Situated on the Beagle Strait, Ushuaia is the largest city in Argentine Tierra del Fuego, and arguably the southernmost city in the world. In the past, the town has been a missionary base, penal colony and naval base for the Argentine navy. Ushuaia is now a major tourist town, complete with casinos and nice restaurants, and commonly used as a base for hiking, winter sports and cruises to Antarctica.
Ushuaia lies on the Andes foothills (which run West-East at this latitude) and the Beagle Channel coast. Its sole road connection is "Ruta 3" which traverses the city west-east and later drifts north-east and crosses the Andes. Consequently, Ushuaia's tourist attractions are either to the west (End of the World Train & National Park), to the east (Fagnano Lake, Haberton ranch and lots of hiking trails) or within the city (Presidio Museum, boat trips, Martial Glacier). In the late 19th century, the land that is now called Ushuaia was inhabited entirely by Yamana Indians and a handful of missionaries. At the time of writing (October 2005), there is allegedly one pure-blooded native-speaking Yamana Indian left. An excellent book on the history of the Yamana and their demise is The Uttermost Part of the Earth by E. Lucas Bridges, the son of one of the early missionaries. His father, Thomas Bridges, documented what he could of the Yamana language and found that it had a far larger vocabulary than the English language. Darwin, who famously sailed through the Beagle Channel, thought that the Yamana, were "the missing link".