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Title: The Argentine Republic - Its Development and Progress
Author: Denis, Pierre
Language: English
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  | _BY PIERRE DENIS_                            |
  |                                              |
  | BRAZIL                                       |
  |                                              |
  | Translated, and with an Historical           |
  | Chapter by BERNARD MIALL.                    |
  | With a Supplementary Chapter                 |
  | by DAWSON A. VINDIN,                         |
  | a Map and 36 Illustrations                   |
  |                                              |
  | _Cloth, 15/- net. Third Impression_          |
  |                                              |
  |                                              |
  | "Altogether the book is full of information, |
  | which shows the author to have               |
  | made a most careful study of the             |
  | country."--_Westminster Gazette._            |
  |                                              |
  | T. Fisher Unwin Ltd                   London |

  [Illustration: THE FALLS OF THE YGUASSU.
  _Thirteen miles above the confluence with the Paraná. Like the
  Paraná at the Salto Guayra, the river cuts through a layer of basalt
  intercalated in the red sandstone. The forest of the province of
  Misiones has a tropical character near the river. The araucarias cover
  only the higher parts of the tableland._
  PLATE I.                                              Frontispiece.]


Its Development and Progress



Agrégé d'Histoire et de Géographie

Translated by Joseph McCabe

T. Fisher Unwin Ltd
London: Adelphi Terrace

First published in English in 1922

(All rights reserved)


In the following chapters I have endeavoured to indicate the
essential aspects of colonization in modern Argentina: the conquest
of the soil by man, the exploitation of its natural resources, the
development of agriculture and cattle-breeding, and the growth of the
population and enlargement of the urban centres.

For a new country like Argentina it is not convenient to adopt the
strictly regional plan which seems to be the best means of giving
a complete and methodical description of the historic countries of
western Europe, where it is the only way to keep in close touch with
the geographical facts. In western Europe each region is really an
independent unity. It has for ages lived upon its own resources; each
population-group has its horizon definitely limited; and the complex
action of the environment upon man, and of man upon the country,
has proceeded in each district rather on the lines of an isolated
and impassioned dialogue between the two. It is quite different in
Argentina. There, many of the facts which we have to record consist in
an expansion of the population, a spread of methods of exploitation
from zone to zone of the country, and the influence upon colonization
of commerce and of the varying needs of the markets of the world.

It may be well to reply in advance to a criticism which my Argentine
friends are sure to make. They will complain that I have paid no
attention to the people of Argentina, the creators of the greatness of
the country. It is true that I have deliberately refrained from any
reference to the political and moral life of the Republic, the national
character and its evolution, the stoicism of the gaucho, the industry
of the colonist and the merchant, or the patriotism of the Argentinians
generally. My work is not a study of the Argentine nation, but a
geographical introduction to such a study.

I began the work during a stay in Argentina which lasted from April
1912 to August 1914. In the course of these two years I was able to
visit most parts of the country; and, as the information I gathered
during my travels is one of my chief sources, I give here a summary of
my itineraries.

     _October-November 1912_: Rosario--Region of the
     colonies of Santa Fé--Forestry-industries of the Chaco
     Santiagueño--Bañados of the Rio Dulce--Salta--Jujuy--Sierra de
     la Lumbrera.

     _November-December 1912_: Tucumán--Valley of Tapi--Santa Maria
     to the west of Aconcagua--Cafayate (Valley of Calchaqui).

     _December 1912-January 1913_: Catamarca--Andalgala--Valley of
     Pucara--Córdoba--Villa Maria.

     _January-February 1913_: Region of the Pampas (Province of
     Buenos Aires, south of Córdoba and of S. Luis, district of the
     Central Pampa).

     _March 1913_: Corrientes--Posadas--Asunción--Forest-industries
     of the Chaco of Santa Fé.

     _August 1913_: Region of the Pampas (Province of Buenos Aires).

     _March 1914_: Lake Nahuel Huapi--Valcheta--San Antonio--The
     Rio Negro.

     _April 1914_: Rioja--Sierra de los Llanos--San Juan--Mendoza.

     _July 1914_: Entre Rios.

These journeys, by rail or on well-known roads, were not supposed to
be for the purpose of exploration or discovery. Their one object was
to enable me to make a provisional classification of the chief types
of country and forms of colonization, and to draw up a methodical
programme for more thorough research. The work which I trusted to
do in a more leisurely way was, however, suspended in 1914, and, in
spite of my very strong desire to do so, I was unable to resume it on
the spot in 1919. I have therefore been compelled to publish my first
observations, completing them, as well as I could, by a bibliographical
study of the country. I have made use of some fragments of a popular
work which I began, at the request of the Argentine Commission, for the
International Exhibition at San Francisco, of which several chapters
were published in my absence by the University of Tucumán (Pierre
Denis, _Modern Argentina: Chapters of Economic Geography_. Publications
of the University during the Centenary of the Congress of Tucumán of
1816. Buenos Aires, 1916).[1]

     [1] I take the opportunity to thank M. J. B. Teran, who
     undertook to edit these chapters, and to express, with him, my
     satisfaction that events have falsified his rather pessimistic
     predictions as regards the author.

My knowledge of the publications on Argentina has two conspicuous
gaps. The first is deliberate. I declined to study at second hand the
documents and chronicles which are our sources, to the end of the
eighteenth century, for the history of the various provinces that were
to form Argentina. Hence the historical data on colonization which
will be found in the following chapters relate almost entirely to the
nineteenth century.

The second gap I was, to my great disappointment, unable to fill up.
A large part of the local publications--official or other--maps,
statistics, etc., never reached Europe, and Buenos Aires is the only
place where one can make a thorough study of them. These publications
were available to me until 1914. Since then I have been restricted to
the resources of the Paris and London libraries, which are very scanty;
and less has been sent from Argentina since the war. I have not the
complete statistics up to date.

I trust, however, that this picture of Argentina has much more than
a retrospective character; that it is not out of date before it is
published. I may add that no statistics would enable one to solve
the problem which Argentina in 1920 presents to an observer. Has the
European War merely retarded the economic evolution of the country,
or has it given that evolution a new direction? Will or will not the
relations which Argentina is now resuming with the rest of the world be
of the same character as the pre-war relations?

The effects of the war upon the life of the country must not all be
put on the same footing. That some of the exporters to Argentina
have gained by the war and others lost--that the share of the United
States, and even of Japan, has greatly increased--is a fact that
may be regarded from the Argentinian point of view as of secondary
importance. The war has, moreover, had the effect of disorganizing
marine transport and bringing about a sort of relative isolation which
is not yet quite over. The reduction in the imports of English coal has
made the petroleum wells of Rivadavia of greater value to the country.
It has compelled the Argentinians to make a hurried inventory of their
natural resources in the way of fuel. Local industries have tried to
meet the needs of the Argentinian market, where they had no longer to
bear the competition of European goods. The grave disturbance of prices
has enabled them to export certain products which had hitherto been
confined to home markets. The war has, moreover, not interfered with
the existing streams of export on a large scale from Argentina. The
Republic continues to send its cereals, meat, hides and wool to Europe;
and there is no reason to suppose that the competition of buyers is
likely to diminish, or that the cultivation of wheat and lucerne must
become less profitable.

The two essential effects of the war seem to have been the stopping of
the stream of immigration and the progressive reduction of the support
which Europe gave to the work of colonization in the form of advances
of capital.

From 1914 to 1918 only 272,000 immigrants landed at Buenos Aires, while
482,000 emigrants left the country. In 1918 the figure of immigration
and emigration was only 47,000, less than a tenth of what it was in a
normal year before the war. The withdrawal of European capital was felt
from the very beginning of the war, and it has gone on uninterruptedly,
capital from North America not being enough to supply the deficiency
entirely. At the same time the extraordinarily favourable balance
of trade has led to the storing of an ample reserve of capital in
the country. Argentina has, in a very short time, won a financial
independence which, in normal conditions, would have entailed long
years of work and prosperity.

However it may seem, these two facts--the interruption of immigration
and the accumulation of capital--cannot be considered independently
of each other. The inquiry opened by the Social Museum of Argentina
(_La inmigración después de la guerra_, Museo Social Argentino, "Bol.
Mensual," viii, 1919, nos. 85-90) show that a speedy restoration of
immigration is expected in the Republic. Certainly it seems clear
that the political and social insecurity in Europe, the misery of the
old world, will probably enhance the attractions of Argentina. We
must remember, however, that the stream of emigration from Europe to
the Republic in the nineteenth, and the beginning of the twentieth,
century was provoked by a complex combination of economic conditions
which were closely related to each other. High wages in Argentina were
connected with the high interest on money; that is to say, in other
words, with the scarcity of capital. The future will decide whether
immigration, and the rapid progress of colonization and production,
which characterize pre-war Argentina can be adjusted to the policy of
accumulation of capital to which the war has condemned the country.


  INTRODUCTION                                                          5

  THE NATURAL REGIONS OF ARGENTINA                                     17
       The physical environment--Colonization and the natural
       regions--The struggle with the Indians--Argentine
       unity--Argentina and the world.

  THE OASES OF THE NORTH-WEST                                          36
       The inhabited zones of the Andes in the north-west--_Valles_,
       _Quebradas_, _Puna_--The irrigation of the _valles_--The
       historic routes--Convoys of stock--The breeding of mules and
       the fairs--The struggle of the breeders against drought--The
       Sierra de los Llanos.

  TUCUMÁN AND MENDOZA                                                  68
       Tucumán and the road to Chile--The climate and the cultivation
       of the sugar-cane--The problem of manual labour--Irrigation at
       Mendoza--Water-rights--Viticulture--Protection and the natural

  THE EXPLOITATION OF THE FORESTS                                      96
       Manual labour on the _obrajes_--The land of the _bañados_
       and the agricultural cantons of Corrientes--The timber-yards
       of the Chaco and the tannic-acid works of the Paraná--The
       exploitation of the _maté_--The forestry industry and

  PATAGONIA AND SHEEP-REARING                                         119
       The arid tableland and the region of glacial lakes--The
       first settlements on the Patagonian coast and the indigenous
       population--Extensive breeding--The use of pasture on the
       lands of the Rio Negro--Transhumation.

  THE PLAIN OF THE PAMPAS                                             161
       The limits of the prairie--The rains--The wind and the
       formation of the clay of the Pampas--The wind and the
       contour--The zones of colonization on the Pampas--Hunting
       wild cattle and primitive breeding--The sheep-farms--The
       ranches--The region of "colonies"--The region of lucerne,
       maize, and wheat--The combination of agriculture and
       breeding--The economic mechanism of colonization--The
       exchanges between the different zones of the Pampas.

  ROADS AND RAILWAYS                                                  209
       Roads on the plain--The salt road--The "trade
       route"--Transport by ox-waggons--_Arrieros_ and
       _Troperos_--Railways and colonization--The trade in
       cereals--Home traffic and the reorganization of the system.

  THE RIVER-ROUTES                                                    234
       The use of the river before steam navigation--Floods--The
       river plain--The bed of the Paraná and its changes--The
       estuary and its shoals--Maritime navigation--The boats on the

  THE POPULATION                                                      260
       The distribution of the population--The streams of emigration
       to the interior--Seasonal migrations--The historic towns--The
       towns of the Pampean region--Buenos Aires.

  BIBLIOGRAPHY                                                        277

  INDEX                                                               291



      I. THE FALLS OF THE YGUASSU                           _Frontispiece_
                                                              FACING PAGE
            PUNTA VACAS, ON THE TRANS-ANDEAN RAILWAY                   22
            QUEBRADA DE IRUYA                                          22

    III. THE PATAGONIAN ANDES                                          38


      V. DRY SCRUB OF THE CENTRAL CHACO                                58

         THE OASIS OF ANDALGALA                                        70

         PROVINCE OF CATAMARCA)                                        82
         THE MONTE AT EL YESO                                          82

   VIII. A VINEYARD AT SAN JUAN                                        92
         A VINEYARD AT MENDOZA                                         92

     IX. THE LAND OF THE BAÑADOS                                      100
         LORETO: FARMING BY INUNDATION                                100

      X. LORETO: THE RIO PINTO IN THE DRY SEASON                      112
         LA BANDA (SANTIAGO DEL ESTERO)                               112

     XI. QUEBRACHO TRUNKS LYING AT THE STATIONS                       116

         EASTERN CHACO, OR CHACO OF SANTA FÉ                          128

   XIII. THE VOLCANO PUNTIAGUDO                                       142
         CONFLUENCE OF THE TRAFUL                                     142

    XIV. THE PATAGONIAN TABLELAND (NEUQUEN)                           154

            TANDIL AND THE SIERRA DE LA VENTANA)                      166
            TOAY, ON THE CENTRAL PAMPA (590 FEET)                     166

            500 FEET ABOVE SEA-LEVEL)                                 182
            ELEVATION)                                                182

            BUENA ESPERANZA (SAN LUIS PROVINCE)                       194
            ELEVATION)                                                194

  XVIII. AN OX WAGON                                                  210
         THE MAIL COACH                                               210

    XIX. THRESHING ON THE PAMPA                                       220

     XX. CONFLUENCE OF THE YGUASSU AND THE PARANÁ                     236

    XXI. THE PARANÁ AT CORRIENTES                                     244
         THE BARRANCA AT PARANÁ (ENTRE RIOS), LEFT BANK               244

   XXII. THE PARANÁ ABOVE THE ESTUARY                                 250

            DRYING HIDES                                              262
            DRYING SALT MEAT                                          262

   XXIV. A HERD OF CREOLE CATTLE                                      268
         A HERD OF DURHAM CATTLE                                      268


    I. ARGENTINA: THE NATURAL REGIONS                                  28


  III. THE CATTLE-BREEDING AREAS                                      188

   IV. DENSITY OF THE MAIZE CROP                                      198

    V. DENSITY OF THE WHEAT CROP                                      200

   VI. THE RAILWAYS                                                   226

  VII. ESTUARY OF THE RIO DE LA PLATA                                 254

The Argentine Republic



     The physical environment--Colonization and the natural
     regions--The struggle with the Indians--Argentine
     unity--Argentina and the world.

The South-American continent is divided, from west to east, into three
great zones. The lofty chains of the Andes stretch along the Pacific
coast; at the foot of these are immense alluvial tablelands; further
east are the level plains of the Atlantic coast. The eastern zone,
the tablelands, ends southward at the mouth of the Rio de la Plata.
It enters Argentine territory only in the north-east corner of the
province of Misiones. Below 35° S. lat. the alluvial plains open freely
upon the ocean. The position of Buenos Aires, in the threshold of the
plain of the Pampas, is somewhat like that of Chicago at the beginning
of the prairies; if you imagine the north-eastern States and eastern
Canada struck off the map, and the sea penetrating inland as far as the

The three essential aspects of Argentine scenery are mountain, plain,
and river. The Paraná, indeed, is a whole natural region in itself,
with its arms and its islands, and the ever-changing low plain over
which its floods spread, as one sees it from the top of the clay
_barrancas_ (cliffs); though it is so broad that one cannot see the
opposite bank. It wanders over the plain like a foreigner, an emissary
from tropical America; for it has a flora of its own and tepid waters
which often cause a fog over the estuary where they mingle with the
waters of the sea.

From the general mass of the Argentine plains, we must set apart the
region between the Paraná and the Uruguay, which Argentinians call
"Mesopotamia." While æolian clays form the soil of the Pampa on the
right bank of the Paraná, fluvial deposits--sands and gravel, in which
it is impossible to distinguish the contribution of the Uruguay from
that of the Paraná--cover a great part of Mesopotamia. The earlier beds
of the rivers may be traced here, not only by the alluvial deposits
they have left, but by the lagoons which still mark their course.
Running waters have shaped the landscape and scooped out a system of
secondary valleys, and these reflect the history of the river itself
and the variations of base-level which led to alternate periods of
erosion and deposit.

On the right bank, on the contrary, the Paraná has no tributaries of
any importance except at the extreme north of the country. The scarcity
of running water is, in fact, one of the characteristic features of
the plain of the Pampas. Except in the east, along the Paraná, where a
network of permanent streams develops on a comparatively impermeable
and fairly humid soil, and except at the foot of the mountains, where
irregular torrents and streams, swollen after a storm and scanty in
the dry season, disappear, as a rule, within sight of the hills that
gave them birth, there is no superficial organized drainage. As a
whole, the alluvial covering of the Pampas, the upper beds of which are
cut through by the _barranca_ of the Paraná, is not of river origin;
it was brought and distributed by the wind, which took the place of
running water. The clay of the Pampas is a present from the winds. The
increasing dryness of the climate toward the west, as one approaches
the Cordillera, explains the feebleness of the erosion by water and the
extent of the erosion by wind.

It is aridity, too, that gives their particular character to the
Argentine Andes. They have little trace of perpetual snow, the lower
limit of which approaches to within about four miles of the Bolivian
frontier. There are no glaciers there; they reappear in the south
only in the latitude of San Juan and Mendoza, on the flanks of the
three giants of the southern Cordillera, Mercedario, Aconcagua, and
Tupungato. Below the small number of steep furrows which the glaciers
have carved, and usually up to the top of the mountain, there spreads
what has been called, very expressively, "the zone of rubbish." In this
the winter's snows, fretted by the sun in that clear atmosphere, form
those multitudes of narrow pyramids which the Argentinians compare to
processions of white-robed pilgrims. The underlying rock is rarely
visible. It is covered with a thick cloak of rubbish, split off by the
frost, which the slow-moving waters released by the melting of the
snows heap up at the foot of the slopes, at the bottom of depressions.
The half-buried summits are succeeded by basins of accumulation. In
the valleys round the mountains there are immense beds of detritic,
half-rounded shingle. The torrents have cut their way through the
alluvial mass, and they flow at the foot of high terraces which mark
the sites of former valleys.

The spread of colonization toward the south during the last generation
has extended Argentine territory beyond the limits of these classic
scenes. The Patagonian Andes differ profoundly from the Northern Andes;
and the change is not more sudden than that of the climate, to which
it is due. Going toward the south, one passes, almost without a break,
from the Atlas Mountains to Scandinavia. The moisture increases in
proportion as the mean temperature falls. The mountains are covered
with snow, and the glaciers lengthen. In one part of Patagonia they
still form a continuous cap, an "inland sea," concealing the rock over
the entire central zone of the Cordillera; though they are only the
shrunken remainder of a glacial cap which was once far more extensive.
Here ice was the chief sculptor of the scenery. It has made elevated
tablelands, broadened the deep valleys which cut the flank of the
mountain, polished their sides, and deposited at the point where they
open out the amphitheatres of the moraines, behind which the waters
have accumulated and formed lakes; and these lakes stretch back like
fiords to the heart of the Cordillera, and are the pride of Patagonia.

The waters of these moisture-laden mountains have, to the east, carved
out the Patagonian tableland. It is crossed by broad and boldly cut
valleys, several of which, abandoned by the rivers which scoured
them, are now dead valleys. The rubbish from the wearing down of the
mountains and the glacial moraine has been spread over the whole face
of the tableland in the form of beds of gravel. But the rivers that
rise in the Andes cross a country of increasing aridity as they descend
eastward. There is no tributary to add to their volume. There is none
of that softening of lines, of that idle flow of a meandering stream
which characterizes the final stage of a river in a moist district.
Their inclination remains steep, and their waters continue to plough up
coarse sediment; and everywhere, up to the fringes of the valleys, the
fluting of the sandstone and steepness of the cliffs bear witness, like
the edges of the _hamadas_ of the Sahara, to some other form of erosion
than that effected by running water--the influence on the country of
the westerly winds. On the tableland the wind polishes the rounded
pebbles, makes facets on them, and gives them the colouring of the

Thus from the north to the south of Argentina there is a complete
contrast in the way in which the controlling forces of the landscape
are distributed. In the north the moist winds come from the east;
the rains lessen as they pass westward. The clays, capped with black
soil, of Buenos Aires are æolian deposits, brought by the wind from
the desolate steppes which close the Pampa to the west, fixed and
transformed by the vegetation of a moister region. In the south, on
the contrary, the rains come from the Pacific, and the fluvio-glacial
alluvial beds of the Patagonian tableland are evidence of copious
reserves of moisture in the Andes; but the arid climate in which the
waters have left them has made its mark upon their surface.

This diversity of the physical environment is only fully brought
out by colonization. It is colonization, the efforts and attempts
of human industry to adjust agricultural or pastoral practices to
the natural conditions, which enable us to assign the limits of the
natural regions. In this differentiation it is essential to notice the
historical element.

The introduction of new crops gives a geographical meaning, which
had hitherto escaped observation, to climatological limits such, for
instance, as the line of 400 millimetres of rainfall which is the
western frontier of the region of cereals. These limits of crops remain
uncertain for a time, then experience and tradition gradually fix them.
They always keep a certain elasticity, however, advancing or receding
according as the market for the particular produce is favourable or

Improvement in the methods of exploiting the soil--the adoption of
better agricultural machinery, dry farming, etc.--usually leads to the
extension of the sphere of a particular type of colonization, as it
enables this type to overcome some natural obstacle which restricted
its expansion. Sometimes, however, it brings to light a new obstacle
and creates a new geographical limit.

To this category belongs the northern limit of the belt of selective
breeding, which slants across the plain of the Pampas from the Sierra
de Córdoba to the Paraná. The more or less degenerate cattle of the
natives had spread over the whole of the South American continent,
except the tropical forests, since the seventeenth century, adapting
themselves easily to very different climatic conditions, from the
Venezuelan _llanos_ to the _sertao_ of Bahía and the plains of
Argentina. But pedigree animals, more valuable and more delicate,
introduced on to the Pampas fifty years ago, are not able to resist the
malady caused by a parasite called the _garrapate_. Hence the southern
limit of the _garrapate_ suddenly became a most important element in
the economic life of the Republic. It would lose its importance if we
discovered a serum that would give the animals immunity against Texas

The range of one and the same cause varies infinitely with the
circumstances. The limit of the prairie, as of the scrub (_monte_)
which surrounds it on every side, and keeps it at a distance of 320 to
440 miles from Buenos Aires, had no decisive influence on primitive
colonization. Whether covered with grasses or brushwood, the plain
is equally suitable for extensive breeding. The ranches are the same
on both sides of the border. At the end of the nineteenth century,
however, when the area of cultivation increased, the prairie was
at once found to be superior. The labour required for clearing the
brushwood before the plough can work is enough to divert from it, at
least for some time, the stream of agricultural colonization. While the
population of the _monte_, wood-cutters and breeders, are indigenous,
the prairie has absorbed the immigrants from Europe, and the border of
the scrub has become in many places an ethnographical frontier.[2]

     [2] See E. A. S. Delachaux, "Las regiones físicas de la
     República Argentina," _Rev. Museo Plata_, XV, 1908, pp.

  _The bottom of the valley is 8,000 feet above sea-level; the sides
  buried under rubbish. It is especially in this latitude, above a height
  of 10,600 feet, in the zone where the moisture falls as snow even in
  summer, that the rock is everywhere buried under its own rubbish. This
  is Keidel's_ Schuttzone. _It extends to the foot of the Alpine peaks,
  carved by glaciers._
                                    Photograph by Moody, Buenos Aires.]

  [Illustration: QUEBRADA DE IRUYA.
  _Eastern slope of the Sierra de Santa Victoria, 65 miles from the
  Bolivian frontier, in the zone of summer rain. The valleys have
  been filled with an enormous mass of torrential alluvia. The water
  afterwards made a course through the mobile deposits._
                                  Photograph by Keidel, Mines Division.
  PLATE II.                                             To face p. 22.]

The changes which man has made in the floral landscape are, as a rule,
slight. The limits of the forest zone have scarcely been altered. The
beech forest of the southern Andes seems to be less tenacious than the
_monte_ which surrounds the Pampa, and it has been ravaged by fire
along the whole edge of the southern steppe at 37° S. lat. The work of
man is generally confined to changing the primitive complexion of the
natural formations, without altering their general appearance. Thus
valuable essences are disappearing from the forest and the scrub, the
larch and the cypress from the district of the Patagonian Lakes, and
the red _quebracho_ from Santiago del Estero.

A change that is scarcely visible, but is of considerable economic
importance, thus takes place in the vegetation of the prairie owing to
the presence of herds. The _pasto fuerte_, composed of rough grasses,
which is the natural vegetation, is being succeeded by the _pasto
dulce_, in which annual species, soft grasses, leguminous plants,
etc., predominate. It is mainly composed of plants of European origin.
The difference between the _pasto dulce_ and the _pasto fuerte_ or
_duro_ is so important for the farmer that there is hardly a single
work on Argentina which does not dwell on it. The idea, however,
that the _pasto dulce_ has advanced steadily westward, starting from
the vicinity of Buenos Aires and constantly enlarging its domain, is
not strictly accurate. In 1895 Holmberg[3] traced the western limit
of the zone of the _pasto dulce_ through Pergamino, Junin, Bragado,
Azul, Ayacucho, and Mar Chiquita. When we compare this with earlier
observations, we see that in the course of the nineteenth century the
zone of the _pasto dulce_ has extended by about a hundred miles on the
southern Pampa. When Darwin travelled from Bahía Blanca to Buenos Aires
in 1833, he found no _pasto dulce_ except round Monte, on the right
bank of the Salado. Further north, on the other hand, the extent of the
_pasto dulce_ does not seem to have altered appreciably. The expedition
to the Salt Lakes in 1778 found that there were already thistles beyond
the line of the ranches, and these are characteristic of the _pasto
dulce_ in the Chivilcoy region on the Salado, which was then abandoned
to herds of wild cattle. "There was thistle enough to cook," says
the journal of the expedition. The difference is connected with the
history of colonization in the province of Buenos Aires, where ground
was gained only toward the south between 1800 and 1875. Since 1895 the
_pasto duro_ has been eliminated by agriculture rather than by the feet
of the herds. Hence the advance of the _pasto dulce_ is no longer in
a continuous line moving toward the west. It is sporadic, depending
upon the construction of new railways which open up the plain to the

     [3] Holmberg, "La Flora de la República Argentina," in the
     _Secundo Censo de la República Argentina_, vol. i. (Buenos
     Aires, 1898).

     [4] _Diario de la expedition de 1778 a las Salinas_ (Coll. de
     Angelis, iv.).

Colonization does more than emphasize the individuality of each of the
natural regions. It connects together different features, and blends
them in a complex vital organism which goes on evolving and renewing

The occupation of the whole of the soil of Argentina by white colonists
is quite a recent event. The second half of the nineteenth century was
characterized by a rapid territorial expansion, and over more than
half the country the expression "new land" must be taken literally. It
is only one generation since it was taken from the Indians. There can
be no question here of tracing the history of the relations between
the white population and the free Indians of the Chaco and the Pampa.
The most formidable of these were, in the north, the Abipones and
the Tobas. On the Pampa, the foes of the colonists were Indians of
Araucanian descent, Ranqueles, Pehuenches, etc., who came down from the
mountains and took to horses. At the close of the eighteenth century
the frontier of Buenos Aires was on the nearer side of the Salado, and
was bordered on the south-east and north-west by the fortresses of
Chascomus, Monte, Lobos, Navarro, Areco, Salto, Rojas, and Melincue.
The proposal of D'Azara to extend it as far as the Salado was not
carried out, and it was not until 1828 that there was a fresh advance

     [5] _F. de Azara, Diario de un reconocimiento de las guardias
     y fortines que guarnecen la linea frontera de Republica
     Argentina_ (1796, Coll. de Angelis, vol. vi.). The documents
     collected by de Angelis show clearly that there had been some
     idea in the middle of the eighteenth century of occupying the
     whole plain to the east of the Sierra de Tandil. These ideas
     of expansion, of which D'Azara's plan is another instance,
     were interrupted by the Revolution (_Diario de D. Pedro Pablo
     Pabon_, Coll. de Angelis, iv. etc.).

The new frontier, which would not be altered until 1875, passed by
Veinte Cinco de Mayo and Blanca Grande, at the north-western extremity
of the Sierra de Tandil. It included the entire region which lies
between the Sierra de Tandil and the lower Salado, where the village
of Tandil had been established in 1823. In addition, a line of forts
stretched from Blanca Grande in the south-west to Bahía Blanca. The
expedition sent in search of a port south of the mouth of the Plata
had not found any nearer site that was suitable. But Bahía Blanca was
to remain an isolated advance post until 1880, sharply separated from
both the colonized zone of the Pampas and the establishments on the
Patagonian coast.

While the cultivated area was thus growing toward the south, it was
being reduced in the north of the province of Buenos Aires and the
south of Córdoba. The lands of the lower Rio Cuarto were not occupied.
About 1860 (Martin de Moussy) the farthest establishments in this
sector were S. José de la Esquina and Saladillo on the Tercero. The
road to Chile by the Rio Cuarto, Achiras, and San Luis was threatened.
The advance of colonization in this zone was at first in the west to
Villa Mercedes on the Rio Quinto. The line of the Rio Cuarto by Carlota
was reoccupied, and before 1875 the frontier had been pushed back to
the Rio Quinto, where it joined the forts of southern Buenos Aires by
way of Sarmiento, Gainza, and Lavalle.

At last, in 1878, General Roca abandoned the classical methods
of fighting the Indians, and took the offensive. He deprived the
Indians of their refuges to the south of San Luis and the Central
Pampa, and threw them back toward the desert. The Argentine troops
followed in their steps as far as the Andes and the Rio Negro. There
are to-day few traces in the immense territory that was won of the
indigenous population. Its extreme mobility had masked its numerical

     [6] M. J. Olascoaga gives (_La conquête de la Pampa: Recueil
     de documents relatifs à la campagne du Rio Negro_, Buenos
     Aires, 1881) valuable documents concerning both the details
     of the fight with the Indians and the distribution of their
     _invernadas_ (common lands) in the region of the Pampas.
     Olascoaga translates it "winter quarters"; it was pasturage on
     which they kept their cattle and from which they set out on
     their expeditions.

The history of the northern frontier is much the same. At the end of
the eighteenth century the Spanish outposts ran along the course of
the Salado. To the north of Santa Fé, at Sunchales, Soledad, and San
Javier, they protected the direct route from Santa Fé to Santiago del
Estero. These outposts were abandoned during the revolutionary period,
and the Indians advanced as far as the suburbs of Santa Fé. The roads
both to Santiago and, by the Quebracho Herrado, to Córdoba were cut.[7]
Urquiza reorganized the Santa Fé frontier, first as far as San Javier,
then below 29° S. lat. between Arroyo del Rey on the Paraná and Tostado
on the Salado. The expedition of 1884 brought the Argentine army as far
as the Bermejo, and broke the resistance of the Tobas. The forts which,
more to the north, guarded the province of Salta, on the further side
of the Sierras de la Lumbrera and Santa Barbara, had been dismantled at
the beginning of the nineteenth century, as the tribes in this part of
the Chaco were not hostile.[8]

     [7] See Thomas J. Hutchinson, _Buenos Aires and Argentine

     [8] See Geronimo de la Serna, "Expedición militar al Chaco,"
     _Bol. I, Geog. Argentino_, xv. 1894, pp. 115-79.

The memory of the fights with the Indians is so completely blotted out
to-day, and the menace of invasion by the tribes has been so rapidly
extinguished, that it is difficult to realize fully the profound
influence they once had on colonization. The line of forts was a frail
barrier that was constantly broken through. The Indians of the Pampa
stole cattle from the ranches of Buenos Aires, and sold them in Chile.
Colonel Garcia calculates in 1816 that about 40,000 animals were stolen
every year.[9] Colonel Roca gives the same figure in 1876. The Pampa
put no natural difficulties in the way of the movements of the Indians,
no points which might serve as bases for the frontier. D. Pedro Pablo
Pabon points out that the proximity of the Sierra, instead of giving
protection to outposts in the Tandil region, would be an additional
source of insecurity, as it increased the difficulty of keeping watch.
In the north the Indian incursions followed the clearings in the scrub,
avoiding the dense and impenetrable parts. The lagoon of Mar Chiquita,
to the west of Santa Fé, was a valuable rampart, in the shelter of
which a fairly large population had established itself round Concepción
del Tio.

     [9] _Nuevo plan de fronteras de la provincia de la Republica
     Argentina_ (Coll. de Angelis, vol. vi).

The enlargements of the frontier were sometimes due to expansive
movements of colonization, the breeders occupying new land beyond the
line of forts and demanding protection, and sometimes to the arbitrary
action of a Government which was eager to extend its territory, though
it was still without the means of exploiting it. Roca has well shown
the defects of this system of premature military occupation. "To go
far away from the populated districts in acquiring new territory is,
in my opinion, only an aggravation of the inconveniences of defensive
war, and it places a desert between the new lines and the settled
regions.... Invasions occur at once."[10] We should therefore be
likely to make serious mistakes if we were to identify the history of
colonization with that of military occupation. Moreover, the garrisons
of the forts did not take a very active part in the exploitation of
the soil. The plan which D'Azara proposed, of making _blandengues_
(lancers) colonists and rooting them to the soil by distributing it
amongst them, seems to have been purely Utopian. His description of
the frontier shows clearly how slight a hold the early colonization
had on the Pampa, where the only relatively industrious element was
represented by the groups of civilians (_paisanos_) who gathered about
the works and moats of the forts. It was different on the Santiago del
Estero frontier, where there was agriculture as well as breeding. Here
the fort was identical with the village, and each soldier had his plot
of wheat, maize, or water-melons.[11]

     [10] Letter to the Minister of War, October 19, 1875.

     [11] See the curious picture, which Hutchinson gives us, of
     military life on the Rio Salado de Santiago about the middle
     of the nineteenth century.

The provinces which were to combine in forming the Argentine Republic
had no economic unity. They were really two countries, two separate
worlds, the coast regions and the mountain regions (_de arriba_),
joined together, but not blended, by the main road from Buenos Aires
to Peru, by way of Córdoba, Tucumán, and Salta. They represented two
different branches of Spanish colonization. "Two human streams," says
Mitre, "contributed to the peopling of the vice-royalty.... The first
came directly from Spain, the mother country. It occupied and peopled
the banks in the basin of the Rio de la Plata, in the name of the
right of discovery and conquest, and fertilized them by its labour.
The other stream came from the ancient empire of the Incas, already
subdued by the Spanish armies. This spread toward the interior of the
country as it passed from the Pacific to the Atlantic, occupied the
land in virtue of the same rights, and exploited it by means of a
feudal system.... The same year, 1535, saw the foundation of the two
towns, Buenos Aires and Lima, and was the centre of these two cycles
of discoveries and conquests. Thirty-eight years later, in the same
year, 1573, the Conquistadores who came from Peru founded the town of
Córdoba, two hundred miles away from the Paraná, while those who came
from the Rio de la Plata founded the town of Santa Fé on the banks of
that river."[12]

     [12] Mitre, _Historia de Belgrano_, I, ch. i. pp. 4 and 5.

  _The map shows the distribution of the natural regions--the dry Andes
  in the north-west, with irrigated cultivation; the monte, or brush,
  which is still used for extensive breeding; and the Pampa, with its
  great areas of cereals and lucerne. The line marking the frontier of
  1875 shows the speed at which colonization has developed in the western
  half of the plain of the Pampas. The only regions not given on the map
  are the plateau of Misiones, with its tropical forests, and the wet
  Andes of Patagonia._
                                                        To face p. 28.]

Tucumán and Salta were established by conquerors from Peru, while San
Juan and Mendoza were built by the Chilean Spaniards. The line of
demarcation between the two zones of colonization crosses the immense
desert plains of the interior, not the elevated tablelands of the Andes.

The two types of Argentinians differed in every respect, in blood as
well as in environment. The indigenous race, which was eliminated on
the coast, mingled intimately with the conquering race in the interior.

The establishments on the Rio de la Plata had originally been merely
stages on the road to Peru, and had no value of themselves. The
elevated tablelands of the Andes long remained the economic centre of
Spanish America, and the provinces of the interior, which sold them
cattle and mules, depended very closely upon them. The end of the
eighteenth century was marked by more rapid progress in the region of
the Pampas. The vice-royalty of La Plata was created.

Freedom of trade was secured between Buenos Aires and the Spanish
ports. The export of hides increased. The influence of Buenos Aires
spread over the interior and, in spite of the Córdoba tariff, reached
the regions of the north-west. "The creation of the vice-royalty," says
Dean Funes, "and the new direction taken by commerce had the effect
that Buenos Aires became the centre of considerable and important

     [13] D. Gregorio Funes, _Ensayo de la historia civil del
     Paraguay, Buenos Aires, y Tucumán_ (Buenos Aires, 3 vols.,

This commercial development, which seemed destined to bring closer
together the two halves of Argentinian territory, was interrupted
in the first half of the nineteenth century. This did not, however,
break the connections between the provinces to the north-west of the
tableland and those on the Pacific slope, and indeed, they became
more varied and more binding. Packs of mules, carrying the ore of San
Juan and La Rioja to the foundries of the Chilean side, added life to
the Cordillera. When Chile, transformed into an agricultural country,
could not meet its own demand for cattle, the oases of the Argentine
side were sown with lucerne for fattening the cattle which were to
cross the mountains. The provinces of Mendoza, San Juan, La Rioja,
Catamarca, Tucumán, and Salta were held within the orbit of the Andes
districts.[14] There are historical reasons for this set-back to the
influence of Buenos Aires. The wars of the revolutionary period and
the conflicts between the Buenos Aires Government and the maritime
powers checked the commercial enterprise on the banks of the Plata.
This political isolation of the province of Buenos Aires, under the
Rosas Government, lasted until 1853. Poncel gives us statistics of the
imports of Catamarca which show the great importance of this date in
the history of Argentine commerce:

     [14] The Woodbine Parish map (1839) puts Tinogasta eighty
     miles out of its proper position, at the very foot of the Come
     Caballos range, thus reducing by one half its distance from
     Copiapo, on the Chilean slope.

  Imports into the Province of       1850  1851  1852  1853  1854

  From the Pacific across the
  Cordillera (in millions of           72    50    71    40    12

  From the Atlantic (Buenos Aires
  or Rosario)                          11     7    20    64   116[15]

     [15] B. Poncel, _Mes itinéraires dans les Provinces du Rio de
     la Plata, Province de Catamarca_ (Paris, 1864).

In 1854-5 the Cordillera route definitely ceased to be of commercial
importance to Catamarca, and it was afterwards used merely for the
export of cattle.

But the attraction of Buenos Aires after 1853 was not merely due to its
commercial life and its intermediate position between the provinces
of the interior and Europe. It was chiefly based upon the economic
development of the region of the Pampas, which began about this date,
and altered the balance between the two halves of Argentina. The
exploitation of the Pampa, the improvement in breeding methods, and the
introduction and expansion of agriculture on the plain of the Pampa,
which fill all publications on modern Argentina, are in themselves one
of the great events in the economic history of the nineteenth century.
They had also an indirect but profound influence upon the life of other
parts of Argentina. The consuming capacity of the Pampa increased
simultaneously with its wealth and population. It absorbed the products
of the neighbouring provinces and in turn made customers of them,
distributing amongst them, according to the services they rendered,
part of the gold it obtained from beyond the Atlantic. One after the
other the provinces lost the relations which had hitherto connected
them with foreign lands. There was the same development all over the
zone of cereals and lucerne--the direction of the stream of commerce
was reversed. In some places, as at Tucumán and Mendoza the change
was accomplished a generation ago. In other places, as at Salta and
San Juan, it is still going on. In yet other places, the more remote
valleys, like Jachal and Santa Maria, it will occur in the near future.
By a singular anomaly the Far West of North America, which sprang up
half a century ago, tends to withdraw more and more from the influence
of the eastern States, which provided it with capital and immigrants,
while the Far West of Argentina, which is just as old as the east and
by no means a creation of the east, since it developed in isolation and
freedom, and was already adult and rich when they came into contact,
has nevertheless fallen into complete dependence upon the east in the
course of a few years.

The life of the whole country depended upon the great colonization
movement which transformed the plain of the Pampas. This brought about
an economic unity which was at once reflected in the political world.
The railway from Buenos Aires reached Tucumán before 1880; Mendoza, San
Juan, Salta, and Catamarca before 1890; and La Rioja before 1900. The
establishment of closer economic relations between the coast and the
provinces of the interior has nearly always inaugurated a period of
great prosperity for the latter. In every case the influence of Buenos
Aires vitalized them, put an end to their slumbers, and made them rich.

Not only did the coast take for itself the products of the western
provinces, which had hitherto found their way to other markets, but new
centres of production had to be created to meet its needs. The forests
of the Chaco received a great influx of wood-cutters, to provide the
sleepers for the railways. The valley of the Rio Negro was planted with
vines, to provide the wines of the colonies in the district of Bahía
Blanca. The attraction of the Pampa was felt as far as the frontiers.
Paraguay competed with Corrientes in the supply of tobacco and oranges;
with Misiones in the supply of _yerba maté_. Each district chose the
particular crop which was best suited to its climate, in order to
secure the highest possible advantage from its relations with Buenos

The two most brilliant satellites of the Pampa, the most important
productive centres of the interior, are Tucumán and Mendoza. All the
other important towns of Argentina belong themselves to the region of
the Pampas. Tucumán and Mendoza, which live by supplying the Pampa with
sugar and wine, have become in turn secondary centres of attraction.
They are a sort of regional capitals, and they have their own spheres
of economic influence. A network of commercial streams has developed
about them, and this has led to the formation of new roads. These lines
of local interest are easily recognized on a map of the railways,
where one sees them superimposed upon the regular fan of lines which
converges toward Buenos Aires. La Rioja provides the props for the
vines of San Juan and Mendoza. From the north of Córdoba to Salta,
a distance of about 250 miles, the wood is cut for the fuel of the
sugar-works of Tucumán. Santiago dries the fodder for its troops of
mules. The prairies of Catamarca, which once fattened the cattle that
were intended for Chile, and often came even from Tucumán, now sell
their beasts to the butchers of Tucumán. The wines of San Juan find
their best customers at Tucumán. Even the nearest portions of the plain
of the Pampas, to the north-east of Santa Fé and the south of San Luis,
supply maize and wheat to Tucumán and Mendoza, instead of sending them
to the ports for export.

While Argentina lives on the Pampa, the Pampa lives on export. It has
been developed through the inflow of European immigrants, and Europe
pays by sending its manufactured products and capital. Except as
regards emigration, the United States had, before the war, much the
same relation to Argentina as the countries of Western Europe. Thus
the economic prosperity of the Republic binds it more and more closely
to the life of the whole world. Its position in the temperate zone of
South America had retarded its entrance into world-commerce, and this
explains the slowness with which its colonization proceeded at first.
Its climate and products were too similar to those of Spain. Not only
the mining and metallurgical centres of the Andes and of Mantiqueria,
but even the sugar and cotton regions of Brazil, the Antilles, and the
Guianas, were developed before the plains of the Pampas.

The turn of the Argentine Republic did not come until the growth of
population in the industrial countries of Europe made them dependent
upon foreign lands for their food, and until the application of steam
to ships made it possible to export wool, meat, and cereals on a large

When we compare the economic organization of Argentina with that of the
United States, we see that it is both less complex and less capable of
being self-contained. The difference is due to the architecture of the
country. I said at the beginning of this chapter that Argentina has no
equivalent for the zone of the Atlantic tablelands, which is now the
great industrial region of North America. The industrial prosperity of
eastern North America provides a safe home market for the farmers of
the west, and relieves them of the need of exporting their produce.
Moreover, the Atlantic tablelands, the original centres of population,
where the first generations of colonists lived on land that was often
poor, have seen the gradual formation of reserves of labour and capital
which were afterwards used in colonizing the west. The east sifted, in
a sense controlled, the influence of modern Europe in the colonization
of the United States. It classified and assimilated the new emigrants
who set out for the west, mingled with the troops of native pioneers
on their way to the prairies. In the same way, when European capital
flowed into the United States, it found in the eastern cities a large
treasury and a body of financiers in whose hands it had to remain.

In Argentina, on the contrary, everything speaks of the close and
direct dependence of the country upon oversea markets. The soil itself
bears the marks of this solidarity. It is seen in the network of the
railways, the concentration of the urban population in the ports, and
the distribution of the cultivated districts in concentric circles
which are often limited, not by a physical obstacle, but by the cost of
freightage between the productive centre and the port. Thus we get a
geographical expression of facts which seem at first sight to belong to
the purely economic or sociological order.



     The inhabited zones of the Andes in the north-west--_Valles_,
     _Quebradas_, _Puna_--The irrigation of the _valles_--The
     historic routes--Convoys of stock--The breeding of mules and
     the fairs--The struggle of the breeders against drought--The
     Sierra de los Llanos.

The whole life and wealth of the arid provinces of north-western
Argentina depend upon irrigation; the water-supply definitively settles
the sites of human establishments. The water resources are irregularly
distributed. They are especially abundant in the south (San Juan,
Mendoza, and San Rafael), where the torrents of the Cordillera are fed
by the glaciers, and on the outer fringe of the hills above the Chaco,
at the foot of Aconcagua, which gathers masses of cloud and rain on its
flanks (Tucumán). In the intermediate district, on the contrary, in the
regions of La Rioja and Catamarca, and in the interior of the hilly
zone to the north-west of Tucumán, the amount of available water is
small; the oases shrink into small spots far removed from each other.

This natural inequality was not felt at first. For a long time the
spread of cultivation and the progress of wealth were restricted only
by the scarcity of population, the difficulties of transport, and the
inadequacy of the markets. The best endowed oases paid no attention
to the surplus supply of water, for which they had no use. We have to
come down to the close of the nineteenth century to find men reaching
the limits which nature has set to colonization, and mapping out
their domain. It is not until then that La Rioja ceases to compete
with Mendoza, or Catamarca with Tucumán. While large industrial
enterprises develop at Mendoza and Tucumán, strong centres of urban
life arise, the population increases, and immigrants stream in, the
oases of the interior scarcely change. Their population does not keep
its level. Life has an archaic character that one finds nowhere else
in Argentina. The physical conditions have retarded, one would almost
say crystallized, the economic development. The living generation
exploits the soil in ways that to some extent go back as far as the
indigenous tribes, the masters of their Spanish conquerors in the art
of irrigation. The industry of fattening and convoying cattle, which
was once the chief source of wealth of the whole country, is still
alive in those districts.

The zone of the elevated tablelands of the Andes without drainage
toward the sea--the Puna--has still, below 22° S. latitude on the
northern frontier of Argentina, a width of about 250 miles. This
breadth steadily contracts southward as far as 28° S. latitude, where
the Puna ends about the level of the road from Tinogasta to Copiapo.

To the east and south of the Puna the Argentine Andes are cut from
north to south by a series of long gullies and large basins, between
which there are lofty and massive chains with steep flanks. Some of
these lie in the heart of the mountains, while others often open like
gulfs upon the edge of the plain. These depressions with rectilinear
contours are a common feature of the topography of the Andes in this
latitude. The central plain of Chile is closely related to them.
In the Argentine speech they are called _valles_: Valle de Lerma,
Valle Calchaqui, Valle de Iglesias, de Calingasta, d'Uspallata. They
are, however, not "valleys" in the sense of hollows made by erosion
by running water. They owe their formation to tectonic movements,
subsidences of the surface. The scanty rivers of the arid Anacs are not
capable of doing work of that kind. When they enter the already formed
bed of a _valle_, they seem to be lost in the immense space. Often
they dry up in it, leaving behind the sediment and salts with which
the water was laden. In other places they cut at right angles across
the _valle_, escaping by narrow breaches in it, while the depression
continues its course on either side, taking in sections of a number of
independent streams.

Opposed to the _valle_ is the eroded ravine, carved out by water, the
_quebrada_. It opens upon a _valle_ with a V-shaped mouth, which widens
out at the top, and one can recognise at sight the various slopes and
the successive stages of erosion. Narrow and winding, a level bed
of shingle filling the entire base of the valley, it rises rapidly
toward the mountains and provides a route from the _valle_ to the
_puna_. These _valles_, _quebradas_ and _puna_ are the three inhabited
zones of the Andes. The first is the richest. The inhabitant of the
_valle_, proud of his comparative comfort, has for his neighbour in the
_quebrada_ or the _puna_--the _coyada_--a contempt such as one finds
the inhabitants of the good land in Europe feeling for the people in
poorer districts.

The narrower the _valle_, the less rain there is. The observations
give 112 millimetres of rain per year at Tinogasta, 290 at Andalgala,
and 200 at Santa Maria. Salta and Jujuy have a much moister climate,
and have no less than 570 and 740 millimetres of rain annually. This
is because the eastern chain of the Andes, which stretches from the
Sierra de Santa Victoria on the Bolivian frontier to Aconcagua, sinks
lower at the latitude of Salta, and lets in the moisture of the Chaco
to the heart of the zone of the Andes. The rains of Salta and Jujuy are
suspended during the winter, but they are so heavy during the summer
months (November to March) that maize, which needs only the summer
rain, can be cultivated without irrigation. But when we follow the
Valle de Lerma southward from Salta the maize harvest becomes more and
more uncertain, and it is no longer sown in dry soil when we get to
about twenty miles from Salta, in the latitude of the confluence of the
Arias and the Juramento. However, the summer rains, which are good for
maize, are very injurious to the vine; they spoil the grapes. Thus the
southern limit of the cultivation of maize in dry soil almost coincides
with the northern limit of the vine. At that point we have the real
beginning of the typical scenery of the _valles_.

[Illustration: THE PATAGONIAN ANDES. _Mount Tronador (11,500 feet) on
the Chilean frontier, dominating the road from Lake Nahuel Huapi to
Chile. The glaciers still reach the bottom of the valley, which they
filled at one time. A burnt forest in the foreground._ PLATE III. To
face p. 38.]

The need of irrigation is due to the scarcity of rain, but it is
accentuated by a number of causes which tend to increase the aridity.
The _valles_ are the scene of scorching day-winds, the _zonda_, like
the _Föhn_ of the Swiss Alps, which, there being no snow, dry up
the water of the springs and of the irrigation trenches, or use the
deposits left by the waters to form dunes, which they push southward,
sometimes like veritable glaciers of sand. Moreover, the soil of
the _valles_ is generally composed of coarse and permeable alluvial
deposits, which absorb the rain-storms immediately. There is at the
foot of both sides of the hills which enclose each _valle_ an immense
and far-lying bed of imperfectly rounded shingle. This double zone of
detritus is strangely desolate, for the vegetation on it is restricted
to isolated bushes of _jarilla_ and _tola_. From the sheepfolds on the
mountains to the oases in the valleys one hardly meets a single house.
The bed of the valley is not so desolate. A broad ribbon of sand marks
the dry bed of a torrent, and on the clays of its banks, if the sheet
of water underground is not too deep, one finds, in spite of the goats
and asses and charcoal-burners, little forests of _algarrobas_, which
the foundries use for fuel.

The modern alluvial beds, gravel and sand, represent the upper stratum
of a considerable series of continental deposits which lie on the
Paleozoic crystalline rock of the Andes.[16] They chiefly consist of
red sandstone and coloured marls, which crop up here and there through
the alluvial covering and give the landscape a rugged character, worn
by water and wind. There is no trace of humus: nothing to soften the
vivid colours of the rock. Bodenbender, to whom we owe the first
general attempt to classify the series, points out the importance of
distinguishing the different strata in connection with the question
of water supply and the conditions of human life.[17] A complete
geographical study would have to follow the geological description in
detail. In places--on the eastern edge of the Sierra de los Llanos--the
fine modern clays are in contact with the granites of the hills and
form above them a thick bed that is rich in fresh water. In other
places--south-westward of the Sierra de la Famatina, as far as the
Bermejo--the outcrop is of red sandstone only. The tablelands of
Talampaya and Ischigualasta, which are cut across by the gorges of the
tributaries of the Bermejo, form one of the most conspicuously desert
regions in the whole Republic. Wherever the gypsiferous marls of the
Calchaqui are near the surface, the springs are saline. The undulations
of the impermeable rocky substratum bring to light the water that
gathers in the alluvial beds. Thus the streams which come down the
Famatina range in the west disappear in the alluvial beds on the fringe
of the Sierra, but re-appear presently in the oasis of Pagancillo.

     [16] This series, stretching from the Permian to the Tertiary,
     also includes, especially in the region of the sub-Andean
     chains, on the fringe of the Chaco, a number of marine strata
     (see Bonarelli, _Las sierras subandinas del Alto y Aguaragüe y
     los yacimientos petroliferos del distrito minero de Tartagal_
     "Ann. Min. Agric.," Seccion Geologia, Mineralogia, y Mineria,
     viii. No. 4: Buenos Aires, 1913).

     [17] G. Bodenbender, _Parte meridional de la Provincia de la
     Rioja y regiones limitrofes_ (Ann. Min. Agric., Seccion Geol.,
     Minerol., y Mineria, vii. No. 3: Buenos Aires, 1912).

Hence the _valles_ are by no means wholly productive. The oases
represent only a limited portion of them. It would be impossible to
imagine a more striking contrast than that of the freshness and life
of the oases compared with the surrounding desert. Screens of poplars
shelter them from the _zonda_. The water runs along trenches paved
with round pebbles under the spreading vines, at the foot of which, to
economize water and space, lucerne is sown. Each garden feeds a family.
Near the raw-brick houses there are large earthenware vessels, as tall
as a man, in which the corn is kept. The hammering of the cooper fills
the air.

In places the oasis is watered by a stream. In those cases there is
on each side of the bed of the stream a narrow fringe, a continuous
ribbon, of smiling gardens, which hide the path. Above and below Santa
Maria a trench is opened every mile in the wet sands of the Rio. The
water rises in it and fills it, and is directed by it toward one of the
banks, where it is jealously collected and distributed. The water which
flows from the irrigated fields and returns to the river, as well as
that which the porous side of the trench has permitted to escape, goes
to fill another trench and supply other fields farther on. The region
of Los Sauces, in the northern part of the province of La Rioja, to the
south of Tinogasta, shows a different type of irrigated cultivation,
on account of the sandy course of the stream. The fields follow the
feeding artery for about fifty miles. It is bled at the beginning of
each bend, the waters remaining underground like hidden wealth.

In most cases however, the _valle_ has no running water. What
reaches it from the lateral _quebradas_ is lost in the alluvial beds
accumulated at the point where the _quebrada_ enters the _valle_. In
order to make use of it the cultivated areas are grouped on the cone of
deposition; at least, that is the position in the great majority of the
oases. A _costa_ is a line of separate oases with their backs to the
same slope. When the _valle_ is narrow, the _costas_ on either side of
the sterile depression face each other, like two parallel roads. The
water of the _quebrada_ is never sufficiently abundant to irrigate the
whole of the cone of the torrent. In order to create an oasis there,
they have selected the most easily cultivable zone, which is usually
the foot of the cone, where the deposits are finer and more fertile,
retain the moisture better, and require less watering. The summit of
the cone is composed of coarse stones, the first to be dropped by the
torrent as it loses its strength. These are bad lands, where the water
is wasted.

To meet the occasional drought and the danger of sudden floods in
this fluvial zone, which is entirely the domain of the torrent, there
is need of constant care and ingenuity. At Colalao del Valle the
cultivated fields are five or six miles from the summit of the cone.
After a number of successive years of drought the stream of water
which reached them on the flanks of the cone lost half its volume and
threatened to disappear altogether. They then built a stone dam at the
outlet of the _quebrada_, and the water accumulates behind this during
the night. At three o'clock in the morning the sluices are opened, and
the stream, having thus nursed its strength, reaches the fields down
below about seven o'clock. Then the sun and the wind rise, just at the
time when the reservoir is empty, and by the middle of the day the
stream ceases, and irrigation is suspended. At Andalgala, above which
rises the glittering crest of Aconcagua, the waters of the melting
snows which feed the torrent have not time to be "decanted" before they
reach the valley. They come down laden with mud and sand. Above the
points where the irrigation-channels begin the people make, in the bed
of the torrent, a dam of branches of trees which filters the water. It
is swept away by every flood that occurs, and is at once restored.

What is even more admirable than the ingenuity of the _vallista_
in utilizing the natural resources is the minute detail of the
water-rights. It seems as if the _vallista_ is even more cunning in
protecting himself from his neighbour than in dealing with nature. The
water-customs of these Andean valleys are worth an extensive study.
The water does not belong to the State, and is not used by concession
from the State. It is private property. The owner uses or abuses it as
he pleases on the lands which he has selected. A man may be poor in
land and rich in water, which he accordingly sells. There are frequent
business deals in regard to water-rights, just as in regard to the soil
and its produce. Appropriation of water often precedes appropriation
of the soil. Many oases are communities where the non-irrigated lands
are common to the whole population, and the irrigated fields alone are

A primary group of customs regulates the relations to each other of
communities higher up and lower down the same stream. At Catamarca the
water of a certain stream is shared by Piedra Blanca and Valle Viejo.
Piedra Blanca, in the upper part, absorbs the whole of the water for a
week, but it must then suspend its irrigation during the following week
and permit the stream to flow down the valley. The same evening, or the
next morning, according to the season, the water reaches Valle Viejo.
It is a custom known as the _quiebras_ in the southern valleys of the
desert side of Peru, where it allows different stages of cultivation
to proceed simultaneously. In the same way, above Santa Maria, where
several communities (S. José, Loro Huasi, etc.) receive the water
brought by a channel from the Rio Santa Maria, each of them has a
right to the full output of the channel for three days. At the end of
that time the sluices are closed, and the water passes to the next
community. There is grave trouble for any oasis that has its rights
infringed or does not compel the communities higher up to respect them.

Amongst individuals the water-right is generally defined by a
measurement of time, a certain number of days or hours--during which
the owner controls the entire flow of the spring or stream. It is
only when the water is more abundant that we find another method of
fixing the right of water, defining it by bulk. The water is then said
to be _demarcada_, as the unit is customarily the _marco_, or the
volume which passes through an opening about twenty-one centimetres
in width and eight in height. The _marco_ has infinite divisions, and
each subdivision has its own name--the _naranja_, the _bombilla_, the
_paja_, and so on.

As all the water is utilized, and the rights of all are equally
entitled to respect, the division of the water into _marcos_
(_demarcacion_) is in practice merely a proportional distribution of
it amongst those who have rights to it. If the sum total of rights
expressed in _marcos_ represents something like the total flow of
a stream during an average season, in the time of low water it is
disproportionate, and the water no longer flows to the tops of the
_marcos_. In other words, the quantity of water granted to each rises
or falls with the rise or fall of the stream itself.

Theoretically, when the water-right is defined in _marcos_ it is
permanent. Often, however, it is impossible to grant each proprietor
a permanent title to the water. Even in oases where the water is
"demarked," the _turno_--that is to say, the turn of the proprietors to
have water--which is the absolute rule in the poorest oases, reappears
during the months of scarcity, in winter, when there is no rain,
and at the beginning of summer. It reappears also when the right of
ownership has been broken up into fractions that are too small, and it
is better to grant a larger volume of water for several hours instead
of a constant stream of water which would be too scanty for profitable
use. At Andalgala the "turn" is sometimes obligatory, and regulated by
custom, in channels where the irrigating proprietors are too numerous;
at other times optional, and settled by convention amongst the owners
themselves, when water is scanty. At Valle Viejo (Catamarca), when
the water runs low, they set up the _mita_; that is to say, the
sluices remain closed in each channel during four days out of eight,
each proprietor in turn giving up his right to a permanent supply in
order to have a double allowance when his turn comes. The _turno_ is,
therefore, a general practice. Everywhere we can see the farmers on
the watch along the _acequias_, waiting for the moment to close their
neighbour's trench with a pellet of clay and to let the stream into
their own trenches with a blow of the spade.

The most minute precautions are taken in order that no one shall suffer
injury. As the irrigation is always slower and less thorough during the
night, they take it in turns to have the day and the night alternately.
When the community receives the water from another community higher up
the stream, the succession of "turns" amongst its members differs every
time. The water comes down charged with sediment, pushing in front of
it a mass of liquid mud, as the flush of a torrent does. It takes some
time for the stream to become regular and clear. The first irrigator
therefore exercises his right under unfavourable conditions. In the
local phraseology the _volcada de agua_ is not as good as the _corte
de agua_, which means the irrigation that begins when the _acequia_ is

Irrigation entails the services of quite a staff of arbitrators and
administrators. The head men, who have jurisdiction of a higher order
and secure the accurate distribution of the water amongst a number
of channels or communities, are now, as a rule, officials of the
administration, appointed by the provincial authorities (_juez de
Irrigacion_ at Catamarca, _juez de rio_ at Rosario de Lerma). But the
_juez de agua_ of each community or each channel is a syndic elected by
the interested parties. At Santa Maria the _juez de agua_ is elected
by the owners and confirmed by the Government. He controls irrigation
throughout the department, settling all differences, submitting plans
of work to a meeting of the owners, and assigning their respective
charges in labour and contributions according to their rights.

       *       *       *       *       *

This land of customs and traditions is also a land of lively movement.
The briskness of the traffic is primarily due to continuous exchange
between the various zones of the mountainous district. This large
trade, so scattered that the railways could not dream of satisfying
its needs, is carried, in the old fashion, on the backs of mules. The
lively aspect of the roads between the tableland and the lower valleys
of the region, the brisk interchange of goods between zones with
different climates, is one of the common features of life on the Andes.

But the classic spectacle presents a different aspect in different
latitudes. In Peru, and in southern Bolivia, the higher valleys--Jauja,
Cuzco, the Pampas of Cochabamba and Sucre--have centres of dense
population and agricultural wealth at a height of between 9,000
and 11,000 feet. They raise cereals, and receive from the tropical
districts (_montañas and yungas_) sugar, cane-brandy, cocoa, and
coca-leaf. The valleys of the Argentine Andes are usually at a less
elevation than the _yungas_ and _montañas_ of Bolivia and Peru. But
they are not hot districts, and have not tropical vegetation. Frost
prevents the harvesting of sugar-cane at Salta, at a height of 4,000
feet. As to the coca-leaf, which is not as much used here as in the
north, the Argentine _valles_ do not send it to the tableland, but
receive it indirectly from there, through the southern _yungas_. In
default of tropical crops, the Argentine _valles_ sow wheat and maize,
which they sell to the Indians of the cold districts of the Puna for
wool and salt.

