region located at the southern end of South America

Patagonia is at the southern end of South America. It is land shared by Argentina and Chile. It has some of the most dramatic landscapes on Earth. It has the southern section of the Andes mountains to the southwest towards the Pacific ocean.


Geography change

It follows south through the Colorado River towards Carmen de Patagones in the Atlantic Ocean. To the west, it includes the Valdivia through Tierra del Fuego archipelago.[1]

The name Patagonia is from the word patagón[2] used by Magellan in 1520. The word was for the native people that his expedition thought to be giants. Now people think the Patagons were actually Tehuelches. They had an average height of 180 cm (~5′11″) compared to the 155 cm (~5′1″) average for Spaniards of the time.[3]

Animals change

Guanacos near Torres del Paine.

The guanaco, the cougar, the Patagonian fox, the Patagonian hog-nosed skunk, and the Magellanic Tuco-tuco are the most common mammals of the Patagonian plains. There are also many birds. Southern Caracara, Austral parakeets, and Green-backed Firecrowns are some. Waterfowl include Chilean Flamingo, Upland Goose, and steamer ducks.

Famous marine fauna include the southern right whale, the Magellanic Penguin, the orca and elephant seals. The Valdés Peninsula is a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its importance as a nature reserve.

References change

  1. Patagonia: Natural History, Prehistory and Ethnography at the Uttermost End of the Earth, C. McEwan, L.A. and A. Prieto (eds), Princeton University Press with British Museum Press, 1997. ISBN 0-691-05849-0
  2. Antonio Pigafetta, Relazione del primo viaggio intorno al mondo, 1524: "Il capitano generale nominò questi popoli Patagoni." The original word would probably be in Magellan's native Portuguese (patagão) or the Spanish of his men (patagón). It has been interpreted later as "big foot" but the etymology refers to a literary character in a Spanish novel of the early XVI century (see text).
  3. Fondebrider, Jorge (2003). "Chapter 1 – Ámbitos y voces". Versiones de la Patagonia (in Spanish) (1st ed.). Buenos Aires, Argentina: Emecé Editores S.A. p. 29. ISBN 950-04-2498-3.

41°48′37″S 68°54′23″W / 41.81015°S 68.90627°W / -41.81015; -68.90627