Patagonia (Spanish pronunciation: [pataˈɣonja]) is a sparsely populated region at the southern end of South America, shared by Chile and Argentina. The region comprises the southern section of the Andes mountains and the deserts, pampas and grasslands to the east. Patagonia is one of the few regions with coasts on three oceans, with the Pacific Ocean to the west, the Atlantic Ocean to the east, and the Southern Ocean to the south.

The Colorado and Barrancas rivers, which run from the Andes to the Atlantic, are commonly considered the northern limit of Argentine Patagonia.[1] The archipelago of Tierra del Fuego is sometimes included as part of Patagonia. Most geographers and historians locate the northern limit of Chilean Patagonia at Huincul Fault, in Araucanía Region.[2][3][4][5]

Location of Patagonia
 • Total1,043,076 km2 (402,734 sq mi)
 • Total1,999,540
 • Density1.9/km2 (5.0/sq mi)
 • LanguagesSpanish


The name Patagonia comes from the word patagón,[6] which was used by Magellan in 1520 to describe the native tribes of the region, whom his expedition thought to be giants. It is now believed that the people he called the Patagons were Tehuelches, who tended to be taller than Europeans of the time.[7][8]

The Argentine researcher Miguel Doura observed that the name Patagonia possibly derives from the ancient Greek region of modern Turkey called Paphlagonia, possible home of the patagon personage in the chivalric romances Primaleon printed in 1512, ten years before Magellan arrived in these southern lands. The hypothesis was accepted and published in a 2011 New Review of Spanish Philology report.[9]

Population and land area

Largest cities

City Population Province / Region Country
Neuquén 345,097 (Metropolitan area) Neuquén Province Argentina
Temuco 312,503 (Metropolitan area) Araucanía Region Chile
Puerto Montt 290,480 (Metropolitan area) Los Lagos Region Chile
Comodoro Rivadavia 173,300 Chubut Province Argentina
Valdivia 166,080 Los Ríos Region Chile
Osorno 139,550 Los Lagos Region Chile
Punta Arenas 116,005 Magallanes Region Chile
San Carlos de Bariloche 108,250[10] Río Negro Province Argentina
Trelew 99,201 Chubut Province Argentina
Río Gallegos 97,742 Santa Cruz Province Argentina
General Roca 85,883 Río Negro Province Argentina
Río Grande 67,038 Tierra del Fuego Province Argentina
Cipolletti 79,097 Río Negro Province Argentina
Puerto Madryn 80,101 Chubut Province Argentina
Ushuaia 56,956 Tierra del Fuego Province Argentina
Coyhaique 50,041 Aysén Region Chile
Viedma 52,706 Río Negro Province Argentina
Esquel 39,848 Chubut Province Argentina

Physical geography

Sea birds and Lighthouse
Island - seabirds and Les Eclaireurs Lighthouse in foreground with mountain rising in background

Argentine Patagonia is for the most part a region of steppelike plains, rising in a succession of 13 abrupt terraces about 100 metres (330 feet) at a time, and covered with an enormous bed of shingle almost bare of vegetation.[11] In the hollows of the plains are ponds or lakes of fresh and brackish water. Towards Chilean territory the shingle gives place to porphyry, granite, and basalt lavas, animal life becomes more abundant and vegetation more luxuriant, consisting principally of southern beech and conifers. The high rainfall against the western Andes (Wet Andes) and the low sea surface temperatures offshore give rise to cold and humid air masses, contributing to the ice-fields and glaciers, the largest ice-fields in the Southern hemisphere outside of Antarctica.[11]

Among the depressions by which the plateau is intersected transversely, the principal ones are the Gualichu, south of the Río Negro, the Maquinchao and Valcheta (through which previously flowed the waters of Nahuel Huapi Lake, which now feed the Limay River), the Senguerr (spelled Senguer on most Argentine maps and within the corresponding region), and, the Deseado River. Besides these transverse depressions (some of them marking lines of ancient inter-oceanic communication), there are others which were occupied by more or less extensive lakes, such as the Yagagtoo, Musters and Colhue Huapi, and others situated to the south of Puerto Deseado, in the centre of the country.

In the central region volcanic eruptions, which have taken part in the formation of the plateau during the Cenozoic, cover a large part of the land with basaltic lava-caps; and in the western third, more recent glacial deposits appear above the lava. There, erosion, which is caused principally by the sudden melting and retreat of ice aided by tectonic changes, has scooped out a deep longitudinal depression, best in evidence where in contact with folded Cretaceous rocks which are uplifted by the Cenozoic granite. It generally separates the plateau from the first lofty hills, whose ridges are generally called the pre-Cordillera. To the west of these, a similar longitudinal depression extends all along the foot of the snowy Andean Cordillera. This latter depression contains the richest and most fertile land of Patagonia. Lake basins along the Cordillera were also excavated by ice-streams, including Lake Argentino and Lake Fagnano, as well as coastal bays such as Bahía Inútil.[11]


The geological limit of Patagonia has been proposed to be Huincul Fault which forms a major discontinuity. The fault truncates various structures including the Pampean orogen found further north. The ages of base arocks change abruptly across the fault.[12] There have been discrepancies among geologists on the origin of the Patagonian landmass. Víctor Ramos has proposed that the Patagonian landmass originated as an allochthonous terrane that separated from Antarctica and docked in South America 250 to 270 Ma in the Permian era.[13] A 2014 study by R.J. Pankhurst and coworkers rejects any idea of a far-travelled Patagonia claiming it is likely of parautochtonous origin (nearby origin).[14]

The Mesozoic and Cenozoic deposits have revealed a most interesting vertebrate fauna. This, together with the discovery of the perfect cranium of a chelonian of the genus Niolamia, which is almost identical with Ninjemys oweni of the Pleistocene age in Queensland, forms an evident proof of the connection between the Australian and South American continents. The Patagonian Niolamia belongs to the Sarmienti Formation. Fossils of the mid-Cretaceous Argentinosaurus, which may be the largest of all dinosaurs, have been found in Patagonia, and a model of the mid-Jurassic Piatnitzkysaurus graces the concourse of the Trelew airport (the skeleton is in the Trelew paleontological museum; the museum's staff has also announced the discovery of a species of dinosaur even bigger than Argentinosaurus[15]). Of more than paleontological interest,[16] the middle Jurassic Los Molles Formation and the still richer late Jurassic (Tithonian) and early Cretaceous (Berriasian) Vaca Muerta formation above it in the Neuquén basin are reported to contain huge hydrocarbon reserves (mostly gas in Los Molles, both gas and oil in Vaca Muerta) partly accessible through hydraulic fracturing.[17] Other specimens of the interesting fauna of Patagonia, belonging to the Middle Cenozoic, are the gigantic wingless birds, exceeding in size any hitherto known, and the singular mammal Pyrotherium, also of very large dimensions. In the Cenozoic marine formation, a considerable number of cetaceans has been discovered.

