Estancias

January 1876.

The Chacabuco corvette dates back to the Falkland Islands, a herd of 300 sheep. The idea is to see if they will be able to acclimatise themselves to the harsh climate and Patagonian Desert, thus creating a new economic activity in the region.

In Europe, the industrial revolution has a great need for raw material, notably in textiles (wool) and insufficient pasturage, for managing the herds. Patagonia will become, in a few decades, one of the most important wool- and meat-producing regions, and Latin America’s number one economic power.

Some 300 animals at the end of the 19th century, the livestock will increase, at the beginning of the 20th century, to more than 2,000,000. Concessions given by the government for developing this new activity are huge, ranging up to landholdings of 1 million hectares. The operating company of Tierra del Fuego, present in Argentina and Chile, has an area of 3 million hectares.

Anglo-Scottish immigration is significant; Anglo-Scottish immigrants will be the architects for developing intensive sheep farming. Estancias (livestock farms) will be built according to Anglo-Saxon architectural criteria.

Today, the major landholdings have been parcelled out during the land reform and the demand for raw material is less significant. However, estancias (livestock farms), remain, hidden away in the pampas, windswept and recounting another era.
Some estancias (livestock farms), in addition to their breeding activity, have turned to agritourism and this allows the traveller to discover, in the space of one day, actions which have lasted over the years and seasons.