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Patagonia () refers to a geographical region that encompasses the southern end of
South America South America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical regions are commonly regarded as continent ...

South America
, governed by
Argentina Argentina (), officially the Argentine Republic ( es, link=no, República Argentina), is a country located mostly in the southern half of South America South America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasse ...

Argentina
and
Chile Chile, officially the Republic of Chile, is a country in the western part of South America South America is a entirely in the and mostly in the , with a relatively small portion in the . It can also be described as the southern ...

Chile
. The region comprises the southern section of the
Andes The Andes, Andes Mountains or Andean Mountains ( es, Cordillera de los Andes) are the List of mountain ranges#Mountain ranges by length, longest continental mountain range in the world, forming a continuous highland along the western edge of Sou ...

Andes
Mountains, lakes,
fjord In physical geography Physical geography (also known as physiography) is one of the two fields of geography Geography (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδ ...

fjord
s, and
glacier A glacier (; ) is a persistent body of dense ice Ice is into a state. Depending on the presence of such as particles of soil or bubbles of air, it can appear transparent or a more or less bluish-white color. In the , ice is abunda ...

glacier
s in the west and
deserts upright=1.5, alt=see caption, Sand dunes in the Rub' al Khali ("Empty quarter") in the United Arab Emirates">Rub'_al_Khali.html" ;"title="Sand dunes in the Rub' al Khali">Sand dunes in the Rub' al Khali ("Empty quarter") in the United Arab ...
,
tableland A table or tableland is a butte __NOTOC__ In geomorphology incised into shale at the foot of the North Caineville Plateau, Utah, within the pass carved by the Fremont River and known as the Blue Gate. GK Gilbert studied the landscap ...

tableland
s and
steppe In physical geography, a steppe () is an ecoregion characterized by grassland plains without trees apart from those near rivers and lakes. Steppe biomes may include: * the montane grasslands and shrublands biome * the temperate grassland ...

steppe
s to the east. Patagonia is bounded by the
Pacific Ocean The Pacific Ocean is the largest and deepest of Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continents and islands. ...

Pacific Ocean
on the west, the
Atlantic Ocean
Atlantic Ocean
to the east, and many bodies of water that connect them, such as the
Strait of Magellan The Strait of Magellan (), also called the Straits of Magellan, is a navigable sea route in southern Chile separating mainland South America to the north and Tierra del Fuego to the south. The strait is considered the most important natural pass ...
, the
Beagle Channel image:090111-6 Above ビーグル水道.jpg, 400px, Partial aerial view of Beagle Channel. The Chilean Navarino Island is seen in the top-right while the Argentine part of Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego is seen at the bottom-left. Beagle Channel ...
, and the
Drake Passage The Drake Passage (referred to as Mar de Hoces Hoces Sea"in Spain and other Spanish speaking countries) is the body of water between South America's Cape Horn, Chile and the South Shetland Islands of Antarctica. It connects the southwestern ...
to the south. The
Colorado Colorado (, other variants) is a state in the Mountain West The Mountain West Conference (MW) is one of the collegiate athletic conferences affiliated with the National Collegiate Athletic Association The National Collegiate Athletic ...
and Barrancas rivers, which run from the Andes to the Atlantic, are commonly considered the northern limit of Argentine Patagonia. The
archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island chain, is a chain, cluster or collection of island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as ...

archipelago
of
Tierra del Fuego #REDIRECT Tierra del Fuego #REDIRECT Tierra del Fuego#REDIRECT Tierra del Fuego Tierra del Fuego (, ; Spanish for "Land of Fire", formerly also Fireland in English) is an archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or i ...

Tierra del Fuego
is sometimes included as part of Patagonia. Most geographers and historians locate the northern limit of Chilean Patagonia at
Huincul Fault File:EIA_Neuquen_Basin.png, 250px, Map of Vaca Muerta, Vaca Muerta Formation in Neuquén Basin. The formations extent mimics that of the basin. Colors indicate Maturity (geology), hydrocarbon maturity as measured by vitrinite reflectance. Huincul ...
, in
Araucanía Region The Araucanía ( ), Araucanía Region ( es, Región de La Araucanía ) is one of Chile Chile (, ; ), officially the Republic of Chile (), is a country in western South America. It occupies a long, narrow strip of land between the Andes to ...
.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.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." (Population and development of tourist enclaves in the Chilean-Argentine Norpatagonia. Migration and the border in a binational space), '' Revista de Geografía Norte Grande'', 53: 137-158.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. At the time of the
Spanish arrival
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 A dugout canoe or simply dugout is a boat made from a hollowed tree. Other names for this type of boat are logboat and monoxylon. ''Monoxylon'' (''μονόξυλον'') (pl: ''monoxyla'') is Greek -- ''mono-'' (single) + ''wikt:ξύλον, ξύλο ...

dugout canoe
and
dalca The dalca or piragua is a type of canoe A canoe is a lightweight narrow vessel, typically pointed at both ends and open on top, propelled by one or more seated or kneeling paddlers facing the direction of travel and using a single-bladed paddl ...

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 The Spanish Empire ( es, link=no, Imperio Español), also known as the Hispanic Monarchy ( es, link=no, Monarquía Hispánica) or the Catholic Monarchy ( es, link=no, Monarquía Católica) during the Early Modern period, was a colonial empire ...