During the Oligocene and Early Miocene large swathes of Patagonia were subject to a marine transgression. The transgression might have temporarily linked the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, as inferred from the findings of marine invertebrate fossils of both Atlantic and Pacific affinity in La Cascada Formation.[18][19] Connection would have occurred through narrow epicontinental seaways that formed channels in a dissected topography.[18][20] The Antarctic Plate started to subduct beneath South America 14 million years ago in the Miocene forming the Chile Triple Junction. At first the Antarctic Plate subducted only in the southernmost tip of Patagonia, meaning that the Chile Triple Junction was located near the Strait of Magellan. As the southern part of Nazca Plate and the Chile Rise became consumed by subduction the more northerly regions of the Antarctic Plate begun to subduct beneath Patagonia so that the Chile Triple Junction advanced to the north over time.[21] The asthenospheric window associated to the triple junction disturbed previous patterns of mantle convection beneath Patagonia inducing an uplift of c. 1 km that reversed the Miocene transgression.[20][22]

Political divisions

At a state level, Patagonia lies inside two countries: 10% in Chile and 90% in Argentina. Both countries have organised their Patagonian territories into non-equivalent administrative subdivisions: Provinces and departments in Argentina; and regions, provinces and communes in Chile. Chile being a unitary state, its first-level administrative divisions—the regions—enjoy far less autonomy than Argentine provinces. Argentine provinces have elected governors and legislatures, while Chilean regions have government-appointed intendants.

The Patagonian Provinces of Argentina are Neuquén, Río Negro, Chubut, Santa Cruz, and Tierra del Fuego. The southernmost part of Buenos Aires Province can also be considered part of Patagonia.

The two Chilean regions indisputedly located entirely within Patagonia are Aysén and Magallanes. Palena Province, a part of the Los Lagos Region, is also located within Patagonia. By some definitions Chiloé Archipelago, the rest of the Los Lagos Region, and part of the Los Ríos Region are also part of Patagonia.


Punta Arenas con nieve.jpeg
View of Punta Arenas, Chile in midwinter

The overall climate is cool and dry. The east coast is warmer than the west, especially in summer, as a branch of the southern equatorial current reaches its shores, whereas the west coast is washed by a cold current. However, winters are colder on the inland plateaus east of the slopes and further down the coast on the south east end of the Patagonian region. For example, at Puerto Montt, on the inlet behind Chiloé Island, the mean annual temperature is 11 °C (52 °F) and the average extremes are 25.5 and −1.5 °C (77.9 and 29.3 °F), whereas at Bahía Blanca near the Atlantic coast and just outside the northern confines of Patagonia the annual temperature is 15 °C (59 °F) and the range much greater, as temperatures above 35 °C and below −5 °C are recorded every year. At Punta Arenas, in the extreme south, the mean temperature is 6 °C (43 °F) and the average extremes are 24.5 and −2 °C (76.1 and 28.4 °F). The prevailing winds are westerly, and the westward slope has a much heavier precipitation than the eastern in a rainshadow effect;[11] the western islands close to Torres del Paine receive an annual precipitation of 4,000 to 7,000 mm, whilst the eastern hills are less than 800 mm and the plains may be as low as 200 mm annual precipitation.[11]

Precipitation is highly seasonal in northwestern Patagonia. For example, Villa La Angostura in Argentina, close to the border with Chile, receives up to 434 mm of rain and snow in May, 297 mm in June, 273 in July, compared to 80 in February and 72 in March. The total for the city is 2074 mm, making it one of the rainiest in Argentina. Further west, some areas receive up to 4,000 mm and more, especially on the Chilean side. In the northeast, the seasons for rain are reversed: most rain falls from occasional summer thunderstorms, but totals barely reach 500 mm in the northeast corner, and rapidly decrease to less than 300 mm. The Patagonian west coast, which belongs exclusively to Chile, has a cool oceanic climate, with summer maximum temperatures ranging from 14 °C in the south to 19 °C in the north (and nights between 5 °C and 11 °C) and very high precipitation, from 2,000 to more than 7,000 mm in local micro-climates. Snow is uncommon at the coast in the north, but happens more often in the south, and frost is usually not very intense.

Immediately east from the coast are the Andes, cut by deep fjords in the south and by deep lakes in the north, and with varying temperatures according to the altitude. The tree line ranges from close to 2,000 m on the northern side (except for the Andes in northern Neuquén in Argentina, where sunnier and dryer conditions allow trees to grow up to close to 3,000 m), and diminishes southward to only 600–800 m in Tierra del Fuego. Precipitation changes dramatically from one spot to the other, and diminishes very quickly eastward. An example of this is Laguna Frías, in Argentina, receives 4,400 mm yearly. The city of Bariloche, about 40 km further east, receives about 1,000 mm, and the airport, another 15 km east, receives less than 600 mm. The easterly slopes of the Andes are home to several Argentine cities: San Martín de los Andes, Bariloche, El Bolsón, Esquel, El Calafate. Temperatures there are milder in the summer (in the north, between 20 °C and 24 °C, with cold nights between 4 °C and 9 °C; in the south, summers are between 16 °C and 20 °C, at night temperatures are similar to the north) and much colder in the winter, with frequent snowfall (although snow cover rarely lasts very long). Daytime highs range from 3 °C to 9 °C in the north, and from 0 °C to 7 °C in the south, whereas nights range from −5 °C to 2 °C everywhere. Cold waves can bring much colder values: -21 °C have been recorded in Bariloche, and most places can often see temperatures between −12 °C and −15 °C and highs staying around 0 °C for a few days.

Directly east of these areas, the weather becomes much harsher: precipitation drops to between 150 and 300 mm, the mountains no longer protect the cities from the wind, and temperatures become more extreme. Maquinchao is a couple hundred kilometers east of Bariloche, at the same altitude on a plateau, and summer daytime temperatures are usually about 5 °C warmer, rising up to 35 °C sometimes, but winter temperatures are much more extreme: the record is −35 °C, and it is not uncommon to see some nights 10 °C colder than Bariloche. The plateaus in Santa Cruz province and parts of Chubut usually have snow cover through the winter, and often experience very cold temperatures. In Chile, the city of Balmaceda is known for being situated in this region (which is otherwise almost exclusively in Argentina), and for being the coldest place in Chile, with temperatures below −20 °C every once in a while.

The northern Atlantic coast has warm summers (28 °C to 32 °C, but with relatively cool nights at 15 °C) and mild winters, with highs of about 12 °C and lows about 2–3 °C. Occasionally, temperatures reach −10 °C or 40 °C, and rainfall is very scarce. It only gets a bit colder further south in Chubut, and the city of Comodoro Rivadavia has summer temperatures of 24 °C to 28 °C, nights of 12 °C to 16 °C, and winters with days around 10 °C and nights around 3 °C, and less than 250 mm of rain. However, there is a drastic drop as we move south to Santa Cruz: Rio Gallegos, in the south of the province, has summer temps of 17 °C to 21 °C, (nights between 6 °C and 10 °C) and winter temperatures of 2 °C to 6 °C, with nights between −5 °C and 0 °C despite being right on the coast. Snowfall is common despite the dryness, and temperatures are known to fall to under −18 °C and to remain below freezing for several days in a row. Rio Gallegos is also among the windiest places on Earth, with winds reaching 100 km h occasionally.

Tierra del Fuego is extremely wet in the west, relatively damp in the south, and dry in the north and east. Summers are cool (13 °C to 18 °C in the north, 12 °C to 16 °C in the south, with nights generally between 3 °C and 8 °C), cloudy in the south, and very windy. Winters are dark and cold, but without extreme temperatures in the south and west (Ushuaia rarely reaches −10 °C, but hovers around 0 °C for several months, and snow can be heavy). In the east and north, winters are much more severe, with cold snaps bringing temperatures down to −20 °C all the way to Rio Grande on the Atlantic coast. Snow can fall even in the summer in most areas as well.

