The Beagle Channel is a strait separating islands of the Tierra del Fuego Archipelago, in extreme southern South America.
It separates Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego from the islands Nueva, Picton, Navarino, Hoste, Londonderry, Stewart Islands and other smaller to the south.
Its eastern portion is part of the border between Chile and Argentina, but the western part is completely within Chile.
The west end is the Darwin Sound and the east end is Nueva Island.
The Beagle Channel is about 240 kilometres (150 mi) long and is about 5 kilometres (3 mi) wide at its narrowest point.
To the west the Darwin Sound connects it to the Pacific Ocean.
The biggest settlement on the channel is Ushuaia in Argentina followed by Puerto Williams in Chile, two of the southernmost settlements of the world.
Although it is navigable by large ships, there are safer waters to the south (Drake Passage) and to the north (Strait of Magellan).
Several small islands (Picton, Lennox and Nueva) up to the Cape Horn were the subject of a long-running territorial dispute between Chile and Argentina; by the terms of a Treaty of Peace and Friendship of 1984 between Chile and Argentina they are now part of Chile.
Ships of other nations can navigate between the Strait of Magellan and Ushuaia through the Chilean Magdalena Channel and the Cockburn Channel with Chilean Pilot and 48 hours advance notice.
The Yaghan peoples settled the islands along the Murray Channel approximately 10,000 years before present.
There are notable archaeological sites indicating such early Yaghan settlement at locations such as Bahia Wulaia on Isla Navarino, where the Bahia Wulaia Dome Middens are located.
Naming and Darwin visit
The channel was named after the ship HMS Beagle during its first hydrographic survey of the coasts of the southern part of South America which lasted from 1826 to 1830.
During that expedition, under the overall command of the Australian Commander Phillip Parker King, the Beagle's captain Pringle Stokes committed suicide and was replaced by captain Robert FitzRoy.
The ship continued the survey in the the second voyage of the Beagle under the command of captain FitzRoy who took Charles Darwin along as a gentleman's companion, giving him opportunities as an amateur naturalist.
Darwin had his first sight of glaciers when they reached the channel on 29 January 1833, and wrote in his field notebook "many glaciers beryl blue most beautiful contrasted with snow".
For more information about Beagle_Channel see Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This page was retrieved and condensed from (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beagle_Channel) see Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, April 2009.
All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License (see Copyrights for details).
This information was correct in April 2009. E. & O.E.
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