The region was visited by the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan, in 1520. He named the region Patagonia because
he saw that the Tehuelches native wore a kind of special big shoes, made of fur, to protect themselves from the cold (spanish: pata=foot).
It has a surface of 787,291 Km2, that represents a third of the national territory,and 1,481,580 inhabitants (4,5% of the Argentinean population)
Its contribution to the national economy stands out in power matter. The Patagonia
generates 84% of the Argentine oil production, it handles the fourth part of the installed electrical power, and
extracts the 76,8% of the total national gas.
The Patagonian resources are not limited the nonrenewable. It also supplies to the national and world-wide market
with fruits (apple, pear and fruits of cob), diverse products of sea and wool.
Its productive capacity is reflected in the result of its trades balance. In 1994, the Patagonia exports reached an amount of 1,946 million dollars, that represented 10.9% of the amount exported by all Argentina. The imports for the same year were of 845.25 million dollars, 3.9% of the total amounts of the country.
The Patagonia is recognized internationally by the great variety and beauty of its landscapes. The Patagonian habitats - many of them with unique characteristics in world- are protected by the existence of 12 parks and national reserves.
Lanín Volcano - Junín de los Andes, Neuquén
Nahuel Huapí Lake - Bariloche, Río Negro
This is a land of extremes, where it is possible to feel the lowest temperatures of the continent, and also 45 degrees Celsius; where the places with higher precipitation of the country - Patagonian Andes-, and with great surfaces of dry land in the central plateau. Also it is possible to ski in the best tracks of the Andes Mountain, and to swim in the warmest beach of the Argentine coast (Las Grutas, in Río Negro province).
Briefly, Patagonia is: sea, plateau and mountain; Andean forest and steppe; rivers and deserts; whales and condors, and much, much more...