Argentina's heritage has been intricately linked with Europe since the 16th Century. From the 16th Century the sea routes around Argentina were explored by Dutch and other European ships hoping to discover new commercial routes to the East Indies. It was Fernao de Mahalhaes from Portugal who first discovered the sea route between the nearby islands leading to the Pacific Ocean. He was closely followed in 1587 by the British Explorer Cavendish and in 1598 by the Dutch Company of Rotterdam.
Once the VOC had claimed the patent of this route, a further expedition was conducted by van Spilbergen in 1615. In 1616 another explorer Jacques le Maire set out to investigate the 'southland', which at the time was believed to connect South American, Antarctica and Australia in one huge southern continent. This journey led to the discovery of Cape Hoorn on the southernmost tip of South America. The Dutch then began discovering and mapping many of the waterways and islands of Tierra del Fuego, the most famous being Staten Eiland, Kaap Hoorn and Straat van Le Maire. The Dutch explorers were also the first Europeans to make contact with the Yamana, and left vivid impressions and descriptions of the tribe within their log books and diaries.
The capital city of Argentina's southernmost province- Tierra del Fuego, Antartida e Islas del Atlantico Sur- is Ushuaia. The city is located on the Great Island about thirty kilometers east of the Chilean border. The city is one of Argentina's most popular tourist destinations, which include a substantial number of Dutch visitors. This is the southernmost city on the globe, nicknamed 'the end of the world'. Therefore Ushuaia is not only a popular destination and place of historical importance, it is also the Gate to Antarctica, with many cruise ships regularly berthing at its harbour.
Several Archaeological Investigations have been conducted around this area, incuding a team from the University of Amsterdam, to search for any remains of a settlement or cemetery dating to the Dutch era.
CIE's heritage activities with Argentina fall under the core themes of: Museums and Collections