Beagle Channel cartography since 1881

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The region of the Beagle Channel, explored by Robert FitzRoy in the 1830s, was one of the last to be colonized by Chile and Argentina. The cold weather, the long distances from other inhabited regions, and the shortage of transport and subsistence, kept it far from the governmental task.

In the maps exhibited in this page it is possible to appreciate the lacking knowledge of the geography by navigators and explorers of the zone and also the statesmen who had to decide on the borders. Nevertheless, when the Boundary treaty of 1881 between Chile and Argentina was signed, in the Beagle Channel zone at least the main islands and waterways were known.

The Beagle Channel Arbitration Court reviewed in-depth the cartography of the zone and stated that:[1]:§163

Finally, the Court wishes to stress again that its conclusion to the effect that the [Picton, Nueva and Lennox Islands] group is Chilean according to the 1881 Treaty has been reached on the basis of its interpretation of the Treaty, especially as set forth in paragraphs 55–111 above, and independently of the cartography of the case which has been taken account of only for purposes of confirmation or corroboration. The same applies in respect of the particular maps discussed in, and from, paragraph 119 onwards.

§163