Tierra del Fuego

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Tierra del Fuego

(tyĕ`rä dĕl fwā`gō), [Span.,=land of fire], archipelago, 28,476 sq mi (73,753 sq km), off S South America, separated from the mainland by the Strait of MagellanMagellan, Strait of,
c.330 mi (530 km) long and 2 1-2 to 15 mi (4–24 km) wide, separating South America from Tierra del Fuego and other islands south of the continent. Except for a few miles at its eastern end in Argentina, it passes through Chile.
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. It consists of one large island (sometimes called simply Tierra del Fuego), five medium-sized islands, and numerous small islands, islets, and rocks separated by many inlets and channels. The Andes extend through the western part, and the plateau of PatagoniaPatagonia
, region, c.300,000 sq mi (777,000 sq km), primarily in S Argentina, S of the Río Colorado and E of the Andes, but including extreme SE Chile and N Tierra del Fuego.
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 continues into the eastern section. The coastal plains are bleak, with frequent high winds and much rainfall, while the inland areas and the mountains are often very cold. Tierra del Fuego is divided into two sections, the eastern part belonging to Argentina (the territory of Tierra del Fuego) and the larger western part to Chile (a part of Magallanes prov.). The economy is based on the exploitation of petroleum and tourism; there is some light industry. Sheep raising, once important, is now less so. Tierra del Fuego was discovered by Ferdinand MagellanMagellan, Ferdinand
, Port. Fernão de Magalhães, Span. Fernando de Magallanes, c.1480–1521, Portuguese navigator who sailed for Portugal and Spain. Born of a noble family, he was reared as a page in the royal household.
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 in 1520 but was not well surveyed until the early 19th cent. The introduction of sheep farming and the discovery of gold in the 1880s led to European, Argentine, and Chilean immigration. The aboriginal peoples of Tierra del Fuego (the Onas, Alakalufs, and Yahgans) were gradually killed off by disease.

Fuego, Tierra del:

see Tierra del FuegoTierra del Fuego
, [Span.,=land of fire], archipelago, 28,476 sq mi (73,753 sq km), off S South America, separated from the mainland by the Strait of Magellan. It consists of one large island (sometimes called simply Tierra del Fuego), five medium-sized islands, and numerous
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.

Tierra del Fuego

 

a province in southern Argentina. Area, 20,400 sq km. Population, 15,700 (1970). The capital is Ushuaia.


Tierra del Fuego

 

an archipelago at the extreme southern tip of South America, separated from the mainland by the Strait of Magellan. The eastern part belongs to Argentina, the western part to Chile. It is about 72,000 sq km in area. The archipelago includes the main island, Tierra del Fuego, or Isla Grande (48,000 sq km), and numerous smaller islands, including Navarino and Hoste. Cape Horn, located on Horn Island, is the southernmost point in South America.

In the northeast of the island of Tierra del Fuego, there are hilly moraine plains and lowlands. The west and south of the archipelago are marked by the sharply dissected ridges of the Andes, with elevations to 2,469 m, and by fjords and straits and considerable modern glaciation. The snow line lies at an elevation of 600–800 m. Tierra del Fuego has a temperate marine climate, with an average January temperature of 10°–11°C and a July temperature of 0°–2°C. The annual precipitation amounts to as much as 2,000 mm in the west and south and about 500 mm in the northeast. Accordingly, in the west and south there are low deciduous and evergreen forests, primarily the beech Nothofagus, and in the northeast, there is meadow-steppe vegetation. There are many peat bogs. Industries include sheep raising, fishing, oil and gas extraction in the northern part of the island of Tierra del Fuego, and oil refining. The largest town is Ushuaia.

Tierra del Fuego was discovered in 1520 by F. Magellan, who named it “Land of Fire,” because of the great number of fires, explained by some as bonfires and by others as fires on boats.

E. N. LUKASHOVA

Tierra del Fuego

archipelago off the extreme southern tip of South America. [Geography: Misc.]

Tierra del Fuego

an archipelago at the S extremity of South America, separated from the mainland by the Strait of Magellan: the west and south belong to Chile, the east to Argentina. Area: 73 643 sq. km (28 434 sq. miles)