Tierra del Fuego
by findingDulcinea Staff
Tierra del Fuego means “Land of Fire” in Spanish. This archipelago is separated from mainland South America by the Strait of Magellan. The western half of the island is part of Chile, while the eastern half of the territory belongs to Argentina. The Strait is named for Ferdinand Magellan who in 1520 was the first European to pass by Tierra del Fuego. From his ship, Magellan saw the campfires (fuegos, in Spanish) of the natives, and believed that the "Indians" were waiting in the forests to ambush his armada. In fact, the people of the Yamana tribe lit the fires in order to ward off the chilly weather.