The depletion of the ozone layer over the South Pole has been reported as being responsible for blindness and skin cancer in sheep in Tierra del Fuego, and concerns for human health and ecosystems.[23]


The guanaco (Lama guanicoe), the cougar, the Patagonian fox (Lycalopex griseus), the Patagonian hog-nosed skunk (Conepatus humboldtii), and the Magellanic tuco-tuco (Ctenomys magellanicus; a subterranean rodent) are the most characteristic mammals of the Patagonian plains. The Patagonian steppe is one of the last strongholds of the guanaco and Darwin's rheas (Rhea pennata),[24] which had been hunted for their skins by the Tehuelches, on foot using boleadoras, before the diffusion of firearms and horses;[25] they were formerly the chief means of subsistence for the natives, who hunted them on horseback with dogs and bolas. Vizcachas (Lagidum spp.) and the Patagonian mara[24] (Dolichotis patagonum) are also characteristic of the steppe and the Pampas to the north.

Bird life is often abundant. The southern caracara (Caracara plancus) is one of the characteristic objects of a Patagonian landscape; the presence of austral parakeets (Enicognathus ferrugineus) as far south as the shores of the strait attracted the attention of the earlier navigators; and green-backed firecrowns (Sephanoides sephaniodes), a species of hummingbird, may be seen flying amidst the falling snow. One of the largest birds in the world, the Andean condor (Vultur gryphus) can be seen in Patagonia.[26] Of the many kinds of waterfowl[24] it is enough to mention the Chilean flamingo (Phoenicopterus chilensis), the upland goose (Chloephaga picta), and in the strait the remarkable steamer ducks.

Signature marine fauna include the southern right whale, the Magellanic penguin (Spheniscus magellanicus), the orca and elephant seals. The Valdés Peninsula is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, designated for its global significance as a site for the conservation of marine mammals.[27]

The Patagonian freshwater fish fauna is relatively restricted compared to other similar Southern Hemisphere regions. The Argentine part is home to a total of 29 freshwater fish species; 18 of which are native.[28] The introduced are several species of trout, common carp and various species that originated in more northerly parts of South American. The natives are osmeriforms (Aplochiton and Galaxias), temperate perches (Percichthys), catfish (Diplomystes, Hatcheria and Trichomycterus), Neotropical silversides (Odontesthes) and characiforms (Astyanax, Cheirodon, Gymnocharacinus and Oligosarcus).[28] Other Patagonian freshwater fauna include the highly unusual aeglid crustacean.[29]


Pre-Columbian Patagonia (10,000 BC–AD 1520)

Pueblos indígenas de la Patagonia Austral
Map of the indigenous peoples of Southern Patagonia.

Human habitation of the region dates back thousands of years,[30] with some early archaeological findings in the area dated to at least the 13th millennium BC, although later dates of around the 10th millennium BC are more securely recognized. There is evidence of human activity at Monte Verde in Llanquihue Province, Chile dated to around 12,500 BC.[11] The glacial period ice-fields and subsequent large meltwater streams would have made settlement difficult at that time.

The region seems to have been inhabited continuously since 10,000 BC, by various cultures and alternating waves of migration, the details of which are as yet poorly understood. Several sites have been excavated, notably caves such as Cueva del Milodon[31] in Última Esperanza in southern Patagonia, and Tres Arroyos on Tierra del Fuego, that support this date.[11] Hearths, stone scrapers, animal remains dated to 9400–9200 BC have been found east of the Andes.[11]

Cueva de las Manos site in Santa Cruz, Argentina

The Cueva de las Manos is a famous site in Santa Cruz, Argentina. A cave at the foot of a cliff is covered in wall paintings, particularly the negative images of hundreds of hands, believed to date from around 8000 BC.[11]

Based on artifacts found in the region, it appears that hunting of guanaco, and to a lesser extent rhea (ñandú), were the primary food sources of tribes living on the eastern plains .[11] It is unclear whether the megafauna of Patagonia, including the ground sloth and horse, were extinct in the area before the arrival of humans, although this is now the more widely accepted account. It is also not clear if domestic dogs were part of early human activity. Bolas are commonly found and were used to catch guanaco and rhea.[11] A maritime tradition existed along the Pacific coast; whose latest exponents were the Yaghan (Yámana) to the south of Tierra del Fuego, the Kaweshqar between Taitao Peninsula and Tierra del Fuego and the Chono people in the Chonos Archipelago.

The indigenous peoples of the region included the Tehuelches, whose numbers and society were reduced to near extinction not long after the first contacts with Europeans. Tehuelches included the Gununa'kena to the north, Mecharnuekenk in south central Patagonia and the Aonikenk or Southern Tehuelche in the far South, north of the Magellan strait. On Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego, the Selk'nam (Ona) and Haush (Manek'enk) lived in the north and south east respectively. In the archipelagos to the south of Tierra del Fuego were Yámana, with the Kawéskar (Alakaluf) in the coastal areas and islands in western Tierra del Fuego and the south west of the mainland.[11] In the Patagonian archipelagoes north of Taitao Peninsula lived the Chonos. These groups were encountered in the first periods of European contact with different lifestyles, body decoration and language, although it is unclear when this configuration emerged.

Towards the end of the 16th century, Mapuche-speaking agriculturalists penetrated the western Andes and from there across into the eastern plains and down to the far south. Through confrontation and technological ability, they came to dominate the other peoples of the region in a short period of time, and are the principal indigenous community today.[11] The Mapuche model of domination through technological superiority and armed confrontation was later repeated as Europeans implemented a succeeding but conceptually identical cycle, essentially replacing the position of the former dominators with a new, albeit predominately European class.

Early European exploration (1520–1669)

Nao Victoria, the replica of the first ship to pass through the Strait of Magellan

This territory became the Spanish Colony of the Governorate of New Léon, granted in 1529 to Governor Simón de Alcazaba y Sotomayor, part of the Governorates of the Spanish Empire of the Americas, and redefined territory in 1534, it consisted of the southernmost part of the continent covering the Southern tip of the Americas and the islands towards Antarctica.

It is possible that navigators such as Gonçalo Coelho and Amerigo Vespucci had reached the area (his own account of 1502 has it that they reached the latitude 52° S), however Vespucci's failure to accurately describe the main geographical features of the region such as the Río de la Plata casts doubts on whether they really did so.

The first or more detailed description of part of the coastline of Patagonia is possibly mentioned in a Portuguese voyage in 1511-1512, traditionally attributed to captain Diogo Ribeiro, who after his death was replaced by Estevão de Frois, and was guided by the pilot and cosmographer João de Lisboa). The explorers, after reaching Rio de la Plata (which they would explore on the return voyage, contacting the Charrúa and other peoples) eventually reached San Matias Gulf, at 42° S. The expedition reported that after going south of the 40th parallel, they found a "land" or a "point extending into the sea", and further south, a gulf. The expedition is said to have rounded the gulf for nearly 300 km (186 mi) and sighted the continent on the southern side of the gulf.[32][33]

The Atlantic coast of Patagonia was first fully explored in 1520 by the Spanish expedition led by Ferdinand Magellan, who on his passage along the coast named many of its more striking features – San Matías Gulf, Cape of 11,000 Virgins (now simply Cape Virgenes), and others. Magellan's fleet spent a difficult winter at what he named Puerto San Julián before resuming its voyage further south on 21 August 1520. During this time it encountered the local inhabitants, likely to be Tehuelche people, described by his reporter, Antonio Pigafetta, as giants called Patagons.[34]

Rodrigo de Isla, sent inland in 1535 from San Matías by Simón de Alcazaba Sotomayor (on whom western Patagonia had been conferred by Charles I of Spain, is presumed to have been the first European to have traversed the great Patagonian plain. If the men under his charge had not mutinied, he might have crossed the Andes to reach the Pacific coast.

