| || Separated from Patagonia by the Strait of Magellan, the Tierra del Fuego Archipelago was discovered by Europeans about 1520, and is said to owe its name to the fires that used to be lit on the coast by the indigenous people. With the arrival of the Europeans, these people were progressively wiped out (the last representative of the Onas died in 1960). Meanwhile this finis terrae, still largely unexplored, became a mythical place for adventurers and scholars; Darwin went there during his voyage on the Beagle; E. Lucas Bridges, the son of a missionary born on the island, wrote an English-Yamana dictionary that enabled the language to survive despite the extinction of the ethnic group; Gisèle Freud produced photographic coverage of the islands for Life magazine in 1943. After the missionary period, between gold fever and the first drillings for oil, sheep-raising became the chief activity in the north of the main island. The cabañas (sheep pastures) are huge sheep farms with 11⁄2 hectares (31⁄2 acres) of land per head of livestock. But in spite of the promotion campaigns for “Patagonian lamb,” its consumption does not count for much on the local market, with beef remaining the Argentineans’ favorite meat.
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