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Bariloche is a city of 75,468 inhabitants (2001) located on the eastern shore of Nahuel Huapi Lake, at the southern fringe of Argentina's Río Negro Province. Jesuit Nicolás Mascardi founded San Carlos de Bariloche in 1670 as a mission for the Mapuche Indians who wandered between southern Chile and southern Argentina. In the Conquest of the Desert (1858–1861), the young Argentine republic went to war against the Indians and then opened the region for colonization by war veterans as well as German and Italian homesteaders. Settlements were established on the picturesque Nahuel Huapi Lake and into the upper reaches of Limay River, an Andean tributary of the Río Negro. The development of the entire region received a boost when Bariloche became a favorite summer and winter resort for the European-rooted bourgeoisie of Buenos Aires in the 1920s. In the early twenty-first century the city also attracts Andean tourists via the scenic route of Laguna Fría, Puerto Blest, and Paso Puyehue. During winter, modern hotels accommodate guests from Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil, as well as North Americans and Europeans taking advantage of the winter sports opportunities during their native summers.

Bariloche is an administrative and educational center for the Andean region of Rio Negro Province and site of the Museo de la Patagonia. Daily flights connect Bariloche with Buenos Aires, and railroads depart for San Antonio Oeste, on the Atlantic coast, and Bahia Blanca, in the south of Buenos Aires Province.

See alsoArgentina, Geography; Conquest of the Desert.


Neuman, Andrés. Bariloche. Barcelona: Editorial Anagrama, 1999.

                                       CÉsar N. Caviedes