Spanish, Patagonian Welsh, Welsh
556,319 (Jul 1, 2014)
| National University of Patagonia San Juan Bosco|
Comodoro Rivadavia, Puerto Madryn, Trelew, Esquel, Rawson
Chubut (Spanish: , CHOO-boot; Welsh: ) is a province in southern Argentina, situated between the 42nd parallel south (the border with Rio Negro Province), the 46th parallel south (bordering Santa Cruz Province), the Andes range to the west, and the Atlantic ocean to the east. The provinces name derives from the Tehuelche word chupat, meaning "transparent," their description of the Chubut River.
The largest city is Comodoro Rivadavia in the south of the province; it has 180,000 inhabitants, . The administrative capital is Rawson (40,000). 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-Argentines are concentrated. Of the 25,000 Welsh speakers in Argentina, 5,000 live in the Chubut region, particularly in the early Welsh settlements of Gaiman, Trelew and Trevelin.
Before the Spaniards arrived in the Americas, nomadic indigenous peoples had inhabited the Patagonia region for thousands of years. They lived as hunter-gatherers and covered territory in seasonal cycles as they followed game.
In the 17th and 18th centuries, Spanish missionaries came to the area, and founded the San Jose Fort on Peninsula Valdes. The indigenous people later destroyed it.
In 1865, Welsh people came to Chubut in the Mimosa ship and settled in the Chubut Valley area. The region was disputed between Chile and Argentina until 1881. Chile renounced its claim in order to prevent Argentina from entering into the War of the Pacific, in which it was already fighting against Peru and Bolivia.
As part of the Conquista del Desierto (Conquest of the Desert), Argentina organized the National Territory of Chubut in 1884, after the last indigenous cacique, Inyacal, surrendered to government forces. 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 (founded by the Welsh people at the end of the 19th century), 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. Studies in the 1950s revealed mineral wealth in the province, which the government has tried to develop.
Population shifts of the late 20th century, especially from Buenos Aires, raised the population steadily from 190,000 (1970), to 357,000 (1991) and 413,237 (2001). The government has encouraged people to resettle here. Most of the inhabitants are in the main cities. They have also settled along the Chubut River. Most areas have a population density of less than 1 inhabitant per square kilometer.
Chubuts economy, for a long time one of the most prosperous in Argentina, is one of the countrys least diversified. Nearly one-quarter of its 2006 output, estimated at US$4.7 billion, is generated by mining and petroleum. This sectors contribution (mostly centered around Comodoro Rivadavia) helped give Chubut the nations fourth-highest per capita output in 2011, US$25,250. Petroleum refining is the main economic activity of the province; it generates 13% of Argentine oil production (mostly off-shore). On May 21, 2014, Miguel Galuccio of YPF and Chubut Governor Martin Buzzi announced the first unconventional oil and gas discovery in Chubut from a fracked well in the Early Cretaceous D-129 formation of the Golfo San Jorge basin. Chubut produces 21% of the nations fish catch.
Chubut stretches from the Atlantic to the Andes with 3 distinct environmental regions: The Andes, the central plains and the coastal regions. The Andes in the westernmost parts of the province mostly extend along the Chilean border. The Andes are not that high in Chubut, with most peaks averaging around 1,500 and 2,000 metres (4,900 and 6,600 ft), which becomes smaller in altitude in the southern parts. The highest peak is Cerro Dos Picos, located east of Lago Cholila with a height of 2,515 metres (8,251 ft). The Andes in this province are of tertiary origin and are separated by wide, deep transverse valleys that are oriented in an east–west direction. These valleys are occupied by glacial lakes and rivers flowing east from the mountains. Most of these valleys existed before the Andes were formed. The lakes, which are mostly located in the western parts of the province are of glacial origin because during the last ice age, the movement of the glaciers lead to the formation of extensive areas of depressions that were filled up with water to form the lakes today.
Tourism is also a growing industry. The main attractions are Peninsula Valdes 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. At the Punta Tombo site there is one of the largest breeding areas for the Magellanic penguin.
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 known 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.