Trelew ([treˈleu], from Welsh: tre "town" and the name of the founder) is a city in the Chubut Province of Argentina. Located in Patagonia, the city is the largest and most populous in the low valley of the Chubut River, with an estimated 100,000 inhabitants as of 2010. The Trelew municipality is part of the Rawson Department, whose capital, Rawson, is also the provincial capital.
Trelew is an important commercial and industrial centre for the region and is the main hub for wool processing, accounting for 90 percent of activity in Argentina. The produce of this industry is mainly shipped and exported through Puerto Madryn and Puerto Deseado.
Trelew is home to the Museum of Paleontology Egidio Feruglio, showcasing the paleontological heritage of the Patagonic region, and considered one of the most important of its kind in South America and the Astronomic and Planetary Observatory.
The city is served by the Almirante Marcos A. Zar Airport, of both civilian and military use. The airport's runway is shared with the Almirante Zar Naval Base, home of the Lockheed P-3 Orion squadron of the Argentine Naval Aviation.
Trelew's foundation is linked with Welsh settlement in Argentina, the leaders of which were Captain Sir Love Jones-Parry of Madryn and Lewis (Luis) Jones, who acted as spokesmen to deal with the Argentine government in the beginning of the 1860s. The town was named Trelew in honour of Jones, tre meaning "town" in Welsh and Lew being an apocope for Lewis.
Trelew was established on 20 October 1886 as the starting point for the Central Chubut Railway line that would link the lower Chubut River Valley to Puerto Madryn. Railway building equipment and 400 settlers arrived on July 28 of that same year on the steamer Vesta. The line was opened in 1888 and later extended from Trelew to Gaiman, Dolavon and finally to Las Plumas. In 1961, the line was closed.
Trelew was the scene of a massacre in 1972. A breakout of political prisoners at the federal penitentiary resulted in the death of one guard and the attempted flight of about 100 individuals who opposed the military dictatorship which followed the overthrow of President Arturo Illia. A small group of prisoners succeeded in commandeering a plane and flying to safety in Chile. The rest submitted to the authorities and were returned to a military prison, where 19 were shot (three survived).
The town of Trelew was searched by the military and locals were seized and taken to the Villa Devoto prison in Buenos Aires. Virtually the entire town went on strike and succeeded in securing the release of the prisoners at Villa Devoto. These incidents were documented in the book La Pasión según Trelew, by Tomás Eloy Martínez, which was originally published in 1973, but was then suppressed by the dictatorship of the Proceso, and reissued in 1997.
Trelew is the centre of tourism in the Central Meseta, the Valley of the Chubut River and the coast. Punta Tombo, the biggest penguin reserve in South America, is accessible from the city.
Racing de Trelew and Huracán de Trelew are the most important local football clubs. Patoruzú Rugby Club and Trelew Rugby Club are the local clubs practicing this sport. In boxing, the Matthysse brothers, Lucas Matthysse and Walter Matthysse are from Trelew, although most of their notable fights took place in the United States.
Trelew experiences a desert climate (Köppen BWk) with hot summers, cool winters and low precipitation year-round.
Trelew is twinned with: Covilhã, Portugal