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Patagonia

Information about Patagonia

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At the time of the Spanish arrival, Patagonia was inhabited by multiple indigenous tribes. In a small portion of northwestern Patagonia, indigenous peoples practiced agriculture, while in the remaining territory, peoples lived as hunter-gatherers, traveling by foot in eastern Patagonia or by dugout canoe and dalca in the fjords and channels. In colonial times indigenous peoples of northeastern Patagonian adopted a horseriding lifestyle. While the interest of the Spanish Empire had been chiefly to keep other European powers away from Patagonia, independent Chile and Argentina began to colonize the territory slowly over the course of the 19th and early 20th centuries. This process brought a decline of the indigenous populations, whose lives and habitats were disrupted, while at the same time thousands of Europeans, Argentines, Chilotes and mainland Chileans settled in Patagonia. Border disputes between Argentina and Chile were recurrent in the 20th century. Except for the boundary along the Southern Patagonian Ice Field, all of these disputes have been settled today.