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On our precious globe, oceans spill their majestic waters across 70% of the Earth’s surface. Over the continents, land untainted by the presence of man is becoming ever more elusive and scarce.
One area that almost retains its pristine, unspoiled look is Patagonia in South America.
This sparsely populated region is located at the southern end of South America and displays itself across the vast lands of Argentina and Chile. As a whole it comprises of the southern section of the Andes mountains as well as the deserts, pampas and grasslands east of this. Patagonia has two coasts: to the west it faces the Pacific Ocean and to the east the Atlantic Ocean.
The Colorado and Barrancas rivers, which run from the Andes to the Atlantic, are commonly considered the northern limit of Argentine Patagonia. For Chilean Patagonia it is at Reloncaví Estuary. The archipelago of Tierra del Fuego marks its abrupt southern frontier and the famed end of the world.
The name Patagonia comes from the word patagón, which was used by the Spanish explorer Magellan in 1520 to describe the native people that his expedition thought to be giants. He called them Patagons and, we think now, they were from the Tehuelche people, who tended to be taller than Europeans of the time.
Patagonia encompasses some one million square kilometers and is home to a rich and diverse landscape of plants, fauna and wildlife. It is a spectacular wilderness full of life and full of history.
Early explorers and travellers faced a sometimes difficult and uncomfortable journey to reach there. The words and pictures they brought back bear testament to a remarkable land and remarkable people.
These are their stories.