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The Gold Of Tierra del Fuego

Whenever we hear of gold rushes we always tend to think about places like California or the Klondike. These were big rushes that saw thousands of people heading off to find their fame and fortune. It was also these rushes that got the most publicity from newspaper reporters and made for good reading for the folks back home. However, this world has seen many gold rushes from all corners of the globe. Today we will look at a small almost unhead of gold rush that took place as far south as you can travel.

The gold rush of Tierra del Fuego took place from 1883 and 1906. For those who don't know where Tierra del Fuego is, it's that tiny spot of country below Argentina and Chile. Most of the miners were from Chile and Argentina however there were some Europeans who joined in the search for gold. It was in 1879 that Ramon Serrano Montaner a Chilean discovered gold in rivers of western Tierra del Fuego. It wasn't until 1884 that the main rush took place. It was in 1884 that a steamship ran aground on the coast. A rescue party that was send to rescue the ship discovered gold on the way there in a place called Zanja. Once local people hear of the gold find many headed out to the Zanja area. Soon almsot everyone in the capital of Buenos Aires knew about the gold and then it seemed the world found out also.

News papers reported this find similar to the California gold rush. Companies were formed, money was raised and people were sent out to look for all this gold. This was barren land kind of like a "no mans land". One small town was built and it only had five houses but it had two liquore stores and brothel. In 1902 a dredge was built and by 1907 there were over 400 men working a total of twelve dredges.

Of course like everywhere else the best gold is hid and hard to get too. The best gold here was out in the southern islands but the terrain and climate was a bad as you can get. It's barren and windswept and wet. The digging was hard work as the gold was mixed among rock and thick muck clays which had to be washed. There was about 200 men there in 1890 and about three years later there was over 1000 men working. This gold they were mining was from the beaches much like Nome Alaska. In one spot alone over 2,000 KG of gold was mined in a 3 year period. By 1910 however the gold had run out and most of the mines shut down. Most miners headed back home while a few stayed on and mined what lttle was left.