The first finding of the aónikenk o “or people of the south” –also know as patagones or tehuelches – was in 1526 and occurred north east of the Magallanes Strait. The Patagonians were rough and humble people that lived in the area between the Santa Cruz River and the Magallanes Strait to the south and from the Atlantic Ocean the foothills to the west.
As Nomads, they traveled great distances in order to hunt different animals that were an important part of their diet and clothing, and also constituted the main resource to make personal and hunting items such as bows, arrows, spears and boleadoras.
Elal, a heroic personality was the back bone of the tehuelches religion who represented the origin of mankind. The tehuelches also gave great religious importance to the area of the Towers, it is believed that they named this area “Payne” which could have meant “Blue” in their native tongue.
Although they withstood, the pressure that the new society put on them provoked their definite downfall and disappearance from the Chilean Patagonia in 1905.
The other settlements in the area belonged to the kawéskar o alacalufes. Nomad hunters and fishers, they were seen for the first time in 1526 and questioned by the Spaniards that surprised by their apparent barbarian form of living, they did not understand their culture. But yet, they were a well conformed group, strong and tough, magnificently adapted for living in such an exigent and severe habitat.
As fishing people, the canoe or hallef was much valued object. In them they traveled important distances to obtain food that would permit their livelihood in such an adverse territory. Just like the aónikenk, they too believed in a superior being, called Xólas, creator of all life and non-living forms of nature and especially of the moral laws that rule human conduct.
The Alacalufes remained on the Patagonian seas until the first decade of the 20th century, but little by little they kept disappearing up to their extinction.
Today Torres del Paine holds a conscience very different from those primitive settlers. In this process there have been profound climate, biotic and even cultural changes, but yet, it is this extraordinary landscape and the enormous amount of wildlife, that has maintained a unique character of those who live and reside in the austral geography.