Comodoro Rivadavia, a city of 137,000 inhabitants (2001), is the largest urban center of the Province of Chubut in Argentine Patagonia. The first site of the settlement was an anchorage at the southern edge of the Golfo San Jorge known as Puerto Tilly, in remembrance of the Spanish captain Tilly y Peredes, who in 1794–1795 repelled repeated attacks by Portuguese raiders on the Río de la Plata estuary. In 1889 the private entrepreneur Francisco Pietrobelli used this port to serve the estancias located along the Chubut River, on which Welch colonists had been settling since 1885. The name Comodoro Rivadavia was given to the set of shacks in 1901 to honor the navy officer Martin Rivadavia, who had surveyed the coast of Patagonia between 1890 and 1892. The discovery of petroleum deposits in 1907 spurred development of the humble settlement and gave rise to the Argentine oil industry, which peaked in 1922 with the founding of Yacimientos Petrolíferos Fiscales (YPF), which is one of the country's largest corporations in the early twenty-first century. Comodoro Rivadavia is an important base for the Argentine army and air force, and in 1974 it was chosen as the site for the Universidad Nacional de la Patagonia San Juan Bosco. In 2007 there were 10,000 students on this campus, and more on secondary campuses in Trelew, Puerto Madryn, Puerto Gallegos, and Ushuaia. An inflow of Chilean immigrants has contributed to the rapid growth of Comodoro Rivadavia, the 2006 population of which reached an estimated 148,000.
Thomas, John M., et al. Una frontera lejana: La colonización galesa del Chubut, 1865–1935. Buenos Aires: Fundación Antorchas, 2003.
CÉsar N. Caviedes