Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Patagonia, the southernmost part of the continent of South America, is separated from the island of Tierra del Fuego by the Strait of Magellan. Late in the 16th century Sarminento da Gamba founded Spanish settlements at Nombre de Dios and San Felipe (now Port Famine), and about the same time Drake was in these regions. Further explorations were made by Davis, Narborough, and Falkner; while, later still, Fitzroy, Darwin, and Musters, have given us some scientific knowledge of the country. Patagonia is about 1,000 miles long, and nearly 500 broad in the widest part. The larger part, from the mountains to the Atlantic, consists, except in the immediate neighbourhood of the rivers, of barren undulating plains, occasionally varied by rocks and salt lakes. Close to the Andes, however, there is some fertile land. The chief rivers, which all flow east, are the Negro, the Chupat, and the Chico. Large inlets on the eastern coast are the Gulf of St. Matias, and the Gulf of St. George. Most of eastern Patagonia, as far as the Andes, is now considered Argentine territory. The climate for a great part of the year is dry. Horses and cattle are bred in some regions. The chief animals are the guanaco, the rhea, and the tuco-tuco, pumas, foxes, and skunks being also common. There are many large birds, such as the condor and the flamingo. Western Patagonia belongs to Chile. It consists of the country between the Andes and the coast, and a line of islands, of which Chiloe, the members of the Chonos Archipelago, Wellington, Hanover, the Adelaide Archipelago, and Santa Inez, are the chief. The climate here is very moist, rain or snow falling in the south nearly every day. Among the chief mountain peaks are Minchinmavida and Corcovado, two volcanoes between 7,000 and 8,000 feet high; Monte San Valentin, nearly 12,700, and Chalten or Fitzroy, a volcano over 7,000 feet. Good timber is obtained from the mighty forests, and some coal is found. The population is scanty, but Chilian immigrants are coming in. At Punta Arenas Chile has a penal settlement. [Argentina, Chile, Tierra del Fuego, etc.]