Rio Negro - Encyclopedia


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RIO NEGRO, a territory of Argentina lying between the Colorado river and the 42nd parallel S. lat., within the geographical area formerly known as Patagonia, bounded N. by the territories of Neuquen and La Pampa, E. by the province of Buenos Aires and the Atlantic, S by the territory of Chubut and W. by Chile and Neuquen. Area, about 75,924 sq. m.; pop. (1895) 9241; (1904, estimate) 18,648. That part of it lying between the Colorado and Negro rivers has much of the formation and characteristics of the "sterile pampas," but with irrigation the greater part of it can be utilized for agriculture and grazing. South of the Negro the country is arid, barren and lies in great shingle-covered terraces sloping eastward to the Atlantic; its larger part is practically uninhabitable, only the river valleys and the foot-hills of the Andes having a regular water supply. The rivers of the territory are the Colorado, which forms a part of its northern boundary, and the Negro, formed by the confluence of the Limay (which forms part of the western boundary) and Neuquen on the boundary between Rio Negro territory and the territory of Neuquen. These rivers have no tributaries of importance within the territory, but the Limay receives some small streams from the Andean slopes. Lake Nahuel-Huapi lies partly in this territory (see Neuquen), and there are several small lakes scattered over the shingly steppes. The Atlantic coast-line of the territory has one deep indentation - the Gulf of San Matias - but, owing to the arid surroundings, there are no ports or towns upon it. The only industry of importance is grazing, cattle being raised for export to Chile, and a few sheep for their wool. The capital is Viedma (pop. in 1895, estimate, 1500), on the right bank of the Rio Negro, 22 m. from its mouth and opposite Carmen de Patagones, a town and port of Buenos Aires. There are other small settlements on the Rio Negro, which is navigable up to the Neuquen frontier (about 450 m.), but the only place of importance is General Roca (about 2300), a military and supply station situated a few miles below the confluence of the Limay and Neuquen rivers and connected with Bahia Blanca and Buenos Aires by a branch of the Great Southern railway.

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