A steep headland at the south of Horn Island, Tierra del Fuego, Magallanes region, Chile, generally considered the tip of South America (southernmost point), and the fiercest place on all the seven seas according to the judgment of most sailing men.
Discovered in 1616 by Dutch explorer Willem Cornelis Schouten (1580–1625) and named after his birthplace (Hoorn, Netherlands), until 1848 the traffic at the cape consisted mainly of whalers and vessels in the China trade.
The discovery of gold in California led hundreds of ships to attempt the passage, facing violent storms, towering seas, and rocky coasts. Many did not make it, running aground on reefs, shoals, and rocky shores; others limped into harbor at the Falkland Islands, three hundred miles to the east, for repairs or scuttling.
The cape was the sea route between the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans until the opening of the Panama Canal in 1914. However, the waters around the cape are particularly hazardous, owing to strong winds, large waves, strong currents and icebergs; these dangers have made it notorious. The wrecks of ships that never left those waters now make up the most remarkable maritime graveyard to be seen anywhere.
Today, sailing around the Horn is widely regarded as one of the major challenges in yachting.
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Sources: Article is scheduled to be reviewed.
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