Tierra del Fuego is the youngest province of Argentina. As of January 1992 was National Territory (the last one left) and was governed by a Representative of the President's Office. From that date, and after a national decree, the new province was created and the first officers elected directly by the people of Tierra del Fuego assumed.
Ferdinand Magellan was the one who named this area "Land of Fire." It was the first European to reach the land, back in 1520, and it is believed that the name was given to responding to the fires around which were grouped the Indians he encountered.
The Onas and Yamanas, the world's southernmost population, lived in the region more than 6,000 years ago.
Since the sixteenth century and for three centuries it passed through the area sporadically English, French and Dutch expeditions, and other Spanish. In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, the outer coast of Tierra del Fuego magellanic archipielago visited by seal hunters and explorers, among them Captain Fitz Roy, commanding the brig Beagle, who discovered the canal which now bears his name. On his second expedition, Fitz Roy was accompanied by the naturalist Charles Darwin. The Spanish did during the seventeenth century several attempts at colonization in the Strait of Magellan, without success. Then, an Anglican pastors mission led by the Rev. Thomas Bridges was installed in the Beagle Channel.
Bridges missionary activities constituted the initial step in the history of the current capital of the province.
Usuhaia begins to take shape in 1869 with the arrival on board the Gardiner of the Anglican missionary Stirling, whose task of evangelize the natives continued in the work of Thomas Bridges who settled on the island in 1871. The Bridges family founded the Estancia Harberton in 1886 on land donated by the Argentine government in gratitude for this work with the natives. The family home is the oldest of the island. By the end of the century it began to appear other establishments that are engaged in sheep breeding. Among the oldest farms in the north of the island is the María Behety founded by José Menéndez in 1899 to the north of Grande river. These ventures led to the establishment of new families on the island and established the first means of communication within the island and infrastructure development.
The next big boost to the economy and growth of the province is produced in the seventies with the sanction of industrial promotion law which grants customs benefits to encourage the regional economy. Many Argentines from across the country are attracted by job opportunities and savings.