The cape was first rounded on January 26, 1616 by a Dutch expedition of Willem Schouten and Jacob Le Maire. They named it Kaap Hoorn after the city of Hoorn, Schouten's birthplace. The spanish name of the place is a degeneration of the dutch: Cabo de Hornos.
Cape Horn is famous for the weather conditions that made it difficult to round in the days of sailing ships. Even so, the open waters of the Drake Passage south of the Cape meant plenty of sea room for maneuvering, while the narrow Strait of Magellan through the Tierra del Fuego islands could be a slow and tortuous passage.
The area of the Cape is in Chile. A family lives at a small station maintained by the government, consisting of a main house, utility building, chapel, and lighthouse. A short distance off there is a large sculpture featuring the silhouette of an albatross. The terrain is entirely treeless, although quite lush due to the frequent precipitation.