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
Border disputes
between Argentina and Chile were recurrent in the 20th century. Except for the boundary along the
Southern Patagonian Ice Field The Southern Patagonian Ice Field ( es, Hielo Continental or '), located at the Southern Patagonia, Patagonic Andes between Chile and Argentina, is the world's second largest contiguous extrapolar ice field. It is the bigger of two remnant parts ...

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 Fishing is the activity of trying to catch fish Fish are , , -bearing animals that lack with . Included in this definition are the living , s, and and as well as various extinct related groups. Around 99% of living fish species are ...
, salmon aquaculture, and
tourism Tourism is travel Travel is the movement of people between distant geographical location In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of th ...
dominate. Culturally, Patagonia has a varied heritage, including Criollo,
Mestizo (; ; fem. ) is a racial classification used to refer to a person of a combined Ethnic groups in Europe, European and Indigenous peoples of the Americas, Indigenous American ancestry. The term was used as an ethnic/racial category for mixed-ra ...

Mestizo
,
Indigenous Indigenous may refer to: *Indigenous peoples Indigenous peoples, also referred to as First people, Aboriginal people, Native people, or autochthonous people, are culturally distinct ethnic groups who are native to a particular place. The term ' ...
,
German German(s) may refer to: Common uses * of or related to Germany * Germans, Germanic ethnic group, citizens of Germany or people of German ancestry * For citizens of Germany, see also German nationality law * German language The German la ...
,
Croat Croats (; hr, Hrvati ), also known as Croatians, are a nation and South Slavs, South Slavic ethnic group native to Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. They are also a recognized minority in a number of neighboring countries, namely Burgenland ...

Croat
,
Italian Italian may refer to: * Anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Italy ** Italians, an ethnic group or simply a citizen of the Italian Republic ** Italian language, a Romance language *** Regional Italian, regional variants of the ...
and
Welsh Welsh may refer to: Related to Wales * Welsh, referring or related to Wales * Welsh language, a Brittonic Celtic language of the Indo-European language family, indigenous to the British Isles, spoken in Wales ** Patagonian Welsh, a dialect of Wels ...
influences.


Etymology

The name Patagonia comes from the word '' patagón''.
Antonio Pigafetta Antonio Pigafetta (; c. 1491 – c. 1531) was an Italian scholar and explorer. He joined the expedition to the Spice Islands led by explorer Ferdinand Magellan Ferdinand Magellan ( or ; pt, Fernão de Magalhães, ; es, link=no, Fernando de Mag ...
, '' Relazione del primo viaggio intorno al mondo'', 1524: "Il capitano generale nominò questi popoli Patagoni.
A Brief Declaration of the Vyage abowte the Worlde by Antonie Pygafetta Vincentine, Rycharde Eden, ''The Decades of the Newe Worlde or West India,'' London, William Powell, 1555.
The original word was likely in
Magellan Ferdinand Magellan ( or ; pt, Fernão de Magalhães, ; es, link=no, Fernando de Magallanes, ; 4 February 1480 – 27 April 1521) was a Portuguese people, Portuguese explorer and a subject of the Habsburg Spain, Hispanic Monarchy from 1518. H ...

Magellan
's native Portuguese (''patagão'') or the Spanish of his men (''patagón''). It was later interpreted later as "bigfoot", but the etymology refers to a literary character in a Spanish novel of the early 16th century:
"''Patagon'', said to be engendred by a beast in the woods, being the strangest, most misshapen, and counterfeit creature in the world. He hath good understanding, is amorous of women, and keepeth company with one of whom, it is said, he was engendred. He hath the face of a Dogge, great ears, which hang down upon his shoulders, his teeth sharp and big, standing out of his mouth very much: his feet are like a Harts, and he runneth wondrous lightly. Such as have seen him, tell marvelous matters of him, because he chaseth ordinarily among the mountains, with two Lyons in a chain like a lease, and a bow in his hand
Anthony Munday, ''The Famous and Renowned Historie of Primaleon of Greece,'' 1619, cap.XXXIII: "How Primaleon... found the Grand Patagon ".
/blockquote> Magellan used this term in 1520 to describe the native tribes of the region, whom his expedition thought to be giants. The people he called the Patagons are now believed to have been the Tehuelche, who tended to be taller than Europeans of the time. Argentine researcher Miguel Doura observed that the name Patagonia possibly derives from the ancient Greek region of modern Turkey called
Paphlagonia Paphlagonia (; grc, Παφλαγονία, ''Paphlagonía'', modern translit. ''Paflagonía''; tr, Paflagonya) was an ancient region on the Black Sea coast of north central Anatolia, situated between Bithynia to the west and Pontus (region), Pontu ...
, possible home of the ''patagon'' personage in the chivalric romances ''Primaleon'' printed in 1512, 10 years before Magellan arrived in these southern lands. This hypothesis was published in a 2011 ''New Review of Spanish Philology'' report. There are various placenames in the
Chiloé Archipelago The Chiloé Archipelago ( es, Archipiélago de Chiloé, , ) is a group of islands lying off the coast of Chile Chile, officially the Republic of Chile, is a country in the western part of South America South America is a entir ...
with Chono etymologies despite the main indigenous language of the archipelago at the arrival of the Spanish being . A theory postulated by chronicler José Pérez García explains this holding that the
Cuncos Cuncos or Juncos is a poorly known subgroup of Huilliche people native to coastal areas of southern Chile and the nearby inland. Mostly a historic term, Cuncos are chiefly known for their long-running conflict with the Spanish Empire, Spanish duri ...
(also known as Veliches) settled in
Chiloé Island Chiloé Island ( es, Isla de Chiloé, , ) also known as Greater Island of Chiloé (''Isla Grande de Chiloé''), is the largest island of the Chiloé Archipelago The Chiloé Archipelago ( es, Archipiélago de Chiloé; ) is a group of islands ly ...
in
Pre-Hispanic In the history of the Americas, the pre-Columbian era spans from the original settlement of North and South America in the Upper Paleolithic The Upper Paleolithic (or Upper Palaeolithic) also called the is the third and last subdivision o ...
times as consequence of a push from more northern Huilliches who in turn were being displaced by
Mapuche The Mapuche ( (Spanish: )) are a group of Indigenous peoples of the Americas, Indigenous inhabitants of present-day south-central Chile and southwestern Argentina, including parts of present-day Patagonia. The collective term refers to a wide-ra ...

