1869-1873 - CAMPAIGNS OF EXPLORATION IN THE ARGENTINE PATAGONIA
George Chaworth Musters: Marine, explorer and writer accidentally born in Italy, particularly known for an exploratory trip made inside the Patagonia per mid-nineteenth century, accompanied by a tribe of indigenous tehuelches or Patagonians. (Naples, Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, February 1841 - London, UK, January 25, 1879)
Son of a English military and his wife, also English, family with royal connections, he joined Royal Navy in 1854, and soon after served on the yacht of Queen Victoria. Assigned to the British fleet in the South Atlantic, on a trip to Rio de Janeiro climbed the Pan de Azúcar and placed on its top a British flag, local took years to remove.
Shortly thereafter he made a trip to Patagonia, where he was impressed by the ignorance that was inside that territory; but was discouraged by being told that the only way to cross it was part of a “Tehuelche” caravan.
Subsequently left the Navy to try sheep farming in Uruguay, a company in which he failed. He traveled in 1869 to the Malvinas Islands, where it was decided to perform an exploration of Patagonia.
He arrived in Punta Arenas, on the Strait of Magellan, in April 1869. Not finding Indians, joined a Chilean military unit, that started north to find deserters.
Life among the Patagonians
For four months, the tehuelche contingent remained in the camp on the Santa Cruz River, Musters took time to gain their trust and train for life among the Indians.
Finally, in August 1869 the caravan departed northward. Musters was in the same group as the most important characters: Orkeke Biguá Casimiro, the most powerful chiefs of the history of the tehuelches. Ascended the Rio Chico de Santa Cruz and then traveled north on a tour from gouache to gouache - the southern Tehuelches called Aiiken - a short distance from the ridge.
By the same route,with a difference of a few kilometers, passing now the National Highway No. 40. On their way they passed through the places that currently occupy the towns of Perito Moreno, in the Province of Santa Cruz; Rio Mayo, Rio Senguerre, Tecka, Laguna Esguel - east of the current Esquel, which bears his name - and the Maitén, in the Province of Chubut; and Ñorquincó and Pilcaniyeu (instead citing the Tehuelche Geylum name) in the Province of Black River.
In Geylum met the Mapuche cacique Foyel second Sayhueque the great chief, who invited him to visit his boss. But tehuelches Sayhueque distrusted and had some weeks of delay with respect to their plans, so they drove to the east, by plotting the current National Route 22, for Maquinchao and Valcheta.
When he arrived at El Carmen the voyage had lasted little more than a year over 2,750 kilometers. On his journey had been witness to the sights of the region, its possibilities and economic constraints. He was also able to observe the way of life of tehuelches, including hunting of animals, small quarrels and problems faced every day the tribe and the execution of a minor chief who had attempted the life of Orkeke.
Strictly speaking, it could be presumed that the intention of Musters to make that trip was to survey the economic potential of the region, but that transpires in the account he gave of his journey, published in London in 1871 under the name "at home with the Patagonians. "In Spanish editions is usually called "Life Among the Patagonians." In this book were reflected customs, curiosities, rituals and vocabulary tehuelche; Additional information about the geology, topography, hydrography, fauna and flora of the interior, so far unknown
He traveled back to Chile in 1873, attempting a second voyage from Valdivia to Buenos Aires, but did not manage to do it because he killed in a brawl to several Mapuche Indians and was captured by the chief of them. During the council to be decided about his life handed out alcoholic beverages, so that took advantage of the drunkenness to escape his captors.
Back in London, married a Bolivian and I traveled to Bolivia with his wife to live there and actively explore the mountains in search of minerals, but was unsuccessful. In 1876 he returned once more to London, where he was appointed consul in the Portuguese colony of Mozambique.
As he prepared to leave for the new destination, he decided to remove an abscess. The surgery caused his death in January 1879, at 38 years old.