Patagonia’s history is ancient and enchanting. Approximately 10,000 years ago, the first men landed and settled on the southern tip of Patagonia. It is believed that they descended from the tribes that traveled over the Bering Strait during the glacial age. The aborigines were hunter nomads, who knew the land very well and learned to subsist despite the cold, freezing climate.

Patagonia gained prominence when Ferdinand Magellan, the famous Portuguese explore, disembarked onto the area in 1520.   When he arrived, he described the natives as "giants so tall that the tallest of us only came up to their waist.” Thus, he named these natives Patagonians since Pata-gon meant "big feet" in his tongue. This is how the region got its name. Upon visiting Patagonia, it is not difficult to imagine how this explorer was at awe at the landscape and the super-human strength of its native people to survive in such climate.
It is also rumored that Magellan named the southern island Tierra del Fuego – or "land of fire" after the expanse of glowing campfires he saw at night during his time there. ( For more info on explorers in Patagonia, see http://www.patagonia-argentina.com/i/... )


Though the land was originally Spanish, the two governments of Chile and Argentina took it upon themselves to divide this strange, sparse terrain in 1881. In a treaty they divided the land based on the   " the highest peaks which divide the waters ," but could not seem to come up with a consensus on what this meant. Thus, under British mediation, the two countries drew the border across the summits of some of Patagonia's most famous peaks like Mt Fitzroy. The ice plateau in Patagonia was divided approximately 81% to Chile and 19% to Argentina. To be truthful, some of the regions ice fields are still a hot subject for the natives.