Mapuche
s. While being outside traditional Huilliche territory the western Patagonian volcanoes Michimahuida, Hornopirén and Chaitén have Huilliche etymologies. In
Chubut Province Chubut ( es, Provincia del Chubut, ; cy, Talaith Chubut) is a Provinces of Argentina, province in southern Argentina, situated between the 42nd parallel south (the border with Río Negro Province), the 46th parallel south (bordering Santa Cruz Pr ...

Chubut Province
modern toponymy comes from the word "chupat" belonging to a transitional language between the southern and northern Tehuelche ethnic groups that were located in that region called Tewsün or Teushen. The word means transparency and is related to the clarity and purity of the river that bears that name and runs through the province. It is also related to the origin of the Welsh pronunciation of the word "chupat" that later became "Chubut". It is called "Camwy" in Patagonian Welsh. Chupat, Chubut and Camwy have the same meaning and are used to talk about the river and the province. Welsh settlers and placenames are associated with one of the projects of the Argentine state, Project Hiraeth. Due to the language, culture and location, many Patagonians do not consider themselves Latinos and proudly call themselves Patagonians instead. People from Y Wladfa, Laurie Island, the Atlantic Islands, Antarctica (including the Chilean town in Antarctica, "The Stars Village", and the Argentine civilian settlement, "Hope Base"), other non-latin-speaking areas use this term as a patriotic and inclusive demonym. A Patagonian is a person that is part of the Patagonia region, language and culture. That person could be a citizen from Chilean Patagonia, Argentine Patagonia, or of native communities that existed before the land was divided by The Boundary Treaty of 1881. Patagonia is divided between Western Patagonia (Chile) and Eastern Patagonia (Argentina) and several territories are still under dispute and claiming their rights. Mapuche people came from the Chilean Andes and voted to remain in different sides of Patagonia. Welsh settlers came from Wales and North America and voted to remain in Patagonia, when the treaty was signed, they voted for culture and administration to be apart from the country keeping the settlement, language, schools, traditions, regional dates, flag, anthems and celebrations. Patagonians also live abroad in settlements like
Saltcoats, Saskatchewan Saltcoats is a small town in East Central Saskatchewan near the Manitoba border in Canada. The town's population was 474 in 2011. The town was built in the late 19th century, and its economy was driven by the railway. There is no longer passenger ...
, Canada;
New South Wales New South Wales (abbreviated as NSW) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspape ...
, Australia; South Africa; the Falkland Islands; and North America.


Population and land area


Largest cities


Physical geography

Argentine Patagonia is for the most part a region of
steppe In physical geography, a steppe () is an ecoregion characterized by grassland plains without trees apart from those near rivers and lakes. Steppe biomes may include: * the montane grasslands and shrublands biome * the temperate grassland ...

steppe
-like plains, rising in a succession of 13 abrupt terraces about at a time, and covered with an enormous bed of almost bare of vegetation.''Patagonia: Natural History, Prehistory and Ethnography at the Uttermost End of the Earth'', C. McEwan, L.A. and A. Prieto (eds),
Princeton University Press Princeton University Press is an independent publisher Publishing is the activity of making information, literature, music, software and other content available to the public for sale or for free. Traditionally, the term refers to the creatio ...

Princeton University Press
with
British Museum The British Museum, in the Bloomsbury Bloomsbury is a district in the West End of London The West End of London (commonly referred to as the West End) is a district of Central London Central London is the innermost part of Lond ...

