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a sense of unity among these lonely settlers. When Thomas Bridges - the famous English settler, also known as the king of Patagonia - fell ill on reaching Ella’s land, she cared for him in spite of the rivalry between Germans and Englishmen, running the risk of retaliation if he should die in her care. As Thomas Bridges recovered he could not avoid falling in love with she, who took care of him. That love would be kept in secrecy as well as many of Ella Brunswig’s dreams.

In Patagonian stories one may find many women who had to lead their families and,


with an extraordinary zeal, they did whatever it took to survive. They did not have any time for boredom since they were responsible for many things such as nourishment, cleaning up, health, education and even administration. They truly excelled in all their tasks.
Paradoxically, in this place "not meant for women", it was these women who raised the children, fed the family, dressed the men and cared for them in their times of need.
Chapter 11
The Boundless Empire

Punta Arenas is the southernmost city in Chile, being separated from the mainland by the Strait of Magellan. It has an important location that, on the one hand keeps the city disconnected from the rest of the world, but on the other it is the only route for those ships that need to cross from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean.

A man with a great vision and strength noticed the strategic importance of the place. Don José Menendez had arrived to Punta Arenas as a poor immigrant, with only a few coins in his pockets. Thanks to his amazing wit, and a series of smart marriages - that allowed him to link family, finances and land resources - he ended up controlling the destiny of Patagonia.

In 1867, the Chilean president Mr. J.J.Perez, by decree, gave facilities to those foreigners who wanted to colonize this land and declared Punta Arenas a free port. The city grew and started living on commerce of supplies for the increasing number of steamboats, and the great

amounts of whalers and sea wolf hunters that sailed the islands. Foreigners settled in Punta Arenas establishing trades, import businesses, hotels, bars, etc.

In 1877 the government bought 300 sheep from the Falkland Islands and sold them in Punta Arenas. During the following years many businessmen start breeding sheep.
The pier, land, commerce, slaughterhouse, insurance, customs, shipyard, transportation and largest ranches belonged to José Menendez and his group of companies. These, established together with the Braun and Nogeira clans – bound to Menedez by family ties – would become a true empire.

The land registry of Patagonia showed that, during the first decades of the 19th century, an extremely large amount of land belonged to Menedez. Some of these ranches were among the largest in the world.
Menedez didn’t flinch at having to pull strings


      page 22  
1-2-3-4-5-6     INTRODUCTION  
7-8     CHAPTER 1 - From Far West to Patagonia - BUTCH CASSIDY  
9-10     CHAPTER 2 - Tragedy of the Cervantes - THE “MONTE CERVANTES” SHIPWRECK  
11     CHAPTER 3 - The First Flight over Tierra del Fuego - GUNTHER PLÜSCHOW  
12     CHAPTER 4 - The Promised Land - THE ROAD OF THE WELSH PEOPLE  
13-14     Chapter 5 - The Watchman of the South - LUIS PIEDRA BUENA  
15-16     Chapter 6 - The Prison of the End of the World - Ushuaia’s Prison  
17     Chapter 7 - The Perito Moreno Glacier - FRANCISCO PANCRACIO MORENO  
18     Chapter 8 - THE FATHER DE AGOSTINI  
19-20     Chapter 9 - Long Live the King! - ORLLIE ANTOINE  
21     Chapter 10 - No Place for Women - ELLA HOFFMAN de BRUNSWICK  
22     Chapter 11 - The Boundless Empire - JOSE MENENDEZ  
23-24-25     Chapter 12 - Dreams of Gold - JULIUS POPPER  
27-28-29-30     PRESS ISSUE