These commercial currents are of very ancient, probably pre-Columbian
origin. Boman has discovered ears of maize in the prehistoric tombs
of the Puna de Atacama.[18] The Puna, at a height of 11,000 to 12,000
feet, is permanently inhabited, unlike the high valleys of the
Cordillera de San Juan, which are occupied only during the summer
season by Chilean shepherds. It is primarily a pastoral and mining
region, but it has some tilled land, at more than 6,700 feet above the
level of the valleys. The higher limit of annual cultivation in the
cold districts, which is fixed by the summer temperature, does not fall
in the same way as that of arboriculture in warm districts, because
trees suffer from the winter frosts. The Indians of Cochinoca and
Susques sow lucerne and barley for fodder, and the _quinoa_ and potato
for food. Transport between the Puna and the _valles_ is carried on
by the inhabitants of the Puna, and is not shared by the _vallistas_.
They are especially active in the north, in the province of Jujuy.
Belmar shows how important the sales of the Puna woollen goods were by
the middle of the nineteenth century.[19] These fabrics were used by
the mill-owners of the Rio Grande de Jujuy to pay for the work of the
Indians of the Chaco, whom they employed in the sugar-cane harvest.
The competition of the manufactured products of Europe now menaces the
domestic weaving of the Puna, just as the competition of the flour of
the Pampa menaces the cultivation of cereals in the _valles_.

     [18] Eric Boman, _Antiquités de la région andine de la
     République Argentine et de la Puna de Atacama: Mission scient.
     G. de Créqui-Montfort et E. Sénéchal de la Grange_ (Paris,
     vols. i. and ii. 1908).

     [19] Belmar, _Les provinces de la Fédération argentine_
     (Paris, 1856).

Besides this traffic of local interest the _valles_ serve for a traffic
of a higher, almost a continental character. It seems certain that
during the pre-Spanish period the road from the Peruvian tablelands to
Chile avoided the inhospitable desert of the Puna de Atacama, entered
the region of the _valles_ to the east, and crossed the Cordillera in
the latitude of Tinogasta, or even a little further south. That was
the route of the armies of the Incas, which in the fourteenth century
came as far as Maule. The pre-Columbian roads, of which Boman has
found traces between the Valle de Lerma and the Valle Calchaqui, seem
to correspond with this direction of traffic. By this route the long
_quechua_ passed amongst the Diaguites populations. The conquerors
followed the Indian guides. Almagro, in going from Peru to Chile,
passed through the _valles_ at the eastern edge of the Andes.

Later the _valles_ were incorporated in the many variations of the
historic high road, one of the first and busiest of Spanish America,
which goes from the Rio de la Plata to Lima: a route both for armies
and merchants. The plan proposed by Matienzo (1566) to make a road
from the silver mines to the estuary of the Paraná, through the Valle
de Calchaqui, seems to have been intended merely to improve a line of
communication that had already been in use. Buenos Aires for a long
time received European goods by this road. About 1880 the Salta route
recovered for a time its continental importance, during the Pacific
War and the occupation by the Chileans of the maritime provinces of
Bolivia.[20] At that time it was the only outlet for Bolivia.

     [20] See Brackebusch, "Viaje a la provincia de Jujuy," _Bol.
     Instit. Geog. Argent._, iv. 1883, pp. 9-17.

  _Descent of Tafi del Valle, going to Santa Maria. The ravine is
  excavated out of the mass of coarse deposits which forms a fringe
  between the mountain and the valley. On this permeable soil the
  vegetation is particularly thin. Cactus._
                                             Photograph by the Author.]

  _Sierra de San Antonio (Salta province). Perennial foliage, creepers,
  ferns._                                     Photograph by the Author.
   PLATE IV.                                            To face p. 48.]

But of all the forms of traffic that have enlivened the _valles_ the
most constant, and the form that has had the most profound influence on
their existence, is the movement of cattle. The cattle trade has been
of fundamental importance in the history of the colonization of South
America. Animals were the only goods that could be conveyed any great
distance. At the beginning of the conquest the productive regions of
the continent, which supplied the export trade with Europe, were very
limited in extent. Pastoral colonization began at once, and spread
over a very wide area. Herds of oxen, for meat or draught, horses, and
mules, made their way toward the centres of consumption: towns like
Lima, Bahía, and Rio, the Peruvian mines, and the sugar-refineries of
the north-east of Brazil, and later toward the _yerbales_ of Paraguay
or the seaports of the Caribs and the Rio Grande do Sul, where the
jerked meat industry developed. The cattle routes converge upon these

The export of cattle and mules from the Argentine plains to Peru was
fully established by the close of the sixteenth century, and it seems
to have continued without interruption ever since. Upper Peru is,
however, not the only market on which the Argentine breeders lived. At
the end of the eighteenth century D'Azara demanded that they should
permit the sale of horses and mules to Brazil, for use in the mines.
The cattle traffic with Portuguese territory had not then assumed
the form of a regular commerce, and the Brazilians made raids on the
north-eastern provinces for the animals they needed--60,000 a year,
D'Azara says.[21] The export of cattle to Paraguay and Misiones was, on
the other hand, of substantial economic importance in the eighteenth
century. Before the Revolution, Rengger says, as many as 200,000 head
of cattle passed yearly from Corrientes to Paraguay, which paid for
them in _maté_ and tobacco.[22] This trade was kept up intermittently
in the nineteenth century. The exports from Corrientes were especially
important at the time when the Paraguay stock was reconstituted after
the war (40,000 head of cattle in 1875).

     [21] _Memorias sobre el estado rural del rio de la Plata en
     1801, Escritos postumos de D. Felix de Azara_, published by D.
     Augustin de Azara (Madrid, 1847).

     [22] A. Rengger, _Reise nach Paraguay in den Jahren 1818 bis
     1826_ (Aarau, 1835).

Finally, the Chilean market was opened to the Argentine breeders about
the middle of the nineteenth century. In the time of Martin de Moussy
the convoys of cattle to Chile were so numerous that the lucerne fields
of both slopes were stripped bare at the very beginning of the season;
and they were rented at a high price.[23] Not only the mining provinces
of the north, but central Chile also, bought Argentine cattle. The
opening of the Chilean market was followed by a remarkable expansive
movement in the pastoral colonization of Argentine territory. We can
follow the progress of this not only in Martin de Moussy's book, but in
all contemporary works of travel. Its chief theatres are the provinces
of San Luis and of Santiago del Estero, north of the Rio Dulce, where
Hutchinson, in particular, describes the activity of the ranches.[24]
Finally, after the Pacific War (1880) the nitrate district, taken from
Bolivia and Peru by Chile, received a great influx of population, and
works sprang up in the midst of the desert. The nitrate fields, wholly
barren and doomed, under their shroud of grey dust, to an unalterable
desolation, became at once one of the chief centres of consumption for
Argentine stock.

     [23] The fattening of cattle for Chile was no longer done in
     the _invernadas_ of Mendoza at the beginning of the nineteenth
     century. See an article on Mendoza in the _Telegrafo
     Mercantil_, January 31, 1802, which tells of the development
     of ranches on the Tunuyan. Mendoza and San Juan were their
     only markets, and they did not sell cattle to Chile.

     [24] T. J. Hutchinson, _Buenos Aires y otras Provincias
     argentinas_ (translated by L. Varela, Buenos Aires, 1866).

It is difficult to give accurate details of the volume of trade in
cattle in colonial Argentine. However, the facts given by travellers
(though they often merely borrow from each other) suffice to show how
important this traffic was in the life of the country and the extent
of the zone that was occupied with it. As early as the middle of the
seventeenth century Córdoba seems to have exported to Peru as many as
28,000 to 30,000 mules annually.[25] At the close of the eighteenth
century, we read in D'Azara, 60,000 mules were exported; and Helms
gives the same figure.[26] The mules were bought young by Córdoba
dealers at Buenos Aires, Santa Fé, and Corrientes, reared at Córdoba,
and then sent to Salta, where they were sold in their third year to
mule-dealers from Peru.

     [25] Azcarate de Biscay, quoted in H. Gibson, _La evolucion
     ganadera_ in _Censo agropecuario nacional_, Buenos Aires, 1909,
     vol. iii.

     [26] A. Z. Helms, _Voyage dans l'Amérique méridionale_ (Paris,
     1812). The journey was in 1788.

An article in the _Telegrafo Mercantil_ of September 9, 1801
(reproduced in the _Junta de Historia y Numismatica americana_, Buenos
Aires, 2 vols., 1914-5) contains very valuable information in regard to
the mule trade. From 1760 to 1780 Salta sent between 40,000 and 50,000
mules annually to Peru. At Salta they were worth ten piastres each
before they were broken in, and thirteen or fourteen afterwards; and
they were sold at the age of four years. The _arrieros_, who conveyed
European goods and home products (_ropas y frutas_), bought a large
number of them. The _Telegrafo_ complains that this trade has been
gradually transformed. The mules now came from Santa Fé and Córdoba
to Salta two years old, and after the _invernada_ they were still,
at fair time, barely three years old. They suffered much during the
long journey to Lima, and the losses of the caravans were heavy. They
could not be loaded for the journey, and, as the _arrieros_ could no
longer secure adult and strong animals, the freight to the tableland
had risen, to the serious loss of merchants on the coast. The reply
of a Potosi mule-dealer (December 13th) clearly shows that the last
years of the eighteenth century had been marked by increasingly heavy
demands from Peru for Argentine mules. In order to meet these demands
the Córdoba breeders had developed production. The buyers, coming to
Salta from Lima, Cuzco, and Arequipa, took, without discussion or
examination, the batches that were offered them. The correspondent of
the _Telegrafo_ complains bitterly of these _caballeritos_ who came
from Peru with their 100,000 piastres, and raised the price at Salta,
alleging that their instructions were to get mules at any cost.

Robertson gave in 1813 the recollections of a mule-dealer as to the
convoys of mules between Santa Fé and the Andes, which had already
ceased at that time. Each convoy or _arreo_ comprised 5,000 to 6,000
mules. They came from Entre Rios, or even from the Uruguay, whence they
were brought, after crossing the Paraná, to the Santa Fé ranches. The
Santa Fé breeders owned the best part of the land on the left bank of
the river. The expedition also included thirty waggons of goods and
500 draught-oxen; and fifty _gauchos_ were in charge of it. The main
expense was then tobacco and _yerba_. One feature of this mule traffic
that is emphasized in all the descriptions is that it was divided
into two stages, with an interval between them, for breaking in. As
we have already learned from Azcarate, Córdoba, Santa Fé, Santiago,
and Salta kept the mules for two or three years before sending them to
Peru. Córdoba and Santiago del Estero seem to have been important in
connection with the industry of breaking in the mules.

The sending of cattle on foot to Bolivia and Chile is now only a
subsidiary element of the national economy, but it is not yet quite
extinct, as the table on p. 53 shows.

Whatever its point of departure, the traffic in stock always passed
through the _valles_. Transport of cattle was particularly difficult
in the Argentine Andes. The chief obstacles were not the elevation of
the passes or the steepness of the roads, but the scarcity of water and
the extent of the _travesias_, which were equally poor in pasturage
and water, and had to be crossed rapidly by doubling the stages. The
difficulties of the journey were very profitable to the oases that
lay along the route. The cattle-driver could not dispense with the
hospitality of the _vallista_ or dispute the price he cared to charge.

  _Extent of the irrigations in the north (zone of the great summer
  rains), and the south (glacier zone) The historic industry of fattening
  cattle in the invernadas and the export of cattle to the Andean regions
  only survive in part. On the other hand large modern industries have
  developed at Tucumán, Jujuy (sugar-cane), Mendoza, and San Juan
  (vines), and they supply the Buenos Aires market._
                                                          To face p. 52.]

The length of the journey and the difficulty of keeping the animals
in good condition in the poor pastures of the breeding districts
made it advisable to stay longer in the oases. There thus arose
lucerne-farms--the _invernadas_--to receive and fatten the cattle which
passed through. Lucerne is the characteristic and most profitable
produce of the _valles_. It is grown wherever there is an assured
supply of water, and is invariably found in the upper section of the
system of irrigation-channels; the cereals are sown lower down, and
are the first to suffer from drought. In the _quebradas_, where space
is more limited, the lucerne-fields cover the entire oasis. Every
cattle track has a corresponding line of _invernadas_, which is often
completed on the opposite slope by a last group of lucerne-farms where
the beasts recover from the journey before they are sold and dispersed.

                        1910    1911    1912    1913    1914
  Export of Cattle:
    To Bolivia         3,600   6,600   6,200   6,300   4,800
    To Chile          61,200  87,500  68,400  58,000  28,300
  Export of Mules:
    To Bolivia         2,700   4,600   7,900   8,300   2,500
    To Chile           2,300   3,200   5,000   2,600   3,500
  Export of Asses:
    To Bolivia         9,000  10,500  15,000  15,600  14,400[27]

     [27] Imperfect statistics given by Poncel for the province
     of Catamarca give us some idea of the respective shares of
     the various Andean districts in the export of Argentine
     cattle about the middle of the nineteenth century. In 1855
     the province of Catamarca sold 2,700 head of cattle (1,300 to
     Chile, 200 to Bolivia, 600 to San Juan and Mendoza), 3,200
     mules (2,500 to Bolivia 600 to Salta--which also were for
     Bolivia), and 1,200 asses (700 to Bolivia and 400 to Salta).

Besides the official routes there have for a long time been clandestine
tracks, through more difficult ravines, by which stolen cattle were
conveyed with impunity. Guachipas was the gathering place for cattle
of suspicious origin, and, to avoid being seen in Salta and Jujuy,
they passed through the Quebrada del Toro or the Quebrada d'Escoïpe.
When Brackebusch visited Guachipas in 1880 the inhabitants still kept
something of their reputation as smugglers.

A map of the cattle-tracks which are still used in the Argentine Andes
is a complicated network in which we can trace two main directions,
crossing each other at right angles. One set of tracks leads to the
west, toward the Pacific coast, the other set to the north, toward the
Bolivian tableland.

The cattle traffic is now restricted to Chile. It survives at San Juan,
Jachal, Vinchina, and Tinogasta. The cattle descend to Chile about
Coquimbo, Vallenar, or Copiapo. But the trade is now busiest in the
region of the saltpetre-beds. The roads lead from the Valle de Lerma
and the Valle Calchaqui toward the tableland by the Quebrada del Toro
or the Quebrada de Cachi or de Luracatao, crossing lofty passes at the
foot of the Nevados of Acay and Cachi, and reuniting between Santa
Rosa de Pastos Grandes and San Antonio de los Cobres to cross the
Puna de Atacama. _Vegas_ (pastures) and fresh water are scarce here.
The track passes interminably by depressions covered with a carpet of
glistening salt, dominated by volcanic crests. It is used in every
season of the year, but in winter the caravans are exposed to the cold
wind laden with snow, the _viento blanco_. San Pedro is the port in
this desolation. Here there are, on the flanks of the enormous cone of
Licancour, fields of lucerne and groups of figs and _algarrobas_. The
cattle are left there for a few days' rest, to prepare them for the
last stage, the Calama oasis on the Antofágasta railway.

The centre of this trade is Salta, or, rather, the little village of
Rosario de Lerma, nine miles south of it, where most of the caravans
are formed. The saltpetre works make yearly contracts in advance with
the Rosario dealers, fixing the number and price of the beasts to be
delivered at Calama. The cost of transport includes, besides the pay
of the cattle-drivers--eighty to a hundred piastres a journey--the
shoeing of the mules, the rent of pasture at San Pedro, and the value
of the beasts which die on the way. In 1913 the number of animals
exported by this route was put at 30,000. The saltpetre works buy also
draught-mules for their waggons. Draught-mules must be heavy, and only
animals over five feet in height are sent to Chile. Bolivia is now the
only market for the smaller mules and for asses.

The trade in mules in its traditional form and the industry of
breaking-in still flourish at Santa Maria. The mule-dealer's business
is very different from that of the cattle-dealer. The mules are
so tough that it is possible to send them by roads which would be
unsuitable for cattle.[28] The journeys are longer, and the contracts
are less settled in advance. Moreover, breaking-in is a delicate
operation that requires experience. The survival of the mule-trade at
Santa Maria is an example of the maintenance of an industry owing to
the presence of skilled handicraft. The men who break in the mules at
Santa Maria have a remarkable caste-pride. Their first job is to go to
Santiago or Córdoba to buy the mules. They bring them back to Santa
Maria by way of Catamarca or the valley of Tafi. At Santa Maria the
mules are broken in, then taken to the lucerne-farms at Poma to be put
into good condition. There they remain in pasture for several months;
and at length, when the season is suitable, the little band of Santa
Marieños gathers together and, driving the now docile beasts in front
of them, and putting no loads on them in order that they may keep
fresh, make for the fair at Huari in Bolivia, or even as far as Sucre.
There they sell at a hundred and fifty piastres each the animals which
they had bought for half that price before being broken in. The number
of mules hibernating at Poma is about 4,000.

     [28] For instance, herds of mules are taken from Abrapampa, on
     the line of the Quiaca, to the saltpetre mines of Antofágasta,
     whereas every effort to convey cattle by this route has failed.

The business done in the fairs of the southern Andes is very varied in
character, but their main function was always as markets for stock.[29]
They are held in March or April, when the rains do not fall, but
pasture is still abundant and travelling easy. The fair at Vilque,
north of Lake Titicaca, is no longer visited by dealers in Argentine
mules. The Salta fair which was held at Sumala, near Rosario de Lerma,
has ceased to be important; at the close of the eighteenth century
it was the chief centre of the mule-trade. The fair held at Jujuy is
still, like the annual pilgrimage to the Virgen del Valle de Catamarca,
one of the great dates in the life of the Andes. In the eighteenth
century it was mainly a cattle-fair, but it is now frequented only by
mule-dealers. The development of the railways is gradually causing it
to decline.

     [29] There is an interesting study of fairs on the elevated
     tableland by G. M. Wrigley, "Fairs of the Central Andes," in
     the _Geographical Review_ (New York), vii. 1919, pp. 65-80.

The cattle-trade has long been really a form of barter. The
Argentinians who took their herds to Peru brought back with them
European goods that had come via Panama and the Pacific. At Jachal
direct communication with Argentina is still so costly that they
prefer to get many manufactured articles from Chile. Everywhere
else, however, the sellers of stock take payment in cash. The Santa
Marieños bring back from Bolivia only a few bags of coca and, for
chief payment, letters of exchange, which they cash in the Salta banks
when they return. Their gains swell the profits of the merchants of
Salta, Catamarca, and Jujuy, who get their goods at the large importing
houses of Buenos Aires. It is the first form under which the influence
of Buenos Aires reaches the _valles_. It gets their custom before it
begins to absorb their produce.

A large proportion of the stock sent to Chile now comes from the
Andean valleys themselves. The most arid and desolate regions round
the oases breed only goats and asses; but as soon as the soil improves
sufficiently to give a better vegetation, it is found good enough for
a hardy and tenacious breed of horned cattle. The land is divided
into large ranches, and the owners have also lucerne-farms, either
individually or communally, the tillers of the oasis each putting in
their beasts, which wander about in small groups without control.
During the summer they go of their own accord up to the _cerros_,
where the rains have brought out the vegetation, and drinking-water is
found in the ravines for several months. In the winter they return to
the valley, within range of the reservoirs and permanent _acequias_.
Bodenbender gives us a few details about movements from place to place
owing to such differences, as they are in vogue in the western part of
the province of La Rioja, in the district of Guandacol. There the herds
are taken during years of drought up to the mountains of the west.

Apart from the Andes, the zone which used to feel the influence of
the trans-Andean markets has been steadily reduced in the last forty
years. At one time it comprised the whole range of the scrub, and
even overflowed upon the prairie region, but it is now limited to the
nearest cantons to the fringe of the mountains. Over the greater part
of the _monte_ the cattle are now sent in other directions; either to
Buenos Aires or to other Argentine towns with a growing population,
such as Córdoba, Mendoza, and Tucumán.

The rupture of commercial relations with Chile has, however, not made
any notable change in the pastoral industry. Pastoral life in the scrub
has very uniform characters. It is chiefly dominated by the question of
water-supply. Natural open water is scarce, and the cattle can drink
only where man's industry makes it possible. The problem of taming the
beasts, which the breeders on the prairies have not always been able to
solve, is simplified by the scarcity of water. There is no need to hunt
the cattle, no periodical _rodeos_, when the herd is drawn in every
night by thirst to the water-supply. Advance in colonization means the
provision of wells and reservoirs (_baldes_ and _represas_), without
which the breeders cannot occupy the plain permanently, but have to
fall back during the dry season upon the few streams that cross it.
The word _balderia_ means districts where the presence of a sheet of
water not far underground has enabled them to form a system of wells.
The best known is the Balderia Puntana, in the northern part of the
province of San Luis.

Of the regions apart from the Andes which still depend on the Chilean
market it will be enough to mention two, which may be regarded as
typical. The first is the Chaco Salteño, on the eastern slope of the
Sierra de la Lumbrera. The Lumbrera is a lofty anticlinal range of
limestones and red sandstones, which pass to the west underneath the
clay of the Chaco plain, and separate it from the great longitudinal
sub-Andean corridor, which was followed by the old road, and is now
followed by the railway from Tucumán to Jujuy. Colonization began
beyond the Lumbrera in the eighteenth century by passing round it, from
south to north, by the valleys of the Juramento and the San Francisco
(which joins the Bermejo). The ranches, which employed the Indians--the
occupation of the Chaco at this point being pacific--bordered the
Bermejo and the Rio del Valle, which flows from the Lumbrera range
toward the former bed of the Bermejo, and washes the foot of the range
at the edge of the plain.

  _On the Añatuya line (province of Santiago del Estero). Cactus. The
  leafless tree in the foreground is a red_ quebracho. _The leafy trees
  are white_ quebrachos.
                                             Photograph by the Author.]

  _On the Tartagal line (province of Santa Fé). It is by means of these
  marshes, which form in the forest, that this part of the plain is
                                               Photograph by the Author.
  PLATE V.                                               To face p. 58.]

The cattle live in the scrub during the summer, when the rains have
brought out the grasses. In winter they go up to the moist forest, with
perennial vegetation, which covers the flanks of the range.[30] The
comparative abundance of water lessens the labour of the breeders and,
at the same time, the discipline of the herds. When the time comes,
the whole ranch is mobilized for the purpose of collecting the adult
cattle and making a convoy of them. Horsemen, with the double leather
apron which hangs at the saddle-bow to protect them from the branches,
ride up the range with their dogs and plunge into the scrub. The savage
beasts are rounded up and held at bay. The procession is formed, and
sets out, either by the rugged paths across the forest and mountain or
along the easier tracks over the plain to Embarcación or Lumbreras,
where they reach the railway. If buyers from the sugar-refineries at
Jujuy do not take them, the cattle are put into trucks and sent to
the Salta market, where there are sales all the year round. At Salta
the beasts are fattened on the lucerne-farms before crossing the
Cordillera. There is hardly any tillage, either because the winter
drought makes the result dubious or because the breeders are not good
at agricultural work.

     [30] On Aconcagua also the moist forest serves as winter
     pasture for the cattle from the ranches.

The Sierra de los Llanos in La Rioja is another centre for extensive
breeding. From the railway, which follows the range at some distance,
between Chañar and Puntá de los Llanos, before it reaches La Rioja,
no one would have the least suspicion of the importance and life of
the region. It is, nevertheless, one of the main foci of Argentine
history. It has proved a cradle of population and wealth. It was there
that Quiroga and, later, the strange adventurer who was known by the
nickname of the "Chacho" gathered the strength that enabled them to
dominate part of Argentina. Colonization is even older here than in
the Chaco Salteño. It occupied two distinct periods, separated by a
long interval. At first it advanced from north to south, passing round
the foot of the Sierra. It is marked by a line of springs, poor but
permanent, the waters of which are absorbed as soon as they flow down
to the porous alluvial beds of the plain. They appear much in the names
of the district--_agüitas_, _aguaditas_, and so on, abound. The road
from La Rioja to San Luis passed these springs, and some population
grew up about them. Thus the two sides of the range--the _costa baja_
in the east and the _costa alta_ in the west--became inhabited. The
estate of Facundo is one of these _aguaditas_ of the _costa alta_.

The two _costas_ form the historic territory of the Llanos. It was from
there that colonization swarmed over the plain long afterwards. This
expansive movement began about 1850; that is to say, at a time when the
breeders enjoyed comparative peace and security, and especially when
the _invernadas_ of San Juan and Mendoza were developed, together with
the export of cattle to the agricultural provinces of Chile. The price
of stock rose, and the unoccupied land became of value. The occupation
and exploitation of the plain was the work of the last two generations.
They pushed on to the very edge of the salt lakes, leaving no vacant
space. The _travesias_ which surrounded the narrow inhabited zone of
the _costas_ were filled with life. The Sierra and its two _costas_
are no longer an oasis in the desert, as they were in the time of
Sarmiento; though they still differ from the remainder of the pastoral
zone in the density of their population and the variety of their

The early date of the colonization may be traced in a special system
of tenure, though this is also found in parts of the provinces of
Catamarca and Santiago del Estero. On the plain the right of ownership
was obtained in the nineteenth century by purchase or by concessions
of public lands which belonged to the provincial Government. They were
allotted in very large estates, and these, intact or broken up, are
the actual ranches. In approaching the foot of the range one passes
estates in the _mercedes_. The name indicates concessions that date
from the colonial epoch, and they are, in all parts of South America
that were early colonized, the source of land-ownership. But what is
peculiar to the _mercedes_ of the Llanos is that they have never been
divided amongst the heirs of the first owner.[31] Sometimes the number
of co-proprietors is small. They are conscious of their relationship
to each other and know the value of the rights of each. The _merced_
is in that case only an undivided property held in common. Sometimes,
however, the numbers of _comuneros_ is so great that they have lost
count of the exact share of the _merced_ which belongs to each of them.
The _merced_ feeds a whole population, legitimate heirs and usurpers
mixed together. In these cases it is a real communal property, and one
might compare it, in spite of its different origin, with the Indian
communities which exist in Argentine territory as well as that of most
of the other Andean States.

     [31] The title of the _merced_ often shows clearly the
     attraction which the springs at the foot of the Sierra had for
     colonists. The land of the _merced_ of Ulapes is defined thus:
     "The spring and the land within two leagues of it in every
     direction." The spring is the centre. There its protecting
     deities live.

The economy of the Llanos is less simple than that of the Chaco
Salteño. There is agriculture as well as breeding. There is not much
rain, and it is confined to the summer months. The mean rainfall is,
no doubt, higher than what we find at La Rioja (about 30 centimetres),
but it is not good enough to dispense with irrigation. The _aguadas_,
springs and brooks at the foot of the range, are the only provision of
permanent water, and it is very limited. The oases watered by these
springs and brooks cover only a few acres at the foot of the steep
cliffs of the range. It has not been possible to cultivate the land
far from the mountains. At Chamical a trench that was made to convey
water to the railway dried up. All that can be done is to follow for
a few miles with a line of wells a subterranean stream of fresh and
not very deep water. At Bella Vista a _comunero_ has dug an _acequia_
several miles long, and he sells the water at a rate of five piastres
for forty-eight hours. But when it reaches the end of the _acequia_, it
is lost between the trench and the field to which they would conduct
it. At Ulapes, though it is one of the chief centres, it takes the full
outflow of the spring during sixteen hours to irrigate one _cuadra_ (a
little over two acres), and each man's "turn" is for seventeen days.
The entire oasis measures about fifty acres. At Olta the thin stream of
water is surrounded by so many cupidities that the "turn" comes only
every fifty-eight days, so that each field has to live fifty-eight days
on one watering. At Catuna where a trickle of brackish water is eagerly
collected at the foot of a dejection-cone, the water-right is regulated
by an arrangement of turns that covers ninety days, so that plants die
of thirst in the interval. The plots vary according to the quantity,
quality, and regularity of the water. The orange-tree is the most
exacting, the fig the most tenacious, of the trees. The poorest oases
consist only of a few gardens of dusty fig-trees.

However small it is, the oasis always stands for a rudiment of communal
life, a _poblado_, a centre round which life is organized in this
pastoral, anarchic, amorphous world. Land that has a water-right is
regarded as detached from the _merced_ and never remains undivided.

Besides these properly irrigated lands there are the _bañados_:
cultivated plots in the hollows, where the moisture left by the storms
is concentrated and preserved. These are much more extensive, and they
are very irregularly distributed. Inequalities of the alluvial ground
that almost escape the eye are sufficient to direct the streaming of
the water after rain, and it is quickly absorbed. Man assists nature as
well as he can, and one sees everywhere tiny ridges of earth across the
paths, for the purpose of diverting the water to the plots. These are
the _tomas_. When you follow a _toma_ downward, you see it after a time
pass under a hedge of dry thorn, and this encloses a field, a _cerco_.
The crops have to be jealously guarded against the cattle which roam in
the scrub. The _cercos_ are sometimes so numerous that they give the
impression of a regular agricultural district. Most of them are planted
with maize. The maize harvest rarely fails in the summer, for it is
then, on account of the regular rains, that the maize grows and ripens.
When the ears have been gathered, the cattle are let into the _cerco_,
as maize-straw is excellent fodder. But wheat also grows well in the
_bañados_. Provided the year has had a few late showers, the wheat sown
in autumn stands the winter drought more or less well, and ripens after
the early rains, at the beginning of summer. The Llanos produce a hard
wheat; it is not milled, but eaten, like rice, in the grain. There have
been times when the Llanos have exported wheat. The census of 1888
gives the Department of General Belgrano, on the eastern slope of the
Llanos, an area of 900 acres under maize and 1,900 under wheat. When
the Chilecito railway was constructed, this wheat competed with that
brought on mules from Jachal, in the mining district of the Famatina
range. Like the gardens in the oases, the _cercos_ may be divided, and
they are the personal property of those who cultivate them.

Sowing and reaping are, however, mere episodes in the life of the
_Llanero_. He is mainly occupied with cattle-breeding. The quality
of the pasture differs considerably according to the nature of the
soil and the good and bad character of the season. Sometimes it forms
a thick carpet under the brushwood, but in other places it is poor
and there is nothing but the leaves and pods of the _algarroba_. If
the herd is too large, the grass will not grow again; the breeder
recognizes at a glance the _campo recargado_--the field which has had
its capacity overstrained. The pasture has to be carefully nursed. But
the most urgent problem is to get a supply of water for the cattle.
Round the Sierra the underground water is often fresh, and there are
plenty of wells. Still, in order to avoid having to draw the water,
they dig large trenches at suitable spots in the clay, and round
these they arrange the earth that has been dug out, with an opening
toward the hills to catch the water when it is raining. These are the
_represas_. As in the case of the _bañados_, ridges of earth direct the
stream to the _represa_. It is surrounded by a hedge as carefully as
the field is. On the plain rain is rare, and the _represas_ are usually
the only reserve. They have to last the whole year; even two years if
there is a particularly dry summer that prevents re-filling. Thus they
become sometimes veritable lakes. From a distance you can see, above
the top of the brushwood, the bald curve of the mound of beaten earth
which encircles them. The water flows over it when there has been much
rain. The mound is sometimes 4-1/2 to 5-1/2 yards high; as it is at
Tello, between the Sierra d'Ulapes and the Sierra de los Llanos, where
the San Juan coach used to change horses.

The _represa_ is the real centre of the estate. The house is built near
it, and guards the entrance. From early morning until dusk the cattle
come to it, singly or in groups. The rancher admits them, lets them
drink, and closes the gate behind them. If the thirsty cattle have not
his mark and belong to a neighbour, he sends them to drink at their own
_represa_; but he gives water to lost beasts, from a distance, whose
owner will presently come for them. Near the _represa_ is the enclosure
(_potrero_) for calves that have just been born. The cows come there
every morning, and they are milked for a few months to make cheese.
Like the _cerco_, the _represa_ is the personal property of the man who
made it, or of one who has inherited it and sees to its upkeep.

The cattle of the Llanos move a good deal. There are certain irregular
migrations, and others that are periodic or connected with the seasons.
Everywhere on the fringe of the Sierra the cattle remain in the ravine
and on the foot-hills during the winter. In the summer they return of
themselves to their _querencia_ on the plain. The irregular migrations
are due to scarcity of water or pasture. Driven by hunger, the beasts
travel a long distance of their own accord. They mingle with other
herds, sometimes so far from the ranches where they were born that no
one recognizes their mark. Sometimes, again, the rancher himself goes,
when his _represa_ is dry, to ask hospitality in some more favoured
canton. He is fortunate if the drought has not been general; if part of
the country has been spared and can offer a refuge.

But it sometimes happens that the whole district has suffered, and the
land is naked and scorched everywhere. There is then no help except
a long journey, to San Luis or to the lucerne-farms of San Juan, for
the cattle. The misfortune of the Llanos sends up at once the rent
of the _invernadas_ all round. A general evacuation of the cattle is
a desperate remedy, and is, in fact, often impracticable. During the
whole summer the men wait patiently, hoping for the end of the drought.
There is room for hope until April, when storms are still possible. If
the month ends without rain, it is too late to remove the exhausted
cattle; the stages across the desolated country are too severe.

The memory of the worst years of drought--the "epidemics," as the
Llanero calls them--lives for a long time. They make a deep impression
on the popular imagination, and legend makes plagues of them, in the
Biblical way. The drought of 1884 was particularly disastrous. The
herds were destroyed, and families that had been wealthy the day before
set out on foot, "having nothing to put a saddle on": a touching
picture of misery for this race of centaurs, people who feel themselves
mutilated when they are not on horse. The rain returns next year. The
pasture grows all the better because the herd is smaller, and the
Llanos give the traveller who crosses them an exaggerated impression of
their natural wealth.

Until quite a recent date the cattle reared in the Llanos were destined
exclusively for Chile. Dealers from Jachal or Tinogasta came in the
autumn, and the cattle passed the winter in the _invernadas_ at the
foot of the Cordillera. From the Sierra d'Ulapes, which is a southward
continuation of the Llanos, the cattle destined for Chile were first
sent to San Juan. They took one or two weeks to reach it. Five men were
needed for a herd of a hundred beasts: eight for a herd of two hundred.
The caravan was directed by an _estanciero_ (rancher) or his _capataz_,
or by dealers who came originally from the Llanos.

Exports to Chile have not entirely ceased. In 1913 the dealers from
Tinogasta and Jachal, who had not appeared in 1912, came back. The
southern part of the Sierra d'Ulapes, which is some distance from the
railway, reserves its cattle for San Juan. The cattle are, however,
more and more sent by rail to the coast. In the Sierra d'Ulapes the
dealers from Villa Mercedes, which has become one of the great markets
of Argentina, come every year, rent an enclosure (_protrero_), and
collect in it, one by one, a herd of cattle, which they then take away
on foot. They are sold at the fair at Villa Mercedes, and they disperse
in every direction toward the fattening zones of the Pampa.

This commercial revolution has led to a rise in the price of cattle,
and this in turn has raised the value of land. When the value of the
land rises, the methods of working it are necessarily improved, there
is greater security, and thefts of cattle (_cuatrerismo_) become
impossible. The farmers are not content merely to enlarge their
_represas_ or dig deeper wells. They divide the fields by fences--cheap
iron wire stretched on home-made posts, or hedges of spines like those
which protect the _bañados_. Thus pasture can be reserved untouched for
the difficult months.

This subdivision of the land by fences began in the south, in the
Ulapes district, in touch with the richer districts of San Luis and
Córdoba. In the Llanos proper the practice has scarcely begun. At
Ulapes it is even done on the _mercedes_. Each _comunero_, without
opposition, encloses as much space as he can, and leaves his cattle
outside, on the common land, as long as possible. He only brings them
into his enclosed land when the common pasture is exhausted. This will
bring about the end of the _mercedes_; and, indeed, communal ownership
is not suited to modern conditions. The latest sign of progress is the
appearance of lucerne fields. Lucerne can be grown on the _bañados_
wherever anything else can be grown; and the creation of lucerne-farms
will give the pastoral industry a security and stability it never had
before, besides enabling the breeders to collect stores of dry forage
and exploit the full pastoral capacity of the _monte_.



     Tucumán and the road to Chile--The climate and the cultivation
     of the sugar-cane--The problem of manual labour--Irrigation at
     Mendoza--Water-rights--Viticulture--Protection and the natural

The great industrial forms of cultivation, the sugar-cane and the
vine, gave a new aspect to the scenery of Tucumán and Mendoza at the
end of the nineteenth century. The increase of population and wealth
which they entailed was so sudden, the economic advance so swift,
that the owners of vineyards and the sugar-makers have now lost all
recollection of the primitive industries which gave life to colonial
Tucumán and Mendoza, and were maintained until the last generation.
Nevertheless, if one compares Tucumán or Mendoza with some centre of
irrigated tillage in north-west Argentina, one quickly perceives the
original features which three centuries of history have given them. The
system of land-tenure, water-rights, the distribution of the cultivated
zones, and a thousand other features, show that the colonization is
old. The exploitation of the soil and utilization of the water have
not proceeded on a methodical plan, conceived in advance, which would
make each piece of work--the dams and channels of distribution, for
instance--subordinate to the whole. The engineers who constructed the
great modern dams of Mendoza, San Juan and Sali, had not to create a
region of new estates, but merely to improve the water-supply, which
was used wastefully by the existing estates. There is nothing more
suggestive than the contrast between these stone dams, built according
to all the rules of hydraulics, and the network of irregular channels,
following the accidental variations of the land and the slope, which
preceded them, and to which they have been accommodated as far as
possible. In some cases the primitive _acequias_ could not be altered
so as to start from the dam. The accumulations of water succeed each
other down the slope, held up by a simple barrier of branches and earth
which is periodically destroyed by floods. The modern flood-proof dam
(_dique nivelador_), which cuts the torrent in its entire width, and
enables them to make use of its whole volume, allows a certain amount
of water to pass, for the use of the _acequias_ lower down. This falls
back into the broad, stony bed, exposed to evaporation and infiltration
as it was before.

       *       *       *       *       *

Long before the development of the sugar industry on a large scale,
there was a typically urban life, added to the common fund of pastoral
life, at Tucumán. The neighbouring cantons of the scrub--Trancas,
Burruyacu, and Graneros--sent cattle and mules to Peru and Chile, like
the other Argentine plains. But Tucumán drew still greater profit from
its position as chief stage on the high road to Peru, at the point
where the plain passes into the mountain. Primitive Tucumán was an
excellent type of high-road village. The road determined its position
at the point where the Sali had to be crossed. The first site of the
town, near Monteros, was abandoned in the eighteenth century, when
the high road to Peru settled in the sub-Andean region and ceased
to run through the Calchaqui valley. The road sustained its chief
industries, tanning and harness-making for the muleteers of the Andes,
and waggon-making for the _troperos_ of the plain. The road and the
people travelling along it afforded an outlet for its wheat and flour,
and facilitated the export of its tobacco to the coast-provinces. The
waggon-owners were really contractors, conveying stuff at their own
cost. Moreover, part of Bolivia came to make its purchases at the shops
(_tiendas_) of Tucumán, and the merchants of the town took in exchange
Bolivian ore for export. Thus the road built up a nucleus of available
capital at Tucumán. This capital was invested, at the close of the
nineteenth century, in sugar; and it has increased a hundredfold. Most
of the works still belong to old families of the town.

The sugar-region is comparatively small. It covers an area which
has exceptional climatic features, owing to the vicinity of Mount
Aconcagua. While the higher chains of the Andes further north are
separated from the Chaco plain by lower ranges, on which the east winds
leave their stores of moisture less freely, Tucumán has on its west the
great mass of Aconcagua. It rises, a giant landmark, at the beginning
of the plains, from which there is nothing to separate it, and gathers
the clouds round it.

  _At the bottom of the valle one can see the sandy bed of the river as
  a white line in the foreground. Zone of torrential terraces, which
  follows the edge of the valle._            Photograph by the Author.]

  [Illustration: THE OASIS OF ANDALGALA.
  _At the western foot of Aconcagua, the snowy crest of which can be
  seen._                                      Photograph by the Author.
  PLATE VI.                                             To face p. 70.]

On the eastern slope of Aconcagua is the limit of the crescent of
tropical forest, which begins about three thousand miles away, on the
flank of the Venezuelan and Colombian Cordilleras, and is connected
in the centre, in the equatorial zone, from Guaviare to Mamore, with
the forests of the Amazon region. At its two ends it is reduced to a
narrow belt which does not reach, in the east, the alluvial plains,
the savannahs of the Orinoco and the scrub of the Chaco. The humid
forest of the Argentine Andes is nowhere more luxuriant than near its
southern limit, above Tucumán. There are no palms or tree-ferns, but
the convolvulus abounds, and the evergreen trees are covered with
epiphytes. Aconcagua is one of the sharpest climatological limits in
the world. In the latitude of Salta one has only to go about 150 miles
to pass from the moist forests of the sub-Andean chain of the Lumbrera
to the arid valley of Cachi. On both sides of Aconcagua there are less
than fifty-five miles between the sugar-cane fields won from the forest
and the oasis of Andalgala, or that of Santa Maria, which are right in
the desert zone. According as one approaches Aconcagua from the east or
the west, one finds, from base to summit, either the successive stages
of vegetation of the humid Andes--from forest to grain-sown prairie
(_paramo_ or _pajonal_)--or those which are characteristic of the arid
Andes, from the spiny scrub of the valleys to the fields of resinous
_tola_ of the Puna. The contrast of climates is repeated in the
character of the soils. Aconcagua contains in itself the entire Andes
in miniature. At the foot of the narrow zone of Alpine crests, in the
few square miles of the elevated valleys of Tafi and Pucara, there is a
small agricultural and pastoral world, in a temperate climate, that has
nothing quite like it elsewhere, narrowly confined between the forest
and the desert.[32]

     [32] The higher valleys of Aconcagua offer inexhaustible
     interest to the visitor. At Sancho (Pucara valley) there is a
     group of Italian colonists who grow maize and wheat: a unique
     fact, I believe, in the whole of this part of Argentina. The
     Tafi valley is mainly pastoral, the pastures of the valley
     being used in summer and the forest for winter pasture.

The sugar district of Tucumán is not, properly speaking, an oasis; that
is to say, it is not an irrigated canton in the midst of a desert, but
a moist patch in the heart of a less favoured region. The traveller who
comes from the Chaco finds that the dust disappears from the moister
air as he approaches Tucumán. The rainfall approaches 974 millimetres
at Tucumán. Irrigation is a valuable aid to the farmer, but it is not
indispensable. Maize is generally raised without watering, and part
even of the sugar-cane crop is raised on land that is not irrigated. It
is not the relatively heavy rainfall that has led to the development of
the sugar-cane estates at Tucumán, but the evenness of the temperature,
together with the atmospheric moisture and the rareness of frost.
The mists which develop at the foot of Aconcagua form a protecting
mantle above Tucumán which prevents nocturnal radiation. The nearer
one gets to the mountain, the later, rarer, and lighter the frosts
are. If, on the contrary, one goes out some distance westward toward
the plain, the frost becomes more severe, and it is impossible to grow
sugar-cane. Not only the humidity, but the contour also, has some
influence on the changes of temperature and the distribution of frost.
The depressions in which the cold air accumulates, in virtue of the
well-known meteorological phenomenon of inversion of temperature, are
more exposed than sloping districts, where the air circulates regularly
and freely. The eastern limit of the zone spared by the frosts passes
about thirty-five miles from the foot of Aconcagua. It has only been
made clear by experiment, and one can still see there the traces of
abandoned plantations.

The water-supply in the Tucumán district consists, primarily, of
numerous evenly flowing streams which come down the eastern flank of
Aconcagua (Lules, Famailla, Angostura, Gastona, Medinas, etc.). They
join the Sali to the south of Tucumán. The Sali is an irregular torrent
which rises in the sub-Andean depression to the north and Tucumán,
and, after squeezing Aguadita between the north-eastern extremity of
Aconcagua and the sub-Andean chain of Burruyacu, enters the plain
at Tucumán. It then flows southward, meandering over a large bed of
shingle in which it has not had force enough to excavate a valley, and
the inclination of the land on its left bank (to the east) is toward
the east and south-east. The lands on the right bank of the Sali are
consequently better provided with water than those on the left bank.
The difference is so marked that, as the estates on the right bank get
most of their supply elsewhere, the water of the Sali nearly all goes
to the left bank. In 1912 a siphon was actually constructed underneath
the bed of the Sali to convey the unused water of the Rio Lules to the
right bank. Lastly, to the north of Tucumán the Sierra de Burruyacu
provides a few intermittent streams of water, which the _estancias_
(ranches) formerly conducted, with great labour, to their _represas_.
These do not suffice for irrigation on a large scale.

The sugar-cane was first grown at the gates of the town and, to the
east, at Cruz Alta, on the left bank of the Sali. These were some
distance from the mountain because, as there was less rain and the
soil was fairly dry, the natural vegetation was less luxuriant, and
it cost less to prepare the ground.[33] The Central Córdoba Railway,
which passes along the right bank of the Sali south of Tucumán, is the
axis of another zone of cultivation and of old factories. Colonization
afterwards went further west. A new provincial railway, describing a
section of a circle, was grafted at Tucumán (1888-90) and Madria upon
the Central Córdoba line. It keeps close to the foot of the range, the
_falda_, and enables farmers to settle on it. The new estates have not
confined themselves to the alluvial plain; they have crept up the foot
hills, and are constantly going higher. In the latitude of Tucumán
the mountain approaches within eight or twelve miles of the Sali, and
the possibilities of extension westward are strictly limited; indeed,
they are already exhausted. Further south, on the contrary, the plain
extends more than fifteen miles to the east of the provincial railway.
West of Monteros, Concepción, and the existing line of works, there
is a reserve of available land; there is room for a fresh advance
westward. There is also room for expansion to the north-east, at the
foot of the sub-Andean chain of Burruyacu, where the frosts are slight.
It is in this direction that most of the clearing is now going on.

     [33] In 1894 it was calculated that ground that was not yet
     cleared was worth 100 to 150 piastres a hectare at Cruz Alta,
     and the cost of clearing 150 to 200 piastres, whereas in the
     moist forest at the foot of the Sierra the land was worth only
     75 to 100 piastres, the cost of clearing it was double (300 to
     350 piastres).

These various districts do not offer quite the same conditions to the
farmer. The _Falda_ is the most suitable, not only on account of the
rareness of frost, but because of the fertility of the soil, as the
tropical forest has accumulated inexhaustible stores of humus. The
sugar-cane returns are higher there than anywhere else. Irrigation
is not necessary, but, on the other hand, the humidity reduces the
proportion of sugar in the cane. Irrigation is the rule in the next
belt, between the local railway and the Central Córdoba line (on the
right bank of the Sali). On the left bank a large number of the estates
must still do without watering.

The most original feature of the organization of the sugar industry
at Tucumán is the maintenance of a class of independent cultivators,
the _cañeros_, side by side with the large enterprises. This survival
of small and medium properties is a fact to which we find no parallel
in the other sugar districts of tropical America.[34] Everywhere
else, in Brazil and in the Antilles, the farms which worked up their
own produce, on primitive methods, have been absorbed by the central
works. The home-worker has lost his land as well as been ruined in
his industry by the competition of the modern factory. At Tucumán, on
the contrary, the sugar industry never passed through the stage of
domestic production. It was set up in full development, some devoting
their capital to building works, others to growing the cane. Irrigation
seemed from the first to dictate a concentration of ownership; the
refineries at Cruz Alta constructed costly special canals to bring the
water of the Sali. It is only large proprietors who have the resources
needed to carry out work of this kind, and sufficient influence to
secure permission to conduct the water over adjoining estates. However,
the law of 1897 reorganized irrigation and withdrew the water-supply
from the control of a few privileged big capitalists. Public works,
undertaken by the provincial authorities, brought the water within the
reach of every farmer. Since 1897 the number of water-concessions has
risen from 230 to nearly 2,000.

     [34] Except, perhaps, in Barbadoes.

The interests of the factory (_ingenio_) and the farmers (_cañeros_)
are not indissolubly connected. Their respective parts in the final
product of the sugar industry are not invariable. The increase in the
number of factories means an increase in the number of cane-buyers,
and so tends to raise the price. During the years antecedent to 1895
the refineries improved their machinery, and their productive capacity
increased faster than the cultivated acreage. The price of the cane
then rose to about twenty piastres a ton. As this figure is far above
the net cost, the refineries endeavoured to profit themselves by the
advantages that accrued to the _cañeros_, and they bought land for
cultivation. It is to this period that the big concerns of Cruz Alta
belong. Afterwards the production of cane increased, and nearly met
the demands of the refineries, so that their competition relaxed. They
ceased to buy land, and the price of cane was lowered.

The refineries now deal with cane which they grow themselves, with
paid workers of their own; with cane that they buy at a reduced price
from tenants (_colonos_), who grow it on their own estates; and with
cane sold them by _cañeros_ who own their own fields. The range of the
country absorbed by each refinery is often very extensive. The Sugar
Congress of 1894 estimated that half the cane-harvest was transported
by rail, and that freight from one canton to another in the sugar
district brought the railways more than a third of what they got for
conveying sugar from Tucumán to the coast. Each railway company tries
to keep along its own line the cane it carries to the refineries, so
that the transport of the sugar when it is made will fall to itself.
Thus the cane-market is divided into two separate compartments, with
very little exchange between them. The first comprises the zone that
depends on the Central Argentine and the State Railway; the second is
the zone of the Central Córdoba and the old local line bought by the
Central Córdoba.

Certain parts, such as Cruz Alta and the district round the town, have
too many works in proportion to their production of cane, and they are
centres of import. The price of the cane is always higher here than
in the agricultural districts. Each works has its customers. At the
stations it instals weighing machines for receiving and weighing the
cane. It is only the more important _cañeros_ who have the privilege
of selling by the truck-load, or selling to distant works. The small
growers are compelled to deal with the local refinery. They sell it
their canes direct, or, sometimes, through agents and dealers. In the
days when the works were competing for cane it became the custom to
sign the purchase-contracts as early as possible; sometimes at the
beginning of October, as soon as the harvest of the year is over. In
order to make sure of the loyalty of the _cañero_ the manufacturers
advance money to him, in proportion to their difficulty in getting cane.

_Cañeros_ and mill-owners have had to work together to settle the
problem of labour. There was not enough at hand, and it had to be
recruited elsewhere. Agents were sent all round--to Catamarca and
Santiago del Estero, and even to the province of Córdoba--to collect
and bring gangs of workers. They were a mixed, unsteady, undisciplined
lot. The owners of the works advanced them money in order to keep
them, and then, fearing to lose the money advanced, would not dismiss
them for laziness and irregularities. These troubles are not felt as
much now as they were at the time when the industry was expanding.
The population of immigrant workers has settled down and taken root.
Besides creoles it includes a small number of Italians and Spaniards;
but while the creoles have been definitely incorporated in the sugar
industry, the European immigrants use their savings to buy a bit of
land and take to farming.

In normal times Tucumán has all the labour it requires, but the harvest
always compels it to seek help in other provinces. In May and June
the agents, well supplied with money, set out for the Salado, the
districts round the Sierra d'Ancasti, etc. The temporary attraction of
Tucumán at this season is felt over a considerable distance. At Santa
Maria, on the far side of Mount Aconcagua, 600 people--men, women,
and children--emigrate for five months, and live on the cane-fields.
The merchants of Santa Maria make them advances, in the name of the
refiners, to the amount of about sixty piastres per worker. Further
north the Tucumán _enganchadores_ come into collision with those from
Salta and Campo Santo, and they divide the available labour between
them. Some of the temporary immigrants settle down permanently every
year, and swell the normal population of the sugar industry.

Outside the Tucumán district an unfortunate attempt was made to plant
the sugar industry at Santiago del Estero, and large works were
constructed. But the frost is severe there. For some years they tried
to keep the Santiago works going with cane brought from Tucumán, but
the freight was too heavy, and the works had to be abandoned, or else
dismantled and set up elsewhere. The valley of the Rio Grande, from
Jujuy to 200 miles north of Tucumán, in the sub-Andean depression
between the Sierra de Zenta and the Lumbrera, has, on the other hand,
suitable conditions for the cultivation of the cane. Frost is rare.
The climate is warmer than at Tucumán, the canes ripen more quickly,
and the average return is higher. The water-supply also is good. There
have long been plantations in this region. Their first market was
the region of the tableland and the valleys, where they chiefly sold
brandy: a traffic of long standing, which one always finds round the
cold districts of the Andes, from Colombia to the north of Argentina.
The modern refineries of Ledesma and San Pedro took the place of the
primitive mills as soon as the railway approached Jujuy, and even
before it entered the valley of the Rio Grande. They then sent their
sugar by waggon in November and December, between the close of the
sugar season and the commencement of the rains, which spoil the roads.

The sugar district of Jujuy now has a very different economic
and social organization from that of Tucumán. Here there are no
farmer-proprietors. Each centre is a large estate, in the midst of the
forest, where the workers are lodged and fed by the works that employs
them. The contractors who clear the ground for them are obliged by
the terms of their contract to import their workers directly from the
south, so that they will not take any away from the farming. There is
no available labour, no free market, on the spot. Since the completion
of the Quebrada de Humahuaca line, however, there has been a good deal
of immigration, to settle or temporarily, of the mountaineers of the
tableland. The sphere of influence of San Pedro now extends as far as
Bolivia. For the harvest, which, like that of Tucumán, requires a good
deal of additional manual labour, the works look to the wild Indians
of the Chaco. This curious stream of seasonal migration, which the
sugar campaign of Jujuy provokes every winter outside the zone of white
colonization, is of very old date, going back more than sixty years.
Belmar notices it about the middle of the nineteenth century. The
recruiting agents of San Pedro and Ledesma set out from Embarcación,
where the railway ends, and enter the Chaco, from which each of them
brings a troop of some hundreds of natives between March and June.
The number of these temporary immigrants seems to be about 6,000. The
Chiriguanos of the north leave their families on the Chaco, and the men
come alone. The Matacos immigrate in whole tribes. They camp in huts
like those of their own villages, under the shelter of the works, and
are paid in maize, meat, and cigars. In October, when the _algarroba_
flowers and makes them dream of their own country, they receive the
remainder of their pay in money, and spend it in brandy, clothing,
knives, and firearms.

The history of Mendoza resembles that of Tucumán in many ways. In the
province of Cuyo, as at Tucumán, urban life has been precocious. In
the middle of the eighteenth century Mendoza and San Juan exported
wines, dried fruit (_pasas_ and _orejones_), and flour to the coast
and to Paraguay. Part of the so-called "Chilean flour" consumed on the
Pampa, really came from Jachal and Mendoza. This trade ceased in the
nineteenth century, but San Juan and Mendoza found another source of
wealth in fattening cattle and sending them to Chile. Belmar, in 1856,
estimates the extent of the lucerne farms of Cuyo to have been 150,000
_cuadres_(440,000 acres).[35] As at Tucumán, the present period is
characterized by a rapid expansion of cultivation and a rapid growth
of population. But, whereas at Tucumán the neighbouring provinces
have provided the whole of the manual labour required, and the actual
population is essentially creole, at Mendoza there has been a larger
number of foreign immigrants. In 1914, foreigners were 310 per 1,000
of the entire population of Mendoza: a larger proportion than for the
whole country. The immigrants going straight to Mendoza from the ports
numbered 12,000 in 1911, and 15,000 in 1912; almost as much as for the
province of Santa Fé, and more than for the province of Córdoba. Thus
Mendoza plays a part of its own in the charm which Argentina has for
the imagination of Europe. When we examine a chart of the population
of South America, we notice that the oases of Cuyo contain the only
important groups of European population at any distance from the coast.

     [35] A few convoys of cattle still use the Uspallata road,
     especially over the Espinacito pass in the Cordillera de San

The prosperity of Mendoza to-day depends upon the cultivation of the
vine, just as that of Tucumán depends upon sugar. The cultivation of
the vine is possible in the greater part of Argentina. In the early
days of colonization there were vineyards as far as the Paraguay.
They still flourish at Concordia on the Uruguay and at San Nicolas
on the lower Paraná. But the wet summers of the eastern provinces
are not suitable for them. The climate for them improves as one goes
westward, and there is less rain. The dry zone of eastern Argentina
is the special field of the vine. There it has spread over nearly
twenty degrees of latitude, and it depends, like other cultivation,
upon irrigation. In the Andean valleys of the north-west it rises to
a height of 7,500 feet. South of Mendoza the higher limit of the vine
sinks rapidly, and there are no vineyards in the mountainous district
itself. On the other hand, its range increases; in the east it spreads
as far as the Atlantic coast, in the valley of the Rio Negro.

The former centres of viticulture in the north-west, in the oases
of the _costas_ of La Rioja, Catamarca, and Salta, have scarcely
been affected by the advance; and, in any case, their extent is very
limited. The vine-district of the Rio Negro is only in process of
creation, and its output is still small. Thus the area of production
on a large scale is limited to the three oases of San Juan, Mendoza,
and San Rafaël, which in 1913 yielded 4,750,000 hectolitres, out
of the total Argentine production of 5,000,000 hectolitres. These
three centres differ from each other to-day rather in their economic
development than in their physical conditions. At San Juan, the
transformation of the earlier methods of production and the traditional
creole industries is only now taking place. At Mendoza it is quite
finished. The San Rafaël centre, on the other hand, is of recent
origin; it was created on the site of a fortress which guarded the
Indian frontier until 1880. Cultivated areas have appeared on virgin
soil, in the midst of the desert. These different circumstances account
for diversities which, though they will disappear in the course of
time, are still obvious to the traveller. The general scene is the
same everywhere. Arid and desolate mountains close the horizon in the
west; at their feet spreads the immense alluvial deposit on which the
vineyards, surrounded by rows of poplars, grow wherever water is to be

There are so few gaps in the lower slopes of the Cordillera that the
available water is gathered at a small number of points. The Rio San
Juan alone drains a belt of the Cordillera at least 140 miles broad.
Each of the two oases, Mendoza and San Rafaël, has two streams of water
to feed it. The Mendoza and the Tunuyan at Mendoza, and the Diamante
and the Atuel at San Rafaël, approach each other, when they leave
the mountains, so closely that the estates they water blend into a
continuous area. Then, however, instead of uniting, they diverge and
are lost, separately, in the plain. These streams have less fall than
the thinner torrents of the oases of the north-west, and the average
inclination of the dejection-cones which bear the vineyards is slight.
The upper slopes of the cone, where thin beds of clay lie upon shingle,
give clear wines of excellent aroma. Hence, in the Mendoza district,
the vineyards of Lujan and, further down, of Godoy Cruz, Guaymallen,
and Maipu produce choice brands. On the plain, to the east of Mendoza,
at San Martin and Junin, the harvest is larger, but the wine is rough,
and one can often taste the saltpetre of the clayey soil. There is the
same difference between the upper and lower district at San Juan and
San Rafaël.

The oases of San Juan and San Rafaël spread evenly over the most
suitable parts of the alluvial talus, but the oasis of Mendoza has a
peculiar shape which can only be explained by historical causes. The
cultivated belt is a narrow strip along the Tunuyan, for more than
sixty miles, as far as the heart of the plain, out of sight of the
Cordillera. It is one instance, out of a thousand, of the influence of
traffic on colonization. As a matter of fact, the road from Mendoza
to the coast, by which the cattle convoys of San Luis went to the
_invernadas_, passes along the Tunuyan. The estates grew up by the
side of it. The villages of Santa Rosa, Las Catitas, and La Paz, which
mark the various stages of it, are all of ancient origin. Strangers
are rarely found there. One still sees in them very old houses, built
before the railway was made, dating from the days of the _carril_ or
waggon-road. The importance of this line of water across the desert is
clearly seen on the Woodbine Parish map.

The use of irrigation in this district raised different technical
problems from those of the north-western provinces. In this latitude
the torrents of the Andes are formidable when the snows melt, at the
beginning of summer. The flood is all the greater and more sudden as
the heat is late. From all the ravines of the mountains the muddy
waters then converge toward the valley. The flood scours the bed of
the river, erodes its banks, and threatens to find a way amongst the
estates. Even the towns of Mendoza and San Juan have more than once
been in danger. The fear of diverting the flood and of bringing it
upon themselves compelled them to be content with raising only light
and frail dams in the path of the torrent. At San Juan they used, for
a long time, the waters of the Arroyo del Estero, a small brook fed by
infiltration from the Valle de Zenda, and it was some time before they
ventured to draw upon the river itself.

  _The dejection-cone, at the foot of which is the very small oasis, is
  seen resting against the Sierra d'Ambato._
                                             Photograph by the Author.]

  [Illustration: THE MONTE AT EL YESO.
  _Zone of clay hills at the foot of the Sierra de San Antonio, at
  the edge of the Chaco. Corral (cattle park) made from tree-trunks._
                                              Photograph by the Author.
  PLATE VII.                                            To face p. 82.]

Another problem, which the smaller oases of the north-west hardly
know--the problem of drainage--is of paramount importance at San
Juan and Mendoza, as far as a large part of the irrigated surface is
concerned. The water infiltrating into the soil forms a subterranean
sheet which approaches more or less to the surface according to the
topography. It comes to the surface at the foot of the cone, where
the slope diminishes and the cone gradually passes into the plain.
Hence the cone has, at its base, a belt of marshes (_ciénagas_), and
sometimes a line of good springs (_barbollon_). At San Juan, if you
move far enough away to get a comprehensive view of the whole of the
estates, you see that they occupy the middle belt, half-way down the
cone, the top of which is composed of coarse shingle, while the bottom
is too wet. The advance of the plots upward and the steadily increasing
use of the available water tends to raise the level of the underground
sheet and enlarge the area of marsh.

