included the following, and their spelling variants:

  • (geographic) terra, tierra, fuego, fuegean, "cape horn", magellan, "le maire", staten, ushuaia, ushuwaia, ooshooia, chili, chile, argentina, "punta arenas", "sandy point";

  • (human) native, indian, savage, yahgan;

  • (events/things) wreck, shipwreck, murder, massacre, canoe.

Newspaper Articles studied

These are presented in chronological order of publication. Some articles appeared in multiple newspapers, at times in an abbreviated form, in which case we have tried to select the most complete and original edition. The actual sequence of the events may differ somewhat, and in a few instances the date is only vaguely indicated. In the most extreme case, the events reported for the City of Edinburgh (published in 1873), actually occurred in 1810.

Most of the articles selected describe specific events. At times, a report is ascribed to a named member of crew or passenger; others are anonymous or written by persons not present when the event occurred. For each article, we provide a short summary of the circumstances surrounding the contact, plus by a critical analysis of the material. The original text has been transcribed (although sections irrelevant to this study are sometimes omitted).