: Kaap Hoorn
: Cabo de Hornos
; named after the city of Hoorn
in the Netherlands
) is the southernmost headland
of the Tierra del Fuego archipelago
of southern Chile
It is widely considered to be the southern tip of South America. Cape Horn is the most southerly of the great capes, and marks the northern boundary of the Drake Passage; for many years it was a major milestone on the clipper route, by which sailing ships carried trade around the world. 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 as a sailors' graveyard.
The need for ships to round the horn was greatly reduced by the opening of the Panama Canal in 1914. However, sailing around the Horn is widely regarded as one of the major challenges in yachting, and a few recreational sailors continue to sail this route, sometimes as part of a circumnavigation of the globe, almost all of these choosing routes through the canals to the north of the actual Cape, though many take a detour through the islands and anchor to wait for fair weather to actually visit Horn Island or even sail around it to replicate a rounding of this historic point. Several prominent ocean yacht races, notably the Vendée Globe, sail around the world via the Horn, and speed records for round-the-world sailing follow the same route.
Ramón Freire Serrano (November 29, 1787 – December 9, 1851) was a Chilean military and political figure.
Freire was born in Santiago in 1787 but moved to Concepción where he in 1811 joined the independist struggle by entering the army as a cadet. After the collapse of the independent Patria Vieja following a Spanish invasion he and many other Chilean took refuge in independent Argentina.
Freire returned to Chile together with the José de San Martín's Army of the Andes in 1817. Once in Chile Freire was sent with a hundred men to liberate Talca. Later, he fought in the decisive Battle of Maipú.
After the royalist collapse, Freire was named intendant of Concepción, Chile. From that city, he led operations against a mix of outlaws and royalist and Mapuche guerrillas in what has come to been known as the Guerra a muerte ("War to the Death") phase of the Chilean war for independence.
In 1823, Freire rose against the authoritarian government of Bernardo O'Higgins, forcing him to renounce his position as supreme director. The successful insurrection catapulted Freire into becoming head of state himself; in that office, he exiled O'Higgins and abolished slavery.
The following year, 1824, Freire organized an expedition to expel the royalist Spanish from the Chiloé Archipelago, their last stronghold. The expedition failed after republican Jorge Beauchef lost the Battle of Mocopulli. In 1826, Freire tried again to conquer Chiloé, this time leading an army of 2,500 men himself; the governor of Chiloé, Antonio de Quintanilla, surrendered to the superior force.
Freire was again elected head of state in 1827, this time with the title of president; but he resigned the office later the same year. In 1829, José Joaquín Prieto led a successful insurrection that created a junta (a congress of notables), which Freire did not recognise and which he opposed in the Battle of Lircay. After being defeated, he went into exile in Peru. From Peru, he managed to hire two ships with which he planned to capture Chiloé and from there overthrow the new regime. After a secret shipboard mutiny, however, he was handed over to Chilean officials.
Freire then was sent to the prison island of Robinson Crusoe by direct orders from Diego Portales. He returned to mainland Chile only in 1842 and retired from public life. He died in 1851.