Pedro de Mendoza, on whom the country was next bestowed, founded Buenos Aires, but did not venture south. Alonzo de Camargo (1539), Juan Ladrilleros (1557) and Hurtado de Mendoza (1558) helped to make known the Pacific coasts, and while Sir Francis Drake's voyage in 1577 down the Atlantic coast, through the Strait of Magellan and northward along the Pacific coast was memorable, yet the descriptions of the geography of Patagonia owe much more to the Spanish explorer Pedro Sarmiento de Gamboa (1579–1580), who, devoting himself especially to the south-west region, made careful and accurate surveys. The settlements which he founded at Nombre de Dios and San Felipe were neglected by the Spanish government, the latter being abandoned before Thomas Cavendish visited it in 1587 and so desolate that he called it Port Famine. After the discovery of the route around Cape Horn the Spanish Crown lost interest in southern Patagonia until the eighteenth century when the coastal settlements Carmen de Patagones, San José, Puerto Deseado, and Nueva Colonia Floridablanca were established, although it maintained its claim of a de jure sovereignty over area.

In 1669, the district around Puerto Deseado was explored by John Davis and was claimed in 1670 by Sir John Narborough for King Charles II of England, but the English made no attempt to establish settlements or explore the interior.

Patagonian giants: early European perceptions

The first European explorers of Patagonia observed that the indigenous people in the region were taller than the average Europeans of the time, prompting some of them to believe that Patagonians were giants.

According to Antonio Pigafetta,[6] one of the Magellan expedition's few survivors and its published chronicler, Magellan bestowed the name "Patagão" (or Patagón) on the inhabitants they encountered there, and the name "Patagonia" for the region. Although Pigafetta's account does not describe how this name came about, subsequent popular interpretations gave credence to a derivation meaning 'land of the big feet'. However, this etymology is questionable. The term is most likely derived from an actual character name, "Patagón", a savage creature confronted by Primaleón of Greece, the hero in the homonymous Spanish chivalry novel (or knight-errantry tale) by Francisco Vázquez.[35] This book, published in 1512, was the sequel of the romance "Palmerín de Oliva," much in fashion at the time, and a favourite reading of Magellan. Magellan's perception of the natives, dressed in skins, and eating raw meat, clearly recalled the uncivilized Patagón in Vázquez's book. Novelist and travel writer Bruce Chatwin suggests etymological roots of both Patagon and Patagonia in his book, In Patagonia,[36] noting the similarity between "Patagon" and the Greek word παταγος, which means "a roaring" or "gnashing of teeth" (in his chronicle, Pigafetta describes the Patagonians as "roaring like bulls").

1840s illustration of indigenous Patagonians from near the Straits of Magellan; from "Voyage au pole sud et dans l'Océanie ....." by French explorer Jules Dumont d'Urville

The main interest in the region sparked by Pigafetta's account came from his reports of their meeting with the local inhabitants, whom they claimed to measure some nine to twelve feet in height —" tall that we reached only to his waist"—, and hence the later idea that Patagonia meant "big feet". This supposed race of Patagonian giants or Patagones entered into the common European perception of this little-known and distant area, to be further fuelled by subsequent reports of other expeditions and famous-name travellers like Sir Francis Drake, which seemed to confirm these accounts. Early charts of the New World sometimes added the legend regio gigantum ("region of the giants") to the Patagonian area. By 1611 the Patagonian god Setebos (Settaboth in Pigafetta) was familiar to the hearers of The Tempest.

The concept and general belief persisted for a further 250 years, and was to be sensationally re-ignited in 1767 when an "official" (but anonymous) account was published of Commodore John Byron's recent voyage of global circumnavigation in HMS Dolphin. Byron and crew had spent some time along the coast, and the publication (Voyage Round the World in His Majesty's Ship the Dolphin) seemed to give proof positive of their existence; the publication became an overnight best-seller, thousands of extra copies were to be sold to a willing public, and other prior accounts of the region were hastily re-published (even those in which giant-like folk were not mentioned at all).

However, the Patagonian giant frenzy died down substantially only a few years later, when some more sober and analytical accounts were published. In 1773 John Hawkesworth published on behalf of the Admiralty a compendium of noted English southern-hemisphere explorers' journals, including that of James Cook and John Byron. In this publication, drawn from their official logs, it became clear that the people Byron's expedition had encountered were no taller than 6-foot-6-inch (1.98 m), very tall but by no means giants. Interest soon subsided, although awareness of and belief in the concept persisted in some quarters even up into the 20th century.[37]

Scientific exploration (1764–1842)

In the second half of the 18th century, European knowledge of Patagonia was further augmented by the voyages of the previously mentioned John Byron (1764–1765), Samuel Wallis (1766, in the same HMS Dolphin which Byron had earlier sailed in) and Louis Antoine de Bougainville (1766). Thomas Falkner, a Jesuit who resided near forty years in those parts, published his Description of Patagonia (Hereford, 1774); Francisco Viedma founded El Carmen, nowadays Carmen de Patagones and Antonio settled the area of San Julian Bay, where he founded the colony of Floridablanca and advanced inland to the Andes (1782). Basilio Villarino ascended the Rio Negro (1782).

Two hydrographic surveys of the coasts were of first-rate importance: the first expedition (1826–1830) including HMS Adventure and HMS Beagle under Phillip Parker King, and the second (1832–1836) being the voyage of the Beagle under Robert FitzRoy. The latter expedition is particularly noted for the participation of Charles Darwin who spent considerable time investigating various areas of Patagonia onshore, including long rides with gauchos in Río Negro, and who joined FitzRoy in a 200 miles (320 kilometres) expedition taking ships boats up the course of the Santa Cruz river.

Chilean and Argentine colonisation (1843–1902)

In the early 19th century, the araucanization of the natives of northern Patagonia intensified and a lot of Mapuches migrated to Patagonia to live as nomads raising cattle or pillaging the Argentine countryside. The cattle stolen in the incursions (malones) would later be taken to Chile through the mountain passes and traded for goods, especially alcoholic beverages. The main trail for this trade was called Camino de los chilenos and run a length of about 1000 km from the Buenos Aires Province to the mountain passes of Neuquén Province. The lonco Calfucurá crossed the Andes from Chile to the Pampas around 1830, after a call from the governor of Buenos Aires, Juan Manuel de Rosas, to fight the Boroano people. In 1859, he attacked Bahía Blanca in Argentina with 3,000 warriors. As in the case of Calfucura, many other bands of Mapuches got involved in the internal conflicts of Argentina until Conquest of the Desert. To counter the cattle raids, a trench called Zanja de Alsina was built by Argentina in the pampas in the 1870s.

In the mid-19th century, the newly independent nations of Argentina and Chile began an aggressive phase of expansion into the south, increasing confrontation with the Indians of the region. In 1860, a French adventurer Orelie-Antoine de Tounens proclaimed himself king of the Kingdom of Araucanía and Patagonia of the Mapuche.

Mapa ARGENTINA frontera
Map of the advance of the Argentina frontier until the establishment of zanja de Alsina

Following the last instructions of Bernardo O'Higgins, the Chilean president Manuel Bulnes sent an expedition to the Strait of Magellan and founded Fuerte Bulnes in 1843. Five years later, the Chilean government moved the main settlement to the current location of Punta Arenas, the oldest permanent settlement in Southern Patagonia. The creation of Punta Arenas was instrumental in making Chile's claim of the Strait of Magellan permanent. In the 1860s sheep from the Falkland Islands were introduced to the lands around the Straits of Magellan, and throughout the 19th century the sheepfarming grew to be the most important economic sector in southern Patagonia.

