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Río Negro Province

Río Negro
Flag of Río Negro
Official seal of Río Negro
Country Argentina
Capital Viedma
Divisions 13 departments
 • Governor Alberto Weretilneck
 • Senators Maria Jose Bongiorno, Miguel Ángel Pichetto, Pablo Verani
 • Total 203,013 km2 (78,384 sq mi)
Population (2010[1])
 • Total 638,645
 • Rank 15th
 • Density 3.1/km2 (8.1/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Rionegrino
Time zone ART
ISO 3166 code AR-R
Website .ar.govrionegro

Río Negro (Spanish pronunciation: , Black River) is a province of Argentina, located at the northern edge of Patagonia. Neighboring provinces are from the south clockwise Chubut, Neuquén, Mendoza, La Pampa and Buenos Aires. To the east lies the Atlantic Ocean.

Its capital is Viedma. Other important cities include the ski resort town of Bariloche, Cipolletti and General Roca.


  • History 1
  • Geography 2
    • Climate 2.1
      • Temperature 2.1.1
      • Humidity and Precipitation 2.1.2
      • Wind and Sunshine 2.1.3
  • Government 3
  • Economy 4
  • Tourism 5
    • Wineries 5.1
  • Political division 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9


Ferdinand Magellan was the first explorer to visit the coasts of the provinces in 1520. Priest Nicolás Mascardi founded the Jesuit mission Nuestra Senora de Nahuel Huapi in 1670 at the shore of the Nahuel Huapi Lake, at the feet of the Andes range.

Francisco Moreno, the eminent explorer and conservationist was granted the area around Nahuel Huapi Lake and established Argentina's National Park System.

In 1779 Francisco Fernández de Viedma founded both Mercedes de Patagones (current Viedma) and Carmen de Patagones (Buenos Aires Province) on opposite sides of the Río Negro River's mouth.

After the May Revolution there was a first attempt to subdue the aboriginals of the area, but it was not until the Conquest of the Desert commanded by General Julio Argentino Roca that the local inhabitants were reduced and the constant danger of their attacks eliminated. Francisco Moreno started his exploration of the Patagonia at the Nahuel Huapi Lake area to later adventure further south.

By the beginning of the 19th century, many settlements such as San Carlos de Bariloche, General Roca and Choele Choel were already constituted and received French and German immigration, and other such as Cipolletti, Ingeniero Huergo and others installed in the Alto Valle (Upper Valley) region. Soon the production of fruits became the main economical activity, and the railway connected the Alto Valle with the ports on the Atlantic Ocean.

Originally part of the Argentine territory called Patagonia (in 1878 the Gobernación de la Patagonia[2]), in 1884 it was organised into the Territorio Nacional del Río Negro and General Lorenzo Vintter was appointed as the territory's first governor. It was only in 1957,[3] that Río Negro acquired status of a province; its first provincial governor was Edgardo Castello of the Radical Civic Union (UCR).[4]


Río Negro, the "black river" and the province's namesake.

At the north of the Patagonia, the Limay River serves as natural border with the Neuquén Province to the West, as the Colorado River does with La Pampa Province to the North. The 42nd parallel south marks the southern limit of the province.

The main water source at the arid plains that cover most of the province is the Río Negro River, in whose valley most of the settlements and farms are located. The over 600 km of the Rio Negro's valley are divided in Alto Valle (West), Valle Medio (center) and Valle Inferior (East).

The central part of the province is dominated by a series of plateaus and isolated hills, with altitudes ranging from 600 meters (2000 ft) above sea level to 1000 meters (3300 ft). Especially noteworthy is the plateau called "Meseta de Somuncura" in the central-eastern part of the province, with altitudes generally above 1000 meters (3300 ft) and some spots reaching 1300 meters (4200 ft). Moving further west, the foothills of the Andes are dominated by a series of low valleys discharging either towards the Atlantic through the Limay river, or to the Pacific through the Manso and Puelo rivers: deep blue-water lakes form in the Andean valleys, with some regions reaching very low altitudes (under 400 meters, or 1300 ft, in the Pacific basin, and 750 meters, or 2500 ft, in the Atlantic basin). The Andes are here deeply cut by glacial valleys, and the altitude of the peaks is moderate: for most, it ranges between 1,700 meters and 2,200 meters (5600 to 7200 ft), with only a handful of peaks surpassing 2,400 meters (7800 ft). Especially noteworthy is the Cerro Tronador, a heavily glaciated peak of 3,405 meters (11,100 ft) which clearly dominates the surrounding landscape.

