Saturday, March 1, 2008

The Romanian "King of Tierra del Fuego"

Julius Popper (1857 - 1893) was an engineer, adventurer and explorer of Romanian Jewish origin. He is responsible for the modern outline of the city of Havana, Cuba. As a "conquistador" of Tierra del Fuego in southern South America he was a controversial but influential figure. Popper was born in Bucharest, son of professor Neftali Popper, a prosperous antiques merchant. He studied in Paris before arriving to Argentina in 1885 hoping to find gold. On September 7, 1886, together with 18 people, he as captain, chief engineer, mineralogist, journalist and photographer, they started the "Popper Expedition" and found gold dust on the beach of El Páramo, a peninsula in Patagonia. Expedition was rigourosly and stricly enforced after military standards with heavily armed men with Popper in direct command of everything. He succeeded in unearthing great amounts of gold and his Compania de Lavaderos de Oro del Sud realized enormous capital gains at the Argentine stock exchange. In Patagonia, Popper gained dominance with a private army and he issued his own coins and stamps to symbolize his power.

Source: Wikipedia

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