(From top to bottom; from left to right) View of Ushuaia from the harbor; Les Eclaireurs Lighthouse; Malvinas War Memorial; Tierra del Fuego, Antártida e Islas del Atántico Sur government building and the port.
|Motto: "Ushuaia, fin del mundo, principio de todo" (Spanish)
"Ushuaia, end of the world, beginning of everything"
|Province||Tierra del Fuego|
|Founded||12 October 1884|
|Founded by||Commodore Lasserre ARA|
|• Mayor||Federico Sciurano|
|• Total||23 km2 (9 sq mi)|
|Elevation||23 m (75 ft)|
|Population (2010 Census)|
|• Density||2,500/km2 (6,400/sq mi)|
|Time zone||ART (UTC−3)|
|CPA Base||V 9410|
|Area code(s)||+54 2901|
Ushuaia (//; Spanish pronunciation: [uˈʃwaʝa]) is the capital of Tierra del Fuego, Antártida e Islas del Atlántico Sur Province, Argentina. It is commonly regarded as the southernmost city in the world (a title long disputed by smaller Puerto Williams). Ushuaia is located in a wide bay on the southern coast of Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego, bounded on the north by the Martial mountain range and on the south by the Beagle Channel. It is the only municipality in the Department of Ushuaia, which has an area of 9,390 km2 (3,625 sq mi).
- 1 History
- 2 Geography
- 3 Economy
- 4 Arts and culture
- 5 Sports
- 6 Government
- 7 Education
- 8 Media
- 9 Transportation
- 10 Health care
- 11 Ecology
- 12 Filmography
- 13 Same-sex marriage
- 14 Gallery
- 15 See also
- 16 References
- 17 External links
The Selk’nam Indians, also called the Ona, first arrived in Tierra del Fuego about 10,000 years ago. The southern group of the Selk’nam, the Yaghan (also known as Yámana), occupied what is now Ushuaia, living in continual conflict with the northern inhabitants of the island.
For much of the latter half of the 19th century, the eastern portion of Tierra del Fuego was populated by a substantial majority of nationals who were not Argentine citizens, including a number of British subjects. Ushuaia was founded, informally, by British missionaries, following previous British surveys, long before Argentine nationals or government representatives arrived there on a permanent basis. The British ship HMS Beagle, under the command of Captain Robert FitzRoy, first reached the channel on January 29, 1833, during its maiden voyage surveying Tierra del Fuego. The city was originally named by early British missionaries using the native Yámana name for the area. Much of the early history of the city and its hinterland is described in Lucas Bridges’s book Uttermost Part of the Earth (1948). The name Ushuaia first appears in letters and reports of the South American Mission Society in England. The British missionary Waite Hockin Stirling became the first European to live in Ushuaia when he stayed with the Yámana people between 18 January and mid-September 1869. In 1870 more British missionaries arrived to establish a small settlement. The following year the first marriage was performed. During 1872, 36 baptisms and 7 marriages and the first European birth (Thomas Despard Bridges) in Tierra del Fuego were registered. The first house constructed in Ushuaia was a pre-assembled 3 room home prepared in the Falkland Islands in 1870 for Reverend Thomas Bridges. One room was for the Bridges family, a second was for a Yámana married couple, while the third served as the chapel.
During 1873 Juan and Clara Lawrence, the first Argentine citizens to visit Ushuaia, arrived to teach school. That same year the Argentine President Julio Argentino Roca promoted the establishment of a penal colony for re-offenders, modeled after one in Tasmania, Australia, in an effort to secure permanent residents from Argentina and to help establish Argentine sovereignty over all of Tierra del Fuego. But only after the Boundary treaty of 1881 between Chile and Argentina did formal efforts get under way to establish the township and its prison.
During the 1880s, many gold prospectors came to Ushuaia following rumors of large gold fields, which proved to be false. On the 12th of October 1884, as part of the South Atlantic Expedition, Commodore Augusto Lasserre established the sub-division of Ushuaia, with the missionaries and naval officers signing the Act of Ceremony. Don Feliz M Paz was named Governor of Tierra del Fuego and in 1885 named Ushuaia as its capital. In 1885 the territory police was organized under Antonio A. Romero with headquarters also in Ushuaia. But it was not until 1904 that the Federal Government of Argentina recognized Ushuaia as the capital of Tierra del Fuego.
Ushuaia suffered several epidemics, including typhus, pertussis, and measles, that decimated the native population. But because the Yámana were not included in census data the exact numbers lost are not known. The first census was held in 1893 with 113 men and 36 women living in Ushuaia. The prison was formally announced in an Executive order by Roca in 1896. By 1911 the Yámana had all practically disappeared, so the mission was closed. The population grew to 1,558 by the 1914 census.
In 1896 the prison received its first inmates, mainly re-offenders and dangerous prisoners transferred from Buenos Aires but also some political prisoners. A separate military prison opened in 1903 at the nearby Puerto Golondrina. The two prisons merged in 1910, and that combined complex still stands today. It operated until 1947, when President Juan Perón closed it by executive order in response to the many reports of abuse and unsafe practices. Most of the guards stayed in Ushuaia, while the prisoners were relocated to other jails farther north. After the prison closed, it became a part of the Base Naval Ushuaia (Spanish), functioning as a storage and office facility until the early 1990s. Later it was converted into the current Museo Maritimo de Ushuaia.