George Chaworth Musters in 1869 wandered in company with a band of Tehuelches through the whole length of the country from the strait to the Manzaneros in the north-west, and collected a great deal of information about the people and their mode of life.[38]

Conquest of the desert and the 1881 treaty

Argentine authorities worried that the strong connections araucanized tribes had with Chile would allegedly give Chile certain influence over the pampas.[39] Argentine authorities feared an eventual war with Chile over Patagonia where the natives would side with the Chileans and that it would therefore be fought in the vicinities of Buenos Aires.[39]

The decision of planning and executing the Conquest of the Desert was probably triggered by the 1872 attack of Cufulcurá and his 6,000 followers on the cities of General Alvear, Veinticinco de Mayo and Nueve de Julio, where 300 criollos were killed, and 200,000 heads of cattle taken.

In the 1870s, the Conquest of the Desert was a controversial campaign by the Argentine government, executed mainly by General Julio Argentino Roca, to subdue or, some claim, to exterminate the native peoples of the South.

In 1885, a mining expeditionary party under the Romanian adventurer Julius Popper landed in southern Patagonia in search of gold, which they found after travelling southwards towards the lands of Tierra del Fuego. This further opened up some of the area to prospectors. European missionaries and settlers arrived through the 19th and 20th centuries, notably the Welsh settlement of the Chubut Valley.

During the first years of the 20th century, the border between the two nations in Patagonia was established by the mediation of the British crown. Numerous modifications have been made since then, the last conflict having been resolved in 1994 by an arbitral tribunal constituted in Rio de Janeiro, granting Argentina sovereignty over the Southern Patagonia Icefield, Cerro Fitz Roy and Laguna del Desierto.[40][41]

Until 1902, a large proportion of Patagonia's population were natives of Chiloé Archipelago (Chilotes) who worked as peons in large livestock farming estancias. As manual labour they had status below the gauchos and the Argentine, Chilean and European landowners and administrators.

Before and after 1902, when the boundaries were drawn, a lot of Chilotes were expelled from the Argentine side due to fear of what having a large Chilean population in Argentina could lead into in the future. These workers founded the first inland Chilean settlement in what is now the Aysén Region;[42][43] Balmaceda. Lacking good grasslands on the forest-covered Chilean side, the immigrants burned down the forest, setting fires that could last more than two years.[43]


Ovejas afuera de un galpon de esquila SETF
Tierra del Fuego sheep ranch, 1942. The region's primary activity then, it's been eclipsed by the decline in the global wool market as much as by petroleum and gas extraction.

The area's principal economic activities have been mining, whaling, livestock (notably sheep throughout) agriculture (wheat and fruit production near the Andes towards the north), and oil after its discovery near Comodoro Rivadavia in 1907.[44]

Energy production is also a crucial part of the local economy. Railways were planned to cover continental Argentine Patagonia to serve the oil, mining, agricultural and energy industries, and a line was built connecting San Carlos de Bariloche to Buenos Aires. Portions of other lines were built to the south, but the only lines still in use are La Trochita in Esquel, the 'Train of the End of the World' in Ushuaia, both heritage lines,[45] and a short run Tren Histórico de Bariloche to Perito Moreno.

In the western forest-covered Patagonian Andes and archipelagoes, wood lodging has historically been an important part of the economy; it impelled the colonization of the areas of the Nahuel Huapi and Lácar lakes in Argentina and Guaitecas Archipelago in Chile.


Mustering sheep in Patagonia
Gauchos mustering sheep in Patagonia

Sheep farming introduced in the late 19th century has been a principal economic activity. After reaching its heights during the First World War, the decline in world wool prices affected sheep farming in Argentina. Nowadays about half of Argentina's 15 million sheep are in Patagonia, a percentage that is growing as sheep farming disappears in the Pampa (to the North). Chubut (mainly Merino) is the top wool producer with Santa Cruz (Corriedale and some Merino) second. Sheep farming revived in 2002 with the devaluation of the peso and firmer global demand for wool (led by China and the EU). Still there is little investment in new abbatoirs (mainly in Comodoro Rivadavia, Trelew and Rio Gallegos), and often there are phytosanitary restrictions to the export of sheep meat. Extensive valleys in the Cordilleran range have provided sufficient grazing lands, and the low humidity and weather of the southern region make raising Merino and Corriedale sheep common.

Livestock also includes small numbers of cattle, and in lesser numbers pigs and horses. Sheep farming provides a small but important number of jobs for rural areas with little other employment.


Ballenas en Península Valdès
Whale watching off the Valdes Peninsula

In the second half of the 20th century, tourism became an ever more important part of Patagonia's economy. Originally a remote backpacking destination, the region has attracted increasing numbers of upmarket visitors, cruise passengers rounding Cape Horn or visiting Antarctica, and adventure and activity holiday-makers. Principal tourist attractions include the Perito Moreno glacier, the Valdés Peninsula, the Argentine Lake District and Ushuaia and Tierra del Fuego (the city is also a jumping off place for travel to Antarctica, bringing in still more visitors). Tourism has created new markets locally and for export for traditional crafts such as Mapuche handicrafts, guanaco textiles, and confectionery and preserves.[44]

A spin-off from increased tourism has been the buying of often enormous tracts of land by foreigners, often as a prestige purchase rather than for agriculture. Buyers have included Sylvester Stallone, Ted Turner and Christopher Lambert, and most notably Luciano Benetton, Patagonia's largest landowner.[44] His Compañia de Tierras Sud has brought new techniques to the ailing sheep-rearing industry and sponsored museums and community facilities, but has been controversial particularly for its treatment of local Mapuche communities.[46]


At the urging of the Chilean government, the Spanish company Endesa hopes to build a number of large hydro-electric dams in the Chilean Patagonia, which has raised environmental concerns from a large number of local and international NGOs. The first dams proposed would be built on the Baker and Pascua rivers, but dams have also been proposed on others, including the famed Futaleufú River in Chile and Santa Cruz river in Argentina. The dams would affect the minimum ecological flows and threaten the fishing, wilderness-tourism and agricultural interests along the river. The electricity would be fed into high-voltage lines (to be built by a Canadian company) and taken 1,200 miles (1,900 km) north to the industry and mining hub around Santiago. The lines would cut through a number of previously pristine national parks and protected areas. The rightist Piñera government considered the power to be essential for economic growth, while opponents claimed it would destroy Patagonia's growing tourism industry. On June 11, 2014, the new leftist Bachelet government rejected the dam project, estimated to be worth about 8 billion dollars, after years of pressure from environmental groups.

La Trochita on its Chubut Province route. Formerly the sole rapid transport means in the province, La Trochita is now a tourist attraction.

