History of Cipolletti

Fort Confluencia, so called due to its location on the confluence of the Limay and Neuquén Rivers, was raised in June 1879 by the troops of the Argentinian Army. Nevertheless, the fort caught fire early and was completely destroyed. In consequence, a new fort was erected in the very same spot later on, this time under the jurisdiction of the First Division of the Expeditionary Army of Río Negro. Therefore, the new fort was called Fortín Primera División.

In spite of this first military presence as from 1879, the native had dwelled in this area for a very long time. These first nations were subject to the Desert Campaign.

The main military task was to foster agriculture and cattle raising so as to give shape to new settlements in these recently conquered lands. Following this aim, the central government sold some fields and distributed others among the military men that participated in the Desert Campaign. They also leased some other lands in favor of corporations, so as to promote local activities.

Vitivinícola Sanjuanina was one of these corporations. This winegrowing company was granted 50,000 hectares. At any rate, as they failed to take this opportunity, these lands were finally acquired by Colonel Fernández Oro, who later founded Colonia Lucinda. All this, in combination with the arrival of the railway and the recent construction of the bridge over the Neuquén River, fostered the constant development of these lands.

It was Colonel Fernández Oro himself who then began to divide his property into lots. When Fernández Oro managed to sell these plots in 1903, Estación Limay de la Colonia Lucinda was founded at this location.

But it was not until 1927 that Cipolletti acquired its name in honor of engineer Cipolletti, who had encouraged the construction of reservoir dams in the Tunuyán and Mendoza Rivers, in the San Juan River and finally in the Sali River in Tucumán. Furthermore, it was him who carried out thorough research in the Negro River Basin, starting at the mountain range up to the seashore and gave warnings against the Negro River floods. He also foresaw the possibility of taking advantage of the water of this river to irrigate the crops in the valley. Even though he had plenty of different projects, only some of them could be executed with the scarce resources he had.

Today Cipolletti is a city with over 60,000 denizens located just 5 kilometers away from the capital of Neuquén.

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