A report on Conquest of the Desert

Conquest of the Desert, by Juan Manuel Blanes (fragment showing Julio Argentino Roca, at the front)
Mapuches during a malón raid
Map of the advance of the Argentina frontier until the establishment of zanja de Alsina
The changing state of Argentina

Argentine military campaign directed mainly by General Julio Argentino Roca in the 1870s with the intention of establishing dominance over the Patagonian Desert, inhabited primarily by indigenous peoples.

- Conquest of the Desert
Conquest of the Desert, by Juan Manuel Blanes (fragment showing Julio Argentino Roca, at the front)

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Patagonia

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Patagonia refers to a geographical region that encompasses the southern end of South America, governed by Argentina and Chile.

Patagonia refers to a geographical region that encompasses the southern end of South America, governed by Argentina and Chile.

Río Negro Province, Argentina.
Ainsworth Bay and Marinelli Glacier, Chile.
View of Punta Arenas, Chile, in winter
Santa Cruz Province
Black-browed albatross, near Ushuaia
Map of the indigenous peoples of Southern Patagonia
Cueva de las Manos site in Santa Cruz, Argentina
Nao Victoria, the replica of the first ship to pass through the Strait of Magellan
An 1840s illustration of indigenous Patagonians from near the Straits of Magellan, from Voyage au pole sud et dans l'Océanie by French explorer Jules Dumont d'Urville
Tehuelche warriors in Patagonia
Map of the advance of the Argentine frontier until the establishment of zanja de Alsina
Under General Roca, the Conquest of the Desert extended Argentine power into Patagonia
Tierra del Fuego sheep ranch, 1942: The region's primary activity then, it has been eclipsed by the decline in the global wool market as much as by petroleum and gas extraction.
Gauchos mustering sheep in Patagonia
Whale watching off the Valdes Peninsula
La Trochita on its Chubut Province route: Formerly the sole rapid transport means in the province, La Trochita is now a tourist attraction.

As in the case of Calfucura, many other bands of Mapuches got involved in the internal conflicts of Argentina until Conquest of the Desert.

Lautaro, hero of the Arauco war; Rayén Quitral outstanding soprano; Current Mapuche woman; Ceferino Namuncura blessed of the Catholic Church.

Mapuche

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The Mapuche ( (Mapuche & Spanish: )) are a group of indigenous inhabitants of present-day south-central Chile and southwestern Argentina, including parts of present-day Patagonia.

The Mapuche ( (Mapuche & Spanish: )) are a group of indigenous inhabitants of present-day south-central Chile and southwestern Argentina, including parts of present-day Patagonia.

Lautaro, hero of the Arauco war; Rayén Quitral outstanding soprano; Current Mapuche woman; Ceferino Namuncura blessed of the Catholic Church.
Map of Mapuche territories according to Miguel Melin, Pablo Mansilla and Manuela Royo in MAPU CHILLKANTUKUN ZUGU: Descolonizando el Mapa del Wallmapu, Construyendo Cartografía Cultural en Territorio Mapuche.
Euler diagram of Mapuche ethicities. Historical denominations no longer in use are shown with white fields. Groups that adopted Mapuche language and culture or that have partial Mapuche descent are shown in the periphery of the main magenta-coloured field.
Huamán Poma de Ayala's picture of the confrontation between the Mapuches (left) and the Incas (right)
Painting El joven Lautaro of P. Subercaseaux, shows the military genius and expertise of his people.
Caupolican by Nicanor Plaza
Cornelio Saavedra Rodríguez in meeting with the main lonkos of Araucania in 1869
Ancient flag of the Mapuche on the Arauco War.
Mapuche activists killed in confrontations with the Chilean police in the 2000s.
Wenufoye flag created in 1992 by the indigenist organization "Consejo de Todas las Tierras".
Familia Mapuche, by Claudio Gay, 1848.
A council of Araucanian philosophers, 1904
The daughter of lonko Quilapán
Height of a chemamull (Mapuche funeral statue) compared to a person.
Traditional Mapuche poncho exhibited in Museo Artesanía Chilena.
Monument in the form of a gigantic clava mere okewa, located in Avenida Presidente Eduardo Frei Montalva, Cañete, Chile
Drawing of a trapelacucha, a silver finery piece.
Painting by Raymond Monvoisin showing Elisa Bravo Jaramillo who was said to have survived the 1849 wreck of Joven Daniel to be then kidnapped by Mapuches.
Flag of Argentinian Tehuelche-Mapuche