Due to its sparse rainfall in agricultural areas, Argentine Patagonia already has numerous dams for irrigation, some of which are also used for hydropower. The Limay River is used to generate hydroelectricity at five dams built on its course: Alicurá, Piedra del Águila, Pichi Picún Leufú, El Chocón, and Arroyito; together with the Cerros Colorados Complex on the Neuquén River they contribute with more than one quarter of the total hydroelectric generation in the country. Coal is mined in the Rio Turbio area and used for electrical generation. Patagonia's notorious winds have already made the area Argentina's main source of wind power, and there are plans for major increases in wind power generation. Patagonia has always been Argentina's main area, and Chile's only area, of conventional oil and gas production. Oil and gas have played an important role in the rise of Neuquén-Cipolleti as Patagonia's most populous urban area, and in the growth of Comodoro Rivadavia,[47] Punta Arenas, and Rio Grande as well. The development of the Neuquén basin's enormous unconventional oil and gas reserves through hydraulic fracturing has just begun, but the YPF-Chevron Loma Campana field in the Vaca Muerta formation is already the world's largest producing shale oil field outside North America according to former YPF CEO Miguel Gallucio.


Argentine Patagonian cuisine is largely the same as the cuisine of Buenos Aires – grilled meats and pasta – with extensive use of local ingredients and less use of those products which have to be imported into the region. Lamb is considered the traditional Patagonian meat, grilled for several hours over an open fire. Some guide books have reported that game, especially guanaco and introduced deer and boar, are popular in restaurant cuisine. However, since the guanaco is a protected animal in both Chile and Argentina, it is unlikely to appear commonly as restaurant fare. Trout and centolla (king crab) are also common, though over-fishing of centolla has made it increasingly scarce. In the area around Bariloche, there is a noted Alpine cuisine tradition, with chocolate bars and even fondue restaurants, and tea rooms are a feature of the Welsh communities in Gaiman and Trevelin as well as in the mountains.[44] Since the mid-1990s there has been some success with winemaking in Argentine Patagonia, especially in Neuquén.

Foreign land buyers issue

Foreign investors, including Italian multinational Benetton Group, Ted Turner, Joseph Lewis[48] and the environmentalist Douglas Tompkins, own major land areas. This situation has caused several conflicts with local inhabitants and the governments of Chile and Argentina; for example the opposition by Douglas Tompkins to the planned route for Carretera Austral in Pumalín Park. A scandal is also brewing about two properties owned by Ted Turner: the estancia La Primavera, located inside Nahuel Huapi National Park; and the estancia Collón Cura.[48] Benetton has faced criticism from Mapuche organizations, including Mapuche International Link, over its purchase of traditional Mapuche lands in Patagonia. The Curiñanco-Nahuelquir family was evicted from their land in 2002 following Benetton's claim to it, but the land was restored in 2007.[49]


Llao LLao

Nahuel Huapi Lake, near Bariloche, Argentina Chaitén volcano stretching across Patagonia into San Jorge Basin in the Atlantic Ocean

Perito Moreno Glacier - Satelite - NASA - ISS004-E-9707

Satellite view of the Perito Moreno Glacier (Santa Cruz Province) and the Andean ice-sheet

Chile (3), Patagonia, Road Y-50 towards Rio Verde

Road Y-50 towards Estancia Rio Verde, Magallanes, Chile

Chile (2), Patagonia, Laguna Cabeza de Mar

Laguna Cabeza de Mar, 50 km north of Punta Arenas, Magallanes, Chile

Perito Moreno Glacier Patagonia Argentina Luca Galuzzi 2005

Perito Moreno Glacier, Santa Cruz Province, Argentina

Cavalli Al Pascolo Ai Piedi Del Massiccio Del Fitz Roy, Patagonia

Monte Fitz Roy, Santa Cruz Province, Argentina


The city of Trelew, Chubut Province, Argentina


Welsh settlement in Patagonia. (Chubut Province, Argentina)

Southern right whale

Southern right whale in Península Valdés, Chubut Province, Argentina.

One of the most beautiful places on earth. Torres Del Paine (14838719522)

Cuernos del Paine, Torres del Paine National Park, Chile

See also


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  2. ^ Manuel Enrique Schilling; Richard WalterCarlson; AndrésTassara; Rommulo Vieira Conceição; Gustavo Walter Bertotto; Manuel Vásquez; Daniel Muñoz; Tiago Jalowitzki; Fernanda Gervasoni; Diego Morata (2017). The origin of Patagonia revealed by Re-Os systematics of mantle xenoliths. Precambrian Research, volumen 294: 15-32.
  3. ^ Zunino, H.; Matossian, B.; Hidalgo, R. (2012). Poblamiento y desarrollo de enclaves turísticos en la Norpatagonia chileno-argentina. Migración y frontera en un espacio binacional. Revista de Geografía Norte Grande, 53: 137-158.
  4. ^ Zunino, M.; Espinoza, L.; Vallejos-Romero A. (2016) Los migrantes por estilo de vida como agentes de transformación en la Norpatagonia chilena, Revista de Estudios Sociales, 55 (2016): 163-176.
  5. ^ Ciudadanía, territorio y desarrollo endógeno: resistencias y mediaciones de las políticas locales en las encrucijadas del neoliberalismo. Pág. 205. Autores: Rubén Zárate, Liliana Artesi, Oscar Madoery. Editor: Editorial Biblos, 2007. ISBN 950-786-616-7, 9789507866166
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  7. ^ Fondebrider, Jorge (2003). "Chapter 1 – Ámbitos y voces". Versiones de la Patagonia (in Spanish) (1st ed.). Buenos Aires, Argentina: Emecé Editores S.A. p. 29. ISBN 978-950-04-2498-1.
  8. ^ Robert Silverberg (2011). "The Strange Case of the Patagonian Giants" (PDF). Asimov's Science Fiction. To the voyagers of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, when the average height of an adult European male was just over five feet [1.55 meters], the Patagonians surely must have looked very large, as, to any child, all adults seem colossal. Then, too, an element of understandable human exaggeration must have entered these accounts of men who had traveled so far and endured so much, and the natural wish not to be outdone by one’s predecessors helped to produce these repeated fantasies of Goliaths ten feet tall or even more.
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  16. ^ Though not without it where the formations surface; see Chacaicosaurus and Mollesaurus from the Los Molles, and Caypullisaurus, Cricosaurus, Geosaurus, Herbstosaurus, and Wenupteryx from the Vaca Muerta.
  17. ^ U.S. Energy Information Administration, Technically Recoverable Shale Oil and Shale Gas Resources: An Assessment of 137 Shale Formations in 41 Countries Outside the United States, June 2013, pp. V-1 through V-13. According to the same study, the Austral (Argentine name)/Magallanes (Chilean name) basin under the southern Patagonian mainland and Tierra del Fuego may also have massive hydrocarbon reserves in early Cretaceous shales; see pp. V-23 and VII-17 in particular. On May 21, 2014, YPF also announced the first oil and gas discovery in the D-129 shale formation of the Golfo San Jorge area in Chubut, and on August 14, 2014, the first shale oil discovery in yet another Cretaceous formation in the Neuquén basin, the Valanginian/Hauterivian Agrio formation; see "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 26 May 2014. Retrieved 27 May 2014.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link), and "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 18 August 2014.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
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Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Patagonia". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.