There is a fine black soil, very fertile when it is drained, and no
irrigation is needed; as it is possible, according to the depth of the
drainage-trenches, to regulate the level of the underground water so
as to make it reach and feed the roots. The draining of the marshes,
again, opens up a field for the further expansion of the estates,
especially at San Juan, where it has scarcely begun. Moreover, the
water that is obtained by draining the marshes enables them to create
new irrigated estates further on. At Mendoza there is already a
considerable area irrigated by drainage-canals (_desagüe_).

The level of the water in the marshes sinks in the summer and rises
in winter, at the time when the irrigation of the upper districts is
suspended or greatly reduced, and when the surplus of the _acequias_,
which the fields no longer take, flows or infiltrates downward in any
way that it can. Thus, contrary to the torrent itself, it is in winter
that the drainage-canals are at their fullest. At Barriales (Mendoza),
and on the lower course of the Zanjon canal, thousands of acres,
watered by the drainage-canals and exposed to drought in the summer,
have the right to take water from the river or the canal during the
three summer months, from November to January. During the remainder of
the year they are restricted to the use of the drainage-canals. This
sort of concession seems to provide a means of using the surplus of the
river during the summer.

With this exception there are no temporary rights limited to the
high-water season and enabling them to raise quick crops, that ripen
in a few months, round the area of perennials. At least, the expansion
of the estates and the wish to use the full water-supply have led to
the creation of eventual rights, besides the definitive rights. They
do not come into play, theoretically, until the definitive rights
have had their full supply, and then only in a fixed order. They are
subordinated to the ordinary rights, and the market value of land with
eventual water-rights is much lower than that of land with definitive
rights.[36] At San Rafaël, where colonization preceded the systematic
inventory of the natural resources, the concession of eventual
water-rights was a means of facilitating the development of estates;
though they were very badly informed as to the surplus of the Atuel and
the Diamante and the area that the new land might cover.

     [36] There are at present in the Mendoza province 275,000
     hectares with a definitive right, and 303,000 with an eventual
     right. The concessions fed by the Diamante and the Atuel at
     San Rafaël, which amount to 120,000 hectares with a definitive
     right and 150,000 with an eventual right, are not yet entirely

In practice, the co-existence of eventual and definitive rights
presents many difficulties, and more than one pretext for fraud.
Sometimes the owners of eventual rights have access to the river
higher up than the older intakes, which ought to be served first. A
whole group of canals feeding land with eventual rights is in this
way grafted upon the Tunuyan above La Paz, the rights of which are
definitive and ancient.

At Mendoza and San Juan the water-rights, codified in provincial laws
which date, like the dams, from the end of the nineteenth century, are
very different from the water-rights which hold in the Andean provinces
of the north-west. The variety of the physical conditions is reflected
in the institutions. Here water is not an object of private ownership
independently of the soil. The concession of water is assigned to a
definite estate, and it is formulated in superficial measurements. The
law fixes the volume of water that goes with each unit of surface.
If the output of the river is not large enough to provide the volume
stated in the law to the whole of the irrigated district, all the
lands with definitive rights receive at least an equal amount, and the
available water is shared by the canals in proportion to the extent of
the surface they irrigate.

No law could secure for the farmers of Cuyo, even those with definitive
rights, a constant supply of water, or save them from suffering in
common from the variation in the volume of the torrents, and it was not
even possible to guarantee them water in any permanent fashion. The
_turno_ is used everywhere when the water is low. Lower down, where the
drought lasts nearly the whole year, the _turno_ is the standing rule.
At La Paz, on the fringe of the irrigated area, it has to be applied
rigorously. The turn of each owner comes every eight, ten, or twelve
days. In normal times he receives the _suerte de agua_; that is to say,
the output of a sluice of a fixed size during a half-hour for each
hectare (a little over two acres) of land. But if the river runs low,
it becomes impossible to supply several neighbours simultaneously, and,
in order to avoid making the interval between supplies too long, the
duration of the _suerte de agua_ is reduced by half or three-quarters.

The oases of Cuyo are like the small oases of the north-west as
regards the function of those who are engaged in the administration of
irrigation. The water-laws give the provincial functionaries general
directions. Below them, however, to arrange the distribution of the
water and the upkeep of the canals in detail, they have allowed to
survive, and have merely regulated, certain primitive democratic
organisms. At San Juan the superintendence of the irrigation is
entrusted to elected municipal councils and the governor of the
department. At Mendoza, the owners appoint a council of three delegates
and an inspector for each canal, and these settle the annual budget of
the canal, submit it to the provincial authorities, receive the taxes,
carry out the necessary repairs, and so on. The great subdivision of
property and the large number of electors make these little republics
very lively; and they are very jealous of their autonomy.[37]

     [37] There are more than 6,000 owners at San Juan to 91,000
     hectares, and more than 9,000 at Mendoza (zone of the rivers
     Mendoza and Tunuyan) to 130,000 hectares (statistics compiled
     in 1899).

Even within the narrow limits of the Cuyo district the climatological
conditions, which control the growth of the vine, are not everywhere
the same. The opening of the vineyards varies by several weeks,
according to the locality.[38] The northern slope of the cone, exposed
to the sun and protected from the southern winds, is more precocious.
Some districts, poorly sheltered from the southern winds, and very
liable to have late frost, have not been planted with vines (district
of the Tucuyan below San Carlos, to the south of Mendoza). Everywhere
the dryness of the atmosphere causes the ripe grapes to remain long
on the vine, so that the harvest may last two months or more without
any harm. It thus requires a relatively small supplement of manual
labour, and does not necessitate seasonal migrations. The length of the
harvest, moreover, facilitates the trade in grapes, which is one of the
special features of the Argentine vine-industry.

     [38] The difference is much greater at a distance from the
     Cuyo province. Catamarca, which specializes in the production
     of grapes for the table, is invaded by buyers from Buenos
     Aires, and begins to send grapes in December, two full months
     before the harvest begins in Mendoza.

The climate is not so suitable for making wine as it is for growing
vines. The temperature is high at the time of the harvest, and it
retards fermentation in the cellars. The grapes have too much sugar
and too little acid for the transformation of the must to proceed of
itself. Hence it is necessary to have an expensive equipment, improved
cellars, and skilled workers. This industrial organization is beyond
the reach of the small cultivators. The cultivation of the vine and
the making of wine are, therefore, not always associated. They are
taken up by two different classes of the population. Tucumán has its
_cañeros_ and factories, and Mendoza, by a division of labour which
seems to the European visitor as strange as the climate which partly
explains it, has its vine-growers (_viñateros_) and its manufactures

     [39] While the cultivation of the cane has, for the most part,
     become dependent upon the sugar industry, which represents
     large capital, wine-making is, on the contrary, usually
     regarded as merely an annex of wine-growing.

Each of these two classes has had its share in the common work. The
_viñatores_ have created the vineyard. The creole vine, imported into
Peru from the Canaries and spreading over the whole of the southern
Andes, yields great quantities of a sugary, but rough fruit, which
does not lend itself to imitating the wines of Europe. At Mendoza it
has almost entirely disappeared, though it survives at San Juan. It
is grown on trellis-work, wooden frames resting on forked branches of
_algarroba_; though sometimes the strong stems rise without support to
a height of about six feet and are crowned with shoots and leaves. The
new vine has been grown from French cuttings. While the creole vines
look like orchards, the French vines are grown in rows of iron wire.

The plantations were first made by creole workmen, who were paid by
the day. Afterwards, as immigration from Europe increased, long-term
contracts came into vogue, in virtue of which the colonist received
the bare land and undertook to have it planted with vines at the end
of three, four, or five years. The owner supplied the material, and
at the end of the contract the colonist received a few _centavos_ for
each vine, or sold the whole or part of the first harvest. On account
of these contracts there were always a great many foreigners in the
districts where vineyards were in course of formation. The proportion
is now less at Mendoza than at San Rafaël, where colonization is more
recent. Whenever they could, the owners left to the colonists, not only
the business of planting the vines, but the upkeep of adult vineyards.
In those cases the colonist receives a fixed sum per hectare (100
piastres, for instance), and has to dig, prune, irrigate, etc. A large
number of these agricultural workers and small contractors have saved a
small capital, and purchased land of their own. This they have planted,
and they thus form a new class of working owners.

While the _viñatores_ were multiplying vineyards, the _bodegueros_ were
transforming the methods of making wine. The weakness of imperfectly
fermented wines, which turn sour and evaporate quickly, was all the
worse for the growers of the colonial period because transport was
slow, and there was no protection against the sun, which cooked the
_algarroba_ casks or the leather bottles on the backs of the mules.
The vineyard-owners often preferred to distil their wine and export
brandy, flavoured with aniseed, to the Andean tablelands or the coast.
The climate and the risks of transport had brought into existence an
astonishing variety of methods of treating the must. Sometimes it was
concentrated by boiling until it became a thick syrup (_arrope_),
something like, apparently, the thick wines of the Mediterranean in
former times. At other times the must was cooked without thickening
it, to prevent immediate fermentation, as is done with the _chicha_ in
Chile to-day; or sour wines were mixed with boiled must and ashes of
the shoots, which masked the acidity.

These traditions are now lost, but it is curious to see the
_bodegueros_ still endeavouring to meet the taste of the creole
population of the north-west, which has retained the preference for
sweet and fruity wines. San Juan, which caters to these customers,
manufactures _mistelas_--fresh boiled must with an addition of
alcohol--which are mixed with mature wines in order the imitate the
imperfect fermentation of earlier days. Perhaps there is no part of
the world where the art of wine-making has been pushed so far as in
the _bodegas_ of Mendoza. The correction of the must, and the analysis
and treatment of diseased wines, follow the most modern of methods.
The _bodegas_ produce a very steady wine, which is guaranteed by their
trade marks. The wine of the Mendoza type, which they endeavour to
produce, is a strong red wine, of heavy colour, with twelve or thirteen
per cent. of alcohol. It may euphemistically be called a blended wine,
but is in reality diluted wine. Argentina does not produce very light
wines, and has no use for diluted wine.

The number of wine-making cellars in 1913 was 997 at Mendoza and 336
at San Juan. But they differ very much from each other in size. Most
of them have only a small equipment and modest capital. Some, on the
other hand, are large enterprizes which could produce enough to supply
a city: vast constructions of brick or _adobe_, with light roofs as a
precaution against earthquakes.

The owners of the cellars almost always have their own vineyards, but
they also buy the harvests of cultivators who have not cellars. In 1908
it was calculated that 140,000 tons of grapes were sent to the press
by the owners and 175,000 tons bought by the _bodegueros_.[40]

     [40] More recent statistics are not to hand. The proportion
     differs a little every year according to the prices of wine
     and grapes.

The conflicts of the interests of the _viñateros_ and the _bodegueros_
are the very woof of life at Mendoza. The price of grapes is infinitely
more variable than that of wine, and the _viñatero_ who has no cellar
is at the mercy of the _bodeguero_. If he does not want to see his
harvest go to waste, he has to accept unconditionally the price that is
offered him. The _bodeguero_ has, moreover, the advantage of disposing
of the grapes grown on his own estates. If the circumstances do not
encourage him to produce all he can, he sends to the press merely
his own harvest and will not buy any other. Thus the whole burden of
commercial crises falls upon the vineyard with no cellar.

The prices paid for the grapes differ a little for different parts
of the vineyard, but the variation is more due to the number of
_bodegas_ in the district and their capacity than to the quality
of the grapes. Transport of the grapes to a great distance is very
expensive. In exceptional times grapes have been brought from San
Rafaël to the Mendoza cellars, but each _bodega_ gets its supply as
far as possible from its own district. At San Juan the capacity of the
cellars is proportionately less than at Mendoza, and the _bodegueros_
have imposed very hard conditions on the growers. The price fixed in
the purchase-contract does not of itself give a complete idea of the
benefits which the _bodeguero_ enjoys. The grapes are purchased by
weight, but the _bodeguero_ reserves the right to say at what date
they are to be delivered. He begins to harvest his own vines when the
fruit is scarcely ripe, but he puts back the harvesting of the grapes
he buys as far as possible, even to April or May. These grapes exposed
on the plant to the heat of the sun, become overripe; they gain in
sugar and lose in weight. They make wines with a higher percentage of
alcohol, and with these he can correct the lighter wines made during
the preceding weeks. Finally, the _bodeguero_ does not advance money to
the _viñatero_, as the manufacturer does to the _cañero_ in the sugar

The only safeguard of the vine-growers is the lack of understanding
between the _bodegueros_ and the competition between them. Although
there are conventions amongst the _bodegueros_ which lay down
officially, before the vintage, the basis of all transactions, they
are not respected except in so far as they serve a man's interest.
If it is expected that the wine will easily be sold, and that grapes
will be short, buyers are abundant, and contracts are signed before
the fruit appears. It is a sort of gamble, as in the case of wheat and
cotton. Bulls and bears struggle for the market. If the bulls win, the
_viñateros_ grow rich.[41]

     [41] Besides the causes of a geographical nature which I have
     indicated, the separation of cultivation from wine-making has
     other economic grounds, but they do not fall within the range
     of this book. The large _bodega_ is better situated than the
     small cultivator for organizing the sale of his wines on the
     distant market of Buenos Aires. Also, the _bodegueros_ alone
     are able to meet the competition of Buenos Aires merchants who
     import European wines and make adulterated wines.

When we compare the diagrams which show the production of wine and
sugar in Argentina during the last thirty years, we see that they
clearly illustrate the condition of dependence of the vineyard industry
and the sugar industry as regards the home market. The prosperity of
the region of the Pampas, especially during the years before 1914,
is reflected at Mendoza and Tucumán. The expansive movement of the
estates is similarly bound up with the construction of railways to
connect them with the coast. Industry, on a large scale, began at
Tucumán in 1876: that is to say, at the opening of the Central Córdoba
line. The area planted with cane rose from 2,200 hectares in 1876 to
14,800 in 1886. The production of sugar was trebled in four years,
from 1876 to 1880. But the Central Córdoba was a narrow-gauge line,
expensive to use and necessitating a transfer of goods at Córdoba. In
1891 the broad-gauge line from Buenos Aires to Rosario was extended to
Tucumán; and in 1892 the narrow-gauge line from Rosario to Santa Fé,
San Cristobal, and Tucumán was also brought into use. The following
years were marked by rapid advances of the sugar industry. From 1891 to
1895 the area planted with canes rose from 14,200 to 40,700 hectares,
and the manufacture of sugar from 31,000 to 135,000 tons. At Mendoza,
also, the development of the vineyards dates from the completion of the
San Luis Railway in 1885. Plantations were at once started, and three
years later they came into touch. In 1887, the railway carried 27,000
hectolitres of wine from Mendoza to the coast; in 1890-91 it carried
268,000 hectolitres. Production had increased tenfold in that short
space of time.

As the home-production of wine and sugar increased, the imports from
abroad fell. As early as 1885 Tucumán was able to meet the home demand
for raw sugar, and refined only was imported. In 1888, a refinery was
erected at Rosario to deal with Argentine sugar which came by rail,
and foreign sugar which came up the river. Import ceased at this date,
or there have since only been occasional years of import, to meet a
scarcity. The imports of ordinary foreign wines continued to increase
until 1890 (800,000 hectolitres), or as long as the wine produced at
Mendoza did not suffice to meet the demand. They have steadily declined
since that date (350,000 hectolitres in 1913), and are now only seven
per cent. of the national production. We should add that, even in
regard to ordinary wines, the Mendoza and the imported wine are not
strictly comparable, that the competition between them is not simply
a matter of price, and that some customers continue to prefer foreign

  [Illustration: A VINEYARD AT SAN JUAN.
  _Trellissed creole vines._
                                    Photograph by Boote, Buenos Aires.]

  [Illustration: A VINEYARD AT MENDOZA.
  _French vines on wire. An irrigation-trench along the path. In
  the foreground (left) a wine-cellar_(bodega).
           Photograph by Soc. Fotografica de Aficionados, Buenos Aires.
  PLATE VIII.                                           To face p. 92.]

The elimination of foreign wines and sugar and the development of
Mendoza and Tucumán were facilitated by a Protectionist tariff. The
details of this are very curious, as they had to be adjusted to the
natural conditions. The need of protection is chiefly due to the
distance of the market from the productive centres. Mendoza is 650
miles from Buenos Aires, Tucumán more than 750 miles. Freightage
on the railways is dear. It is thirty-five piastres a ton for wine
between Mendoza and Buenos Aires, or nearly double the normal maritime
freight for the European wines sent from Bordeaux or Genoa. The charge
for sugar is about thirty piastres a ton between Tucumán and Buenos
Aires. Thus the cost of transport is nearly one sixth the entire cost
of production. In spite of this common burden, the need of protection
is not at all the same in Mendoza and Tucumán. The climate of Mendoza
is excellent for the vine. The dryness of the atmosphere keeps down
cryptogamic diseases, and the risks of cultivation are slight. The crop
is abundant, the frosts late, and not serious. Hail is frequent, it is
true, at the mouths of the Cordillera valleys, but it is never general;
it affects only a small part of the harvest. The curve of production
is very regular. It rises every year very gradually, and in proportion
to the increase of the cultivated area. As a result of all this, the
wine market has a stability which the vine-growing countries of Europe,
with their less reliable climate, do not enjoy. The protective tariff,
therefore, remains fixed. The duty on foreign wines in the cask--eight
centimes (gold) per litre--has not been altered since the introduction
into Argentina of the wine-industry on a large scale.[42]

     [42] Mendoza is further protected by law against fraud.
     This legislation is partly national and partly provincial.
     The national law, which takes into account the interests of
     the merchants of Buenos Aires, permits the manufacture of
     artificial wines. The provincial law, in the special interests
     of the productive districts, is more stringent. It prohibits
     the manufacture of artificial wines. It also fixes the minimum
     percentage of alcohol, and prevents the dispatch from Mendoza
     to Buenos Aires of alcoholic wines to mix with must. Finally,
     it defends the _viñatero_ against the _bodeguero_ by fixing
     the quantity of grapes to be used in making a hectolitre of
     wine and so prevents fraud at the _bodega_.

The curve of sugar-production is just as irregular as that of
wine-production is regular. From one year to another the output may
vary by as much as 100 per cent., and the changes cannot be predicted:
147,000 tons in 1912, 335,000 tons in 1914, 150,000 tons in 1915. The
reason is that the sugar output depends upon the season. Canes which
have been touched by frost go sour and ferment in the ground. They
have to be milled quickly, and the harvest must not be prolonged. Even
in good years the costly equipment of the works is active during only
three months (July to September, but at Jujuy, July to October).

This irregularity of production, which makes protection inevitable,
also complicates it infinitely in practice. Sometimes the harvest
is not large enough to meet home demands, and imports have to be
permitted. Sometimes production is far beyond the home demand, and
the sugar-manufacturers have to export the surplus so as to prevent
a slump in prices on the overloaded home market. In order to meet
these very different situations, the protecting tariff has had to be
repeatedly modified and complicated. But it is impossible for us to
give the history of it in detail here. The duties on foreign sugar were
fixed, in successive instalments, between 1883 and 1891; and special
protective measures were taken in the interest of the refiners in 1888.
Over-production appeared for the first time in 1895. Export at a loss,
to relieve the home market, was at first organized by an association
of the producers themselves (in 1896). But in 1897 the Government
developed it by putting a premium on export. The export period lasted
from 1897 to 1904. The law of 1912, which gives its latest form to
the Protectionist regime, gives the Government the right to suspend
for a time the duties on imports and allow foreign sugar to come in.
As at Mendoza, the provincial Government intervenes as well as the
national. The alternation of bad and exceptionally good harvests leads
to the appearance of all sorts of unforeseen laws, modifying the bases
of taxation, regulating production in the works, and restricting the
acreage of cultivation.[43] Thus Tucumán has lived in an atmosphere of
storm and uncertainty and unceasing discussion, of discouragement and
insecurity; the price of its geographical position at the extreme limit
of the area in which cane can be grown.

     [43] Especially during the crisis of 1902-3.



     Manual labour on the _obrajes_--The land of the _bañados_
     and the agricultural cantons of Corrientes--The timber-yards
     of the Chaco and the tannic-acid works of the Paraná--The
     exploitation of the _maté_--The forestry industry and

From the Andes of Tucumán and Salta to the banks of the upper Paraná
in the province of Misiones the north of Argentina is now a vast
timber-yard for the exploitation of the forests. It resounds everywhere
with the axe. This exploitation of the forest is of early origin on
the river; in the eighteenth century Buenos Aires was supplied with
wood from the Paraná. In the western Chaco the difficulty of transport
by land retarded the development of the forestry industry. The only
market for the timber of Tucumán was the Andean region. It was not sent
to Mendoza after the beginning of the nineteenth century, when the
willow was acclimatized in the oases of Cuyo. Below Rosas the wood of
the _quebracho_ was at first taken in waggons from Santiago to Buenos
Aires, but this traffic ceased when the river-route was reopened,
and we do not find it resumed until recent times, when railways were

The outer fringe of the forest and the scrub where the industry has
had to find labour, is inhabited by a very sparse pastoral population.
There are, however, besides the thinly populated districts of the
farms, certain busy hives which lend animation to the scrub. These
over-populated cantons are districts of cultivation by _bañados_, or
the cultivation of flood-lands. There is constant intercourse between
these ancient centres of creole life and the timber-yards of the
forest. The forestry industry recruits its workers there, on temporary
contracts. The wages paid are brought back to these centres and spent
there. They help to maintain social groups of an archaic type, which
the meagreness of their production would otherwise doom to extinction.

The _bañados_ are scattered over the range of all the sierras within
the limits reached by the torrents from the mountains before they are
lost. They also stretch along the two rivers that are considerable
enough to cross the scrub, the Salado and the Dulce. The course of
the Bermejo, where the natural conditions are much the same, lies
outside the sphere of primitive creole colonization. The tilled lands
are not continuous on the Salado or the Dulce. There are no _bañados_
wherever the bed of the river is enclosed by high banks which prevent
flooding. The course of the Salado threads together, in the manner of
a rosary, three main groups of _bañados_ below 26° S. lat., (Matoque
and Boqueron) between 27° and 28° S. lat. (Brea), and between 28° and
29° S. lat. (Le Bracho and Navicha). But the classic country of the
_bañados_, where they cover the widest extent and sustain the most
considerable body of population, is the interior delta of the Rio Dulce
below Santiago del Estero, in the departments of Loreto, Atamisqui, and

Santiago is situated almost at the top of it. In its upper part the
Rio Dulce is enclosed between high clay cliffs (department of the Rio
Hondo). Below Santiago the river seems to run to the top of a sort
of flattened alluvial cone, over which it wanders. Instances of the
migration of rivers during the historical period are plentiful in the
north of the Argentine plain. The scrub is scored east of the Salado
with a network of dry beds, the edges of which gradually disappear as
the vegetation extends over them. But there is no other part where
the erratic nature of the waters is so marked, the vagabondage so
considerable, as in this section of the basin of the Rio Dulce. The
small towns of Atamisqui and Salavina, which lived on the waters of the
Dulce, were suddenly ruined in 1825, when the river, in consequence
of a particularly violent flood, turned away to the south and lost
itself in the Salinas Grandes. A canal was dug in 1897 to irrigate the
district of Loreto, on the left bank of the Dulce, but the entrance
was badly protected, and the flood of 1901 swept into it, and, guided
by it, reached the bed it had abandoned a century before, going
south-eastward toward Atamisqui. That town and Salavina recovered their
prosperity, while it was necessary to abandon the farms on the Rio des
Salines, which now has water only during high floods. Actual beds, old
beds that are always ready to serve again, and traces of canals changed
and cut by the stream, form a great network in the midst of the plain;
and the flood rolls to one side or the other according to the road open
to it, and the facility with which the various elements of the network
lend themselves to the passage of the water. Such is the land of the

You enter it to-day at Loreto station, where the line from Santiago
to Frias approaches within a few miles of it. This station is erected
in the midst of the arid _monte_, and owes its existence to the
neighbouring _bañados_. Turning eastward from the railway, as soon
as one has crossed the broad, sandy bed of the Rio des Salines, one
finds oneself in the heart of the _bañados_ farms. The road passes
between hedges (_cercas_), over the top of which one sees the green of
the wheat and lucerne. The plots are very small: gardens rather than
fields. In clearing the ground they have preserved the best-situated
trees, and the light foliage gives a useful shade to the crops. The
crown of the _algarrobas_ rises everywhere above the top of the hedges.

The fields do not cover the whole area of the annual inundations.
They are confined to the part where the flood is fertilizing; where
it leaves behind it a fine, useful clay which keeps the store of
moisture for several months. In other places the current is too rapid.
It furrows the soil, leaves large holes in it like the _lônes_ in the
flood-area of the Rhone, and sweeps away the barriers; or the water
brings sterile sand which it deposits in long stretches; or again, if
it is not drained away in time and evaporates on the spot, it deposits
the salts it contains, and the land, looking as if it had a white
leprosy, becomes unfit for vegetation.

The floods begin in summer, during November or December. They are
caused by the rain-storms in the Tucumán district, and are very
irregular. Some of the houses are evacuated, and others are protected
by walls of earth, which are raised from hour to hour according to the
rise of the waters. Behind these walls the people await the abatement
of the flood. When the mud which is left behind has the proper
consistency, they till it and sow wheat. The wheat grows in the winter,
and is harvested in November quickly, so that the fresh flood may not
overtake it.

The caprices of the flood compel them frequently to change the sites of
their houses and fields. The ancient village of Loreto was evacuated
after a flood, and is now merely a mass of deserted ruins. Round the
naked trunks of the _algarrobas_, killed by excessive deposits of
sand or salt, are uniform colonies of plants of the same age and the
same species, which invade the area where the adult scrub has been
destroyed. The mill has been rebuilt less than a mile away, and has not
lost its customers, who have raised their _ranchos_ some distance away.
The insecurity of the plots has prevented the development of small
ownership. The farmers are tenants of the ranches, which stretch from
the river to a considerable distance in the interior.

The use of _bañados_ for agriculture is of long standing. It probably
goes back to the pre-Columbian period. Father Dobritzhoffer, who
is the first to refer clearly to it, compares the Rio Dulce to the
Nile[44]; and in point of fact, the _bañados_ have some resemblance
to farming in Pharaonic Egypt, while there is nothing like them in
the irrigated zones of the Andean valleys. The _bañados_ were then
devoted to the cultivation of wheat and pumpkins. The pumpkin, which
is of American origin, had not yet been eliminated by wheat, which
was introduced by the Spaniards. The wheat produced in the _bañados_
maintained a fairly active export trade at the beginning of the
nineteenth century, and the _bañados_ were at times called, with some
exaggeration, the "granary of the Vice-royalty." It is difficult to
trace accurately the movements of the population of the _bañados_
because of the constant changes of the administrative areas in the
province of Santiago. The total population of the province is not now
more than three per cent. of the total population of Argentina, but its
comparative importance was much greater in the middle of the nineteenth
century (nearly eight per cent. at the census of 1861). The departments
of Loreto, Atamisqui, and Salavina on the Rio Dulce, which live mainly
on the estates of the _bañados_, comprised 46,000 inhabitants in 1861,
and only 43,000 in 1895. The Woodbine Parish map and Hutchinson's
description clearly give one an impression of a dense population in the
area of the _bañados_. I refer elsewhere to the antiquity and constancy
of the streams of temporary immigration which spread the population of
the _bañados_ over a large part of the territory of Argentina.[45] The
temporary emigration of the Santiagueños is distributed amongst most
of the provinces of central and northern Argentina, but it is chiefly
of interest in connection with the frontier region. The Santiagueño is
a woodman above all else, and the forest area has the advantage over
the other labour-markets of wanting workers at all seasons, summer or
winter, whereas the sugar-cane harvest at Tucumán and the harvest in
the south only last a few months. They emigrate from the _bañados_
to Tucumán in May; to Córdoba and Santa Fé in October, November and
December; but to the forests of the Chaco all the year round.

     [44] _Historia de Abiponibus._

     [45] See the chapter on population.

  [Illustration: THE LAND OF THE BAÑADOS.
  _On the Rio Dulce, near Loreto, in the dry season. Its actual bed,
  excavated at a recent date by a flood in soft clay, is not yet
                                             Photograph by the Author.]

  _In the zone of the scrub, where the floods of the Rio Dulce spread.
  The interior delta of the Rio Dulce is one of the earliest centres of
  population in Argentina._                   Photograph by the Author.
  PLATE IX.                                            To face p. 100.]

Apart from the _bañados_ of the Dulce and the Salado, the province of
Corrientes contains the main reservoir from which the timber industry
drew its manual workers. Just as at Santiago del Estero, one finds
at Corrientes also the opposition between agricultural and breeding
districts which is so common in the older colonized regions of South
America. The _estancieros_ (ranchers), who are breeders, are the
masters of Corrientes, but the line of low hills of sand and red
clay, punctuated by lagoons, which crosses the north-western corner
of the province, is not subject to their domination. There the land
is subdivided; there are once more fields. Tobacco was an article of
export for this fraction of Corrientes, especially after the political
isolation of Paraguay, the chief producer of tobacco in the nineteenth
century. During the whole of the first half of the nineteenth century
the tobacco-buyers travelled all over Corrientes after the harvest, in
January and February. The fertile soil, moreover, with a mild climate
in which tropical plants flourish as well as those of the temperate
zone, provides the elements of a local comfort which is complete in
itself. Here again agricultural colonization has created a relatively
dense nucleus of population, capable of great increase. Although the
administrative divisions do not exactly correspond with the natural
divisions, the unequal distribution of the population in Corrientes
is made plain by the figures given in the census of 1895. The density
rises in the agricultural areas to eight inhabitants per square
kilometre, in the department of Bellavista; ten at San Cosma; fourteen
at Lomas; thirty at San Roque. It is only between one and two in the
purely pastoral departments (Concepción and Mercedes).

Corrientes also has its forests, and in these we find most of the
species of the forests of the Chaco, in straight lines, along the
water-courses, and in somewhat larger patches on the tablelands which
separate the lower valleys near the Paraná. They at first supplied the
Curupai bark which was used in the Corrientes tanneries. The yards for
the construction of river-boats emigrated from Paraguay to Corrientes
at the beginning of the nineteenth century, at the same time and for
the same reasons as the tobacco trade. The exploiting of the red
_quebracho_ did not begin until about 1850. In 1887 Virasoro relates
that fifty ships are engaged in loading with Nandubai timber on the
banks of the Rio Corrientes and transporting it to Rosario.[46] Born on
the left bank of the Paraná, the forestry industry emigrated toward the
end of the century to the right bank, whither the workers of Corrientes
followed it.

     [46] Val. Virasoro, "Los esteros y lagunas del Ibera" in _Bol.
     Instit. Geog. Argent._ (vi. 1887; pp. 305-31).

We find the same movement further north, on the Paraguay. The
exploitation of the woods is in that case a very old industry on
the tributaries of the left bank. D'Azara draws attention to its
importance.[47] Robertson found, when he went from Corrientes to
Asunción in 1814, a population of wood-cutters in the marshy belt near
the river. During floods they took refuge in the agricultural cantons
of the frontier on high ground, where they were well received. It
seems, then, that wood-cutting was already a seasonal industry at this
time. The exploitation of the forests is now rapidly invading the right
bank, which was long abandoned to the wild Indians.

     [47] _Diario de la navegacion y reconocimiento del Rio
     Tibicuari_ (Coll. de Angelis, vol. ii.).

       *       *       *       *       *

The Santiagueños and Correntinos do not mix. The two zones of expansion
and of forestry, of which they are the pioneers, are independent of
each other. The _quechua_, which is the language of the _bañados_ of
the Rio Dulce, is spoken in the timber-yards of the Chaco de Santiago;
the _guarani_, the language of Corrientes and the Paraguay, is most
common along the river, in the Chaco de Santa Fé. Their respective
spheres will not come into touch with each other until the Quimili
branch of the Central Norte Railway, which comes from the Santiago
province, joins the line of penetration at Resistencia, on the Paraná,
in the west.

The forestry industry of the interior and that of the river-districts
differ not only in the character of the workers, but in their
organization and their market. The variety of red _quebracho_ which
is exploited in the west is not quite the same as the variety that is
found in the east. Each has a name of its own--_quebracho santiagueño_
and _quebracho chaqueño_. The former contains ten per cent. of tannin,
the latter thirty per cent. The former is cut down for timber, the
latter in order to extract the tannic acid. The one is sold in
Argentina, and the other sent abroad.

The working of the timber at Santiago has remained in the hands of a
number of small capitalists and contractors who do not own the land
and do not work there. They are content to buy in small amounts and
according to the demand at the moment, the right to exploit the forests
(_derecho de monte or derecho de leña_). The trunks of exceptionally
large _quebracho_ provide logs that are sold by cubic measurement, but
the district of the _quebracho santiagueño_ mainly exports sleepers.
_Quebracho_ sleepers have been used in constructing the railways, both
narrow and broad gauge, during the last twenty years on the Pampa.
Tall and thin trees make telegraph posts; the smaller branches make
stakes for wire fences. In parts of the bush where there is no red
_quebracho_, the _retamo_ is used, to make posts for enclosures, and
also the white _quebracho_, which is sold in round logs. Finally,
the forests provide wood for fuel. The works at Tucumán, and the
locomotives over a good part of the land, use wood-fuel. The wood of
the red _quebracho_, if left for some years in the yards where the
sleepers are made and is rid of the sap-wood, which rots and falls
out--the _leña campana_--is excellent fuel. Charcoal is cheaper to
transport than the wood, and can therefore be sent farther over the
whole prairie district. It is made in the _monte_, along all the
railways, and especially in the thinner forests on the edge of the

The forestry of the interior is unstable as well as scattered and
primitive. The equipment--saws that are easily taken down and set
up--is not costly, and does not require much capital. When one canton
of the forest has been exhausted, the saws are taken down and removed.
The cuttings are not made in such a way as to allow the forest to
recover, and so permit a continuous exploitation. Everything of any
value is taken. The _quebracho_ is, moreover, a tree of slow growth.
The forestry industry has at times returned, after an interval, to land
that had been stripped, but that is not because they had planted a new
generation of trees. It is because it became profitable, as the state
of the market and the cost of transport changed, to cut down the small
trees which had not been considered good enough on the earlier occasion.

When the master _obrajero_ removes, he is followed by the greater part
of the workers. But to induce them to emigrate, or to recruit cutters
in the _bañados_ who will agree to work in remote or new districts,
he has to be liberal and offer higher wages. Hence the conditions
of work and the rate of wage are not the same in every part of the
forest. The oldest area of working, which is crossed by the Central
Córdoba, between the provinces of Catamarca and Santiago del Estero,
has a surplus of good workers. On the other hand, the _obrajeros_ of
the valley from San Francisco to Jujuy, where the exploitation is more
recent, have only a moderate amount of labour at their command. The
returns are not higher there than in the south, though the forests
are incomparably denser and richer. It has been very expensive to
bring about a continuous stream of immigration toward the main region
of forest work, which is now called the Chaco, along the railway that
starts from Añatuya and goes about 130 miles further north. As the
worker is on piece-work, the price per sleeper when the work was begun
on the Chaco had to be double, on the Añatuya line, what was paid in
the older line from Santiago to Frias, close to the _bañados_.

The work is profitable only within a short distance from the railways.
Waggon transport raises the price rapidly. Moreover, the forestry
industry is just as dependent on the railways for provisions as it is
for the carriage of its wood. The _obraje_ has no source of food-supply
on the spot. The marshy estates which begin to spread in the area of
irrigation-canals at Banda, eastward of Santiago del Estero, supply
only their customers at Añatuya and the Chaco line. Sometimes the
railway has to bring water as well as food. Over a great part of the
Chaco de Santiago there is no running water, and the underground sheets
are little known, or inaccessible, or salty. The _obraje_ is a land of
thirst. In order to meet the demand for water they dig reservoirs like
the _represas_ on the ranches, which are filled by the rains. But as
soon as the dry season sets in they become stagnant green pools, and
the men have to rely on waggon-cisterns.

While the Chaco de Santiago is now a democracy of small _obrajeros_ and
contractors, the eastern Chaco, along the Paraná, has quite a different
type of society. It is entirely in the hands of the big tannic-acid
factories, where the _quebracho_ trunks are stripped and boiled, and
their sap is concentrated in a viscous resin. The lofty chimneys of
these works rise above the forest at intervals. Here the work assumes
a capitalistic and industrial character which it has not in other
places. It is controlled by powerful concerns, highly organized, which
conduct it on a pre-arranged plan. It is true that the works do not
deal with the entire output of _quebracho_,[48] but they almost control
the market, even as regards the unworked wood which is exported, and
they reserve a good deal of it for their branches in Europe. In order
to secure the heavy loans which the works represent, the companies
that have built them have been obliged to take over large forests,
and they have come to own these. The concentration of the area in
their hands goes on daily, and the number of companies is reduced by
amalgamation or by the purchase of rival concerns and their estates. On
the territory of the Chaco, where the administration of public lands
was in the hands of the Federal Government, some precautions were taken
to prevent the monopoly of the country; but the forests of the province
of Santa Fé belong entirely to two firms.

     [48] It is more and more necessary to deal with the extract of
     the _quebracho_ on the spot the further north one goes toward
     the interior of the continent because the freights to the
     exporting ports rise higher and higher.

The eastern Chaco has received from Europe, not only the capital that
was needed for the construction of works, but also a number of workers,
either for administration or for technical direction. These have proved
more exacting than the creoles of the Santiago saw-mills. Beside most
of the works there are now comfortable villas and brick towns for the
workers. The expense was quite prudently incurred, as the industry is
less erratic in this region. A tannic-acid factory cannot be removed
like a saw-mill. When the timber-supply is exhausted in the district,
the works gets its material from a distance, as long as the freightage
permits. It depends on the railway, not only for the carriage of its
products, as the saw-mills do, but for the supply of raw material.

The works are not all equally wealthy. They are scattered over about
ten degrees of latitude, north of 30° S. lat., within reach of the
river, which keeps them in communication with the world, and at the
same time has enabled them to tackle the full breadth of the forest.
The _quebracho_ is particularly abundant north of Santa Fé and south
of the Argentine part of the Chaco, where it is the life and soul of
the forest. The works which have been set up there, in the midst of the
denser forests, have plenty of capital, and this enables them to nurse
their supplies and buy timber at a distance. The forest is still almost
virginal at their gates, so that they have a long future in front of
them. On the other hand, the oldest works, on the southern fringe of
the forest, and that of Corrientes, on the left bank of the Paraná, are
already paralysed for want of timber.

The works are all at a short distance from the river; not only for
convenience of exporting their products, but because this is the only
part of the Chaco where one can find fresh water. And the tannic-acid
factory needs a great deal of fresh water. Along the river, in a belt
about thirty to sixty miles wide, we find a permanent hydrographic
network such as is found nowhere else on the plain. It consists of long
series of marshes covered with rushes (_cañadas_), and in places they
become at their mouths regular streams with well defined beds. The
underground water also is generally fresh and plentiful, whether it is
due to the abundant rain or to infiltration from the Paraná, and many
of the works have successfully bored for it. In these parts one suffers
from too much water as frequently as from thirst. On these immense and
almost horizontal surfaces the water spreads from the _cañadas_ over
the whole forest. The railway, and even the houses, then stand out of
a sheet of stagnant water, which takes months to disappear. Trunks
which are badly placed, lying in the stations to be removed--sometimes,
according to the market, lying there for years--are half buried in the
mud. The waggons find it hard to move in the roads. Mules, which pay
very well in the dry forests of the west, could not make the effort
that is required here, and they use oxen--the finest beasts for a muddy
country. The long-horned, lean creole cattle drag the waggons with
difficulty, and a _correntino_, with long slender legs, shod with mud,
guides and urges them, looking like a crane with his slow and cautious
steps. The work of these drivers is much harder than that of the
wood-cutters. They earn nearly twice as much, and it is the difficulty
of getting enough men for this work that keeps down production.

The importance and stability of the large works has fixed the labour
market on the right bank of the Paraná, and there is no need to go to
Corrientes to look for men. They come of their own accord. A daily
service of small steamers brings them to all the ports which dispatch
_quebracho_. The left bank, on Argentine territory, has also no hiring
centre, such as there still are at Asunción and Concepción in Paraguay.

Even on its own land the works leaves the working of the forest to
contractors, from whom it buys the timber. But the _obrajeros_, whether
they work in the company's forests or their own, are very dependent
upon the works. The contracts vary according as they are owners or
otherwise; according to whether they undertake to deliver the timber at
the stations or leave it where it is felled; and according to whether
they have the requisite oxen and waggons or have to loan these from the
company. They draw advances from the company, and, on the other hand,
they pledge themselves to purchase what they require for their workers
at the company's stores. The profit of these sales increases the
revenue of the works. The company monopolizes all trade, both import
and export. It exercises an absolute sovereignty over the forest.
It has merely deigned to grant the railway company space enough to
construct its lines and its stations.

The last forestry centre in modern Argentina is in the province
of Misiones on the upper Paraná. Posadas is its chief station, and
protects its southern outlet. Its influence extends beyond the
Argentine frontier, over a small part of Brazil and Paraguay. In
Misiones there are two types of forest, which differ a good deal from
each other, while neither resembles the _quebracho_ forest. One is the
forest of araucarias (_pinos_) which covers the elevated tablelands
at a height above 2,000 feet. The other is the tropical forest, rich
in essences and of perennial vegetation, which fills the bottoms and
slopes of the valleys. The pine, which is also much worked on the
Brazilian tableland, yields an excellent white wood, suitable instead
of the northern pine. It would find a ready market at Buenos Aires,
but it has never been worked on Argentine territory because of the
great distance of the woods from a navigable river. On account of its
position on the tableland the araucaria has to wait for the railways
of some future date.[49] As to the leafy tropical forest it includes
a number of useful varieties (_timbo_, _lapacho_, _etc._), but the
most esteemed of all is the cedar. Its wood is rose-coloured, scented,
and fine-grained, and very suitable for furniture. At the time of
D'Orbigny's travels the inhabitants of Corrientes were looking out for
cedars from the mountains brought down the river when in flood. The
_obrajes_ of cedar-wood now extend twenty miles or so on the Argentine
bank, and forty miles in the Paraguay bank, which is more even and
better for transport. The trunks are floated in rafts down to Posadas;
as the cedar, which is less dense than the _quebracho_, not only
floats, but is improved by parting with sap in the water. At Posadas
the rafts are taken to pieces, and the trunks are delivered to the

     [49] In Brazil the saw-mills for the araucarian pines are
     established along the São Paolo-Rio Grande Railway.

But timber is not the chief forest industry in Misiones, as it is on
the Chaco. Beside the _obraje_ in the forest there is the _yerbal_,
a works for dealing with the _maté_ (_Ilex paraguayensis_). It
is well known that an infusion of _maté_ (a kind of tea) is an
important element in the food of the western States of South America.
Gathering the leaves of the _maté_ has been a profitable occupation
for centuries: a unique instance, perhaps, in the forest industries
of South America. It has never been interrupted, though it has often
changed its locality.

The plantations made by the Jesuits were abandoned when the
missionaries were dispersed. After the close of the eighteenth century
Paraguay became the chief area of production. Villa Rica seems to have
been the most prolific centre of the _yerba_. After that date, however,
the Jujuy basin, further north, was exploited, and the _yerbateros_,
who came from Curuguati, advanced eastward as far as the Falls of
the Guayra on the Paraná. In the nineteenth century the trade in
Paraguay _maté_ seems to have suffered less than the tobacco trade
from the policy of isolation adopted by the Dictators of Paraguay. The
descriptions given by Mariano Molas, Demersay, and others, show that
the business continued fairly actively. It even extended northward,
and reached as far as the Rio Apa. Villa Concepción became a rival
_yerba_ market to Villa Rica. The monopoly exercised by the Paraguay
Government, however, and the restrictions put upon the navigation
of the river, led to the development of the _yerba_ industry in the
eastern Misiones on the left bank of the Uruguay. Itaquy served as
port of embarkation. In the last third of the nineteenth century the
yards moved from the left to the right bank of the Uruguay. Since
1870 the Paraná has supplanted the Uruguay, and the _yerba_ trade has
concentrated at Candelaria. This meant the resurrection of Misiones.
In 1880 San Javier, on the Uruguay, worked up 800 tons of _yerba_,
and Candelaria more than 1,000 tons. The _yerbales_ round San Javier
began to run out, and the _yerbateros_ had to go further and further
up the Uruguay, toward the _yerbales_ of the tableland of Fracan and
San Pedro. Candelaria was mainly fed by the _yerbales_ of the right
bank of the Paraná, on Paraguayan territory. Posadas has now succeeded
Candelaria, and the _yerbales_ that depend upon it are scattered over
both banks up the Paraná.

The _yerbales_ of Misiones lie outside the tropical forest proper.
They are on the lower fringe of the pine-forest, and begin at some
distance from the river, with which they are connected by muddy and
difficult mule-tracks. _Maté_ can bear a cost of transport that would
be fatal to timber. At the point where these tracks reach the river,
the river-steamers stop at the foot of a shed that is almost hidden in
the foliage. These are the "ladders" of the _yerbales_.

Work in the _yerbales_ lasts six months out of the twelve. The pruners
who collect the bunches of leaves and bring them to the furnaces, where
they are dried, include Brazilians, Paraguayans and Argentinians. The
Brazilians go to the _yerbal_ to offer their services. The Paraguayans
and Argentinians, nearly all from the province of Corrientes, are
recruited at Posadas and the sister-town of Encarnación, which is
opposite to it on the Paraguay bank.

The hiring at Posadas is done according to a traditional custom that
does not seem to have changed for more than a century. The description
given by D'Azara is not yet out of date. "The people of Villa Rica,"
he says, "depend mainly on being hired for the _yerbales_. The _yerba_
industry is sometimes profitable to the masters, but never to the
natives, who work cruelly without any profit. Not only are they paid
in goods for the _yerba_ they gather, but the goods are put at so high
a price that it is terrible. They have even to pay for the hire of a
bill for cutting the _maté_.... The natives contract as much debt as
they can before they start for the _yerbales_, and as soon as they have
done a little work, they say good-bye to the _yerbatero_, who loses
his money. And the _yerbatero_ in turn is exploited by the merchants
who control him." Before he starts for the _yerbal_, says Robertson,
the contractor (_habilitado_) gets an advance of four or five thousand
piastres. With this he hires about fifty workers, supplies their needs,
and gives them two or three months' pay in advance. The three essential
and inseparable elements of the _maté_ business are the _yerbal_ in the
forest, a shop at Posadas for hiring and paying wages in advance, and a
_yerba_ mill at Rosario or Buenos Aires.

       *       *       *       *       *

The forestry industry in its various forms is not a definite occupation
of the soil by man. After having stripped the forest, it leaves,
and the land is open for colonization. Nearly everywhere there is a
complete separation between forestry and permanent colonization. They
do not employ the same workers; the wood-cutter (_hachador_) and the
charcoal-burner are not the men who clear the soil. The clearing away
of the stumps, which must precede agricultural work, is not their
business, but the work of diggers. At Tucumán, where most of the
workers in the cane-fields are Santiagueños, Italians and Spaniards are
used for clearing the soil. The gangs of Mendocinos who go to cut crops
in the bush round Villa Mercedes will not sign on for clearing the
ground in order to plant lucerne.

  _One of the arms through which the flood of the Dulce flows._
                                             Photograph by the Author.]

  _Irrigated lucerne fields on the left bank of the Rio Dulce. Zone
  of modern colonization: a contrast with the older farms of the
  flood-zone._                               Photograph by the Author.
  PLATE X.                                             To face p. 112.]

The history of forestry and colonization is one of the most diversified
chapters in the general economic history of modern Argentina. Round the
region of the Pampas, the first point where agricultural colonization
came into touch with the forest belt is the district of the older
colonies of Santa Fé. There it found the forestry industry already
long established, on the banks both of the Salado and of the Paraná.
The export of timber and charcoal to Buenos Aires and the lime-kilns
of Entre Rios was at this time one of the few elements of economic
life which Santa Fé had preserved. The colonists did not enter the
forest, and did not mingle with the charcoal-burners, but they
profited indirectly from their presence by selling them maize. Later,
agricultural work spread over the Central Pampa and the province of
Córdoba, as far as the edge of the scrub in all parts of the prairie.
Wood-cutting is carried on there, on a small scale, everywhere, at Toay
as well as at Villa Mercedes and Villa Maria. The price of the wood he
sells is a small supplementary income to the farmer, and clearing the
soil helps to fill up his time during the dead season for agriculture.
The lands covered with brushwood remained for a long time at a lower
price than cleared land. They thus formed a sort of reserve which
partly escaped the speculations in land, and on which small owners
can find a footing more easily than on the Pampa. There is to-day a
movement of Santa Fecinos eastward and southward in the belt of scrub
to the south of Mar Chiquita along the line from Lehmann to Dean Funes.

The forest area of the Chaco, in northern Argentina, between the Andes
and the Paraná, seems on the other hand to be intended for pastoral
colonization. In point of fact, the forest of the Chaco, as well as the
lighter scrub which is its southern extension, can be used for breeding
without preliminary labour. The Indians have fed cattle and horses on
it since the seventeenth century. The herds find food on every side,
both in the very numerous clearings (_abras_) which cross the forest
and in the forest itself, where the underwood and the herbaceous
carpet grow fairly thick beneath the scanty foliage of the mimosas and

Over a good deal of the western Chaco pastoral colonization is earlier
than the forestry. In the district of Santiago del Estero the farmers
had advanced far beyond the wood-cutter and the railway; beyond the
Salado, almost as far as the existing line from Añatuya to Tintina,
where there are sheets and wells of fresh water. The old ranches go
as far as Alhuampa. The old pastoral population has taken very little
part in the forestry industry. It has been content to profit by it by
renting the scrub to the _obrajes_. It was a sheer gift to them, as
the felling of a few trees does not in the least lower the value of the
pasture. The forestry has not entailed any change in the ownership of
the land or in the breeding methods. The _obrajes_ are merely passing
guests whose traces are quickly obliterated.

In the eastern Chaco, however, the wood-cutters are real pioneers. It
is they who have made the conquest of the forest, often in direct touch
with the Indians, and the ownership of the land fell to them. They
have themselves played an essential part in the actual development of

Leaving the river and travelling toward the forest on the west, one
first crosses a narrow belt of estates which form an almost unbroken
line from San Javier to Resistencia. These are old colonies, mostly
founded about 1870, at the same time as the first colonies in the
centre of Santa Fé. They had the advantage of being within reach of the
river-route, the network of railways that serves the colonies of Santa
Fé not being constructed until after 1880. They have not shown the same
capacity for extension as the colonies on the prairie, but they are
firmly rooted, on high and well-drained land, very different from the
clays of the Chaco, where the alluvial beds of the Paraná alternate
with stuff that seems to come from the left bank. They grow flax,
earth-nuts, sugar cane, and cotton. Behind this slight agricultural
façade are the large estates of the factories. In the division of the
land the industrial firms sought the districts which were richest
in _quebracho_. Buyers of land who had no industrial plans--foreign
capitalists and Porteños--and who obtained large concessions in
little-known regions, sold back to the factories the plots where there
was plenty of wood, after they had taken stock of their property. They
converted the remainder into _estancias_ (ranches). The district to
the north of the Central Norte Railway, from San Cristobal to Tostado,
where the forest, which will presently yield to the plain, breaks
into patches and looks like a park, includes a number of these modern
_estancias_, in which lucerne is beginning to replace the grasses of
the natural vegetation.

  _Eastern Chaco, on the Resistencia line (Santa Fé province). Here the
  quebracho is exploited for tannic acid, not sleepers_.
                                             Photographs by the Author.
  PLATE XI.                                            To face p. 116.]

When one passes to the interior, the pastoral industry at once assumes
a more primitive character. The _quebracho_ concerns themselves go in
for breeding, in order to make use of their large estates, when the
timber has been removed but the works have not yet been set up. They
need a large number of cattle, both for moving the timber and feeding
their workers, and they endeavour to meet their needs themselves. In
this district the forest is capable of feeding a far heavier herd than
is the more arid scrub of the eastern Chaco. There are often a thousand
head of cattle to 2,500 hectares. To the north and west of that part
of the forest where the big companies have taken over the whole of the
land, in the province of Chaco, a fairly large number of estates has
been created. Further still, on either side of the Bermejo, cattle
from Corrientes and the Paraguay have been put on the public lands
by men with no rights. As their future is uncertain, they cannot do
any expensive work, such as making wells, reservoirs, and enclosures.
Sometimes they are compelled by drought to fall back upon the river.

Conditions are quite different in the forests of Misiones. The damp
forest of Misiones does not lend itself to breeding. While the
forest-workers on the west of the Paraná eat fresh meat, thanks to the
proximity of the breeders, in the _yerbales_ and _obrajes_ of Misiones,
the use of dried or "jerked" meat (_carne seca_), which is brought
some distance, has remained the common practice, as it is in most
parts of tropical America. On the other hand, there is now developing
in Misiones an agricultural colonization of an original kind, quite
distinct from the ordinary Argentinian type. This is because Misiones
is a province apart in Argentina. It really belongs, by its geological
structure and its climate, to the Brazilian tableland. The colonies
in Misiones are merely an extension into Argentine territory of the
great belt of colonies of southern Brazil, which stretches from the
neighbourhood of Santa Catalina and the Rio Grande do Sul to the River
Paraguay. The Brazilian type of colonization is based upon work with
the hoe, in clearings that have been made in the forest by the axe and
by fire. Ordinary farming would be impracticable between the large
stumps which the clearers have to leave in the ground, to rot there
slowly. It would, moreover, be useless, as the land, though rich in
humus, is light and aërated. The red soil, a decomposition-product
of the diabases which are at the root of all agricultural wealth
in southern Brazil, covers a great part of Misiones. The economic
inferiority of this agricultural colonization in the forest to the
Pampean type which has conquered the grassy plains of the Rio de la
Plata, is twofold. On the one hand, the surface that a man can develop
is very small. The plots of the Brazilian colonies are ten times
smaller than the average estate on the Pampa. On the other hand, it is
difficult to get about in the forest, and this hinders the export of
the produce.

The colonies in Misiones are still confined to the edge of the
great forest, into which they will advance as the agricultural
population grows. They form two groups: one on the river above Posadas
(Candelaria, Bonpland, Corpus, San Ignacio, and Santa Ana), the other
on the slopes of the hills, above the line from Posadas to Uruguay (San
José and Apostoles). Foodstuffs, tobacco, fowl and eggs, which they
now send by rail as far as Buenos Aires, are their chief resources.
As it is possible for them to reach the big markets of the Pampas,
by river or rail, they have a certain advantage over the Brazilian
colonies. On the other hand, the various elements of their population
are inferior. They are very mixed, comprising aboriginals--relics of
the ancient Indian or half-breed population of Misiones who have got
land but are in no hurry to cultivate it--Poles (grouped in a few
villages, such as Apostoles and San José), and German-Brazilians from
the left bank of the Uruguay. At the present time there is a constant
stream of German-Brazilians through the province of Misiones, to embark
at Posadas, sail up the Paraná, and settle, further north, in Matto
Grosso. No doubt it would be possible to induce part of them to settle
on Argentinian territory by offering them suitable land.

These peasant clearers of the land rarely find means to sell their
timber. The tropical forest has an immense variety of species, but only
a few of these are of value. The _obrajero_ does not cut down the whole
forest; he chooses his victims. In the waste land of the colonist it is
by no means possible to utilize everything. Even in the area where the
forestry industry flourishes, trunks with no faults, felled in order to
make room for farming, are pitilessly burned and destroyed.

Yet the indirect advantages of the forestry to agriculture are
numerous. Just as in the whole of southern Brazil, it affords a good
market for agricultural produce. The crops from the colonies are stored
in the shops at Posadas, and from there they go to the _obrajes_ and
_yerbales_. In addition, the industry finds work for more men. On
the Rio Grande do Sul, and later on the Paraná, the wages paid for
collecting _maté_ have long been the surest resource of the colonies,
and it is this that enabled them to subsist during the difficulties
of their early period. In Misiones the attraction of the _yerbales_
is not so strongly felt by the inhabitants. There are comparatively
few colonists who are willing to leave their plots and hire themselves
for distant work. The _yerbales_ find their recruits, not amongst
the immigrants from Europe, but amongst the ancient _pobladores_;
that is to say, men who hold land without a title, whose position was
recognized when the colony was formed--a floating population, not
deeply rooted in the soil.

Agricultural colonization in turn will react upon the forestry industry
in developing the cultivation of _maté_. Large plantations of _ilex_
have already been established above Posadas. Already they enter
the common life. They are scattered either over the estates of the
national colonies or over the larger estates of the richer colonists;
for planting demands a considerable expenditure. Some of them belong
to dealers who also work natural _yerbales_ elsewhere. They are, if
possible, set up in the forest, or at least on the fringe of it,
in order to have a good supply of wood to dry the leaves. Thus the
primitive industry of collecting _maté_ is undergoing transformation
while the natural growths are disappearing.



     The arid tableland and the region of glacial lakes--The
     first settlements on the Patagonian coast and the indigenous
     population--Extensive breeding--The use of pasture on the
     lands of the Rio Negro--Transhumation.

The northern limit of the Patagonian region passes to the north of the
Colorado, in the latitude of the Cerro Payen and of the ridge which
leads from Malarüe to the Rio Grande in the sub-Andean zone (36° S.
lat)., and to the Sierra de Lihuel Calel in the southern part of the
Pampa province. South of this line, from the Andes to the Atlantic,
on the territory of the Neuquen, the Rio Negro, the Chubut, and the
Santa Cruz, is the region of the sheep farms, their refuge since more
profitable branches of farming have driven the sheep from the Pampa.
The extensive breeding practised on these poor lands is not profitable
enough to justify much expenditure, and is therefore all the more
controlled by the physical conditions. It is true that cattle-breeding
was once undertaken in the Spanish settlements of the lower Negro, and
still exists in western Patagonia at the foot of the Andes, but one
never finds there the particular combination of cattle-breeding and
sheep-breeding which is characteristic of the Pampean region, in which
the main function of the cattle is to improve the pasture and make it
ready for sheep.

The climate is trying. The west winds are violent during the greater
part of the year, especially on the coast, and merely relax a little
in the winter. The mean temperature on the Atlantic coast falls nearly
one degree for each degree of latitude (14.6° at San Antonio, below 41°
S. lat.; 8.5° at Santa Cruz, below 50° S. lat.; and 5.3° at Ushuaia,
below 55° S. lat.). The summer temperature falls even more steeply,
but the difference is less notable in winter (21.4° at San Antonio,
14° at Santa Cruz, and 9.2° at Ushuaia). The low summer temperature
does not allow cereals to ripen south of the Chubut. In the sub-Andean
valleys the summer is comparatively warm (16° in January at Diez y
seis de Octubre at a height of 1,800 feet), but there is severe frost,
especially at the beginning of the winter, and no month of the year is
quite free from it.

Rain is plentiful in the Cordillera, and on its western border: 800
millimetres at Junin, nearly two metres at San Martin (which the wet
westerly winds reach by the gap of Lake Lacar), and nearly a metre at
Bariloche, on Lake Nahuel Huapi. It diminishes rapidly, however, as
soon as one leaves the mountainous region and goes further east over
the tableland. The whole tableland has a rainfall of less than 200
millimetres (Las Lajas 180, Limay 150, San Antonio 180, Santa Cruz
135). It is only south of the Rio de Santa Cruz that the rainfall rises
once more (Gallegos 400 millimetres, Ushuaia 500 millimetres). Hence
Patagonia as a whole is, with the exception of a narrow belt at the
foot of the Andes, a semi-arid region with a sub-desert climate. In the
Patagonian Andes the rain falls, as on the coast of Chile, mainly in
winter. Between Mendoza, which has the summer-rain feature of central
and tropical Argentina, and Chosmalal, in the Neuquen Andes, the
contrast is absolute. The summer months there (January and February)
are dry, and the rain is confined to the winter months, from May to
August. It is the same further south, at Bariloche and at Diez y seis
de Octubre. On the Atlantic coast the winter-rain feature is less
regular and uniform. At San Antonio the heaviest rains fall in autumn
(April and May). There is a secondary maximum in August, and a few more
showers in the spring (September and October). South of San Antonio the
winter maximum, which is always marked, is cut by a short dry period
(July and August at Camerones, June at Deseado and Santa Cruz).[50]
In the interior, on the other hand, the winter-rain system remains
unchanged. The predominance of the precipitations of the cold season is
of great importance to the breeders. As a rule, they come down in the
form of snow, which melts slowly, and the small quantity of moisture is
at least all absorbed in the soil. South of the Santa Cruz the humidity
increases, but the rainy season alters. At Gallegos the wettest month
is December; at Ushuaia, the rains last from September to March. The
snow-season (May-August) is the dry season, and the snowfalls are not
heavy enough to interfere with breeding.

     [50] This anomaly is doubtless due to the proximity of the sea
     and the respite of the westerly winds in winter. The coast,
     with its cold waters and the land-winds causing the deeper
     water to rise, has a special climate of fogs and mists. These,
     which remind us of the _garuas_ of the coast of Peru, do not
     penetrate into the interior.

