Río Negro Province

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Río Negro
Provincia de Río Negro
Province of Río Negro
Laguna nge luan.jpg
Flag of Río Negro
Official seal of Río Negro
Rio Negro in Argentina.svg
Coordinates: 40°48′S 63°00′W / 40.800°S 63.000°W / -40.800; -63.000Coordinates: 40°48′S 63°00′W / 40.800°S 63.000°W / -40.800; -63.000
Divisions13 departments
 • GovernorArabela Carreras (JSRN)
 • SenatorsMartín Doñate, Silvina García Larraburu, Alberto Weretilneck
 • Total203,013 km2 (78,384 sq mi)
 (2022 census[1])
 • Total762,067
 • Rank15th
 • Density3.8/km2 (9.7/sq mi)
Time zoneART
ISO 3166 codeAR-R
HDI (2019)0.852 Very High (10th)[2]

Río Negro (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈri.o ˈneɣɾo], Black River) is a province of Argentina, located in northern 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 near the Atlantic outlet of the province's namesake river in the eastern extreme. The largest city is in the Andean foothills Bariloche in the far west. Other important cities include General Roca and Cipolletti.


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

Originally part of the Argentine territory called Patagonia (in 1878 the Gobernación de la Patagonia[3]), 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,[4] that Río Negro acquired status of a province; its first provincial governor was Edgardo Castello of the Radical Civic Union (UCR).[5]


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

Río Negro is one of the six provinces that make up Argentine Patagonia.[6] It is bounded to the north by the Colorado River which separates it from La Pampa Province, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean and to the west by the Andes and the Limay River (serves as the natural border with Neuquén Province).[6] The 42nd parallel south marks the southern limit of the province.[6] With an area of 203,013 square kilometres (78,383.8 sq mi), it is the 4th largest province by area.[7]

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 marine currents to the east and higher altitude to the west. Mean annual temperatures in the province can vary, depending on altitude and distance from the sea. 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 Cordillera where the mean annual temperatures are less than 10 °C (50.0 °F). At the highest peaks, the mean annual temperature is less than freezing. Summer temperatures can exceed 40 °C (104.0 °F) although the mean January temperatures range from 20 to 24 °C (68.0 to 75.2 °F). In contrast, the Andean region has milder summers with mean January temperatures of 15 °C (59.0 °F) or less, depending on the altitude. 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.[8]

Humidity and precipitation[edit]

Relative humidity is lower in the central plateau where they average 50%.[8] 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.[8] In all locations, humidity is lower in the summer and higher in the winter owing to the higher temperatures in the summer.[8]

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).[8] Coastal areas and northern parts of the province receive a slightly higher precipitation, where it can average above 300 millimetres (12 in) a year.[8] 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.[8] In some places, precipitation can exceed 3,000 millimetres (118 in) a year.[8] 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.[8]

Wind and sunshine[edit]

One dominant characteristic of the climate is the strong winds that are observed throughout the province.[8] Summers tend to be windier than winters.[8] Winds coming from the west, southwest and northwest are common, occurring 50% of the time (60% if calm winds are not included).[8] 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.[8] 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.[8] Except for the northern parts of the province, mean annual wind speeds exceed 4 metres per second (13 ft/s).[8]

Cloud cover varies throughout the province, ranging from more than 60% in the Andean region to about 40% in the coastal areas.[8] The central plateaus have intermediate amounts of cloud cover between these 2 regions.[8] As such, the Andean region is cloudier than the rest of the province.[8] 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.[8]


According to the results from the 2010 census [INDEC], the province has a population of 638,645 with 316,774 males and 321,871 females.[9] It constitutes 1.6% of the total population in Argentina.[10]: 63  This represented a 15.5% increase in the population compared to 2001 census [INDEC] which had 552,822 inhabitants.[9] Amongst of all the provinces in Patagonia[note 1], it is the most populous, containing 30.4% of the total population in Patagonia.[note 1][11]

The province is home to four indigenous groups: The Tehuelches, the Puelches, the Pehuenches, and the Mapuches.[12] Almost all of the indigenous population in the province are the Mapuches with the rest being small in number where their few descendants live in the neighbouring provinces.[12] The Mapuches along with some of the Pehuenches originally lived in the western parts of the province although today, they mainly live in the southern parts of the province.[12] The Tehuelches were nomadic people that hunted on the steppes in the province.[12] The Puelches, being also nomadic, lived on the northern margins of Nahuel Huapi Lake and the surrounding forests in the Andean mountains, living off hunting and fishing.[12] It is estimated that Mapuches started coming to the region before 1880 from Chile, leading to the imposition of their culture onto the other indigenous groups.[12] Originally agricultural people, the Mapuches became nomadic upon arrival to the province due to the utilization of horses.[12]

The province received immigrants mostly from Chile, Italy, Spain, Germany and the United Kingdom during the last years of the 19th century and the first years of the 20th century.


Governor Arabella Carreras

The provincial government is divided into the usual three branches: the executive, headed by a popularly elected governor, who appoints the cabinet; the legislative; and the judiciary, headed by the Supreme Court.

As of December 2019, Arabela Carreras became governor of the province, following the retirement of Alberto Weretilneck due to term-limit. She is the first woman elected governor of the province.[13]

The Constitution of Río Negro Province forms the formal law of the province.

In Argentina, the most important law enforcement organization is the Argentine Federal Police but the additional work is carried out by the Río Negro Provincial Police.

Political division[edit]

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:[14]

View of Lake Nahuel Huapi and the city of Bariloche.


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.[15] In 2013, its output increased to $43.349 billion Pesos (about US$7.939 billion) at current market prices.[16][17]

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

There is a gold mine located at Calcatreu, near Ingeniero Jacobacci, owned by Pan American Silver.[18] 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.[19]


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

Returns of southern right whales are possibly the biggest of tourism attractions.[20] 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.[21]



  1. ^ "Nuevos datos provisorios del Censo 2022: Argentina tiene 46.044.703 habitantes". Infobae. 31 January 2023. Retrieved 2023-02-03.
  2. ^ "Información para el desarrollo sostenible: Argentina y la Agenda 2030" (PDF) (in Spanish). United Nations Development Programme. p. 155. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 August 2017. Retrieved 25 August 2017.
  3. ^ Law Nº 954, of 11 October 1878
  4. ^ Law Nº 14,408 of 15 June 1955 authorized the creation of the province, but this was not accomplished until 1957.
  5. ^ "Breve Historia del Edificio de la Legislatura". Legislatura de Río Negro. