Day 8 Ushuaia (Population 80,000)

The final port for our trip on board Via Australis is Ushuaia, Argentina’s most important city in Tierra del Fuego, and the southernmost city in the world.

The city was founded in 1871 by the Anglican missionary Thomas Bridge from England whose direct ancestors still live in the area on an Estancia named Harbourton after the Sussex town that was home to bridge’s wife. 
With Argentina seeking to set up a province and so establish sovereignty of the area and ensure Chile could not dominate the important shipping route the town was expanded in 1884.  It became a penal colony used by the government whose idea it was to develop the town in much the same way as the British developed Australia.  It remained so until the failing experiment was closed down by the then president Juan Peron in 1947.

The settlement slumped into almost total obscurity until the government again worried about its geographical claims bestowed upon it very favourable tax incentives that together with the low cost of a willing work force turned it almost over night into a thriving light industrial zone.
Todays its main economic activity is the assembly of electronic devices, which has been brought about by the low cost of labour.  The port of Ushuaia, is just as financially important given that it imports all the components for assembly and then exports much of the finished product as well as the handling of cruise ships and yachts.

Tourism, is the third most important of economic activity receiving over 160,000 overseas visitors annually.

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