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Subdivisions of Santa Cruz Province (Argentina)

Last modified: 2015-02-25 by francisco gregoric
Keywords: santa cruz | provincia de santa cruz | comandante luis piedra buena | piedra buena (luis) | figueroa (patricio adrián) | río turbio | turbio | díaz (manuel dante) | el calafate | calafate | las heras |
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Subdivisions of Santa Cruz Province (About) : See also: Other sites:

About Santa Cruz Province subdivisions

The Province of Santa Cruz is administratively divided in 7 departments. Inside each department there are a different number of municipalities of two kinds: municipio for the bigger ones and comisión de fomento for the smaller ones. In total the province has 23 municipalities.
Francisco Gregoric, 20 Apr 2008

Corpen Aike Department

Comandante Luis Piedra Buena Municipality

[Comandante Luis Piedra Buena municipal flag]
image by Francisco Gregoric, 06 May 2008

The Municipality of Comandante Luis Piedra Buena of 4,176 inhabitants as per 2001 census is located close to the estuary of the Santa Cruz River.

The colonization of the area started in 1859 in the Pavón Island located in estuary of the Santa Cruz River. Previously named Islet Reach by the British Pringles Stokes, a member of the 1827 Fitz Roy Expedition, the island was re-named Pavón by then Captain Luis Piedra Buena in honor of the Battle of Pavón. Commander Luis Piedra Buena [1833-1883] raised in the island the Argentine flag 1859. He was an Argentine mariner and explorer born in Patagonia that led the Argentine colonization of Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego. He is also the great-grand uncle of the vexillologist Gustavo Tracchia.

Since 1859 the place was an important center of scientific expeditions. On the opposite shore of Pavón Island, in 1880, a settlement was established in firm land named Colonia Santa Cruz. Later, the settlement was re-named Paso Santa Cruz and much later, Paso Ibáñez, after Gregorio Ibáñez, another explorer of the area.

In 1933 the place was named Comandante Luis Piedrabuena, but after 1968, the spelling was change to Luis Piedra Buena, to conform to the name as originally written.

According to the municipal website, the local flag has the following meaning:

The Sun: the royal celestial body, source of energy and life.

House: A symbolic representation of the settlement located in Pavón Island. It is the place where Commander Luis Piedra Buena and his wife Julia Dufour lived, located at 68º 55´ 00" West and 50º 00" South.

Southern Cross: locates the settlement in the southern hemisphere, and identifies its people as inhabitants of Patagonia where the Province of Santa Cruz is located. The Southern Cross and the wavy lines are also present on the flag of the Province.

Esmerald Green Color: the typical shade of the Santa Cruz River.

Sky: the cold sky blue shade is typical of the southern skies of the region.

Navy Blue: the color of the southern seas with white wavy stripes representative of the waves.

The author of the design is the Grupo Sud (Patricio Adrián Figueroa)
Francisco Gregoric, 06 May 2008

Other sites:

Puerto Santa Cruz Municipality

Puerto Santa Cruz is municipality and seat of the Department of Corpen Aike, Province of Santa Cruz, Argentina. It has about 3400 residents.

Its flag can be seen on a municipal website.

The flag is designed in a field divided into four quadrants, which represents the past, present and future of the town. They reflect the historical importance because our the was the historical capital of Santa Cruz province. It reflects the present and future ambitions of its people.

The symbol that divides the quadrants above is "The Cross", representing the Centennial Monument which is located between the Rock and Stone Avenues Good. It is worth noting the two large horizontal arms extended as to embrace the community and shelter the visitors.

It has also been elected to the cross and this was the standard used by the missionaries who settled in the current Cañadón Missionaries as well as the first Salesian Mission coming to these places in 1886 led by the missionary Angel Savio. No less important is the name of the town which mentions "the cross" in tribute to the rescue of a ship makes Magellan in the year 1520, the day of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.

Past: On the lower left quadrant shows a plateau that represents "Cañadón Missionary," starting point for the colonization of these lands. The upper left quadrant represents the night with the Southern Cross which was guided by the sailors who came to the shores.

Present: In the lower right quadrant shows a boat coming from Punta Entry into the port and interacts with the two upper quadrants which is characteristic of the waters of Puerto Punta Quilla which can operate 24 hours a day.

Future: This represents an overall view of the flag as if it were a window where we use the past for projects in the future by pointing to the tourism and holding the port.

While these three quadrants symbolize the same time are constantly intertwined. This was highlighted in the left lower quadrant with the Missionary Cañadón washed by the waters of the Santa Cruz River into communion with the waters of the Argentine Sea which gave forged pioneers who arrived in the soil and makes the entry of vessels at anchor Puerto Punta Quilla which is observed in the lower right quadrant.

