Ushuaïa : « the town of the new world »
In 1896, it was decided that Ushuaïa region would be the final destination for dangerous criminals of Argentina. Extrem living conditions of “Tierra del fuego” made escape almost impossible.
Federal government ordered prisoners to build a town : Ushuaïa. Life got organized around the prison for the first 50 years of the XXth century. Then the maritime naval base was built in 1950. The prison was closed down.
Located at a strategic area for the Falklands war (between English and Argentinian), that base became essential for missions to Antarctic.
Many countries got interested in mineral resources of Antarctic. However, since 1991 and Madrid protocol, a special statute has been applied to Antarctic. Military activities and mineral resources mining have been prohibited except for scientific purposes.
In order to increase economic development and accelerate urbanization, Central government decreed Ushaïa’s harbor custom tax-free and cancelled taxes for firms. That decision made population increase during the second half of the XXth century.
Tourism industry became one of the most important lines of growth in the region. Its unique landscape, its protected nature and its location make Ushuaïa very attractive.
Althought the «Town of the end of the world» appellation is profitable, local authorities decided to give the town a new image.
The Arts and Challenge of Patagonia foundation launched a first initiative with the biennial : « the end of the world contemporary art ». It took place for the first time in Ushuaïa in 2007. The purpose of such event is to bring into focus climate change through art.
Artists from all over the world exhibited on science and ecology topics with a common artistic line : « Think the world of tomorrow at the end of the world ».
When naval base was said to be moved to the Peninsula in 2011, local authorities immediately supported the international research and logistical centre construction project : « Antarctica ».Ushuaïa wants to take advantage of its location.
South and North poles are the first regions of the world impact by climate change. Studying them, scientifists understand better the process and anticipate consequences for our planet.
Many scientists from the northern hemisphere could get interested in that international centre. Access to a high technology research facilities close to the south pole would decrease cost of such undertaking.
Considered for a while as a hostile land at the end of the world, Ushuaïa is poised to become the predilection place to study the world of tomorrow.