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Hans Steffen

Hans Steffen Hoffman was a German geographer and explorer of Aysen Region in western Patagonia. Steffen did also work as teacher, encyclopedist and historian. Steffen Glacier on the Northern Patagonian Ice Field is named after him.


His work in Chile begun in 1889 when he was contracted by the government of Manuel Balmaceda in Chile to work in the Pedagogical Institute of the University of Chile as teacher of history and geography among other things. He was later contrated to join the Chilean boundary commision to explore areas disputed by Argentina in what is now Aysen Region of Chile.

The areas to be explored was those affected by article 1 of the Boundary treaty of 1881 between Chile and Argentina:

"The boundary between Chile and the Argentine Republic is from north to south, as far as the 52nd parallel of latitude, the Cordillera de los Andes. The boundary-line shall run in that extent over the highest summits of the said Cordilleras which divide the waters, and shall pass between the sources (of streams) flowing down to either side. "

This article led to dispute between weather the continental divide would serve as boundary favouring Chile or the highest peaks favouring Argentina. The two interpretation coincided in most of the boundary but in Aysen Region there was great differences. Before the explorations of Steffen Chile had made only limited hydrographic recognosinse in along the intrincated Pacific coast of Aysen. The inland areas in dispute had been mainly explored by Argentines, notably Francisco Perito Moreno.

Between 1893 and 1894 he explored with the Chilean Navy the basins of Palena and Puelo River. He explored Manso, Aisen and Cisnes River from 1896 to 1898. He then moved on to explore the channels south of Taitao Peninsula (46S) mapping and describing Gulf of Penas, and then explorng and naming Baker, Bravo and Pascua Rivers. He did also cross the Isthmus of Ofqui. Following Pascua River Steffen and his companions were the first to arrive to O'Higgins Lake from the Pacific as well the first to explore its western arms.

See also

Francisco Hudson

Francisco Perito Moreno

Juan Bruggen

Francisco Vidal Gormaz


Hans Steffen Hoffman

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Hans Steffen

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