Updated: Jun 1, 2020
The questions at the edge of science today, talk about life on other planets and dark matter. In the late 19th century, these questions were about the shape of the Earth and the distance to the Sun. The perfect opportunity to solve those questions was the transit of Venus of 1882, a rare astronomical phenomenon. The world powers sent scientific missions to observe this celestial transit in the most diverse points of the planet, from Magadascar to the remote Cape Horn. The mission to Cape Horn was sent by France and carried out by L.F. Martial, captain of "La Romanche". In addition to the astronomical work, they carried out detailed biological, geological, and geographic observations. These observations were rescued in seven bulky volumes and a map that was the greatest advance in geographical knowledge of the area since the works of Fitz Roy half a century earlier. In this map, the highest summit of the eastern end of Cordillera Darwin was named “Pic. Français” (French Mount) and another important summit further west as “Pic. Anglais” (English Mount). About three decades later, the priest Alberto M. De Agostini arrived in Patagonia, a passionate italian mountaineer that made the next great advance in the geographical knowledge of the area. An endervour that was not exempt of mischief. In his maps, which were the base of modern geographical names, the name “Monte Francés” was relegated to a smaller summit, and the colossus that dominates the view from Ushuaia was renamed Monte Bove, after an Italian lieutenant. This change may have been a honest error, however the other change that we observe must have been executed with premeditation: The “English Mount” mysteriously disappeared from the cartography and Monte Italia (“Mount Italy”) took its place, which was named after De Agostini's homeland. This mountain is linked to other tricks of the De Agostini that we will tell you about in the next opportunity. The UNCHARTED team sincerely acknowledge Denis Chevallay for his support to our work and the research we have shared here.