History of Chilean Patagonia
Tehuelche Collage by Matilde Garcia Huidobro, part of the Tierra Patagonia original art collection.
The story of Chilean Patagonia consists of a steady evolution, beginning with a history of survival and transforming over time into a prosperous, beautiful land that attracts travelers from all over the world. The survival story started with the Selknam, Yaganes, Tehuelches and Kaweshkar peoples, the native inhabitants, who used animal fats and skins to stay warm in the cold conditions at the end of the world. Later, when the area was first discovered by western explorers such as Ferdinand Magellan and Sir Francis Drake, the story of survival continued as these adventurers dealt with the rugged terrain and weather conditions of Chilean Patagonia.
Magellan Collage by Matilde Garcia Huidobro, part of the Tierra Patagonia original art collection.
As explorers began using more advanced techniques and equipment, they were able to venture further inland and discover more of the beauty of Patagonia and begin mapping territory. In the 1800s, a British exploration team was led by Robert FitzRoy who was creating maps of the southern cone of South America. As it happens, Charles Darwin was a passenger on the second voyage of FitzRoy's ship, the Beagle, and his experiences with the people and species of Patagonia later became quite important to his theories and books. At the turn of the last century, modern life as we know it began to take hold, largely due to ranching and trade in wool, furs and feathers led by the very influential Menendez and Braun families that were based in Punta Arenas. Today it plays host to countless travelers who come to discover the glaciers, mountains, rivers and forests that make up this amazing land called Patagonia.
Darwin Collage by Matilde Garcia Huidobro, part of the Tierra Patagonia Hotel & Spa original art collection.