The surface of the Patagonian tableland is very uneven, though it bears
traces of having been much worn by the agencies of its desert climate,
which seems to have lasted through the whole Tertiary Era. Going up
the Rio Negro, one sees the grey sandstones and Tertiary tufas which
form the cliffs, on both sides of the lower valley. They give place
higher up to the variegated marls and red sandstones of the Cretaceous
which form the tableland at the foot of the first Andean chains. The
core of ancient granites and porphyries crops up at places from under
the mantle of Cretaceous and Tertiary sandstones. The horizon of the
peneplain passes from the Tertiary and Cretaceous tableland to level
masses of crystalline rock, the contour of which has been almost
entirely effaced. Volcanic eruptions have occurred until quite recent
times, and so eruptive areas are the salient features of the tableland,
at Añecon and at Somuncurra, south of the district of the Rio Negro,
in the ridge on the left bank of the middle Senguerr, in the Chubut
province. The basalts have spread out in sheets, the surface of which
seems to have cooled not long ago. Basalt flows are found as far as
northern Patagonia, south of Valcheta and Maquinchao; but their chief
seat is in eastern Patagonia. They cover the inhospitable tablelands to
the east of Lakes Buenos Aires and Pueyrredon. The Rio Chico and the
Santa Cruz cross them for the upper two-thirds of their course, South
of Coile and Gallegos they spread almost to the coast, and the Tertiary
Pampas in this part are dominated by an archipelago of small volcanic

The tableland is crossed from west to east by deep and broad valleys,
enclosed between high cliffs, often strangled by ridges of basaltic or
crystalline rock, and very little ramified. The ravines (_cañadones_),
which make breaches in their cliffs on both sides, go only a little way
into the sandstone Pampa or the lava tableland. Only a certain number
of these valleys are occupied by important rivers (the Rio Negro and
the Santa Cruz, for instance) which are born in the Andes, but receive
little addition from the light rains of eastern Patagonia. Most of
the valleys have only intermittent streams (Sheuen, Coile) or are
altogether dry and sown with salt lakes (Deseado). The west wind is now
the ruler of this network of fossil valleys. It carves their slopes,
and brings into them sand, with which it makes dunes.

We must not confuse with these dead valleys the long depressions, with
no outlet, which are scattered over the granite and sandstone tableland
(_bajos_, _valles_, _cuencas_). Some have obstinately, but wrongly,
sought in these the traces of rivers that have disappeared; and the
_bajos_ of Gualicho and Valcheta have wrongly been regarded as the
former bed of the Rio Negro and the Limay. Erosion by wind seems to
have had something to do with these depressions. Their persistence, at
all events, is one of the effects of the aridity which prevents normal
erosion from moulding the surface of the tableland. The chief of them
are centres for collecting running water. There is a group of valleys
all round them, and alluvial beds accumulate in them.

The climate determines the character of the soil in Patagonia. The
rounded pebbles of granite and eruptive rock, so often described since
the time of Darwin, sometimes free and sometimes embedded in red sand
or limestone,[51] are spread over the tableland like aureoles round
the masses of rock, and they are particularly abundant in the coast
region. On the Rio Negro they seem to be confined to the vicinity of
the valley; they disappear as one goes away from it. The progressive
reduction in the volume of the Rio Negro gravels, as one goes downward,
has been observed to begin in the Andean zone, and it is from the
Andes that they come. South of Santa Cruz, in a moister climate, in
which the circulation of the water is less localized, the bed is more
continuous, and it covers the Tertiary sandstones and clays. It is
of fluvio-glacial origin, and comes from the destruction of the old
moraines, before the excavation of the actual valleys. But it is the
wind that explains the concentration of the gravel at the surface.
It separates the pebbles from the more mobile material about them.
Wherever the outcrop-strata contain pebbles, the wind eventually
converts the place into a field of shingle. It has done this with the
terraces of the Limay. The Tertiary marine deposits of the coast region
also are rich in pebbles torn from the rocky promontories of the shore;
hence the extent of stony soils in the coast region. The wind similarly
strips naked the angular stones, of local origin and incompletely worn,
round the isolated rocks of the desert tableland or on the flanks of
the secondary ravines.

     [51] The calcareous flag-stone of La Tosca, which is
     characteristic of the south-west province of the plain of
     the Pampa, stretches in the south as far as the Rio Negro in
     the coast-district. On the other hand, it is almost entirely
     absent a hundred miles to the west, between the Colorado and
     the Rio Negro, along the line of the railway from Fortin Uno
     to Choele Choel.

On the other hand, the bedding action of the wind creates deposits
consisting of small and uniform elements from the sands of the dunes to
the finest dust. The lightest particles, caught up repeatedly by the
squalls and carried to a great height in the atmosphere, go beyond the
Patagonian region and reach the bottom of the Atlantic or the plain of
the Pampa. Some of this, however, is deposited in the depressions of
the tableland, where the moisture fixes it and prevents the wind from
regaining it. These æolian deposits in the depressions, a dark-grey
clay, which hardens when it is dry, but is softened by water, form two
entirely different kinds of soil. If the depression is closed in, or if
the circulation of the water is too slight, there is a concentration of
the mineral salts; this is the _salitral_, either naked or sustaining
a halophytic vegetation, which the saline efflorescences cover with a
white coat during the dry season. If on the other hand, the underground
waters have a free course, the æolian clay forms the _mallin_. Bushes
and fine grasses grow on it, and, as they decay, gradually give it a
darker shade and modify its composition. The soil above the _mallin_
is rich in organic elements. It covers the bottom of the valleys
between low terraces, covered with faceted pebbles, and dominated by
the vertical cliffs of tufa and lava. The contrast between the verdure
of the _mallin_ and the arid, dusty, yellow steppe of the tableland
is one of the most characteristic features of Patagonian scenery. The
area in which _mallin_ has been formed coincides with the most humid
districts in the vicinity of the Andes and round the higher hills. On
the road that runs along the right bank of the Limay, at some distance
from the river, on the surface of the tableland, the limit between the
country of the _salitrales_ and that of the _mallinas_ passes between
Tricaco and Chasico, a hundred miles south-east of Neuquen; it almost
tallies with the curve of a 200 millimetres rainfall.[52] Though the
word _mallin_ is not used at Santa Cruz, similar æolian soils are found
in the western part of the tableland up to this latitude. Further south
glacial deposits, clays with moraine-blocks, fill the valleys, and from
Gallegos onward, cover the greater part of the tableland.

     [52] G. Rovereto, "Studi di geomorfologia argentina: la valle
     del Rio Negro," _Bull. Soc. Geol. Ital._, xxxi. 1912, pp.
     101-142 and 181-237.

On the eruptive flows of recent date the rock is naked. The wind
carries away the products of its decomposition, and the dust
accumulates only in the fissures. Traffic is difficult, sometimes

       *       *       *       *       *

Toward the west the tableland is separated from the Cordillera by
a longitudinal depression, though the continuity of this has been
exaggerated. This depression, which outlines the contact between
the folded zone of the Andes and the flat zone of the tableland, is
very important from the point of view of colonization. Just at the
frontier of the steppe and the forest, it is the most hospitable part
of Patagonia, the richest in natural resources. Amidst the glacial
lacustrine deposits which are accumulated on it there rise masses of
different kinds of rock which break it up into compartments, granitic
ridges of laccolites exposed to view, eruptive structures that have
been dismantled. In the south the sub-Andean depression forms a broad
passage between Lake Maravilla and Puntá Arenas, about two hundred
miles long, enclosed between the basalt cliffs of the tableland on the
east and the mountains of the Brunswick Peninsula and William IV Land.
The bottom of it is a singular glacial landscape, sown with lagoons,
punctuated by scattered hills, with an impermeable soil of drift and
mud. From Lake Argentina to Lake Buenos Aires the elevated tablelands,
which rise to a height of 5,000 feet, back upon the Cordillera, and the
sub-Andean depression is interrupted. Similarly, between Lake Buenos
Aires and Lake General Paz the contour of the Patagonian tableland is
not very marked above the sub-Andean zone. The glacial alluvia at the
foot of the Cordillera rise to the level of the tableland, which sinks
steadily eastward toward the Genua and the Senguerr. To the north,
between Carrenleufu and Lake Nahuel Huapi, the retreat of the lakes has
left long narrow beds right in the Cordillera, such as the Valle Nuevo
del Bolson, the bed of which has been taken over by the Futaleufu west
of the Cerro Situación. Further east the topographical features of the
edge of the tableland (the valleys of the Chubut, Tecka, and Norquineo)
lie from north to south. Hence within a space of little more than a
hundred kilometres the sub-Andean zone has a series of parallel roads,
communicating with each other by means of broad, transverse gaps, which
at one time were occupied by the lower lobes of the glaciers. The
sub-Andean depression does not go north of Lake Nahuel Huapi.

The morphological features of the Patagonian Andes begin at 36° S.
lat.[53] The edge of the Cordillera, in the Malargüe depression, below
35° S. lat., still presents the typical scenery of the central Andes.
The dejection-cone of the Atuel resembles that of the Mendoza. The
fringe of torrential deposits, distributed in cones over which the
waters spread, is due to the rapidity of the disintegration of the
rocks in a desert climate. Keidel has pointed out the part played by
the summer rains in transporting mobile elements, which the water
drops as soon as the slope diminishes; the amount of precipitation
being too slight to permit the formation and spread over the plain of
a regular network of streams. From the Rio Grande onward the dejection
cones disappear. The streams tend to become permanent, and sink into
narrow valleys. The summer rains cease, and the water produced by the
melting of the snows has only a feeble capacity for transporting stuff.
The soil of the Cordillera is protected by a denser vegetation. The
first thickets of _molle_ appear in the valleys, the first scattered
cypresses on the slopes, at the Rio Agrio, a tributary of the Neuquen.
Then the forest invades the mountain: at first, from 38° S. lat. to
39° 30' S. lat., a resinous forest of araucarias. At length, at Lake
Nahuel Huapi, the forest assumes the general appearance which it has as
far as the Magellan region. It is chiefly made up of different kinds
of beeches. The _coihue_ (_Notofagus dombeyi_) is the most conspicuous
for about three quarters of a mile, rising above an impenetrable
undergrowth of bamboo. Higher up the domain of the _lenga_ (_Notofagus
pumilio_) extends as far as the fringe of the Alpine forests.
The forest does not reach the eastern limit of the lakes. In the
sub-Andean depression it is reduced to thickets of _ñirre_ (_Notofagus
antarctica_) and _mayten_ and clumps of _calafate_ (something like

     [53] The great mass of the Patagonian Andes differs
     considerably in geological structure from the Argentinian
     Andes. The Paleozoic sedimentary rocks and the lofty chains
     of the pre-Cordillera cease at 36° S. lat. The Mesozoic
     beds--variegated breccie and porphyritic conglomerates,
     sandstones, limestones, and marls--which form the western
     slope of the Andes in central Chile, pass to the eastern slope
     at 35° S. lat., where they develop in regular folds, in the
     direction south-south-east, obliquely to the general line of
     the range. These folds account for the orientation of the
     interior valleys, which is remarkably uniform from the Rio
     Negro to the Collon Cura. They pass in the south-west under
     the sandstones of the tableland. West of this sedimentary
     zone, the zone of the sub-Andean granites and diorites, which
     have not been exposed further north except at the base of the
     western slope, opens out in the Patagonian Andes, of which it
     is the main body between Lake Lacar and the Gulf of Ultima
     Esperanza. In fine, the Patagonian Andes are characterised by
     volcanic formations. They are seen on the eastern slope about
     36° S. lat., in the lava-flows and ashes of Payen and Tromen.
     Further south volcanoes with acid lava and characteristic
     cones are restricted to the central zone (Lanin, etc.) and the
     Chilean flank, but flows of fluid basic lava cover enormous
     stretches at the eastern fringe of the Andes, and they have
     spread over a good deal of the Patagonian tableland outside
     the Andean region.

It is on the Alumine, about 39° S. lat., that we find traces of glacial
erosion, as they spread over the landscape. At present there is no ice
on the mountain except on the peaks of Lanin and Tronador, but from
the Rio Puelo onward (42° S. lat.), glaciers clothe all the summits
which rise above 6,500 feet. North of the Aisen they form a narrow,
but almost continuous, line. From the Aisen to the Calen fiord, and
beyond the gap of the fiord as far as 52° S. lat., the ice spreads in
a considerable sheet which in some places attains a breadth of eighty
miles. The tongues of the glaciers reach the Pacific below 46° S. lat.,
and Lake San Martin on the Argentine slope below 49° S. lat. In Tierra
del Fuego the snow-line is at 2,300 feet, and the glaciers which the
snows feed, reach as far as the fiords and Lake Fagnano.

Lake Carri Lauquen, on the Barrancas (36° 20' S. lat.), which was
almost entirely drained in 1914 through the breaking down of the
natural dam of soft earth which confined its waters, is not a glacial
lake.[54] The chain of glacial lakes stretches from the Alumine to the
Seno de la Ultima Esperanza, and is continued southward by Skyring
Water, Otway Water, and Useless Bay--genuine lakes in communication
with the Pacific by means of narrow channels. The lakes sometimes lie
in a narrow and deep glacial valley, the bottom of which they fill;
sometimes they branch out into the neighbouring valleys; at other times
they advance eastward beyond the zone of the mountains and spread into
round basins surrounded by circles of moraines. The largest of them
include groups of ramified fiords, which represent their western half,
while the eastern half spreads between lower banks.[55]

     [54] Pablo Groeber, _Informe sobra las causas que han
     producido las crecientes del Rio Colarado en_ 1914. Dir. Gen.
     de Minas, Geol. e Hidrol., Bol. No. 11, series B, Geologia
     (Buenos Aires, 1916).

     [55] Most of the lacustrine depressions are continued eastward
     across the Patagonian tableland in the shape of distinct
     valleys. The eastern part of the Straits of Magellan is merely
     a submerged valley on the axis of Otway Water. Useless Bay
     also is continued eastward by the hollow which ends in the
     Bay of San Sebastian. Sometimes the waters of the lakes flow
     eastward, toward the Atlantic, along these valleys. Generally,
     however, the lakes of the western slope are drained on the
     west by means of narrow defiles across the Cordillera, or on
     the north and south by rivers which follow the sub-Andean
     depression and thread them together in the manner of a rosary.
     The valley which joins the lake to the Atlantic is in those
     cases a dead valley, and the inter-oceanic dividing line
     of the waters is marked by the frontal moraine of the old
     glacier, which confines the lake on the east. This arrangement
     is found, with surprising regularity, from the Alumine and
     the Lacar to the Neuquen, and as far as Lake Buenos Aires and
     the Seno de la Ultima Esperanza at Santa Cruz. The capture
     of the waters of the eastern slope by the rivers of the
     Pacific across the Cordillera is fairly ancient, and certainly
     pre-glacial. But during the Glacial Period the glaciers
     obstructed the transverse valleys of the Cordillera, and the
     waters of the eastern slope found their way to the Atlantic
     once more. With the retreat of the glaciers the valleys of the
     Cordillera were successively cleared. The lakes, dammed by the
     glaciers, were suddenly released and their level lowered. The
     valleys of the Patagonian tableland were finally abandoned,
     and the topographical accident of secondary importance, which
     the ancient frontal moraine of the glacier represents, came to
     mark the limit of the domain of the Pacific. The freshness of
     the contours of the dead valleys of Patagonia bears witness
     to the recent date of this conquest, which was too sudden
     or rapid to be called a "capture" in the proper sense. It
     has not been accomplished everywhere. From Lake San Martin
     to Lake Buenos Aires all the lakes of the eastern slope are
     drained into the Pacific by rivers which flow into the Culen
     fiord. But further south, Lakes Viedma and Argentino are still
     tributaries of the Atlantic. They correspond to the zone of
     the Patagonian Andes which is still covered by inland ice. To
     the north, in the basin of the Puelo and the Yelcho, where the
     trans-Andean valleys long ago ceased to be obstructed by ice,
     the lakes of the eastern slope which drain toward the Pacific
     are small in size. Their level to-day is much lower than it
     used to be, and a network of streams has developed east of
     them, on the earlier lacustrine region, which is now dry.

  _On the Central (or Santiago) Chaco mules are used for transport._
                                             Photograph by the Author.]

  _These works, built by powerful firms, are permanent centres, drawing
  timber from a great stretch of forest, while the saw-mills of the
  Central Chaco move about freely, to be near the felling sites._
                                              Photograph by the Author.
  PLATE XII.                                           To face p. 128.]

Pastoral colonization has now spread over almost the entire surface
of Patagonia. The parts that are not yet occupied are of slight
extent; they consist only of the most desolate regions in the south
of the Rio Negro district and north of Santa Cruz. The expansion of
white colonization began only about 1880. Until then the interior was
abandoned to the indigenous tribes and was almost entirely unknown. The
Atlantic coast alone had been explored. The travels of Villarino along
the Rio Negro and the Limay as far as Lake Nahuel Huapi had left only
a faded memory.[56] North of the Rio Negro, Woodbine Parish (1859),
making use of the notes left by Cruz, who had crossed the Andes and the
Indian territory between Antuco and Melincue in 1806, was the first to
publish definite information, to which no addition would be made during
the next forty years.[57]

     [56] _Diario de D. Basilio Villarino del reconocimiento que
     hizo del Rio Negro en el año de_ 1782 (Coll. de Angelis, vi).

     [57] It is Woodbine Parish who corrects Villarino's mistake in
     confusing the Neuquen, at its confluence with the Limay, with
     the Rio Diamante, known in the south of the Mendoza province.

The settlements founded on the coast by the Spaniards at the close of
the eighteenth century (S. José and P. Deseado) were ephemeral. Only
one of them maintained an obscure existence, Carmen de Patagones, some
miles above the mouth of the Rio Negro. One of its chief resources
was the export of salt. Expeditions for this purpose began on the
Patagonian coast about the middle of the eighteenth century (_Journey
from San Martin to Puerto San Julian about_ 1753, Coll. de Angelis,
V). After the revolution, Buenos Aires finally abandoned these costly
expeditions by land to the salt districts of the Pampa, and was
supplied with salt by schooners from Carmen. During the war with Brazil
and the blockade of the Rio de la Plata, Carmen, protected by the bar
of the Rio Negro, and the Bay of San Blas were the harbours in which
Argentine, English and French privateers concealed their prizes and did
their repairs after the storms of the Gulf of Santa Catarina. D'Orbigny
visited Carmen during this period of equivocal prosperity. One of the
most curious effects of the hospitality offered to the privateers
was the unloading upon the Patagonian coast of blacks, intended for
Brazil, who were taken from the slave-traders. Thus an unforeseen eddy
brought to the south of the Pampean region part of the current of
the slave-trade intended for the sugar-cane plantations in tropical
America. A number of the Carmen ranches had coloured workers at this

Breeding, in fact, was just beginning to spread in the neighbourhood
of Carmen at the time. The cattle had been brought by land from Buenos
Aires, and had multiplied along the coast and the river above Carmen.
South of Carmen, at San José, the cattle had run wild after the fort
was abandoned. The Carmen herds were estimated, before the revolution,
at 40,000 head. They disappeared during the revolutionary period,
but were reconstituted immediately afterwards, and even during the
war with Brazil there was an active export of hides and salt beef.
Carmen profited mainly by trade with the Indians. It lived in terror
of them, and had garrisons to give the alarm on the routes by which
they could approach. But this state of chronic warfare did not prevent
trade. Near Carmen there was a group of peaceful Indians who served as
intermediaries with the tribes of the interior, who were jealous and
hostile. Guides and interpreters were found in this colony, and through
it came the first news of the interior. The traffic with the Indians
continued for a long time to be of great use to the colonists. In 1865
the Welsh colony established on the Chubut, which had many difficulties
at first, was saved from complete disaster by its trade with the

The indigenous population comprised two groups: the Tehuelches,
or Patagonians proper, men of tall stature, and the Araucans,
the Ranqueles, the Pehuenches and the Pampas. There was no fixed
geographical limit between them. The Tehuelches lived in southern
Patagonia; but the Araucans advanced eastward as far as the Pampas
region and southward beyond the Chubut. The Indian population of the
valley of the Genua and the Sanguerr, south of the colony of San
Martin, comprised in 1880,[58] and still comprises,[59] a mixture of
Araucans and Tehuelches. The Araucans were acquainted with agriculture,
but, once they had tamed the horse, they became mainly a pastoral and
hunting people, like the Tehuelches.

     [58] Carlos M. Moyano, "Informe sobre un viaje a traves de la
     Patagonia," _Bol. Instit. Geog. Argent._, ii. 1881, pp. 1-35.

     [59] W. Vallentin, _Chubut_ (Berlin, 1906).

In so far as they were hunters, the Indians of Patagonia were nomadic.
The taming of the horse only made it easier for them to shift from
place to place, and gave them a greater range. Their nomadism has too
often been regarded as an aimless wandering. They had laws, settled by
the physical conditions; and we can gather a few of these. They kept
away from the coastal districts except in winter; that is the season
when the rains provide water-courses there. It has been observed that
names of Indian origin are lacking on the coast of Patagonia. The
Spanish navigators who landed there during the summer found the country
deserted and the camps abandoned. On the other hand, the share of the
Indians in giving names is very considerable in the interior, as far
as the foot of the Andes. During the summer the Indians approached the
mountains, where they found good hunting grounds. In particular they
chased the young guanacos in the breeding season, December and January.
Popper has indicated similar migrations amongst the Onas of Patagonia;
they approach the coast in winter, and leave it in summer, to hunt in
the interior.[60] The district of Lake Nahuel Huapi and Collon Cura
had some attraction from afar. The forest of araucarias produced seeds
(_pinones_) which the Indians went to gather; and they also liked the
wild apples which ripened on the former estates of the old Jesuit
missions. The clusters of bamboo on the Cordillera provided the lances
of the Aucas and Tehuelches.

     [60] J. Popper, "Exploracion de la Tierra del Fuego," _Bol.
     Instit. Geog. Argent._, viii. 1887, pp. 74-93.

Lake Nahuel Huapi is the first stage of the busiest of the routes used
by the Indians. It came from the lower Santa Cruz, went up the Rio
Chico, and from there northward followed the foot of the Cordillera.
D'Orbigny was told about it: "All the Indians who live near the Andes
go along the eastern foot of the mountains in their journeys, because
they find water there, whereas they would find none if they went by the
coast; in that way they travel from the Straits of Magellan to the Rio
Negro." The Indian track only left the sub-Andean depression between
the Rio Chico and Lake Buenos Aires, in the district where the high
basalt _mesetias_ extend as far as the Cordillera, and on the Pampa of
the Sanguerr.

From Lake Nahuel Huapi the Indians of the south descended the Limay
and the Rio Negro, and reached the island of Choele Choel, some 230
miles above Carmen, where they met the Aucas and Puelches. There they
exchanged their _guanacos_ hides for woollen fabrics made by the Aucas.
Choele Choel was the only large, purely indigenous market; the whites
never visited it. Geographical reasons fixed the site of this market of
the nomads. In the latitude of Choele Choel the Rio Negro approaches
the Colorado and the archipelago of the Sierras of the southern Pampa,
which mark so many stages on the routes from the Pampa to the Andes.
To the south the coast-route, less exposed to snow than the sub-Andean
track, began from Choele Choel. The Indians followed this to reach
the Gulf of San Jorge and the Santa Cruz in winter, during the rainy
season. Darwin notes the importance of the site and the ford of Choele
Choel. Villarino had suspected it, and had, as early as 1782, pleaded
for the building of a fort there. By holding this point, he said,
they could prevent the tribes from attacking Buenos Aires, or from
approaching the Patagonian coast in the district of San José.[61]

     [61] _Informe de D. Basilio Villarino à Fr. de Viedma_, Coll.
     de Angelis, v.

As far back as we can go, the life of the Indians seems to have been
deeply influenced by their relations with the whites. The Aucas brought
to Choele Choel, not only the products of their industry, but also
objects stolen or bought from the Christians on the Pampa. The report
of Musters, who followed a Tehuelche tribe from Santa Cruz to the
country of the Manzanas ("land of apples"), shows clearly that the
attraction of the Nahuel Huapi region for the Indians was less due to
its natural resources than to the presence of the Chilean settlements
at Valdivia, from which came across the passes of the Cordillera
certain quantities of brandy.

The Indian never took to cattle-breeding. His herd never consisted of
more than mares and a few sheep. But trade in stolen cattle quickly
became the chief occupation of the tribes. It would, however, be a
mistake to imagine that the thievish Indian was merely and always a
dreaded enemy of the ranches of Carmen. They sometimes had recourse to
his services and profited by his misdeeds. After the Revolution, it was
the Indians who helped to fill once more the ranches of the Rio Negro,
bringing runaway cattle which had remained in the San José district.
Later, Carmen bought the cattle stolen by the Indians at Buenos Aires.
From 1823 to 1826 the number of the cattle sold by the Indians to the
colonists on the Rio Negro is estimated at 40,000. Hence the breeders
of Carmen had, as regards the Indians, alternate periods of armed
conflict and complicity.

But Chile was always the great market for stolen cattle. Raids
(_malones_) and the crossing of the Cordillera by convoys began in the
eighteenth century, and continued throughout the nineteenth, until
1880, when the consolidation of Argentine authority on the eastern
side gave a more regular form to the cattle-trade. The convoys came to
a halt at Antuco and Chillan from which the Chilean buyers sometimes
accompanied the Indian tribes as far as the _tolderias_ on the edge of
the Pampa. The trade in stolen cattle made use of all the passes of the
Cordillera, from the Planchon pass below 35° S. lat., which Roca had
covered in 1877 by the fortress of Alamito, to the source of the Bio
Bio. The one most used was the Pichachen or the Antuco pass. On the
tableland the cattle-tracks formed a regular network with innumerable
strands, spreading over a width of about two hundred miles. The most
northern route started east of the Poitague district and, after fording
the Salado and the Atuel, and passing the _aguadas_ of Cochico and
Ranquilco, entered the Cordillera at the bend of the Rio Grande.
Another track ascended the Colorado and then reached the high valley of
Neuquen. A third crossed from the Colorado to the Rio Negro, and, above
the confluence of the Limay, to the Rio Agrio or the Alumine.

The first exact information about the range of the Patagonian Indians
is supplied by a group of bold travellers who followed their tracks
from 1870 to 1880: Musters, Moreno, Moyano, Ramon Lista, etc. Their
discoveries had already outlined the geographical survey of Patagonia
when the campaign of 1879-1883 opened it to colonization.

The story of white colonization since 1880 shows us several distinct
streams of population. The first, starting from the region of the
Pampa, went from north to south along the Atlantic coast, and gradually
extended its sphere toward the interior. The breeders used the
sea-route, the ancient Indian track with recognized sources of water,
to convey their first herds. In 1884, the only spot inhabited on the
coast between the Rio Negro and the Deseado was the Welsh colony on the
Chubut. In 1886 Fontana reports ranches in the Puntá Delfin district,
south of the Chubut.[62] About 1890 the whole district round the Gulf
of San Jorge was occupied; and a little later the stream from the north
met the stream from the south about San Julian and Santa Cruz. The
expansion of colonization was less rapid in the interior. Ambrosetti
tells us of the establishment of the first ranches round the Sierra de
Lihuel Calel in 1893,[63] and at the same time Siemiradzki still found
few traces of colonization on the Colorado.[64]

     [62] L. J. Fontana, "Exploracion en la Patagonia austral,"
     _Bol. Instit. Geog. Argent._, vii, 1886, pp. 223-239.

     [63] J. B. Ambrosetti, "Viage a la Pampa central," _Bol.
     Instit. Geog. Argent._, xiv. 1893, pp. 292-368.

     [64] J. V. Siemiradzki, _Eine Farschungsreise in Patagonien_,
     Petermann's _Mitteilungen_, xxxix. 1893, pp. 49-62.

The second stream of colonization came from the Magellan region. It
started in Chilean territory, about Puntá Arenas. It was about 1878
that sheep-breeding spread round Puntá Arenas, and between 1885 and
1892 was the most rapid growth of the ranches of the Magellan district.
North of the Straits they occupied the lowlands round Skyring Water
and Otway Water, then the plateau south of Gallegos. They spread
along the Atlantic as far as the Santa Cruz. In 1896 the limit of
the sheep-region was on the Santa Cruz about forty miles from the
coast.[65] To the west, Puerto Consuelo was founded in 1892, and in
1896 colonization came up against the mountain barrier which the Cerro
Payen and the basalt tableland of the Cerro Vizcachas interpose between
Lake Argentine and Ultima Esperanza fiord.

     [65] J. B. Hatcher, _Reports of the Princeton University
     expeditions to Patagonia_ 1896-9 (_Narrative of the
     Expeditions_ and _Geography of Southern Patagonia_, Princeton,

The spheres of primitive colonization in southern Patagonia on the
coast still differ from each other in regard to density of population.
But breeders in search of unoccupied land have not hesitated to push
beyond. In 1895 and 1900 they passed west of the Gulf of San Jorge
toward the basin of the Sanguerr and the Genua, (establishment of the
Sarmiento colony, south of Colhuapi, 1897: establishment of San Martin
on the Genua 1900). Since 1900 the population has also advanced up the
Santa Cruz and the Rio Chico as far as the zone of the Andes, and the
lagoon which still existed twenty years ago, between the district of
the Sanguerr and that of Lake Argentino, and is easily recognized on
the maps of the Frontier Commission, has been almost entirely filled up.

The story of colonization in the northern part of the Patagonian
Andes is more complicated. Immediately after the campaign of 1883 the
valleys of the Neuquen were invaded by Chilean immigrants, half-breeds
of the frontier, who cannot always be easily distinguished from pure
Araucans. A certain number of Chilotes, and even Germans from the
southern colonies of Chile, were mixed with the half-breeds. This
stream of immigration had begun before the conquest. As early as 1881
Host notices that there are at Chosmalal various families of Chilean
farmers who held their lands from the Indian _cacique_. During the
summer they took care of the migratory herds from the Chilean plain.
Once the country was pacified, they grew rapidly in number. It was they
who provided the manual labour for the placer miners of the Neuquen,
where gold began to be worked in 1890. The area of Chilean colonization
extends from the Rio Atuel, where Villanueva found Chilean immigrants
in 1884, to the south of Lake Nahuel Huapi, where Chileans were still
met by Vallentin in 1906, on the Rio Pico, close to 44° S. lat.[66]
South of Nahuel Huapi there is no regularly used route across the
Cordillera.[67] The Chilean colonists of the southern zone came from
the north, therefore, along the eastern foot of the Andes. Bailey
Willis calculated that there were 2,000 Chileans in a total population
of 3,500 in the sub-Andean area from Nahuel Huapi to Diez y seis de
Octubre. The total number of Chilean immigrants may be about 20,000. It
is not on the increase, as immigration from Chile was suspended from
1890 to 1895. Since the reconstruction of the frontier the Chilean
Government has tried to bring back part of the emigrants to its own
territory. Many have gone to settle in the valley of the Lonquimay. In
1896 Moreno saw traces everywhere in the valley of the Collon Cura of
the departure of Chilean colonists who had left the country.

     [66] C. Villanueva, "De Mendoza a Narguin," _Bol. Instit.
     Geog. Argent._, v. 1884, pp. 171-4.

     [67] Chilean woodcutters have sometimes got as far as the
     eastern valleys in search of larch, but these were nomads who
     did not settle.

At first it was only the Argentinians of the western provinces, San
Juan and Mendoza, who vied with the Chileans for the soil. It is they
whom Furque found in 1888 at Roca, on the Rio Negro. But beginning
with 1890-95, immigrants of various nationalities have settled on the
Neuquen and the Negro.[68] Foreign capitalists organized their first
ranches there. In 1888, on the other hand, the Welsh of the lower
Chubut, led by Indian guides, went from the coast to the sub-Andean
region, and settled in the valley of Diez y seis de Octubre. Between
1895 and 1900 the neighbouring valleys began to be inhabited, and
the colonization areas of Nahuel Huapi and the Sanguerr came into

     [68] Furque, "Descripción del Pueblo General Roca," _Bol.
     Instit. Geog. Argent._, ix. 1888, pp. 124-132.

     [69] In spite of their importance we must regard as mere
     episodes in the story of Patagonian colonization the influx
     of population caused on the eastern coast by the discovery
     of placer-gold at Cape Virgenes and on the Atlantic coast of
     Tierra del Fuego (1884), and the discovery of petroleum at
     Rivadavia (1907) in the course of drilling in search of water.
     Rivadavia is already, with its 3,000 inhabitants, one of the
     chief centres in Patagonia.

       *       *       *       *       *

The most striking feature of colonization in Patagonia is the very low
density of population. The Census of 1914 gives 81,000 inhabitants
altogether for the territories of the Rio Negro, the Neuquen, the
Chubut, the Santa Cruz, and Tierra del Fuego. A well-kept ranch of
25,000 square kilometres has only a staff of about a hundred men at
the most, counting strangers, settled on its land; three hundred
inhabitants, or scarcely more than one to ten square kilometres.
This population falls into two distinct classes. One is the class of
proprietors with regular titles: a rooted and stable class. At first
the Government granted enormous concessions, which were taken up
especially by English buyers, but it now seeks to break up the land,
and the plots which it puts on the market for new pastoral colonies
have not more than 625 hectares. This is too small for breeding, no
matter how good the situation may be, and there will inevitably be,
one would think, a concentration of estates in the hands of a few
proprietors. The other part of the population occupy lands which they
do not own. They are displaced steadily as the regular concessions
are sold to new ranches. They live, so to say, on the margin of
colonization, and are more and more restricted to the poorest lands.
Sometimes these _intrusos_ or _pobladores_ get hospitality for their
herds on the land of some ranch in return for their services. They
have little capital, and never make material improvements. They take
no care to nurse the pasture, and it matters little to them if it is

The climate divides Patagonia into two distinct regions. In the west,
the moist Andean zone is suitable for cattle-breeding. About 1870 the
Chileans of Valdivia hunted wild cattle in the Nahuel Huapi district.
Similarly the Frontier Commission met large herds of wild cattle on
the shores of Lake San Martin, which were not yet occupied. Sheep do
not get on well in the moist zone, where the rains have washed out
the soil and carried away the salts which seem to be indispensable
to the sheep. It is the arid tableland that is the land of the
sheep. There it has displaced cattle, even in the area which the
early breeders at the end of the eighteenth century had filled with
cattle. Between the sheep-area and the cattle-area is a mixed region,
where the two are combined. It extends more or less according as the
transition from a moist to a desert climate is gradual or sudden. It
is especially important in the districts where colonization is already
old, as in the Fuegian and Neuquen regions. It is lacking in districts
where the colonization is recent (Chubut and Santa Cruz), where the
sheep-breeders have had a free run as far as the Andes. The ranches of
the Cordillera, which specialize in cattle-breeding, all have small
flocks of sheep for their own use, their staff being so small that it
does not pay to kill the cattle.

The sheep-area is by far the more extensive of the two. The patches of
agricultural colonization are very scattered and small on its surface.
They are restricted to the river-oases of the Rio Negro and the Chubut.
These small tilled districts have preserved a remarkable economic
independence as regards the pastoral zone, in which they seem lost.
Thus the farmers on the Chubut exported their wheat to Buenos Aires
until about 1900, and they still send their bales of dry lucerne there.
Some of the ranches have tilled small oases in suitable places, but
these are merely intended to increase their stores of fodder; not for
their flock of sheep, but for the saddle-horses used in watching the
estate and the draught-horses used for transport.

The pastoral capacity of the Patagonian scrub is, on the average,
from 800 to 1,200 head of sheep to 25 square kilometres: less than a
tenth that of the prairies of the eastern Pampa. The ranch fixes its
residence in the best part of the estate, where there is least fear of
a shortage of water, and where pasture is most plentiful. To this the
sheep are brought periodically to receive disinfecting baths against
the scab, and for shearing. These incessant movements toward the
centre of the ranch cause an almost permanent strain on the pasture,
and this is one of the chief anxieties of the breeder. The area of the
estate is divided as soon as possible into sections (_potreros_) by
steel-wire fences, which enables them to watch over the reproduction
and improvement of the flock and make the best use of the pasture.
Fencing is more advanced near the Cordillera, as timber for the posts
is found there.

Certain districts are still uninhabited on account of the lack of
water. Some of the sources of water are permanent. The water issues
at the base of the volcanic rocks, when the underlying rock is
impermeable, and above the various levels of the marl in the Patagonian
swamps; for instance, in the _cañadones_ round the Gulf of San Jorge.
Besides this, the rain and melting snow leave on the surface of the
tableland a great number of pools, which evaporate in the dry season.
These are temporary supplies, the _manantiales_, to which the breeders
are reduced over large areas of the tableland. Most of the stagnant
sheets of water which are permanent are saline. The proportion of salt
in them is very variable, and changes in each case according to the
cycle of dry and wet years. The water of the Carilaufquen was fresh in
1900, and in 1914 it had become brackish, though it could still be used
for the flocks.

Finding permanent sources of water is the first concern of the breeder.
In some districts he has succeeded in tapping sheets of fresh water
by means of wells. There are none of these wells in the crystalline
zones, the closed hollows, where the sheets of water are often large,
but they are always saline. Neither are there any in the red sandstone
district, the dryest of all. In the western region the wells are sunk
in the arid valleys, along the track of the underground stream. Thus
the Picun Leufu, the visible course of which is lost seventeen miles
above its confluence with the Limay, may be traced by a continuous line
of wells. It is especially in the coastal districts that the wells have
transformed the conditions of breeding. Water was first discovered at
the foot of the dunes, along the coast itself (district of Viedma, San
José, etc.). Since then deep borings have been made over the whole
of the Tertiary platform on both sides of the lower part of the Rio
Negro, north of San Antonio. There every ranch has its sheet-iron tank,
sheltered by a clump of tamarinds, with a windmill to fill it.

All pastures are not equally available in every season. Those which are
at a height of more than 4,000 feet in the north, and 2,300 to 2,600
feet in the south, are covered in winter with a thick mantle of snow.
These are summer pastures. During the winter the animals are brought
down to the principal valleys or to sheltered _cañadones_ below the
level of the tableland. The _mallin_ is, as a rule, a winter pasture.
When it is too wet, however, it is treacherous, and the animals are
buried in it. They have to wait for fine weather before going into
it. The pastures, too, which have no permanent water supply, or have
only _manantiales_, which dry up at the beginning of summer, can only
be used during the winter. Hence each ranch has to have, besides its
assured water supply, a suitable combination of summer and winter
pasturage, and it is far from certain that this will be found on every
estate, cut up geometrically for colonization, as they were, by the
administration of lands.

  _On the Chilean side, to the north of the road from Lake Nahuel Huapi.
  The glaciers come down lower on the western side, as the moist winds
  come from the west, and the rain becomes less and less frequent as one
  goes eastward toward the Patagonian tableland._]

  _Here the Limay enters the sub-desert tableland. Last trees (cypresses)
  in the valley in the foreground._ Photograph by Bailey Willis.
  PLATE XIII.                                            To face p. 142.]

The constitution of the flock and the first occupation of the land have
compelled breeders to undertake difficult journeys, and more than one
of these proved disastrous. The earliest arrivals, driving their sheep
along little-known tracks, could not avoid losses in crossing the arid
parts of the tableland: parts which D'Orbigny, translating literally
the Spanish word _travesia_, calls "crossings."[70] When the ranch is
established, the breeding does not necessitate any further movements of
the flocks to a great distance, apart from certain special migrations,
or "transhumations," which I will consider later. It is on each ranch,
sometimes on each group of ranches combined in a single estate, that
they pass alternately from winter to summer pasture. The only transport
necessary is that of wool. The fleeces, which the west wind has heavily
laden with dust, are collected in the sheds belonging to the ranch, or,
in the case of the _intrusos_, on the premises of certain small traders
(_bolicheros_) who are scattered over the tableland even at its extreme
limits. Convoys of wagons then take them to the ports on the coast.

     [70] The search for possible routes for cattle in the
     districts that were not yet colonized helped in the study of
     Patagonia. Moyano was doing this when he explored the route
     from Santa Cruz to Lake Nahuel Huapi.

For some years now, however, wool has ceased to be the sole product
of the ranches. A little before 1895 the first slaughter-houses, for
killing the older sheep that were no longer fertile, were erected on
the Straits of Magellan. Refrigerators have succeeded these, and were
opened at Puerto Callegos and San Julian. A third refrigerator is being
constructed (1915) at Puerto Deseado. In southern Patagonia, also, part
of the flock is sent to the refrigerators or to the slaughter houses
of the Pampean region. The creation of the refrigerator has compelled
breeders to adapt their work to the new economic conditions. The merino
breed is being eliminated by the Lincoln in all districts which feel
the influence of the refrigerator; the Lincoln is of greater weight and
quicker growth, but the merino survives in arid northern Patagonia.

Besides this, the establishment of the refrigerators has caused
important movements of transport. The flocks which are to go to the
refrigerators or the northern railways are moved in the good season,
after the shearing, from November to April. The routes they take are
not invariable. One of the most frequented, leading from the sub-Andean
tablelands to San Julian, follows the Santa Cruz valley. When the land
was cut up, there was no reason to foresee these movements, and nothing
was done to facilitate them. The roads cross the ranches, which are
compelled to allow it. It is a serious burden for some of them, unless
they can make a profit out of their situation on the road by hiring
pasture for the flocks as they pass.

The Andean zone itself is still mainly pastoral, but it is nevertheless
far more varied and richer in possibilities of development than the
tableland. Agriculture is already combined with breeding in that area.

The name _vegas_, which in the Puna and at San Juan means alpine
pasture, is applied here to tilled patches in the Andean valleys.
They are found in the north in the valley of the Neuquen, round
Chosmalal. In the south, the valley of the Rio Pico marks the limit of
cultivation. Irrigation is almost always necessary north of Lake Nahuel
Huapi, where the _vegas_ have, as a rule, a soil of coarse alluvia or
permeable tufa, which dries up quickly. Water is plentiful, it is true,
and increases in quantity rapidly as one travels southward. The chief
obstacle to the extension of cultivation is the frequency of frost in
spring and summer. The deep hollows of the sub-Andean depression south
of Lake Nahuel Huapi, the height of which drops to 1,000 feet at the
Bolson, and 1,600 feet at Diez y seis de Octubre, have no frosts in
summer, and they sustain small agricultural communities. At higher
levels, in the basin of the lake or on the _vegas_ of the Traful and
Lake Lacar, at an altitude of about 2,600 feet, the distribution of the
summer frosts is closely related to the contour and lie of the land,
which may facilitate or impede the circulation of the layers of cold
air, and the play of what has been called atmospheric drainage. The
valleys which are very open from west to east, at the outlet of the
lakes, where the west winds have a free passage, are little liable to
frost. Wherever frost is frequent, cultivation has to be restricted to
fodder plants. The more favoured cantons, which grow wheat, rye and
potatoes, help to feed the local pastoral population, and export part
of their produce to some distance on the tableland.

Cattle-breeding is, like sheep-breeding on the tableland, practised
both by the _pobladores_ on public lands and by ranchers who have
settled on regular concessions, which they have worked up and fenced
round. The high alpine pastures, above the fringe of the forest, are
partly used, from December to March, as summer-pasture. The forest also
serves for pasture; it is a sort of common land, available both in
winter and summer. Below the height of 3,500 feet the clumps of bamboos
in the underwood provide shelter during the winter and fodder which
is not buried under snow. The fires lit by the breeders have changed
part of the primitive forest into a scrub which has been invaded by a
leguminous climbing fodder, and it has superior pastoral capacity to
the forest. East of the forest, the prairie, which is too much exposed
to the winds, is not generally suitable for winter-pasture. The cattle
take refuge in sheltered valleys and in the _mayten_ thickets which
follow the depressions. Bailey Willis puts the pastoral capacity of the
virgin forest at 400 cattle to each 2,500 hectares, 600 for the burnt
forest, and 350 for the sub-Andean prairies. The essential problem in
connection with the question of completely developing the pastoral
resources of the sub-Andean region is the problem of transit. There
are no roads from one district to another and to the higher prairies.
The fallen trunks which lie about the forest obstruct the way of the
cattle. Collecting the animals for sale and watching them are both

It seems that the profit of exploiting the timber must necessarily be
small. The forest, thinned by fire and difficult of access, is partly
composed of trees that are too old. The _libocedrus_ has disappeared
from one-third of it. The larch, which is the most valuable, passes
into Argentine territory at few places. Saw-mills are not so numerous
on the eastern slope of the Andes as they are in the Magellan area.

The essential function of the forest is, according to Argentine experts
on forestry, to control the water-circulation. In this land of glacial
erosion and recent captures, where the water-courses have always a
great variety of form, and there are lakes to make their output more
regular, it is particularly easy to make use of hydraulic power. "White
coal" will, Bailey Willis says, make a great industrial region of
it, and plant an urban life in it. Bailey Willis, whose optimism and
prophetic gift will not fail to surprise the European reader, has drawn
the plans in detail of a future town of 40,000 souls at the eastern end
of Lake Nahuel Huapi. The Patagonian land will supply the raw material
of its industries; timber, leather, and wool.

One, at least, of the indispensable conditions of the development of
urban life is fully realized in the district of Lake Nahuel Huapi and
the Limay. It is a remarkable meeting-place of natural roads, and its
economic value will increase in the future. It is the point where the
road from eastern Patagonia by the sub-Andean depression, from the Gulf
of San Antonio on the Atlantic, and from the Rio Negro by the Limay,
and the roads that lead to Chile across the Cordillera, meet. The whole
zone of the Andes between 36° S. lat. and 42° S. lat., the latitude of
the southern part of the Chilean plain, has numerous and easy passes.
There has always been close communication between the two slopes,
and people have emigrated freely from one to the other. But north of
39° S. lat. the passes are rarely lower than 5,000 feet. They are
covered with snow in the winter, and can be used for traffic only in
certain seasons. It is not the same south of the volcano Lanin. That
is the beginning of the glacial valleys which go to the heart of the
Cordillera, some of them crossing the mountains from east to west. They
have not yet been entirely explored. The Bariloche pass, south of the
Tronador, by which the Chilean missionaries reached Nahuel Huapi in the
eighteenth century, is no longer used. The Cajon Negro pass, west of
Lake Traful, through which Bailey Willis traces the line of a southern
trans-Andean railway, was only recently discovered, and the valleys
which run into it on the Chilean side are not yet well known. The two
best-known trans-Andean routes to-day are the Perez Rosales road, which
leads from Chile to Nahuel Huapi by the north of the Tronador, and
further north, the road from Lake Lacar to San Martin. Both these have
received some attention, and the lakes are connected by telegraph or
telephone. The frequent need to unload and reload makes the traffic
costly, but it is permanent and is not interrupted in winter. The
reduction of the export of cattle to Chile has cut down the traffic for
a time, but it is sure to recover. The permanent importance of it is
one of the facts most clearly written by nature upon the soil of South

       *       *       *       *       *

It is not easy, in the absence of documents, to attempt to give for
Patagonia as a whole a detailed description of the pastoral industry,
and to follow step by step on the spot its efforts to adjust itself to
the natural conditions. But the analysis may be attempted in regard
to the region between San Antonio and Lake Nahuel Huapi south of the
Rio Negro,[71] the valley of the Rio Negro, and the tableland which
stretches westward between the Neuquen and the Limay. This part of
Patagonia is now easily accessible, and it is entered by two parallel
railways. One starts from San Antonio on the Atlantic, and goes
westward to Lake Nahuel Huapi. It has (1914) reached Maquinchao, on
the tableland, mid-way across the Andes. The other starts from Bahía
Blanca. At Choele Choel it enters the valley of the Rio Negro, and
ascends it as far as the confluence of the Neuquen. Then it goes 130
miles westward as far as Zapala, at the foot of the first sub-Andean
chains. Each of these lines is ambitious to attract the trans-Andeans.
At all events, they are in a hurry to reach the humid zone at the foot
of the Andes, which could maintain a busier traffic than the desolate

     [71] This was the area studied by the Commission of which
     Bailey Willis was chairman.

The railway from San Antonio, and the road which is a continuation
of it west of Maquinchao, cover a distance of 320 miles from the
Atlantic to the Andes, and cross five distinct regions. The first is
the coastal plain, composed of horizontal marine Tertiary sedimentary
rocks, both of sand and clay. The plain rises slowly toward the west,
and it attains a height of 650 feet at a distance of seventy miles
from the coast. This coastal platform divides, on the north-west,
the enclosed hollow of the Bajo del Gualicho from the Gulf of San
Antonio. Its surface is very even. The gravel on it has formed a sort
of conglomerate, and in spite of appearances, this gravelly soil is
not bad for vegetation. It quickly absorbs the rain-water, which thus
escapes evaporation. The vegetation is comparatively rich. There are
no springs, but the autumn rains sustain _manantiales_ in the marly
surface, and these do not dry up until the spring. During the summer
the plain is deserted, and there is no water. But the flocks return in
the winter and remain there until spring. There is very little snow, as
the temperature is moderate. In spite of the density of the pastoral
population in winter, the pasturage is not injured. The grass grows
plentifully amongst the thickets. This is because the flocks leave
the district before the season when the grasses flower and reproduce,
so the next generation is secured. Part of the flocks which winter
on the coastal plain pass the summer in the south-west, on the high
basaltic tablelands of Somuncura. However, the whole of the surface of
the tableland cannot be used permanently, or during the entire summer.
There is plenty of water in spring, when the snows have melted. In the
middle of the summer the flocks collect round the permanent springs,
and they scatter once more over the mountain pastures during the autumn
rains, before they return to the plain.

The second region is that of Valcheta. From Aguada Cecilia to Corral
Chico the railway follows for sixty miles the edge of the outpour of
lava from the south, which covers the Tertiary clays. In front of the
basalt cliff the land dips in the north toward a closed depression, the
Bajo de Valcheta, the bottom of which consists of clays impregnated
with salt. Tertiary marine strata surround this hollow in the west and
north, where they divide it from the Bajo del Gualicho, but here they
form only a thin skin which covers the crystalline platform. The line
of contact of the basalt and the Tertiary marls is marked by a series
of good springs, and these give rise to permanent streams, such as the
Arroyo Valcheta and the Nahuel Niyeu. At first they flow in a narrow
valley crowned by basalts, with peaty prairies at the bottom, then over
Tertiary marls, and, in the latitude of the railways, they pass into a
gorge cut through the granites before losing themselves to the north in
the _salitral_. A small agricultural oasis is sustained by the waters
of the Valcheta.

The site of Valcheta has an exceptional importance in the story of
Patagonian colonization. It marks a necessary stage in the Indian track
from the Atlantic to Nahuel Huapi, which is now followed by the line
of the railway. Musters halted there. The track from Choele Choel, on
the Rio Negro, to the southern coast and the Santa Cruz also passed
by there. It was so much used, says Ezcurra, that the hoofs of the
horses had hollowed it.[72] The Argentine village dates from 1890.
At first it lived by supplying fodder to the convoys of wagons which
carried the wool. The railway has suppressed this traffic, and the only
outlet of the oasis to-day is the small port of San Antonio, where the
wool is shipped, and where the district is unsuitable for any kind of

     [72] Pedro Ezcurra, "Camino indio entre los rios Negro
     y Chubut: la travesia de Valcheta," _Bol. Instit. Geog.
     Argent._, xix. 1898, pp. 134-38.

Like the coast region, the Valcheta district seems marked out by its
moderate altitude to serve as winter pasture. In point of fact, it
is used during the whole year. The springs do not dry up in summer.
The streams which flow from the south toward the Bajo de Valcheta are
permanent. In addition, a few wells have been bored in the Tertiary
strata. Contrary to experience on the coast, therefore, cattle can be
kept here during the summer. There is less chance for the grasses to
reproduce, and the pasture tends to become impoverished.

The third zone, 130 miles from the coast, is that of the tableland
of the Cerros Colorados, where low masses of red granite rise like
an archipelago amongst the Tertiary formations deposited in the
intervening depressions. In the west its altitude rises from 650 to
1,300 feet. It is one of the poorest parts of the tableland, and the
size of the flock is reduced to 600 head to the square league. The
naked rock crops up, not covered, as it is further east, by a bed of
gravel. In the valleys there is little water, and it lies very deep.
There are no periodical removals of the animals. Winter and summer they
remain within range of a few poor springs, which are caused by various
outcrops of lava of limited extent; and they leave these, and wander
over the tableland, only in the rainy season.

Beyond the Cerros Colorados the line rises rapidly, and at Maquinchao
it reaches the basin of Lake Carilaufquen. This occupies the bottom of
a closed depression, at an altitude of 3,000 feet, dominated on every
side by a plateau of lava, toward which, in the south, a number of
important valleys run (Nahuel Niyeu, Quetriquile, Maquinchao). These
valleys rise in the south in the basalt plateau, at a height of 4,000
and 4,700 feet, and have no running water except at their upper ends.
South of Carilaufquen they open upon a broad plain, round which there
is a sombre cornice of lava, about 350 feet high. Water has collected
on the plain, which consists of alluvial beds redistributed by wind:
angular pebbles from the terraces, fine dust from the _mallinas_, and
sand from the dunes round the lake.

This region is much better than that of the Cerros Colorados. There
are many springs at the base of the lava-flows, on the sides of
the valleys, and it has as yet not been necessary to look for the
subterranean sheets which accompany some of the valleys. The elevated
basin of the Quetriquile, though it is only occupied by _intrusos_,
seems to have a particularly high pastoral density, and, I am told,
feeds 500,000 sheep. In the western part of the region the spring
is late, and there is risk of snow during the lambing season. There
are, however, no rams there; the lambs are brought from Maquinchao.
This arrangement of special zones for the multiplication of the flock
enables them rapidly to improve the breed. Here again there are no
removals of the animals to a great distance in order to use the
pasture. The vegetation of the valleys suffered from the continuous
presence of the flocks during the years of drought before 1914; the
reproduction of useful grasses was prevented. There is, however, less
danger here than on the Cerros Colorados, because the _mallinas_ are
extensive, and they suffice for feeding the sheep during the periods
when the _manantiales_ of the tableland dry up, and the animals are
confined to the valleys.

The fifth region comprises the high ridge which divides the basin of
the Carilaufquen from Nahuel Huapi, the water of which flows northward
toward the Limay and southward toward the Chubut: successive eruptions
have covered the surface with lava and ash, which at Añecon rise to a
height of 6,700 feet. The granite platform which emerges in the north,
at the Cerro Aspero and the Quadradito, rises to a height of 4,400 and
4,700 feet, and in some places presents a bold and rejuvenated aspect.
The whole has been cut up in all directions by erosion, and it affords
comparatively easy means of getting about, which the Indian tracks have
followed. Below the higher slopes the valleys deepen into gorges, and
these broaden out in the soft tufa and are lost at the cross-streams
of lava or the outcrops of the granite. In so varied a land, with
such marked differences of altitude, the winter and summer pastures
are always close together. Precipitation is more plentiful than at a
distance from the Cordillera; the pasturage is richer, and the size
of the flock rises to 1,600 sheep to the league. The sheep pass the
winter on the lower slopes, where they are sheltered from the winds and
the snow. They descend to the _mallin_ when the dry season sets in and
makes the soil firm. In summer they go on to the tablelands, where the
pastures extend to a height of 5,000 feet.

Bailey Willis, studying the improvements that might be made in the
pastoral processes, concluded that the essential point was to use each
pasturage in its best season, and establish a carefully considered
rotation on the various lands. This system, which alone would enable
them to nurse the natural resources of the scrub in the way of plants
for fodder, is used to-day in only a small number of districts--in
the east, where the flocks winter on the coastal plain and spend the
summer on the Somuncura tableland, and in the west, round the Añecon,
where the summer and winter pastures are not far from each other. The
custom ought to be general. The area which ought to be reserved for
winter pasture comprises the coastal plains, the whole of the low-lying
district round Valcheta, and the lower part of the valleys to the
south of the Carilaufquen. They are less extensive than the available
summer pastures, but their capacity could be enlarged by developing
the irrigated areas in the Bajo de Valcheta, and sowing lucerne in the
_mallinas_ of the basin of the Carilaufquen. The low valleys round the
Carilaufquen ought to be reserved for winter pasture. In the summer the
sheep would be taken south to the higher-level valleys, which afford
permanent pasture. From there they would spread after the melting of
the snow, and after the first rains in autumn, over the high tablelands
which surround them.

This plan is obstructed in the first place by the actual terms of
ownership, which were imprudently fixed before the examination of the
country in detail had been concluded. Thus the Maquinchao ranch, in the
lower valley, does not own the upper valley with the summer pastures
that ought to belong to it. A more serious obstacle is that it is
extremely difficult to remove the sheep. It is not merely roads that
are wanting, but a water supply at the various stages.[73]

     [73] The district of the Rio Negro is not the only part of
     Patagonia which faces the problem of increasing the winter
     pasture. Attention has been drawn to the possibility of
     enlarging the lucerne farms in the district of Colonia
     Sarmiento, south of Lake Musters, and making this a great
     wintering area for the Santa Cruz flocks.

Between the railway that runs from San Antonio to Lake Nahuel Huapi and
the Rio Negro, there is a desert region about seventy miles in width.
Red sandstone predominates in it, and it remains uninhabited. North of
this _travesia_ the valley of the Rio Negro opens. Its width between
Neuquen and Patagones ranges from five to fifteen miles. Its slope
diminishes gradually toward the bottom (from 0.67 to 0.49 per 1,000
above Chelfaro; from 0.45 to 0.29 per 1,000 above Conesa).

The sandstone and marl cliffs which enclose it become gradually lower
as one goes downward. They dominate the valley at a height of 650 feet
at the confluence of the Neuquen, and are only 100 to 130 feet high at
Patagones. At the foot of them are broad terraces cut by dissymetrical
ravines, in which the beds of sandstone outcrop on the western slope,
exposed to the winds, while the eastern slopes are covered with
gravel. On the banks of the river there is a strip about two miles
wide with abundant herbaceous vegetation between lines of willows.
This is covered by the normal floods. The remainder of the river
plain, to the foot of the cliffs, has only a thin scrub, with dunes at
intervals. Saline clays here overlie the river gravels. The level of
the underground water, which is fed by the river, sinks lower as one
goes from the banks toward the cliffs. Few parts of the tableland have
so desolate an aspect as the bottom of these great Patagonian valleys,
when they have not been transformed by irrigation. The pasturage is
poor. At Conesa, however, the valley (_costa_) is used as summer
pasture when there is a shortage of water on the surrounding tableland

The water-supply is good, the volume of the river ranging from 200
to 900 cubic metres a second. Low water lasts from February to April
(end of the summer). From May to July the river has sudden and violent
floods--an effect of the autumn rains. The curve sinks again in August
and September, to rise once more in October and December, when the
snow melts on the Andes. The Limay, the upper basin of which contains
large, lacustrine sheets, is more regular than the Neuquen, which has
very pronounced low-water, as well as dangerous floods in the autumn.
The first attempts at irrigation date from 1885, when the canal of the
Roca colony was dug. Others were made lower down at a later date. The
co-operative groups organized for the administration of the canals have
not been quite as successful as might have been expected. The advance
of agricultural colonization has been slow. Costly preparatory work is
needed to level the ground and organize the drainage, otherwise saline
patches form and spread like leprosy at the expense of the cultivable
areas. Lastly, the centre of the valley is exposed to floods.[74]

     [74] The work now (1914) in hand will reduce the risk of
     floods, and will enable them to enlarge considerably the
     extent of the tilled land. The Cuenca Vidal, which opens
     amongst the sandstone, below the level of the valley, on the
     tableland to the north of the Neuquen, will be arranged so as
     to absorb the flood-water, and it will feed a canal which will
     serve the left bank over an area of 100 miles. The waters of
     the Limay will be available for the lower valley.

  _Indigenous vegetation. Rocks eroded by wind._
                            Photographs by Windhausen, Mining Division.
  PLATE XIV.                                           To face p. 154.]

The chief crops are lucerne, cereals, and the vine. All the efforts and
hopes of the colonists are now centred upon the vine. It is for the
purpose of extending the vineyards that they are endeavouring to secure
more workers. These are a singularly mixed lot, Chileans from the
Neuquen rubbing shoulders with Latin immigrants (Italian and Spanish)
from the region of the Pampas.

The lucerne is made up in bales and exported by rail to Bahía Blanca
and Buenos Aires. The economic life of the agricultural oasis of the
Rio Negro is no more connected with that of the pastoral tableland
than is life on the Chubut. Neither sheep nor cattle are fattened on
the Rio Negro. It is a curious contrast to the spectacle offered by
the Andean regions of western and north-western Argentina, where for
generations there has been a close association between the breeding
industry of the scrub and the fattening on the lucerne-farms. This is
because the currents of the cattle-trade are not here as permanent and
stable as they are in the north. The time when the convoys of Pampean
cattle bound for Chile used the valley of the Rio Negro preceded the
agricultural colonization of the banks of the river. The conquest
of Patagonia put an end to this traffic. There was an interval of
twenty-five years between the period of the export of Pampean cattle
to Chile and the export of cattle from the Neuquen to Buenos Aires,
to which I will refer presently. As to sheep-breeding, it did not for
a long time rear the animals for the meat-market, and it is only a
few years since it found transport necessary. The farmers of the Rio
Negro, who have little capital, and who sell and are paid in advance
for their dry fodder, have not yet been able to take advantage of the
reorganization of the cattle-trade.

West of the confluence of the Neuquen and the Limay the railway ascends
the sandstone tableland, from 1,700 to 3,000 feet high, and goes as
far as the foot of the first sub-Andean chain, the Zapala ranch. The
eruptive rocks here have thrown up the sandstone, and the profiles
raised north and south of Zapala, across the Sierra de la Vaca Muerta
and the Cerro Lotena, cut through folds of Mesozoic strata which have
been reduced by erosion to the level of the plateau. One already feels
the vicinity of the Cordillera. Pasture is plentiful, the _mallin_
is thick, and springs abound. The sheep-area stretches westward of
Zapala, as far as the Rio Cataluin and the Rio Agrio. East of Zapala,
on the other hand, the desolate condition of the country gets worse
and worse. The supplies of water dry up in the summer, and the entire
zone that lies east of 70° W. long. is useless, on account of the lack
of permanent water, except as winter commonage. Hence, transhumation
is here indispensable. It has been practised for a long time on the
Chilean slope of the Cordillera from the latitude of Coquimbo and San
Juan to the north of Lake Quillen. At present it tends to disappear
from the Andes of the Neuquen.[75] But there is still transhumation on
the Argentine side. The sheep of the plateau, driven from their winter
pasture when the water dries up, ascend the Cordillera. Sometimes the
mountains are not yet free from snow. In that case the journey is
delayed, and the sheep feed on the way, to the great detriment of the
land they cross.