Valentin Poposki, 15 Apr 2009

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Deseado Department

Caleta Olivia Municipality

The municipality of Caleta Olivia (36,068 inhabitants in 2001) is located on the coast of the San Jorge Gulf, in the north-east of the Province of Santa Cruz.

The region was explored in May 1901 by Lieutnant Exequiel Guttero, Captain of the "Guardia Nacional", a ship transporting material and workers for the construction of a telegraph line. According to a tradition that was never either confirmed or refuted, Guttero named the place Caleta Olivia, lit. "Olivia Inlet", as a tribute to her wife named Olivia. The telegraphic line to Comodoro Rivadavia was inaugurated on 11 June 1901; on 20 November 1901, the General Directorate of Posts and Telegraph was allowed by the Ministry of the Interior to open to the public of the telegraph station of "Calete Olivia". A telegram supposed to have been emitted on that day was found in 1971, which allowed the municipality to officially adopt 20 November 1901 as the date of foundation of the town, a decision confirmed by Provincial Decree No 279 of 13 February 1975.

Oil was found in Caleta Olivia on 13 December 1907, but it took until the 1940s to start exploitation. The Caleta Olivia drilling was inaugurated on 29 September 1946, which started the boom of the town and attracted several workers from all over the country. The monument "El Gorosito" was erected on 13 December 1969 as a tribute to the oil workers.

As reported in "El Patagónico", the municipality of Caleta Olivia has organized a competition for the design of the town flag ("A flag for my town"), to be inaugurated on 20 November 2008 during the celebration of the 107th anniversary of the town's foundation.

The jury publicly proclaimed the results of the competition on 9 November 2008 in the evening. The jury considered the winning design, selected among more than 40 anonymous entries, as respecting the historical process, the today's context and the projection of the town in the future; the flag was also judged asymmetrical, visually balanced, and correctly using complementary and analogous colours, reflecting synthetic capacity by the use of its graphic elements.

The author of the winning proposal, "Artemisia"*, showed up as the plastician María Verónica Díaz Lafourcade, who said that "the design has for main objective to propose a synthesis of the most characteristic elements of the town, either natural or artificial, and which , together, constitute our daily landscape". This is a straightforward allusion to sea, wind, plateaus and to the fishing, oil drilling and cattle-breeding activities.

A colour photograph shows the designer presenting her proposal. The left part of the flag shows the half of a stylized derrick, while the rest of the flag shows a stylized landscape with two sheep on a green plateau and a ship on a blue sea under a lighter blue sky.

*probably a tribute to Artemisia Gentileschi (1593-1651/1653), a painter of the Caravaggisti school.

Ivan Sache, 13 Oct 2008

Other sites:

Las Heras Municipality

[Las Heras municipal flag]
image by Ivan Sache, 19 Jan 2014

The municipality of Las Heras (17,821 inhabitants in 2010, therefore the 4th most populous municipality in the province; 884 ha) is located in the north of the Santa Cruz Province, 760 km from Río Gallegos.

Las Heras is a typical "railway settlement" that emerged in a desert areas following the building of a railway line. The settlement was successively named Rastro de Avestruz, Punta Rieles, Parada 283, Las Heras, and Colonia Gral. Las Heras. Colonia General Las Heras was one of the five colonies established on 7 September 1908 by the Ministry of Agriculture in partnership with a Sociedad Argentino Germana de Colonización (German-Argentinean Society of Colonization). The building of a railway line between Comodoro Rivadavia (Chubut) and Puerto Derseado (Santa Cruz) was decided the same year by Law No. 5,559. The site of the Colonia General Las Heras railway station was established at Km 283, and a village quickly developed nearby. According to the 1920 census, Colonia General Las Heras had 603 inhabitants; the plans of the settlement, designed by the land surveyor Lázaro Molinari, were approved on 30 November 1922. Sheep breeding was the main source of income for the inhabitants of the town. The discovery of oil in 1932 did not change the situation; oil extraction became profitable only in the 1950s, after seismographic and gravimetric surveys had revealed the amount of oils resource in the depth.

The flag of Las Heras is horizontally divided celeste blue-white with a thin black border at the top and bottom, charged with white elements, and a round emblem in the middle. The emblem is surrounded in its upper half by a yellow sun outlined in red and in its lower part by black railway tracks. The emblem is brown, quartered by a thin red cross; it features on a white and black base, from left to right, a black oil well, a black windpump, a white sheep, and a guanaco.

The flag, selected in a public contest organized in 2009 and inaugurated in 2010, was designed by Raúl Leuquén. The designer explained the flag as follows:

The celeste blue and white stripes recall the national flag.
The railway tracks arranged like a laurel wreath recall the origin of Colonia Las Heras.
The sun recalls the national flag, too. The red outline is the Tehuelche symbol of wind.
The central emblem symbolizes the Earth ("mapu") with the four main compass directions. The guanaco and the sheep, recalling the municipal coat of arms, stand on a white and black base symbolizing mining industry. The windpump symbolizes the energy of the future.
The black stripes are "guardas" typical of the Mapuche-Tehuelche cloth. They are a symbol of respect due to the natives, the ancestor of several inhabitants of the town. The central elements of the "guardas" represent, at the top, a "matuasto" lizard*, at the bottom, a greater rhea ("choique")**. The black background of the "guardas" also represents Oschen Aike, the place were oil was found.

