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P A T A G O N I A

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 south archipelagos.

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 Strait.
From east to west, Eastern, Andean and Western.

 

Origin 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 just Patagonia. 

 

 

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