     [75] As a matter of fact, of recent years there has been a
     practice on this slope of disguising the smuggling of animals
     under the name of "transhumation," as the removal of the sheep
     facilitated it and helped to maintain it. The shepherds got
     certificates exaggerating the number of their sheep from the
     Chilean officials before they crossed the frontier, and under
     cover of these they came back to Chile with additions to their
     flocks which they had bought on Argentine territory.

There are many routes, and frequently they coincide with those which
were formerly taken by the cattle of the Pampas in ascending to the
passes of the Cordillera. Groeber mentions a transhumation track south
of the Rio Barrancas and Lake Carri Lauquen. From the left bank of the
Neuquen the flocks ascend by Chosmalal and Butamallin to the pasture
of the Pichachen pass, or by Las Lajas to the Pino Hachado pass. From
Zapala and the tableland further south they go to spend the summer
in the Cataluin Cordillera, where the number of sheep in summer is
calculated to be 70,000. Others go still further, to the source of the
Alumine and the Arco pass. The volcano Lanin almost marks the southern
limit of the zone of transhumation. The chief group of migrating sheep
comes from the district of the Coyunco, the Cañadon Grande, and the
Picun Leucu.

Transhumation is practised only by the _intrusos_. They go from the
unowned lands of the tableland to the unowned lands of the Cordillera.
The renting of winter pasture to owners is quite exceptional. The
concessions of land granted by the Argentine Government are steadily
reducing the area of the migrators in the Cordillera, and also the
ways of communication between the tableland and the mountains. The
proprietors do not care to receive the migrating flocks, and they
put obstacles in their way by enclosing the land. The routes of the
transhumation are now fixed by the spaces which remain open between the
enclosed ranches. Moreover, the migrating _intrusos_ are haunted by
the fear of finding the winter pasture occupied by others during their
absence, and they have no proprietary title. The splitting up of the
land and the organization of ownership will before long lead to the
extinction of the practice of transhumation, and the greater part of
the winter pasturage will be turned into permanent pasture by boring
wells and nursing the water-supply.

The district round the Zapala ranch has become very busy since the
construction of the railway, which has deeply affected the conditions
of life there. It has made a sort of capital of Zapala. It is curious
to contrast the renaissance which has followed upon the appearance of
the railway in this district with the much less material changes which
it has made at Maquinchao. The life which the railway concentrates at
Zapala includes not only the wool trade, as at Maquinchao, but also
the cattle trade. The herds which are to be exported gather round the
ranch at the same time as the _tropas_ of wagons, and a good price is
paid for the right of pasturage. While the Maquinchao line ends at the
port of San Antonio, which is merely fitted up for the export of wool,
the Zapala railway feeds the refrigerator at Bahía Blanca. It joins up
with the network of railways of the Pampa. Sheep arrive at Zapala, not
only from the surrounding district and from the Neuquen, but from a
good part of the Rio Negro, and even the Chubut. The convoys of animals
coming from the south find it best to keep near the Cordillera, where
the pasturage is better. Only a few of them descend the Limay as far
as Senillosa. From Zapala to Senillosa there is no suitable road in
connection with the railway, and further east it is necessary to go as
far as Choele Choel to find tracks which lead to it. The exporting of
the sheep lasts five months, from November to March.

Zapala station is also a point of convergence of herds of cattle.
There are people at Zapala who still remember the time when the cattle
brought from the Pampa to go to Chile passed through their valley.
Although these exports of Pampean cattle to Chile ceased after 1885,
the whole Andean region of the Neuquen still lived entirely on the
Chilean market until very recently. The attraction of the Chilean
market is one of the reasons for the survival of transhumation. It was
to the advantage of the Argentine breeders to keep near the Cordillera
and the passes through which the buyers came from Chile in the summer.
The life of the small centres in the upper valleys which developed
rapidly after the conquest (Chosmalal, Ñorquin, Codihue, Junin, and
San Martin) was bound up with the Chilean cattle trade, and was
reflected on the opposite side of the Andes in the prosperity of the
corresponding markets in Chile.

In the years immediately preceding 1914, a sudden revolution upset
the cattle traffic on the Neuquen, and the attraction of Buenos Aires
took the place of that of the Chilean market. The commercial influence
of Buenos Aires was first felt in the wool-market. The _tropas_ of
wagons which brought wool to Zapala loaded up, in exchange, with the
flour and salt that were needed for sheep-breeding in the pastures
of the Cordillera (_pastos dulces_). The import trade followed the
path traced by the export trade. The small Chilean wagons which still
cross the Cordillera now only bring to the Neuquen the coarse flour of
Chile, haricot beans, and wine. They return empty to Chile. After the
wool-buyers, the cattle-merchants of Buenos Aires next found their way
to the Cordillera. The centres where the sales of cattle for Chile used
to be held are now in decay, and have lost part of their population.
The cattle are sent to the fattening centres on the Pampa, or to the
Bahía Blanca and Buenos Aires markets. Thus we have under our eyes,
unexpectedly, in the north of Patagonia a transformation that occurred
gradually half a century ago in all the western and north-western parts
of Argentina. In its many forms it is the essential fact in the modern
history of Argentine colonization. The more distant provinces are
detached in succession from foreign markets, and the whole national
life is being organized round the great economic focus which the region
of the Pampas has become.



     The limits of the prairie--The rains--The wind and the
     formation of the clay of the Pampas--The wind and the
     contour--The zones of colonization on the Pampas--Hunting
     wild cattle and primitive breeding--The sheep-farms--The
     ranches--The region of "colonies"--The region of lucerne,
     maize, and wheat--The combination of agriculture and
     breeding--The economic mechanism of colonization--The
     exchanges between the different zones of the Pampas.

The Pampean landscape is doubtless one of the most uniform in the
world. Its monotony is tiring to the eye; it is partly responsible for
the mediocrity of most of the descriptions of the Pampas. But this
uniformity is an advantage for the purpose of colonization. Attention
has often been drawn to the rapidity with which plants and animals
introduced by Europeans spread in the Buenos Aires district, and,
pushing ahead of the breeders and farmers, colonized the Pampas. In the
second half of the nineteenth century, when the whole extent of the
plain beyond the ancient Indian frontier was occupied, the development
of it was so much easier because it was possible to use simpler and
more uniform methods of exploitation. It needed neither large capital
nor long personal experience on the part of the immigrant. Basques
and Italians who had only just landed could take an active part in it
almost without apprenticeship. The primitive groups of population could
advance from one zone of the plain to another and take with them their
own methods of farming and breeding, their own form of rural economy.

A close study will, however, enable us to detect appreciable physical
differences in the Pampean plain. Neither climate nor soil is the same
all over it.

The name "Pampa" chiefly means a vegetal growth, a prairie. Its
limits are the frontier of the scrub (_monte_), and strange as it may
seem, it is still difficult to trace them exactly. North of Santa
Fé, between the Salado and the Paraná, the Pampa stretches as far as
Fives-Lille, a little beyond 30° S. lat.[76] On the Central Norte
and the Central Argentine lines the fringe of the _monte_ reaches to
Fuertin Inca and Malbran, about 170 miles north-west of Santa Fé. It
then turns south-east and south, passing round the entire depression of
Los Porongos and Mar Chiquita; and the line from Santa Fé to Córdoba
crosses it at Francia and approaches the Rio Secundo. South of the Rio
Secundo it goes westward and joins the foot of the Sierra de Córdoba
south of the Rio Tercero (at the stream Tequia). From this point to La
Cambre, some sixteen miles east of San Luis, the prairie extends as far
as the edge of the sierras, and penetrates into the southern half of
the Conlara depression, between the hills of Córdoba and of San Luis
(Pampa de Naschel). The mimosa forest enters the steppe in narrow belts
along the Rio Quinto to within a few leagues below Villa Mercedes,
along the Rio Tercero as far as the confluence of the Saladillo, and
along the Salado to the south of Santa Fé. There are, in addition, many
isolated clumps of _chañares_ and more extensive patches of wood in
the north-west corner of the prairie (Santa Fé province). The _monte_
along the Salado is continued south of Santa Fé along the Paraná, as
far as the point where the chief arm of the river reaches the cliffs
on the right bank, at San Lorenzo. This is the domain of the _ombu_, a
tree with thick trunk and naked roots which is found scattered over the
prairie in the Paraná region as far as south of Buenos Aires.

     [76] On the left bank of the Salado, west of the Resistencia
     railway, a great gulf of low prairie penetrates into the
     forest of the Chaco in the north, almost as far as 28° S.
     lat., but it has rather the character of one of the floodable
     clearings of the Chaco (_esteros_) than of the temperate

In the west, between San Luis and the mouth of the Colorado, the
transition from the Pampa to the _monte_ is gradual. Just as at Santa
Fé, the approach of the _monte_ is announced by the appearance of
_chañares_, in the south-west corner of the Córdoba province and on
the southern slope of the Sierra de la Ventana. The _monte_, properly
so called, though impoverished, invaded by the _jarilla_, and mainly
composed (as in northern Patagonia) of dwarf mimosas, covers the area
of the Pampean sierras on the left bank of the Chadi Leuvu and the
Colorado. Between this area and a line passing through Rancul, Anguil,
Atreuco, and Bernasconi, where the naked prairie begins, there is a
mixed zone which one may call the _calden_ zone. This mimosa, a near
relative of the _algarroba_, which has a wider range than the other
plants of the _monte_ in this latitude, forms woods at intervals in
the south of the San Luis province and on the flanks of the parallel
valleys of the central Pampa. Between these woods the tableland
is generally covered by the prairie, with occasional patches of
_chañares_. About twenty-five miles east of Buena Esperanza the line
from San Rafael touches the far corner of a forest of _caldenes_, which
stretches south-westward, and reaches the Rio Salado about 35° 30'
S. lat. Beyond Buena Esperanza it keeps on the prairie as far as the
crossing of the Salado, which here marks the limit of the _monte_. The
Rio Negro line passes directly from the prairie to the Patagonian scrub
mid-way between Bahía Blanca and the Colorado.

Within these limits the prairie extends without a break. The sierras of
the Buenos Aires province have no arborescent vegetation.

The zone of the prairie, intermediate between tropical Argentina and
the sub-desert regions of western Patagonia, has a medium rainfall. It
decreases gradually from north-east to south-west. There is a rainfall
of 1,200 to 1,000 millimetres on the lower Paraná, and only 400 to
600 millimetres on the western edge of the Pampa. The zone which lies
between the 800 millimetres and 600 millimetres average is more than
270 miles in breadth. But what is most characteristic of the climate
of the Pampa is the equal distribution of the rain throughout the
year, and the absence of a real dry season. In this the Pampa differs
from the surrounding regions, both in the south-west and the north.
At Buenos Aires the six months of the (relatively) dry season yield,
nevertheless, 44 per cent. of the total rainfall, and at Bahía Blanca
40 per cent. This regularity diminishes in proportion as one approaches
the coast. At Rosario the six months of the dry season only yield 30
per cent. of the year's rain; at Villa Mercedes (San Luis province) 25
per cent. When one goes beyond the limits of the prairies the ratio
of rain in the dry season decreases rapidly; it is only 20 per cent.
at Córdoba and 18 per cent. at San Luis. At Córdoba, the curve of the
rainfall indicates a typical tropical regime, with a summer maximum
and a very low minimum in winter. Passing south-eastward from Córdoba,
at Bellville, Villa Maria and especially Rosario, the dryness of the
winter diminishes, and at the same time a secondary minimum appears
in the middle of summer (January-February). At Buenos Aires, the form
of the curve changes completely. The summer minimum is almost as low
as the winter minimum, and most of the rainfall is in the spring
(September) and the beginning of the autumn (March).[77]

     [77] Argentine Mesopotamia, which is a continuation of the
     Pampean region from the climatological point of view, is also,
     even in its northern part, without the rigorous dry seasons of
     the Chaco. Ascending the Paraná, from Corrientes to Posadas,
     just as in passing from Córdoba to Buenos Aires, one notices
     that the winter minimum decreases, and a secondary maximum
     appears in the spring. The predominance of the spring rains,
     which is a characteristic of southern Brazil, is conspicuous
     on the middle Uruguay. On the lower part of that river the
     rain-system approaches that of Buenos Aires, with maxima
     in spring and autumn, a principal minimum in winter, and a
     secondary minimum in summer.

These various shades of the Pampean climate are of essential importance
in the history of colonization and the spread of cultivation. The belt
of summer rain is the belt of maize-growing, whereas the cultivation of
wheat requires spring rain and a comparatively dry summer.

While the isohyetic curves, which represent the precipitation for the
whole year, are orientated from north-west to south-east, the curves of
rainfall during the cold season, from April to September (dry season
in the north), cut diagonally across the preceding, and are oriented
directly north and south. Bahía Blanca receives in winter as much rain
as Rosario, and General Acha (in the district of the central Pampa)
as much as Córdoba. Unless one attends to this, one cannot explain
the extension of wheat-growing, in the south-west, as far as the 400
millimetre curve, and even beyond it on the Atlantic coast.

       *       *       *       *       *

The relief of the Pampean plain is known fairly accurately, thanks
to the observations made along the railways. The ground rises slowly
toward the west. The 100-metre curve describes a deep gulf some 300
miles west-south-west of Buenos Aires. The belt comprised between 100
and 150 metres above sea-level is more than sixty miles broad in the
latitude of Santa Fé, and 130 miles in the latitude of Buenos Aires.
Beyond the 150-metre curve the land rises rapidly toward the west and
north-west, and reaches 400 metres in the Córdoba district and 500 in
the Villa Mercedes district. It is at the altitude of 150 metres, and
the break in the inclination which this marks, that the Rio Quinto is
lost, near Amarga, south of General Lavalle.

The ridge between the Pampa and the basin of the Salado in the south
of the San Luis province is about 450 metres above sea-level. South of
the province of Buenos Aires the Sierras de Tandil and de la Ventana
are joined together by a ridge which does not fall below 200 metres.
Certain irregularities of the surface, such as the depression of Mar
Chiquita to the east of Córdoba, the thrust of the plateau on the right
bank of the Paraná, south of Villa Constitución and San Nicolas, can,
apparently, only be explained by recent tectonic movements.

The Pampean deposits which cover the plain rest upon a rocky base of
which the salient representatives are the sierras of the province of
Buenos Aires and the hills at Córdoba and San Luis. This base also
appears east of the Pampean basin in the granite island of Martin
Garcia, in the middle of the estuary of the Plata, and in the hills on
the coast of Uruguay.[78]

     [78] While the Pampean deposits lie immediately on the
     crystalline and Paleozoic formations in the sierras of the
     lower Colorado and of the central Pampa, in the south of the
     province of Buenos Aires and in Uruguay, they are, on the
     eastern edge of the Sierra de Córdoba, separated from it by
     red sandstones and conglomerates of uncertain age, perhaps
     synchronous with the continental red sandstones of Corrientes
     which outcrop east of the Paraná and have been known since
     D'Orbigny's time as "granitic sandstones."

Underneath the even sheet of the alluvial deposits the surface of the
sub-Pampean platform is very irregular. Its shape has been discovered
by deep borings in search of arterial waters. It has been warped and
cut up by faults, some of these deformations being probably synchronous
with the formation of the Pampean deposits which have concealed them
as they have been produced. A subterranean rocky ridge continues the
Sierra de Córdoba southward and joins it with the sierras of the
Colorado. The granite emerges at Chamaico, on the western railway, and
on both sides the borings have passed through great depths of clay and
sand.[79] This ridge isolates the eastern Pampa from the sub-Andean
chains, and marks the limit of the area with sheets of underground
water. In the north of the Pampean region, between the Sierra de
Córdoba and the Paraná, the loose continental formations are more than
2,000 feet thick at Bellville, and more than 3,500 feet north-west of
Santa Fé (fodder farms of San Cristobal and El Tostado). At Buenos
Aires the granite has been found 985 feet below the surface.

     [79] At Rancul, in the east, 660 feet of loess overlying red
     sandstone: at Telen, in the west, 2,800 feet of sand, marl,
     sandstone and gravel.

  _Zone of wheat and oats on large scale. The Pampa is a tableland here
  (400 feet above sea-level), with clay overlying the limestone of the
  Tosca. The valleys are well marked._
                                             Photograph by the Author.]

  _The tableland, with a strong framework of limestone Tosca, is cut
  across by well-marked dry valleys which sink lower toward the east. At
  the edges of the valleys the sand is the prey of the winds. Here we are
  near the limit of the wheat belt._
                                              Photograph by the Author.
  PLATE XV.                                            To face p. 166.]

The Pampean formation consists almost entirely of loose deposits,
sand and clays of various sorts. There is no gravel.[80] Even in the
vicinity of the sierras the beds of gravel, with round or angular
pebbles, are almost always covered by clay, and are exposed only in the
banks of the streams. Olascoaga mentions the surprise of the _gauchos_
of General Roca's army when they found Patagonian pebbles on the ground
during their stay at Choele Choel on the Colorado, in the course of
the campaign on the Rio Negro. Officers and soldiers dismounted to
pick them up. Sand and clay form a thick bed of continental alluvia.
The Tertiary maritime transgressions, which have left their mark in
the clays and limestones of the left bank of the lower Paraná, and the
layers of shells at San Pedro on the right bank, never penetrated far
into the interior of the Pampean region, and one finds no trace of them
when one leaves the coast or the river.

     [80] Roth claims to have found gravel in the San Nicolas
     _barranca_ on the Paraná. I have myself found small rounded
     flints in the clay of the Chaco at Tartagal. But these
     deposits probably come from the left bank of the Paraná, where
     the beds of river gravel are considerable.

The source of the elements which compose the Pampean alluvia is very
uncertain. Their composition does not clearly show their origin. The
clays are comparatively rich in calcareous matter, which seems to
indicate that they do not come from tropical America or the upper basin
of the Paraná. Wright and Fenner insist upon the high proportion of
siliceous glass of volcanic origin which they contain, which points
to an intense eruptive activity during or before their formation.[81]
Doering had already noticed in the Córdoba region the prevalence of
beds of volcanic ash, which become thicker as one approaches the
sierra. It is certain that the Pampean sierras have had their share in
the formation of the Pampean beds. But the main mass is probably of
Andean origin. However that may be, as soon as one gets away from the
fringe of the mountains, the only variety noticeable in the lands of
the Pampa is that which they owe to the conditions in which they have
been deposited.

     [81] In Ales Hrdlicka, _Early Man in South America_
     (Smithsonian Instit. Bull., 52, Washington, 1912).

River deposits strictly so called, estuary deposits, lagoon deposits,
æolian deposits, æolian deposits redistributed by water, river deposits
redistributed by wind--all these different types are represented in the
Pampean formation, but their relative importance is still disputed.[82]

     [82] Many attempts have been made to classify the Pampean
     lands, but the results cannot be regarded as final. Ameghino,
     who is first and foremost a palæontologist, has done a service
     in showing the futility of these geological divisions based
     upon the actual surface of the deposits (colour, fineness,
     etc.). But even palæontology gives rather uncertain results,
     as it is impossible to recognize and follow step by step
     the various stages of the movement of the fossils. All the
     classifications of the Pampean are based upon a study of two
     groups of sections. The first group comprises the cliff on
     the right bank of the Paraná from Rosario to Buenos Aires
     and the coastal cliff which is a continuation of it, with a
     break from Enseñada at Mar Chiquita to Bahía Blanca. Ameghino
     has recognized there a thick series of æolian deposits
     separated by several discordances, the oldest elements of
     which, at Bahía Blanca, belong to the Miocene. The second
     group comprises the cliffs which enclose the valley of the Rio
     Primero above and below Córdoba. Doering and Bodenbender in
     this case describe two stages of æolian loess, each covered by
     torrential gravel.

     From the study of these sections geologists have drawn
     certain conclusions as to the movements which have affected
     the soil of the Pampa and the changes which the climate has
     experienced. These conclusions have in each case only a local
     value, and they have not yet been co-ordinated. The majority
     of the observers, from Doering to Bailey Willis and Rovereto,
     seem not to have taken into account sufficiently the fact that
     in the continental formations the most diverse deposits may
     come next to each other in the same series, according to the
     particular process of deposition, and that their alternation
     does not imply a general change in the conditions of erosion.

When we confine ourselves to studying the actual conditions in which
the deposits were formed, we are first struck by the poverty of the
hydrographic network of the Pampa. It is slight except in the vicinity
of the sierras, where the slope of the ground is pronounced, and in the
eastern area, on the right bank of the Paraná and Entre Rios, where
the climate is more humid, and the streams flowing over an impermeable
soil more numerous. The only one of the streams born in the Pampean
sierras that reaches the Paraná is the Rio Tercero or Carcaraña. All
the others dwindle as they descend, and disappear in a low-lying
district marked by lagoons which they only reach in time of flood. The
floods themselves never bring the Rio Cuarto and the Rio Quinto and the
Salado de Buenos Aires into touch with each other. The waters of the
northern slope of the Sierra de Tandil, and even those of the Sierra
de Curumalal, on the other hand, reach the Salado after the rains,
either by way of streams which drain the strings of lagoons, or by
flood-sheets, which spread over large areas.

The watercourses of the plain are unstable in their direction. The
traces of their wanderings remain in the form of stretches of alluvial
sand crossing the fine æolian clays. These river sands sometimes spread
over extensive areas, the distribution depending upon a hydrographic
scheme which is now partially effaced. The sands of the departments of
General Lopez (south of the Santa Fé province) and General Arenales
(Buenos Aires province), where the Salado is now developed, were
probably brought by the Rio Cuarto, and mark an earlier junction of
the Cuarto and the Salado. These sands run along the Salado as far as
the confluence of the Saladillo, and the contrast between the light
soil and the clay of the bank of the Paraná is so striking that the
sand has long been regarded as a marine deposit, indicating an ancient
shore. Along the Saladillo also, north-west of the Guamini lagoons,
there is a sandy belt which corresponds with an important direction
taken by the actual flow of the river, crossing the Bolivar and Veinte
Cinco de Mayo departments.

While the agency of running water in transporting alluvia is confined
to certain sections of the plain, the action of the wind is seen over
its entire surface. The wind everywhere supplements or replaces running
water. Like running water, it classifies the elements it conveys, and
selects them according to their weight and size, the finest clays being
deposited in the moist eastern zone and the coarsest sands in the
sub-desert zone of the west. The mechanism of erosion explains this
contrast. The grains of sand that are driven by the wind travel at the
surface of the ground as long as the vegetation is too sparse to fix
them. If one goes further east, to a moister district with a thicker
vegetal carpet, the grains of sand no longer move at the surface of
the ground, but the wind still carries fine particles of clay, which
it bears to a great height. The bed of clay does not at all imply an
arid climate, as is said sometimes, but corresponds to the region of
the steppes, with moderate rainfall. It is, however, during dry seasons
that the deposition of clay is at its greatest. Darwin mentions that
after the droughts of 1827-1830 in the area round the Paraná, the marks
were buried under dust to such an extent that one could no longer
recognize the limits of the various lands. Apart, however, from these
sorts of floods or storms of dust caused by the _pampero_, the summer
atmosphere is clearly laden with dust, which colours the skies in the
east of the Buenos Aires province, as far as Entre Rios.

The contour of the plain bears, like the soil, the double marks of
erosion by running water and æolian erosion. The rivers of the Pampa,
when they leave the sierras, flow between high cliffs, the height
diminishing as one goes downward. Presently these _barrancas_ become
low, approach each other, and at last merely mark the banks of a larger
bed which the floods fill. There is no trace of valleys. Bailey Willis,
surprised at this weakness of watercourses that have, nevertheless, an
appreciable fall, attributes it to the fact that the cycle of erosion
opened by the last upheaval of the Pampa has not yet had time to
penetrate into the interior. In reality, it means that here we are at
the limit of the zone of erosion by running water, and that in this
climate the essential factor in shaping the landscape is the wind.

The region of the right bank of the Paraná (east of the Salado),
which alone has a complete hydrographic network, must be considered
apart. From the latitude of Rosario to that of Buenos Aires it is cut
by flat-bottomed valleys which are sometimes a hundred feet deep.
The excavation of these valleys is due to an upheaval which raised
this part of the Pampa above the base-level. The rapids of the lower
Carcaraña also bear witness to this resumption of excavation. Farther
on an inverse movement has put the bottom of the valleys below this
level, and led to their being filled up (lagoon deposits of the
Lujanense of Ameghino). South of Buenos Aires the upheaval has been
less important, and the valleys are not so deep. Some of them (middle
Salado and its tributaries on the left bank) are now occupied by long
lagoons with steep banks, branching along the side-valleys, and these
owe their origin to the same negative movement, subsequent to the
excavation of the valleys. The upheaval did not extend to the eastern
part of the province of Buenos Aires south of the Salado, a low-lying
flat area, badly drained, exposed to floods, the contour of which has
been minutely studied in connection with the construction of a great
network of drainage-canals. North of Rosario, on the only slightly
permeable clay, the water circulates, after rain, not by means of
valleys in the proper sense, but along broad and almost imperceptible
depressions (_cañadas_) where the current is slow, and the water dries
up in the dry season. Their general relations are not yet known.

The loose deposits of the Pampean offer little resistance to erosion.
The cycles are run through rapidly, and the traces of earlier cycles
are faint, and are soon effaced.[83]

     [83] Certain features of the hydrographic network clearly have
     the character of having been superimposed: that is to say, the
     path of the watercourses has been bequeathed to the actual
     plain by former erosion-surfaces, which have now disappeared,
     on which the valleys were originally imposed. That is why
     in the district of the confluence of the Colorado and the
     Chadi-Leuvu the valleys pass from Pampean deposits to the
     crystalline sierras, which were at one time entirely covered
     with water.

An ancient erosion-surface, dissected by the existing valleys, has
survived in the south-west of the Pampean plain, thanks to the presence
on the surface of a sheet of hard limestone, the _tosca_. The _tosca_
is the result of the concentration of calcareous elements contained
in clay at the surface in a dry climate. The formation of it implies
a prolonged stability of the surface on which it has accumulated.
Like the deep decomposition-soils in moister regions, it indicates
a peneplain on which erosion has ceased. The bed of _tosca_ covers
the whole district between the Sierra de Tandil and the Sierra de la
Ventana, the south-western slope of the Ventana, and most of the area
of the central Pampa. In the north it does not go beyond the line from
Buenos Aires to San Rafael. Its eastern limit goes almost by Ingeniero
Malmen, Monte Nievas, and Atreuco, where it joins the southern bank of
the lagoons of Carhue and Guamini in the east.[84] In some places the
tosca is about forty feet thick.

     [84] In the vicinity of San Luis and Córdoba the hard strata
     which are called _tosca_ are beds of eruptive ashes.

To-day the region of the _tosca_ forms a plateau cut by narrow valleys,
sometimes 200 feet deep, west of the Sierra de la Ventana and in
the central Pampa. These parallel valleys, with few ramifications,
generally lying south-west to north-east, open to the east upon the
Pampean plain about the frontier of the Buenos Aires province. On the
other hand, the southernmost of them begin at the foot of the Ventana,
and seem to blend in the south-west with a general depression that
is still little known, though it appears to end at the bottom of the
estuary of Bahía Blanca. None of them has permanent running water.[85]
The origin of the dry valleys of the _tosca_ is one of the most obscure
problems of the morphology of the Pampean plain. Perhaps they are due
to æolian erosion, like the depressions which are found on the plateau
of the Colorado and the Rio Negro further south.

     [85] The surface of the _tosca_ tableland is further
     punctuated by a great number of closed depressions of various
     depths: long tunnels (_dolines_) which can only be explained,
     apparently, as an effect of the dissolving of the limestone by

The action of the wind in shaping the landscape is more clearly seen
in the formation of the dunes. When one starts from Buenos Aires or
Rosario, and gets beyond the region of the level Pampas, the dunes are
the first feature to meet the eye on the surface of the plain. The
first fresh dunes are encountered at Carlota, on the line from the Rio
Cuarto; at Lavalle on the line from Villa Mercedes; and at Trenque
Lauquen on the line from Toay. The dunes spread northward as far as the
latitude of Mar Chiquita, but do not enter the Chaco. They are also
found in parts of the scrub on the west, but their proper domain is the
western border of the steppe, the upper part of the plain at the foot
of the Sierra de Córdoba, the south of the San Luis province, and the
central Pampa.

Any accident that causes the vegetal covering to disappear, such as
the tread of cattle near a drinking place or an enclosure, is enough
to set æolian erosion at work. The wind raises the sand in a sort of
tossing sea. Then the dune assumes a circular shape. A depression
appears in the centre, and it deepens until it reaches the average
level of the plain. Frequently there is a little lake in it. From this
point onward the deformations are less rapid. The vegetation again
creeps over the ground, and the dune falls a prey to the rains, which
slowly reduce its mass.

In the central Pampa, where the elevation is considerable, the dunes
do not form separate circular patches, but stretch in lines parallel
to the valleys--sometimes in the heart of the valley, at other times
backing against one of its slopes.

Far to the east of the zone of the quick dunes, in the south of the
Córdoba province and the centre of the Buenos Aires province, there
are certain soft undulations, covered with vegetation, with a sandier
soil than that of the plain around them. These are dead dunes. The
district of the dead dunes is characterized by the extreme irregularity
of the surface-soil, the humus, which gains in richness and depth, as a
general rule, as one goes eastward, because there it is in some places
covered by recent æolian deposits.

The distribution of the dead dunes is connected with the stretches of
river sand across the Pampa, which have offered an easy victim to the
winds. A line of dead dunes follows the upper course of the Salado in
the district of Junin and Bragado. On the line from Buenos Aires to San
Luis one crosses it between Chacabuco and Vedia, and then one comes
again upon the horizontal plain, which has fresh dunes, only further
west, at 120 miles from Villa Mercedes. Its elevation is so conspicuous
on the level plain that the first breeders who used its pasturage gave
it the emphatic name of the _cerillada_. D'Azara correctly appreciated
the nature of it. "It is," he says, "only a dune of very fine sand."
It is only a few yards high. The dead dunes of the Bolivar and Veinte
Cinco de Mayo departments, which Parchappe described, have a more
conspicuous relief, and in their disposition sometimes remind us of
the fresh circular dunes with a central lagoon. The lines of coastal
dunes in the eastern part of the Buenos Aires province obstruct the
proper flow of the water there, and form a group apart, which must be
clearly distinguished from the dunes on the plain.[86]

     [86] Outside the districts with quick and dead dunes, a
     frequent type of landscape on the Pampa is a plain thinly
     sown with very small lagoons, generally circular, between
     which develop a series of barely perceptible undulations. The
     inequality is at times so slight that one only notices it
     by the contrast between the vegetation of the lower and the
     higher ground. This type of landscape, which is especially
     seen in the district of Lincoln or of Nueve de Julio, is
     due to the action of the wind on a plain where the level of
     the underground water is near the surface. This level marks
     a limit below which æolian erosion does not take place: a
     sort of base-level. The periodic variations of level of the
     underground water reduce or enlarge the undulations of the

Thus the impression of monotony which the Pampa makes in us is
corrected to some extent by close observation. High and low land
alternate on it. Parchappe himself had noticed the contrast between
the area that stretches from Buenos Aires to the Salado, with its soft
undulations and its well-developed hydrographic network, the horizontal
plains on the right bank of the Salado, with their irregular dunes, and
the southern plateau of the _tosca_ between the Sierra de Tandil and
the Sierra de la Ventana.

       *       *       *       *       *

We may now distinguish the following regions in the Pampa as a whole:

1. The central part of the Santa Fé province forms what is called
the district of the "colonies": that is to say, the domain of the
colonies established two generations ago, and the zone in which the
type of cultivation introduced by them took root. The chief crops here
are wheat and flax. Hedges of service trees (_paraisos_) surround the
fields. In contrast with the parts of the Pampa which have remained
naked, the region of the colonies seems a veritable grove. It stretches
westward beyond the frontier of the Córdoba province, and it reaches
the fringe of the _monte_ between San Francisco and Mar Chiquita.
For the north, Miatello gives 30° S. lat. as the normal limit of the
wheat-growing area; beyond this it suffers both from the low rainfall
of winter and the excessive rainfall in summer. As a matter of fact,
the large estates only reach this latitude on the line from San
Francisco to Ceres. On the Resistencia line, north of Santa Fé, they
stop at 30° 30' S. lat. In the intervening district the limit of the
region of the colonies almost coincides with that of the department of
Castellanos, about 30° 45' S. lat. The area lying between this line
and the northern edge of the Pampa is given up to breeding. In the
south the region of the colonies stretches as far as Las Bandurias and

2. South of the region of the colonies, the tableland on the right bank
of the Paraná, west of Rosario and San Nicolas, is the maize region,
the corn belt of Argentina. Flax is generally cultivated as well as
maize. It is the agricultural country _par excellence_ of Argentina.
The soil, of fine clay, dark red in colour and retentive of moisture,
and the abundant summer rains, are very suitable for maize. The limits
of the maize region describe an arc of a circle round Rosario with a
radius of 60 to 100 miles. They do not quite reach the frontier of
Córdoba in the west, and they leave out the entire south-western corner
of the Santa Fé province. The maize belt touches the Paraná between
32° S. lat. and the Baradero. In the north it passes suddenly into the
region of the colonies. In the south, on the other hand, there is at
the edge of the corn belt an extensive transition-area, where maize and
wheat occupy pretty much the same surface; it stretches as far as the
Rio Salado de Buenos Aires.

3. The region of the lucerne farms is much larger. It comprises the
whole north-west corner of the Buenos Aires province, from the Salado,
in the district of Junin, to the southern limit of the Nueve de Julio
and Pehuajo departments, and as far as the latitude of Guamini. The
limit of the lucerne farms does not include the lands of the central
Pampa, but advances westward and takes in part of the Pedernera
department in the San Luis province. The lucerne farms run along the
San Rafael line to Batavia, and at this point they reach the limits of
the colonized zone. In addition, the zone of the lucerne farms includes
the whole south-eastern part of the Córdoba province, as high up as the
line from Villa Mercedes to Villa Maria, and the southern part of the
Santa Fé province. In the whole of this area, fifteen to twenty-five
per cent. of the surface is planted with lucerne. The conditions
required for its cultivation are a moderate depth of the underground
water and a light soil that allows the roots to penetrate easily. The
eastern belt of clays is not good for lucerne, which survives there for
much less time than in the west, where it may live fifteen or twenty

The lucerne belt is above all a great breeding area for horned cattle,
as sheep-pasturage injures the lucerne. It is not nearly so monotonous,
however, as the preceding regions. In the south-east, in the Buenos
Aires province, the creation of the lucerne farms was undertaken at a
time when agricultural colonization had already begun. We therefore
find two types of exploitation side by side. The cultivation of maize
enters it in the south-west, in spite of the comparatively unfavourable
climatic conditions. The centre of the lucerne area in the south of
the Córdoba province is also a great agricultural zone; but there
agriculture is directly connected with the creation of the lucerne
estates. It is, in fact, entrusted to colonists who till the ground
for four or five years, and restore it to the owners sown with lucerne
at the expiration of their lease. The crops consist almost exclusively
of wheat and flax. Lastly, in the west (San Luis province and extreme
south-west of Córdoba province) the soil gets increasingly more sandy,
and the climate drier. A single tillage suffices to destroy the natural
vegetation and clear the place for lucerne. The lucerne fields have
been created by the breeders themselves, the sole masters of the
region, without the aid of the colonists.

4. Beyond the lucerne belt, at the point where the plain rises toward
the Sierra de San Luis and the Sierra de Córdoba, the subterranean
water sinks deeper. This zone at the foot of the ranges, unsuitable
for lucerne, yet with a soil comparatively rich in humus, has been
taken up by agricultural workers. The wheat area extends, in the San
Luis province, as far as Fraga and Naschel, in the Conlara depression.
The maize area extends to Oncativo, in the Córdoba province, between
the Tercero and Secundo rivers, where the summer rainfall is heavier.
Thanks to the nearness of the mountains, this area has a water-supply
for irrigation, and this sustains several small centres of good farms.

5. The south of the Buenos Aires province and the central Pampa are the
wheat zone. The bed of _tosca_, which is not far below the soil, does
no harm to the wheat except in years of drought. The valleys, where
the _tosca_ is interrupted, and the dunes, where the soil is deep, are
very carefully used for lucerne fields of limited extent. Wheat-growing
seems now, both in this and the preceding zone, to have reached its
limit, as the dryness makes it improbable that there will be any
extension westward.

6. Lastly, the east of the Buenos Aires province, the centre of
which is fairly indicated by the little town of Dolores, is the only
part of the Pampean plain which has not been reached by agricultural
colonization. The land lies low, and is badly drained. The only change
that has taken place in the vegetation is a progressive improvement due
to the hoofs of the cattle during their long stays there. This pastoral
area is clearly limited in the south by the Sierra de Tandil. In the
north it is continued in the more varied region that lies between
Buenos Aires and the lower Salado, where the alternation of winter
pasture on the dry lands and summer pasture in the valleys, encourages
the best methods of breeding, and has made it the region of the dairy

In the Entre Rios province the limit of the large estates of wheat and
flax is marked by 32° S. lat. The part of Entre Rios which extends
north of 32° and the Corrientes province do not strictly belong to the
Pampean region.

       *       *       *       *       *

Extensive breeding was the first form taken by white colonization on
the Pampa. The word breeding is, in fact, hardly the correct name for
an industry that mainly consisted of hunting, and was wholly distinct
from the patient and advanced methods used at the same time in the
northern provinces.

"The real wealth of the province of Buenos Aires," says Dean Funes,
"was, and always will be, the trade in hides" (_la pellejería_).[87]
A good part of the hides exported came from the hunting of the wild
cattle and horses which had grown numerous on the area of the Pampa
beyond the Rio Salado.[88] It was mainly after 1778, when trade with
Spain had been authorized and there was an increased demand for hides,
that the hunting of these ownerless beasts was taken up. Two thousand
Spaniards from Buenos Aires, Santa Fé and Mendoza hunted every day,
says D'Azara, killing an animal for each of their meals in addition
to those they killed for hides. From 1775 to the Revolution, the
Spanish Government made continuous efforts to regulate and reduce the
massacre of the herds. It laid down penalties for every person selling
hides that did not bear his own mark; it farmed out the right to hunt
animals with no mark, and organized the destruction of wild dogs, etc.
The ranches developed under shelter of this legislation. Still, the
Revolution did not witness the end of this cattle-hunting. D'Orbigny
took part in 1828 in two hunts of wild horses (_baguales_) in Entre
Rios. The Argentine _gaucho_ long retained the ways of a hunter rather
than those of a breeder in the strict sense; witness Urquiza's soldiers
who, says Demersay, during the campaign of 1846, when they could not
find trees to which they could fasten their horses, killed cattle and
tied the reins to their horns.

     [87] _Ensayo de la historia civil del Paraguay, Buenos Aires,
     y Tucumán_ (3 vols, in 16^{mo}) Buenos Aires, 1816, t. iii, p.

     [88] The number of wild animals and the area over which they
     roamed have often been exaggerated. It does not look as if
     they ever covered the whole of the Pampean plain. A salter who
     crossed Patagonia and the whole of the Pampa in 1753 (_Voyage
     du San Martin au fort de San Julian_, Coll. de Angelis, v.)
     only found wild herds near the Salado frontier, and he knew by
     this that he was close to the ranches. At the beginning of the
     nineteenth century there were no wild cattle left on the right
     bank of the Paraná. There were still some in Entre Rios.

Passing from the hunting country to the zone of ranches, one notices
that the main work of the breeder is to prevent his cattle from running
wild. "The ranches of this country," said Dean Funes, "having been set
up on immense plains, on which it was not easy to confine the herds
within fixed limits, it sometimes happened that the animals went vast
distances in search of water or pasture, and ended by being regarded
as wild and ownerless," When D'Azara wants to show that the ranches
of Paraguay are superior to those of Buenos Aires, he is content to
say that there the animals are tamer (_mansos_). With the wild animal
(_alzado_) is contrasted the _de rodeo_ animal: that is to say, the
cattle which are rounded up periodically in the centre of the ranch to
be taken to the pasture where they must live (_aquerenciar_). It is the
difficulty of preventing the dispersal of the herd that fixes the price
of the _rincones_ (surrounded by inundated areas) of Corrientes, in
which the animals are captives.

MacKann's description of pastoral life in the Buenos Aires province in
the middle of the nineteenth century give us a very clear impression
of the stage of transition between exploiting the natural increase of
a herd that multiplies without man's intervention, and breeding in
the strict sense. The value of a horse in the former case is almost
exclusively the cost of breaking it in. The breeder is actually anxious
when he sees his horses increase, as he fears he may not have the
resources for breaking them in. The most formidable of the dangers that
threatened the feeble discipline of the herd was drought. That in the
year 1827 was a disaster. The animals left the ranches in a body to go
southward, where they mixed.[89]

     [89] The water problem is not as important for the history of
     colonization in the Pampean region as in the north. Primitive
     breeding was confined to natural supplies of water, lagoons
     or streams, and to shallow wells (_jagueles_) dug down to
     the superficial sheet, which is generally not deep, but is
     liable to dry up. As colonization improved, the breeder, and
     subsequently the farmer, were better equipped for boring
     wells, and no longer feared drought. They got down to the
     deeper waters, semi-artesian (Buenos Aires district) or
     artesian (west of the Santa Fé province, round San Francisco).
     In other places the superficial waters, which are fresher
     than the deeper layers, were used by adapting new types of
     filters to the wells (Buena Esperanza district). The only two
     districts where the quest of water offered any difficulty are
     the south-west corner of the Pampean region and the northern
     extremity of the prairie in the Santa Fé province. The sheets
     of water are very irregular there, often saline, and it was a
     long time before the ranches got an assured supply.

     One remarkable circumstance is the importance of the dunes in
     connection with the distribution of the underground water. The
     rain-water accumulates in the dunes and flows slowly through
     the sand to the sub-soil. The level of the underground sheet
     in the clay on which the dune rests is always nearer the
     surface in the neighbourhood of the dune. The dune itself has
     often a greener vegetation than the land around it. Nothing
     is more surprising than to find at Medanos (west of Bahía
     Blanca), in the middle of a plain of arid aspect, fields of
     lucerne and orchards lodged in the hollows of dunes that are
     still fresh. In the whole of the Buenos Aires province the
     dead district of the dunes is, on account of its water-supply,
     a good place for habitation. D'Azara notices the numerous
     water-spots which ran along the foot of the dead dunes of the
     Cerillada. All round were the white bones of the _baguales_.
     In the valleys of the central Pampa, where the sheet of water
     in the centre of the valley is often saline, the underground
     water improves gradually as one approaches the line of the

Revolutions and wars interrupted the work of taming the cattle. When
Galvez went from the Córdoba province to Buenos Aires at the end of the
Rosas Government, he was struck by the condition of the ranches.[90]
Many of them had been confiscated, or their owners driven into exile.
Cattle were no longer marked, and they had become wild. The troubles
of the emancipation-period were much less injurious to the Buenos
Aires breeders than to those of Entre Rios. The Entre Rios herd was
almost annihilated during the revolution, and some of the ranchers of
the left bank crossed to the right bank of the Paraná. After 1823 the
pastoral wealth of Entre Rios was rapidly restored, thanks to raids on
Brazilian territory. They were so profitable that the whole population
took part in them. In 1827 the inhabitants of Bajada went there in such
numbers that the town was half deserted. Every day thousands of cattle
were collected on the bank of the Uruguay, and crossed the river. Some
of them were even taken beyond the Paraná, to the Santa Fé province.
Woodbine Parish confirms this rapid restoration of Entre Rios, of
which D'Orbigny was a witness. But this period of prosperity did not
last long. The war with Uruguay, under Rosas, again ruined the Entre
Rios ranches, and the drought of 1846 helped to scatter the remaining
herds. Extensive breeding is only lightly rooted in the soil. The
chief centres of production change their locality, as the political
circumstances change, from one part of the Pampean plain to another.

     [90] V. Galvez, _Memorias de un viejo_ (Buenos Aires, 3 vols,
     in 16^{mo}, 4th ed, 1889).

  _Small circular lagoons. The underground water, which comes from the
  Sierras to the north-west, here reaches the surface. Zone of lucerne
                                             Photograph by the Author.]

  _The plain is sown with quick and dead dunes, often shaped in a circle
  round a lagoon. A dune invaded by vegetation._
                                              Photograph by the Author.
  PLATE XVI.                                           To face p. 182.]

Primitive breeding affords few examples of periodical migration for the
better use of pasturage. In 1822, in the course of a journey amongst
the Sierras de Tandil and de la Ventana, Colonel Garcia noticed that
the Indians kept their cattle round the temporary lagoons of the
plain in the winter, and went up to the mountain-streams in summer.
Transhumation movements of this kind were difficult for the creole
ranchers, whose fairly large herds could not be handled easily. The
Chascomus breeders, however, at the close of the eighteenth century,
drove their cattle to the low banks of the Salado during the dry
season.[91] Garcia also notices the importance of the Salado pastures
for the ranches of Salto, Areco, and Lujan.[92] The need to remove the
herds in the dry season, and to find _invernadas_ within reach of the
former ranches, was due to the change brought about in the natural
vegetation of the Pampa and the spread of the _pasto dulce_. The
annual herbs which compose the _pasto dulce_ die and disappear after
fertilization. Until the autumn rain they leave the ground quite naked,
whereas the tough grasses of the _pasto duro_ afforded a thin but
permanent pasture.

     [91] _Diario de un reconocimiento de las guardias y fortines
     que garnecen la linea de frontera de Buenos Aires_ (1796), by
     D. Felix de Azara (Coll. de Angelis, vi.).

     [92] _Nueva plan de fronteras de la Provincia de Buenos Aires
     por el Colonel Garcia_ (1816, Coll. de Angelis, vi.).

       *       *       *       *       *

The first improvements of the pastoral industry of the Pampa are
connected with the development of sheep-breeding. Exports of wool
began about 1840, and made great progress after 1855 (17,000 tons
in 1860, 65,000 tons in 1870). From 1850 to about 1890 the economic
returns on sheep-breeding were far better than on cattle-breeding.
During the whole of this period the multiplication of sheep farms was
only restricted by the supply of workers. The first shepherds had been
Basques, in the south of the Buenos Aires province, and Irish, in the
north. The owner settled them as small farmers in the _puestos_ on the
edge of the ranch, the central part of which was devoted to cattle.
They could thus, while they guarded their sheep, see that the limits of
the estate were respected, and prevent the cattle from roaming.

Wool was for a long time the only product of the sheep-rearing
industry. From 1866 onward it was decided to use the hides and tallow
also. As the material of the grease-works was cheap, they spread all
over the sheep zone. Many ranches had works of their own. From 1867
to 1877 the _saladeros_ that had been built long before for killing
cattle undertook the slaughter of sheep on a large scale. The number
of sheep sold to the _saladeros_ rose to 3,000,000 a year. In 1880 the
first cargoes of frozen mutton were sent abroad. The creation of the
grease-works had made no difference to the breeding, but the building
of the refrigerators brought about a rapid transformation of the flock.
The Lincoln breed, heavier and more meaty, displaced the fine-wool
Merinos. This substitution of Lincolns for Merinos is now complete
throughout the Pampean region.

Until 1880 sheep-rearing was concentrated east of the Salado, north
and south of Buenos Aires, beginning with a line that passes through
Quilmes, San Vicente, Pilar, and Campana, which marks the limit of the
suburban zone. In addition it had spread on the right bank of the lower
Salado as far as the foot of the Sierra de Tandil, in an area where the
first stations date from 1823, though the population did not make much
progress until after 1855. About 1880, after the pacification of the
Pampa, the sheep-farms began to expand westward. It was then that the
wool of the _pasto fuerte_ appeared on the Buenos Aires market. It came
from the Azal district in 1870, from Olavarria in 1880, from Bolivar in
1885, and from Villegas in 1890. The Census of 1889 ascribes 51,000,000
sheep to the province of Buenos Aires; that of 1895 gives much the same
figure (52,000,000). Detailed comparison of the two enumerations shows
that the expansive movement to the west continued, and was completed
during this period. The flocks in the north-west zone of the province
(Lincoln, Villegas, Trenque, Lauquen) more than doubled; the flocks of
the south-west area (Alsina, Puan, Bahía Blanca, Villarino) continued
to grow, and increased by a third. Those on the lands of the central
Pampa increased threefold. On the other hand, in the departments
north and south of the Sierra de Tandil, where colonization is older,
sheep-breeding is stationary. The north-east and south-east areas,
between the Paraná and the Salado, have diminished: one losing a fifth,
and the other a half, of its flocks.

From 1895 onward the number of flocks of sheep on the Pampean plain
decreased rapidly. The number of sheep had sunk from 34,000,000 in 1908
to 18,000,000 in 1915 for the Buenos Aires province; from 2,800,000
in 1908 to 2,300,000 in 1914 for the central Pampa. The reduction was
general, and found in every district; but it was not equally great
everywhere, and did not begin at the same date in every district.
Sheep-breeding has almost entirely disappeared from the eastern belt,
east of the Salado, which was its cradle. South of Buenos Aires
the sheep are giving place to horned cattle, and they had almost
disappeared by 1908. North of Buenos Aires they survived long, but
the reduction of the flocks has only been the more rapid since 1908.
This corresponds with the advance of maize-growing. In six years the
Bartolome Mitre and Pergamino departments have lost, respectively,
four-fifths and five-sixths of their sheep. In the north-west of the
Buenos Aires province the sheep began to be reduced at the time when
the lucerne farms were founded, about 1900. The decrease has since
gone on uninterruptedly. The actual flocks represent one-fourth of
the flocks of 1895. In the south-west (wheat belt) there was a rapid
shrinkage before 1908, but it seems to have almost been arrested since
then, thanks to the combining of sheep-rearing with wheat and oats. The
actual flocks are about one-half the flocks of 1895. Finally, in the
area north of the Sierra de Tandil the sheep retreat before the cattle,
as they do further north, but they are not so completely wiped out as
in the lucerne belt, and the flocks are still two fifths of the flocks
of twenty years ago.

In the province of Entre Rios and south of Corrientes the number of
sheep continued to rise until 1908, but the increase is only in the
northern departments, outside the agricultural belt. The southern
departments, which are large growers of wheat and flax, lost one-third
of their flocks between 1895 and 1908.

Cattle-breeding was restricted for a long time by the difficulty of
disposing of its products. The hides alone found ready buyers. The
making and export of salt beef dates from the eighteenth century, and
it was to help this industry that the expeditions to the salt-beds of
the Pampa and the journeys of salters to the Patagonian coast were
organized. From 1792 to 1796 no less than 39,000 quintals of jerked
beef were sent from the Rio de la Plata to Havana. But the market for
salt meat (_tasajo_) was always limited. It consisted only of the
Antilles and Brazil, and the _saladeros_ never fully exploited the
meat-producing capacity of the Argentine herds. The crisis of the
_saladeros_ occurred before the time when the refrigerators began to
compete with them. By 1889 there were only three left in the province
of Buenos Aires.

Although the price of cattle was not very remunerative, and provided
no incentive to improve the breeding; although the _saladero_ was not
at all exorbitant, merely asking for animals in good condition, the
improvement of the herd by introducing selected pedigree-breeders had
begun about the middle of the nineteenth century. The Basque dairies
established in the district near Buenos Aires sold pedigree-calves
to the ranches, and these were used for breeding purposes.[93] About
1880 the advance of sheep-breeding pressed the cattle-ranches back and
disputed the space with them more and more, within the ancient Indian
frontier. The smallness of the market for cattle and their slight
mercantile value were very favourable circumstances for the occupation
of the new lands, thrown open at this date by the submission of the
Indians. The herds which found no buyers were sent to the _campos
de afuera_. The ranches developed very rapidly. Daireaux has very
accurately described this period of pastoral colonization, and the
starting of convoys that were intended to give a population to the west
of the Pampa. Cattle were there several years before sheep. As a matter
of fact, breeders do not regard cattle as having a value of their own.
They are merely auxiliaries that must improve the pasture and prepare
the ground for sheep. The cattle themselves are preceded by troops of
half-wild horses which first take possession of the virgin field and
begin the transformation of it.

     [93] This is, in a special form, the first instance of
     specialization, in the cantons of the Pampean region, in the
     breeding industry, properly so called (producing breeders).

The number of cattle increases rapidly. In 1875 it was estimated that
there were 5,000,000 head of cattle in the province of Buenos Aires.
In 1889 there were 8,500,000. Since that date the variations have
been comparatively slight. The Census of 1895 gives 7,700,000; that
of 1908 gives 10,300,000; that of 1914 gives 9,000,000; and that of
1915 gives 11,300,000.[94] But the value of the cattle has gone up
rapidly. The exports of live meat, which lasted from 1889 to 1900, were
the beginning of the rise. It was strengthened when the refrigerators
ceased to confine themselves to killing sheep and began to buy cattle.
The exports of chilled or frozen beef increased after 1898. The value
of them rose to 10,000,000 gold piastres in 1904, double that in 1909,
and more than quadruple in 1914.

     [94] The variations in number are less considerable for the
     Pampean region than for the whole of Argentina. It is better
     supplied with capital than the other breeding districts, and
     can rapidly replace the losses caused by excessive export by
     buying cattle in the adjoining provinces.

The difference between the price paid by the refrigerators for
pedigree-cattle and the price of animals of creole blood, which the
local market takes, hurries up the transformation of the herd. In
order to watch reproduction and nurse the pasture, the ranches put up
wire-fences. But the breeding methods are especially modified by the
introduction of lucerne. It spread in the south of Córdoba and west of
the Buenos Aires province from 1895 onward, and from 1905 onward in
part of the San Luis province. There were already small lucerne farms
in the Buenos Aires province. A description that was written at the
end of the eighteenth century speaks of lucerne farms round the town
which were reserved for feeding draught cattle.[95] But the area from
which the cultivation of lucerne started at the close of the nineteenth
century is the district of the Córdoba province that is crossed by the
line from Rosario to Córdoba, completed about 1870 to Bellville and
Villa Marina. The lucerne farms there were not created by the breeders,
and the lucerne was at first intended for export to Rosario and Buenos
Aires in the form of dry fodder. The trade in dry fodder has remained
good there. The 1908 Census gives 128 square kilometres of lucerne for
cutting in the Tercero Abajo department (Villa Maria) and 267 square
kilometres in the Union department (Bellville).[96]

     [95] Fernando Barrero, _Descripción de las provincias del Rio
     de la Plata_ (published by the Argentine Ministry of Foreign
     Affairs, Buenos Aires, 1911).

     [96] Amongst the specialized industries connected with the
     development of the lucerne farms we must mention the growing
     of lucerne for seed, which has settled in the dry zones, where
     the lucerne is not so much invaded by other species; for
     instance, the district of Madanos, west of Bahía Blanca.

  _The density of the herd is slight in the maize belt. It is
  considerable in the centre and east of the Pampean region, which supply
  the refrigerators with pedigree stock of good weight. The density is
  considerable also in the north of Mesopotamia, but the cattle there
  are less valuable and are taken by the saladeros of the Uruguay. The
  presence of the tick, which inoculates cattle with Texas fever, is
  the chief obstacle to the improvement of the herd in the north of
  Argentina._                                             To face p. 188.]

The lucerne spread southward and south-westward from this point; and
the improvement of the herds kept pace with it. I have shown elsewhere
how this improvement was checked north of a line along the course of
the Paraná, the northern frontier of the Constitución and General Lopez
departments, in the province of Santa Fé and on the Rio Cuarto, and
in the Córdoba province, by the presence of the _garrapate_, which
inoculates the cattle with a dreaded disease, Texas fever. The creole
cattle are immunized against the _garrapate_, but pedigree cattle
quickly succumb to it. In order to protect the southern zone, where
the _garrapate_ does not reproduce, the Argentine Government imposes
severe restrictions on the transport of cattle from north to south;
the cattle have to have disinfectant baths at the frontier-stations.
This cuts pastoral Argentina in two. While the Durham cattle of the
south are intended for the refrigerators, the creole cattle of the
north still supply the _saladeros_, which have disappeared from Buenos
Aires, but survive on the Uruguay. Yet the advantages of crossing with
European breeds are such that the northern breeders, in spite of the
risk and the expense, have not given up all hope of accomplishing it.
The transformation of the herd, however, is bound to be very slow.
Pedigree breeders are brought from the south and kept in the stable.
Their progeny, born on the spot, resist Texas fever better and can be
put out to pasture. There has been more progress in the contaminated
zone on the right bank of the Paraná than in Entre Rios and Corrientes.
Pedigree animals have been introduced at Santa Fé, not only in the
region of the colonies, but further north, in the extreme northern
corner of the Pampa (San Cristobal department), colonized by ranchers
from the north of Buenos Aires and the south of Santa Fé, who were
ousted by the progress of maize. They have brought with them to the
new lands the cultivation of lucerne and the methods they followed on
their former property. At Corrientes, on the other hand, breeding is an
historic industry. The staff of the ranches is indigenous. The pastoral
traditions are unchanged.

When we study the variations in the numbers of cattle in different
parts of the Pampa, by comparing the results of recent Censuses
we find that the number has risen rapidly since 1895 in the whole
of the eastern area, north of the Sierra de Tandil. The increase
is particularly conspicuous north of the Rio Salado, in the dairy
district. (Mean density in 1915, 40 to 60 horned cattle per square
kilometre.) In the south-west region (wheat belt) the density has
always been low (12 per square kilometre), and it shows no tendency
to increase. In the north and western region of Buenos Aires (lucerne
belt) there has been a rapid increase, especially between 1895 and 1908
(creation of the lucerne farms), and it has not been interrupted since
(density 50 to the square kilometre). There is the same increase in
the whole area of the lucerne farms in the Córdoba, Santa Fé, and San
Luis provinces, where the herds doubled between 1895 and 1908. Only two
regions have suffered a reduction: the agricultural area of the centre
(Chacabuco, Chivilcoy), where there has been a decrease since 1895, and
the maize district (north of Buenos Aires), where cattle-rearing did
not diminish until after 1908.

       *       *       *       *       *

Agriculture had begun to develop by the end of the eighteenth century
in the district round Buenos Aires. D'Azara admits the enormous
preponderance of breeding, but mentions that the right bank of the
Paraná exported flour to the left bank, which was exclusively pastoral.
Barrero also observes that between the belt of orchards and lucerne
fields, about a league in width, which surrounded Buenos Aires, and
the area of the ranches, which did not begin for six or eight leagues,
there was an agricultural belt, the district of the _chacras de pan
llevar_. The main crop was wheat, and the tillage was chiefly done in
the rich soils at the bottom of the valleys, which are called _cañadas_
in the local dialect (cañada de Moron, cañada du Rio Lujan, etc.).

It was, however, not at Buenos Aires, but in the Santa Fé province,
that modern agricultural colonization began in the nineteenth century.
It goes back to the foundation (in 1854) of the colony of Esperanza,
west of Santa Fé, from which it was separated by the strip of forest
which follows the course of the Salado. European immigrants--Swiss,
French, and Piedmontese--had settled there. The early years of
colonization at Santa Fé were difficult, and the colonies did not begin
to develop rapidly until after 1870. About that date we can distinguish
three nuclei of agricultural colonization at Santa Fé. The first group
of colonies was settled in the north, on the bank of the Paraná. In the
centre the Esperanza group advanced steadily westward. A third group
of colonies lay along the Central Argentine railway from Rosario to

The Esperanza colonists had at first grown maize, but the prosperity
of the colonies was mainly due to wheat. Zeballos, who visited the
colonies in 1882, describes them as a vast lake of wheat. Wheat
predominates, not only in the department of Las Colonias, west of Santa
Fé, where it survives in full strength, but further north, at Garay,
whence it has since been displaced by flax and earth-nuts, and in the
south, round Rosario, in the belt which is now given up to maize. It is
for the wheat that the mills of Carcaraña and the granaries of Rosario
have been built. The land sown with wheat at Santa Fé rose in 1882
to 102,000 hectares out of a total of 127,000 hectares of cultivated
land.[97] By 1889 the area of wheat was quadrupled. It spread like a
drop of oil, reaching Rafäela and Castellanos on the west. In 1895 the
advance was still more rapid. Wheat-growing has crossed the Córdoba
frontier, and spread round San Francisco and east of Mar Chiquita
(departments of San Justo and Marcos Juarez). The agricultural regions
in the centre of the Santa Fé province and those of the Central
Argentine have met, and the wheat has invaded the whole of the San
Martin department. It extends even south of the old colonies of the
Central Argentine toward the south-west of Santa Fé, in the General
Lopez department.

     [97] The population of the Santa Fé colonies in 1882 was
     52,000, of whom 12,000 were in the colonies of the San Javier,
     north of the town of Santa Fé.

The 1908 Census shows a very different state of things. The density of
the wheat-cultivation has continued to grow appreciably in the whole
of the northern region, and also in the south-west of the province,
at some distance from the Paraná (General Lopez department). On the
other hand, it has been reduced in the adjoining district of Rosario
(departments of Iriondo, Belgrana, Caseros, and Constitución), where
maize-growing has developed. Maize has won part of the wheat belt.

                  |       Wheat Area     |    Maize Area
                  |    (in kilometres).  |  (in kilometers).
                  | 1889 |  1895 |  1908 | 1889 | 1895 | 1908
  Las Colonias   }|1,623{| 1,307 | 1,621 |}  82 |{  24 |    31
  Castillanos    }|     {| 1,845 | 3,425 |}     |{   4 |     7
  S. Jeronimo    }|  664{|   854 |   849 |}  65 |{  15 |   264
  S. Martin      }|     {|   964 | 1,884 |}     |{  22 |    35
  _Iriondo_      }|  971{|   929 |   442 |}  65 |{  81 |   641
  _Belgrano_     }|     {| 1,137 |   638 |}     |{  37 |   296
  _S. Lorenzo_   }|  652{|   387 | 1,390 |} 178 |{ 150 | 1,169
  _Caseros_      }|     {| 1,139 |   468 |}     |{  83 |   970
  Gal. Lopez     }|   12{|   888 | 1,370 |}  51 |{ 373 | 1,558
  _Constitución_ }|     {|   227 |   165 |}     |{ 575 |   736
  S. Justo       }|   12{|   732 | 2,345 |}  48 |{   7 |    34
  M. Juarez      }|     {| 1,504 | 1,442 |}     |{  53 |    92

Restricted in the south by the extension of the maize belt, the region
of the colonies has now a very distinctive character amongst the
agricultural areas of the Pampa.

