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Ushuaia History, Argentina

Usuhaia History

Before the European sailors landed on this land, it was many historical tribes who inhabited this area successfully for years. Some of these historical tribes were Yaganes (also known as Yamanas) and the famous Onas (also known as Selknam). It was the last few years of the 19th century when different European Sailors started to arrive on this land.

During the times of Selknam this land was called Karukinka. These people were hunters and fruit gatherers. At the beginning of the 20th century statistics reveal that this city had only few Selknam survivors who were living in different parts of the city. It was during the first decade of the 20th century when it was estimated that there were only around 350 Selknam inhabitants living in this city. In 1974, the last Onas who could speak this language died in this city.

These Selk´nam used to eat coruros (which is a type of rodent), guanacos, birds, foxes, various sea products, and different types of wild berries. They used to live in conical huts or tents which were created by them.

In 1881 gold was discovered in this territory. This attracted huge number of miners to this island and ill – treated the already settled Selk´nam thus causing constant conflicts. In 1888 Julio Popper entered Tierra del Fuego and settled there. He slowly started to gain control over the land and hence launched his own stamps, currency, and his own army. In 1885 the town of Ushuaia was tagged as the capital city for the government of Argentina.

The presence of gold kept attracting many locals from different countries. In 1992, a huge prison was built and it was the presence of this prison that gave this city a bad name. The local government started to work hard to give another use to the prison and by 1847 it succeeded. This building was given to the Marine Ministry and they had created their naval base here by 1950.

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