British Museum
Press, 1997.
In the hollows of the plains are of fresh and brackish water. Towards Chilean territory, the shingle gives way to porphyry,
granite Granite () is a coarse-grained (phanerite, phaneritic) intrusive rock, intrusive igneous rock composed mostly of quartz, alkali feldspar, and plagioclase. It forms from magma with a high content of silica and alkali metal oxides that slowly cool ...

granite
, and
basalt Basalt (, ) is a fine-grained extrusive A volcanic rock from Italy with a relatively large six-sided phenocryst (diameter about 1 mm) surrounded by a fine-grained groundmass, as seen in thin section under a petrographic microscope Extr ...

basalt
lavas, and animal life becomes more abundant. Vegetation is more luxuriant, consisting principally of
southern beech Beech trees in New Zealand ''Nothofagus'', also known as the southern beeches, is a genus of 43 species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a ...
and
conifer Conifers are a group of conifer cone, cone-bearing Spermatophyte, seed plants, a subset of gymnosperms. Scientifically, they make up the phylum, division Pinophyta (), also known as Coniferophyta () or Coniferae. The division contains a single e ...
s. The high rainfall against the western Andes (
Wet Andes The Wet Andes ( es, Andes húmedos) is a climatic Climate is the long-term average of weather, typically averaged over a period of 30 years. More rigorously, it is the mean and variability of meteorological variables over a time spanning from mon ...
) and the low sea-surface temperatures offshore give rise to cold and humid air masses, contributing to the ice fields and
glacier A glacier (; ) is a persistent body of dense ice Ice is into a state. Depending on the presence of such as particles of soil or bubbles of air, it can appear transparent or a more or less bluish-white color. In the , ice is abunda ...

glacier
s, the largest ice fields in the
Southern Hemisphere The Southern Hemisphere is the half (hemisphere Hemisphere may refer to: * A half of a sphere As half of the Earth * A hemispheres of Earth, hemisphere of Earth ** Northern Hemisphere ** Southern Hemisphere ** Eastern Hemisphere ** Western He ...

Southern Hemisphere
outside of Antarctica. Among the depressions by which the
plateau In geology Geology (from the Ancient Greek γῆ, ''gē'' ("earth") and -λoγία, ''-logia'', ("study of", "discourse")) is an Earth science concerned with the solid Earth, the rock (geology), rocks of which it is composed, and the proces ...

plateau
is intersected transversely, the principal ones are the Gualichu, south of the , the and Valcheta (through which previously flowed the waters of
Nahuel Huapi Lake Nahuel Huapi Lake ( es, Lago Nahuel Huapí) is a lake A lake is an area filled with water, localized in a basin, surrounded by land, apart from any river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards ...
, 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 interoceanic communication), others were occupied by either more or less extensive lakes, such as the Yagagtoo, Musters, and Colhue Huapi, and others situated to the south of Puerto Deseado in the center of the country. Across much of Patagonia east of the Andes,
volcanic eruption Several types of volcanic eruptions—during which lava Lava is magma once it has been expelled from the interior of a terrestrial planet (such as Earth) or a Natural satellite, moon onto its surface. Lava may be erupted at a volcano or ...

volcanic eruption
s have created formation of
basalt Basalt (, ) is a fine-grained extrusive A volcanic rock from Italy with a relatively large six-sided phenocryst (diameter about 1 mm) surrounded by a fine-grained groundmass, as seen in thin section under a petrographic microscope Extr ...

basalt
ic lava plateaus during the
Cenozoic The Cenozoic ( ; ) is Earth's current geological era An era is a span of time defined for the purposes of chronology or historiography, as in the regnal eras in the history of a given monarchy, a calendar era used for a given calendar, or the ge ...

Cenozoic
. The plateaus are of different ages with the older –of
Neogene The Neogene ( ) (informally Upper Tertiary or Late Tertiary) is a geologic period and system that spans 20.45 million years from the end of the Paleogene The Paleogene ( ; also spelled Palaeogene or Palæogene; informally Lower Tertiary or E ...

Neogene
and
Paleogene The Paleogene ( ; also spelled Palaeogene or Palæogene; informally Lower Tertiary or Early Tertiary) is a geologic period and system that spans 43 million years from the end of the Cretaceous The Cretaceous ( ) is a geological period A geolo ...
age– being located at higher elevations than
Pleistocene The Pleistocene ( , often referred to as the ''Ice Age'') is the geological Epoch (geology), epoch that lasted from about 2,580,000 to 11,700 years ago, spanning the earth’s most recent period of repeated glaciations. Before a change finally ...
and
Holocene The Holocene ( ) is the current geological epoch In geochronology, an epoch is a subdivision of the geologic timescale that is longer than an age (geology), age but shorter than a period (geology), period. The current epoch is the Holocene E ...
lava plateaus and outcrops. Erosion, which is caused principally by the sudden melting and retreat of ice aided by
tectonic Tectonics (; ) are the processes that control the structure and properties of the Earth's crust and its evolution through time. These include the processes of mountain building A mountain is an elevated portion of the Earth's crust, gen ...
changes, has scooped out a deep longitudinal depression, best in evidence where in contact with folded
Cretaceous The Cretaceous ( ) is a geological period A geological period is one of the several subdivisions of geologic time enabling cross-referencing of rocks and geologic events from place to place. These periods form elements of a hierarchy of division ...

Cretaceous
rocks, which are lifted up 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, most fertile land of Patagonia. Lake basins along the Cordillera were also gradually excavated by ice streams, including
Lake Argentino Lago Argentino is a lake in the Patagonian provinces of Argentina, province of Santa Cruz Province (Argentina), Santa Cruz, Argentina, at . It is the biggest freshwater lake in Argentina, with a surface area of (maximum width: ). It has an average ...
and , as well as coastal bays such as Bahía Inútil.


