What is the southernmost city in the world?
“The southernmost city in the world” is a phrase typically used to attract tourism to a city and those heading to Antarctica.
There are three cities considered to be the southernmost cities worldwide: Puerto Williams, Chile; Punta Arenas, Chile; and Ushuaia, Argentina. There are several settlements further south, but none are large enough to be considered cities.
Puerto Williams, Spanish for Port Williams, is a city, port, and naval base located on Navarino Island, Chile. Its coordinates are 54°56′S 67°37′W. It’s also the capital of the Chilean Antarctic Province. The port was founded as Puerto Luisa in 1953 and was renamed Puerto Williams later after a British man named John Williams Wilson.
The city has 2,874 people, including naval personnel and civilians. Puerto Williams had primarily served as a naval base; however, the naval population has slowly decreased, while the civilian population has increased. The increasing civilian population has led to its growing tourism industry.
The port attracts visitors going to Cape Horn or the Antarctic. It also serves as a major hub and port of entry for scientific research and activity linked to Antarctica. Fishing is also an important industry, and the navy helps enforce national fishing rights.
Because Puerto Williams’s population is relatively small, some might argue that it's not the southernmost “city” in the world. Despite this, an agreement between the Chilean and Argentinian media and the Puerto Williams administration identifies it as the southernmost city.
Punta Arenas is the second Chilean City considered to be the southernmost city globally, with coordinates at 53°10′S 70°56′W. Punta Arenas is the capital city of the country’s southernmost region, Magallanes and Antartica Chilena. The city was founded as Punta Arenas in 1848, and its name was briefly changed to Magallanes in 1927 before changing back to Punta Arenas in 1938.
The city has 127,454 people, according to its 2012 Census. Because of its larger size, some people believe it is the southernmost city in the world instead of Puerto Williams, which is home to only a couple thousand people.
Like Puerto Williams, Punta Arenas is a base for Antarctic expeditions. Additionally, Chile's principal oil reserves are close by, and agricultural production is one of the primary industries, specifically sheep and cattle. Tourism has also played a significant role in Punta Arena’s economic growth.
Ushuaia is the third city that claims the title of the world’s southernmost city, with coordinates of 54°48′S 68°18′W. It is located about 1,000 kilometers or 680 miles from the coast of Antarctica. Ushuaia is the capital of Tierra del Fuego, Antártida e Islas del Atlántico Sur Province, Argentina. Commodore Augusto Lasserre founded the city in 1884.
According to its 2010 Census, Ushuaia has 56,956 people. It serves as an administrative center, an industrial port, and a tourist hub.
Its main economic activities include fishing, sheep farming, ecotourism, and natural gas and oil extraction. Its tourist attractions include wildlife attractions, Tierra def Fuego National Park, Teen del Fin del Mundo (End of the World Train), and museums.