El Calafate, Argentina, South America
Year1927latitude: -50° 19'
longitude: -72° 15'
Initiator(s)National Government
Planning organizationNational Government
Nationality initiator(s)
Designer(s) / Architect(s)
Design organization
Inhabitants6,410 (2001)
Target population
Town websitehttp://www.elcalafate.gov.ar/
Town related linkshttp://www.welcomeargentina.com/elcalafate/calafateinterpretation-center.ht ml
Literature- None

type of New Town: > scale of autonomy
New Town
Company Town
> client
Private Corporation
Public Corporation
> policy


El Calafate was officially founded in 1927, but the history of the town goes further back than that. At the end of the 19th century, El Calafate already had some sheds that were used as shelters for wool traders who collected and transported wool in this area. The trader Armando Guillon constructed a claystone farm in El Calafate and after he left in 1930 José Pantín constructed warehouses and shelter for the wool traders that would pass El Calafate.
At beginning the of the 20th century the region Patagonia was a wool region. Small peasants and shepherds worked in this area that was difficult accessible because of its height and climate. When the Argentinean period of revolution began in 1919 the Patagonian region and especially the province of Santa Cruz were places of revolt giving the government in Buenos Aires a hard time. The workers and farmers went on strike and sabotaged the little infrastructure that was present in the area. In 1921 strikes in Patagonia were suppressed by the Argentinean army, killing about 1.500 people. At this point the national government decided that the Andean area should be urbanized so that it would be more accessible and the people would be easier to control. In this line of thought, the town El Calafate was founded on the 7th of December 1927. Although the national government founded the town, they didn't develop it. The administration of national parks of Argentina developed infrastructure in the region such as road pavement and electricity. Also, it was the near national parks of glaciers that attracted tourists and that finally made the town grow to its present size of more than 6.000 permanent inhabitants.

source: Ellen van Holstein

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