Roadside scenery along the Upper Valley of the Rio Negro ("Black River").


The climate of the province is temperate at low elevations, and very cold in the higher Andean peaks.


The mean annual temperatures in the province are relatively cold for its latitude owing to the cold Malvinas Current to the east and higher altitude to the west.[5] Mean annual temperatures in the province can vary, depending on altitude and distance from the sea.[5] The northern parts of the province are the warmest, with a mean annual temperature of more than 15 °C (59.0 °F) while the coldest areas are found in the Andean region where the mean annual temperatures are less than 10 °C (50.0 °F).[5] At the highest peaks, the mean annual temperature is less than freezing.[5] Summers are hot throughout the province with the exception of the Andean region with mean January temperatures ranging from 20 to 24 °C (68.0 to 75.2 °F).[5] Occasionally, temperatures can exceed 40 °C (104.0 °F) during heat waves in all areas except for the Andean region.[5] In contrast, the Andean region has milder summers with mean January temperatures of 15 °C (59.0 °F) or less, depending on the altitude.[5] Winters are cool to cold. In July, mean temperatures range from 7 to 8 °C (44.6 to 46.4 °F) on the coast in the north to around 2 to 3 °C (35.6 to 37.4 °F) in the central plateau area and the Andean region.[5] The central plateau area can be extremely cold during the winter in which temperatures can fall to −25 °C (−13.0 °F) while the coastal areas are milder with temperatures that can fall to −15 °C (5.0 °F).[5]

Humidity and Precipitation

Relative humidity is lower in the central plateau where they average 50%.[5] Along the coastal regions, humidity is higher with a mean annual humidity of 60% while the Andean region has the highest humidity with an average annual humidity exceeding 65% due to the lower temperatures there.[5] In all locations, humidity is lower in the summer and higher in the winter owing to the higher temperatures in the summer.[5]

The Andes block most of the moisture from the Pacific Ocean from coming in, causing it to release most of the precipitation on its western slopes and as such, most of the province is dry, with a mean annual precipitation around 200 millimetres (8 in).[5] Coastal areas and northern parts of the province receive a slightly higher precipitation, where it can average above 300 millimetres (12 in) a year.[5] The Andean region receives the most precipitation with areas receiving a mean annual precipitation of 200 to 1,000 millimetres (8 to 39 in) in which the precipitation gradient is very strong and increases westwards.[5] In some places, precipitation can exceed 3,000 millimetres (118 in) a year.[5] Most of the Andean region has a rainfall pattern that is Mediterranean like, similar to Central Chile in which most of the precipitation falls during the winter months and summers are dry.[5]

Wind and Sunshine

One dominant characteristic of the climate is the strong winds that are observed throughout the province.[5] Summers tend to be windier than winters.[5] Winds coming from the west, southwest and northwest are common, occurring 50% of the time (60% if calm winds are not included).[5] There is some tendency for the winds to come from the east, particularly on the coastal regions when sea breezes from the east can occur when westerly winds are weak, which can be felt up to 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) from the coast.[5] The mean wind speed throughout the province varies with the northern parts having the lowest wind speeds while the highest altitude areas being the windiest.[5] Except for the northern parts of the province, mean annual wind speeds exceed 4 metres per second (13 ft/s).[5]

Cloud cover varies throughout the province, ranging from more than 60% in the Andean region to about 40% in the coastal areas.[5] The central plateaus have intermediate amounts of cloud cover between these 2 regions.[5] As such, the Andean region is more cloudier than the rest of the province.[5] Sunshine ranges from 10–11 hours of sunshine/day in January to about 5 hours of sunshine/day (less cloudier areas) to less than 3 hours of sunshine/day (more cloudier areas) in July.[5]


As of January 2012 Alberto Weretilneck became governor of the province, following the death of the Peronist Carlos Soria on New Years Day.[6]


Argentina's ninth-largest, Rio Negro's economy is a diversified service-based one with vigorous agricultural and light manufacturing sectors. Its 2006 output was an estimated US$5.420 billion, or a per capita income of US$9,805.[7] In 2013, its output increased to $43.349 billon Pesos (about US$7.939 billion) at current market prices.[8][9]

The province's agriculture (about 10% of output) is concentrated in the fertile valleys of the Río Negro River, specially at the Alto Valle but also at the Valle Medio. The province produces almost 70% of the apples and pears of the country, most it for exportation with 38% of it as fresh fruit and 40% as juice concentrate, through the port of San Antonio Oeste.

