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English Tierra del Fuego flag (1859)

Last modified: 2021-12-24 by rob raeside
Keywords: tierra del fuego | fireland | unknown | cross | yahgan |
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About the flag

According to this page (also here, in Spanish), in 1859 a missionary expedition (part of the English Patagonian Mission) reaches Navarino island (SE-most tip of Chile) in the vessel Allen Gardiner, led by a capt. Fell. Following petty conflicts with the Yahgan natives expedition leader Garland Phillips designs and hoists a «a red flag, with a cross in white letters that says "Tierra Del Fuego"». The exact design of this flag is not clear (color of the cross, language of the inscription), nor its meaning (a signal, a mission emblem, a token of sovereignty?).

At this official Chilean government webpage about Navarino island, a Cerro Bandera (Flag Hill) is mentioned, as well as an English mission house. Though Navarino island is in today’s Chile, the mentioned flag refers to a wider region, mostly in today’s Argentina, and it is set in a time when local borders were not defined yet.

António Martins, 14 Apr 2005