Ferdinand Magellan (1480-1521) became the first explorer to discover the important route between the tip of South America and the islands of Tierra del Fuego when he first navigated the straits in 1520. Originally named the Strait of All Saints (Magellan entered the straits on November 1--All Saints' Day), it was later named for Magellan by the Spanish king.
Sir Francis Drake (1540-1596), the famed English explorer, also sailed the Strait (or Straits) of Magellan, completing the journey in 1578. He began his trip through the treacherous waters with three ships, but only his flagship, the Golden Hind, survived the expedition. During his journey, Drake discovered the skeletons of several mutineers Magellan had put to death at San Julian, on the coast of what is now Argentina.