Geology

The geological limit of Patagonia has been proposed to be
Huincul Fault File:EIA_Neuquen_Basin.png, 250px, Map of Vaca Muerta, Vaca Muerta Formation in Neuquén Basin. The formations extent mimics that of the basin. Colors indicate Maturity (geology), hydrocarbon maturity as measured by vitrinite reflectance. Huincul ...
, which forms a major discontinuity. The fault truncates various
structures A structure is an arrangement and organization of interrelated elements in a material object or system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. ...
including the Pampean orogen found further north. The ages of base rocks change abruptly across the fault. Discrepancies have been mentioned among
geologist A geologist is a scientist who studies the solid, liquid, and gaseous matter that constitutes Earth and other terrestrial planets, as well as the processes that shape them. Geologists usually study geology, although backgrounds in physics, chem ...

geologist
s on the origin of the Patagonian landmass. Víctor Ramos has proposed that the Patagonian landmass originated as an
allochthon upright=1.6, Schematic overview of a thrust system. The hanging wall block is (when it has reasonable proportions) called a nappe. If an erosional hole is created in the nappe that is called a window (geology)">window A window is an opening in ...
ous
terrane In geology Geology (from the γῆ, ''gē'' ("earth") and -λoγία, ''-logia'', ("study of", "discourse")) is a branch of concerned with both the liquid and , the of which it is composed, and the processes by which they change over time ...
that separated from
Antarctica Antarctica ( or ) is Earth's southernmost continent. It contains the geographic South Pole and is situated in the Antarctic region of the Southern Hemisphere, almost entirely south of the Antarctic Circle, and is surrounded by the Southern Oc ...

Antarctica
and docked in
South America South America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical regions are commonly regarded as continent ...

South America
250 to 270 Mya in the
Permian The Permian ( ) is a geologic period The geologic time scale (GTS) is a system of chronological dating that classifies Geology, geological strata (stratigraphy) in time. It is used by geologists, paleontology, paleontologists, and other earth ...
period. A 2014 study by R.J. Pankhurst and coworkers rejects any idea of a far-traveled Patagonia, claiming it is likely of parautochtonous (nearby) origin. The
Mesozoic The Mesozoic Era ( ), also called the Age of Reptiles and the Age of Conifers, is the second-to-last era An era is a span of time defined for the purposes of chronology or historiography, as in the regnal eras in the history of a given monarchy ...
and Cenozoic deposits have revealed a most interesting
vertebrate Vertebrates () comprise all species of animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular A multicellular organism is an organism In biology, an organism () is any organic, life, living system that functions as an indiv ...
fauna. This, together with the discovery of the perfect
cranium The skull is a bone A bone is a Stiffness, rigid tissue (anatomy), tissue that constitutes part of the vertebrate skeleton in animals. Bones protect the various organs of the body, produce red blood cell, red and white blood cells, store mi ...

cranium
of a chelonian of the genus ''
Niolamia ''Niolamia'' is an extinct genus of South American Meiolaniidae, meiolaniid turtle. Arthur Smith Woodward classified it as being in the genus ''Meiolania'', but this was not accepted by later authors. The genus is known from the Sarmiento Formatio ...

Niolamia
'', which is almost identical to ''Ninjemys oweni'' of the
Pleistocene The Pleistocene ( , often referred to as the ''Ice Age'') is the geological Epoch (geology), epoch that lasted from about 2,580,000 to 11,700 years ago, spanning the earth’s most recent period of repeated glaciations. Before a change finally ...
age in
Queensland Queensland ( ) is a state situated in northeastern Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the ...

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 ''Argentinosaurus'' is a genus Genus (plural genera) is a taxonomic rank Taxonomy (general) is the practice and science of classification of things or concepts, including the principles that underlie such classification. The term may also r ...

Argentinosaurus
'', which may be the largest of all dinosaurs, have been found in Patagonia, and a model of the mid-
Jurassic The Jurassic ( ) is a geologic period The geologic time scale (GTS) is a system of chronological dating that classifies Geology, geological strata (stratigraphy) in time. It is used by geologists, paleontology, paleontologists, and other earth ...
'''' 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''). Of more than paleontological interest, 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. 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, considerable numbers of cetaceans have been discovered. During the Oligocene and early Miocene, large swathes of Patagonia were subject to a marine transgression, which 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. Connection would have occurred through narrow inland sea, epicontinental seaways that formed channels in a river incision, dissected topography. The Antarctic Plate started to subduction, 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 The Strait of Magellan (), also called the Straits of Magellan, is a navigable sea route in southern Chile separating mainland South America to the north and Tierra del Fuego to the south. The strait is considered the most important natural pass ...
. As the southern part of the Nazca Plate and the Chile Rise became consumed by subduction, the more northerly regions of the Antarctic Plate began to subduct beneath Patagonia so that the Chile Triple Junction advanced to the north over time. The asthenospheric window associated to the triple junction disturbed previous patterns of mantle convection beneath Patagonia dynamic topography, inducing an uplift of c. 1 km that reversed the Miocene transgression.


Political divisions

At a state level, Patagonia occupies an area within two countries: 10% in
Chile Chile, officially the Republic of Chile, is a country in the western part of South America South America is a entirely in the and mostly in the , with a relatively small portion in the . It can also be described as the southern ...

