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Asunto:[CeHuNews] 96/05 - Geographer's Day in Argentina
Fecha:Martes, 22 de Noviembre, 2005  17:24:57 (-0300)
Autor:Centro Humboldt <humboldt>

CeHuNews 96/05

Geographer's Day in Argentina


In May of 1999, and in the occasion of the celebration of the Day of the Geographer in Brazil, they asked to us and we asked ourselves if there were a day that commemorated the task of our profession in Argentina. Because the answer was negative, Humboldt Centre sent, through its Network News of the CeHu, the proposal to look for a date that was to us representative. Although some colleagues disapproved the initiative, the great majority accepted the idea and beginning occurred to an ample consultation, through different means, on what day we could take like reference.

Six months later, in November of that year, it would be made in Buenos Aires, the First International Humboldt Meeting. We considered that it was an excellent occasion to define by means of an accessible ballot box for all, including those who were not new recruits in the Meeting, the main dates chosen until that moment. In general terms, the dissidence appeared between the related ones to the figure of Humboldt: birth, arrival to America (favourites by several members of the Humboldt Centre), and referred to the Expert Francisco Pascasio Moreno, arisen by proposal of Víctor Hugo Vallejos, the University National of the La Plata and supported by many geographers of that city.

Finally, due to the great amount of assistants coming from the Patagonia, the balance inclined towards the commemoration of the death of Moreno, admiring of Humboldt and Darwin, happened the 22 of November of 1919. Like Humboldt, Francisco P. Moreno finished to their days without a cent, giving it everything in benefit of the knowledge.




It was born in the city of Buenos Aires the 31 of May of 1852. It spent his first years in contact with the nature and one felt strongly attracted by its mysteries. Even young, it began to collect fossil rest and archaeological pieces; it attended his first studies in the San Jose School where the readings of trips of famous explorers of Century 19 began to wake up their thirst of adventures.

At the age of 15 years it installs with its brothers a museum in the viewpoint of the familiar house initiated by a collection of jades and stones of varied colors. That same year undergoes the death of his mother victim of a rage epidemic. As of 1870 it enriches his collections with explorations that make in the Vittel Lagoon, locality to which her family is transferred in 1871 before the advance of the fever amarilla.En 1873, already installed again in his house of Parque Patricios, his father decides to construct a special building to him for the museum.

At the end of that year it makes its first trip to the south to Carmen de Patagones. It gathers abundant material that would incorporate later to its museum. It knew to contain its anxieties to go into more to the west remembering the recommendations of its father in that sense: the watching of the Indian was permanent. This time arriving until that locality was already considered a magnitude company: the railroad arrived until Las Flores and had to cover a distance with almost thousand kilometers in galera and to horse. The city of Bahía Blanca in the passage to Patagones only existed. With this trip it finishes a stage in the life of Moreno, the one of his childhood and adolescence to begin the one of his made personal explorations between 1874 and 1880.

In 1874, professor Paul Broca (founding of the School of Anthropology of Paris) publishes an article of Moreno in the Revue D'Anthropologie de Paris. That same year he attends an expedition that leaves from Buenos Aires course for Santa Cruz reaching the bay homónima, but less time of the one than they had thought since their plans were to be able to overcome the River Santa Cruz until their easts, which could not take shape. In 1875 the first white man undertakes a trip to the Lake Nahuel Huapí being the 22 of January of 1876 who above to the great lake from the Atlantic. In this Moreno route he fulfilled one of his greater yearnings: to put themselves in direct bonding with the indigenous nations of the Patagonia and to study their enigmatic last and their origins.

At the end of 1876 it undertakes a new trip course to the river Santa Cruz, beginning to overcome it the 15 of January of 1877 in a boat manned by 7 men and dragged by horses from the border; day 15 of February they arrive at its easts baptizing to the Argentine lake in tribute to the Argentine flag due to the color turquesa of waters, separated of the sky by the white strip of the ice. He explores the region until the lake San Martín (to whom he baptizes as so) and recognizes the Chalten naming it hill Fitz Roy. Its return to the Pavón island rides five hundred kilometers until Punta Arenas from where one embarks towards Montevideo. The experiences gathered in this trip are reflected in their book ` Viaje a la Patagonia Austral'.

It donates its collections to the Government of the Province of Buenos Aires that incorporates them to its patrimony with the name of Anthropological and Archaeological Museum of the province of Buenos Aires being named Director of the same one. For 1878 it begins to receive honors in recognition to its explorations and investigations: the National University of Cordoba grants the title to him of Doctor Honoris Causae at the same time that is named member honorary of the Anthropological Society of Berlin ( 

"(...)My pesimism was in the truth: thirty and four years have passed since the Nacuncheo cacique disappeared defending the ground in that he was born, since with violent, unnecessary means, it was destroyed a viril race and usable and from that date, even though and there are in the region flourishing towns and crosses the rail partly, hinder its progress earth concessions granted in bulk to potentados of stock-market, once the border advanced what causes that tens of leguas are in being able of a single lucky person (...) 

(...)The indigenous philosophy with respect to the relations between the "owners of the fields" and the usurpers, the targets, imposes the revenge to them, but this one is not made with as much horror on the part of them as by part our. The Indian is traditionalistic, remembers in his "parliaments" the executions in mass of his ascending ones, made by the forces of the tyrant Rosas, and remembers very those that were almost made to newspaper during the Campaign of the Desert in the last twenty years (...)


(...) It has always made confusion with the different denominations from the tribes of araucana race, and until the meaning of some has been deduced badly. It is spoken much of puelches, mamuelches, of ranqueles or ranquelches, pehuenches, aucaches, huiliches, etc, and sometimes varieties have been made when all belong to the same race, being those names taken from the place in which they live, and is so puelche, that arrives from the east can be huiliche moving away to sud (people of the south).

Mamuelches (people of the forests), ranqueles (people of the reedbeds), takes their names from the place in which they live but they are puelches (people of the east) for which inhabit more to the west. For puelches, moluches, is those that indifferently occupy the Andean areas whereas for which they inhabit the Chilean side, those of the Argentinean they are puelches. For that they live in the lake Nahuel Haupi, they are picunches (people of the north) those that they accompanied before in the Neuquen, etc.(...)


Fragment removed from “ Barridos por el viento, Historia de la Patagonia Desconocida", by Roberto Hosne. pages 162-171; Planeta Editions.


 Lic. Ana María Liberali

Humboldt Centre President