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Pampa, a vast, rolling plain that stretches through the Río de la Plata from Patagonia in the south to the Andean foothills in the west to the Chaco in the north. In his essay, "La Pampa," the British writer Robert B. Cunninghame Graham rightly described the pampa as "all grass and sky, and sky and grass, and still more sky and grass." Fanning out from the Atlantic coast, the fertile, humid pampa runs several hundred miles inland. Well watered and subject to seasonal flooding, it offers immensely rich agricultural and grazing lands. Beginning in Córdoba province, the pampa becomes drier, the grasslands thinner, and the water sources fewer. Travelers unfamiliar with the vast plains depended on gaucho guides (Baquianos) to lead them. Control of this rich grassland gave the landed elite economic and political power in the Río del la Plata.

See alsoRío de la Plata .


Enrique Williams Alzaga, La pampa en la novela argentina (1955).

John Walker, ed. The South American Sketches of R. B. Cunninghame Graham (1978).

Richard W. Slatta, Gauchos and the Vanishing Frontier (1983), pp. 17-29.

Richard W. Slatta, Cowboys of the Americas (1990), pp. 63-65.

Additional Bibliography

Briones, Claudia, and José Luis Lanta. Archaeological and Anthropological Perspectives on the Native Peoples of Pampa, Patagonia, and Tierra del Fuego to the Nineteenth Century. Westport, CT: Bergin & Garvey, 2002.

Etchenique, Jorge. Pampa libre: Anarquistas en la pampa Argentina. Buenos Aires: Universidad Nacional de Quilmes: Ediciones Amerindia, 2000.

Fernández Priotti, Carlos Alberto. El Ferrocarril Oeste Santafecino: Carlos Casada y la colonización del Pampa. Rosario: CA Fernández Priotti, 2006.

Martínez Estrada, Ezequiel. X-Ray of the Pampa. The Texas Pan American Series. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1971.

                                      Richard W. Slatta


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Pampas Large, treeless plains in s South America, situated mostly in Argentina. The humid pampas is extremely fertile; dairy farming is practised and cereals are grown. The larger dry pampas to the w, which includes the provinces of Buenos Aires, Santa Fe and Cordoba, supports mainly livestock grazing.


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pampa usu. pl. pampas vast treeless plain in S. America. XVIII. — Sp. — Quechua pampa plain.