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Neuquén is a province in Patagonia, in southwest Argentina, the so-called Comahue. It has approximately 470, 000 inhabitants (2001 census) with some 200,000 of them in its capital city, also called Neuquén. A small portion of the Neuquén province belongs to the Mapuche indigenous group. Since the 1970s, local politics have been dominated by the Neuquén Popular Movement (Movimiento Popular Neuquino). This movement, which has its origins in Peronism, took root exclusively in the provinces and is headed by the Sapag family.

The Spaniards first entered in the area in the sixteenth century, but it was not until the dessert campaign (1879) commanded by general Julio Argentino Roca that the indigenous people lost control over the territory. From the 1960s onward, the province experienced great economic and demographic expansion, absorbing population from other regions of Argentina. Social indicators rank it above the national average. Its principle economic resources are petroleum and hydropower. Neuquén is an important provider of electrical power to the country and power royalties are a significant component of its financial resources. Fruit crops are important. Tourist activity located along the Andean range, with its forests and lakes, also brings in considerable revenue. Winter sports in San Martín de los Andes, Villa La Angostura, and the Nahuel Huapi National Park are its main attractions.

See alsoArgentina: The Nineteenth Century; Argentina: The Twentieth Century; Mapuche; Patagonia.


Favaro, Orienta, ed. Neuquén: La construcción de un orden estatal. Neuquén: Centro de Estudios Históricos de Estado, Política y Cultura, Universidad Nacional del Comahue, 1999.

Palermo, Vicente. Neuquén. La construcción de una sociedad Buenos Aires: Centro Editor de América Latina, 1988.

                                          Vicente Palermo