Further reading

  • The Last Cowboys at the End of the World: The Story of the Gauchos of Patagonia, Nick Reding, 2002. ISBN 0-609-81004-9
  • The Old Patagonian Express, Paul Theroux, 1979.
  • In Patagonia, Bruce Chatwin, 1977 and 1988. ISBN 0-14-243719-0
  • Patagonia: A Cultural History, Chris Moss, 2008. ISBN 978-1-904955-38-2
  • Patagonia: A Forgotten Land: From Magellan to Peron, C. A. Brebbia, 2006. ISBN 978-1-84564-061-3
  • The Wild Shores of Patagonia: The Valdés Peninsula & Punta Tombo, Jasmine Rossi, 2000. ISBN 0-8109-4352-2
  • Luciana Vismara, Maurizio OM Ongaro, PATAGONIA – E-BOOK W/ UNPUBLISHED FOTOS, MAPS, TEXTS (Formato Kindle – 6 November 2011) – eBook Kindle
  • Adventures in Patagonia: a missionary's exploring trip, Titus Coan, 1880. Library of Congress Control Number 03009975. A list of writings relating to Patagonia, 320-21.
  • Idle Days in Patagonia by William Henry Hudson, Chapman and Hall Ltd, London, 1893

External links

Coordinates: 41°S 68°W / 41°S 68°W

Araucanization of Patagonia

The Araucanization of Patagonia (Spanish: Araucanización de la Patagonia) was the process of the expansion of Mapuche culture, influence, and its Mapudungun language from Araucanía across the Andes into the plains of Patagonia. Historians disagree over the time period during which the expansion took place, but estimate it occurred roughly between 1550 and 1850.Amerindian peoples of the pampas, such as the Puelche, Pehuenche, and Tehuelche, adopted the Mapudungun language as their main language (both of their names are in Mapudungun). Together with Quechua, Aymara, Guarani, and Nahuatl, Mapudungun was among the few Amerindian languages that expanded in use on the continents after the beginning of European colonization. This area of the Patagonia was generally isolated from European settlement until late in the 19th century.

The Mapuche who migrated to Patagonia lived often as nomads. As European settlers established frontier settlements, the Mapuche raided them for cattle or looted their produce. They drove off the cattle stolen in the incursions (malones) and took them to Chile through the mountain passes to trade for goods, especially alcoholic beverages. The main trail for this trade was called Camino de los chilenos and ran a length of about 1,000 kilometres (600 mi) from Buenos Aires Province to the mountain passes of Neuquén Province.

The lonco Calfucurá crossed the Andes from Chile to the Pampas around 1830 to aid the indigenous people, after Juan Manuel de Rosas, the governor of Buenos Aires, started to fight the Boreanos tribe. However, other sources directly contradict this statement, saying that de Rosas contacted the leader in Chile for help fighting against the Boreanos tribe. In 1859 Calfucurá attacked Bahía Blanca in Argentina with 3,000 warriors. Many other bands of Mapuche also became involved in the internal conflicts of Argentina until the Conquest of the Desert. To counter the cattle raids (and the native peoples on horseback), in the 1870s Argentina constructed a deep trench, called Zanja de Alsina, to prevent cattle from being driven west and establish a boundary to the raiding tribes in the pampas.

Argentine authorities were worried that strong connections between the Araucanized tribes and Chile would give Chile influence over the pampas. Both Argentina and Chile claimed the Patagonia. The Argentine government feared that in case of war, the natives would side with the Chileans, who would be able to carry the war all the way to the vicinity of Buenos Aires.In 1872 Cufulcurá and his 6,000 followers went across the pampas to attack the cities of General Alvear, Veinticinco de Mayo and Nueve de Julio, resulting in the deaths of 300 settlers and the loss of 200,000 head of cattle, which the Mapuche drove back to Chile. After this, Argentina organized its forces to launch what it called the Conquest of the Desert and attacked indigenous people for years. It is estimated that more than 5000 native peoples were killed or captured in that major assault, which was facilitated by the new Remington weapon arming the 6,000 Argentine soldiers (as stated by Gen. Ignacio Fotheringham) [Bodley p. 63, 72]. However, the losses to the Army were minimal, with only 13 soldiers killed;[3] the lop-sided 'victory' was taken as proof of European superiority and celebrated in art. The 100 peso bill of Argentina has a picture honoring the Conquest of the Desert on one side.


The guanaco (Lama guanicoe) (from Quechua "Wanaku", via Spanish) is a camelid native to South America, closely related to the llama. Its name comes from the Quechua word huanaco (modern spelling wanaku). Young guanacos are called chulengos.

Kingdom of Araucanía and Patagonia

The Kingdom of Araucanía and Patagonia (Spanish: Reino de la Araucanía y de la Patagonia; French: Royaume d'Araucanie et de Patagonie, sometimes referred to as New France) was an unrecognized state proclaimed on November 17, 1860 by a decree of Orélie-Antoine de Tounens, a French lawyer and adventurer who claimed that the regions of Araucanía and eastern Patagonia did not need to depend on any other states. He had the support of some Mapuche lonkos, who were engaged in a desperate armed struggle to retain their independence in the face of hostile military and economic encroachment by the governments of Chile and Argentina, who coveted the Mapuche lands for economical and political reasons.

Arrested on January 5, 1862 by the Chilean authorities, Antoine de Tounens was imprisoned and declared insane on September 2, 1862 by the court of Santiago and expelled to France on October 28, 1862. He later tried three times to return to Araucania to reclaim his "kingdom" without success.

National University of Patagonia San Juan Bosco

The National University of the Patagonia San Juan Bosco (Spanish: Universidad Nacional de la Patagonia San Juan Bosco) is a higher education establishment in Patagonia, southern Argentina. It was created on February 25, 1980, by law 22.713, as the merge of two national universities: the "Universidad de San Juan Bosco" and "Universidad Nacional de la Patagonia". It is named after San Juan Bosco, patron saint of the area.

The university has four schools - Engineering, Economy, Humanities, Legal, and Natural Sciences, spread over several cities in Patagonia: Puerto Madryn, Trelew, Esquel, Comodoro Rivadavia, and Ushuaia. The central faculty is located in Comodoro Rivadavia.

The University has as of 2005 14,000 students, with 5000 in the main school.

In 2015, the university opened to the inhabitants of the Falkland Islands. The academic program was translated into English, language courses were designed and a system of special scholarship was established. Thus, National University of the Patagonia San Juan Bosco became the first Argentine university to extend their academic offer to Falkland Islanders.

Neuquén Province

Neuquén (Spanish pronunciation: [neu̯ˈken]) is a province of Argentina, located in the west of the country, at the northern end of Patagonia. It borders Mendoza Province to the north, Rio Negro Province to the southeast, and Chile to the west. It also meets La Pampa Province at its northeast corner.

Orélie-Antoine de Tounens

Orélie-Antoine de Tounens (born Antoine Tounens) (12 May 1825 – 17 September 1878) was a French lawyer and adventurer who proclaimed by a decree on 17 November 1860 that Araucanía and Patagonia did not depend of any other states and that a Kingdom of Araucanía was founded with himself as King under the name Orélie-Antoine I. It is disputed whether Tounens was a self-proclaimed king or was elected by some loncos (Mapuche chiefs). Arrested on 5 January 1862 by the Chilean authorities, Antoine de Tounens was imprisoned and declared insane on 2 September 1862 by the court of Santiago and expelled to France on 28 October 1862. Later he tried three times to come back to Araucanía to regain his "kingdom", but without success, and died in misery on 17 September 1878 in Tourtoirac, France.

Patagonia, Arizona

Patagonia is a town in Santa Cruz County, Arizona, United States. As of the 2010 census Patagonia had a population of 913. Patagonia was formerly a supply center for nearby mines and ranches. It is a tourist destination, retirement community and arts and crafts center.

Patagonia (clothing)

Patagonia, Inc., originally Chouinard Equipment, is an American clothing company that markets and sells outdoor clothing. The company was founded by Yvon Chouinard in 1973, and is based in Ventura, California. After going bankrupt in 1989, the company split into Black Diamond Equipment, selling climbing gear, and the current Patagonia company that sells soft goods. Its logo is the outline of Mount Fitz Roy in Patagonia, South America, which happens to border the two countries of the region: Chile and Argentina.

