Bridge over the year in Punta Arenas!

The ROICE 2015 team has arrived in the place where the renowned JULIUS POPPER, named as “The Romanian Conquistador of Patagonia”, is better known that in Romania.

Julius Popper was born in Bucharest in 1857 and studied in Paris, at the National School of Bridges and Roads – mining engineering. He also attended the Sorbona University, where he studied physics, chemistry, meteorology, geography, geology & ethnography.

His education background, overlapping a national legislation which didn’t enable him in applying his knowledge, his receptivity to new experiences, his wish to transform & modernize his home country, determined one of the most internationally renowned Romanian explorers to play an essential role in defining and systemizing new territories during his career (1868 – 1893).

The first expedition around the world that he took part in (China, India, Japan) was a success unrecognized in Romania (being originally Jewish, he was denied Romanian citizenship in 1881).

Driven by resorts known only by the great savants of the world, Julius Popper left for America, where all his professional ambitions as an engineer, cartographer & explorer, were recognized, by participating in:

  • the program of urbanization in New Orleans;
  • planning and systemizing Havana;
  • colonizing Patagonia.

In 1886, with the support of Argentinian authorities, he organized the expedition to the ‘Fire country’, which started from PUNTA ARENAS, the closest Chilean community, with the determined and reached goal of discovering gold in the area. (the Atlantic beaches of the ‘Fire Country’ hosted a higher quantity of gold than the entire Patagonia).

From this point onwards, began a real adventure and the process of colonization in Patagonia, which passionate researchers can find in all informative sources.

He sadly died in suspicious circumstances in 1893, remaining a controversial figure in South – American history.

He left posterity the 5 grams golden coins, which carry his name, postal stamps of immeasurable value, but also the proof that his Romanian soul could not be matched by all gold in the world: all names he has given to mountains, rivers and roads during his colonization were Romanian and remained so until today. (I.E. Manu & Carmen Sylva Mountains, Sinaia, Ureche, Rosetti peak etc).

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