Chile
and 90% in
Argentina Argentina (), officially the Argentine Republic ( es, link=no, República Argentina), is a country located mostly in the southern half of South America South America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasse ...

Argentina
. Both countries have organized their Patagonian territories into nonequivalent administrative subdivisions: Provinces of Argentina, provinces and Departments of Argentina, departments in Argentina, as well as Regions of Chile, regions, Provinces of Chile, provinces, and Communes of Chile, communes in Chile. As Chile is a unitary state, its first-level administrative divisions—the regions—enjoy far less autonomy than analogous Argentine provinces. Argentine provinces have elected governors and legislatures, while Chilean regions have government-appointed intendants. The Patagonian Provinces of Argentina are La Pampa Province, La Pampa, Neuquén Province, Neuquén, Río Negro Province, Río Negro, Chubut Province, Chubut, Santa Cruz Province, Argentina, Santa Cruz, and Tierra del Fuego Province, Argentina, Tierra del Fuego. The southernmost part of Buenos Aires Province can also be considered part of Patagonia. The two Chilean regions undisputedly located entirely within Patagonia are Aysén Region, Aysén and Magallanes Region, 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.


Climate

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 southeast end of the Patagonian region. For example, at Puerto Montt, on the inlet behind Chiloé Island, the mean annual temperature is and the average extremes are , whereas at Bahía Blanca near the Atlantic coast and just outside the northern confines of Patagonia, the annual temperature is 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 and the average extremes are . The prevailing winds are westerly, and the westward slope has a much heavier precipitation than the eastern in a rainshadow effect; 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. 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, and 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 and 11°C) and very high precipitation, from 2,000 to more than 7,000 mm in local microclimates. 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 600–800m 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, which 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, Río Negro, El Bolsón, Esquel, Argentina, Esquel, and El Calafate. Temperatures there are milder in the summer (in the north, between 20 and 24°C, with cold nights between 4 and 9°C; in the south, summers are between 16 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 to 9°C in the north, and from 0 to 7°C in the south, whereas nights range from −5 to 2°C everywhere. Cold waves can bring much colder values; a temperature of −25°C has been recorded in Bariloche, and most places can often have temperatures between −12 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 few 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 some nights not uncommonly reach 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 to 32°C, but with relatively cool nights at 15°C) and mild winters, with highs around 12°C and lows about 2–3°C. Occasionally, temperatures reach −10 or 40°C, and rainfall is very scarce. The weather only gets a bit colder further south in Chubut, and the city of Comodoro Rivadavia has summer temperatures of 24 to 28°C, nights of 12 to 16°C, and winters with days around 10°C and nights around 3°C, and less than 250 mm of rain. However, a drastic drop occurs as one moves south to Santa Cruz; Rio Gallegos, in the south of the province, has summer temps of 17 to 21°C, (nights between 6 and 10°C) and winter temperatures of 2 to 6°C, with nights between −5 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 to 18°C in the north, 12 to 16°C in the south, with nights generally between 3 and 8°C), cloudy in the south, and very windy. Winters are dark and cold, but without the 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 the Rio Grande on the Atlantic coast. Snow can fall even in the summer in most areas, as well.


Fauna

The guanaco (''Lama guanicoe''), cougar, the South American gray fox, Patagonian fox (''Lycalopex griseus''), Humboldt's hog-nosed skunk, Patagonian hog-nosed skunk (''Conepatus humboldtii''), and 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''), which had been hunted for their skins by the Tehuelches, on foot using boleadoras, before the diffusion of firearms and horses; 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 (''Dolichotis patagonum'') are also characteristic of the steppe and the pampas to the north. Bird life is often abundant. The crested 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 amid the snowfall. One of the largest birds in the world, the Andean condor (''Vultur gryphus'') can be seen in Patagonia. Of the many kinds of waterfowl the Chilean flamingo (''Phoenicopterus chilensis''), the upland goose (''Chloephaga picta''), and in the strait, the remarkable steamer ducks are found. Signature marine fauna include the southern right whale, the Magellanic penguin (''Spheniscus magellanicus''), the killer whale, and elephant seals. The Valdes Peninsula, Valdés Peninsula is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, designated for its global significance as a site for the conservation of marine mammals. 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. The Introduced species, introduced are several species of trout, common carp, and various species that originated in more northerly parts of South America. The natives are Osmeriformes, osmeriforms (''Aplochiton'' and ''Galaxias''), temperate perches (''Percichthys''), catfish (''Diplomystes'', ''Hatcheria'' and ''Trichomycterus''), Neotropical silversides (''Odontesthes'') and characiforms (''Astyanax (fish), Astyanax'', ''Cheirodon'', ''Gymnocharacinus'', and ''Oligosarcus''). Other Patagonian freshwater fauna include the highly unusual Aeglidae, aeglid crustacean.


History


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

Human habitation of the region dates back thousands of years, 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. 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 in Última Esperanza in southern Patagonia, and Tres Arroyos on Tierra del Fuego, that support this date. Hearths, stone scrapers, and animal remains dated to 9400–9200 BC have been found east of the Andes. 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. Based on artifacts found in the region, apparently hunting of guanaco, and to a lesser extent rhea (bird), rhea (''ñandú''), were the primary food sources of tribes living on the eastern plains. 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. A maritime tradition existed along the Pacific coast, whose latest exponents were the Yaghan people, Yaghan (Yámana) to the south of Tierra del Fuego, the Alacalufe, 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 Tehuelche people, 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. In the Patagonian archipelagoes north of Taitao Peninsula lived the Chono people, 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 The Mapuche ( (Spanish: )) are a group of Indigenous peoples of the Americas, Indigenous inhabitants of present-day south-central Chile and southwestern Argentina, including parts of present-day Patagonia. The collective term refers to a wide-ra ...