During the first half of the 20th century, the city centered around a prison built by the Argentine government to increase the Argentine population here and to ensure Argentine sovereignty over Tierra del Fuego. The prison was intended for repeat offenders and serious criminals, following the example of the British in Tasmania and the French in Devil's Island. Escape from Tierra del Fuego was similarly difficult, although two prisoners managed to escape into the surrounding area for a few weeks. The prison population thus became forced colonists and spent much of their time building the town with timber from the forest around the prison. They also built a railway to the settlement, now a tourist attraction known as the End of the World Train (Tren del Fin del Mundo), the southernmost railway in the world.
Ushuaia has long been described as the southernmost city in the world. While there are settlements farther south, the only one of any notable size is Puerto Williams, a Chilean settlement of some 2000 residents (mostly families of the nearby military bases). As a center of population, commerce, and culture, and as a town of significant size and importance, Ushuaia however clearly qualifies as a city. A 1998 article in the newspaper Clarín reported that the designation "Southernmost city in the world" had been transferred to Puerto Williams by a joint committee from Argentina and Chile, but this was denied by Argentine authorities, and the Secretariat of Tourism of Argentina continues to use the slogan in official documentation and web sites.
Ushuaia has a subpolar oceanic climate (Köppen Cfc), approaching some definitions of a tundra climate, though unlike typical tundra the area around Ushuaia is heavily forested and the winters are not particularly cold. Temperatures average 1.6 °C (34.9 °F) in the coolest month (July), and 10.3 °C (50.5 °F) in the warmest month (January). The record low is −25.1 °C (−13.2 °F) in July, and the record high is 29.5 °C (85 °F) in January. The record low ever recorded in summer is −6 °C (21 °F). On average the city experiences 146 days of precipitation a year, with many cloudy and foggy days, averaging 206 cloudy days a year. Despite receiving only 528 millimetres (21 in) average annual precipitation, Ushuaia is very humid with an average humidity of 80%. A similar climate is found in Tórshavn (Faroe Islands), Unalaska (Alaska), Reykjavík (Iceland) and Stanley (Falkland Islands).
Summers tend to be cloudy and windy, with maximum temperatures averaging 15.0 °C (59 °F) during the day and about 5.7 °C (42 °F) at night. Temperatures of 20 °C (68 °F) or more occur only on a handful of days, and night frost is always possible, as well as days below 10.0 °C (50 °F). Temperatures gradually diminish during the autumn, to reach maximum temperatures of about 1 °C (34 °F) and minimum temperatures of about −1 °C (30 °F) in winter, with frequent snow, sleet and rain showers. Some winters may bring extended periods of frost and snow, whereas other winters might just bring snowstorms followed by thaws. Temperatures then very slowly recover during the spring, but snow showers and frost are a common occurrence until the beginning of the summer in December, and they might occur even in midsummer.
The southwestern winds make the outer islands wetter, reaching 1,400 mm (55 in) at Isla de los Estados (Staten Island). Because temperatures are cool throughout the year, there is little evaporation. Snow is common in winter and regularly occurs throughout the year. Ushuaia occasionally experiences snow in summer (from November to March). Due to its high southern latitude, the city's climate is influenced by Antarctica, and the duration of daylight varies significantly, from more than 17 hours in summer to just over 7 hours in winter.
|Climate data for Ushuaia|
|Record high °C (°F)||29.5
|Average high °C (°F)||15.0
|Daily mean °C (°F)||10.3
|Average low °C (°F)||5.7
|Record low °C (°F)||−2.0
|Precipitation mm (inches)||30.7
|Avg. precipitation days||13||13||14||12||11||12||12||11||13||12||12||11||146|
|Avg. snowy days||0.3||0.1||2||2||5||8||7||9||7||5||3||1||49.4|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||167.4||146.9||133.3||102.0||68.2||42.0||55.8||83.7||123.0||164.3||180.0||167.4||1,434|
|Percent possible sunshine||32.0||34.5||33.5||31.5||25.7||18.5||22.5||27.5||34.0||37.5||37.0||28.5||30.2|
|Source #1: Servicio Meteorologico Nacional (normals 1981–1990), Secretaria de Mineria (extremes and sun, 1901–1990)|
|Source #2: UNLP (snowfall data)|
Tourist attractions include the Tierra del Fuego National Park and Lapataia Bay. The park can be reached by highway, or via the End of the World Train (Tren del Fin del Mundo) from Ushuaia. The city has a museum of Yámana, English, and Argentine settlement, including its years as a prison colony. Wildlife attractions include local birds, penguins, seals, and orcas, many of these species colonizing islands in the Beagle Channel. There are daily bus and boat tours to Harberton, the Bridges family compound. Tours also visit the Les Eclaireurs Lighthouse. Les Eclaireurs is sometimes confused with the "Lighthouse at the End of the World" (Faro del fin del mundo) made famous by Jules Verne in the novel of the same name; but the latter lies some 200 mi (320 km) east of Ushuaia on Isla de los Estados (Staten Island).
