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Julius Popper

Julius Popper was an engineer, adventurer and explorer of Romanian Jewish origin. He is responsible for the modern outline of the city of Havana, Cuba . As a "conquistador" of Tierra del Fuego in southern South America he was a controversial but influential figure.

Popper was born in Bucharest, son of professor Neftali Popper, a prosperous antiques merchant. He studied in Paris before arriving to Argentina on 1885 hoping to find gold. On 7 September 1886, together with eighteen people, he as captain, chief engineer, mineralogist, journalist and photographer, they started the "Popper Expedition" and found gold dust on the beach of El Paramo, a Patagonian peninsula. Expedition was rigorously and strictly enforced after military standards with heavily armed men with Popper in direct command of everything. He succeeded in unearthing great amounts of gold and his Compania de Lavaderos de Oro del Sud realized enormous capital gains at the Argentine stock exchange.

In Patagonia, Popper gained dominance with a private army and he issued his own coins and stamps to symbolize his power. When the Argentine peso lost its value in the market crash of 1890, even there his gold coins were regarded as currency.

Related websites

European Adventurer in Tierra del Fuego: Julio Popper

Popper, el dictador fueguino

Pictures from an album presented by Popper in 1887 to the president

From Argentina's Glaciers to Tierra del Fuego

Julio Popper

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