     [98] The names of departments which belong in their entirety
     to the maize region are given in italics. The department of
     San Jeronimo straddles the maize region and the region of the
     colonies. The General Lopez territory also extends, in the
     south-west, far beyond the limit of the maize belt.

This originality is not so much in virtue of its crops (hard wheat and
flax) as on account of the age of colonization and the division of
property. Most of the colonists are owners, and estates of 50 to 200
hectares are the rule. The houses are comfortable; they are surrounded
by orchards and kitchen-gardens. Moreover, the rural economy has been
complicated, and it has assumed a familiar aspect for the European
observer, owing to the introduction of cattle-rearing on a small
scale by the farmers. The number of horned cattle doubled between
1908 and 1914 in the Castellanos department, and increased by a third
in Las Colonias. The area of lucerne has extended in proportion. The
farms have been multiplied on the low lands (_cañadas_), unsuitable
for wheat, which the older colonists had disdained; but they are
now regarded as the best bits of land. The recent rise in the value
of land in the region of the colonies is connected, not with an
increase of agricultural production, but a development of breeding. A
few co-operative dairy societies have been established. In general,
however, breeding is solely for the meat-market. The cattle-trade goes
on very different lines from those of the large estates and ranches. It
has remained in the hands of small dealers (Jews of Moïsesville).

Agricultural colonization in the Buenos Aires province was at first
entirely independent of the Santa Fé colonization. The crops of the
adjoining region of Buenos Aires never disappeared altogether. In the
period to which Daireaux's description of the economic life of the
Pampa refers (1880-89), the farmers disputed with the breeders a belt
some ten leagues broad round the capital. But sheep-breeding left no
place for agriculture in the next belt, which enclosed the first on
every side, and extended almost as far as the Salado. Agricultural
colonization had found free land only beyond the sheep-farm area, 170
miles west of Buenos Aires, round Chivilcoy, Chacabuco, and Bragado.
As early as 1872 the Chivilcoy district produced 130,000 hectolitres
of wheat; or nearly half the total production of the Buenos Aires
province. In 1889 it formed a comparatively dense agricultural patch,
the cultivated area being devoted half to wheat and half to maize.

               Wheat.      Maize.

  Chivilcoy    307 kms.    399 kms.

  Chacabuco    155  "      164  "

  Bragado      147  "      261  "

At that date the whole west and south of the Buenos Aires province
was exclusively pastoral. There were only two isolated nuclei of
agricultural colonization. The first was round Olavarria, on the old
Indian frontier, where Russo-German colonies had been established in
1878. The second was in the Suarez department, at the extreme north of
the Sierra de la Ventana, where a group of French colonists settled
five years later, at Pigüe.[99] The opening of the line from Buenos
Aires to Bahía Blanca ought, one would think, to have prepared the
way for agricultural colonization in this section. However, the 1895
Census shows a check to these first attempts at tillage in the south.
It fell by one half at Suarez, and by three-fourths at Olavarria. The
Pigüe colonists have succeeded in keeping to their lands, but those of
Olavarria have abandoned them, and most of them have emigrated to the
Entre Rios province.

     [99] Wheat-area in 1889 in the Olavarria department, 319
     square kilometres; in the Suarez department, 118 square

  _The first_ chañares.
                                             Photograph by the Author.]

  _The clays. A line of dead dunes crosses the Junin district, following
  the course of the Salado. They are indicated by light, sandy soil, very
  different from the clays of the north of Buenos Aires province._
                                              Photograph by the Author.
  PLATE XVII.                                          To face p. 194.]

On the other hand, colonization has kept the land won in the district
of the middle Salado, and it extends in a sporadic way toward the
south-west and west. (Nueve de Julio, 252 square kilometres of wheat
and 400 of maize: Veinte Cinco de Mayo, 84 square kilometres of wheat
and 218 of maize: Junin, 197 square kilometres of wheat and 204 of
maize in 1895). It has been maintained ever since, with slow progress,
but without being ousted by breeding. This is one of the regions of
the Pampa where the most different types of rural exploitation are
mingled together. Agricultural colonization has been carried on both by
small proprietors and farmers or tenants. Wheat and maize seem to be
permanently associated, and the climate is equally good for both; the
maize crop being the better if the summer is wet, and the wheat crop
when the summer is dry. The two cereals follow each other on the same
land, in rotation, the wheat being helped by the constant weeding and
clearing which the maize requires. The colonists use oxen in the work,
and fatten them afterwards.[100]

     [100] Draught animals in 1908: at Chivilcoy, 17,000 cattle
     and 10,000 horses; at Junin, 15,000 cattle and 6,000 horses;
     at Nueve de Julio, 15,000 cattle and 6,000 horses. In the
     region of the Santa Fé colonies: at Castellanos, 17,000 cattle
     and 54,000 horses; at Las Colonias, 6,000 cattle and 35,000
     horses. In the wheat belt (South of Buenos Aires): at Puan,
     (no cattle) 29,000 horses. At the sierras (no cattle), 14,000

Agricultural colonization in the lucerne region dates from 1895 to 1905:

                    |  Wheat Area    |   Flax Area
                    |(in kilometres).|(in kilometres).
                    |  1895 |  1908  |  1895 |  1908
  Buenos Aires:     |       |        |       |
  Lincoln           |  152  |   819  |   --  |  100
  Pehuajo           |  106  |   727  |   --  |   --
    Guamini         |   20  |   528  |   --  |   --
    Trenque Lauquen |  100  | 1,439  |   --  |   59
    Villegas        |    4  |   812  |    1  |   84
    Pinto           |   --  |   469  |   --  |   60
  Córdoba:          |       |        |       |
    Gal. Roca       |   --  | 1,009  |   --  |   89
    Rio Quarto      |    5  | 1,156  |   --  |  172
    Juarez Celman   |  144  | 1,679  |   --  |  183
    Union           |  373  | 2,548  |   12  |  316

Ihave shown how this was bound up with the development of the lucerne
farms themselves. The extreme west of the lucerne belt (Pedernera
department and San Luis) is the only place where the cultivated area
was reduced. The contracts by which the ranchers entrust their lands to
the colonists, on condition of returning them sown with lucerne, were
gradually modified as the stream of colonization developed. The land
was at first left to the colonist rent free, the rancher being paid by
the creation of the lucerne fields. But in proportion to the increasing
volume of the stream of immigrants, and the keener competition of the
colonists, the rancher asked better terms. There are similar contracts
in regard to the restoration of lucerne fields which have been worn
out by pasturage, so that the land has to be ploughed up periodically.
The men who clear the land in the lucerne belt have mostly been
recruited in the district of the old colonies of Santa Fé, where the
new generation had begun to feel the pinch. The crops which they raise
during the four or five years of their lease are chosen without any
idea of sparing lands which they are not to keep. Wheat succeeds wheat,
and the first and last crop is often flax. The proportion of flax is
lower only in the southern part of the lucerne belt. In the Buenos
Aires province the colonist grows lucerne on his own account, either to
sell as dry fodder or for breeding or fattening.

Colonization does not in these parts correspond with the division of
property. Not only does the farmer not become the owner of the soil,
but he does not live on it permanently; he is a veritable nomad. His
house has a temporary look that strikes one at the first glance. The
area cultivated is almost stable, if the region is considered as a
whole. But cultivation passes periodically from one section to another,
and its removals cause sudden alterations or crises in the railway
traffic and the development of the urban centres.

The lucerne belt has been peopled by Santafecinos, and it has in
turn sent colonists to the western agricultural belt at the foot
of the Sierras de San Luis and de Córdoba. They have less suitable
climatological conditions, but they have the advantage of greater
stability, as the breeders do not dispute the land with them.

While agricultural colonization has been an aid to pastoral
colonization in the north-west of Buenos Aires, it tends to displace
breeding, or restrict its sphere, in the north-east and the south.
Maize-growing started on the banks of the Paraná, where it was already
paramount in 1889, between Campana (north of Buenos Aires) and San
Nicolas. In 1895 it advanced up the Paraná as far as the Santa Fé
province (Constitución) and spread over the interior for some sixty
miles in the Salto department. In the next few years it made rapid
progress toward the west and north-west, covering the departments of
Pergamino, Rojas, and Colon, and part of General Lopez, San Lorenzo,
and Constitución in the province of Santa Fé.

                 |   Maize Area.   |    Flax Area.
                 | 1889| 1895| 1908| 1889| 1895| 1908
  Campana        |  67 |  45 |   22|  15 |  31 |  17
  Baradero       | 339 | 260 |  291|  26 |  78 | 173
  S. Pedro       | 398 | 353 |  420|   5 |  73 | 235
  Arrecifes      | 124 | 126 |  155|  15 |  50 | 265
  Salto          |  16 | 326 |  236|  13 |   3 |  75
  Gal. Lopez   } |  51 |{373 |1,538|  -- |  70 | 752
  Constitución } |     |{575 |  736|  -- | 270 | 404
  Pergamino      | 168 | 160 |  340|  50 |  30 | 275
  Rojas          |  86 |  81 |  247|   4 |  23 | 275
  Colon          |  -- |  44 |  126|  -- |  14 |  78
  S. Lorenzo     | 178 | 150 |1,169|  11 |  36 | 450
  Caseros        |  -- |  83 |  990|  -- |  13 | 319

Export of Argentine maize on a large scale began in 1895. Flax-growing
was not added to maize until 1900.

The heavy land requires a good deal of harrowing, and the weeding and
harvesting of the maize give employment to a comparatively large staff.
The estates are of moderate size, often only 50 hectares. Ownership
was not divided at the period of colonization, the land, thanks to the
breeders, having already acquired so high a value that the colonists
could not buy it. On the lands which have been farmed out there has
developed a rural, and often far from docile, proletariat. It is in
the maize region that the worst agricultural strikes have taken place.
The struggles of the owners and the colonists are the more prolonged
because the sowing of the maize can be put back to the end of the
spring without much harm being done. The adjoining zone of the Paraná
produced some of the _maiseros_ who have scattered over the north-west.
But the modern colonies include, in addition, a large proportion of
immigrants who have recently landed from Italy and Spain. The maize
growers do not mix with the wheat-growers. Each group has its own area.

The increase of wheat-growing in the south dates only from 1898:

                    | Wheat Area (in kilometres).
                    |    1895    |     1908
  Alsina            |     45     |    1,296
  Puan              |     52     |    1,321
  Suarez            |    104     |      978
  La Madrid         |     75     |      249
  Pringles          |     13     |      724
  Darrego           |     --     |      885
  Terr. de la Pampa |     --     |    1,731

  _As it needs more heat and moisture than wheat, the maize does not go
  so far to the west and south. It is concentrated for export at the
  ports of the Rio de la Plata and the Paraná, especially at Rosario. The
  Argentine "corn belt," the chief maize area, extends back of Rosario
  and San Nicolas to beyond Casilda and Pergamino._
                                                       To face p. 198.]

Wheat first spread along the line from Buenos Aires to Bahía Blanca,
west of the Sierra de la Ventana, then in the coastal district,
east of Bahía Blanca. These two wheat-areas became connected after
1904, when the opening of the direct line from Olavarria to Buenos
Aires facilitated the development of the intermediate region
(Pringles-Laprida). From Bahía Blanca it spread to the west and
north-west along the Toay line, and southward as far as Colorado on
the coast. In the whole area of the Central Pampa it is still possible
to distinguish two strata of immigrants, of different dates, one
superimposed upon the other: the sheep-breeders and the farmers. Round
Toay the contrast between the two elements of the population is even
more striking, because the first pastoral colonization, which dates
from 1890, was to a great extent the work of creole _puntanos_ (from
the San Luis province). The actual agricultural colonies, on the other
hand, include recent European immigrants and colonists from other parts
of the provinces of Buenos Aires and Entre Rios.

The yield of the wheat grows less and less as one goes westward. The
harvest may be injured either by late frost or drought, or, especially,
by hot winds which scorch the plants and blight the half-realized hopes
of the farmers in the weeks just before the harvest. But the relative
poorness of the return is compensated by the extent of the farms and
the cheapness of labour. The harvest is often done with machines that
peel and pack the wheat, and the workers are not compelled, as they
are at Santa Fé, to wait for the threshing machine. The aridity does
not permit flax-growing, but oats can be grown, especially between the
Sierra de la Ventana and the Sierra de Tandil; and it is good to sow
oats when the land has been impoverished by consecutive crops of wheat.
Exports of oats through Bahía Blanca began in 1906.

The displacement of breeding by farming is less thorough than in the
maize belt. Oats, sown about the beginning of autumn, serve for fodder.
The animals are kept in the fields during the winter, and the oats are
cut and put into the mill, without being threshed, as a reserve fodder.
Moreover, the wheat farmers have themselves taken to rearing sheep,
and the sheep feed in the stubble and fallow.

       *       *       *       *       *

From this short account of the history of colonization we draw certain
important conclusions. At the time when agricultural colonization
began, it was admitted that farming was the best way to exploit the
soil, and that the Pampa would sooner or later pass from the pastoral
to the agricultural cycle; or, to use the local phraseology, that the
"colony" would replace the ranch everywhere. This idea was wrong.
The only area in which the facts seem to give it any support is the
corn belt. The general rule is, on the contrary, that in its progress
colonization develops a mixed type of exploitation, combining farming
and breeding; either one alternates with the other in a sort of
periodic rotation, as in the lucerne area, or both proceed together,
the farmers including breeding amongst their occupations, as in the
district of the Santa Fé colonies or in the wheat area in the south of
the Buenos Aires province.

It seems, moreover, that the development of colonization depends not
only upon physical conditions, but upon factors of a purely economic or
social character, which the geographer must not overlook. It will be
enough here to indicate the chief of these.

We have seen the part that has been played in the exploitation of
the soil by groups of colonists who swarm from one area to another.
Whether we think of the ranchers of the eastern part of Buenos
Aires transplanting themselves to Córdoba or north of Santa Fé, the
sheep-breeders moving westward, or the Santa Fé colonists settling in
the lucerne area, they all take with them their own habits and methods
of work, and they take time to adjust them to a new environment.

  _The wheat belt stretches in a broad section of a circle from Bahía
  Blanca to Santa Fé, which is now reached by maritime vessels. The
  cultivation of wheat crosses the line of 600 millimetres of rainfall,
  and even the 400-millimetre line, in proportion as one passes from the
  area of summer rain to that of spring and autumn rain._
                                                       To face p. 200.]

The colonist, whether breeder or farmer, is not left to himself.
Colonization is sustained and directed by speculation in land, and
is influenced by it. Speculation discounts the work of the colonist,
and attaches to the land a value which is not based upon the revenue
it has produced, but upon that which the speculator calculates that
it may produce in the future. If the speculator is audacious, he does
not let himself be discouraged by initial bad experiences; it takes
repeated checks to exhaust his optimism. The colonist, even if his
farming accounts do not show a profit, may nevertheless gain something
if the value of his land goes up. The increase of his capital conceals
from him the smallness of his returns, especially as he can easily get
advances on the value of his property from the banks, and this enables
him to draw upon his wealth every year.

Speculation is concerned with new lands on the fringe of the area
already colonized, where the soil is, as a general rule, already in the
hands of the exploiters themselves. The speculators, having paid a high
price for these lands, try to organize the development of them. It is
partly owing to their influence that colonization continuously enlarges
its domain, instead of concentrating its labour in the older districts
where it might sometimes be more productive. In fine, speculation in
land has a profound influence on the conditions of colonization, making
it more difficult for the colonist to buy the land he is developing.
The owner who grants him the use of the land means to keep for himself
any increment of its value. He rents, but he will not sell.

Thus the history of colonization cannot be separated from the
traffic in land. The special features of this traffic in the
Pampean region--its concentration at Buenos Aires; the creation of
a land-market resembling a stock market; the practice of selling on
the instalment plan, which enables small capitalists to enter the
market; the repeated transfers of pieces of land which the buyers have
never seen and which they know only from plans--are one of the most
original aspects of modern Argentina. They are partly due to a fact of
a geographical nature--the uniformity of the Pampean plain, on which
every piece of land is worth about as much as the adjoining piece.

Colonization is easy and rapid in proportion as it requires less
capital and labour. The expansion of breeding in the west between 1880
and 1890 was facilitated by the low market price of cattle at that
time. Breeding has the advantage over farming of not needing so large
a staff, but it requires a larger capital. Of the crops, assuming that
the conditions of soil and climate are equally favourable, wheat is
better than maize for colonization, because the preparing of the soil
and the harvest can be done more speedily, and the same number of hands
can plant a larger area with wheat than with maize.

The action of the Argentine Government and the provincial authorities
has been restrained, apart from the earliest period of the
establishment of the Santa Fé colonies, both as regards the securing of
immigrants, the distribution of lands, and the administration of the
colonies.[101] Colonization has been, on the whole, a private affair.
The work of organizing colonization has at times been undertaken by
the proprietors themselves; they leased pieces of land and got a
good price for them, at the same time increasing the surplus value
of the plots they kept for themselves by promoting the increase of
population. Sometimes it was undertaken by Colonization Companies,
which bought land to divide and sell. More frequently it was undertaken
by merchants who advanced credit to the colonists they settled, on
condition that the colonists bought what they needed of the merchants,
and entrusted them with the sale of their crops. The migration of the
Santa Fé colonists was partly due to, and sustained by, a corresponding
migration of merchants who had acquired wealth in the older colonies,
and who thus got a larger body of customers. The merchant who organizes
colonization often acts as the intermediary between the owner and
the colonist, guaranteeing the owner a fixed rent for his land and
receiving so much per cent. of his harvest from the farmer. This system
is very widespread in the corn belt, but it is found all over the plain
of the Pampas. It tends to disappear when the colony is older and
deeper-rooted, as the colonist gradually earns his independence; he
buys his lease, his equipment, and his furniture, and controls the sale
of his own crops. In the districts where he has not become owner, the
leases are generally variations of two types: farming leases, where the
colonist has capital enough for working, and renting leases, where the
capital is provided by the owner or the middleman.

     [101] The Agricultural Centres Law, passed in 1887 by the
     province of Buenos Aires to encourage colonization, has
     not had good results. By the terms of this law, owners
     who professed themselves willing to devote their lands to
     colonization received an advance on the value of the lands
     in the form of mortgages, the interest and repayment of the
     mortgage being charged to the colonists. Many owners took
     advantage of the law, but, after a pretence of colonization,
     kept the ownership of their lands.

Lastly, colonization can make no progress unless it finds markets on
which it can put its produce. Up to the present western Europe has
been the chief market for the wool, leather, meat, and cereals of the
Pampean region; tropical America absorbs part of the output of the
_saladeros_, flour, and dry fodder; and North America has recently
begun to compete with Europe for wool, leather, and frozen meat. The
facility with which the products of the Pampa have found their way into
the world's markets, as is seen in the comparative stability of the
returns, explains the continuous advance of colonization and the short
duration of the crises which have disturbed it.

The home market, however, has had an importance in connection with
colonization that must not be overlooked. When wheat-growing spread
at Santa Fé the crop was at first devoted to supplying Buenos Aires,
and as late as 1883 Zeballos thought that the essential result of
agricultural colonization was the fact that Chilean flour was beaten
off the Argentine market. Even to-day the districts on the outskirts of
the cereal area depend upon the home market. The Villa Mercedes mill
supplies Mendoza. Córdoba and Santa Fé send their flour to Tucumán.
The price of cereals still shows slight fluctuations in these parts as
compared with prices in Buenos Aires.

_Table of Exports of the Chief Products of the Pampean region_ (_in
thousands of tons_):

                 |  1901 |  1905 |  1910 |  1913 |  1914
  Wheat          |   904 | 2,868 | 1,883 | 2,812 |   980
  Maize          | 1,112 | 2,222 | 2,660 | 4,806 | 3,542
  Flax           |   338 |   654 |   604 | 1,016 |   841
  Flour          |    71 |   144 |   115 |   124 |    67
  Wool           |   228 |   191 |   150 |   120 |   117
  Salted hides   |    28 |    40 |    61 |    65 |    63
  Dried hides    |    26 |    24 |    29 |    21 |    14
  Chilled beef   |    44 |   152 |   253 |   306 |   368
  Chilled mutton |    63 |    78 |    75 |    45 |    58

     The heading "cereals" appears in the statistics of Argentine
     exports in 1882. In 1900 the value of the agricultural produce
     exported is equal to that of the products of breeding. In 1904
     it is higher.

Pastoral colonization, again, has not been entirely independent of the
home market. Martin de Moussy says, it is true, that the area which
sent the products of breeding to Europe in 1865 extended as far as the
Sierra de Córdoba. But this statement needs correction. The hides from
the whole of this zone were, in point of fact, sent down to the ports
on the Rio de la Plata, but live animals were sent to Chile from the
whole of the north-west of the Pampean region. It was for the purpose
of selling cattle to Chile that ranches were multiplied about 1860 in
the neighbourhood of Villa Mercedes and lower down, on the Rio Quinto.
Jegou's description shows that even in 1883 the breeders of the San
Luis province devoted themselves exclusively to supplying the Chilean
market.[102] Buyers from Chile and the Andean provinces still visit
Villa Mercedes, and until a recent date they came to Villa Maria, in
the province of Córdoba. The Santa Fé ranches found their customers,
until the opening of the Córdoba line (1870) amongst the _troperos_,
who bought draught oxen for their waggons. The loss of these customers
and the crisis that followed are one of the reasons why agricultural
colonization met with so little resistance on the part of the breeders,
and was able to take root so easily at Santa Fé. In the San Cristobal
department the breeders who settled there after 1890 found their first
market in the _obrajes_ of the neighbouring forest. The opening of the
railway to Tucumán afterwards enabled them to send their cattle to the
provinces of the north-west. The Buenos Aires buyers were late in this
remote canton of the Pampean plain. They did not arrive until 1911.

     [102] A. Jegou, "Informe sobre la provincia de San Luis,"
     _Ann. Soc. Cientifica Argentina_, xvi. 1883, pp. 140-152,
     192-200, and 223-230.

The importance of the Pampean region itself as a market of consumption
grew in proportion to the increase of its population. The extent to
which it absorbs the products of breeding and agriculture varies a
good deal. For some of them it is paramount. Horse-breeding, for
instance, which is still one of the great industries of the Pampa, has
never contributed to the export trade. It is the same with regard to
potatoes, which are concentrated in two strictly limited districts,
round Rosario and north of the Sierra de Tandil. Only a small part of
the dry fodder is exported. As regards cereals, a comparison of the
statistics of production with the statistics of export shows that the
home consumption is about one-third of the production. It is almost nil
for flax, and nearly fifty per cent for wheat.

The average of production and export for the years 1912, 1913, and
1914, in thousands of tons, is:

              |        |        |       |    Total
              | Wheat. | Maize. | Flax. |(including Oats).
  Production  | 4,241  | 6,398  |  931  |    12,662
  Export      | 2,140  | 4,227  |  790  |     8,038

As the chief centres of consumption are the ports themselves, it
follows that the commercial currents that have to supply them are
confused with the currents which maintain the exports. The exchanges
between the various regions of the Pampa are more interesting to the
geographer. In their tendency to specialize, these regions have ceased
to be self-contained, and they have to look to adjoining regions. The
feeding of the mills necessitates the transport of wheat in different
directions. The chief mills are at Buenos Aires, where they are
suitably located to work both for the home market and for export; and
the mills in the interior have some difficulty in competing with them.
Some of these, however, are still active. They mix hard wheat, bought
in the district of the Santa Fé colonies, with the soft wheat that is
grown in the middle and south of Buenos Aires province.

But this inter-regional transport of cereals is a small thing in
comparison with the transport of cattle. The extension of the lucerne
farms has developed the fattening industry in many districts, while
others still confine themselves to breeding in the ordinary sense, and
they feed the other centres. The most specialized fattening district
is that of Villa Mercedes and the western part of the lucerne belt,
while the eastern part of the province of Buenos Aires and Entre Rios
are still areas of production. The differentiation of the pastoral
zones can be gathered from a study of the statistics. According to the
1908 Census, milch cows represent 53 per cent. of the whole of the
cattle in all the departments which form the heart of the breeding area
east of Buenos Aires, and only 45 per cent. in the departments of the
north-west of Buenos Aires and south of Córdoba and in the Pedernera
department of San Luis, where fattening is common.

According to the 1914 Census oxen are 24 per cent. of the herd in the
same departments of eastern Buenos Aires; 24 per cent. also in Entre
Rios; and the proportion rises to 31 per cent. in the lucerne area.
Dolores department (eastern Buenos Aires) has 64 per cent. milch
cows and 21 per cent. oxen. Pedernera department (San Luis, in the
lucerne area) has 49 per cent. cows and 38 per cent. oxen. General
Roca department (Córdoba) has 48 per cent. cows and 34 per cent.
oxen. Arenales (Buenos Aires) has 39 per cent. cows and 46 per cent.

     [103] For Argentina as a whole the percentage is: milch cows,
     55 per cent.; oxen, 26 per cent.

Oxen intended for the refrigerators are bought either on the ranches
or at Buenos Aires, where beasts in good condition are consigned to
buyers, but oxen for fattening are bought at fairs which are held
periodically in the towns of the interior. Another transaction at these
fairs is the trade in pedigree breeders. The best known of them is
held at Villa Mercedes (province of San Luis), where 8,000 oxen are
sold every month. At the Mercedes fairs one may see Durham steers from
the east of Buenos Aires which are to be fattened and sent back to the
refrigerators or the slaughter-houses of Buenos Aires. There are also
creole cattle from the north of the San Luis province and Rioja which
will later be eaten in Mendoza or in Chile. There is, in fact, on the
western frontier of the Pampa no line of demarcation corresponding to
that set up in the north by the limit of the area contaminated by the
_garrapate_, separating the district of creole breeding from that of
selective breeding. There is free communication here between the two
zones, and the lucerne fields for fattening at Villa Mercedes are used
in common by the breeders of the Pampa and of the bush.[104]

     [104] A large number of the cattle which are to be fattened
     are bought at the market in Buenos Aires; but these do not, as
     a rule, come from the Pampean region.

_Cultivated Areas in the Argentine Republic_ (_in square kilometres,
almost exclusively in the Pampean region_).

       | Wheat. | Maize. | Oats.  | Flax.  | Lucerne.
  1896 | 25,000 | 14,000 |    --  |  5,600 |  8,000
  1900 | 33,000 | 12,000 |    --  |  6,000 | 15,000
  1902 | 36,000 | 18,000 |    --  | 15,000 | 17,000
  1905 | 56,000 | 22,000 |    700 | 10,000 | 29,000
  1910 | 62,000 | 32,000 |  8,000 | 15,000 | 54,000
  1912 | 69,000 | 38,000 | 12,000 | 17,000 | 59,000
  1913 | 65,000 | 41,000 | 11,600 | 17,000 | 66,000
  1914 | 62,000 | 42,000 | 11,400 | 17,000 |    --

  _Exports for 1913, 1914, and 1915 at each port._

                |Wheat.| Maize.|Flax.|Oats.|Totals.|Average.
               {| 782  | 1,757 | 275 |  13 | 2,829 |}
  Rosario      {| 242  | 1,952 | 248 |   1 | 2,445 |} 2,716
               {| 717  | 1,790 | 366 |  -- | 2,875 |}
                |      |       |     |     |       |
               {| 441  | 1,389 | 246 | 240 | 2,318 |}
  Buenos Aires {| 297  |   906 |  55 |  78 | 1,537 |} 2,051
               {| 511  | 1,349 | 342 |  96 | 2,299 |}
                |      |       |     |     |       |
               {| 927  |     2 |  -- | 462 | 1,393 |}
  Bahía Blanca {| 241  |    -- |  -- | 222 |   463 |} 1,075
               {| 921  |    -- |  -- | 442 | 1,364 |}
                |      |       |     |     |       |
               {|   5  |   910 |  74 |  -- |   989 |}
  S. Nicolas   {|   1  |   430 |  60 |  -- |   492 |}   651
               {|   5  |   420 |  48 |  -- |   474 |}
                |      |       |     |     |       |
               {| 333  |   358 |  14 | 170 |   876 |}
  La Plata     {| 160  |    51 |  16 |  49 |   278 |}   459
               {| 152  |    45 |   6 |  16 |   222 |}
                |      |       |     |     |       |
               {| 265  |    51 | 158 |  -- |   476 |}
  Santa Fé     {|   7  |    23 | 128 |  -- |   159 |}   278
               {| 114  |     7 |  77 |  -- |   199 |}



     Roads on the plain--The salt road--The "trade
     route"--Transport by ox-waggons--_Arrieros_ and
     _Troperos_--Railways and colonization--The trade in
     cereals--Home traffic and the reorganization of the system.

The chapter devoted to primitive breeding and the transport of cattle
contains a sketch of the network of routes over the Andes. One cannot
expect to find in the scheme of routes over the Argentine plains the
stern and obvious influence of natural conditions. The surface of these
plains is, as a whole, broadly open to traffic. Still, the map of the
roads bears much evidence of geographical exigencies.

The hills which rise like islands out of the alluvial plain are not all
incapable of being crossed, and the roads do not always skirt them. The
road from Buenos Aires to Peru runs north of 30° 40' S. lat. on the
very axis of the granite peneplain which forms the northern part of the
Sierra de Córdoba. The Dean Funes ridge, which begins with an altitude
of 2,500 feet between the Sierra Chica and these tablelands, has always
been used for communication between Córdoba and the north-western
provinces. There the railway has taken the place of the primitive
track. Another important track crosses the Sierra de Córdoba in the
north of the Pampa de Achala, and used to join Córdoba with Villa
Dolores and the north of the San Luis province. The southern part of
the Sierra de Córdoba and the Sierra de San Luis are, on the other
hand, an insurmountable obstacle, which diverts southward the high road
to Chile _via_ Achiras, San José, del Morro, and San Luis.

The sierras of the Buenos Aires province are not so high and extensive.
They are, moreover, broken into isolated hills with the plain passing
between them. As early as 1822 Colonel Garcia pointed out the
importance, in connection with the migrations of the Indian tribes,
of the passage between the Sierra Amarilla and the Sierra de Curaco,
that is to say, the Olavarria ridge. It is there that the first railway
between Buenos Aires and Bahía Blanca crosses the line of sierras. It
then skirts the Sierra de la Ventana, to the north, by the Pigüe ridge,
between the mass of Curumalan and the Puan hills. The dunes of the
western Pampa also are an impediment to traffic, not so much because
of their height as because of the looseness of the ground. The strip
between General Acha and Toay was very trying for the stage-coaches.
Travellers had to cross the dunes on foot during the winter season,
when the horses were in a bad condition.[105]

Natural supplies of water increase in number as one gets away from the
Andean zone toward the east. Still, the chief work, often the only
work, to be done in making a road is the arrangement of permanent
supplies of water. Martin de Moussy mentions the digging of wells on
the new road from Córdoba to Rosario, which was opened about 1860.
The _aiguade_ was generally a _represa_, a reservoir, where the water
accumulated behind a barrier of earth raised across the course of an
intermittent stream. The upkeep of the _represa_ is the chief duty of
the post-master. The edge of the sierras and the opening point of the
ravines which come down them is a good place for making _represas_,
and the roads frequently keep to these (variant of the road from
Córdoba to Tucumán _via_ Totoral, Dormida, Rio Seco and Sumampa, on
the eastern edge of the Sierra de Córdoba, etc.) Long stages with no
water supplies, the _travesías_, are not found on the made roads, as a
rule, except west of the meridian, of Córdoba. However, the direct road
from Santa Fé to Santiago del Estero by the lagoon of Los Porongos,
which was used in the eighteenth century, seems to have been abandoned
afterwards, as much on account of the difficulty of supplying water as
because it was exposed to attack from the Indians.

     [105] J. B. Ambrosetti, "Viàje a la Pampa central," _Bol.
     Instit. Geog. Argent._, xiv. 1893, pp. 292-368.

  [Illustration: AN OX WAGON.
                        Photograph by Soc. Fotografica de Aficionados.]

  [Illustration: THE MAIL COACH.
  _The horses saddled with the_ cincha.
                         Photograph by Soc. Fotografica de Aficionados.
  PLATE XVIII.                                         To face p. 210.]

The only difficulty which the caravans encountered on the roads over
the plain was the crossing of the rivers. They were forded. Fords with
a muddy bottom on the lower course of the rivers, such as that on the
Saladillo near the confluence of the Rio Tercero, were more difficult
for wagons than the fords with sandy bottoms in the upper course, near
the fringe of the mountains, such as those of the Rio Tercero on the
Córdoba road, or of the Rio Cuarto on the road to Chile. After rain,
certain parts of the plain are flooded and impassable. That is the case
in the district to the south of the lower Salado, at the very spot
where Père Cardiel notices the lack of water in the dry season (1747).
The direct road from Buenos Aires to the sierras was at that point
exposed, alternately, to drought and flood. The line of the Southern
railway, which crosses this low district, is still cut periodically on
both sides of Las Flores by floods. The lack of an organized network of
streams, the irregularity of the rains, the difficulty of ascertaining
the inclination, and the flow of the waters over a plain which seems to
the eye to be perfectly level, have led to more than one miscalculation
on the part of the railways, which were constructed hurriedly, and
before the general survey of the Pampa was finished. Some lines, on the
Pampa or on the Chaco, have had to be partially reconstructed, and
raised higher, after a series of rainy years.[106]

     [106] Certain duplications in the actual scheme of the
     railways are due to this need to correct a line that had
     been planned hastily and was useless. The line from Justo
     Daract to La Paz (1912), on the Pacific railway, avoids the
     steep inclinations of the first line, which followed the
     course of the wagon-road _via_ San Luis. The interpretation
     of the relief is particularly difficult in a country which
     has not been shaped by normal erosion. Blunders detected by
     later topographical inquiries were similarly committed in
     constructing the Patagonian railways.

The colonization of that part of the plain which actually constitutes
the province of Buenos Aires was late. It belongs to the era of the
railways. There is only one historic road crossing this area, which
remained until the last third of the nineteenth century in the hands
of the Indian tribes. This is the salt road. We do not know exactly
when it began to be used. In the eighteenth century, in spite of the
competition of salt from Cadiz and Patagonia, imported by sea, the
Pampa salt was the main part of the supply of Buenos Aires. The salt
road was not abandoned until after 1810. We still have the diary of
several journeys from Buenos Aires to the salt-pits. They were military
expeditions. Hundreds of wagons, with a strong escort, collected at
Lujan and Chivilcoy, and they reached Atreuco, west of the Guamini and
Carbuë lakes, after a fifteen to twenty-five days' march.

The itinerary was fixed in detail. In 1796 D'Azara noticed the wells
sunk by the salters, north of the Palentelen lagoon (Bragado), when
they found the lagoon dry. From Palentelen south-westward the salt
road followed the track used by the Indians of the south-west in their
expeditions against the ranches of the Buenos Aires frontier. Near Lake
Epecuen, north of Carbuë, it was joined by another track which came
from Olavarria, the stages of which were marked by the streams that
came from the Sierra de Curumalan. The Carbuë district, the cross-roads
of the tracks, was one of the places where the tribes collected. "This
place," says the diary of the 1778 expedition, "is the first point
where the hostile Indians meet and rest when they leave the Sierra
and on returning from their invasions. They not only rest there, but
have their winter pasture there" (in the dry season).[107] Zeballos
has described the Indian track, the _rustrillada_, between Epecuen,
Atreuco and Traru Lauquen, where the _travesia_ on the road to Chile
began.[108] It was not less than 1,000 feet in width. At the foot of
the dunes there were deep parallel grooves made by the feet of the
raided cattle, which were taken away by the "Chileños."

     [107] Coll. de Angelis, v.

     [108] Est. Zeballos, _Descripción amena de la Republica
     Argentina_, vol. i, "Viàje al païs de los Araucanos" (Buenos
     Aires, 1881).

The two main roads of the colonial period are the roads to Chile and
Peru. On leaving Buenos Aires there was one road for a distance of
about 320 miles. The "trade road" passed through Lujan, Areco and
Sauce, and reached the Carcaraña, or Rio Tercero, at Esquina. It
therefore kept at some distance from the Paraná (32 to 16 miles), on
the tableland, crossing the valleys which were embedded in it and
represented so many bad parts. It then ascended the Tercero on the
right bank as far as the Paso Fereira, at the spot where Villa Maria is
to-day. At Esquina de Medrano (Villa Maria) the road to Chile branched
off to the south-east, reached San Luis by following the Rio Cuarto,
going through Achiras and San José del Morro, and, after a _travesia_
seventy-eight miles in length, came to the Rio Tunuyan at La Paz, and
ascended the river to Mendoza.[109]

     [109] Martin de Moussy says that a more direct route, avoiding
     the detour to the north by the Rio Tercero, was followed in
     the eighteenth century between Buenos Aires and San Luis, by
     way of Salto and the Rio Quinto as far as the latitude of
     fort Constitución (Villa Mercedes). Woodbine Parish's map
     (1839) and Napp's map (1876) both show a road by way of Salto
     and Melincue to the Rio Cuarto, where it joins the ordinary
     road. However that may be, these roads were never used
     regularly, from fear of the Indians or--which comes to the
     same thing--because the area they cross, in the south of the
     actual territory of the provinces of Santa Fé and Córdoba, was
     not yet colonized.

From Esquina de Medrano the Peru road made for Córdoba in the
north-west. From the tablelands which continue the Sierra de Córdoba
northward it descended toward the Rio Dulce, which it reached west of
Atamisqui, and which it followed as far as Santiago del Estero, where
it crossed to the north bank. It crossed the Sali in the latitude of
Tucumán, and, passing through Tracas and Metan, followed the depression
which separates the Andes from the sub-Andean chains. From Salta it
went north to Jujuy, and passed through the Quebrada de Humahuaca to
reach the Puna.

The influence of rivers is not much seen in the scheme of the primitive
roads. There were in the sixteenth century many routes from Peru to
the Paraguay, across the Chaco, but not a permanent road in the strict
sense. In the eighteenth century there was a direct road from Santa Fé
to Tucumán, by the north of the Los Porongos lagoon and the course of
the Rio Dulce. There was another from Santa Fé to Córdoba. These roads
were not exclusively used for conveying cattle. The river route which
they joined at Santa Fé provided them with a certain amount of traffic
coming from the higher provinces. Paraguayan _maté_ reached the Andean
regions by this road, and in return the boatmen at Santa Fé loaded
up with the wines and dried fruit of the Andean provinces to take to

The question of joining the road on to a river was not of very great
importance until the time when the Paraná began to be used for
Argentine imports and exports, and to maintain the communication of
the interior provinces with Europe. This question of connection with a
river controls the history of the construction of the railway system.
But the great importance of it can be seen from the first half of
the nineteenth century. D'Orbigny had a presentiment of it. Speaking
of the future of Santa Fé, he says: "When peace is restored, it is
certain that the wares of Córdoba may, instead of going by land from
that town to Buenos Aires, be sent to Santa Fé, where shipping them to
the Argentine capital will reduce to one-third the journey by land,
which is always more costly than going by water." Martin de Moussy,
foreseeing the making of a road across the Chaco from Tucumán to the
Paraná, in the latitude of Corrientes, calculates that Corrientes may
later serve as port for part of the west and north of Argentina. At the
date of the publication of his book, however, it was neither Santa Fé
nor Corrientes, but the new town Rosario, that began to play the part
of interior port, and led to the construction of a new system of roads.
Traffic between Rosario and Córdoba at first followed the old road
from Buenos Aires to Peru, which one struck after leaving Rosario and
making a detour to the south-west, on the right bank of the Carcaraña
(at Rio Tercero). But this itinerary was presently replaced by a direct
road to the west-northwest, following the line which the railways would

     [110] Between 1852 and 1862, during the period when relations
     were suspended between the Argentine Confederation and Buenos
     Aires, there was a beginning of a general reorganization of
     the roads in harmony with the new political conditions. The
     road from Santa Fé and Paraná to Concepción (in Uruguay)
     across the Entre Rios tablelands, and from there to
     Montevideo, had owed its initial importance to the closing of
     the lower Paraná under Rosas, and Woodbine Parish records that
     there was already a good deal of smuggling there. This road
     became an essential artery when Paraná made itself the federal
     capital under Urquiza. He intended to connect Paraná with the
     western provinces, and he created a mail service from Santa Fé
     to Córdoba. Ephemeral as the good fortune of Paraná was, its
     influence on the organization of the roads of Argentina was
     too material to be ignored by the geographer.

In the greater part of Argentina transport was by means of wagons
before railways were constructed. The limit between the area of
wagon-transport and the area in which goods were conveyed on the backs
of animals is quite stable. It is still of some significance, in
spite of the development of the railways; wagons and mules are used
at each station to collect and distribute goods. The area of farming
and of selective breeding on the Pampa, the sheep-area in Patagonia,
and the timber belt on the Chaco, still make use of wagons; and goods
are carried on the backs of mules in the Andean area. The Peru road
was, broadly speaking, fit for wagons as far as Salta, but it is rough
between Tucumán and Salta, and wagons that used it generally stopped
at Salta. In this way wagons avoided the ford of the Sali, which was
easier for mules. On the plain itself the water-sources were often so
distant from each other, and the stages so long, that mules had to
be used instead of wagons. Wagons could easily get to Mendoza by the
road along which the Tunuyan runs at its driest section, but all the
convoys from Córdoba to San Juan, or Rioja to Catamarca, were composed
of mules. Hence Córdoba was, like Tucumán, a station for changing on
the road from Buenos Aires to the north-west. Lastly, while the scrub
presented no insuperable obstacle to wagons, they could not enter the
humid tropical forest, where the soil never dries. On the fringe of the
Misiones forest, the wagons that came from San Tome unloaded at San
Javier, and mules took the goods on to the _yerbales_.

The two areas of different kinds of transport were not sharply
distinct. The muleteers (_arrieros_) sometimes avoided the domain of
the wagoners, and competed with them as far as the banks of the Paraná.
In 1860 (Hutchinson) the muleteers carried about a fifth, in weight, of
the goods from the interior to Rosario, and they got more than a third
of the transport from Rosario to the interior. They had, however, to
offer to carry goods at two-thirds the price charged by the wagoners.
It appears that this invasion by the muleteers is connected with
a transport-crisis in the Andean area, which left a number of the
San Juan muleteers without work. It did not last. By 1862 mule-back
transport between Rosario and the interior was almost over.

The wagons of the Argentine plain have often been described by
travellers. They were heavy vehicles, carrying 150, sometimes 180,
_arrobes_ (1,725 to 2,070 kgs.), covered with a leather hood stretched
on hoops. A long spur decorated with ostrich feathers was balanced
on a ring fixed in the roof, and was used to guide the front pair of
oxen. An earthenware pot containing water enough for each stage hung
between the rear uprights. As a rule, three pair of oxen were yoked to
it, one pair being in the shafts. At Corrientes it was necessary to
cross the marshes and _esteros_, and a special type of wagon had been
evolved. It had a sort of horizontal division forming an upper story,
and the driver sat in this. Everywhere, on the Pampa as well as at
Corrientes, the wheels were enormous; sometimes, as Darwin says, ten
feet in diameter. They were, therefore, able to get through the bad
parts. Mud was, as a matter of fact, the worst enemy of the convoys.
The soil of the Pampa is clayey and soft in the districts near the
river. As the road was not limited in width, the wagons turned to the
right or the left when the ruts became too deep, and the track in time
covered a broad belt of ground. This, however, could not be done in the
vicinity of towns, where the traffic was concentrated. Buenos Aires
came to be surrounded by formidable quagmires that dried up only in the
summer. The paving of the streets and environs was becoming a problem
of national importance when the construction of the railway began.

Wagons did not travel singly. The _tropero_, or contractor for
transport, organized caravans. In peaceful districts, where no military
escort was required, the convoys could be split up; they consisted,
as a rule, of from fifteen to fifty wagons. Besides the six oxen
yoked to the wagon, there had to be others for relief as well as
horses for the staff. Usually they allowed ten oxen to each wagon; in
exceptional cases twenty.[111] The convoy to the salt-lakes in 1778
had no less than 12,000 oxen to 600 wagons. There was a driver to each
wagon, but there had also to be drivers for the starting animals, and
carpenters to make repairs. The leader of the caravan, the _capataz_,
was generally a master-carpenter. He looked after the interests of the
_tropero_. There were about three men to each wagon. The _carreros_
were an original type, nomadic, and very different in costume and
character from the _gauchos_ (breeders) of the plain. At the close of
the eighteenth century Buenos Aires had more than a thousand wagons
employed in the traffic to Mendoza and Tucumán (Borrero).

     [111] According to the details given us by De Angelis (1837,
     Introduction to the _Diario del viaje al Rio Bermejo de Fray
     Francisco Moritto_, Coll. de Angelis, vol. vi) a convoy of
     fourteen wagons from Salta to Tucumán required three relays of
     oxen. The first, comprising a hundred animals, went from Salta
     to Tucumán; the second, of 130 animals, went from Tucumán to
     the Buenos Aires frontier; the third (84 animals), went on to
     the capital. The first and last relays were hired animals, the
     second alone being the property of the _tropero_.

The stages were rarely more than four or five leagues of five
kilometres each (thirteen to sixteen miles). At this rate it took a
convoy forty to fifty days to go from Buenos Aires to Mendoza, thirty
days from Rosario to Tucumán, three months (with the necessary rests)
from Buenos Aires to Salta.[112] When water ran short, the journey
might be greatly prolonged, as the animals could do less work, or not
work at all if the _aiguades_ had dried up. The season was a matter for
consideration. In the Buenos Aires district the winter made the ground
sodden and traffic difficult. Farther north, winter is the dry season,
so that pasture was scarce, and it was difficult to feed the _tropas_.
The summer had difficulties of its own. In January and February the
floods of the Rio Dulce often made it impossible to cross the ford at
Santiago. The carriers preferred to start from the northern provinces
about the end of the summer, in April or May. The best season for
leaving Buenos Aires was the spring, from August to November. In this
way each _tropa_ could make the double journey once a year.

     [112] Thirty days from Buenos Aires to Mendoza, and seventy
     days from Buenos Aires to Jujuy, says Barrero (F. Barrero,
     _Descripción de las Provincias del Rio de la Plata_, end of
     the eighteenth century, published by the Ministry of Foreign
     Affairs, Buenos Aires, 1911).

There had been attempts to speed up the transport before the railways
were made. The _galera_ (diligence), with its swarm of horses harnessed
with the _cincha_ (saddle to which the lasso was attached), did
not carry goods. It did not replace the convoy of wagons, but the
_tropilla_ of spare horses which travellers on the plain drove before
them. The _galera_ went from Rosario to Córdoba in three days and to
Mendoza in ten days, and from Córdoba to Salta in fourteen days. About
1860 a quicker goods service was organized, light wagons drawn by mules
replacing the ox-wagons. They made the journey from Rosario to Córdoba
in six days. Similarly, on the Pampa, the ox-wagons had been replaced
before 1889 by quicker wagons, drawn by horses, to convey wool from the
ranches to the railway stations.

The cost of transport by wagon was, naturally, high. It also varied
a good deal, but we cannot possibly go into these variations here.
It will be enough to give, by way of illustration, the details which
Hutchinson gives for the year 1862. The freightage was fixed either for
a complete load of 150 _arrobes_ (1,725 kgs.) or so much per _arrobe_
(11-1/2 kgs.). Conveying a load from Rosario to Córdoba cost forty
to fifty piastres (eight to ten pounds). The cost of carrying an
_arrobe_ from Rosario to Mendoza was five to six _reales_ (about two
shillings to two-and-six); from Rosario to Tucuman nine _reales_ (three
shillings and fourpence); from Rosario to Salta eighteen _reales_
(seven shillings and sixpence). The tropas were, therefore, quickly
ousted by the railways. In a few places they made a very unequal fight
against the railways. The _Memoria del departemento de Ingenieros de la
Nacion_ of 1876, quoted by Rebuelto, mentions the competition of the
_tropas_ with the Andino railway, opened from Villa Maria to the Rio
Cuarto in 1873 and to Villa Mercedes in 1875. The merchants of San Juan
and Mendoza continued to use them. The railway had to sign a contract
with the _troperos_ by which wagons were to bring goods as far as Villa
Mercedes, where they could be entrained. The total freight was fifty
Bolivian _centavos_ (about two shillings) per _arrobe_ from Mendoza to
Rosario, and sixty _centavos_ from San Juan. Of this the share of the
railway was fifteen _centavos_.

       *       *       *       *       *

The first Argentine railway was opened in 1859, between Buenos Aires
and Maron, a distance of about thirteen miles.

In 1870 the Argentine railways formed two independent systems. The
first radiated fan-wise from Buenos Aires (Western line, open as far
as Chivilcoy in 1870, and Southern line, open as far as Chascomus
in 1865). Farther north a line (the Central Argentine) started from
Rosario, and reached Bellville in 1866 and Córdoba in 1870.

  [Illustration: THRESHING ON THE PAMPA.
                        Photograph by Soc. Fotografica de Aficionados.]

  _There are elevators only in a few of the ports._
                         Photograph by Soc. Fotografica de Aficionados.
  PLATE XIX.                                           To face p. 220.]

The political isolation of Buenos Aires between 1852 and 1862, during
the time when the first concessions were issued, made upon the railway
system an impression that would not be effaced until twenty-five years
afterwards. It was not until 1886 that Rosario was connected by rail
with Buenos Aires. The line to Mendoza and Chile, begun in 1870 (F. C.
Andino), joins the line from Rosario to Córdoba. It reached Mendoza
at the foot of the Andes before going on to Buenos Aires; and it was
in 1888 that the Pacific railway was completed between Buenos Aires
and Villa Mercedes, and established direct communications between the
capital and the province of Cuyo.

The line from Rosario to Córdoba is, therefore, the chief branch
round which the Argentine system developed. It is remarkable that at
the time of the original concession in 1855 a westward extension was
contemplated, and that there was some idea of making it a stage in
a trans-Andean. The first concessionaire, Wheelwright, had made the
oldest railway in South America, from Caldera to Copiapo, in Chile in
1851. The 1855 concession authorized Wheelwright to extend the Córdoba
line westward and link it with the Copiapo line. When he opened the
Córdoba station in 1870, Wheelwright, not suffering himself to be
discouraged at the slowness with which the line had crossed the Pampa,
still said that the goal was the Pacific, by way of Rioja, Copacabana
and the San Francisco pass. This ambitious programme deserves to be
recalled, if only as a reminiscence of the former orientation of the
trade of Rioja and Tinogasta toward the Pacific, and as a proof of the
importance, in the imagination of the men of that generation, of the
old trans-Andean roads from north-western Argentina.

Even before the Rosario line had reached Córdoba, it had been continued
northward as far as Tucumán. The work was pushed vigorously, and
Tucumán was reached in 1875. The Córdoba-Tucumán line was the first to
be constructed entirely in the region of the scrub, and _quebracho_
sleepers were then used for the first time. The earliest lines of the
Buenos Aires province and the Argentine had, on the model of the Indian
railways, a gauge of 5 feet 8 inches, but the Central Córdoba, from
Córdoba to Tucumán, had a narrow gauge of forty inches. Hence goods
coming from Tucumán had to be transferred at Córdoba. At the same time
(1875) the line from Concordia to Monte Caseros was opened, and this
made it possible to avoid the rapids of the Uruguay, which was to be
a source of supply to the whole Mesopotamian system. Its gauge was
fifty-seven inches. Differences of gauge are, and will continue to be,
one of the characteristics of the Argentine system.

During the period from 1875 to 1890 were constructed the main lines
which took the place of the old roads from province to province. The
Andean railway reached San Luis in 1882 and Mendoza and San Juan in
1885. Branches of the Central Córdoba reached Santiago del Estero in
1884 and Catamarca in 1889. In 1891 the Central Argentine opened a new
direct broad-gauge line from Rosario to Tucumán; and almost at the
same time the narrow-gauge line of the Central Norte, from Santa Fé to
Tucumán, was finished further north. The Tucumán line was continued
northward to the foot of the Andes as far as Salta. In the province
of Buenos Aires the Bahía Blanca line was opened in 1884. Since 1900
the railways have pushed on to the frontiers and are linked in various
directions with those of the adjoining countries. The Cumbre tunnel on
the Mendoza trans-Andean was completed in 1910, and traffic with Chile
by rail is now permanent. The Salta line was continued in 1908 to the
Bolivian tableland. In Mesopotamia, in fine, the north-eastern line
reached Posadas in 1911 and effected a junction with the Paraguay line.

These details, however, give a very imperfect idea of the history of
the development of the Argentine railway system. It has not merely been
superimposed upon the old roads, but has, on the other hand, helped
to open up and develop new lands, which could not have been colonized
without it. As early as 1883 Valiento Noailles, examining the general
plan of the system, noticed the profound difference between the
railways of Argentine and those of Europe. "In Europe," he said, "the
railways are constructed to serve existing centres of production and
consumption.... Our Argentine railways are to facilitate colonization."
Corresponding to each occupation of a new area of the Pampean plain by
the farmer or the breeder is the construction in that area of a new
network of lines which are fed by its traffic and in turn help it to
increase its production. The more productive the region is, the closer
are the meshes of this network. They are wider in the pastoral than in
the agricultural areas. The period of the development of the southern
lines in the province of Buenos Aires corresponds with the expansion
of breeding when the Pampa had been pacified. The railway reached Azul
in 1876. The Ayacucho branch was opened in 1880, and continued as far
as Tres Arroyos in 1887. The completion of the Bahía Blanca line, via
Azul and Olavarria, in 1884, is itself merely one of the dates in this
colonizing period. The great period of agricultural colonization at
Santa Fé and the construction of the system of lines that serve it
begin a little later, and last from 1880 to 1890 (extension of the
Central Argentine system, the railways of the province of Santa Fé, and
the narrow-gauge railway from Rosario to Córdoba).

The part that the railway has played in colonization is plainly seen
in the present completion of the system which has developed freely on
the even surface of the Pampean plain. The lines radiate round the
port of Buenos Aires and, in a less degree, round the ports of Rosario
and Bahía Blanca. What seems at first sight to be the symmetry of the
railway map will be found on closer examination to be less perfect;
while the Atlantic coast between La Plata and Bahía Blanca has no
ports, the Paraná has quite a number of suitable places for shipping
cereals. La Plata, San Nicolas and Villa Constitución are served by
lines which cut across the lines going to Rosario and Buenos Aires.
This complexity of the system west of the Paraná continues to the north
of Rosario, where the lines that go to Santa Fé cut across all the
lines going to Rosario. The lines which run along the southern frontier
of the province of Buenos Aires (at Juancho, Necochea, etc.) have,
unlike the lines serving the secondary parts of the Paraná, all their
traffic directed toward the interior, and they serve only to bring to
Buenos Aires and Bahía Blanco the crops of the districts they cross.
They are dependencies of the main lines of the southern system, and not
rival lines.

When the most fertile part of the Pampean plain, on which there is a
regular rainfall to guarantee the crops, had been completely colonized
and covered with railways, the national Government took up the policy
of colonization by rail in the national territories. The minister Ramos
Mejia has attached his name to this work. It has been suspended since
the beginning of the war, but it filled the last period of construction
of the Argentine railways. Ramos Mejia's railways include the lines
penetrating the Chaco opened toward the north-west from Resistencia
and Formosa, and the lines leading to the interior of Patagonia from
the ports of San Antonio, Puerto Deseado, and Rivadavia. We must add
the line from Neuquen to the Andes, made by the Southern Company, but
with a Government subvention.[113] These lines, serving districts with
little population and inadequate resources, will not for a long time
make any profit.[114]

     [113] The line from Bahía Blanca to the Rio Negro, of which
     the Neuquen line is a continuation, was constructed in 1896.

     [114] The continuation of many of these lines was contemplated
     for the future, so as to secure for them at a later date a
     long-distance traffic. The Resistencia and Formosa lines,
     which reach the Andes, may compete for traffic with the
     Rosario and Tucumán lines. In Patagonia, the continuation
     across the Andes of the line from San Antonio to Lake Nahuel
     Huapi has been considered. A pass has been found at a height
     of 4,000 feet. When this plan is carried out, the Trans-Andean
     from Nahuel Huapi would be in a position to compete
     successfully with the Trans-Andean from Uspallata, which is
     condemned by its elevation to remain a passenger line. These
     plans, still far from realization, do not deprive the Ramos
     Mejia lines of their character as colonization lines, entirely
     devoted at present to conveying the timber of the Chaco and
     the wool of Patagonia.

Hence railway construction must be regarded in modern Argentina as
one of the aspects of the problem of developing the soil. The railway
companies have been compelled to intervene directly in the work
of colonization. In 1863 the Central Argentine received from the
Government a strip of land three miles wide on each side of the line it
was making, between Rosario and Córdoba, on condition that it colonized
the land. The company had its own immigration agents and its colonizing
staff, and it opened its first colonies west of Rosario between 1870
and 1872. This kind of concession is exceptional in Argentina. On the
other hand, the irrigation law of 1909 obliges the railway companies to
undertake, on behalf of the Government, the work that is necessary to
develop irrigation in the areas they serve, such work being immediately
reflected in an increase of population and traffic. In compliance with
this law the Southern railway is constructing a canal which will water
the whole valley of the Rio Negro below the confluence of the Neuquen.
The Central Argentine and the Pacific also have undertaken to construct
dams on the Rio Tercero and Rio Quinto, in the provinces of Córdoba and
San Luis.

As it is the essential function of a railway to convey the produce of
the area it serves to the exporting port, the problem of the relations
between the administration of railways and the administration of
ports is of primary importance. The chief ports served by different
companies, such as Rosario and Buenos Aires, may maintain their
independence, but a secondary port will be at the mercy of the single
line which conveys goods to it. In such circumstances the ports have
become, in many cases, mere dependencies of the railways. The port of
Colastiné belongs to the railways of the Santa Fé province. The port
of Bahía Blanca consists of a number of distinct ports constructed by
the different railway companies, and run by them. Each of them ships
the goods which it brings. The port Ingeniero White, which belongs to
the Southern Company, was constructed in 1885, immediately after the
opening of the line from Buenos Aires to Bahía Blanca. Puerto Galvan
belongs to the Pacific Company. Puerto Belgrano is the port of the line
from Rosario to Bahía Blanca. At Buenos Aires the Southern Railway
Company has acquired control of the Buenos Aires Southern Dock Company.
At La Plata it manages the docks.

The spread of agricultural colonization was at first hampered by the
cost of freightage which cereals could bear over an area with a radius
of about 200 miles from the ports. That is the figure given by Girola
in the _Investigación Agricola_ of 1904. The period 1895-1905 saw the
birth of a series of plans for making canals in the Pampean region
for the purpose of transporting grain in the area which the railway
did not seem able to serve economically. Not one of them was carried
out, but the railways quickly enlarged their sphere of influence in
the interior. There is, however, a reminiscence of this pause in
colonization in what Argentinians call "the parabolic tariffs." The
Argentine railways practically, apart from cases of competition with
rival lines, use proportional tariffs up to a distance of 218 miles,
and degressive tariffs beyond that limit. In this way the railways have
helped in the conquest of the west. Degressive tariffs have certainly
played a part in the spread of colonization during the years antecedent
to 1912. They have helped to mask the inferiority of the new land to
the better land in the east.[115]

     [115] J. Lopez Mañan, _El actual problema agrario_ (Buenos
     Aires, 1912, Ministerio de agricultura, Dirección General de
     agricultura y defensa agricola).

  [Illustration: MAP VI.--THE RAILWAYS.
  _It is impossible to give the entire system. Only the main lines are
  given. Of the narrow-gauge lines of the Pampean region only those which
  connect the system of northern Argentina with Buenos Aires are given.
  The map shows the double direction of the Pacific system from Villa
  Mercedes, to Buenos Aires and Bahía Blanca. It gives only an imperfect
  idea of the way in which the lines ending at the ports of the Paraná
  and the Rio de la Plata (Santa Fé, Rosario, San Nicolas, Buenos Aires
  and La Plata) overlap and cross each other._
                                                       To face p. 226.]

The rise in the value of land and the advance of colonization led,
at each of those crises of development which characterize the recent
history of Argentina, to a multiplication of railway concessions
granted by the national Government and the various provincial
authorities. These have to be bought up by the leading companies, as
each of them wanted to keep exclusive control of the region in which it
had established itself. This concentration could not be accomplished
in a perfectly methodical way, and the various systems now overlap,
which is not to the interest of the companies. Thus Villa Maria, on
the Central Argentine line from Rosario to Córdoba, is also served by
a line belonging to the Santa Fé railways and by a line of the Pacific
Company which puts it in communication with Buenos Aires. On the other
hand, the Central Argentine penetrates to the very heart of the area of
the Pacific at Junin.

