Puerto Del Hambre or Port Famine was a settlement in southern Chile on the northern shore of the Strait Of Magellan in Patagonia. Also known as Ciudad del Rey Don Felipe, it is now a national monument and the ruins attract tourists to Chile’s far south. A monument marks the central point of Chile (as taken from their northern border with Peru to the South Pole in Antarctica which they claim as part of their territory).
After the British navigated the Strait Of Magellen in the 16th century, the Spanish wanted to reassert their dominance in the area and thus created the settlement of Rey Don Felipe in 1584. 300 settlers called it home although soon found the environment inhospitable and by the time the English returned in 1587, all had died of starvation or cold. The English renamed it Port Famine after they discovered what had happened to the settlement and the name has remained since, albeit translated to Puerto del Hambre in Spanish.
Thomas Cavendish, who was the leader of the Royal Navy expedition, built his base of operations in Bahía San Juan south of Puerto del Hambre. The settlement was visited a number of times by English ships, probably most notably in 1928 when captain of HMS Beagle, Pringle Stokes, became deeply depressed and shot himself in his cabin. On the Beagle’s second survey expedition, one of those on board was Charles Darwin who visited Port Famine a number of times on the voyage.
In 1843, Chile made plans to resettle the area and 20 settlers made the journey to Puerto del Hambre. A fort was built by this group nearby, reasserting Chile’s control over the Strait Of Magellan.
The fort and settlement were abandoned again in the late 19th century and were eventually declared a national monument by the Chilean government in 1968. Tourism has since become important with backpackers and luxury tourists stopping off on their voyages to nearby Antarctica.
Location: Patagonia, Chile
Category: Ghost Town
Abandoned: Late 19th century
The video below also shows the nearby Fuerte Bulnes which the settlers of 1843 built.