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    Julius Popper

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    December 15, 1857 – June 5, 1893

    At the very southern tip of South America lies Terra del Fuego, the Land of Fire. Once you get there, you're pretty much at the end of the world. The only thing south of that is water and ice. Lots of ice.

    Somewhat surprisingly, over 100,000 people live on Terra del Fuego. Most are Argentinian and Chilean, with a small minority of natives: Selknams, Kawesqars, Yaghans. If you never heard of such tribes, there is a reason.

    Back in 1885, the Romanian-born Jewish engineer Julius Popper had the great idea to mine for gold at Terra del Fuego. We're not using "great" sarcastically here: it actually worked out. Argentina granted Popper a permit, gold was found, and he even printed coins that became legal tender when the Argentine peso collapsed. Well, it worked out for Popper. It didn't exactly do so for the natives.

    Popper was a key figure in the Selknam genocide, as his people reduced their population from 4000 to 500. Less than 300 currently remain on Terra del Fuego. The Kawesgars and Yanghans didn't fare well either.

    Popper didn't get to enjoy his terror-induced success for long, dying under mysterious circumstances at the age of 35. Turns out that Terra del Fuego was the end of his world as well.

    Verdict: Sadly, a Jew.

    March 6, 2023

    See Also

    Sven Hedin

    Erik Hesselberg

    Ferdinand Magellan

    Solomon Nunes Carvalho

    Aurel Stein
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