Jemmy Button

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Jemmy Button, two portraits from FitzRoy's travelogue (1831)

Jemmy Button (eigtl. O'run-del'lico , also: Orundellico ) (* around 1815 ; †  1864 in Wulaia , Tierra del Fuego) was a native of Tierra del Fuego who lived alongside York Minster (eigtl. El'leparu ), Fueguia Basket (eigtl . yok'cushly ) and Boat Memory ( real name unknown) was deported to England in the course of the expedition of Phillip Parker King and Robert FitzRoy (1826–1830).

With the second expedition of Robert FitzRoy (1831-1836), in which Charles Darwin also took part, they returned to the Yámana (with the exception of Boat Memory, who died of smallpox shortly after arriving in England in 1830 in the Plymouth Naval Hospital) .

In 1855 he met Parker Snow, captain of the Patagonian Mission Society's Allen Gardiner , when he was anchored in the Murray Strait.

On November 6, 1859, eight members of the First Anglican Church were killed or stoned to death by a group of Tierra del Fuego during the morning service in Wulaia (on the island of Navarino ). The surviving ship's cook Alfred Coles testified under oath during the official investigation that Jemmy Button had participated in the attack. You have to take into account that the cook was in a state of insanity due to the traumatic events.

Julia Voss sees Jemmy Button as the model for Michael Ende 's children's book character Jim Knopf - not only because of the similarity of names .


  • Julia Voss: Darwins Jim Knopf , Frankfurt am Main: S. Fischer, [2018?] [Reprint] = 2009, ISBN 978-3-596-37064-1
  • Bruce Chatwin : In Patagonia. Travel to a distant land ("In Patagonia"). Special edition Rowohlt Taschenbuchverlag, Reinbek bei Hamburg 2006, ISBN 3-499-24180-3 , pp. 171–178.
  • Nick Hazlewood: The Man Who Was Sold For A Button. The Incredible Story of the Jemmy Button ( Savage, the Life and Times of Jemmy Button , London: Hodder & Stoughton, 2000, ISBN 978-0-340-73911-2 ). Lübbe Taschenbuch-Verlag, Bergisch Gladbach 2005, ISBN 978-3-404-64207-6 .
  • Sylvia Iparraguirre: Land of Fires. Roman ("La tierra del fuego"). Fischer-Taschenbuchverlag, Frankfurt / M. 2001, ISBN 3-596-15013-2 .
  • Benjamin Subercaseaux: Driving without a compass: the error of a big heart , Stuttgart: Dt. Verl.-Anst., 1957

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Julia Voss, Darwin's Jim Button. An unknown chapter in the history of the theory of evolution, FAZ of December 13, 2008, No. 292, p. 33, online version: Jim Knopf saves the theory of evolution - "Jim Knopf saves the theory of evolution"