History and other Stories
Martial’s Glacier, Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego
The glacier, located on the summit of Martial’s mounts, owes its name to Captain Ferdinand Martial.
In winter, a ski resort; in summer, a chosen place for trekking.
All the year round we will see the glacier on its summit. Do you know how you can distinguish this glacier from the rest of the eternal snows when looking at it from a distance? You will se a bat that seems to have been drawn on its summit.
The glacier, located on the summit of Martial’s mounts, owes its name to Captain Ferdinand Martial of the Mission Scientifique du Cap Horn, a French expedition to the region of Cape Horn that arrived in Tierra del Fuego in September 1882 on board of the ship Romanche.
The initiative took place after a series of conferences organized in Europe in 1879, where 12 nations (11 European countries jointly with the United States of America) agreed on the creation of scientific stations that would be developed simultaneously in key points of the polar regions. The most urgent task of these expeditions was the simultaneous observation of the passing of Venus in front of the Sun. Of the 14 chosen places, 12 where located in the Arctic Ocean and 2 in the whereabouts of the South Pole.
With this purpose, a modest settlement was constructed in Orange Bay (Hoste Island), where a dozen researchers remained for more than 3 years, including Martial and Dr. Hyades.
Yamana - Mission Scientifique
Archive of the End of the World Museum
During this extended stay, the French mission developed in addition numerous botanical, zoological, geographical and anthropological studies. It later published its reports in seven volumes (Mission Scientifique du Cap Horn. Gauthier Villars, 1883-1891, Paris).
The captain Martial directed seven journeys, by land and sea, in which they established contact with the Yamana people. It was then when the outstanding work of the doctors Philippe Hahn and Paul Hyades was seen in the diagnosis and assistance of the epidemics that were reducing the Native American population.
Had these observations been taken into account by the Anglican and Salesian Missioners, as well as by the landowners and the Argentine Government authorities, it might have helped to reduce the genocide perpetuated through different methods against the Indigenous population of Tierra del Fuego.
About this article...
Author of the article: Grondona Olmi, Verónica
www.tierradelfuego.org.ar/glaciarmartial/ January 8, 2010
www.uchile.cl/cultura/americanistas/etnografostxt9.html January 8, 2010
www.ushuaia-info.com.ar/agenda/evento/muestra-mission-scientifique-du-cap-horn-1882-1883-1503.php January 8, 2010
www.museodelfindelmundo.org.ar/ January 8, 2010
Translated by: Veronica Grondona