But Mapuche society in Araucanía and Patagonia remained independent until the late nineteenth century, when Chile occupied Araucanía and Argentina conquered Puelmapu.

Argentina

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Country in the southern half of South America.

Country in the southern half of South America.

The surrender of Beresford to Santiago de Liniers during the British invasions of the Río de la Plata
Portrait of General José de San Martin, Libertador of Argentina, Chile and Peru.
People gathered in front of the Buenos Aires Cabildo during the May Revolution
Julio Argentino Roca was a major figure of the Generation of '80 and is known for directing the "Conquest of the Desert". During his two terms as President many changes occurred, particularly major infrastructure projects of railroads; large-scale immigration from Europe and laicizing legislation strengthening state power.
Official presidential portrait of Juan Perón and his wife Eva Perón, 1948
Admiral Emilio Massera, Lieutenant General Jorge Videla and Brigadier General Orlando Agosti (from left to right) – observing the Independence Day military parade on Avenida del Libertador, 9 July 1978.
Two members of the Regiment of Mounted Grenadiers guarding the Constitution of the Argentine Nation inside the Palace of the Congress.
Aconcagua is the highest mountain outside of Asia, at 6960.8 m, and the highest point in the Southern Hemisphere.
The national animal of Argentina is the Rufous hornero, a small songbird native to South America
Argentina features geographical locations such as this glacier, known as the Perito Moreno Glacier
Casa Rosada, workplace of the President
The National Congress composed of the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies.
Provinces of Argentina.
G 20 leaders gathered in Argentina for the 2018 G20 Buenos Aires summit.
Diplomatic missions of Argentina.
Argentine destroyer ARA Almirante Brown (D-10)
A proportional representation of Argentina exports, 2019
The Catalinas Norte is an important business complex composed of nineteen commercial office buildings and occupied by numerous leading Argentine companies.
Atucha Nuclear Power Plant was the first nuclear power plant in Latin America. The electricity comes from 3 operational nuclear reactors: The Embalse Nuclear Power Station, the Atucha I and II.
Buenos Aires Underground is the oldest underground railway in Latin America, the Southern Hemisphere and the Spanish speaking world.
"Estudio País 24, the Program of the Argentines" in Channel 7, the first television station in the country
SAC-D is an Argentine earth science satellite built by INVAP and launched in 2011.
President Macri in the INVAP with the SAOCOM A and B, two planned Earth observation satellite constellation of Argentine Space Agency CONAE. the scheduled launch dates for 1A and 1B were further pushed back to 2018 and 2020.
The cacique Qom Félix Díaz meets with then president Mauricio Macri.
Over 25 million Argentines have at least one Italian immigrant ancestor.
Dialectal variants of the Spanish language in Argentina
Francis, the first pope from the Americas, was born and raised in Argentina.
Argentina has historically been placed high in the global rankings of literacy, with rates similar to those of developed countries.
The University of Buenos Aires School of Medicine, alma mater to many of the country's 3,000 medical graduates, annually
El Ateneo Grand Splendid was named the second most beautiful bookshop in the world by The Guardian.
Sun of May on the first Argentine coin, 1813
Four of the most influential Argentine writers. Top-left to bottom-right: Julio Cortázar, Victoria Ocampo, Jorge Luis Borges and Adolfo Bioy Casares
Martha Argerich, widely regarded as one of the greatest pianists of the second half of the 20th century
Andy Muschietti, director of It, the highest-grossing horror film of all-time.
Las Nereidas Font by Lola Mora
View of Bolívar Street facing the Cabildo and Diagonal Norte, on Buenos Aires' historical centre. The city's characteristic convergence of diverse architectural styles can be seen, including Spanish Colonial, Beaux-Arts, and modernist architecture.
Diego Maradona, one of the FIFA Player of the 20th Century
Lionel Messi, seven times Ballon d'Or winner, is the current captain of the Argentina national football team.
Argentine beef as asado, a traditional dish
The Cave of the Hands in Santa Cruz province, with artwork dating from 13,000 to 9,000 years ago.
Carlos Gardel, the most prominent figure in the history of tango
Juan Perón and his wife Eva Perón, 1947
Argentine Polo Open Championship.
Civilian casualties after the air attack and massacre on Plaza de Mayo, June 1955
Juan Perón and his wife Isabel Perón, 1973
Argentinians soldiers during the Falklands War
Néstor Kirchner and his wife and political successor, Cristina Kirchner
Aconcagua is the highest mountain outside of Asia, at 6960.8 m, and the highest point in the Southern Hemisphere.
Argentina map of Köppen climate classification
Casa Rosada, workplace of the President
The National Congress composed of the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies.
Provinces of Argentina
Lockheed Martin A-4AR Fightinghawk operated by the Argentine Air Force
Fiat factory in Córdoba, Argentina
Rosario-Córdoba Highway
Passenger train near Mar del Plata
Argentine provinces by population (2010)
Faculty of Law of the University of Buenos Aires
Argentine beef as asado