Arts and culture
Since 2007 Ushuaia has hosted the Bienal de Arte Contemporáneo del Fin del Mundo (Bienniel of Contemporary Art at the End of the World), created and organized by the Patagonia Arte & Desafío Foundation under the rubric "South Pole of the Arts, Sciences, and Ecology". The Bienal has gathered over one hundred artists from five continents addressing the motto "think at the End of the World that another world is possible". As a pedagogical project it encourages students at all levels to "think about a better world".
As in most of Argentina, football is a popular sport in Ushuaia, and in 2010 the TV show FIFA Mundial did a story about the sport's development in this locality. A popular sport in Ushuaia is ice hockey, low temperatures all year long make the city perfect for practicing it outdoors.
Several ski areas are located near Ushuaia including Glacier El Martial and Cerro Castor. Opened in 1999, Cerro Castor is the southernmost full-fledged ski resort in the world. On Cerro Castor, it is possible to ski just 200 m (660 ft) above sea level. The summit reaches an elevation of 1003 meters (3468 ft) above sea level, and consistently cool temperatures allow the longest skiing season in South America. Winter temperatures fluctuate between 0° and −5 °C (32 to 23 °F). It has ten elevation facilities and 28 ski trails for all skill levels. There are cafeterias, mountain huts, a ski school, a first aid room and a forest of beech. Snowboarding, sledding, and snowshoeing are also available at Cerro Castor, in addition to alpine skiing. It is located on the southern side of Cerro Krund, 27 km (17 mi) north of Ushuaia. The ski season is typically between June through October. The glacier is popular even during the summer months, when the chairlift operates in both directions. Hiking trails lead from the city's edge to the base of the glacier, which has retreated considerably over the past century, as shown in photographs on display at the Antarctic Museum of Ushuaia.
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Ushuaia has twelve secondary schools, four of which also provide adult education. The Colegio Nacional de Ushuaia is one of the youngest schools in the city and it was modeled after the Colegio Nacional de Buenos Aires. Another important secondary school is Colegio Diocesano Monseñor Miguel Ángel Alemán, which takes its name after the Monsignor of the same name.
The National University of Tierra del Fuego, inaugurated in 2010, has its headquarters in Ushuaia.
Ushuaia receives regular flights at Ushuaia – Malvinas Argentinas International Airport from Buenos Aires and Santiago, Chile.
In addition to being a vacation destination for local and international tourists, Ushuaia is also the key access point to the Southern Ocean, including subantarctic islands such as South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands and Antarctic islands such as the South Orkney Islands and the South Shetland Islands. Its commercial pier is the major port of departure in the world for tourist and scientific expeditions to the Antarctic Peninsula. Cruise ships visiting the Falkland Islands (referred to by Argentinians as Islas Malvinas) and Antarctica dock at the port, as well as Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, and Celebrity Cruises, which transit between Valparaíso, Chile, to Buenos Aires and beyond. Antarpply Expeditions, Global Maritime, Hurtigruten, Lindblad Expeditions, Orient Lines, Quark Expeditions, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, and other passenger and freight lines provide regularly scheduled services between Ushuaia and all local seaports and settlements. Australis Cruises provides regular service between Ushuaia and Punta Arenas from September to April. Tourists can also visit Cape Horn (in Chilean waters) by boat or helicopter.
Located at the corner of Avenida 12 de Octubre and Maipú, the Hospital Gobernador Ernesto M. Campos is one of the big health care centers in Ushuaia, the other one is private and it is called Clínica San Jorge.
Ushuaia is surrounded by Magellanic subpolar forests. On the hills around the town, the following indigenous trees are found: Drimys winteri (Winter's bark), Maytenus magellanica (Hard-log Mayten) and several species of Nothofagus (Southern Beech). Trees in Ushuaia tend to follow the wind direction, and are therefore called "flag-trees", for their uni-directional growth pattern.
Ushuaïa, le magazine de l'Extrême was the name of a television program, presented by Nicolas Hulot and broadcast on the French TV channel TF1 from September 1987 to June 1995. The show is known in English as Ushuaia: The Ultimate Adventure, and this language's version was hosted by Perri Peltz and was shown on NBC, CNBC, and international affiliates of the Discovery Channel.
On December 29, 2009, the first same-sex couple to marry in Latin America were married in Ushuaia. Although the Civil Code of Argentina at that time did not allow marriage between people of the same sex, Governor Fabiana Ríos issued a special decree allowing the couple to wed there. The marriage was annulled when the decree was reversed by Tierra del Fuego's judiciary, since the Civil Code did not support it. Same sex marriage became legal nationwide in Argentina a few months later, on July 15, 2010, after the approval of a gender-neutral bill by the Argentine National Congress.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ushuaia.|
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Ushuaia.|
- (Spanish) Interactive city map (requires Flash)