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A Brave New World

The unrelenting Patagonian landscape made the survival of permanent settlements difficult, though the major European powers of the time felt they needed to establish them to control the Magellan Strait. In the face of growing British interest in the South Atlantic coast, Spanish king Carlos III felt compelled to send colonizers here. But this monarch had a radical idea for them. Instead of military garrisons, these new communities would be of farmers and artisans, and the family would be the pillar of society. The new towns would work peaceably with the local indigenous. Four such colonies were founded between 1779 and 1780: Carmen de Patagones on the Río Negro, San José (Península Valdés), Todos los Santos y San Carlos (near modern-day Puerto Deseado) and Floridablanca (near modern-day Puerto San Julián). The only one to survive was Carmen de Patagones.

Here are some related tips to help plan your trip to Patagonia: Gato And Mancha, The Patagonia Rebellion and History .

By Lorraine Caputo

Upon re-declaring her independence at age 29, Lorraine Caputo packed her trusty Rocinante (so her knapsack's called) and began...

27 Sep 2010

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