Between 1878 and 1884 the so-called Conquest of the Desert occurred, with the purpose of giving by means of the constant confrontations between natives and Criollos in the border, and the appropriation of the indigenous territories, tripling the Argentine territory.

View of a modern reconstruction of the Fort of Purén built during the occupation.

Occupation of Araucanía

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Series of military campaigns, agreements and penetrations by the Chilean army and settlers into Mapuche territory which led to the incorporation of Araucanía into Chilean national territory.

Series of military campaigns, agreements and penetrations by the Chilean army and settlers into Mapuche territory which led to the incorporation of Araucanía into Chilean national territory.

View of a modern reconstruction of the Fort of Purén built during the occupation.
Mapuche groups in Araucanía around 1850. De facto Chilean territory in blue.
Painting showing Elisa Bravo Jaramillo who was said to have survived the wreck of Joven Daniel to be then kidnapped by Mapuches.
Photo of Cornelio Saavedra Rodríguez, the planner and military leader of the occupation until 1871.
Map showing the "old" and the "new" frontier established by 1870
Painting of the Mapuche cavalry charge at Quecherehuas.
Cornelio Saavedra Rodríguez in a meeting with some of the main lonkos of Araucania in 1869
Portrait of Quilapán c. 1870.
Communes grouped by dates in which they were founded, 19th century communes were founded as forts. And those of Curarrehue and Teodoro Schmidt were organized from previous populations as early as 1981.
Chilean army during the Occupation of Araucanía.
Map of land ownership in western Araucanía in 1916.
Photo of an Italian immigrant family in Capitán Pastene, Araucanía.

The conflict was concurrent with Argentine campaigns against the Mapuche (1878–1885) and Chile's wars with Spain (1865–1866) and with Peru and Bolivia (1879–1883).

Julio Argentino Roca with the presidential band, in his first term (1880-1886).

Julio Argentino Roca

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Army general and statesman who served as President of Argentina from 1880 to 1886 and from 1898 to 1904.

Army general and statesman who served as President of Argentina from 1880 to 1886 and from 1898 to 1904.

