Patagonia (Spanish pronunciation: [pataˈɣonja]) refers to a geographical region that encompasses the southern end of South America, governed by Argentina and Chile. The region comprises the southern section of the Andes Mountains with lakes, fjords, temperate rainforests, and glaciers in the west and deserts, tablelands and steppes to the east. Patagonia is bounded by the Pacific Ocean on the west, the Atlantic Ocean to the east, and many bodies of water that connect them, such as the Strait of Magellan, the Beagle Channel, and the Drake Passage 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. The archipelago of Tierra del Fuego is sometimes included as part of Patagonia. Most geographers and historians locate the no...Read more

Patagonia (Spanish pronunciation: [pataˈɣonja]) refers to a geographical region that encompasses the southern end of South America, governed by Argentina and Chile. The region comprises the southern section of the Andes Mountains with lakes, fjords, temperate rainforests, and glaciers in the west and deserts, tablelands and steppes to the east. Patagonia is bounded by the Pacific Ocean on the west, the Atlantic Ocean to the east, and many bodies of water that connect them, such as the Strait of Magellan, the Beagle Channel, and the Drake Passage 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. 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.

At the time of the Spanish arrival, Patagonia was inhabited by multiple indigenous tribes. In a small portion of northwestern Patagonia, indigenous peoples practiced agriculture, while in the remaining territory, peoples lived as hunter-gatherers, traveling by foot in eastern Patagonia or by dugout canoe and dalca in the fjords and channels. In colonial times indigenous peoples of northeastern Patagonia adopted a horseriding lifestyle. While the interest of the Spanish Empire had been chiefly to keep other European powers away from Patagonia, independent Chile and Argentina began to colonize the territory slowly over the course of the 19th and early 20th centuries. This process brought a decline of the indigenous populations, whose lives and habitats were disrupted, while at the same time thousands of Europeans, Argentines, Chilotes and mainland Chileans settled in Patagonia. Border disputes between Argentina and Chile were recurrent in the 20th century. Except for the boundary along the Southern Patagonian Ice Field, all of these disputes have been settled today.

The contemporary economy of eastern Patagonia revolves around sheep farming and oil and gas extraction, while in western Patagonia fishing, salmon aquaculture, and tourism dominate. Culturally, Patagonia has a varied heritage, including Criollo, Mestizo, Indigenous, German, Croat, Italian and Welsh influences.

Pre-Columbian Patagonia (10,000 BC – AD 1520)
Map of the indigenous peoples of Southern Patagonia

Human habitation of the region dates back thousands of years,[1] with some early archaeological findings in the area dated to at least the 13th millennium BC, although later dates around the 10th millennium BC are more securely recognized. Evidence exists of human activity at Monte Verde in Llanquihue Province, Chile, dated to around 12,500 BC.[2] 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[3] in Última Esperanza in southern Patagonia, and Tres Arroyos on Tierra del Fuego, that support this date.[2] Hearths, stone scrapers, and animal remains dated to 9400–9200 BC have been found east of the Andes.[2]

Cueva de las Manos site in Santa Cruz, Argentina

The Cueva de las Manos is a famous site in Santa Cruz, Argentina. This 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.[2]

Based on artifacts found in the region, apparently hunting of guanaco, and to a lesser extent rhea (ñandú), were the primary food sources of tribes living on the eastern plains.[2] Whether the megafauna of Patagonia, including the ground sloth and horse, were extinct in the area before the arrival of humans is unclear, 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.[2] 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 southeast, 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 southwest of the mainland.[2] 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.[2]

Early European exploration (1520–1669)
Nao Victoria, the replica of the first ship to pass through the Strait of Magellan

Navigators such as Gonçalo Coelho and Amerigo Vespucci possibly had reached the area (his own account of 1502 has it that they reached the latitude 52°S), but 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.[4][5]

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.[6] 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.[7]

The territory became the Spanish colony of the Governorate of New Léon, granted in 1529 to Governor Simón de Alcazaba y Sotomayor [es], part of the Governorates of the Spanish Empire of the Americas. The territory was redefined in 1534 and consisted of the southernmost part of the South American continent and the islands towards Antarctica.

Rodrigo de Isla, sent inland in 1535 from San Matías by Simón de Alcazaba y 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. Alonso de Camargo [es] (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,[6] 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 that he founded at Nombre de Jesús and San Felipe was neglected by the Spanish government, the latter being abandoned before Thomas Cavendish visited it in 1587 during his circumnavigation, and so desolate that he called it Port Famine.[6] After the discovery of the route around Cape Horn, the Spanish Crown lost interest in southern Patagonia until the 18th 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 the 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,[8] 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.[9] This book, published in 1512, was the sequel of the romance Palmerín de Oliva;it was much in vogue at the time, and a favorite 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,[10] noting the similarity between "Patagon" and the Greek word παταγος,[citation needed] which means "a roaring" or "gnashing of teeth" (in his chronicle, Pigafetta describes the Patagonians as "roaring like bulls").

