History lesson in Punta Arenas
I came to Punta Arenas, Chile to see some cute penguins. Unfortunately most of them had swam off to colder waters to nest and hunt in Antarctica. But as one plan failed I stumbled across a history lesson…
As I was getting closer to the end of the world, Cape Horn, the southern tip of the South American continent I discovered this place was riddled with all sorts of interesting history from the early Spanish explorers.
In the early 1500’s, a fellow called Magellan convinced the Spanish government that he had seen charts of the tip of the South American continent and that there was a way to navigate through passages and discover more on the other side of the continent . It’s been suggested that he fabricated this this up in order to satisfy his need to explore and discover. It reminded me of the plot of Battle Star Galactica… but less fictional and without the being chased by robots bit.
Indeed his fleet discovered a passage through here as well as discovering the island of Teirra Del Fuego (Land of the Fire). This earned its name because the indigenous people would follow the fleet on the mainland lighting up signal fires along the way to entice the Spanish to come and trade with them.
Another fun fact is that Charles Darwin was travelling on one of the ships in the fleet. I expect I will be finding out more about him later on in my journey.
This history lesson from me is pretty vague and probably inaccurate. But you can view a replica of Megallen’s ship and plenty of museums in Punta Arenas… And if you come in the summer time you could even see some penguins!