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Rawson, Chubut

Rawson (originally "Trerawson" from Welsh) is the capital of the Argentine province of Chubut, in Patagonia. It has about 26.000 inhabitants, and it is the head town of the Rawson Department, which has 122,000 inhabitants (figures as per the ). Even though it is the provincial capital, its population is smaller than that of other cities in Chubut: Comodoro Rivadavia, Trelew, Puerto Madryn and Esquel. Rawson became the provincial capital in 1957, when Chubut was constituted as a province.

Rawson is located on National Route 3, about 1,360 kilometres south of Buenos Aires, some 20 kilometres from both Trelew and it is served by the Almirante Marco Andres Zar Airport in Trelew. It is crossed by the Chubut River, over which the first bridge was built in 1889. Playa Union, Rawson's resort beach, is 6 km from the city centre.

The city has a fishing port, Puerto Rawson, on the Atlantic coast, 5 km down the river. Provincial administration and the port are the main economical activities in the city.

There are two small museums in Rawson. The City Museum has historical objects and old photographs. The Don Bosco Museum has a collection of local history and wildlife, including artefacts from the Welsh community. The General San Martin Zoo and Park covers 6 hectares of the shore of the Chubut River.

Rawson's climate is dry, with temperatures in the range of 0 C to 15 C in winter, and 10 C to 20 C in spring and autumn, with peaks of up to 38 C in summer.


First settlement

The first settlement in the area of Rawson was founded by Henry Libanus Jones, a Welsh explorer and cattle dealer who had been living in Buenos Aires since 1810. In 1854 he founded a forward post for expeditions of hunting and collection of wild cattle at the border of Chubut river.

These precarious constructions were abandoned soon after, but they were found and taken advantage of by the first Welsh settlers who disembarked from the clipper "Mimosa" in Puerto Madryn at July 28, 1865. Immediately they explored towards the south in search of fresh water, until they came to the river.

Mimosa's settlers called the fort "Caer Antur" (Welsh=Adventure Fort) or "Yr Hen Amddiffinfa" . One of the settlers of the Mimosa, Abraham Matthews, describes the constructions like this: "The place that we denominated Yr Hen Amddiffinfa was a portion of land surrounded by a pit measuring sixty to one hundred yards in diameter. (.) These men had excavated the pit and thrown the soil in, so that when raised to the tide the pit is filled of water, and thus more insurances felt, because according to it was said, the Indians of the Patagonia never crossed the water to attack".

Despite the numerous studies made, the location of the fort in relation to the modern city does not exist today, since the river has changed course since then, and no remains of the fort can be found today.

The town

The town was officially founded on September 15, 1865, by Colonel Julian Murga, and settled by newly arrived immigrants from Wales. It was named after Dr. Guillermo Rawson, the Argentine Interior Minister of the time, who supported the Welsh settlement in Argentina.

Substantial construction of government buildings in the 1970s resulted in the town being nicknamed "The little Brasilia of Patagonia". It was originally known as Trerawson, Welsh for "Rawson's town", a name it still retains among Welsh speakers and some older residents.


Interpatagonia.com: Rawson

City map

Tourist Office of Chubut (Spanish)

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