However, competition between the various companies has had the
effect of dividing the Pampean plain into three great spheres of
influence. The first, in the north, is that of the Central Argentine
and the Buenos Aires y Rosario line. In 1908 the Argentine Government
officially sanctioned the fusion of the two companies, though it had
really been accomplished a few years before. The second sphere, in
the south, is that of the Pacific, the attraction of which was the
line from Buenos Aires to Villa Mercedes, and which in 1907 bought the
line from Villa Mercedes to Mendoza and the Trans-Andean, a natural
continuation of its system. Moreover, in 1904 the Pacific absorbed the
line from Bahía Blanca to the north-west, which has been linked up
once more with its original system at Villa Mercedes. It thus has two
outlets, to Buenos Aires and Bahía Blanca, and completely encloses the
third sphere with its branches. The third sphere, which comprises the
centre and south of the Pampean plain, is the domain of the Southern
and Western Companies. In 1912 these two companies asked the Argentine
Government to authorize them to amalgamate. Although they withdrew
their proposal in 1914, in face of the conditions imposed upon them,
they are still closely associated. Part of the traffic of the western
lines of the Western passes over Southern lines at Carbuë, and is
shipped at the port Ingeniero White. At Buenos Aires also, and at La
Plata, part of the Western Company's traffic in cereals and cattle uses
the premises of the Southern Company. The Western and the Southern,
jointly, bought in 1908, before it was finished, the narrow-gauge
Midland of Buenos Aires line at Carbuë, which was to cross their sphere
of influence. It was opened in 1911.

The importance of the transport of cereals in the life of the leading
Argentine systems will be seen from the following figures. In
percentages of the total of goods carried, both from the interior to
the ports and _vice versa_, the tonnage of exported cereals was:--

                 |  1913  |  1914  |  1916  | Average.
  Southern       |  31.0  |  34.3  |  32.5  |   32.6
  Western        |  58.3  |  61.7  |  55.1  |   58.4
  Pacific        |  29.0  |  41.8  |  33.8  |   35.0
  Central        |  36.5  |  46.6  |  34.8  |   39.5

The figures are rather less for the Southern, which covers an area
that has remained chiefly pastoral and, by means of its Rio Negro
line, serves for part of the transport of cattle from Patagonia
(cattle-transport on the Southern, average for the years 1913, 1914
and 1916: 17.2 per cent. of the total tonnage, 19 per cent. of total
receipts; 1.4 per cent. of tonnage and 6.5 per cent. of receipts). They
are higher for the Western, the only system that lies entirely in the
Pampean region and has no continuations beyond it, as the Pacific has
to Mendoza and the Central to Tucumán.

The share of each company in the total traffic varies from year to year
according to the harvest. Of the four to ten million tons of cereals
carried every year, the greater part--about a third--falls to the
Central Argentine, and one-sixth to the Southern. The Central Argentine
carries the greater part of the maize and flax, the maize alone
representing 26 per cent. of the total tonnage carried by the line, and
the flax 5.6 per cent. Of the other lines the Western alone carries
any appreciable quantity of maize, which comes from the Junin district
(19 per cent. of its tonnage, but only 12 per cent. of its receipts,
because of the slight distances the stuff is carried). The transport of
wheat is about equally divided amongst the four leading lines, but the
proportion of it to total traffic is highest in the case of the Western
(34.4 per cent. of total traffic). The Southern is the chief carrier of
oats (9.8 per cent. of the total tonnage). The tonnage carried annually
is particularly irregular in the case of the Central, on account of
the irregularity of the maize crops, and the Pacific, because its
lines north-west of Buenos Aires serve a wheat-area that is exposed to
drought (wheat carried by the Pacific in 1913, 15.9 per cent. of the
total tonnage; in 1914, 27.2 per cent.).

The clearing of the cereals gives the Argentine railways a delicate
problem in the organization of traffic. The crops of flax, wheat and
oats must be cleared in the four to six months following the harvest
(December-January). The maize harvest, which is later, is also much
slower; it lasts the whole of the autumn. Hence the removal of the
maize is spread over a long period, and sometimes the work of one year
runs into that of the next. This gives the Central an advantage over
the other lines. The wool also must, on account of its great value, be
transferred to the ports speedily after the shearing; but this is only
a matter of about a hundred thousand tons.[116]

     [116] The war and the difficulties of marine freightage have
     lessened the seriousness of the problem of carrying goods
     rapidly by rail in Argentina.

Export, however, is by no means the one source of traffic on the
Argentine railways. Transport of goods for home consumption is chiefly
a question of a large part of the wheat crop. Building materials
also--bricks, lime and stone--are an important item on the various
lines which link Buenos Aires with the Sierra de Córdoba and the
Sierra de Tandil. In 1913 the Southern line carried 1,134,000 tons of
minerals, including 997,000 tons of stone and 101,000 tons of lime
from the Sierra de Tandil and 34,000 tons of salt from the salt-mines
of Lavalle, between Bahía Blanca and the Colorado. In the same year,
the Pacific, Central Argentine, Central Córdoba and State railway
carried 880,000 tons of minerals (half being lime) from the Sierra
de Córdoba.[117] All the timber carried on the lines of northern
Argentina, except the _quebracho_ from the banks of the Paraná, is
for home use: sleepers, fence-posts, firewood and charcoal are the
chief items on most of the lines in the scrub. The war has checked
railway construction and reduced the use of sleepers, but it has also
deprived Argentina of combustible minerals and increased the transport
of firewood. Even on railways like the Pacific and Central Argentine,
which have very few of their lines on the scrub, the tonnage of wood
carried is 6 per cent. of the whole (average for 1913, 1914 and 1916),
and the proportion rises to 30 per cent. of the total tonnage on the
Central Córdoba. For several companies the sugars of Tucumán and the
wines of Mendoza are an important element of their receipts, not so
much on account of the tonnage as the high cost of freightage and the
great distance to the centres of consumption in the Pampean region. The
carriage of wine and casks brings the Pacific 38.3 per cent. of its
receipts (1913-14-16). The transport of sugar on the Central Argentine
in a normal year amounts to 5 per cent. of its receipts. On the Central
Córdoba the tonnage of sugar-cane and sugar carried amounted in 1914,
a year of exceptional harvest, to 42 per cent. of the total tonnage,
and was still 20 per cent. in 1916, a year of very poor crop. The
supplying of meat to the market of Buenos Aires and the Pampean area,
with its dense population, means a good deal of long-distance traffic
in cattle; the refrigerators taking the better cattle of the adjoining
region for the foreign market, and the slaughter houses of Buenos Aires
being forced to content themselves with inferior beasts reared in the
provinces and the adjoining districts.

     [117] The transport of mineral stuff, apart from salt, has
     been greatly reduced by the war. In 1916 it was only 637,000
     tons for the Southern and 157,000 tons for the whole of the
     lines of the Central Argentine, Pacific, Central Córdoba, and

The importance of these currents of internal traffic has made
itself felt in the organization of the Argentine system. It has
made it necessary for each system to have not only an outlet to an
exporting town, but a direct connection with the chief centre of home
consumption, Buenos Aires. The narrow-gauge system, which until the
end of the nineteenth century had been restricted to the northern half
of Argentine territory, north of the latitude of Rosario, developed in
the province of Buenos Aires after 1900, and ventured to compete in
the carriage of cereals with the broad-gauge system (Company of the
Province of Buenos Aires and Provincial railway of La Plata). This
system connected with the narrow-gauge lines of the north. The Central
Córdoba, which had reached Rosario in 1912 and so had escaped the
need to transfer its export-traffic at Córdoba to the broad-gauge,
began immediately afterwards to effect a direct communication with
Buenos Aires (Central Córdoba, extension to Buenos Aires, opened in
1913). The line from Rosario to Buenos Aires of the Province of Buenos
Aires Company also serves to carry trains of the Province of Santa Fé
Company, which is closely associated with it. The medium-gauge lines
of Mesopotamia also have effected a communication with Buenos Aires
by means of a ferry-boat that plies on the Paraná between Ibicuy and
Zarate, and by using a section of the Buenos Aires Central.

The concentration of narrow-gauge and medium-gauge lines seemed to be
issuing in a complete fusion of their interests in 1913. The Argentine
Railway Company got control of the lines of Entre Rios, Corrientes and
the Paraguay. It promoted the development and extension of the Central
Córdoba, and it also had large interests in the French companies of the
Buenos Aires and Santa Fé provinces. All the narrow-gauge lines would
have concentrated in its hands if it had been able to get the State
railway. The broad-gauge line from Rosario to Puerto Belgrano had, as
its interest conflicted with those of the great broad-gauge English
systems, joined the narrow-gauge group engineered by the Argentine
railway. But the amalgamation attempted by the Argentine railways did
not succeed, and, after its failure, the companies it had temporarily
brought together resumed their independence.

The river-route of the Paraná has sometimes been an auxiliary, at other
times a rival, of the railways.

Until the line from Buenos Aires to Rosario was opened in 1886, the
navigation of the Paraná was the only link between the system of
northern Argentina and that of the Buenos Aires province. Before the
line was completed, the company had established a service of boats on
the Paraná, and in this way it kept up a traffic in goods consigned to
stations on the Central Argentine, to be transferred at Rosario. These
combinations of railway and river service disappeared when the line
from Buenos Aires to Rosario was finished.

In regard to export traffic the railways have not attempted to compete
with the river anywhere where it is open to maritime navigation; they
have merely been concerned to connect with it. On the other hand, the
railway and the river are rivals for the home traffic and the traffic
of the upper districts which sea-going boats do not reach. Before the
time of the railways the river had taken all the goods traffic, but had
tolerated on its left bank a post-road between Santa Fé, Corrientes and
Asunción. The railway still has the advantage over the river in regard
to speed (in carrying passengers between Rosario and Buenos Aires, and
live cattle from the Chaco and the Paraguay for Buenos Aires or the
salting works of the lower Uruguay). Even in regard to certain kinds of
heavy goods--_quebracho_ timber--the river has not secured a monopoly,
and there is a good deal of transport by rail.



     The use of the river before steam navigation--Floods--The
     river plain--The bed of the Paraná and its changes--The
     estuary and its shoals--Maritime navigation--The boats on the

The problem of the use of the river-routes of the Paraná and the
Paraguay is not of interest to Argentina alone. It affects the whole
history of colonization in South America. The very name of the Rio de
la Plata is a reminiscence of the anxieties of the early navigators who
landed there, chiefly in search of a route to the mineral districts of
the Andes [Plata = silver]. It is remarkable that the Amazon, which
opens a more direct and better route to the Andes, was never used for
reaching Peru. It was at the most, and only occasionally, used as a
return-route, whereas expeditions to the Cordillera were organized on
the banks of the Paraná during the whole of the sixteenth century. The
routes linking the Paraná and the Paraguay with the tableland furrow
the whole plain of the Pampa and the Chaco, from the latitude of the
estuary to about 16° S. lat. (expedition of Ñuflo de Chavez in 1557).
An especially close network starts from the river between 18° and 22°
S. lat. and ends at Santa Cruz, the most northern centre established by
the Spaniards on the plain, at the foot of the Andes, as a consequence
of the use of the Paraná.[118]

     [118] There is still a certain amount of goods traffic in this
     latitude between the river and the Santa Cruz district by the
     Puerto Suarez and Puerto Pacheco tracks.

Spanish colonization, however, did not succeed in making permanent
settlements on the Chaco. The Indians, who were masters of it, disputed
their passage, and the only practicable route was the southernmost of
the roads to the tableland, south of the Rio Salado, which ends at the
estuary. From this time onward the prosperity of Buenos Aires eclipsed
that of Asunción. The river ceased to be a great continental route.

The division of the Paraná between the Spanish and the Portuguese was a
check upon the full development of the river-route. The Portuguese held
the upper part of its basin, which now belongs to Brazil. They expelled
the Spanish missionaries from the upper Paraná about the middle of
the seventeenth century, and made themselves masters of the Paraguay
north of 20° S. lat. Their forts at Coimbre and Albuquerque prevented
any from ascending. D'Azara insists that it would have been Spain's
interest to disarm these forts; it would have enabled them to go up the
river as far as the Spanish missions to the Mojos and the Chiquitos. On
their side, the Portuguese only used the upper section of the river,
where it is joined by the Paulist road north of the Coimbre, as a means
of access to the gold mines of the Matto Grosso. Even now, although
the Paraná is open to every flag, the development of the river-route
is not independent of political conditions. In making the railway from
Saint Paul to Corumba, and so creating on its own territory a means of
direct communication with the upper Paraguay, Brazil diverts from the
lower districts part of the traffic which ought normally to go there.
Again, the ports of southern Brazil and the lines which go to them try
to attract to the Atlantic the produce of the basins of the Uruguay and
the upper Paraná, which would have followed the thread of the river
to foster the trade of Buenos Aires if the frontiers had been fixed

Before the Revolution the river-trade was confined to exchanges between
the Misiones and Paraguay on the one hand, and Buenos Aires and the
Andean provinces on the other. After the extinction of the missions
Paraguay was the chief centre of traffic on the river. At the close of
the eighteenth century it had a fairly large population. According to
D'Azara, it amounted to 97,000, and 47,000 for the area of the former
Missions (Misiones), while Buenos Aires, Santa Fé, Entre Rios and
Corrientes had not more than 103,000 inhabitants collectively. Paraguay
exported tobacco, _maté_ and timber by the river. The Buenos Aires
Estano received 800 tons of tobacco a year. The exports of _maté_ from
Paraguay to Peru, Chile and the interior provinces amounted to 1,725
tons, and 2,250 tons went to Buenos Aires. The timber came mostly from
the Tebicuary, where the _angadas_ (loads of timber) were formed. The
chief constructive sheds also were on the Tebicuary. Boats of twenty to
200 tons were launched there; and they had armed boats, when they went
down the river, to detect ambushes of the Indians, who were masters of
the right bank north of Santa Fé.

The development of navigation on the Paraná during the first half of
the nineteenth century was checked by the disturbances and wars of the
period of the emancipation and unification of Argentina. The river was
blockaded several times and traffic interrupted. Only a few smuggling
schooners succeeded in getting through the side branches, which the
ships stationed in the river could not watch. Robertson escaped the
Spanish vessels in this way. The picture which D'Orbigny has given
us of the life of the river belongs to the year 1827. At that time
the estuary was blockaded by the Brazilian fleet in the whole area of
the delta as far as San Pedro. Piracy was so rife, and the insecurity
so great, on the Uruguay and the Paraná, that few ventured as far as
Buenos Aires, the ships being linked in convoys. Up stream, Corrientes
was the limit of navigation. The dictator Francis closed the Paraguay,
and even the small boats no longer sailed on the upper Paraná, along
the frontier of Paraguay. The Correntinos, who spoke _Guarani_, could
merely get permission at rare intervals to send a few boats up river.
Armed boats convoyed these as far as Neembucu, and they returned with
hides and _maté_. Corrientes thus became the market-centre of the upper
river and replaced Asunción in the trade. The flotilla on the Paraná
included flat-bottomed barges, which were only used in coming down,
and strong keeled ships--schooners, sloops and brigs--with their ropes
made of leather. Down stream there was a little more diversity in the
traffic. The island sent cargoes of firewood and charcoal to Santa Fé
and Buenos Aires. The orchards of the delta provided Buenos Aires with
oranges and peaches. Hides for export were shipped at Goya and Santa
Fé. But the chief freight was lime from La Bajada, which was burned in
the kilns on the Barranca, at the outcrops of the beds of conchiferous

  _In the foreground is the left bank of the Yguassu, on Argentine
  territory. The right bank is Brazilian territory. At the back, on the
  right bank of the Paraná, is Paraguayan territory._
  PLATE XX.                                            To face p. 236.]

The navigation was fairly easy, the journey from Corrientes to Buenos
Aires (675 miles) lasting, as a rule, from fifteen to twenty days.
Going up, the time was more irregular. They had to stop when there was
no south wind, or a little progress was made by hauling (_silgar_).
D'Orbigny took a month to travel up.[119] In 1822, before the war with
Brazil, there were 651 boats entered at Buenos Aires for coasting trade
on the rivers and 1,035 at San Fernando or on the Tigre, the advance
port of Buenos Aires. In 1833 Isabelle put at one thousand the number
of vessels at work on the Paraná and the Uruguay.

     [119] The local south winds which help the voyage upward below
     Rosario may be due to the high temperature of the water of the
     river; this also gives rise on the lower Paraná to thick fog
     of which warning is given.

In 1841 Rosas forbade navigation on the river. There was then a double
blockade checking the trade of Argentina. The Franco-British fleet
closed the Rio de la Plata and blockaded Buenos Aires, where the
Government of Rosas was established. In addition, Rosas's troops on the
_barranca_ of the right bank prevented any from going up the Paraná,
and cut off the interior provinces from the rest of the world. The
injury then done to interests which were already fully self-conscious
may be gathered from the agitation provoked by the decision of France
and England in 1845 to break the blockade of the river. A convoy was at
once organized at Montevideo, consisting of no less than ninety-eight
ships, of 6,900 tons in all (MacKann). It went up the Paraná under the
protection of war-ships, which removed the chains slung across it by
Rosas. The convoy dispersed up river as soon as it was out of range of
Rosas. But it had needed so great an effort that the attempt could not
be made again before the fall of Rosas.

The closing of the Paraná compelled a diversion of the trade of
Paraguay toward the south-east. It crossed the isthmus of Misiones,
between the Paraná and the Uruguay, and passed down the Uruguay. At
this time the whole commercial activity of Paraguay was concentrated
at Itapua, on the upper Paraná. The prosperity of the Uruguay was some
compensation for the misery that reigned on the Paraná. The populations
of Paysandu and Montevideo greatly increased.

In 1852, at the fall of Rosas, the modern period began for the Paraná.
The river-population changed rapidly. It ceased to be exclusively
creole. Basques, and later Italians, had settled upon the Uruguay ten
years before, and they now spread along the Paraná. In 1850 MacKann
found fifty vessels, of 20 to 100 tons, belonging to Italians at
Santa Fé. This wave of immigration coincided with the development of
relations between the Paraná and the port of Montevideo. From 1852 to
1860 Buenos Aires was isolated, and it remained outside the economic
life of Argentina. Montevideo took its place. Urquiza's administration
sought, in addition, to establish direct maritime communication between
over-seas ports and the ports on the river: Gualeguy in Entre Rios, and
Rosario in Santa Fé. Under a system of preferential duties (1857-59),
which reduced the burden on goods carried by the river, Rosario grew
rapidly, and between 1853 and 1858 increased its population from
4,000 to 22,700. The period from 1852 to 1860 was also the time when
steam-navigation was developing, and this doubled the value of the
river-route. From 1860 onward Buenos Aires was connected by regular
services of steamboats with Rosario, Santa Fé, Corrientes, Asunción
and Cuyaba. On the upper Paraná goods (timber, tobacco and oranges)
were still carried by sailing boats between Corrientes and Apipé, where
they stopped at the commencement of the rapids. Steamboats did not sail
up the rapids of Apipé until 1868.[120] From 1850 to 1860 there were
repeated explorations of the Salado and the Bermejo, as the interior
provinces hoped to be able to find a connection with the vivifying
artery of the Paraná (voyage of Page on the Salado from Salta in 1855,
and of Lavarello on the Bermejo in 1855 and 1863).

     [120] According to Rengger, sailing ships sometimes succeeded
     in crossing the Salto d'Apipé.

In 1860 the entry of Buenos Aires into the Confederation re-established
the normal condition of free competition between Buenos Aires and
Rosario. From that time the life of the river reflects the advance of
colonization in the Pampean region. The Paraná became the highway for
the export of cereals.

The two rivers, of which the Rio de la Plata forms the common estuary,
differ considerably in their features. The Uruguay has irregular
floods, especially in autumn (May) and at the end of the winter
(August-October). Low water is in summer (January-February). Its basin
belongs to the temperate zone, and does not extend northward as far as
the area of tropical summer-rain. The Uruguay also differs from the
Paraná in its low capacity for transport and alluvial deposit. While
the Paraná has built up a vast deltaic plain, the Uruguay ends in an
ordinary estuary, with rocky or sandy bed and clear water. The estuary
of the Uruguay is 130 miles long and five or six miles wide. The
eastern shore is rocky and broken. The Argentine shore is low. It is
formed in the south by the deposits of the delta of the Paraná, while
further north, from Gualeguacha to Concepción, the hills of Entre Rios
are hidden behind a screen of flat islands covered with palms, formed
by the stuff brought by the streams of Entre Rios. The river-floods are
lost in the great sheet of the estuary. The tide in the estuary or a
flood in the Paraná is enough to turn the current.

Maritime navigation goes beyond the estuary and beyond Paysandu, as
far as the rapids which prevent further advance at Salto. The twin
towns of Concordia (right bank) and Salta (left bank) mark the limit
of navigation on the inner course of the river. It begins again above
the falls, at Monte Caseros, from which the river-boats go to San Tomé
and occasionally to Concepción. Small ships go higher, as far as Salto
Grande in Misiones (27° 20' S. lat.).[121]

     [121] At one time the boats on the upper Uruguay saved
     transport by going from Salto to Arapehy, midway between Monte
     Caseros and Concordia (see Isabelle).

The navigable system of the Paraná is four times as large. The first
survey of the river was made about the middle of the nineteenth century
by the British Navy. At the beginning of the twentieth century the
Argentine Government took up the study of the bed and the peculiarities
of the Paraná, and the Ministry of Public Works published a map, on
the scale 1:100,000, of the course of the river between Posadas and
San Pedro, at the beginning of the delta. A precise survey was made,
and twenty-six fluvio-metrical scales were established, the zero of
which represents mean low-water.[122] Transverse soundings were taken
at equal distances of 670 and 1,000 feet, the distance being reduced
to 160 and even 80 feet at critical points. Thanks to this work, the
Paraná is now, no doubt, the best known of all rivers of that size.

     [122] It is as well to notice that the profile determined by
     the altitude of the zero of these different scales, or the
     low-water profile, is of a purely theoretical character. The
     river is never at low-water over its whole course. The real
     profile is always varied by slight movements of flood and ebb.

Its output is estimated at 6,000 cubic metres a second at mean
low-water, in the latitude of Rosario, and 25,000 to 30,000 cubic
metres a second during flood at a height of six metres above
low-water.[123] Its features bear the mark of its tropical origin.
The tropical character is typical on the Paraguay, which is, by its
situation in the central South-American plain, the real continuation of
the lower Paraná. The slightness of the fall of the Paraguay, however,
and the extent of the marshes over which it spreads in Brazil and
Paraguay, have the effect of regulating and retarding the flood, which
only attains its maximum at Asunción in May. The flood of the Paraguay
extends the period of high water on the lower Paraná until the end of
autumn. The upper Paraná has most of its basin in the tropical zone
of summer rain. But its behaviour is also influenced by the spring
or autumn rains of the southern part of the Brazilian tableland. Its
floods are sudden and violent. They reach a height of sixty or seventy
feet in the region of the confluence of the Yguassu. They sweep rapidly
down stream, and reach the lower Paraná before the flood of the
Paraguay, which they hold back.

     [123] Observations of the sediment held in the water have been
     made at Campana, 32 miles from the estuary. At this point
     the Paraná only holds in suspension fine particles of clay,
     but sand travels slowly along its bed. The weight of the
     clay in suspension varies from 179 grammes per cubic metre
     in March during the flood, to 42 grammes at low-water in
     July. The stuff mostly comes from the Bermejo, which carries
     5 kilogrammes of sediment per cubic metre. The load of the
     Paraná is much heavier than that of the Uruguay, but far lower
     than that of the Mississippi.

From Posadas the flood-waves reach Corrientes in five days (235 miles).
From Corrientes they reach Paraná in eight days (380 miles), travelling
about two miles an hour. That is one-third the speed of the current, as
the flood is retarded, and more or less absorbed, by the ramifications
of the broader bed in which it moves.

At Bajada Grande the lowest water is in September. The flood appears
in December or January, though sometimes in October or November. The
maximum is in March or April. The rise is rapid at first, but it
gradually moderates, and the level of the water is raised about one
metre per month during three months. It then sinks in corresponding
order. The ebb is often interrupted in June, and sometimes as late
as August, by a sudden leap upward of the curve, representing an
ascensional movement of the water three times as rapid as that of the
main flood (one metre in ten days). The level reached in this late
flood is sometimes higher than that of the normal flood in April or
May. The range of the ordinary flood-movements is from ten to sixteen
feet. Exceptional floods rise to a height of twenty-three feet above
the low-water mark.

The curves established for the years 1908 to 1910 by the Argentine
hydrographical service enable us to analyse the mechanism of the flood
with a good deal of confidence. The beginning of the flood at Bajada
Grande in October corresponds to the first flood of the upper Paraná.
During this first phase the curve of the Bajada is parallel (thirteen
days later) to that of Posadas. There is the same parallelism in
November, December and January. If the summer rains are light on the
upper Paraná, the flood is late on the lower Paraná, and the water is
still low there in December (0.20 below the low-water mark on December
31, 1910). At the beginning of March, before the maximum of the flood,
the curve of Bajada Grande differs from the curve of Posadas. It is
the time when the flood of the lower river is caused by the rise of
the Paraguay. The secondary floods of June and July again have their
origin in the upper Paraná, but, as they are added to the flood of
the Paraguay on the lower river, they reach a higher level there than
at Posadas; the difference gradually disappears as the flood of the
Paraguay subsides. It is the addition of the late floods of the upper
Paraná to the flood of the Paraguay that causes on the lower river the
abnormal floods that occur there at irregular intervals (in 1825, 1833,
1858, 1878, 1905 and 1917).

Below the Bajada the height of the floods progressively declines. On
the estuary they are no longer perceptible; variations of level are
due entirely to the tides. In the channels of the delta of the Paraná
the tide does not reverse the current as it does in the estuary of the
Uruguay, but it causes a slight rise of the water; and this has been
observed sometimes, at very low water, as far as Rosario.

It is near Corpus, about forty miles above Posadas, that the upper
Paraná escapes from the restraint of the Brazilian tableland, which
imprisons its valley, from the falls of the Guayra, in a deep fissure
between lofty basalt cliffs. Below Posadas the river leaves the
region of hills and red earth. Below Corrientes it flows everywhere
over its own alluvia. Even above Corrientes its form has surprising
characteristics of youth. The precise survey done on its banks has
brought to light a very distinct break of its fall above Villa
Urquiza, about 400 miles from Buenos Aires. The fall, which from
Corrientes onward remains between sixty and forty millimetres per
kilometre, sinks suddenly to thirteen over a stretch of twenty-five
miles, and then rises again to thirty to forty-five millimetres.[124]
Below Rosario the mean descent is twelve millimetres to the kilometre,
below San Pedro only six.

     [124] The district on the right bank of the Paraná, above
     Santa Fé and Paraná, seems to be due to a recent subsidence.
     The river is, on the other hand, compelled to effect active
     erosion in crossing the high lands between Santa Fé and Buenos
     Aires. It is curious that the break or fall at Villa Urquiza
     occurs precisely above the bend of the Paraná. A less marked
     break has been recognized further north, in the latitude of
     Lavalle, above the Goya bend. It seems that the diminution in
     the excavation of the valley is due to the erosion which the
     current effects laterally on the cliffs of the left bank.

Above Corrientes the width of the main arm of the Paraná varies, as
a rule, from 2,600 to 6,500 feet. The width of the river-plain over
which the floods spread is still more irregular. Between Santa Fé and
Paraná, where it is especially narrow, it is still ten miles wide.
Lower down it gradually broadens to a width of sixty-five miles at the
head of the estuary. The scenery is not the same in all sections of it.
The vegetation on the islands is richer and more varied up river, and
tropical essences (laurel-timbo) are found below the Bajada, forming
clumps of trees covered with creepers.

  _Banks and islands partially fixed by vegetation._
                                               Photograph by Widmayer.]

  _It is composed of clays and of beds of conchiferous terrestrial
  limestone, which have supplied the lime-kilns for more than a century._
                                                   Photograph by Boote.
  PLATE XXI.                                           To face p. 244.]

But the different scenes of the river region are most of all due to
different conditions of erosion and formation. Above Rosario the
configuration is due to floods. Each succeeding flood alters it and
leaves some trace of itself in the topography. The beds of sand that
it lays down are fixed by rushes and floating weeds, then by willows
(_Salix humboldtiana_). This screen of vegetation encourages accretion,
and the edges tend to rise higher. In the middle of the island are low,
marshy lands. The irregularity of the alluvial deposits causes marked
undulations in the whole region of the river, and everywhere gives rise
to alternate beds of clay and sand. Below Rosario the river gradually
loses its power. The islands become more stable and flatter. Clumps
of willow and spiny _ceibos_ (_Erythrina cristagalli_) still cover
the edges of them, and sometimes spread over the interior. But as the
climate is now less humid, the vegetation fixes the soil less firmly,
and the wind becomes the chief sculptor of the landscape. It heaps up
the sand during the low-water season, and makes dunes which rise above
the level of the greatest floods. These dunes form an unbroken line
along the land in the southern part of Entre Rios, in the north of the
main arm, with ridges at right angles, advancing toward the south,
which rest upon the river clay; like the one which the Ibicuy railway
follows across the floodable area. The cattle of the district take
refuge on the dunes during floods. During periods of drought, on the
other hand, they retain a quantity of water, and this is drawn from
surface-wells at their base.

The limits of the zone of the river are clearly marked on the whole
of the lower Paraná. It is enclosed on both sides by high _barrancas_
(cliffs), vertical in places where the main current washes their feet,
but sloping slightly where there is only a secondary arm with little
erosive power. The cliff is broken only at the confluences of small
valleys, the flat, filled-up bottoms of which are on the level of the
alluvial plain of the Paraná. The cliffs are at their highest in the
district of Villa Paraná, where they rise in places to a height of 300
feet. On the right bank the cliffs show a section of the upper layers
of the Pampean clays. On the left bank there are æolian clays only at
the top of them. Below these are Tertiary marine strata (marls and
sandstones with beds of shells). The cliffs of the left bank stretch
northwards, with a few breaks, as far as Corrientes, and even into
Misiones. Their height gradually diminishes, and the Tertiary marine
strata are replaced by granitic red sandstone.[125] On the right bank
the height of the cliffs gradually diminishes up river. They are still
conspicuous at the confluence of the Carcaraña, but at Santa Fé they
rise only about thirty-four feet. North of 31° S. lat., and for some
distance beyond Pilcomayo, the plain of the Chaco is very low, and it
is impossible to define exactly the limit of the alluvial zone of the
Paraná. The fine clays, grey and white, which form the soil of the
Chaco, reach the left bank north of Corrientes, in the _esteros_ of
Neembucu. The red sandstone hills of the Asunción district rise like an
archipelago out of this level bed of lacustrine deposits.

     [125] In the space between the frontier of Entre Rios and the
     Rio Empedrado, south of Corrientes, the cliffs expose, above
     the red sandstone, beds of sand and clay, fluvial alluvia
     left by former beds of the Paraná, the traces of which can
     be followed from the north-east to the south-west diagonally
     across the province of Corrientes.

There is no obstacle to navigation in the entire stretch from Posadas
to the falls of the Guayra on the Paraná and the Salto Grande on the
Yguassa. Sixteen miles below Posadas the Paraná passes through a series
of graduated rapids for about sixty miles (1,467 kil. to 1,558 kil.
from Buenos Aires) wrongly called the Salto de Apipé. The current then
rises to a speed of eight knots, and the depth is three feet at low
water. These rapids are due to beds of melaphyre, which emerge amongst
the granitic sandstone, and the water makes its way between large rocky
islands. At Ituzaingo (1,455 kil.) the current loses force. There is,
however, still a rocky bottom lower down, for ninety miles, at a depth
of five feet. Below this the rock only appears on the left bank, and in
a few ridges near the bank, or in isolated reefs which it has been easy
to mark with buoys.

From Corrientes to La Paz the river flows from north to south at
the feet of the Corrientes cliffs. These line the main stream
between Corrientes and Empedrado, and for thirty-five miles south of
Bellavista. In the latitude of Riachucho, especially about Bellavista,
the cliffs form a series of creeks and capes, in which the west winds
create a heavy sea that was dreaded by ships of light draught coming
down the river. North of Bellavista, and for more than a hundred miles
south of Goya, the main stream is separated from the cliff by a series
of alluvial islands; behind these are lateral arms (_riachos_) into
which pour the rivers of Corrientes. These arms were much used by the
early navigators.

Between Esquina and La Paz the main bed, which is not in touch with the
land on either of its banks, flows in a meandering path for some seven
miles, the scale of the bends being double that of the meandering of
the Paraguay north of the confluence. The islands are very small, and
are strung in a rosary at the top of each bend. The depth is sixty feet
at the top of the bend. The shallows are in a line with the islands at
the point where the current runs evenly again before the next curve.
The depth here is seven, and sometimes even five feet.[126] These
shallows change their places quickly, and it is not always the same bad
spot that determines the maximum draught for ships that are to be used
in this section. This migration of the shallows is very different from
the permanence of the rocky bottom of the stretch between Corrientes
and Posadas.

     [126] In point of fact, the ridge is lower at the time of low
     water, when the current is concentrated in the main channel,
     so that one always finds one or two feet greater depth there
     at low water than soundings taken at high water would lead one
     to expect.

From La Paz to Paraná the main course is outlined by the Entre Rios
cliffs. There is no further meandering. The cliffs of hard rock offer
far more resistance than the soft alluvia over which the river wanders
freely. The permanence of the bed in front of the cliffs leads to
a depth of as much as eighty feet. Only here and there a fringe of
alluvial stuff separates the channel for a time from the cliff. These
curves seem, as a rule, to coincide with the confluence of rivers,
which bring a heavy load of clay from the tableland; as, does, for
instance, the San Feliciano, north of Hernandarias. They are marked
by shallows, in strong contrast to the great depths of the straight
sections. The San Feliciano _paso_, which is twelve feet broad to-day,
was only six feet broad in 1908. It appeared on Sullivan's map in

     [127] A little above its actual position.

Below Paraná, as far as the estuary, the careful observations that
have been made since 1903 on the movement of the river have enabled us
to learn some of its laws.[128] We can distinguish four sections of
unequal length. From Paraná to Diamante the river remains in touch with
the cliffs of the left bank. It is not straight; it describes a series
of linked crescents of equal radius, which seem to be traces of so many
meanders. Only one in two of the windings of the cliff is followed by
the channel. The wandering of the river is confined within limits as
in a fixed mould. The Paracao shallow, which for a long time prevented
ships from reaching Santa Fé (gradually deepened by dredging from eight
to nineteen feet between 1907 and 1911) is at the angle where two of
these curves meet. On the right bank the secondary arms continue to
follow the river (Paraná viejo, Riacho de Coronda).[129]

     [128] In studying the variations of the bed of the Paraná it
     is necessary to avoid comparing maps drawn at dates separated
     by long intervals. The differences of such maps are such
     that they do not enable us to follow the processes by which
     the actual forms have been derived from earlier forms. The
     analogies which they show are sometimes due, not to the
     permanence of the topography, but to the return of a complete
     cycle of changes, or of conditions analogous to the earlier

     [129] The secondary arms of the right bank, north of Santa
     Fé, were not explored until 1870. Sullivan's map (1847) only
     mentions the Riacho de San Jeronimo, which is visible for a
     short distance below 20° S. lat. The right bank was the domain
     of the Indians, and the Correntinos would not venture near it.
     In 1870 ships began to use the San Javier arm, on which many
     colonies arose. Further north the Paraná Mini has been used
     since 1890 for exporting _quebracho_ timber.

Below Diamante the river leaves the cliff on the left bank and slants
across the alluvial plain to the cliff on the right bank, which it
reaches at San Lorenzo. Over the whole of its thirty miles width it
resumes the freedom and regularity of features which it had above La
Paz. A comparison of the successive maps of the river shows that the
scheme of its movements, which one would be tempted to draw up with a
regular migration of the islands and loops down river, would not be
accurate. The changes of the bed of the river are essentially due to
variations in the volume of the different arms, which are constantly
changing their size and adapting their shape to the body of water that
flows in them. The radius of the curve of each arm is proportional
to its volume. A long island is formed between two arms of equal
size which both describe symmetrical curves. If the volume of one of
them is reduced, its original curve is replaced by sinuosities of
smaller radius, and these nibble the edges of the island and give it
an irregular shape. If the volume increases again, the winding bed is
abandoned and becomes a dead bed, and a larger meander begins. The
track followed by the ships then breaks up into a series of meanders
over a course of about eight miles and a half, and this means the
concentration in a single channel of the greater part of the water of
the river, and in narrower bends in the sections where the current is
divided between several arms.

From San Lorenzo to San Pedro the river flows by the cliff of the
right bank. It is remarkably regular, and has only one slight bend:
an exceptionally good site, on which the town of Rosario is built. At
almost equal intervals, differing by only about ten to thirteen miles,
the river leaves the cliff, and is separated from it by an alluvial
strand, or by an insular zone a few miles in width.[130] Below this
bend the current again touches the cliff and landing is easy. The
small, older ports of the Paraná--Constitución, San Nicolas, Puerto
Obligado and San Pedro--are built on similar sites. It does not seem
that the islands at the foot of the cliff tend to extend downward in
front of these ports; the points where the river reaches the cliff are
fixed. The depth is often considerable at the foot of the cliff (138
feet opposite Puerto Obligado). The shoals are distributed irregularly
at the bends, where the channel moves away from the cliff. They all
have to-day a minimum depth of twenty-one feet.[131] On the left bank
the secondary arms sprawl over the alluvial plain for thirty-five miles
north of the river.

     [130] As between La Paz and Paraná, it seems possible to show
     some relation between these alluvial stretches at the foot
     of the cliff and the confluence of the small valleys of the
     Pampean plain.

     [131] The Paso Paraguayo, which has cost the Argentine
     hydrographic service most work, did not exist at the middle of
     the nineteenth century. It seems that the channel then kept
     to the cliff as far as Benavidez, and was continued as far as
     the source of the Paraná Pavon by a very pronounced buckle, of
     which the Monriel lagoon is a scar. In 1895 the Paso was only
     fifteen feet deep.

The delta begins at San Pedro. The Paraná Guazu, or main arm, leaves
the cliff on the right bank and passes to the Uruguayan bank opposite
Carmelo. The Paraná de las Palmas, which branches off from it to
the south and passes before Campana and Zarate at the foot of the
tableland, is deep and easy to navigate, but it is closed at the bottom
of the estuary by a six-foot bar, which makes it a sort of blind alley
opened only above. The arms of the zone of the delta differ from those
of the river-zone proper in the irregularity of their course. Flowing
between long islands, they sometimes lie in straight stretches and at
other times in meanders or almost perfect buckles. The channels of the
southern part of the delta, near Buenos Aires, are called _caracoles_
(snails) on account of their winding shape. The weakness of the
current, which is held up by the tide, is seen also in the distribution
of the greater depths; they are no longer uniformly found along the
concave edge of the bends, but are scattered irregularly. On the Paraná
Guazu a depth of 130 feet has been ascertained. Its minimum depth is
twenty-two feet.

  _Right bank. The river has moved away from the_ barranca, _leaving at
  its foot an alluvial plain of imperfect spiral form_.
  PLATE XXII.                                          To face p. 250.]

The study of the estuary may be taken separately from that of the
river. It consists of three parts, unequal in size, which open with
increasing breadth toward the Atlantic. The upper Rio de la Plata,
above Colonia and Puntá Lara, has a width of about thirty-five miles.
The middle Plata, twice as wide, extends to the latitude of Montevideo
and Puntá de las Piedras. Then the outer harbour opens between
Maldonado and Puntá Rasa. The water is still fresh in the middle
estuary up to eighty miles below Buenos Aires.

The bottom is alluvial except in the channels between Martin Garcia and
Colonia.[132] Differently from up the river, where the channels have
sandy bottoms, while the banks are of fine clay, the channels of the
estuary have bottoms of mud and clay. In the outer harbour the pilots
recognize the approach of banks by the sand which is brought up by
the sounding-lead. The action of the waves, which is not found in the
river, accumulates stuff of comparatively large size and weight on the

     [132] The granite which outcrops at Martin Garcia also forms
     the platform of the English Bank in the outer harbour.

In spite of the conclusions embodied in the nautical instructions,
which describe the estuary as a theatre of rapid changes "occasioned
by the continual deposits of sand brought down by the Paraná and the
Uruguay,"[133] the estuary is, as a matter of fact, in a remarkable
state of equilibrium, and there is no trace of a gradual accumulation
of alluvia, or of important changes of channel. The shore of the
delta north of the Paraná de las Palmas, covered with rushes which
protect it from the attack of the waves, shows neither advance nor
retreat. The broad lines of the hydrography of the Rio de la Plata
are plainly indicated on Woodbine Parish's map. The English Navy map
of 1869 (on the basis of observations in 1833, 1844 and 1856) only
differs in detail from the present map. The stability of the channels
is surprisingly different from the changes in the bed of the river
in the flood-zone. The permanence of the bottom, in spite of the
loose deposits of the estuary, is explained by the regularity of the
currents. These currents, which determine the submarine topography of
the Rio de la Plata and the distribution of the banks, are not of river
origin. They are tidal currents.

     [133] The water in the estuary, worked up by waves and tide,
     contains more sediment than the water of the river.

There are two groups of shoals in the estuary. The first, the Playa
Honda, occupies the whole western part of it up to a line drawn from
Buenos Aires to Colonia. These banks leave a narrow passage in the
north, opposite the Uruguayan shore, and this is followed by ships
going to Uruguay and the Paraná Guazu. The second group of shoals is
the Ortiz Bank, triangular in shape, which rests in the north on the
Uruguay coast below Colonia, while its point extends south-eastward to
eighteen miles north of the Puntá de las Piedras. It keeps the zone of
deepest water in the middle estuary to the south, near the Argentine
shore. In the latitude of the point of the Ortiz Bank, on a line from
Montevideo to Puntá de las Piedras, the middle estuary is separated
from the outer harbour by a bar (_barra del Indio_) with thirty-eight
feet of water, caused by the transverse currents which circulate from
point to point inside the English Bank.

The tide in the estuary is very irregular. The south-east winds
increase the flow and retard the ebb. When they are blowing, it often
happens that the level of the water in the upper estuary keeps up from
one tide to the next, sometimes for several days. The tide, which
is slight at Montevideo, is greater at the bottom of the harbour on
the Barra del Indio, sometimes rising nearly forty inches there. From
there it advances with difficulty northward, over the Ortiz Bank, along
the Uruguayan shore, whereas it passes freely into the deeper zone on
the Argentine side.[134] At Buenos Aires it still has a depth of thirty
inches. From there it advances northward by the Martin Garcia channels
beyond the Playa Honda. The channel of the Pozos del Barca Grande,
which crosses the Playa Honda bank from north to south, parallel to the
edge of the delta, is oriented in conformity with the tidal currents
and maintained by them. It is not attached to the river, and it is
separated from the mouths of the Paraná de las Palmas or the Paraná
Mini by shallows which are navigable only to small boats. The _Rias_
of the Uruguay, where the tide raises the water twelve inches, forms
a sort of reservoir which, at the ebb, feeds a strong current round
Martin Garcia and sweeps the channels there.

     [134] The current at high tide is stronger than at low tide,
     and it has shifted to the north-east the streams which find an
     outlet on this side.

The work done for the improvement of the estuary includes the deepening
to thirty feet of the Barra del Indio and the dredging of a straight
channel from that point to Buenos Aires. Steamers of large tonnage
going up the Paraná leave this channel twenty-six miles east of Buenos
Aires, and turn north in order to pass east of Martin Garcia, and
enter the river by the Paraná Guazu or the Paraná Bravo. Since 1901
the Argentine Government has considered a plan of opening a direct
route from Buenos Aires to the Paraná de las Palmas, either by cutting
an artificial canal at the foot of the cliffs, across the Tigre
archipelago, or by using the channel of the Pozos del Barca Grande and
cutting the narrow bar which closes the Paraná de las Palmas below. If
this were done, the ports of the Paraná de las Palmas would have direct
access to the sea. Moreover, the new route from the Paraná to the
Atlantic would be entirely within Argentine territory, out of range of
the Uruguayan shore, and Buenos Aires would become a necessary port of
call both on departure and return.

Above the estuary, the work for the improvement of the Paraná began
in 1904 and 1905. Since 1910 the material dredged from the bed of the
river has risen to 3,500,000 cubic metres a year on the average. The
experience gained in the course of this work has enabled the Argentine
hydrographic service to adjust its methods to the incomparable force
of the river. It is impossible to maintain a general rectification of
the bed and the banks, as is possible with European rivers. The only
thing to do is to submit quietly to the plan which the river sketches
for itself, and be content to deepen the difficult passages on the
line of the main arm. Suction dredges, which work easily in the sand,
attack each ridge or _paso_ from below, making a channel into which
the waters flow, so that it tends to enlarge itself up stream. The
dredges are shifted from bank to bank according as the soundings tell
of the formation of fresh obstacles to navigation. They were at first
concentrated below Rosario, where the Argentine Government had to carry
out certain engagements contracted with the Port Company; then they
were scattered as far up as Santa Fé. The actual equipment suffices to
carry out the programme that had been drawn up--to maintain a depth of
twenty-one feet as far as Rosario and of nineteen feet as far as Santa

  _The channels of the estuary are parallel to the direction of the
  tidal currents, which account for their depth. Those which cross the
  shoals of the Playa Honda, at the bottom of the estuary, finish as
  no-thoroughfares, and do not give access to the southern arms of the
  river. From Buenos Aires ships going up the river have to go round by
  Martin Garcia and the mouths of the Paraná Guazu._
                                                       To face p. 254.]

As regards the section above Santa Fé, the engineer Repossini advises
that, instead of adopting a programme of expensive dredging with
uncertain results, they should first think of adjusting navigation to
the natural conditions, and they are such as would be considered very
favourable in Europe. The hydrographic service would, however, still
have two functions: in the first place, the topographical study of the
river and the constant placing of buoys, and, in the second place, the
observation of its behaviour and anticipation of variations of level.
The utility of the work of foreseeing floods, which has been carried on
since 1907, has been abundantly proved. It published a daily bulletin
of forecasts, based upon observation of the pluviometric scales of
the upper river, which is equally valuable to the navigators and to
breeders in the floodable area. It enables the breeders to get their
cattle into safety before the floods come. On the other hand, the ship
can, thanks to the bulletin, foretell what depth of water it will find
at critical passages, and calculate exactly the load it can carry, and
so complete its cargo lower down. The service of forecast of floods
has morally improved navigation on the Paraná by suppressing every
possible pretext for wilful stranding, which had become a current form
of speculation.

       *       *       *       *       *

Nothing is more varied than the fleet which now serves the Paraná. It
includes tramps, and long, slim European ships, which load up with
cereals and meat; large river boats, luxurious and light; barges
and tugs, lighters and schooners, which have compensation for their
slowness in their cheapness.

As regards navigation, the river is now divided into three sections.
Maritime navigation ascends as far as Santa Fé. At Rosario and Santa Fé
it goes right to the heart of the zone of cereals and to the fringe of
the forest area. The upper section, between Rosario and Santa Fé, is
less safe than the lower section, and this is reflected in the cost of
freightage from Santa Fé.

The ports of the lower Paraná, between Santa Fé and Buenos Aires,
may be classed in three categories. The ports of the first group
are built on low land that is liable to be flooded. Every year the
floods threaten their traffic. That is the character of Colastiné,
east of Santa Fé, which specializes in shipping _quebracho_ timber,
or Ibicuy, on the Paraná Pavon, in the south of the province of Entre
Rios, which, however, is protected by excellent works. The small ports
of the _barranca_ of the southern bank, on the main river and on the
Paraná de las Palmas, form a second group. They ship meat (Campana and
Zarate) and cereals (San Nicolas and Villa Constitución), and they are
admirably adapted for this by their natural situation. Steamers come
right up to the cliff without any need of special works on the shore.
The sacks of wheat are let into the ships down sloping gangways from
stores excavated in the cliff or from wagons. None of these ports are
equipped for receiving imports. The third group comprises ports with
complete apparatus for both export and import. The chief of these is
Rosario. It was the increase of imports between 1850 and 1860 that
stimulated its early progress. To-day the tonnage of the goods unloaded
at Rosario is nearly one-half the tonnage of the cereals shipped there.
Yet, in spite of appearances, it is the imports that account mainly
for the busy life of its quays. The port company does the unloading
itself, as well as the handling and storing of the goods imported, but
it is content to receive dues on all exports within the area for which
it has a monopoly. Only a small part of the cereals exported uses its
elevators. A deep-water port, equipped like that at Rosario for import
and export, has just been constructed at Santa Fé. Already it competes
with Colastiné for the export of _quebracho_. Its import trade is still
small, as such trade requires large capital and a whole network of
relations with the adjoining country, and that is not the work of a day.

The second section of the river stretches from Santa Fé to Corrientes,
and is continued up the Paraguay. The transport of _quebracho_ timber
and tannic acid is the chief item of its trade. The maximum draught
of the vessels it admits at normal low water is six feet. Some of the
ports on the left bank (Esquina, Goya) and all the ports on the right
bank (Reconquista, Barranqueras, etc.) are at some distance from the
main bed, or lateral arms. The Chaco works have generally a flotilla
of steamers and barges. It is the exporters of timber and extract
of _quebracho_ to Europe who most strongly demand the deepening of
the bed of the Paraná above Santa Fé. Sailing ships share with the
river steamers the transport of the products of the Paraguay and of
Corrientes (hides, tobacco and _maté_). The transport of oranges alone
from San Antonio, Villeta, Pilar and Humaïta represents an item of tens
of thousands of tons.

The third section of the river stretches from Corrientes to Posadas,
and beyond. Sailing ships have disappeared from this section, as they
cannot make the Apipé rapids. Steamers of four and a-half feet draught
and 150 tons are now used on it, but they cannot proceed at low water.
They provide a direct service between Buenos Aires and Posadas, though
the service is not very economical, because it does not permit them to
use to the full the transport-capacity of the river below Corrientes.
Most of the goods for Posadas are, therefore, trans-shipped at
Ituzaingo, below the rapids, or at Corrientes. The steamboat companies
which serve Posadas are obliged, in order to secure the economical
transport of goods shipped on the upper Paraná, to maintain lines which
go up the Paraguay as far as Asunción, and take on at Corrientes the
goods that come from Posadas. Higher up, the falls of the Guayra and
the Yguassu set an impassable limit to the enterprise of Argentine
vessels. Boats on the stretch above Yguassu on the Paraná feed the
railways of the Brazilian tableland. The traffic of the upper Paraná
consists chiefly of _maté_ from Misiones and cedar-planks from the
Posadas saw-mills. Rafts of timber are stopped at Posadas and rarely
follow the river further.

The Argentine statistics of navigation are obscure. They confuse under
one heading the river-traffic between Posadas and Brazilian territory,
or between Corrientes and the Paraguay, and the exports of the Pampean
region to Europe. It is difficult to get from them an idea of the real
traffic, or to distinguish the tonnage loaded or unloaded at each port
from that which merely touches its quays in ships going up or coming
down the river. They credit a score of ports with a total tonnage of
(entries and clearances together) more than 500,000 tons.

At all events, they do enable us to distinguish between ports
exclusively devoted to river traffic and those with direct relations
to oversea ports. Nearly all the boats destined for the Paraná touch
at Buenos Aires, which remains the chief importing centre, on the way
up, and unload there. They then go empty to Rosario, San Nicolas, or
Santa Fé to take on a full cargo of cereals or timber, and set out down
the Paraná for Europe without calling at Buenos Aires. Clearances for
interior navigation at the port of Buenos Aires are far more numerous
than entries. From 1912 to 1914 Buenos Aires received on the average,
coming from interior ports, 1,750,000 tons, of which 1,635,000 were
cargo. It cleared for the same ports ships totalling 3,275,000 tons, of
which 1,580,000 were in ballast. The latter figure fairly represents
the tonnage of sea-going ships sent up river empty after discharging on
the quays of Buenos Aires. At Rosario, San Nicolas and San Pedro, on
the other hand, the tonnage of clearances for Argentine ports is much
less than the tonnage of entries.[135] The total movement of goods at
the port of Rosario is 410,000 tons entries and 375,000 tons clearances
for interior navigation, and 1,100,000 tons entries and 1,824,000 tons
clearances for navigation abroad.

     [135] Movement of internal navigation at Rosario (average
     1912-1914): entries, 1,108,000 tons, of which 690,000 in
     ballast; clearances, 580,000 tons. At San Nicolas: entries,
     400,000 tons, of which 440,000 in ballast; clearances, 4,000
     tons. The difference between the entries and the clearances
     represents ships starting straight for Europe.

According to Repossini's calculations the tonnage of exports on the
lower Paraná south of Santa Fé rose in 1910 to 4,000,000 or 4,500,000.
The imports, almost entirely confined to Rosario, were about a fourth
of this figure. For the middle and upper Paraná, Repossini estimated
the volume of the traffic at 800,000 tons, of which _quebracho_ was

The navigation of the Paraná is one of the chief sources of the
prosperity of Buenos Aires. Even if the development of the import
trade at Rosario or Santa Fé is partly at the expense of the capital,
and the boats laden with cereals do not stop at its quays, still the
coasting traffic on the river is in great part meant for Buenos Aires.
In returning, rather than go empty, the boats take cargoes of European
products bought from the Buenos Aires importers. By means of the Paraná
the import-trade sphere of influence of Buenos Aires reaches beyond the
frontiers of Argentina, as far as Paraguay and part of Brazil. Buenos
Aires is, moreover, the main centre for equipping the steamboats of the
river. Its capital dominates the Paraná. Lastly, the Paraná supplies it
with an export freight which must not be overlooked. It is at Buenos
Aires that the hides, tobacco and timber and extracts of _quebracho_
for oversea markets, shipped on schooners in the upper reaches of the
river which are impassable for steamers, are trans-shipped for abroad.



     The distribution of the population--The streams of emigration
     to the interior--Seasonal migrations--The historic towns--The
     towns of the Pampean region--Buenos Aires.

A large-scale chart of the mean density of the population for each
province--like those which were published in the latest Argentine
Census-reports--has no geographical value for the west and north-west,
where oases of slight extent are separated by vast desolate stretches,
deserted because of the lack of water. In the Pampean region, on the
other hand, the population is distributed in a very regular manner, and
the mean densities calculated fairly represent the facts.

To the several types of exploitation, of which we have studied the
distribution on the Pampa, there correspond unequal densities of
population. Cattle-breeding, for instance, requires only a thin
population. The early pastoral colonization of the plain on the west
of the Salado was carried out, between 1880 and 1890, with a very
small number of workers. A large ranch of 400 square kilometres on the
northern edge of the Pampa (the Tostado ranch) only employs about a
hundred men, or one for four square kilometres. The density increases
appreciably for sheep-breeding on the _pastos tiernos_ of Buenos Aires
province, where a ranch of a hundred square kilometres, devoted to
producing wool, with fifty or sixty shepherds, sustains at least 200
persons, or two to the square kilometre.[136] The density is not
appreciably greater in the area of wheat-growing on a large scale,
where the extent cultivated by one family reaches, including fallow,
200 hectares. But it may, even apart from the urban population, be more
than ten to the square kilometre in the maize belt.

     [136] The density is twenty times less in the ranches which
     use the meagre pastures of the Rio Negro.

The growth of the population of Argentina can be followed closely
from the middle of the eighteenth century. A Census taken in 1774
gives the Buenos Aires district within the first line of forts 6,000
inhabitants. At the end of the eighteenth century (Census of 1797,
quoted by D'Azara) the population of the province of Buenos Aires,
without the town, was a little over 30,000 souls, the zone occupied
having been extended in the meantime, at least in part, as far as the
Salado. Woodbine Parish estimates the population at 80,000 in 1824, at
the time when the expansion southward, beyond the Salado, as far as the
Sierra de Tandil, began. It doubled between 1824 and 1855. The northern
departments then counted 45,000 inhabitants, the western 58,000 and the
southern 63,000. The density was still a little greater in the north,
along the road to Peru, but the advance of sheep-rearing in the south
was beginning to change the centre of gravity of colonization. The
first regular Census of the Argentine Republic in 1869 showed a still
more rapid advance. The population of the Buenos Aires province had
grown to 315,000 inhabitants. The increase was greatest in the west,
where tillage began to extend round Chivilcoy, beyond the pastoral
area, and in the south, where sheep-farms multiplied. The population of
the southern departments more than doubled in fourteen years (137,000
inhabitants to 70,000 square kilometres in occupation, or two to the
square kilometre).

However, the Pampean region--Buenos Aires (including the capital),
Santa Fé, and the southern part of Córdoba--still had a smaller
population than that of the northern and north-western provinces:
626,000 as compared with 813,000. The Mesopotamian provinces had then
263,000 inhabitants.

The proportion was reversed twenty-five years later at the 1895 Census.
The population of the Pampas had increased threefold, and was more than
a half of the entire population of the country. That of the western and
north-western provinces was about a third of the whole, and had only
increased by fifty per cent.

If one considers in detail the distribution of the population of the
Pampean plain in 1895, one sees that beyond the suburbs of Buenos Aires
the area of greatest density--five to eight per square kilometre--was
in the north-west, between San Andres de Giles and Pergamino, a
district of advanced methods, where the cultivation of maize was
beginning to occupy a good part of the land. The population was
confined to the west of the preceding zone, in the agricultural area of
Junin, Chacabuco and Chivilcoy. This area, where maize and wheat were
next each other, already embraced Viente Cinco de Mayo (five to the
square kilometre) on the west and Nueve de Julio (2.5). In the south
of Buenos Aires, the departments of the left bank of the Salado, which
were entirely given up to breeding, but long colonized, had a density
of three to five per square kilometre. The region lying between the
lower Salado and the Sierra de Tandil, a sheep-breeding area, then
giving good returns but of recent colonization, had not more than
three. The density falls rapidly as one goes westward. It sinks to less
than one in the north-west and west of the Buenos Aires province, in
the area where the cattle-breeders from the east had settled. At Santa
Fé, the region of the colonies, at the level both of Rosario and Santa
Fé, had five inhabitants per square kilometre. But beyond the Córdoba
frontier the density falls to two in the San Justo department, and
still less further south, at Marcos Juarez, Union and General Lopez.

                        Photograph by Soc. Fotografica de Aficionados.]

  [Illustration: DRYING SALT MEAT.
                         Photograph by Soc. Fotografica de Aficionados.
  PLATE XXIII.                                         To face p. 262.]

In 1914 the density was more than fifteen in the whole of the maize
area in the Buenos Aires and Santa Fé provinces, and it approached
this figure in the departments of the old agricultural colonies on the
middle Salado. In the region of the lucerne farms it was three to five,
except in the south-east (departments of Veinte Cinco de Mayo, Nueve
de Julio and Bolivia), where it rose, thanks to the co-existence of
ranches and of wheat and maize. It sank to between two and three in the
wheat area in the south and south-east of Buenos Aires. At Santa Fé the
district of the colonies had seven to the square kilometre.

The growth of the population is partly explained by immigration
from Europe. Foreigners were, in 1914, 30 per cent. of the total
population.[137] The proportion of foreigners to the total population
is one of the indications by which we can best follow the advance
of colonization. As soon as it relaxes in any region, the number of
immigrants diminishes. (The children born of foreign colonists in
Argentina are considered indigenous in Argentine statistics.) In 1869
the proportion of foreigners rose to 417 per 1,000 in the province
of Buenos Aires (without the capital). This was the great period
of pastoral colonization and the development of sheep-breeding. It
was then only 156 per 1,000 at Santa Fé. In 1895 the proportion of
foreigners sank to 309 per 1,000 at Buenos Aires, but rose to 419 at
Santa Fé, where the date almost marks the end of the great period of
agricultural colonization. In 1914 the proportion of foreigners at
Buenos Aires rose to 340 per 1,000 (development of the maize region and
the southern wheat area). It sank at Santa Fé (350 per 1,000), in spite
of considerable immigration in the southern maize-growing departments.
At the same time there was a great influx of foreign population in the
province of Córdoba (200 per 1,000) and in the area of the Central
Pampa (360 per 1,000).[138]

     [137] All Europeans, except a few tens of thousands of
     Bolivians in the Salta and Jujuy provinces, a few thousand
     Brazilians in Misiones, and a few thousand Chileans at Neuquen.

     [138] I have referred elsewhere to the magnitude of the stream
     of European immigration at Mendoza. In Patagonia (territory
     of the Rio Negro, the Neuquen, the Chubut, the Santa Cruz,
     and Tierra del Fuego, of which the total population is only
     104,000) sheep-breeding has attracted a considerable number of
     immigrants (428 foreigners per 1000 in 1914).

The recent enumerations also enable us to follow the displacements of
the indigenous population on Argentine territory and the part this
has had in colonization. Outside the Pampean region the parts of the
country which have proved centres of attraction for the Argentine
population are the sugar provinces of Tucumán and Jujuy and the
province of Mendoza. In 1895 Tucumán had 40,000 inhabitants who had
been born in other provinces, Jujuy 15,000 and Mendoza 19,000. The
attraction of Tucumán was mainly felt in the adjoining province of
Santiago (12,000 immigrants) and Catamarca (12,000). At Mendoza the
immigrants came mainly from San Juan (7,000) and San Luis (3,000).
The attraction of the timber region is more difficult to estimate,
because most of the _obrajes_ are in the province of Santiago, which
found the workers itself, and the enumerations have not taken into
account displacements within each province. Nevertheless, immigration
into the land of the _quebracho Chaqueño_, along the Paraná, can be
recognised from 1895 onward. It was maintained by the Corrientes
province. Santa Fé has 10,000 immigrants from Corrientes, of whom 6,500
are in the forestry departments of Reconquista and Vera. The Chaco
region maintains 2,000 Corrientes wood-cutters and several hundred
from Santiago and Salta. Corrientes has also sent 5,000 emigrants to

In the Pampean region the population of Buenos Aires in 1895 included
very few who came from other provinces. The population of Santa Fé was
more mixed. The attraction of the agricultural colonies had brought
65,000 Argentine immigrants. They came mainly from the left bank of
the Paraná and Córdoba. The immigrants from Córdoba are localized
along the railway from Rosario to Córdoba, in the Belgrano and Iriondo
departments and the town of Rosario. The migration of the Santa Fé
colonists to the new lands in the west had scarcely begun at that time.
They were still only 3,000 in the Buenos Aires province, and 5,000 at
Córdoba; most of them were in departments adjacent to the old colony
area. The colonization of Córdoba began simultaneously in the east,
toward Santa Fé, and in the south-west, in the Rio Cuarto department,
to which the breeders from San Luis went. Similarly, the Argentine
population of the Central Pampa includes elements from the east as
well as European colonists and elements from the north-west (10,000
immigrants from the Buenos Aires province, 3,000 from San Luis).

