Patagonia is about a
million square kilometers (some 540,000 square miles), a quarter of
which belongs to Chile and the rest to Argentina.
Since in Chile most of Patagonian territory
belongs to the Region of Magallanes, its main city, Punta Arenas, is
called "Capital city of Chilean Patagonia".
Magallanes, the biggest Chilean Region gathers not only Patagonia, but
also Tierra del Fuego and Antarctic territories.
There is a centenary consensus among geographers
that Patagonia boundaries are, at north, the entrance of Reloncavi gulf,
the same name fiord, Petrohue river, Todos los Santos lake until
Tronador mountain. The Patagonia boundary crosses the Andes up to the
source of Neuquen river and follows its course until it joins the Limay
river forming the Negro river. The boundary goes down to Magallanes
Strait, continues along it until the Pacific Ocean and goes up to Guafo
Entrance, Corcovado gulf and the entrance of Reloncavi gulf.
These boundaries do not include, by tradition, the big island of Chiloe
and its interior archipelago, and also Tierra del Fuego and its west and
By tradition Patagonia is divided in North Patagonia, up to Chubut-Futaleufu;
Central Patagonia, from there to Deseado-Baker for some, or Santa Cruz
for others, and Southern Patagonia to the south down to Magallanes
From east to west, Eastern, Andean and Western.
of name Patagonia:
It is believed that the term "Patagon"
had its origin in the Spanish navigators whom, at San Julian, thought
the native hunters they saw had big feet (which is not true).
Gradually it has been prevailing the logical
interpretation that the term comes from the giant PATAGON, a character
from "Primaleon", a cavalry novel to which captain general Fernando
(Hernando) de Magallanes was very keen. When he
met the first aborigine at San Julian, he saw him as frightening as the
novel character and called him "Patagon", and the Land of Patagons or