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. 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)

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 Cosmography, cosmographer João de Lisboa). The explorers, after reaching Rio de la Plata (which they would explore on the return voyage, contacting the Charrúa people, 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 and sighted the continent on the southern side of the gulf.
/ref> The Atlantic coast of Patagonia was first fully explored in 1520 by the Magellan's circumnavigation, 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. The territory became the Spanish colony of the Governorate of New Léon, granted in 1529 to Governor , 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 V, Holy Roman Emperor, 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 The Andes, Andes Mountains or Andean Mountains ( es, Cordillera de los Andes) are the List of mountain ranges#Mountain ranges by length, longest continental mountain range in the world, forming a continuous highland along the western edge of Sou ...

Andes
to reach the Pacific coast. Pedro de Mendoza, on whom the country was next bestowed, founded Buenos Aires, but did not venture south. (1539), Juan Ladrilleros (1557), and Hurtado de Mendoza (1558) helped to make known the Pacific coasts, and while Francis Drake, Sir Francis Drake's voyage in 1577 down the Atlantic coast, through the
Strait of Magellan The Strait of Magellan (), also called the Straits of Magellan, is a navigable sea route in southern Chile separating mainland South America to the north and Tierra del Fuego to the south. The strait is considered the most important natural pass ...
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 that he founded at Nombre de Jesús (Patagonia), 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 Thomas Cavendish's circumnavigation, circumnavigation, and so desolate that he called it Puerto del Hambre, Port Famine. 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 (English explorer), 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, 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-errant, knight-errantry tale) by Francisco Vázquez. 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'', noting the similarity between "Patagon" and the Greek language, Greek word παταγος, which means "a roaring" or "gnashing of teeth" (in his chronicle, Pigafetta describes the Patagonians as "roaring like bulls"). 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. 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 reignited in 1767 when an "official" (but anonymous) account was published of Commodore (RN), Commodore John Byron's recent voyage of global circumnavigation in HMS Dolphin (1751), 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 (book editor), John Hawkesworth published on behalf of the British Admiralty, 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 , 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.


Spanish outposts

The Spanish failure at colonizing the Strait of Magellan made
Chiloé Archipelago The Chiloé Archipelago ( es, Archipiélago de Chiloé, , ) is a group of islands lying off the coast of Chile Chile, officially the Republic of Chile, is a country in the western part of South America South America is a entir ...
assume the role of protecting the area of western Patagonia from foreign intrusions. Valdivia, reestablished in 1645, and Chiloé acted as sentries, being hubs where the Spanish collected information and rumors from all over Patagonia. 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. This then led to the transfer of the majority of the indigenous Chono people, 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.


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 (Patagonia), Floridablanca and advanced inland to the Andes (1782). Basilio Villarino ascended the Rio Negro (1782). Two hydrography, hydrographic surveys of the coasts were of first-rate importance; the first expedition (1826–1830) included HMS Aid (1809), HMS ''Adventure'' and HMS Beagle, HMS ''Beagle'' under Phillip Parker King, and the second (1832–1836) was the second voyage of HMS Beagle, 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 , and who joined FitzRoy in a expedition taking ships' boats up the course of the Santa Cruz River (Argentina), Santa Cruz River.


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. 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. 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. This group was able to move to Patagonia thanks to its alliance with two indigenous tribes, the Ranqueles and the Boroano people, Boroanos. 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. From their bases the Pincheiras led numerous raids into the countryside of the newly established republics.


Chilean and Argentine colonization (1843–1902)

In the early 19th century, the Araucanization of Patagonia, araucanization of the natives of northern Patagonia intensified, and many
Mapuche The Mapuche ( (Spanish: )) are a group of Indigenous peoples of the Americas, Indigenous inhabitants of present-day south-central Chile and southwestern Argentina, including parts of present-day Patagonia. The collective term refers to a wide-ra ...

Mapuche
s migrated to Patagonia to live as nomads that raised cattle or pillaged the Argentine countryside. The cattle stolen in the incursions (''Malón, 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 The Andes, Andes Mountains or Andean Mountains ( es, Cordillera de los Andes) are the List of mountain ranges#Mountain ranges by length, longest continental mountain range in the world, forming a continuous highland along the western edge of Sou ...

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. 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 The Mapuche ( (Spanish: )) are a group of Indigenous peoples of the Americas, Indigenous inhabitants of present-day south-central Chile and southwestern Argentina, including parts of present-day Patagonia. The collective term refers to a wide-ra ...

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, Chile, 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. 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.