An 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 9 to 12 feet in height – "so tall that we reached only to his waist" – 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 then little-known and distant area, to be further fueled by subsequent reports of other expeditions and famous travelers such as Sir Francis Drake, which seemed to confirm these accounts.[citation needed] 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.[6]

The concept and general belief persisted for a further 250 years and was to be sensationally reignited 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 bestseller, thousands of extra copies were to be sold to a willing public, and other prior accounts of the region were hastily republished (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, the people Byron's expedition had encountered clearly 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 into the 20th century.[11]

Spanish outposts

The Spanish failure at colonizing the Strait of Magellan made Chiloé Archipelago assume the role of protecting the area of western Patagonia from foreign intrusions.[12] Valdivia, reestablished in 1645, and Chiloé acted as sentries, being hubs where the Spanish collected information and rumors from all over Patagonia.[13]

As a result of the corsair and pirate menace, Spanish authorities ordered the depopulation of the Guaitecas Archipelago to deprive enemies of any eventual support from native populations.[14] This then led to the transfer of the majority of the indigenous Chono population to the Chiloé Archipelago in the north while some Chonos moved south of Taitao Peninsula effectively depopulating the territory in the 18th century.[14]

The publication of Thomas Falkner's book A Description of Patagonia and the Adjacent Parts of South America in England fuelled speculations in Spain about renewed British interest in Patagonia. In response an order from the King of Spain was issued to settle the eastern coast of Patagonia.[15] This led to the brief existence of colonies at the Gulf of San Jorge (1778–1779) and San Julián (1780–1783) and the more longlasting colony of Carmen de Patagones.[15]

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).[6]

Tehuelche warriors in Patagonia

Two hydrographic surveys of the coasts were of first-rate importance; the first expedition (1826–1830) included HMS Adventure and HMS Beagle under Phillip Parker King, and the second (1832–1836) was 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 mi (320 km) expedition taking ships' boats up the course of the Santa Cruz River.[6]

Spanish American independence wars

During the independence wars rumours about the imminent arrival of Spanish troops to Patagonia, either from Peru or Chiloé, were common among indigenous peoples of the Pampas and northern Patagonia.[16] In 1820 Chilean patriot leader José Miguel Carrera allied with the indigenous Ranquel people of the Pampas in order to fight the rival patriots in Buenos Aires.[16] José Miguel Carrera ultimately planned to cross the Andes into Chile and oust his rivals in Chile.

The last royalist armed group in what is today Argentina and Chile, the Pincheira brothers, moved from the vicinities of Chillán across the Andes into northern Patagonia as patriots consolidated control of Chile. The Pincheira brothers was an outlaw gang made of Europeans Spanish, American Spanish, Mestizos and local indigenous peoples.[17] This group was able to move to Patagonia thanks to its alliance with two indigenous tribes, the Ranqueles and the Boroanos.[17][16] In the interior of Patagonia, far from the de facto territory of Chile and the United Provinces, the Pincheira brothers established permanent encampment with thousands of settlers.[17] From their bases the Pincheiras led numerous raids into the countryside of the newly established republics.[16]

Chilean and Argentine colonization (1843–1902)

In the early 19th century, the araucanization of the natives of northern Patagonia intensified, and many Mapuches migrated to Patagonia to live as nomads that raised cattle or pillaged the Argentine countryside. The cattle stolen in the incursions (malones) were later 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 runs a length around 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 the Zanja de Alsina was built by Argentina in the pampas in the 1870s.

Map of the advance of the Argentine frontier until the establishment of zanja de Alsina

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 Indigenous peoples of the region. In 1860, French adventurer Orelie-Antoine de Tounens proclaimed himself king of the Kingdom of Araucanía and Patagonia of the Mapuche.

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, sheepfarming grew to be the most important economic sector in southern Patagonia.[citation needed]

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 northwest, and collected a great deal of information about the people and their mode of life.[6][18]

Conquest of the Desert and the 1881 treaty
Under General Roca, the Conquest of the Desert extended Argentine power into Patagonia

Argentine authorities worried that the strong connections araucanized tribes had with Chile would allegedly give Chile certain influence over the pampas.[19] Argentine authorities feared that in an eventual war with Chile over Patagonia, the natives would side with the Chileans and the war would be brought to the vicinity of Buenos Aires.[19]

The decision to plan and execute the Conquest of the Desert was probably catalyzed 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 traveling southwards towards the lands of Tierra del Fuego. This led to the further opening up of the area to prospectors. European missionaries and settlers arrived throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, notably the Welsh settlement of the Chubut Valley. Numerous Croatians also settled in Patagonia.[20]

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 arbitration tribunal constituted in Rio de Janeiro. It granted Argentina sovereignty over the Southern Patagonia Icefield, Cerro Fitz Roy, and Laguna del Desierto.[21][22][circular reference]

Until 1902, a large proportion of Patagonia's population were natives of Chiloé Archipelago (Chilotes), who worked as peons in large livestock-farming estancias. Because they were manual laborers, their social status was below that of the gauchos and the Argentine, Chilean, and European landowners and administrators.

