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Voyages in the Southern Hemisphere, Vols. II - IIIVoyaging Accounts
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18 - 21 January 1769

Endeavour Voyage Maps
James Cook
Joseph Banks

The Streight of Le Maire and the Inhabitants of Terra del Fuego


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CHAP. V. The Passage through the Streight of Le Maire, and a further Description of the Inhabitants of Terra del Fuego, and its Productions.

ON the 18th and 19th, we were delayed in getting on board our wood and water by a swell: but on the 20th, the weather being more moderate, we again sent the boat on shore, and Mr. Banks and Dr. Solander went in it. They landed in the bottom of the bay, and while my people were employed in cutting brooms, they pursued their great object, the improvement of natural knowlege, with success, collecting many shells and plants which hitherto have been altogether unknown: they came on board to dinner, and afterwards went again on shore to visit an Indian town, which some of the people had reported to lie about two miles up the country. They found the distance not more than by the account, and they approached it by what appeared to be the common road, yet they were above an hour in getting thither, for they were frequently up to their knees in mud; when they got within a small distance, two of the people came out to meet them, with such state as they could assume; when they joined them, they began to hollow as they had done on board the ship, without addressing themselves either to the strangers or their companions; and having continued this strange vociferation some time, they conducted them to the town. It was situated on a dry knoll, or small hill, covered with wood, none of which seemed to have been cleared away, and consisted of about twelve or fourteen hovels, of the most rude and inartificial structure that can be imagined. They were nothing more than a few poles set up so as to incline towards each other, and meet at the top, forming a kind of a cone, like some of our bee-hives: on the weather side they were covered with a few boughs, and a little grass; and on the lee side about one eighth of the circle was left open, both for a door and a fire place; and of this kind were the huts that had been seen in St. Vincent’s bay, in one of which the embers of a fire were still remaining. Furniture they had none; a little grass, which lay round the inside of the hovel, served both for chairs and beds; and of all the utensils which necessity and ingenuity have concurred to produce among other savage nations, they saw only a basket to carry in the hand, a satchel to hang at the back, and the bladder of some beast to hold water, which the natives drink through a hole that is made near the top for that purpose.

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© Derived from Vols. II-III of the London 1773 edition: National Library of Australia call no. FERG 7243, page 54, 2004
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