History of Junín de los Andes

In prehistoric times, Mapuches and Tehuelches dwelled in these territories and lived on what nature provided. They worshipped the land (mapu) and God (Neguenechén). With the advance of military troops led by General Roca, the white men reached this area and confronted the natives in a blunt struggle for sovereignty. In 1882, the army arrived in the land where the City of Junín de los Andes lies today, leaving a great deal of casualties on both sides. The area was a depression named Cum Cum Niyeu, which stands for Valley of the jackals in the Yconiyén tongue. A year later, a new mission specially entrusted by Cardinal Cagliero, who had resolved to evangelize the local natives, was sent. The fort that settled down in what today is Junín de los Andes was raised by these expeditions and its location was chosen by Sergeant Vidal, thus considered founder of the town. At first, the settlement was going to be called General Frías but it finally adopted its present name. “Junín” derives from the Aymará word “hunins”, which stands for "pasture". With this fort, a place that was better known as a military post than as a town was created until Domingo Milanesio and Juan Ruggerone arrived there in 1892. They were two Salesian priests who settled down their mission at this location. In 1895, the Salesian house was founded. It had two schools for native children where they were fed, educated and evangelized. Little by little, this place began to adopt the shape of a town until it became what it is today: a booming livestock center in Neuquén with one of the most important Rural Societies in the area (founded in 1933). Talking about Junín de los Andes always brings about the Lanín Volcano. In 1933, Laroute and Howart climbed up this mountain and Mr. Vidal Pérez hit the summit several times. As a result, he was named distinguished citizen and one of the local female denizens has dedicated a book to him. In 1945, this city, whose quietness and natural beauties lures many tourists today, was given its official name and so were San Martín de los Andes and Cutral-Có. This way, Junín became the oldest city in Neuquén.

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