P. Edronkin

Survival tales: murder at Wulaia (I).



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In 1857, about the time when Orellie Antoine de Tounens had himself crowned King of Araucania and Patagonia, the Allen Gardiner, a british ship sailed off from England. Its destination was Tierra del Fuego, where the Andes reach the Antarctic sea.

After going thorough the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) in order to prepare a strategic base for future settlements, its occupants, all missionaries, reached Tierra del Fuego. Their mission was to civilise the Yaghan Indians, and after a while, they began building a settlement on Wulaia Bay, on Navarino Island and near what is now Ushuaia, the southernmost city of the world.

On November 6, 1859, Rev. Garland Philips decided to invite local Indians to their Sunday mass celebration in order to integrate them with the missionaries and other Europeans.

Due to these 'political' reasons, all settlers and crew members except the cook, a man named Alfred Coles, disembarked from the Allen Gardiner and meet a significant number of Yaghans inside the new chapel near the shore. There was no armed guard on duty, despite the fact that the ship even had two cannons.

Coles later said that suddenly he heard a lot of shouting inside the chapel and saw the settlers running out to the boats, which the Indians had already seized or destroyed. All Europeans were then killed with stones.

Then, the Yaghans began approaching the unprotected ship, and so Coles jumped into a boat without any clothing or gun, and began rowing away as fast as he could. He reached the shore and lost his pursuers in the woods.




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