Neuquén is a province of Argentina, located in the west of the country, at the northern end of Patagonia. It borders Mendoza Province to the north, Rio Negro Province to the southeast, and Chile to the west. It also meets La Pampa Province at its northeast corner.
* 1 History
* 2 Geography and climate
* 3 Economy
* 4 Tourism
The Neuquén Province receives its name from the Neuquén River. The term "Neuquén" derives from the Mapudungun word "Nehuenken" meaning drafty, which the aborigines used to refer to this river. The word, without accentuation, is a palindrome.
Inhabited by Pehuenches, Tehuelches and Mapuches, the territory was not explored by the Conquistadores until late in the 17th century. In 1670 another priest, Nicolás Mascardi, founded the Jesuit mission Nuestra Senora de Nahuel Huapi.
In 1879 Julio Argentino Roca started the infamous Conquest of the Desert (Conquista del Desierto) that finally broke the aboriginal resistance. In 1884 the Patagonia's political division was restructured and the Government of Neuquén acquired its current boundaries. The capital of the province moved several times to Norquín (1884-1885), Campana Mahuida (current Loncopué) (1885-1888), Chos Malal (1885-1901), and finally Confluencia currently known as Neuquén.
At the beginning of the 20th century the railway reached the city of Neuquén, and a new irrigating system was finished facilitating the production and later transportation of crops. Petroleum was found in Plaza Huincul in 1918, giving to Neuquén a new push forward.
The territory was named province in June 15, 1955, and its constitution is declared in November 28, 1957. The Universidad del Neuquén ("University of Neuquén") was founded in 1964, and the Universidad del Comahue ("University of Comahue") in 1971.
Geography and climate
The province's limits are set by the Colorado River to the Northeast, separating it from the Mendoza Province, the Limay River to the Southeast facing the Río Negro Province, and the Andes mountain range to the west, separating it from Chile.
There are two main distinctive landscapes; the mountainous fertile valleys with forest on the West, and the arid plateau with fertile land only near the basins of the rivers on the East, mainly the Limay River and Neuquén River.
The lacustrine system includes other less important rivers such as Aluminé River, Malleo, and Picún Leufú River, and a series of lakes including the Nahuel Huapi Lake (550 km²), shared with the Río Negro Province, the Aluminé Lake (58 km²), Lácar Lake (49 km²), Huechulaufquen Lake (110 km²), Lolog (35 km²), Traful, Hermoso, Quillén, Ñorquinco, Tromen and Falkner.
The weather is continental and cold, with temperate summers, and in the arid regions a wide difference in temperature between day and night. There is also a big contrast in humidity, with regular precipitations of up to 4.000 mm in some regions of the Andean part of the province.
The province is home of the magnificent Arrayanes' forest at the Los Arrayanes National Park. Other National parks include Lanín National Park and the Lanín extinct volcano, the Nahuel Huapí National Park shared with the Río Negro Province, and the Laguna Blanca National Park.
The main economic activity is the exploitation of hydrocarbon and petroleum derivatives, the most important in Argentina. The province produces half of the country's electric energy with the centrals of Piedra del Águila, El Chocón, Pichi Picún Leufú, Planicie Banderita and Alicurá. Arroyito is the only heavy water plant in the country.
Another important activity is the production of apples, pears, peaches and others, specially in the Alto Valle area shared with the Río Negro Province.
The piquetero movement (organizations of unemployed workers) was born in Neuquén during Menem's rule.
Destination of many Argentineans and foreigners, the province has many and varied options for winter and summer; San Martín de los Andes, Villa La Angostura, Camino de los Siete Lagos, Los Arrayanes National Park, Lanín National Park, Nahuel Huapí National Park, Laguna Blanca National Park, and the Copahue hot baths are just some of them. For the winter season, there are the ski centres of Chapelco, Cerro Bayo and Caviahue.
Many explore the lake district region of Southwestern Neuquén that stretches into Río Negro and Chubut Provinces. Another form of tourism is the fishing excursions of mainly the trout, where spinning, trolling and fly casting in the Limay and Neuquén rivers, but also in different smaller streams.
There where a number of dinosaurs in the area, of which the bones of a 95 million years old Argentinosaurus are in dispay at the Carmen Funes Museum in Plaza Huincul.
Información provista por http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuquén_Province