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Drake Passage and Cape Horn

Cape Horn is the southernmost headland of the Tierra del Fuego Archipelago, located on Hornos Island in the Chilean Cabo de Hornos National Park. It is traditionally considered the southern extremity of South America and the place where the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans meet. Discovered in January of 1616 by the Dutch captain Willem Schouten, it was named by him Kaap Hoorn, honoring his home port of Hoorn in Holland. The Cape marks the northern edge of the Drake Passage, the strait separating South America from Antarctica. Weather and sea conditions are notoriously changeable in the region, and consequently it was nearly 200 years before the Antarctic continent was discovered, less than 400 miles to the south of the Cape. The Chilean Navy maintains a base with a lighthouse and a monumental marker on an island a short distance from Cape Horn, although there is a small unmanned tower and light signal on the Cape itself, which is properly the Cape Horn Lighthouse.