The last hope history

Land and sea exploration

The history goes back to the 1500s, when in 1557 the members of the maritime expedition of the Spanish Captain Juan Ladrillero tried to reach the Strait of Magellan. They crossed the Pacific Ocean in the ship San Luis in order to take possession of the Strait on behalf of the King of Spain, Viceroy of Peru and Governor of Chile.

They believed that the feat would be easier because in 1520 Hernando de Magallanes had crossed through the strait, but in the opposite direction (Atlantic-Pacific), however it was not easy. The explorers had not contemplated that the difficulties the geography of the place presented, its infinite fjords and bays, would make it impossible to easily cross the Strait of Magellan along the Pacific-Atlantic direction.

After many frustrated attempts Captain Juan Ladrillero started placing his last hopes in finding a way to cross the strait, a dream he was able to finally achieve in 1558. (It should be noted that it is not Ladrillero who baptizes the Ultima Esperanza fjord, but rather the expedition of Skyring and Kirke in 1829 with the English name “Last Hope” in honor of the Ladrillero expedition).

Another important character in the history of Parque Bahía Esperanza is the German Captain Hermann Eberhard Schmith, who in 1893 was one of the first to settle in Puerto Consuelo a territory near Parque Bahía Esperanza, thus becoming one of the first settlers in the area.

By 1904, the area already stood out for being a cattlemen society, where more than 80 settlers and 200 inhabitants occupied almost 400.000 hectares. In a key historical moment the inhabitants faced a difficult situation as a result of the auction of the lands (the most suitable for grazing, located in Ultima Esperanza and in immediate fields bordering Argentina), a fact that left the Sociedad Explotadora de Tierra del Fuego as the main owner.

During its long term, the Company was the largest landowner and the most important livestock producer in Chile, a determining factor for local economic development. The Society also brings with it an explosive increase in population.

The district of Última Esperanza (Last Hope) was reached by sailing, the ship was precisely the means of mobilization that accompanied the first occupants of these lands for several decades.

In honor of the pioneers, experienced navigators, Monumento Última Esperanza (Last Hope Monument) was born, represented by the bow of a 40-meter-long wooden boat that today stands on the fjords as the main viewpoint of the park. The monument refers to the explorers and the history of the area by representing the encounter of the regional nature and its inhabitants.

In this landmark, the guests of the park will be able to feel what those who came to this place for the first time experienced: feel the strong wind that received those who arrived at Parque Bahía Esperanza, enjoy and observe the bays and fjords that characterize this area of the Chilean Patagonia which gave birth to the name Última Esperanza.

Captain Juan Ladrillero, navigating these fjords, was placing his last hope in finding a way to cross the Strait of Magellan, an dream he was able to achieve after several more attempts