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Tierra del Fuego Tierra del Fuego is a small island with a lot of history tied to it The island though small is extremely interesting Local legend particularly stories of gold is fascinating With the many changes it has gone through no wonder that it is a wonderful place for tourists both from the mainland and other countries There is a great variety of wildlife at this island as well including the islands only agricultural pursuit sheep herding The name Tierra del Fuego is Spanish for land of fire The island got its name in 1520 from the sailors of Fernando Magellan spotting the fires of the natives The natives used the fires not only for cooking and warmth but also for signaling There are 9 tribes recognized the Alacaluf the Aush the Chono the Fuegians the Haush the Onas the Tehuleche the Yahgan and the Yamana All of these tribes are gone either from diseases from the Spaniards which they had no resistances to or natural disasters Even so they leave a fascinating history and heritage behind A place where the Yamana Native Americans cooked had been discovered called a midden Scattered around the midden were oyster shells mussel shells and hundreds of bird bones These clues tell us that the Yamana were excellent fisherman and also knew how to trap birds The midden was probably last used about 100 years ago before the numbers of the Yamana people dropped due to diseases from the Spaniards The first Native American group was the Tehuleche referred to as pata Spanish for paw or foot because of the large feet the Indians had In the Museo Territorial there is an exhibit of a gold mine--a crucible for melting gold and a die press for making the gold into coins There is a fascinating story about this exhibit that is more probing and fascinating than any mystery From Glaser A Romanian engineer Julio Popper
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