Patagonia (film)

Patagonia is a 2010 British-Argentine drama film co-written and directed by Marc Evans. The story centers on Welsh and Argentine people connected to "Y Wladfa", the Welsh settlement in Patagonia, Argentina. The film stars several well-known Welsh actors including Matthew Rhys, Nia Roberts and the singer Duffy. It premiered at the Seattle International Film Festival on 10 June 2010 and had its UK premiere in Cardiff on 4 March 2011.It was selected as the British entry for Best Foreign Language Film at the 84th Academy Awards, but it did not make the final shortlist.

Patagonia Lake State Park

Patagonia Lake State Park is a state park of Arizona, USA, containing Patagonia Lake. The 2.5-mile-long (4.0 km), 250-acre (100 ha) lake located near Patagonia, Arizona, is a popular southern Arizona site for fishing, camping, boat rental, picnicking, hiking, and birding. Located inside the park is the recently established Sonoita Creek State Natural Area, Arizona's first major state natural area. Created by the damming of Sonoita Creek, the lake is habitat for reproducing largemouth bass, black crappie, bluegill, green sunfish, flathead catfish, threadfin shad, redear sunfish, channel catfish, and American bullfrogs. Rainbow trout are stocked every three weeks from October to March. Sonoita Creek contains black bullhead, red shiner, mosquitofish, crayfish, American bullfrogs, largemouth bass, Gila topminnows, speckled dace, longfin dace, Sonora suckers, and desert suckers. Special events include an annual mariachi festival in March and bird tours and interpretive programs on request.

Patagonia Lake State Park is located on State Route 82, 7 miles (11 km) south of Patagonia, Arizona.

Patagonia Mountains

The Patagonia Mountains are a 15-mile-long (24 km) mountain range within the Coronado National Forest, and in Santa Cruz County, Arizona.

Patagonian Desert

The Patagonian Desert, also known as the Patagonian Steppe or Magellanic Steppe, is the largest desert in Argentina and is the 8th largest desert in the world by area, occupying 673,000 square kilometers (260,000 mi2). It is located primarily in Argentina with small parts in Chile and is bounded by the Andes, to its west, and the Atlantic Ocean to its east, in the region of Patagonia, southern Argentina. To the north the desert grades into the Cuyo Region and the Pampas. The central parts of the steppe are dominated by shrubby and herbaceous plant species albeit to the west, where precipitation is higher, bushes are replaced by grasses. Topographically the deserts consist of alternating tablelands and massifs dissected by river valleys and canyons. The more western parts of the steppe host lakes of glacial origin and grades into barren mountains or cold temperate forests along valleys.

Inhabited by hunter-gatherers since Pre-Hispanic times, the desert faced migration in the 19th century of Mapuches, Chileans, Argentines, Welsh, and other European peoples, transforming it from a conflictive borderland zone to an integral part of Argentina, with cattle, sheep and horse husbandry being the primary land uses.

Río Negro Province

Río Negro (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈri.o ˈneɣɾo], Black River) is a province of Argentina, located at the northern edge of Patagonia. Neighboring provinces are from the south clockwise Chubut, Neuquén, Mendoza, La Pampa and Buenos Aires. To the east lies the Atlantic Ocean.

Its capital is Viedma. Other important cities include the ski resort town of Bariloche, General Roca and Cipolletti.

Santa Cruz Province, Argentina

Santa Cruz Province (Spanish: Provincia de Santa Cruz, Spanish pronunciation: [ˈsanta ˈkɾus]) is a province of Argentina, located in the southern part of the country, in Patagonia. It borders Chubut Province to the north, and Chile to the west and south, with an Atlantic coast on its east. Santa Cruz is the second-largest province of the country (after Buenos Aires Province), and the least densely populated in mainland Argentina.

The indigenous people of the province are the Tehuelches, who despite European exploration from the 16th century onwards, retained independence until the late 19th century. Soon after the Conquest of the Desert in the 1870s, the area was organised as the Territory of Santa Cruz, named after its original capital in Puerto Santa Cruz. The capital moved to Rio Gallegos in 1888 and has remained there ever since. Immigrants from various European countries came to the territory in the late 19th and early 20th century during a gold rush. Santa Cruz became a province of Argentina in 1957.

Southern Patagonian Ice Field

The Southern Patagonian Ice Field (Spanish: Hielo Continental or Campo de Hielo Sur), located at the Southern Patagonic Andes between Chile and Argentina, is the world's second largest contiguous extrapolar ice field. It is the bigger of two remnant parts of the Patagonian Ice Sheet, which covered all of southern Chile during the last glacial period, locally called the Llanquihue glaciation.

Tehuelche people

The Aónikenk people, better known by the exonym Tehuelche, are a group of indigenous peoples of Patagonia and the southern regions of Argentina and Chile.

They are widely believed to be the basis for the Patagones described by European explorers.

It is possible the stories of the early European explorers about the Patagones, a race of giants in South America, are based on the Tehuelche, because the Tehuelche were typically tall, taller than the average European of the time.

According to the 2001 census [INDEC], 4,300 Tehuelche lived in the provinces of Chubut and Santa Cruz, and Río Negro, an additional 1,637 in other parts of Argentina. There are now no Tehuelche tribes living in Chile, though some Tehuelche were assimilated into Mapuche groups over the years.


Trelew (Spanish pronunciation: [treˈleu̯], from Welsh: tref "town" and the name of the founder) is a city in the Chubut Province of Argentina. Located in Patagonia, the city is the largest and most populous in the low valley of the Chubut River, with 97,915 inhabitants as of 2010. The Trelew municipality is part of the Rawson Department, whose capital, Rawson, is also the provincial capital.

Trelew is an important commercial and industrial centre for the region and is the main hub for wool processing, accounting for 90 percent of activity in Argentina. The produce of this industry is mainly shipped and exported through Puerto Madryn and Puerto Deseado.

Trelew is home to the Museum of Paleontology Egidio Feruglio, showcasing the paleontological heritage of the Patagonic region, and considered one of the most important of its kind in South America and the Astronomic and Planetary Observatory.

The city is served by the Almirante Marcos A. Zar Airport, of both civilian and military use. The airport's runway is shared with the Almirante Zar Naval Base, home of the Lockheed P-3 Orion squadron of the Argentine Naval Aviation.

Y Wladfa

Y Wladfa (Welsh pronunciation: [ə ˈwladva], 'The Colony'); also occasionally Y Wladychfa Gymreig (Welsh pronunciation: [ə wlaˈdəχva ɡəmˈreiɡ], 'The Welsh Settlement') was a partly successful Welsh settlement in Argentina, which began in 1865 and occurred mainly along the coast of Chubut Province in Patagonia.

In the 19th and early 20th century the Argentine government encouraged emigration from Europe to populate the country outside the Buenos Aires region; between 1856 and 1875, 34 settlements of immigrants of various nationalities were established in Santa Fe and Entre Ríos. In addition to the main colony in Chubut, a smaller colony was set up in Santa Fe by 44 Welsh people who left Chubut, and another group settled at Coronel Suárez in southern Buenos Aires Province. In the early 21st century around 50,000 Patagonians could claim to be of Welsh descent.The Welsh-Argentine community is centred on Gaiman, Trelew and Trevelin. Chubut estimates the number of Patagonian Welsh speakers to be about 1,500, while other estimates put the number at 5,000.

Earth's primary regions

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