Hotel Llao Llao, on Lake Nahuel Huapi. Tourism adds at least 10% to Rio Negro's economy.

Outside the most fertile valleys used for agriculture cattle (specially on the North), goats (on the South) and sheep are raised. 13% of the national sheep meat and wool production comes from the Río Negro Province.

There is a gold mine located at Calcatreu, near Ingeniero Jacobacci, that is owned by Pan American Silver.[10] in December 2011 the provincial government repealed a law banning the use of cyanide in mineral processing, and the mine's owners regarded this as a positive development which is likely to bring increased investment.[11]


Lake Nahuel Huapi, the most famous among the Andes range's many lakes.

There are two main areas of tourism in the province; the Andes and the Atlantic coast.

The Andean Area

The most visited area is that of the lake district near San Carlos de Bariloche inside the Nahuel Huapi National Park, and neighbouring Neuquén Province. This includes the Isla Victoria, Camino de los Siete Lagos, Los Arrayanes National Park, and many trekking paths among lakes.

The Atlantic Coast
Las Grutas beach

The cliffs of the beach in Las Grutas ("The Caves") have been eroded by the fluctuating tides, making caves (grutas) on them.

The green-water beaches are mainly visited by tourists from nearby locations, except during the Fiesta Nacional del Golfo Azul, with artists from South America. Las Grutas is still a small city but it has a big casino by the beach and a number of hostels and other accommodation options..

Returns of Southern Right Whales are possibly the biggest of tourism attractions.[12] They swim and rest very close to shore, and the San Matías Gulf is the only place in the world where swimming with this kind is commercially permitted.[13]


Pinot noir vines in the Southern Patagonia region, Argentina
Pinot noir vines in the Southern Patagonia region, Argentina

Region is known for its white varietals Semillon and Sauvignon blanc, and its red varietals Merlot, Pinot noir and Malbec.[14]

Political division

Political division of the northern Patagonia; capital cities and heads of departments labeled, national roads and main rivers.

The province is divided into 13 departments:

Department (Capital)

Source for department names:[15]

See also

View of Lake Nahuel Huapi and the city of Bariloche.


  1. ^ "Censo 2010 Argentina resultados definitivos: mapas". Retrieved 2012-08-15. 
  2. ^ Law Nº 954, of 11 October 1878
  3. ^ Law Nº 14,408 of 15 June 1955 authorized the creation of the province, but this was not accomplished until 1957.
  4. ^ "Breve Historia del Edificio de la Legislatura". Legislatura de Río Negro. Archived from the original on 24 August 2011. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa "Provincia de Río Negro–Clima Y Metéorologia" (in Spanish). Secretaria de Mineria de la Nacion (Argentina). Retrieved June 30, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Argentine governor Carlos Soria killed by gunshot". BBC. 1 January 2012. Retrieved 6 October 2012. 
  7. ^ "El déficit consolidado de las provincias rondará los $11.500 millones este año" (in Spanish). Instituto Argentino para el Desarrollo de las Economías Regionales. Retrieved 10 July 2015. 
  8. ^ "Indicadores Económicos" (in Spanish). Dirección de Estadística y Censos de la Provincia de Río Negro. Retrieved 10 July 2015. 
  9. ^ The average exchange for 1 US dollar was 5.46 Argentine pesos in 2013 according to the World Bank
  10. ^ "Calcatreu". Operations. Pan American Silver. Retrieved 6 October 2012. 
  11. ^ Dorothy Kosich (20 January 2012). "Boost for gold mining as Argentina's Rio Negro Province repeals cyanide ban". Mineweb. Moneyweb Holdings. Retrieved 6 October 2012. 
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^ "Departments". ARGENTINA: Río Negro. Retrieved 22 November 2012. 

External links

  • Official Site (Spanish)
  • Pictures of Río Negro
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