Jul 15, 2018

Unusual Names of Places in Southern Patagonia


Wild Nature in Southern Patagonia, Chile.
A view of the wild geography, Chilean Patagonia
Patagonia Chile was and has always been a place on the planet very difficult to reach and colonize, even to this day, with all the development in the areas of Technology and Communications, Construction, Connectivity, etc. It is a vast territory of great scenic beauty where the American Continent ends, of a rugged geography, full of islands, fjords and channels, and an inhospitable climate that especially during the harsh Winter does not give respite, making it difficult to reach and settle. We have to imagine the adversities experienced by the first settlers and their families who came to the region, without having any kind of advance, much less technology.


Separate chapter and a special recognition to the natives of the region, Yaganes, Selknam, Tehuelches and Kaweskar who provided only with their wisdom, rustic elements and weapons were able to survive for thousands of years and win the battle to a nature and climate even more inhospitable than the one we know today. However, they could not win another battle even harder: facing an unknown civilization. But that is another issue. For now, as a demonstration of how hard it was for the first Chilean and European immigrants to arrive and settle in this corner of the Planet, here is the list with some names given to certain places, according to the experiences they were living. All these names refer to the Southern Patagonia.


Some strange terms of the Patagonian Toponymy



"Gulf of Sorrows" (Golfo de Penas)

Ship of the Chilean Navy near the Golfo de Penas.
A boat of the Chilean Navy in the vicinity of the Golfo de Penas

     Geographical accident located in the Pacific Ocean in the XI Region of Aysen, between Cabo Mogotes on the South and Cabo Tres Montes on the North. Its name is the perfect description to explain the mood of travelers by sea that even today cross the dreaded passage. The photo shows a boat of the Chilean Navy going to the aid of a stranded vessel in the area of the Golfo de Penas (Gulf of Sorrows).





"Tortuous Passage" (Paso Tortuoso)


Paso Tortuoso is the main sea route through inland waters of the Magallanes Region, where the tidal currents reach up to seven knots due to the meeting of two streams, Strait of Magellan and Jeronimo Channel.

“Shipwreck Point” (Punta Naufragio)


Located in inland waters of the Province of Ultima Esperanza.


“Last Hope” (Ultima Esperanza)


Name given to one of the four Provinces that constitute the Region of Magallanes and Chilean Antarctica. It is a remote area but full of great tourist attractions, highlighted worldwide.


“Port Famine” (Puerto del Hambre)


Located 56 km. South of Punta Arenas. Its name recalls the first European attempt in 1584 to colonize what is now the Chilean Patagonia on the Northern shore of the Strait of Magellan. Officially founded with the name of Rey Don Felipe, its population formed by just over 300 men, women and children dies almost all decimated by the disease, the harsh climate and especially hunger. Only 2 survivors were picked up, one in 1587 by the English corsair Thomas Cavendish and the other in 1590 by the English ship The Delight.


“Useless Bay” (Bahia Inutil)


Large bay on the western coast of Tierra del Fuego Island. Phillip Parker King, a hydrographer and explorer who became Rear Admiral of the Royal Navy, called the bay in this way to show that the inlet offered no advantage to sailors.


“Desolate Bay” (Bahia Desolada)


100 miles W of Puerto Williams, area near Cape Horn. It is a bay of open and dangerous waters, where there are no repairs, hit by the strong wind typical of the area.


“Despised Lake” (Lago Despreciado)


Small lake located next to Lake Deseado ("Desired Lake"), Island of Tierra del Fuego, an area world famous for sport fishing lovers.


“Obstruction Inlet” (Seno Obstruccion)


Sound located 45 Km. S. of Puerto Natales, in an area known as the Southern Channels.


“Cape Froward” (Cabo Froward)


A very important geographical location because it is the southernmost point of the continental shelf of the Americas. It was called Froward in 1587 by the English corsair Thomas Cavendish due to its extremely hostile climate, with strong winds, rains and swells.


“Desolation Island” (Isla Desolacion)


Mountainous and rugged, this island belongs to the Archipelago of Tierra del Fuego. Due to the lack of resources, it has remained almost uninhabited, until the 19th century it was visited by the Kaweskar natives, now almost extinct.


"Deception Island" (Isla Decepcion)


Specifically located in the Antarctic continent, Archipelago of the South Shetland. Its name in Spanish comes from an erroneous translation of the original name Deception Island, chosen by the whaling captain, explorer and co-discoverer of the Antarctic Continent Nathaniel Palmer, seeing that the alleged island was really a ring of land around a submerged Volcano.


"Bitter Lake" (Laguna Amarga)


Small superficial lake very close to the famous Torres del Paine National Park. Its name is due to the bitter taste of the waters as a result of the high PH. 

"Northern and Southern Ice Fields" (Campos de Hielos Norte y Sur)


Northern and Southern Ice Fields are two large extensions of Glaciers located in the Patagonian Andes. 85% in Chile and the rest in Argentina. The Northern Ice Field, with an extension of 4200 Km.2 is located in the Region of Aysen, has an approximate length of 120 km and a width between 50 and 70 km. The South Field lies situated in the Region of Magallanes, with an extension of 350 km long and an area of 16,800 km2 constituting the third largest extension of ice in the World after the Antarctic Continent and Greenland. This mass gives rise to a total of 49 Glaciers.