Before and after 1902, when the boundaries were drawn, Argentina expelled many Chilotes from their territory, as they feared that having a large Chilean population in Argentina could pose a risk to their future control. These workers founded the first inland Chilean settlement in what is now the Aysén Region;[23][24] 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.[24]

^ SCHLOSSBERG, TATIANA (17 June 2016). "12,000 Years Ago, Humans and Climate Change Made a Deadly Team". NYT. NYC. Retrieved 19 June 2016. ^ a b c d e f g h Cite error: The named reference Princeton was invoked but never defined (see the help page). ^ C. Michael Hogan (2008) Cueva del Milodon, The Megalithic Portal, ed. A. Burnham [1] ^ Oskar Hermann Khristian Spate. The Spanish Lake. Canberra: ANU E Press, 2004. p. 37.[2] ^ Newen Zeytung auss Presillg Landt (in ancient German and Portuguese) Newen Zeytung auss Presillg Landt ^ a b c d e f g Chisholm 1911, p. 901. ^ Laurence Bergreen (14 October 2003). Over the Edge of the World. Harper Perennial, 2003. p. 163. ISBN 978-0-06-621173-2. ^ Cite error: The named reference Pigafetta was invoked but never defined (see the help page). ^ Ulijaszek, Stanley J.; Johnston, Francis E.; Preece, M. A., eds. (1998). "Patagonian Giants: Myths and Possibilities". The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Human Growth and Development. Cambridge University Press. p. 380. ^ Chatwin, Bruce. In Patagonia (1977). ch. 49 ^ Carolyne Ryan. "European Travel Writings and the Patagonian giants". Lawrence University. Archived from the original on 5 August 2012. Retrieved 24 October 2013. ^ Urbina C., M. Ximena (2013). "Expediciones a las costas de la Patagonia Occidental en el periodo colonial". Magallania (in Spanish). 41 (2): 51–84. doi:10.4067/S0718-22442013000200002. ^ Urbina C., María Ximena (2017). "La expedición de John Narborough a Chile, 1670: Defensa de Valdivia, rumeros de indios, informaciones de los prisioneros y la creencia en la Ciudad de los Césares" [John Narborough expedition to Chile, 1670: Defense of Valdivia, indian rumors, information on prisoners, and the belief in the City of the Césares]. Magallania. 45 (2): 11–36. doi:10.4067/S0718-22442017000200011. ^ a b Cite error: The named reference IbarBruce was invoked but never defined (see the help page). ^ a b Williams (1975), p. 17–18. ^ a b c d Ratto, Silvia (2008). "¿Revolución en las pampas? Diplomacia y malones entre indígenas de pampa y patagonia". In Fradkin, Raúl O. (ed.). ¿Y el Pueblo dónde está? Contribuciones para una historia popular de la revolución de independencia en el Río de la Plata (in Spanish). Buenos Aires: Prometeo Libros. pp. 241–246. ISBN 978-987-574-248-2. ^ a b c Manara, Carla G. (2010). "Movilización en las fronteras. Los Pincheira y el última intento de reconquista hispana en el sur Americano (1818-1832)" (PDF). Revista Sociedad de Paisajes Áridos y Semiáridos (in Spanish). Universidad Nacional de Río Cuarto. II (II): 39–60. ^ Dickenson, John. "Musters, George Chaworth". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/19679. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.) ^ a b Perry, Richard O. (1980). "Argentina and Chile: The Struggle For Patagonia 1843–1881". The Americas. 36 (3): 347–363. doi:10.2307/981291. JSTOR 981291. ^ Bilić, Danira (5 May 2008). "Vučetić's time and the Croatian community in Argentina". Croatian Heritage Foundation. Archived from the original on 21 May 2011. ^ Rosa, Carlos Leonardo de la (1 January 1998). Acuerdo sobre los hielos continentales: razones para su aprobación. Ediciones Jurídicas Cuyo. ISBN 9789509099678. ^ es:Disputa de la laguna del Desierto ^ "Coihaique – Ciudades y Pueblos del sur de Chile". Retrieved 20 August 2012. ^ a b Luis Otero, La Huella del Fuego: Historia de los bosques y cambios en el paisaje del sur de Chile (Valdivia, Editorial Pehuen)
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