The coat of arms is prescribed by the Municipal Ordinance of 31 October 1978. It was designed by Saúl O. Melian, from Los Antiguos, winner of a public contest.

The upper field represents a limpid celeste blue sky with a white transparent cloud, representing a gas flare, symbol of the local wealth.
The median field, coloured mostly red and yellow, represents the Patagonian sunrise.
The lower field,in dark beige, black and white colours, represents the Patagonian plateau. The arrow head represents the natives. The oil derrick represents Black Gold. The guanaco is represented, as the oldest dweller of the region. The sheep is the base of sustainability in the Argentinean south.

*The high mountain lizard, _Phymaturus palluma_ (Molina, 1782), is endemic to Argentina and Chile

**The greater rhea, aka American rhea (_Rhea americana_ (Linnaeus, 1758)) is a flightless bird endemic to Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay. The species is commonly farmed in North America and Europe.

Ivan Sache, 19 Jan 2014

Other sites:

Güer Aike Department

Río Gallegos Municipality

[Rio Gallegos municipal flag]
image by Ivan Sache, 3 Nov 2010

The municipality of Río Gallegos (79,144 inhabitants in 2001), watered by the river of the same name, is the capital of the Santa Cruz Province, Patagonia.

The site of today's Río Gallegos was visited in the 16th century by Spanish expeditions; in 1525, Jofré de Loaiza named the river "San Ildefonso", while in 1535 Simón de Alcazaba renamed it "Gallegos". There is no further evidence, however, of significant European settlement until 1883, when Carlos Moyano was appointed Governor of the Santa Cruz Territory. To highlight its sovereignty on the Patagonian coasts, the Argentine government opened a scheduled line between Buenos Aires and the Patagonian ports, served by the "Villarino", commanded by Captain Federico Sphur; Río Gallegos was founded on 19 December 1885 as a Maritime Subprefecture, with the aim of "exercizing permanent, direct and straight domination on the continental end of the country, within the framework of the defense of the national sovereignty". In 1888, Governor Ramón Lista ordered the transfer of the territorial capital from Puerto Santa Cruz to Río Gallegos; the transfer was officialized on 19 May by governmental Decree. The Santa Cruz Territory became the Santa Cruz Province in 1957. Río Gallegos became a municipality in 1907, the third in Patagonia after Chubut and Viedma.

The flag of Río Gallegos, designed by the local Dorbedo Higinio González, is vertically divided blue-white-celeste blue, the white stripe being charged in the middle by a sailboat, a seagull and two waves, all in blue.

The flag was selected on 15 October 2010 among 113 proposals submitted in a public contest* launched in July 2010 (deadline, 30 September 2010) by the municipal administration.

The sailboat is the aforementioned "Villarino", recalling the past of the town. The seagull, as a majestuous local bird, symbolizes the present and the future of the port town. The waves represent river Gallegos and its estuary, which deserve more protection. The design was inspired by the municipal coat of arms, a blue shield with a sailboat sailing on a sea and under the Southern Cross, all in white. Blue recalls the municipal arms while celeste blue recalls the national flag.

Presented, as a drawing, on 21 October 2010, the flag shall be officially hoisted (in the cloth) on 19 December 2010 for the celebration of the Town's Day.
Ivan Sache, 3 Nov 2010

Other sites:

Río Turbio Municipality

[Rio Turbio municipal flag]
image by Francisco Gregoric, 10 May 2008

The Municipality of Río Turbio is located at southwest of the Province of Santa Cruz, at 220 Km of Río Gallegos, capital of the province, and 8 Km to the Chilean border. It had 6,746 inhabitants as per the last census (2001).

The area is the most important deposit of coal of Argentina and most people in the area work in the coal mines.

The official flag of Río Turbio was chosen by contest on May 22, 2006. The winning flag was designed by Mr. Manuel Dante Díaz.

The flag has a diagonal stripe from upper right to lower left, recalling the Argentine flag and dividing the field in two triangles.

The upper field is blue with four silver stars forming the Southern Cross. Blue stands for popularity, harmony, communication, life and purity of the space. The Southern Cross constellation shows the location of Río Turbio in the Southern Hemisphere. The silver stars are representative of peace and tenacity.

A white ice crystal or snow inside the Southern Cross stands for purity and cleanliness. It's the same white color used in our national flag as a sign of distinction and greatness.

