« Back to Glossary Index

**Geography and Landscape of Patagonia**:
– Argentine Patagonia characterized by steppe-like plains.
– Region rises in a succession of 13 abrupt terraces about 100m at a time.
– Vegetation consists of southern beech and conifers.
– Western Andes contribute to high rainfall and cold, humid air masses.
– Eastern Patagonia features volcanic eruptions creating basaltic lava plateaus.
– Argentine cities in the Andes: San Martín de los Andes, Bariloche, El Bolsón, Esquel, El Calafate.

**History and Indigenous Peoples of Patagonia**:
– Inhabited by multiple indigenous tribes at the time of Spanish arrival.
– Indigenous peoples lived as hunter-gatherers or practiced agriculture.
– Spanish Empire aimed to keep European powers away from Patagonia.
– Independent Chile and Argentina colonized Patagonia in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
– Colonization led to a decline in indigenous populations and the arrival of European settlers.
– Pre-Columbian Patagonia (10,000 BC – AD 1520).

**Economy and Industries in Patagonia**:
– Eastern Patagonia’s economy revolves around sheep farming and oil and gas extraction.
– Western Patagonia’s economy dominated by fishing, salmon aquaculture, and tourism.
– Region has largest ice fields in the Southern Hemisphere outside of Antarctica.
– Abundant animal life and diverse vegetation.
– Volcanic activity has contributed to the unique landscape of Patagonia.
– UNESCO World Heritage Site for marine mammal conservation.

**Climate and Environmental Features of Patagonia**:
– Cool and dry climate year-round, with east coast warmer than the west.
– Winters colder on inland plateaus and southeast coast.
– Precipitation varies significantly, with some areas receiving up to 7,000mm annually.
– Seasonal precipitation patterns in northwestern Patagonia.
Andes mountains impact climate, with varying temperatures and precipitation levels.
Tierra del Fuego experiences cool summers and cold winters.

**Fauna and Biodiversity in Patagonia**:
– Black-browed albatross, guanaco, South American cougar, Patagonian fox, Patagonian hog-nosed skunk.
– Darwins rheas, Vizcachas, Patagonian mara, crested caracara, austral parakeets.
– Green-backed firecrowns, Andean condor, Chilean flamingo, upland goose, steamer ducks.
– Southern right whale, Magellanic penguin, killer whale, elephant seals, Valdés Peninsula.
– 29 freshwater fish species, aeglid crustaceans.
– Patagonia hosts diverse flora and fauna.

Patagonia (Wikipedia)

Patagonia (Spanish pronunciation: [pataˈɣonja]) is 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.

Location of Patagonia
 • Total1,043,076 km2 (402,734 sq mi)
 • Total1,999,540
 • Density1.9/km2 (5.0/sq mi)
 • LanguagesRioplatense Spanish, Chilean Spanish, Mapudungun, Welsh

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.

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.

« Back to Glossary Index