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Diego Ramirez Islands

The Diego Ramirez Islands are a small group of lesser islands located in the southernmost extreme of Chile about southwest of Cape Horn and SSE of Ildefonso Islands, stretching 8 km north-south (not to be confused with Ramirez Island far to the north). Their land area is little more than 1 km. The islands belong to the Commune of Cabo de Hornos in Antartica Chilena Province of Magallanes y Antartica Chilena Region. They are divided into a smaller northern group with six islets, and a larger southern group, separated by a passage 3 km wide. The islands contain the southernmost point of the South American continent (including islands), a title often incorrectly awarded to Cape Horn. Aguila Islet (Islote Aguila), the southernmost land of the group, is at 5632'9"S.

They were first sighted on 12 February 1619 by Marco Ramirez of the Garcia de Nodal expedition, and named after the cosmographer of the expedition, Diego Ramirez.Dingwall, P.R., ed. (1995). Progress in Conservation of the Subantarctic Islands, p. 107. The World Conservation Union. ISBN 2831702577. They were cited as the southernmost land mass plotted as of that time, and retained the honor for 156 years, until the discovery of the South Sandwich Islands in 1775.

The Chilean Navy established a meteorological station above Caleta Condell, a small cove on the northeast side of Isla Gonzalo (Gonzalo Island), in 1957, and resupply it several times each year. This is the southernmost manned outpost of South America (including islands), even if the South Sandwich Islands are regarded as part of South America, since the Argentinian station on Thule Island was dismantled in June 1982 (in the aftermath of the Falklands War). The next southerly manned outpost of South America is the lighthouse of Cape Horn. Cruise ships occasionally pass by on their way to and from Antarctica.

The islands are an important nesting site for a number of southern seabirds, including the Black-browed Albatross, Shy Albatross, Grey-headed Albatross, Rockhopper Penguin, and Southern Giant-Petrel.

External links

Chart of the islands made by Beagle expedition

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Diego Ramirez Islands

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