Patagonia - History





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A bit of history- the native population :


Man's existence in America and Patagonia is contemporary compared to other places on Earth. The most ancient indicators of primitive cultures have been found in the Magellan region, Tierra del Fuego and the extreme south of the continent, which date back to over 10000 years B.C.


On the one hand, there are the indigenous canoe natives, the alacalufes and yamanes of the canals, on the other hand, the hunters on dry land, the onas in Tierra del Fuego and the patagones or primitive tehuelches on the continent. Given the nomadic nature of the Patagonian cultures, no remains of dwelling places or of writings have been found, however paintings and engravings abound. Both the Tehuelches in the South and the Puelches of central Patagonia were of a tall and robust stature.


They survived by hunting guanaco and ˝and˙ and by collecting wild fruit. They sheltered in simple windshields and later in huts made from guanaco hides. Only upon white man's introduction of the horse in the XVII century. did they begin to use this animal for transport and as a supplement to their diet.

In northern Patagonia there dwelled another ethnic group known as the Pehuenches, less robust, slimmer and somewhat more advanced. They would make a type of bread with araucaria seeds, they would use snow racquets to walk through the snow in and their basket making was well developed. Toward the end of the XVII century a clear advance of the Araucano or Mapuche Indian from Chile toward the east began and along with this, a profound peaceful ethnic transformation began to take shape in Eastern Patagonia.


The Mapuches belonged to a more evolved, stronger and overbearing culture and upheld a very courageous attitude in light of the Spanish invaders. They produced weavings and ceramics of an excellent quality, as well as a rich array of silverware. Their language was very complete, characteristic of a people of orators.


In 1879, indigenous rule was brought to an end with the Desert Campaign, with which the massive advance of the white man to northern Patagonia began.