Chubut Valley

Chubut Province

Chubut (Spanish: Provincia del Chubut, Welsh: Talaith Chubut) a province in the southern part of Argentina, that lies between the 42nd Parallel South (forming the border with the Río Negro Province) and 46th Parallel South (bordering Santa Cruz Province), the Andes range separating Argentina from Chile, and the Atlantic ocean. The province's name derives from the Tehuelche word chupat, meaning "transparent", their description of the Chubut River. As the word chupat is similar to the Spanish word chupar, meaning "to suck" or, in slang, "to booze", the river's name was bowdlerized — adjusted for public decorum.

The largest city, with 125,000 inhabitants, is Comodoro Rivadavia in the south of the province, but the administrative capital is Rawson (25,000). Other important cities are Puerto Madryn, Trelew, Esquel, and Sarmiento. Gaiman is a cultural and demographic centre of the region known as "Y Wladfa" in which Welsh-Argentinians are concentrated. There are around 25,000 Welsh speakers in the Chubut region, predominantly concentrated in the original Welsh settlements of Trelew and Trevelin.

History

Before the Spaniards arrived in America, nomadic indigenous peoples inhabited the Patagonia region. In the 17th and 18th centuries, Spanish missionaries came to the area, and founded the San José Fort on Península Valdés, which was later destroyed by local native peoples. In the 19th century, Welsh people came to Chubut in the Mimosa ship and settled in Chubut Valley area.

As part of the Conquista del Desierto (Desert conquest), the National Territory of Chubut was created in 1884, of which Luis Fontana was named governor. At the beginning of the 20th century, after the Boer War, some Boer people settled in the town of Sarmiento, and in lesser number in other nearby towns.

In 1944, the southern part of Chubut and northern part of Santa Cruz were designated the Comodoro Rivadavia military zone. The zone was dissolved in 1955, and Chubut was declared a province.

Population shifts of the 20th century, especially from Buenos Aires, raised the population steadily from 190,000 (1970), to 357,000 (1991) and 413,237 (2001). Most of the inhabitants are in the main cities, or in lesser numbers along the Chubut River, which gives most areas a population density of less than 1 inhabitant per square kilometer.

Economy

Chubut's economy, long one of the most prosperous in Argentina, is one of the country's least diversified. Its 2006 output, estimated at US$4.7 billion, is made up in almost a fourth by mining and petroleum. This sector's contribution (mostly centered around Comodoro Rivadavia) helped give Chubut the nation's fifth-highest per capita output in 2006, US$11,250 (a fourth higher than the national average).

Petroleum refining is the main economic activity of the province, with 13% of Argentine oil production (mostly off-shore). 21% of the nation's fish catch is produced by Chubut.

Sheep ranching, though less than half as productive than as recently as 1990, remains important at the local level. The advent of synthetic replacements to wool after World War II battered the sector, further decimated by Argentina's political instability and natural disasters. Wool production has risen since 2002, however, and totaled 71,000 tons in 2006.

Mass media

Newspapers

There are six print newspapers:

• The Chubut and Journy in Trelew

• Chronic and The Patagonic in Comodoro Rivadavia

• The West in Esquel

• Madryn´s Newspaper in Puerto Madryn

Online journalism

Online journalism is not common. The six print newspapers have online editions, but these are only updated every 24 hours. Some new digital proposals make a better use of web´s potential. One case is Infochubut.com, a recent publication that works with audio, video, text and photographs for its news and offers forums for public participation.Some radio stations in northwest Chubut began to publish online some of the interviews they make in there radio studies.

Radios

In the most popular cities there are AM radios like Chubut Radio and Three Radio in Trelew, Golfo Nuevo´s Radio in Puerto Madryn, National Radio in Comodoro, Rivadavia and Esquel. There are also several FM radio stations which broadcast programs from a national central office.

Television The provincial government runs a TV network that covers the province. In Trelew, Comodoro Rivadavia, Esquel, Puerto Madryn and in some small towns there are other local TV stations producing local programming to supplement the programming received from the Buenos Aires networks.

Tourism

Tourism is also a growing industry. The main attractions are Peninsula Valdés and other marine wildlife reservoirs such as Punta Tombo and Punta Ninfas, with right whales, eared seals, elephant seals, penguins, orcas and many other animals. Further south, on the sparsely populated beaches of the Golfo San Jorge, is the only place in the world where the peculiar, flightless Chubut Steamer Duck can be observed. In the Andean region, the Los Alerces National Park, impressive lakes and hikes near Esquel are also visited every year by many tourists. The 'Old Patagonian Express' (also know as La Trochita), the old steam train made famous by Paul Theroux, attracts many to Esquel, as does the La Hoya ski center. The petrified forest near Sarmiento is a 150 km² park with some of the largest fossilised trees in the world.

Transport

The Ruta Nacional 3 runs along the coast line up to Buenos Aires, and down to Tierra del Fuego. The Ruta Nacional 25 crosses Chubut from East to West, connecting Trelew and Esquel, but half of it has not been yet paved. Regular long distance buses run several times a day to Buenos Aires, and to many locations in the Santa Cruz Province. Short range buses to towns in Chubut run at least once a day. There are also daily summer buses on the route #25.

The Trelew airport (IATA REL) serves regular fligths to/from Buenos Aires and El Calafate. Transport: Major highways include Ruta 2 from Puerto Piramides and Peninsula Valdes 82 km west to join 3, which runs north-south via Trelew and Comodoro Rivadavia, 26 west from Comodoro Rivadavia 223 km to join Ruta 20 which continues north 178 km to Jose de San Martin, 22 north from Perito Moreno (Santa Cruz province) 125 km to join Ruta 20, 25 west from Trelew 341 km to join Ruta 62 which continues west 166 km to join 40 at Tecka, 40 continues north 266 km via Esquel to Cabeza del Indio, 30 east 73 km from 3 to the coast at Camarones, 259 west from Esquel to Chile. Four roads west to Chile's Aysén region, including Balmaceda and Coihaique Alto, and two to Chile's Los Lagos region from Corcovado to Palena and from Esquel via Trevelin to Futaleufu. Airports at Comodoro Rivadavia, Rawson and Esquel.

Political divisions

The province is divided into 15 departments (Spanish: departamentos).

Department (Capital)

  1. Cushamen Department (Cushamen)
  2. Escalante Department (Comodoro Rivadavia)
  3. Florentino Ameghino Department (Camarones)
  4. Futaleufú Department (Esquel)
  5. Gaiman Department (Gaiman)
  6. Gastre Department (Gastre)
  7. Languiñeo Department (Tecka)
  8. Mártires Department (Las Plumas)
  9. Paso de Indios Department (Paso de Indios)
  10. Rawson Department (Rawson)
  11. Río Senguer Department (Alto Río Senguer)
  12. Sarmiento Department (Sarmiento)
  13. Tehuelches Department (José de San Martín)
  14. Telsen Department (Telsen)
  15. Biedma Department (Puerto Madryn)

Institutions

Chubut is covered by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Comodoro Rivadavia. The Cathedral, dedicated to San Juan Bosco is in Comodoro Rivadavia and the Bishop since 2005 is Virginio Domingo Bressanelli. Other faiths are active in Chubut, principally amongst the Welsh chapels as well as Lutheran and Muslim places of worship in Comodoro.

The university - Universidad Nacional de la Patagonia San Juan Bosco - is based in Comodoro Rivadavia with campuses at Esquel, Trelew and Puerto Madryn, as well as in Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego.

References

External links

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