Guayaneco Archipelago

The Guayaneco Archipelago (Spanish: Archipiélago Guayaneco) is an archipelago in southern Chile. It consists of 2 main islands, es:Isla Wager (to the east), es:Isla Byron (to the west), and many smaller islands.

Guayaneco Archipelago from space, June 1998

It was heavily glaciated during the most recent ice age. These glaciers dissected these mountain islands into a series of deep river valleys and glacial troughs. Today these glacial troughs are deep channels and fjords. The islands of the Guayaneco Archipelago comprise a series of elongated islands and deep bays that are the traces of a drowned coastal range. A number of deep channels are traversing generally north to south through the islands. These include the Messier Channel in the lower left portion of the image, and the Fallos Channel near the center of the image. Forests cover the lower slopes of the mountains throughout the many islands. Human settlement on these islands is scarce.


The archipelago is thought to have been a cohabitational contact zone between different canoe-faring indigenous peoples living north and south of it.[1] John Montgomery Cooper points out that it possibly made up a "meeting ground of quasi-friendly bilingual tribes".[1]

The islands were first reached by Jesuits based in Chiloé in 1613.[2] In 1741 HMS Wager wrecked in Wager Island, Guayaneco Archipelago. The survivors of the wreck were rescued by a party of indigenous Chono travelling in dalcas and led by Martín Olleta.[3]

Following the forceful depopulation of Chonos Archipelago by the Spanish in the 18th century, many Chonos sought refuge in the Guayaneco Archipelago.[4][5] With some likehood, this led to the assimilation of Chono families into the Kawésqar who survive into the present.[6]


  1. ^ a b Montgomery Cooper, John (1917). Analytical and Critical Bibliography of the Tribes of Tierra Del Fuego and Adjacent Territory. p. 40.
  2. ^ Sepúlveda Ortíz, Jorge. "Exploraciones efectuadas en la región de Trapananda antes del siglo XIX" (PDF). Boletín de la Academia de Historia Naval y Marítima de Chile (in Spanish): 95–110. Retrieved January 25, 2019.
  3. ^ Urbina Carrasco, Ximena (2016). "Interacciones entre españoles de Chiloé y Chonos en los siglos XVII y XVIII: Pedro y Francisco Delco, Ignacio y Cristóbal Talcapillán y Martín Olleta" [Interactions between Spaniards of Chiloé and Chonos in the XVII and XVII centuries: Pedro and Francisco Delco, Ignacio and Cristóbal Talcapillán and Martín Olleta] (PDF). Chungara (in Spanish). 48 (1): 103–114. Retrieved December 21, 2019.
  4. ^ Vásquez Caballero, Ricardo Felipe. "Aau, el secreto de los chono" (PDF) (in Spanish). Retrieved January 24, 2019. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  5. ^ Ibar Bruce, Jorge (1960). "Ensayo sobre los indios Chonos e interpretación de sus toponimías". Anales de la Universidad de Chile (in Spanish). 117: 61–70.
  6. ^ Álvarez, Ricardo (2002). "Reflexiones en torno a las identidades de las poblaciones canoeras, situadas entre los 44º y 48º de latitud sur, denominadas "chonos"" (PDF). Anales del Instituto de la Patagonia (in Spanish). 30: 79–86. Retrieved December 29, 2019.

Coordinates: 47°45′S 75°5′W / 47.750°S 75.083°W / -47.750; -75.083