The 1914 Census has less complete details in regard to interior
immigration than its predecessor. The migrations had not ceased.
The attraction of Tucumán and Mendoza had, in fact, decreased. The
province of Tucumán had 55,000 Argentine immigrants, the province of
Jujuy 15,000, the province of Mendoza 34,000. The provinces of Mendoza
and Corrientes remained nuclei of considerable immigration (38,000
and 63,000 immigrants). At Santa Fé the number of emigrants who left
the province to settle at Córdoba and in the remainder of the Pampean
region rose from 14,000 to 87,000. The Patagonian territory also had a
large excess of immigrants from other provinces.

Periodic migrations with no definitive change of residence are not
given in the official statistics. The importance of these migrations in
northern Argentina has been noted in the chapters we devoted to Tucumán
and the forestry industry. They occur also in the Pampean region,
where they are due chiefly to the need of labour for the harvest and
the threshing of wheat and flax, and for reaping the maize. Miatello
has given us a detailed analysis of the phenomenon for the province
of Santa Fé in 1904. The period when the wheat and flax growers need
help is from November to February. It begins in March for the maize
farmers, and lasts so much longer when the harvest is good. The
temporary immigrants come partly from Europe. Not only is the stream
of immigration to Argentina fuller during the months which precede the
harvests, while the stream of re-emigration to Europe is greatest in
the autumn, but it is not a rare thing for Italians to go every year
to Argentina merely to stay there during the harvest, when wages are
high. This seasonal immigration from Italy is of long standing; it is
mentioned by Daireaux in 1889. These foreigners, however, are only
part of the adventurous crowd enlisted for the harvests on the Pampean
plain. Seasonal migration is everywhere a national practice. The labour
employed in reaping the maize includes elements borrowed from the towns
near the maize belt. But all the provinces round the Pampean region
send their contingent of temporary immigrants. Some even come from the
valley of the Rio Negro at Bahía Blanca, from San Luis, and even from
Mendoza to the Central Pampa and the Córdoba province.

The oldest, and still the largest, stream is that which comes from the
Santiago province. D'Orbigny notices in 1827 the temporary streaming
of Santiagueños to the coast. In that year slow progress was made with
the wheat-harvest of Buenos Aires because of the shortage of labour.
"The forced levies for the army prevented the Santiagueños from going
to hire themselves, as was their custom, in fear lest they should be
compelled to serve."[139]

     [139] D'Orbigny, _Voyage dans l'Amérique méridionale_, vol. i.
     p. 528.

Temporary emigration began, no doubt, with the journeys which
brought the northerners to Buenos Aires as drivers of convoys of
wagons. Santiagueños were numerous amongst these _troperos_. Lorenzo
Fazio collected reminiscences of these journeys in the land of the
_bañados_.[140] They go back to the first quarter of the nineteenth
century, the period before the diversion of the Rio Dulce and the ruin
of Salavina and Atamisqui. "My father," said one of his informants,
"drove wagons of wheat to Córdoba, and sometimes to Buenos Aires,
where he sold them and bought goods-stuffs in exchange. He bought the
wheat at Loreto, Atamisqui or Salavina. It was a year before he got
back, because it was necessary to wait for the rain and the growth of
the vegetation, otherwise his animals would have died of thirst or
hunger on the road." The journeys of the _troperos_ meant a long spell
of idleness in the Pampean region, precisely at the harvest season.
Naturally, they would lend a hand in it.

     [140] Lorenzo Fazio, _Memoria descriptiva de la provincia de
     Santiago del Estero_ (Buenos Aires, 1889).

The temporary emigration of the Santiagueños continued throughout the
nineteenth century. It was maintained even during the disturbances
under the government of Rosas, which almost entirely put an end to
commercial relations between Buenos Aires and the northern provinces.
When Galvez passed through the villages on the Rio Dulce he noticed
that there were few men in them. They had scattered over the roads or
were, as he says, _andariegos_. Only the women remained. The province
of Buenos Aires received the Santiagueños in crowds, offering their
services. Chivilcoy and the whole region of the _chacras_ of maize and
wheat received their caravans for the harvest, and some were kept for
the sowing. Even the ranchers took advantage of this reinforcement,
and hired the men for marking. In the autumn they went back with their
_tropillas_, much dreaded by the breeders whose land they crossed,
stealing any horses that were not well guarded.

The province of Santa Fé, especially in the agricultural departments
of the north-west, is now the chief theatre in the Pampean region
for the immigration of the Santiagueños. It does not always come by
rail, but has to some extent preserved its primitive and picturesque
features. The immigrants arrive in troops on mules and horses, and
scatter in November over the colonies.

The population of Argentina has also felt the attraction of the urban
centres. The growth of the towns is due to both foreign and national
immigration. The development of urban life, which is one of the
characteristic features of modern Argentina, is a recent phenomenon.
There was no indication of its coming in the eighteenth century.
D'Azara was, on the contrary, struck by the absence of communal life
(_pueblos unidos_). The scattering of the population was a result
of the predominance of breeding. "If these people found profit in
agriculture, one would see them gather together in villages, instead
of the whole population being dispersed in ranches."[141] It is
this scattering of the population rather than an absolute numerical
inferiority--the solitude, "the desert, the universal horizon that
forced itself into the very entrails of the land"[142]--that moulded
the fiery soul of the _gaucho_.

     [141] F. de Azara, _Memorias sobre el estado rural del río de
     la Plata en 1801_, p. 10.

     [142] Sarmiento, _El Facundo_, p. 19.

  [Illustration: A HERD OF CREOLE CATTLE.
                                               Photograph by Widmayer.]

  [Illustration: A HERD OF DURHAM CATTLE.
                         Photograph by Soc. Fotografica de Aficionados.
  PLATE XXIV.                                          To face p. 268.]

The primitive urban sites were all either on the river or on the
historic roads to Chile and Peru. The only towns of the Paraná region
at the end of the eighteenth century were Buenos Aires, Santa Fé and
Corrientes. As to towns in the interior, Helms's journey in 1778
gives us some idea of their size. Córdoba, at the crossing of the
Peru road and the tracks to the province of La Rioja, had then 1,500
white inhabitants and 4,000 blacks. As it was near the Sierra, which
provided granite and lime, it had some semblance of architecture, and
had paved streets, which struck even the traveller from Buenos Aires.
The attraction of its schools was felt over a wide area. We still have
a list of students from Paraguay who studied at Córdoba University in
the eighteenth century.[143] Tucumán and Salta, especially Salta, also
were busy centres. Salta had 600 Spanish families and 9,000 inhabitants
in all, and its influence extended as far as Peru and Chile. Jujuy,
on the other hand, was a very small town. Helms mentions the decay of
Santiago del Estero. The trade which had once flourished there had, he
says, gone in a different direction. The prosperity of Santiago was, as
a matter of fact, connected with traffic on the direct route from Santa
Fé to Tucumán, which ceased at the close of the eighteenth century.
Santa Fé also was a decaying town at the close of the eighteenth
century, and would remain such until the middle of the nineteenth. Its
distress was due, not merely to the suspension of its direct trade
with Peru, but also to the decay and isolation of Paraguay, which had
provided most of its trade and for which it acted as intermediary with
the Andean provinces.

     [143] Published by the _Revista del Instituto Paraguayo_
     (vol. iv. p. 334).

The great development of urban life in Argentina dates from the time
of the colonization of the Pampean region. The ratio of the urban
population has risen considerably during the last twenty-five years.
In 1895, 113 centres with more than 2,000 inhabitants comprised 37 per
cent. of the total population of Argentina; in 1914 the number of urban
centres was 322, and they comprised 53 per cent. of the population.
The population of towns with 5,000 to 20,000 inhabitants has increased
threefold in twenty years, rising from 312,000 in 1895 to 977,000 in
1914. Large new towns like Rosario and Bahía Blanca were created. The
relative sizes of the older towns changed rapidly. Tucumán and Mendoza
(121,000 and 92,000 inhabitants) shot beyond Santiago and Salta (22,000
and 28,000 inhabitants). The towns of the north-west, Catamarca and
Rioja, are, on the other hand, scarcely developed.

When one examines a chart of the urban population of the Pampean
region, one finds that colonization has led to the creation in it of
ten chief centres, of from 15,000 to 25,000 inhabitants, and some fifty
secondary centres, of from 5,000 to 12,000 inhabitants, which all
have a distinctly urban character. This association of urban centres
and a scattered agricultural or pastoral population is one of the
original features of the way in which the Pampa was peopled. There is
no village, or purely rural group. The distribution of these centres
on the plain is fairly regular. They are a little closer together in
the districts near the Paraná, to the north of Buenos Aires, where
the population is older, and where the density, even of the rural
population, is at its highest. The territory of the Pampa is divided
between the spheres of influence of these various centres. Their radius
is as low as ten miles in the north-west, and is about twenty miles in
the south of Buenos Aires and twenty-five in the extreme west.

A secondary railway nucleus has generally settled the sites of them
(San Francisco-Pergamino, Junin). Their population comprises all the
workers needed for the flow of the economic life of the Pampa: agents
for the exporters of cereals, merchants who supply the colonies
with imported goods--especially agricultural machinery--bankers and
insurance companies, surveyors and lawyers. Those which have the
best service of trains have a certain amount of industry--mills and
breweries--the products of which are absorbed locally. These towns
derive all the elements of their life from the Pampean region itself,
and have no direct relations either with foreign markets or with other
parts of Argentina.[144]

     [144] Only two of them, Villa Mercedes and Villa Maria, are on
     the edge of the Pampa. We have seen elsewhere the part which
     the extensive breeding of the north-west plays in the business
     of the Villa Mercedes cattle-market. Villa Maria also derives
     some advantage from its nearness to the scrub. Its limekilns
     receive limestone from the Sierra de Córdoba, but they get
     their fuel locally, from the men who clear the scrub.

But the towns of the Pampa which have grown most rapidly are the ports.
Rosario rose from 23,000 inhabitants in 1869 to 91,000 in 1895 and to
245,000 in 1914; Bahía Blanca from 9,000 in 1895 to 62,000 in 1914. The
actual population of the Pampa ports is not at all in proportion to the
part which each plays in the export of Pampean products:--

  _Export of Cereals in thousands of tons._ (Average for 1913-1915)
     Buenos      Bahía       San  Nicolas.       La   Santa
     Aires.    Blanca.  Rosario.             Plata.     Fé.
      2,716      2,051     1,075       651      459     278
                     Population in 1914.
    245,000  1,575,000    62,000    19,000  137,000  64,000

Some centres, such as Campana, Zarate, San Pedro or San Nicolas, which
load up meat or grain in great quantities, have nevertheless remained
small towns. Neither the trade in meat nor that in cereals is enough of
itself to sustain a busy urban life. In point of fact, the growth of
the Pampa ports is mainly connected with their function as importing
ports and markets of capital. The close dependence of Bahía Blanca upon
Buenos Aires in both these respects seems to forbid it all hope of ever
becoming the equal of Rosario. The prosperity of Rosario was founded
during the time when Buenos Aires was isolated, between 1853 and 1860;
this enabled them to organize an import trade there and to accumulate a
nucleus of independent capital.[145]

     [145] Buenos Aires and Rosario alone have independent grain
     markets, though it is differently organized in each case. At
     Buenos Aires the exporters have entered into direct relations
     with the producers and eliminated intermediaries. At Rosario
     they have to use the services of a strong body of agents.

       *       *       *       *       *

The development of Buenos Aires must be studied separately. It does
not merely reflect the success of the colonization of the Pampa; it is
a phenomenon of a national order. The attraction of Buenos Aires has
been felt throughout the whole land. In 1895, of a total population
of Argentine birth of 318,000 souls, more than a half--167,000--were
born in the provinces.[146] The way in which the prosperity of Buenos
Aires is bound up, not only with that of the adjacent territory but
with that of the whole country, is seen in the stability of the figure
representing the number of the inhabitants who have come from foreign
lands. While the proportion of foreigners in each of the provinces
varies from one census to another, according to the displacements of
the stream of colonization, it remains almost the same at Buenos Aires:
496 per 1,000 in 1869, 520 in 1895, 493 in 1914.

     [146] The 1914 Census does not give reliable details on this

The population of the city of Buenos Aires was estimated by Helms
in 1788 to be between 24,000 and 30,000. D'Azara put it at 40,000
in 1799. The Revolution did not interrupt its growth. According to
the estimate of Woodbine Parish the city had 81,000 inhabitants in
1824. On the other hand, the Rosas Government involved a period of
stagnation (90,000 inhabitants in 1855). But after 1855 Buenos Aires
resumed its progress, even before the political unity of Argentina was
re-established, and has never since relaxed. Its population has doubled
almost regularly at intervals of fifteen years: 177,000 in 1869,
433,000 in 1887, 663,000 in 1895, and 1,575,000 in 1914. The latter
figure, in fact, is inadequate. Greater Buenos Aires, including the
outlying parts, has really 1,990,000 inhabitants.

The site on which the city is built is a regular plateau, sixty-five
feet above sea level, cut by flat-bottomed, marshy valleys. The
Riachuelo, at the mouth of one of these valleys, provided Buenos Aires
with its first port. The low and badly drained lands of the valleys are
occupied by the poorest quarters. Their sides, the _barrancas_, bear
the aristocratic residences, and the gardeners have been able to use
the sites to great advantage in their plans.

As a whole, the growth of Buenos Aires presents the same feature of
regularity, on account of the uniformity of the soil, as the spread
of colonization over the plain of the Pampas. The city is distributed
in concentric zones, and it is thus a model on a small scale of the
distribution of the various types of exploitation on the Pampa which
surrounds it. The central nucleus, the business quarter, contains
not only the offices, but the warehouses of imported goods. Round
this centre, with a radius of one to three miles, are the residential
quarters in which the density is greatest (250 to 350 to the hectare).
Beyond this the density sinks to less than 200 per hectare and less
than fifty on the outskirts. The central quarters developed the maximum
density after 1900. Those of the first outer zone have gained greatly
between 1904 and 1909. Since the latter date, the progress of these
quarters has been arrested in turn, and the recent growth is mainly in
the remote working-class suburbs in the south and on the bank of the

Buenos Aires has preserved in its central district, and reproduces
in all its outer districts, the primitive draught-board plan of a
Spanish colonial city. This plan is not suited to its needs to-day.
The rapid growth of the city and its expansion--the mean density is
not more than fifty-four inhabitants to the hectare, as against 360 at
Paris--complicate the problem of transport. At the present time the
city is considering plans for reconstructing its thoroughfares and
making diagonal streets, starting from the centre and following the
direction of the main streams of traffic. In this way the city would
reproduce the fan-wise distribution of railways over the Pampean plain.

Buenos Aires is the intermediary between the provinces and oversea
countries. It has three titles to this profitable part. In the first
place, it is the chief centre of the import trade. The merchants of the
cities in the interior are customers of the Buenos Aires importers,
and are closely bound to them by a system of long-term credit. Buenos
Aires is, secondly, the centre for the distribution of the European
capital which has been used in the development of the country. Lastly,
it divides immigrant workers amongst the provinces, just as it divides
capital. As an immigration port its position is unrivalled. The efforts
that were made to divert part of the immigrants to Bahía Blanca failed,
and direct immigration to the Santa Fé province ceased at the close
of the first period of colonization, about 1880. It is also at Buenos
Aires that immigrants who are not going to settle in Argentina embark;
re-emigration, which is regarded as a national plague by Argentine
economists, is another source of profit to the capital. Hence the
fortune of Buenos Aires is due in the first place to the close contact
between the economic life of Argentina and that of Europe and North

But its very growth has led to a gradual change in the part it plays
in the interior of the country. In proportion as its population and
wealth grew, it became a great national market. The products of the
provinces go to it, not merely to meet its own needs as consumer, but
in order to be distributed over the entire country. The figures of
the cattle trade on the Buenos Aires market are instructive in this
respect. From January to July 1919 there were 1,130,000 head of cattle
sold, 240,000 being for the supply of the capital and 700,000 for the
refrigerators.[147] Of the remainder, 120,000 were bought for fattening
and 40,000 by the butchers of other towns. The capital of its own which
has accumulated at Buenos Aires is invested either in real estate or in
industry, which has found great profit both in the development of local
consumption and in the great stock of labour provided by immigration.
Buenos Aires is not now content to be merely an intermediary between
the country and foreign lands. It contributes by its own resources
and work to the task of colonization and the supply of manufactured
articles to the agricultural and pastoral districts. It is, finally, a
luxurious city, with every opportunity for the men who have grown rich
by the rise in the price of lands to spend their income, and providing
pleasure for the country folk who come up occasionally, tired of their
laborious, rough and solitary existence.

     [147] During the same period the Argentinian refrigerators
     killed 1,490,000 head of cattle. Therefore, about half of
     these were bought at Buenos Aires.


I give here only the most important and most recent works. A list of
the articles I have consulted would be long and uninteresting, while
a complete list of those which might have been consulted, and from
which information might have been gleaned, is impossible. For a work
of this character there is no account of travel, no study of the soil,
the climate, or the vegetation, no statistical document or journal or
purely historical text, that has not a perfect right to be regarded as
a source.


Of the periodicals published in Argentina, and partly or wholly devoted
to the study of the land and its development, the principal are:--

_Boletin del Instituto Geografico Argentino_ (Buenos Aires, since 1879;
vol. i, 1879, vol. ii, 1881; one vol. yearly from 1881 to 1901; has
appeared irregularly since).

_Anales de la Sociedad Cientifica Argentina_ (Buenos Aires, 2 vols,
yearly from 1876).

_Revista de la Sociedad Geografica Argentina_ (Buenos Aires, only
appeared from 1883 to 1889).

_Boletin de la Academia Nacional de Ciencias de Córdoba_ (Córdoba,
since 1874, 23 vols. to 1918).

The publications of the Buenos Aires and La Plata museums also contain,
besides copious anthropological, archæological, palæontological,
and historical material, a large number of articles of interest to

_Anales del Museo Nacional de Historia Natural de Buenos Aires._ Begins
1864, 25 vols., folio and quarto, to 1914.

_Anales del Museo de la Plata._ First series 1890-1900, second series
from 1907.

_Revista del Museo de la Plata._ From 1890-1891, 17 vols. to 1910-1911.

All these reviews contain especially articles on the parts of the
country which were last explored--Patagonia, Chaco, Misiones. They
contain little about the parts that were early colonized, though these
are not always the best known.

2. MAPS.

The maps published in the eighteenth century (D'Anville's map, 1733, in
the _Lettres édifiantes_, 19th collection, Paris, 1734: Bellin's map in
vol. ii of the _Histoire du Paraguay_ of the R.P.P.F.X. de Charlevoix,
Paris, 1756, 3 vols., etc.) are based upon information collected by the
Jesuit missionaries.

D'Azara's map (1809) shows a remarkable advance.

Important corrections of D'Azara's map are found in Woodbine Parish's
map (1838).

Brackebusch's two maps are essential documents: _Mapa del interior de
la Republica Argentina_, por el Dr. L. Brackebusch, 1:1,000,000 (Gotha,
1835) and _Mapa geologico del interior de la Republica Argentina_,
1:1,000,000 (Gotha, 1890).

The results of earlier work have been used in the _Atlas de la
Republica Argentina construido y publicado por el Instituto Geografico
Argentino_ (Buenos Aires, 1894), which includes a list of its sources.

Since that date many maps have been published: maps of the various
provinces and surveys drawn up by the railway companies, the Chile
Frontier Commission (see Patagonia), the Mines Division (see Natural
Regions), and the Ministerio de Obras Publicas (see River Routes). A
brief account of the history of Argentine cartography and a list of
maps of provinces will be found in Colonel B. Garcia Aparicio, _La
carta de la Republica (Anuario del Instituto Geografico Militar_, i,
1912, Buenos Aires, pp. 1-27).

The Military Geographical Institute has itself published a large number
of maps, either on the basis of fresh surveys or by compiling earlier
work, chiefly:--

About thirty sheets on the scale 1:25,000 (Pampean region) since 1904,
interesting for studying the relief of the plain.

"Governacion de la Pampa," 1:500,000 (Estado Mayor, 3A Division, Buenos
Aires, 1909).

Three sheets on the scale 1:1,000,000 (Buenos Aires, Concordia, and
Corrientes). Buenos Aires, provisional edition 1911 of a map of
Argentina on the scale 1:1,000,000, which is to comprise twenty-one

A convenient reference map, though of no scientific value, is the map
of the railways, on the scale 1:2,000,000, in three sheets, published
in 1910 by the Ministerio de Obras Publicas.


A summary of the chief statistics is published annually in _The
Argentine Yearbook_ (from 1902 at Buenos Aires; from 1909 at Buenos
Aires and London).

The _Anuario de la Dirección General de Estadistica_, which has
appeared since 1880 in one, two or three vols. quarto, gives the
figures of trade, immigration, agriculture, railways, navigation, etc.
(last volume consulted is for 1914, Buenos Aires, 1915).

In the third volume of the _Anuario_ for 1912 will be found a list of
the publications of the Dirección de Estadistica. Besides the _Anuario_
the Dirección publishes a bulletin with commercial statistics (last
number consulted 181, "El comercio exterior Argentino en los primeros
trimestres de 1918 y 1919," Buenos Aires, 1919). _Boletin_ 176 contains
a review of Argentine trade from 1910 to 1917.

The statistical department of the Ministry of Agriculture, under the
direction of E. Lahitte, publishes the _Boletin Mensual de Estadistica
Agricola_ (last volume consulted, xxi, 1919).


     [148] Besides the publications of the Jesuits, which can
     easily be consulted, a fairly large number of texts bearing
     upon the history of colonization have been published or
     re-published in the nineteenth and the twentieth century. See

     _Relaciones Geograpicas de Indias_ (vol. i, 1881; vol. ii,
     1885, Madrid).

     _Anales de la Biblioteca National, Buenos Aires, Publicación
     de documentos relativos al Rio de la Plata_ (from 1900).

     Publications of the _Junta de Historia y Numismatica
     Americana_ (Buenos Aires, 7 vols., octavo, from 1905 to 1915).

     Valuable notes on some of the most important historical
     documents will be found in E. Boman, _Antiquités de la region
     andine_ (see North-West Argentina).

     The most curious collection of all for the geographer is:
     Pedro de Angelis, _Colección de obras y documentos relativos
     a la historia antigua y moderna de las provincias del Rio de
     la Plata_ (Buenos Aires, 1837, 6 vols, octavo, containing many
     itineraries, journals of expeditions, etc., together with
     notes by D'Azara).

The scientific study of this part of South America may be traced back
as far as D'Azara. His observations are collected in Don Felix de
Azara, _Voyages dans l'Amérique méridionale_, published by Walckenaër
(Paris, 1809, 4 vols. in 12^{mo} and atlas) and _Descripción e historia
del Paraguay y del Rio de la Plata_, published by D. Agustin de Azara
(Madrid, 1847, 2 vols. octavo).

The _Voyage dans l'Amérique méridionale_ of Alcide d'Orbigny contains
his observations on the Paraná, the province of Corrientes, the Pampa
(Parchappe's voyages), and Patagonia (1828). (Historical section, vol.
i, Paris, 1835; vol. ii, Paris, 1839-43; vol. iii, third part, geology,
Paris, 1842).

Darwin also visited the coast of Patagonia and crossed the Pampa
(1833): _Narrative of the Surveying Voyage of H.M.S. "Adventure" and
"Beagle"_ ... vol. iii, as _Journal_ and _Researches_ (London, 1839).

Sir Woodbine Parish's work, _Buenos Aires and the Provinces of the Rio
de la Plata_ (London, 1838), is remarkably well-informed, and is based
upon a thorough study of previous publications and archives.

W. MacKann's _Ten Thousand Miles' Ride through the Argentine Republic_
(London, 1855, 2 vols.) is interesting, and the work of a close

Martin de Moussy, _Description géographique et statistique de la
Confédération argentine_ (Paris, 1858, 3 vols. octavo and atlas), is
unequal, but full of information.

The work of H. Burmeister, _Description physique de la République
argentine_ (Paris, 2 vols., 1876), is of little value, and has been

Richard Napp, _Die Argentinische Republik_ (Buenos Aires, 1876, I vol.
octavo), includes a valuable chapter by P. G. Lorentz on the flora
("Vegetationsverhaeltnisse Argentiniens," pp. 87-149).

The second volume ("Territoire") of the _Second recensement de
la République argentine_ (Buenos Aires, 1898) includes a joint
geographical study by a number of writers.

_Géologie_, by J. Valentin.

_Climat_, by G. G. Davis.

_Flore_, by E. L. Holmberg.

Some attempt at a general consideration of our geographical knowledge
of Argentina has been made by E. A. S. Delachaux, "Las regiones físicas
de la Republica Argentina" (_Rev. Mus. Plata_, xv, 1908, pp. 102-131).

Our physical knowledge of Argentina has been greatly promoted by the
work of the Dirección de Minas. The results are summarized in the
_Memorias de la Dirección general de Minas, Geologia, e Hidrologia_,
published from 1908 onward (_Anales del Ministerio de Agricultura,
Sección geologia, mineralogia, y mineria_: last volume published for
the year 1915, Buenos Aires, vol. xii, No. 2).

Special works are published in the same section of the _Anales del Min.
Agric._, and in the _Boletines de la Dirección de Minas, Geologia, e
Hidrologia_. See, especially, series B (Geologia). These reports and
the accompanying maps are the basis of all work on the geography of
Argentina. They already cover a great deal of Argentine territory. The
work of Keidel, in particular, which is an essential contribution to
the geological history of the South-American continent, and that of
Windhausen, are largely concerned with physical geography, the study of
the relief, and the influence of the climate on the landscape.

A summary of the history of study of the soil of Argentina will be
found in E. Hermitte, _La geologia y mineria Argentina in 1914_
(_Tercer Censo Nacional_, vol. vii, pp. 407-494).

As to climate: Buenos Aires Ministerio de Agricultura, _Servicio
Meteorologico Argentino, Historia y Organisacion, con un resumen de los
resultados_, preparado bajo la dirección de G. G. Davis (Buenos Aires,
1914, quarto), dispenses one from consulting any previous works.

There is a very complete bibliography of works on the botany
and geographical botany of Argentina in F. Kurtz, "Essai d'une
bibliographie botanique de l'Argentine" (2nd edition, _Bol. Acad. Nac.
Ciencias Córdoba_, xx, 1915, pp. 369-467).

There is a convenient summary of our knowledge of the primitive
population in Felix F. Outes and Carlos Bruch, _Los aborigenes de la
Rep. argentina_ (Buenos Aires, 1910).


The most complete general work on irrigation is that of E. A. Soldano,
_La irrigación en la argentina_ (Buenos Aires, 1910, octavo). See also
C. Wouters, "La irrigación en el valle de Lerma" (_An. Soc. Cient.
Argentina_, lxvi, 1908, pp. 117-145).

The best description of the Puna de Atacama and the country of the
Valles is in Eric Boman, "Antiquités de la région andine de la
Republique Argentine et du désert d'Atacama" (_Mission scientifique
G. de Crequi, Montfort, et E. Senechal de la Grange_, Paris, 1908, 2

L. Brackebusch, "Ueber die Bodensverhaeltnisse des nordwestlichen
Teiles der Argentinischen Republik mit Bezugnahme auf die Vegetation"
(_Petermann's Mitteilungen_, 1893, p. 153) is a general description of
the whole of north-western Argentina; but Brackebusch's description
of his journey, "Viaje a la provincia de Jujuy" (_Bol. Inst. Geog.
Argent._, iv, 1883, pp. 9-17, 204-211, and 217-226) is fresher and more

I have mentioned in the note to p. 40 Bodenbender's work on the
province of La Rioja.

Of the various articles, from all quarters, on North-Western Argentina
the following may be noticed:--

J. B. Ambrosetti, "Viaje a la Puna de Atacama de Salta a Caurchari"
(_Bol. Inst. Geog. Argent._, xxi, 1900, pp. 87-116).

F. Kühn, "Descripción del camino desde Rosario de Lerma hasta Cachi"
(_Bol. Inst. Geog. Argent._, xxiv, 1910, pp. 42-50).

H. Seckt, "Contribución al conocimiento de la vegetación del Nordeste
de la Rep. Arg.--Valles de Calchaqui y Puna de Atacama" (_An. Soc.
Cient. Arg._, lxxiv, 1912, pp. 185-225).

Juan F. Barnabe, "Informe sobre el distrito minero de Tinogasta" (_An.
Min. Agric., Seccion Geol. Mineralogia y Mineria_, x, No. 4, Buenos
Aires, 1915).

On the Puna de Atacama:

L. Caplain, "Informe sobre el estado de la mineria en el Territorio de
los Andes" (_An. Min. Agric., Seccion Geol. Mineralogia y Mineria_,
vii, No. 1, Buenos Aires, 1912).

On the sub-Andean chains:--

Guido Bonarelli, "Las Sierras subandinas del Alto y Aguaragüe y los
yacimientos petroliferos del distrito minero de Tartagal" (_ibid._,
viii, No. 4, Buenos Aires, 1913). See also Dirección General de Minas,
Geol., e Hidrol, _Boletin_, series B, No. 9 (Buenos Aires, 1914).

On the Chaco Salteño:--

L. Arnaud, "Expedición al Chaco" (_Bol. Inst. Geog. Argent._, vi, 1885,
pp. 201-210).

On the part of the San Luis province that lies in the zone of the

Avé-Lallemant, "Datos orograficos e hidrograficos sobre la Provincia
de San Luis" (_Bol. Inst. Geog. Argent._, v, 1884, pp. 191-196, and
222-224), and "Apuntes sobre represas y baldes en San Luis" (_An. Soc.
Cient. Arg._, xi, 1881, pp. 178-188).

A. L. Cravetti, "Investigación agricola en la Provincia de San Luis"
(Buenos Aires, 1904, _An. Min. Agric._, Sección Agric., Botanica, y
Agronomia, vol. i, No. 5).

On the scrub south of Mar Chiquita:--

H. Frank, "La repoblación forestal en la region de la Mar Chiquita"
(_Bol. Dep. gen. Agric. y Ganaderia_, Prov. Córdoba, ii, 1912, pp.
52-57), and "Contribución al conocimiento de la Mar Chiquita" (_ibid._,
pp. 87-101).


On Tucumán see Emilio Lahitte, _La industria azucarera, apuntes de
actualidad_ (Buenos Aires, 1902).

The best source of the economic history of the sugar industry is the
file of the _Revista azucarera_ ("organa de los cultivadores de caña y
fabricantes de azucar," Buenos Aires).

On Mendoza, "Investigación vinicola" (Buenos Aires, 1903, _Anales_,
Min. Agric., Sección Comercio, Industrias, y Economia, i, No. 1).


Rudolf Leutgens, "Beiträge zur Kenntniss des Quebracho-Gebietes in
Argentinien und Paraguay" (_Mitteil. Geogr. Ges. Hamburg_, xxv, 1911,
pp. 1-70).


_A. The Tableland._

Apart from Villarino's journey on the Rio Negro in the eighteenth
century, the first journey across the Patagonian tableland is that of
G. Chaworth Musters, _At Home with the Patagonians_ (London, 1871).

In the early volumes of the _Bol. Inst. Geog. Argent._ will be found
the results of various explorations between 1878 and 1885 by Argentine

With this group of documents, which provided the first material for
his conclusions, we may associate the geological studies of Florentino
Ameghino, "L'âge des formations sédimentaires de Patagonie" (_An.
Soc. Cient. Argentina_, l, 1900, pp. 109-130, 145-160, and 209-229;
li, 1901, pp. 20-39 and 65-90; lii, 1901, pp. 189-197 and 244-250;
liii, 1902, pp. 161-181, 220-249 and 282-342) and "Les formations
sédimentaires du crétacé supérieur et du tertiaire en Patagonie" (_An.
Mus. Nac. Buenos Aires_, series ii, vol. viii, 1906, pp. 1-568).

On the southern part of Patagonia, south of 50° S. lat.:--

_Svenska Expeditionen till Magellanslaenderna (Wissenschaftliche
Ergebnisse der Schwedischen Expedition nach den Magellans Laendern_,
1895-1897, unter Leitung von Dr. Otto Nordenskjoeld, Band I, Geologie,
Geographie und Anthropologie, Stockholm, 1907).

On the Magellan region and that of the Santa Cruz:--

_Reports of the Princeton University Expeditions to Patagonia_, 1896-9,
i, J. B. Hatcher, _Narrative of the Expeditions, Geography of Southern
Patagonia_ (Princeton and Stuttgart, 1903).

On the Rio Negro district:--

S. Roth, "Apuntes sobre la Geologia y la Paleontologia de las
Territorios del Rio Negro y Neuquen" (_Rev. Mus. Plata_, ix, 1899, pp.

Of more recent works we must especially notice those of the engineers
of the Dirección de Minas:--

R. Stappenbeck y F. Reichert, "Informe preliminar relativo a la parte
sudeste del Territorio del Chubut" (_An. Min. Agric._, Sección Geol.
Mineral., y Minas, vol. ix, No. 1, Buenos Aires, 1909).

Ricardo Wichmann, various studies of the eastern part of the plateau of
the Rio Negro (_ibid._, xiii, Nos. 1, 3 and 4, Buenos Aires, 1918 and

A. Windhausen, studies on the Rio Negro and the Neuquen (_ibid._, x,
No. 1, Buenos Aires, 1914). The geological results of Windhausen's work
are summarized in articles that appeared in the _American Journal of
Science_ (4th series, xlv, 1918, pp. 1-53) and in the _Bol. Acad. Nac.
Ciencias Córdoba_ (xxiii, 1918, pp. 97-128 and 319-364).

We must add G. Rivereto, "La valle del Rio Negro" (_Bol. Soc. Geologica
Ital._, xxxi, 1912, pp. 181-237, and xxxii, 1913, pp. 101-142).

_B. The Andes._

Numerous articles in the _Bol. Inst. Geog. Argent._ and the _An.
Soc. Cient. Argentina_, immediately after the military expedition of
1879-1880 (Host, Avé-Lallemant, etc.).

A detailed study of the Andean region was undertaken at the time of
the frontier-quarrel between Argentina and Chile, and this led to a
number of publications. The work done by the Argentinians under F. P.
Moreno is used in _Frontera Argentina-Chilena, Memoria presentada al
tribunal nombrado por el Gobernio de su Majestad Britanica_ (London,
1902, 2 vols. quarto, 1 vol. maps, and 1 vol. photographs), and in the
_Breve Replica a la memoria Chilena_ (London, 1 vol. quarto, 1902).
See a summary of the results in L. Gallois, "Les Andes de Patagonie"
(_Annales de Géographie_, x, 1901, pp. 232-259).

In the _Revista_ and the _Anales_ of the La Plata Museum will be
found part of the research made during this period (1897-1900) by
Argentine experts; especially the work of Burckhardt and Wehrli on
the Neuquen Cordillera. The Chilean work which served as the basis of
the _Statement presented on behalf of Chile in reply to the Argentine
Report_ (London, 1902, 4 vols. and 2 vols. as appendices) is, on the
whole, less valuable.

Of later travellers we must mention P. D. Quensel, "On the
influence of the Ice Age on the continental watershed of Patagonia"
(_Bull. Geol. Inst. Univ. Upsala_, ix, 1908-9, pp. 60-92), and
"Geologisch-petrographische studien in der Patagonischen Cordillera"
(_ibid._, xi, 1912, pp. 1-114).

Very important surveys in the Cordillera and on the plateau of the
Rio Negro were made under the direction of Bailey Willis (_Northern
Patagonia_, Ministry of Public Works, Bureau of Railways, Argentine
Republic; text and maps by the Comisión de Estudios hidrologicos,
Bailey Willis Director, 1911-1914, New York, 1914, 1 vol and atlas).

On the Patagonian forest (Argentine slope from 40° S. lat. to Cape
Horn) see Max Rothkugel, _Los Bosques Patagonicos_ (Minist. Agric.,
Dirección Gen. Agric. y Defensa Agricola: Officina de Bosques y
Yerbales, Buenos Aires, 1916).


The occupation of the western part of the Pampa between 1875 and 1880
led to a fairly large amount of research. The most important work is
the _Informe oficial de la Comisión cientifica agregada al Estado Mayor
General de la Expedición al Rio Negro_, vol. iii, _Geologia_, by Dr.
Ad. Doering (Buenos Aires, 1882). We must also notice G. Avé-Lallemant,
"Excursión al Territorio indio del Sud" (_Bol. Inst. Geogr. Argent._,
ii, 1881, pp. 41-49); D. Dupont, "Notas geograficas sobre el païs de
los Ranqueles" (_Bol. Inst. Geog. Argent._, 1790, pp. 47-56); and Est.
Zeballos, _Descripción amena de la Republica Argentina_, vol. i, _Viaje
al païs de las Araucanos_ (Buenos Aires, 1881).

Of general works on the Pampa and the Pampean deposits:

Fl. Ameghino, _La formación Pampeana_ (Paris and Buenos Aires, 1881),
and "Las formaciones sedimentarias de la región litoral de Mar del
Plata y Chapalmalan" (_An. Mus. Nac. Buenos Aires_, series ii, vol. x,
1908, pp. 348-428).

G. Bodenbender, "La cuenca del valle del rio Primero en Córdoba:
Descripción geologica del valle del rio Primero desde la Sierra de
Córdoba hasta la Mar Chiquita" (_Bol. Acad. Nac. Ciencias Córdoba_,
xii, 1890, pp. 1-54); and "Die Pampa Ebene in Osten der Sierra von
Córdoba in Argentinien" (_Petermann's Mitteilungen_, 1893, pp. 201-237
and 258-264).

Santiago Roth, "Beobachtungen ueber Entstehung und Alter der
Pampasformationen in Argentinien" (_Zeitschrift der Deutschen
Geol. Ges._, xi, 1888, pp. 375-464); "Beitrag zur Gliederung der
Sedimentablagerungen in Patagonien und der Pampas Region" (_Neues
Jahrbuch für Min., Geol., und Paläont._, Beilage, Band xxvi, Stuttgart,
1908, pp. 92-150); and "La construcción de un Canal de Bahía Blanca a
las provincias andinas bajo el punto de vista hidrogeologico" (_Rev.
Museo de la Plata_, xvi, 1909).

_Nouvelles recherches sur la formation pampéenne et l'homme fossile de
la Republique argentine._ A collection of scientific articles published
by R. Lehmann-Nitsche (_Rev. Mus. Plata_, xiv, 1907, pp. 143-488),
which contains, especially, one by C. Burckhardt, "La formation
pampéenne de Buenos Aires et Santa Fé," and one by Ad. Doering, "La
formation pampéenne de Córdoba."

Ales Hrdlicka, _Early Man in South America_ (Smithsonian Institution,
Bull. 52, Washington, 1912--geological part by Bailey Willis).

On the district of the Central Pampa, R. Stappenbeck, "Investigaciones
hidrogeologicas de los valles de Chapalco y Quehuë y sus alrededores"
(Min. Agric., Dir. Gen. Minas, Geol., e Hidrol., Bol. No. 4, Buenos
Aires, 1913).

On various points in detail one may consult:--

Lavalle y Medici, "Las nivelaciones de la Provincia" (_Bol. Inst. Geog.
Argent._, vii, 1866, pp. 57-71).

P. A. Bovet, _El Problema de los Medanos en el Pais_ (Buenos Aires,

R. Velasco, "Los Medanos de la Provincia de Córdoba" (_Bol. Dep. Gen.
Agric. y Ganaderia_, Prov. Córdoba, i, pp. 155-173).

Among descriptions of an economic character, which are generally of
poor value, we must make an exception in favour of Emile Daireaux, _La
vie et les moeurs à la Plata_ (Paris, 1889).

A few useful notes on colonization will be found in Teod. Morsbah,
"Estudios economicos sobre el Sud de la Provincia de Buenos Aires"
(_Bol. Inst. Geog. Argent._, ix, 1888, pp. 143-151) and in E. Segui, "La
provincia de Buenos Aires" (_Bol. Inst. Geog. Argent._, xix, 1898, pp.

A very useful summary of the results of a general inquiry into
agriculture will be found in "Investigación agricola en la Rep. argent."
(_Anales Min. Agric. Agronomia_, vol. i, No. 1, 2 and 3, Buenos Aires,
1904: "Preliminares," by Carlos D. Girola, "Investigación agricola en
la region septentrional de la Provincia de Buenos Aires," by Ricardo J.
Huergo, and "Investigación agricola en la Provincia de Santa Fé," by
Hugo Miatello).

With this inquiry is associated G. D. Girola, _El cultivo del trigo en
la provincia de Buenos Aires_ (Buenos Aires, 1904).

Agricultural censuses have been taken repeatedly. For 1888 F. Latzina,
_L'agriculture et le bétail dans la République argentine_ (Paris,
1889). For 1895 (_Secundo censo_, see Population) the results are
given in C. P. Salas, _Bureau central de Statistique de la province
de Buenos Aires_ and _L'agriculture, l'élevage, et le commerce dans
la province en 1895_ (La Plata, 1897; maps by Delachaux). For 1908,
_Censo agro-pecuario nacional_. _La ganaderia y la agricultura en 1908_
(Buenos Aires, 3 vols. quarto, 1909). Vol. iii contains a series of
monographs dealing not only with the Pampean region, but the economic
history of the whole country.

For 1914 (_Tercer censo_, see Population) the publication of vol.
v, relating to agriculture, is unfortunately delayed. There is also
available a census of cattle made in 1915 for the Buenos Aires
province, _Provincia de Buenos Aires, Min. Obras Publicas, Censo
Ganadero_ (1916).


For the history of the railways see Rebuelto, "Historia del desarollo
de los ferrocarriles argentinas" (_Bol. Obras Publicas_, vol. v, 1911,
pp. 113-172, vol. vi, 1913, pp. 1-48 and 81-110, and vol. viii, 1913,
pp. 1-32), and the entire series of the _Boletin de Obras Publicas_.

A sort of annual of the Argentine railways has been published every
year since 1906 under the title _Killik's Argentine Railway Manual_
(London, 1 vol. with map, last issue 1918).


E. A. S. Delachaux, "Los problemas geograficos del territorio
Argentino" (_Rev. Univ. Buenos Aires_, 1906, v), includes a study of
the floods of the Paraná.

The chief source is the memoir of Repossini, "Memoria sobre el rio
Paraná" (_Bol. Obras Publicas_, vol. vi, 1912, pp. 141-168 and 254-264,
vol. vii, 1912, pp. 31-48 and 163-186, and vol. viii, 1913, pp. 33-99).
It contains on a reduced scale the map issued by the Ministry of Public
Works, which is not available in France. The defect is supplied by the
English Admiralty Charts, "Rio de la Plata," 1869 (No. 2544 in the
Catalogue of Admiralty Charts), and "River Paraná," parts i, ii, iii,
iv, v, and vi of 1905 (Nos. 1982/A and 1982/B).

There is an interesting economic summary in W. S. Barclay, "The River
Paraná, an economic survey" (_Geogr. Journal_, xxxiii, 1909, pp. 1-10).

On the estuary:--

Alej. Foster, "Regimen del Rio de la Plata y su corrección" (_An. Soc.
Cient. Argent._, lii, 1901, pp. 209-234).

G. Rovereto, "Studi di geomorfologia argentina," ii, "Il rio della
Plata" (_Bol. Soc. Geol. Ital._, xxx, 1911).


Besides municipal and provincial censuses, there have been three
general censuses:

First census made in 1869, one folio volume published in 1872. I have
only been able to consult _Oficina del Censo_. _Informe sobre la
operación y resultado del Primer censo argentino_ (Buenos Aires, 1870,

Second census of the Argentine Republic, May 10, 1895 (2 vols, quarto,
Buenos Aires, 1898).

_Tercer Censo Nacional levantado el 1º de junio de 1914_ (10
vols, quarto, Buenos Aires, 1916-1917). Only the fifth volume, on
agriculture, is not yet to hand.

A geographical interpretation of the distribution of the population
was attempted by E. A. S. Delachaux, "La población de la Rep. Argent."
(_Rev. Univ. Buenos Aires_, iii, 1905).


  Abipones, the, 24

  _Acequia_, the, 45, 69, 83

  Aconcagua, 19, 38, 59, 70, 71

  Æolian deposits, 21, 124, 170

  Agricultural Centres Law, the, 202

  _Aguadas_, 61, 210

  _Algarrobas_, 39, 54, 64

  Alhuampa, 113

  Alumine, the, 128, 129

  Ambrosetti, J. B., 136, 282

  Ameghino, F., 168

  Andalgala, 42

  Andes, the Argentine, 19, 37, 46, 54, 57, 70, 126

  Andes, the Patagonian, 19, 120, 126, 129

  Añecon, 122, 151

  Antofágasta, 54, 55

  Apipé rapids, the, 239

  Apostoles, 116

  Araucanians, the, 24, 121

  Argentine hydrographic service, 254

  _Arrieros_, the, 51, 216, 217

  Arroyo del Rey, 26

  Asses, trade in, 53

  Atamisqui, 97, 98

  Atuel, the, 81, 84

  Azcarate, 51, 52

  Bahía Blanca, 25, 32, 148, 155, 164, 168, 173, 198, 223, 227, 271

  Bajada Grande, the, 242, 243

  Bamboo, 133

  _Bañados_, the, 62, 63, 67, 97, 98, 101

  Barra del Indio, the, 253

  Barrancas, 17, 245

  Basalt, 122, 125, 149

  Basques in Argentina, 183, 186

  Bellavista, 246

  Bellville, 167, 188

  Bermejo, the, 40, 115

  _Bodegueros_, 87-90

  Bodenbender, G., 40, 57, 168, 286

  Bolivia, relations with, 48, 50, 52, 53, 70

  Boman, E., 47, 282

  Brackebusch, L., 48, 54, 278, 282

  Brazil, 109, 116, 182, 235

  Breeding, 22, 131, 179, 188, 189

  British Navy in Argentine waters, 238, 248, 252

  Buenos Aires, 17, 29, 30, 32, 57, 109, 112, 155, 159, 164, 184, 209,
      218, 220, 239, 254, 259, 272-275

  Burruyacu, Sierra de, 72, 73

  Calchaqui, 48, 54


  _Cañadas_, 107

  _Cañadones_, 122-141

  Candelaria, 110, 116

  _Cañeros_, the, 74, 75

  Carcaraña, the, 171, 212, 246

  Carilaufquen, the, 141

  Carmen, 130

  Carri Lauquen, Lake, 128, 151, 157

  Catamarca, 31, 43, 45, 55, 80

  Cattle, creole, 22, 131, 179-183, 189

  Cattle, pedigree, 22, 188, 189

  Cattle fairs, 209

  Cattle trade, the, 48, 50, 53, 66, 80, 131, 179-189, 206-208

  Catuna, 62

  Cedar-forests, 109

  Central Argentine Railway, 76, 191, 220, 225

  Central Córdoba, 74, 76, 91, 104, 221

  Central Norte Railway, 114

  _Cerco_, the, 63

  Cerro Payen, the, 119, 136

  Cerros Colorados, 150, 151

  Chaco, the, 32, 78, 96, 104-115

  Chaco, Salteño, the, 58-60

  Chamical, 62

  _Chañares_, 163

  Charcoal-burners, 112

  Chicago and Buenos Aires, 17

  Chile, relations with, 25, 29, 30, 48, 49, 53, 54, 57, 134, 137,
      138, 204, 205, 210

  Chile road, the, 210, 213

  Chilean flour, 79

  Chiriguanos, the, 79

  Chivilcoy, 190, 194, 195, 212, 263

  Choele Choel, 133, 134, 149

  Chosmalal, 120, 137, 144

  Chubut, the, 138, 140, 155

  Climate, 46, 70, 71, 72, 77, 80, 92, 119, 120, 139

  _Coilrue_, the, 127

  Colalao del Valle, 42

  Colastiné, 226, 253

  Colonia, 251, 252

  Colonies, the, 191, 193, 195, 196

  Colonization Companies, 202


  Colorado, the, 172

  Conlara, 178

  Cordillera, the, 19, 20, 48, 81, 121, 126, 129

  Córdoba, 29, 33, 50, 57, 164

  Córdoba, Sierra de, 209

  Corrientes, 32, 49, 102, 107, 108, 189, 215, 257, 269

  _Costa_, the, 41, 42, 60

  Cruz Alta, 73, 74, 75

  Cuarto, the Rio, 25, 211

  Cuenca Vidal, 155

  Cumbre Tunnel, 222

  Cuyo, 79, 85, 86, 96

  Cypresses, 127

  Daireaux, E., 187, 193, 287

  Dairies, 186, 190, 193

  Dams, 69-70

  Darwin, C, 23, 123, 133, 170, 217, 280

  D'Azara, F., 25, 28, 49, 102, 174, 180, 212, 279, 280

  Dead valleys, 122, 129

  _Demarcación_, 44

  Diamante, 248, 249

  Diamante, the, 81, 84

  Diez y seis de Octubre, 120, 144

  Doering, A., 168, 286

  Dolores, 178

  D'Orbigny, A., 130, 131, 133, 142, 180, 236, 237, 280

  Drainage, 83

  Drought, 65, 66, 105, 120

  Dulce, the Rio, 97, 98

  Dunes, 173, 174, 181

  Durham cattle, 189, 207

  English Bank, the, 252

  Entre Rios, 169, 182, 186, 194

  Epecuen Lake, 212

  Exhibition, San Francisco, 7

  _Falda_, the, 73, 74

  Famatina, Sierra de la, 40

  Fiords, the Patagonian, 20, 128

  Flax, 176, 196, 197

  Floods, 97, 99, 211

  Floods on the rivers, 240, 241

  Forests, 23, 96-118

  Forts, the early, 26, 27

  Frontiers, early, 25

  Funes, Dean G., 30, 179

  _Galeria_, the, 218

  Gallegos, 120, 121, 136

  Garcia, Colonel, 27, 182, 183, 210

  _Garrapate_, the, 22, 189, 207

  _Gauchos_, 218

  Gauge, differences of, 221, 222, 231, 232

  General La valle, 165

  Geological formations, 40, 121, 122, 124-126, 129, 166, 168

  Glaciers, the Patagonian, 19, 36, 123, 128, 129

  Gold, 138

  Goods, traffic, analysis of, 228-231

  Granite, 121, 125, 149

  Guapichas, 54

  Guayra, the, 246

  Harvest, labour and the, 266

  Helms, A. Z., 51

  Hides, 178-180

  Holmberg, E. L., 23, 281

  Hrdlicka, A., 168, 287

  Huari, 56

  Hutchinson, F. J., 50

  Immigration, 9, 116, 137, 191, 263, 264

  Indians, relations with the, 24-28, 47, 131-135

  Indians, the Patagonian, 131-135

  Ingeniero White, 226

  _Intrusos_, 139, 157

  _Invernadas_, the, 51, 53, 60, 65, 183

  Irrigation, 36, 41-46, 61, 64, 74, 83-86, 144, 154

  Itinerary of author, 6

  Ituzaingo, 246, 257

  Japan, trade with, 8

  Jegou, A., 205

  Jerked meat, 115

  Jesuit missions, 110

  Jujuy, 38, 56, 77

  Junin, 194

  Labour-supply, 76, 77, 79, 88, 108-111

  Lacar, Lake, 144

  Land-ownership, 61, 201-203

  Land, speculation in, 201

  Lanin, Mount, 128-147

  Larch, the, 146

  La Rioja, 32, 33, 59, 80, 209

  Ledesma, 78

  _Lenga_, the, 127

  Lima, 29, 48

  Limay, the, 120, 123, 124, 130, 146, 154

  Lincoln sheep, 184

  Los Sauces, 41

  Lucerne-farms, 53, 67, 155, 176-178, 196

  Lumbrera, Sierra de la, 58, 70, 77

  MacKann, W., 180, 280

  Maize, 71, 192-194, 197, 198, 230

  _Mallin_, 124, 125, 142, 151

  _Manantiales_, 142, 148

  Maquinchao, 148, 150, 151, 153, 158

  Mar Chiquita, 113, 162, 173, 176, 191

  Markets, Argentine, 203-210

  Martin Garcia, 166, 251, 253

  Matacos, the, 79

  _Maté_, 33, 109-112, 117

  Matto Grosso, 117, 235

  _Mayten_, 128

  Mejia, Ramos, 224

  Mendoza, 19, 32, 33, 50, 57, 79-93, 218, 270, 271

  _Merced_, the, 61, 67

  Mercedario, 19

  Merino sheep, 184

  Mesopotamia, the Argentine, 18

  Miatello, 176

  Migrations of cattle, 65, 143, 157-159

  Migrations of indigenous population, 264-267

  Misiones, 33, 109-112, 115

  _Molle_, 127

  _Monte_, the, 22, 96

  Montevideo, 238, 251

  Moussy, Martin de, 25, 50, 204, 210

  Muleteers, the, 216-7

  Mule-trade, the, 49, 51-2, 53, 55

  Nahuel Huapi, Lake, 120, 126, 127, 130, 132, 133, 144, 225, 245, 247

  Navigation, statistics of, 258

  Negro, the Rio, 32, 80, 119, 121, 130, 153

  Negroes captured, 131

  Neuquen, the, 129, 130, 137, 138, 153

  Oases, 36, 41, 86

  Oats, 199

  _Obrajes_, the, 103-105, 107

  Olavarria, 194

  Olta, 62

  _Omber_, the, 163

  Ortiz Bank, the, 252

  Otway Water, 129, 136

  Pagancillo, 40

  Pampa, the, 17, 21, 33, 161-208, 261, 262

  Pampa, extent of the, 102

  Parabolic tariffs, 226

  Paracao, 248

  Paraguay, 109, 110, 236, 269

  Paraguay, the river, 116, 165, 235, 241, 247

  _Paraisos_, 175

  Paraná, the, 17, 26, 111, 112, 171, 214, 234, 236-50

  Paraná de las Palmas, the, 250, 252, 253

  Paraná Guazu, the, 251

  Paraná Mini, the, 253

  Parish, Sir Woodbine, 30, 100, 130, 182, 213, 215, 261, 280

  Paso Paraguayo, the, 250

  _Pasto dulce_, 23, 24, 183

  _Pasto duro_, 23, 24, 183

  _Pasto fuerto_, 23

  Patagones, 153, 154

  Patagonia, 119-160

  Pehuenches, the, 24, 131

  Peru, relations with, 28, 29, 49, 51

  Peru road, the, 209, 210, 213, 214, 216

  Piedra Blanca, 43

  Pine forests, 109

  Plata, Rio de la, 28, 29, 234, 239

  Playa Honda, the, 252, 253

  Poma, 56

  Poncel, B., 31, 53

  Population, growth of, 261-263

  Ports, 225

  Portuguese, relations with the, 235

  Posadas, 111, 116, 242, 248, 249

  Potatoes, 205

  Pozos del Barca Grande, 253

  Protectionism, 93, 94

  Puerto Belgrano, 232

  Pumpkin, the, 100

  _Puna_, the, 37, 38

  Puna de Atacama, 47, 48

  Punta Arenas, 136

  _Quebracho_, the, 23, 96, 103, 256-7

  Quebracho Herrado, 26

  _Quebradas_, 38, 41, 53

  Quetriquile, 151

  Quinto, the Rio, 26

  Quiroga, 59

  Railways, 74, 76, 91, 104, 114, 191, 211, 220-233

  Railway tariffs, 226

  Rainfall, 21, 38, 39, 71, 72, 80, 120-121, 164

  Ranqueles, the, 24, 131

  Refrigerators, 143, 187, 188, 209

  Repossini, 254

  _Represa_, the, 64, 210

  Riachucho, 247

  Rincones, 180

  River-floods, 240, 241, 243

  River-traffic, 235-258

  Roads, 210-220

  Roca, General, 26, 27

  Rosario, 92, 164, 171, 173, 191, 215, 221, 239, 245, 253

  Rosario de Lerma, 55, 56

  Rosas, General, 30, 238

  _Saladeros_, 184, 189

  Salado, the, 23, 26, 112, 171

  Sali, the, 69, 77

  _Salitral_, 124, 149

  Salt Lakes, the, 24

  Salt Road, the, 212

  Salta, 29, 32, 33, 38, 46, 48, 51, 59, 70, 214, 218

  San Cristobal, 114

  San Feliciano, 248

  San Javier, 110, 114, 249

  San José, 116, 134

  San Juan, 19, 32, 33, 50, 66, 79, 82

  San Lorenzo, 249

  San Luis, 33

  San Pedro, 78, 289, 250

  San Rafaël, 80, 81, 82, 172, 177

  Sancho, 71

  Santa Cruz, the, 120, 121, 122

  Santa Fé, 26, 52, 112, 114, 175, 191, 196, 198, 253

  Santa Maria, 55, 56, 77

  Santiago del Estero, 26, 28, 50, 60, 77, 97, 113

  Saw-mills, 106-8

  Scrub, the, 22, 96

  Seasonal migrations, 266

  Selective breeding, 21, 179, 188, 189

  Sheep-breeding, 139-144, 183-186

  Shipping, 236, 240, 253-259

  Sierra de los Llanos, 59-63, 67

  Sierra d'Ulapes, 66

  Somuncura, 122, 152

  Spaniards, the early, 28, 29, 48

  Stage-coaches, 210

  Straits of Magellan, 129

  Sugar-industry, the, 69-79

  _Suerte de agua_, the, 85

  Tablelands, the alluvial, 17, 37

  Tandil, Sierra de, 25, 172, 179, 182, 184, 190

  Tannin, 102, 105, 106, 107

  Tehuelches, the, 131

  Texas fever, 22, 189

  Teran, M. J. B., 7

  Tercero, the Rio, 211, 213

  Tierra del Fuego, 128, 140

  Tinogasta, 48

  Tobacco, 101

  Tobas, the, 24, 26

  _Toma_, the, 63

  _Tosca_, the, 123, 172, 173, 178

  Tostado, 114

  Trans-Andean railway, 220, 221, 222

  Transhumation, 143, 156-159, 182

  Transport, evolution of, 215-220, 228

  Travelling, early difficulties of, 211-219, 237-238

  _Travesias_, the, 52, 60, 142, 211

  Tronador, Mount, 128, 147

  _Troperos_, the, 217-19

  Tucumán, 29, 32, 33, 69-79, 218, 221, 270, 271

  Tunuyan, the, 81, 82

  Tupungato, 19

  _Turno_, the, 44, 85, 86

  United States, comparison with 32, 34

  United States, trade with, 8

  Urban centres, 268, 269

  Urquiza, 26, 180, 215

  Uruguay, 116

  Uruguay, the river, 110, 235, 238, 259

  Useless Bay, 129

  Valcheta, 122, 123, 149, 150, 153

  Valle de Lerma, 48, 54

  Valle Viejo, 43, 45

  _Valles_, 37-48

  _Vegas_, 54, 144

  Veinte cinco de Mayo, 194, 262

  Ventana, Sierra de, 172, 182, 198, 199

  Villa Concepción, 110

  Villa Maria, 113, 213

  Villa Mercedes, 25, 66, 113, 164, 174, 177, 207, 221

  Villa Paraná, 245

  Villa Rica, 110, 111

  Villarino, 130, 133

  Villa Urquiza, 244

  Vilque, 56

  _Viñatores_, 87-93

  Vineyards, 80-93

  _Volcada de agua_, 45

  Volcanic eruptions, 122, 125

  Wagons, travel by, 216, 217

  War, the European, effect of, 8

  Water-power in Patagonia, 146

  Water-rights, 43-46, 61, 64, 84-86

  Water-supply, 36, 38, 39, 41-46, 61, 64, 72, 83-86, 141, 154, 181

  Welsh in Patagonia, 138

  Wheat, 190-192, 194, 198, 199, 230

  Wheelwright, 221

  Wild cattle, 179-181

  Willis, Bailey, 138, 146, 147, 152, 171

  Wind, action of the, 20, 124, 170

  Wine-industry, the, 80-95

  Wool, 139, 183-185

  _Yerbales_, the, 49, 109-112, 115, 117

  Yguassu, the, 242, 246, 257

  Zapala, 156, 158

  Zeballos, 204, 213

  _Zonda_, the, 41

_Printed in Great Britain by_


      *      *      *      *      *      *

Transcriber's note:

Small capitals have been rendered as ALL CAPITALS.

Apparent printer's errors have been corrected.

The following table lists changes made by the transcribers.

 |   9|  inmigración  |  immigración  |
 |   9|    después    |    despues    |
 |  14|     Santa     |     Sante     |
 |  22|    físicas    |    fisicas    |
 |  22|   República   |   Republica   |
 |  23|   República   |   Republica   |
 |  23|   República   |   Republica   |
 |  52|   Córdoba,    |    Córdoba    |
 |  82|     melt      |     meet      |
 |  82|    Estero     |    Eestero    |
 |  91|     wines     |     vines     |
 |  84|   Sometimes   |   Somtimes    |
 |  91|    regards    |    regrads    |
 | 103|     Santa     |     Sante     |
 | 103|   quebracho   |   quebraco    |
 | 105|     small     |     mall      |
 | 105|    alongs     |     along     |
 | 112|     crops     |     props     |
 | 113|  quebrachos   |  quegrachas   |
 | 114|     Santa     |     Sante     |
 | 136|Forschungsreise|Farschungsreise|
 | 142|     than      |     that      |
 | 157|      are      |    are are    |
 | 167|   campaign    |   compaign    |
 | 175|    enlarge    |   enlarges    |
 | 181|     Santa     |     Sente     |
 | 193|     dairy     |     diary     |
 | 219|    galera     |    galeria    |
 | 266|      the      |      he       |
 | 291|      248      |      24       |
 | 287|   Hrdlicka    |   Hrdlicker   |
 | 295|      240      |      740      |

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