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. 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. 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, Mendoza, General Alvear, Veinticinco de Mayo, Buenos Aires, Veinticinco de Mayo, and Nueve de Julio, Buenos Aires Province, Nueve de Julio, where 300 ''Creole peoples, 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 Y Wladfa, Welsh settlement of the Chubut Valley. Numerous Croatian Argentines, Croatians also settled in Patagonia. 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. Until 1902, a large proportion of Patagonia's population were natives of
Chiloé Archipelago The Chiloé Archipelago ( es, Archipiélago de Chiloé, , ) is a group of islands lying off the coast of Chile Chile, officially the Republic of Chile, is a country in the western part of South America South America is a entir ...
(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;Luis Otero, La Huella del Fuego: Historia de los bosques y cambios en el paisaje del sur de Chile (Valdivia, Editorial Pehuen) Balmaceda, Chile, 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.


Economy

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.''Time Out Patagonia'', Cathy Runciman (ed), Penguin Books, 2002. 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, and a short run Tren Histórico de San Carlos de Bariloche, Bariloche to Perito Moreno. In the western forest-covered Patagonian Andes and archipelagoes, wood logging has historically been an important part of the economy; it impelled the colonization of the areas of the Nahuel Huapi Lake, Nahuel Huapi and Lácar Lake, Lácar lakes in Argentina and Guaitecas Archipelago in Chile.


Livestock

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 pampas 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, little investment occurs in new abattoirs (mainly in Comodoro Rivadavia, Trelew, and Rio Gallegos), and often phytosanitary certification, phytosanitary restrictions reduce 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.


Tourism

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. 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. 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.


Energy


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 Dam, Alicurá, Piedra del Águila Dam, Piedra del Águila, Pichi Picún Leufú Dam, Pichi Picún Leufú, El Chocón Dam, El Chocón, and Arroyito Dam, Arroyito. Together with the Cerros Colorados Complex on the Neuquén River, they contribute more than one-quarter of the total hydroelectric generation in the country. 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, 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 Corporation, 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. Patagonia's notorious winds have already made the area Argentina's main source of wind power, and plans have been made for major increases in wind power generation. Coal is mined in the Rio Turbio area and used for electricity generation.


Cuisine

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 that 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 games, especially guanaco and introduced deer and boar, are popular in restaurant cuisine. However, since 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 overfishing of ''centolla'' has made it increasingly scarce. In the area around Bariloche, a noted Alpine cuisine tradition remains, with chocolate bars and even fondue restaurants, and tea rooms are a feature of the Welsh people, Welsh communities in Gaiman, Chubut, Gaiman and Trevelin, as well as in the mountains. Since the mid-1990s, some success with winemaking has occurred in Argentine Patagonia, especially in Neuquén.


Foreign land buyers issue

Foreign investors, including Italian multinational Benetton Group, Ted Turner, Joseph Lewis and the conservationist Douglas Tompkins, own major land areas. This situation has caused several conflicts with local inhabitants and the governments of
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Chile
and
Argentina Argentina (), officially the Argentine Republic ( es, link=no, República Argentina), is a country located mostly in the southern half of South America South America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasse ...

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, 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. 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.


In science fiction

The future history depicted in Olaf Stapledon's ''Last and First Men'' includes a far future time in which Patagonia becomes the center of a new world civilization while Europe and North America are reduced to the status of backward poverty-stricken areas. In Jules_Verne, Jules Verne's novel In_Search_of_the_Castaways, ''Les Enfants du capitaine Grant'' (The Children of Captain Grant, alternatively 'In Search of the Castaways'), the search for Captain Grant gets underway when the ''Duncan'', a vessel in the ownership of Lord_Glenarvan, Lord Glenarvan, is taken on a journey to the western shore of South America's Patagonian region where the crew is split up, and Lord Glenarvan proceeds to lead a party eastwards across Patagonia to eventually reunite with the ''Duncan'' (which had doubled the Cape in the meanwhile).


See also

* Apostolic Prefecture of Southern Patagonia * Apostolic Vicariate of Northern Patagonia * Beagle conflict * Domuyo * Francisco Moreno Museum of Patagonia * Lago Puelo National Park * Lanín National Park * Lanín, Lanín Volcano * List of deserts by area * Los Alerces National Park * Los Glaciares National Park * Mount Hudson * Nahuel Huapi National Park * Patagonian Expedition Race * Patagonian Ice Sheet * Southern Cone * Y Wladfa


References

Attribution: *


Further reading

*''The Last Cowboys at the End of the World: The Story of the Gauchos of Patagonia'', Nick Reding, 2002. *''The Old Patagonian Express'', Paul Theroux, 1979. *''In Patagonia'', Bruce Chatwin, 1977 and 1988. *''Patagonia Express'', Luis Sepulveda, 2004. *''Patagonia: A Cultural History'', Chris Moss, 2008. *''Patagonia: A Forgotten Land: From Magellan to Peron'', C. A. Brebbia, 2006. *''The Wild Shores of Patagonia: The Valdés Peninsula & Punta Tombo'', Jasmine Rossi, 2000. *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


Gallery of photos from Patagonia – Jakub Polomski PhotographyPatagonia Nature Photo Gallery: Landscapes, flora and fauna from Argentina and ChilePatagon Journal, magazine about Patagonia'Backpacking Patagonia' - series of articles about solo hiking in Patagonia
{{Authority control Patagonia, Argentina–Chile border Deserts of Argentina Deserts of Chile Geography of Aysén Region Geography of Magallanes Region Natural regions of South America Regions of Argentina Regions of Chile