In the lower field of the triangle is of black, with a Margarita (Daisy) flower with a central golden circle. Black stand for power, elegance, formality and nobility. It also represents the coal that gave origin to Río Turbio.

The meaning of the white color of the Daisy flower is the same one of the ice crystal symbol, while the golden center stands for wisdom, love, virtues, constancy, justice and truth.

Ratio and internal dimensions of the flag:

In the text of the website, the flag is defined as 120 cm long by 90 cm wide (3:4 ratio). However the image looks more like 9:14. This website also has the internal dimensions of the flag given below, that are slightly different from the ones of the image.

According to the website information, the diagonal stripe with the Argentine colors should be 10 cm wide.

The axis of the Southern Cross should be 53 cm by 36 cm. Each star should be 10 cm, and the white symbol of ice should be 20 cm high.

According to the text in the website, the Daisy flower in the lower field should have 13 petals (the image has 14), and it should have a diameter of 25 cm. Its central golden circle should have a diameter of 10 cm.
Francisco Gregoric, 10 May 2008

Other sites:
  • Río Turbio flag at the website
    reported by Francisco Gregoric, 10 May 2008

Lago Argentino Department

El Calafate Municipality

[El Calafate municipal flag]
image by Francisco Gregoric, 07 May 2008

The Municipality of El Calafate in the Province of Santa Cruz, Argentina, adopted a flag.
Valentin Poposki, 26 Aug 2006

The town of El Calafate is located at south western part of the Province of Santa Cruz, at 320 Km of Río Gallegos, capital of the province, and next to the Lago Argentino.

It had 6,410 inhabitants as per the last census (2001). The place is a very important center of international tourism, because the town is near the Parque Nacional Los Glaciares (Glaciers National Park). In the area near El Calafate two important glaciers can be seen: the Perito Moreno Glacier (named for Francisco Pascasio Moreno [1852-1919], an Argentine explorer, naturalist and scientist) and the Uppsala Glacier (named for the Swedish University of Uppsala that first studied this glacier in 1908).

The flag of El Calafate has two shades of sky blue. It has wavy lines at bottom that probably stand for the Lago Argentino. At the center, a white iceberg appears. During summer, it is common to see small icebergs coming from the glaciers of the area, floating in Lago Argentino.

Above the glacier, the representation a plant with thorns and purple fruits appears. This is the calafate bush (Berberis buxifolia) that gives its name to the town. The fruit of this plant is similar to the blueberry. The legend says that someone who tries this fruit or the jam made of it, it will keep coming back to the region.

Once again we see the Southern Cross constellation, which so far is a constant in the flags of the region.

The flag has two common features with the provincial and municipal flags of Santa Cruz: the wavy lines below simulating water, and the Southern Cross.
Francisco Gregoric, 07 May 2008

Other sites:

El Chaltén Municipality

[El Chalten municipal flag]
image by Ivan Sache, 22 Nov 2010

The village of El Chaltén (324 inhabitants in 2001), founded on 12 October 1985 by Provincial Law No. 1771, is the youngest village in Argentina. The village was created to assert territorial claims on the region of Desert Lake, disputed with Chile since 1965. Effective settlement of the place started in 1987, while the dispute was eventually settled in 1994 by an international committee. The village is named for the mountain known in Tehuelche as the "Smoking Mountain" (Chaltén), renamed in 1837 Monte Fitz Roy by Pascasio Moreno.

The gate of the Glaciers National Park (founded in 1937 and registered in 1981 on UNESCO's World Heritage List), El Chaltén was proclaimed Argentina's "Trekking National Capital".

The flag of El Chaltén was hoisted on 12 October 2010, during the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the foundation of the village. It had been unveiled on the previous evening during the village's festival.

The flag is horizontally divided light blue-pink-light blue, with a white fimbriation between the stripes. The upper stripe is charged with the Southern Cross, in yellow. The central stripe is charged with a mountainous skyline. The lower stripe is charged with two blue rivers.

Light blue and white represents, as the national colors, the struggle for the defence of the national territory.
Pink represents the color of the mountains surrounding the village.

The Southern Cross, placed 30 degrees over the horizon, is the emblem of the Aonikenk, the first inhabitants of the place [the Aonikenk, extinct for long, were the southernmost Tehuelche / Patagons.] The mountainous skyline represents Cerro Torre and Monte Fitzroy, recalling that the village is a main center of trekking and mountain-climbing. The rivers represent the confluence of rivers Fitz Roy and De las Vueltas, where the village was built.

The flag was designed by Edgar Benard Bacci, whose proposal was selected on 2 September among 43 entries. The contest, announced on 5 August 2010 with deadline on 27 August 2010, was open to all villagers. The use of light blue and white, recalling the flags of Argentina and Santa Cruz, was mandatory.
Ivan Sache, 22 Nov 2010

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