Julio Argentino Roca with the presidential band, in his first term (1880-1886).
Julio Argentino Roca, in his youth.
Military occupation in Rio Negro territory.
Julio Argentina Roca with Miguel Juarez Celman.
Julio Argentino Roca and his allies.
Julio Argentina with the presidential band.
Tomb of Julio Argentino Roca, Recoleta Cemetery, Buenos Aires.
Monument to Julio Argentino Roca in Buenos Aires.

Roca is the most important representative of the Generation of '80 and is known for directing the Conquest of the Desert, a series of military campaigns against the indigenous peoples of Patagonia sometimes considered a genocide.

Nicolás Avellaneda

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Argentine politician and journalist, and President of Argentina from 1874 to 1880.

Argentine politician and journalist, and President of Argentina from 1874 to 1880.

The most important events of his government were the Conquest of the Desert and the transformation of the Buenos Aires into a federal district.

Patagonian Steppe landscape

Patagonian Desert

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Largest desert in Argentina and is the 8th largest desert in the world by area, occupying 673,000 square kilometers .

Largest desert in Argentina and is the 8th largest desert in the world by area, occupying 673,000 square kilometers .

Patagonian Steppe landscape
A satellite image of the Patagonian Desert by NASA World Wind
Astronaut photography of the Patagonian Desert (most of the view) contrasted with the Limay River, seen flowing eastward from the Andes.
Barren Patagonian Desert at the Bosques Petrificados National Park
Like Rada Tilly, on the Atlantic Ocean, most of the larger settlements in the steppe are located along the coast.

Inhabited by hunter-gatherers since Pre-Hispanic times, the desert faced migration in the 19th century of Argentines, Welsh, and other European peoples, transforming it from a conflictive borderland zone to an integral part of Argentina, with cattle, sheep and horse husbandry being the primary land uses.

Pampas peoples

Indigenous peoples in Argentina

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Argentina has 35 indigenous groups (often referred to as Argentine Amerindians or Native Argentines) according to the Complementary Survey of the Indigenous Peoples of 2004, the Argentine government's first attempt in nearly 100 years to recognize and classify the population according to ethnicity.

Argentina has 35 indigenous groups (often referred to as Argentine Amerindians or Native Argentines) according to the Complementary Survey of the Indigenous Peoples of 2004, the Argentine government's first attempt in nearly 100 years to recognize and classify the population according to ethnicity.

Pampas peoples
Distribution of the Indigenous Peoples in Argentina.
Artifacts at the Pío Pablo Díaz Museum in Cachi, Salta Province. One of several in Argentina devoted to the ethnology of indigenous peoples
Tehuelche Cacique Casimiro Biguá, c. 1864
Owners of a roadside café in Salta Province
Native rights activist Félix Díaz

This led to the Conquest of the Desert in the 1870s, which resulted in over 1,300 indigenous dead.

Neuquén Province

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Province of Argentina, located in the west of the country, at the northern end of Patagonia.

Province of Argentina, located in the west of the country, at the northern end of Patagonia.

Reconstructed skeleton of the sauropod Argentinosaurus. It is among the largest known dinosaurs found in Neuquén.
Lanín a large stratovolcano in Neuquén
Chapelco.
Victoria Island (Argentina)
Köppen climate map of Neuquén
El Chocón Dam, the third most important in Argentina.
A snowboarder in San Martín de los Andes.
Quina Quina dock.
Villa la Angostura.
The Flagstones.
Lake Huechulaufquen.
Aerial view of the town of San Martín de los Andes.

In 1879 Julio Argentino Roca started the Conquest of the Desert (Conquista del Desierto) that finally broke the aboriginal resistance.

Río Negro (Argentina)

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Most important river of the Argentine province of Río Negro, and Patagonia in relation to its flow rate.

Most important river of the Argentine province of Río Negro, and Patagonia in relation to its flow rate.

Spectacular meander scars, oxbow lakes and abandoned meanders in the broad flood plain of the Río Negro near Colonia Josefa. 2010 photo from ISS

The river served as natural demarcation between "civilization" and the aboriginal territories during the Conquest of the Desert of late 19th century.