History of Puerto Deseado



Puerto Deseado was named after Desire, the ship led by Cavendish in 1586. Long before, the Englishman known as Francis Drake had carried out some excursions in the area in search of plundering the Spanish colony that had been settled in the area discovered by Magellan in 1520 known as Río de los Trabajos (Labor River).

In 1780, the harsh weather conditions forced Antonio de Viedma, who was in command of a colonizing squad that was trying to reach Santa Cruz, to spend the winter at the spot known today as Puerto Deseado. It was then that the first houses were built, the first orchards prepared and the first wheat in Patagonia sown by these accidental settlers. But a scurvy outbreak caused many of the first denizens to die at this location and the population began to weaken.

Almost ten years later, a new expedition (this time led by Alejandro Malaspina) set out from Cádiz to this site in order to pass a detailed and confidential report to the crown about the situation of these territories. This expedition, which had passed through Buenos Aires before, established close and friendly bonds with the Tehuelche natives when it reached the area of the Deseado.

Likewise, a fishing company landed at Puerto Deseado in those days and tried to colonize the area through the development of its activities: capture, skin salting and oil making. This company had to interrupt activities when an English frigate caused great damage in Puerto Deseado at the same time the English were invading Buenos Aires.

In 1878, the government took hold of the territory known as Cañadón de los Misioneros (Missionary Men Ravine) through the Naval Military Force and in 1884, the territory of Santa Cruz was finally created and Captain Carlos Moyano was appointed governor. Captain Oneto landed in the same year and settled down at the new colony with a group of men and women that gave origin to what we know today as Puerto Deseado.

When Mr. Lista traveled to this area in 1887 to assume his role of governor, he perceived the precarious conditions in the colony and recommended that it should be dismantled. Nevertheless, the colonists resisted and stayed until early in 1900, when they managed to obtain official acknowledgement and later carry out the foundation of the town of Puerto Deseado.

Thus, Puerto Deseado began to grow as a town. The first Public Works Committee was founded in 1914. The first Town Hall was created in 1933 and it developed gradually until it acquired its present condition: the most important fishing port on the Patagonian shore.


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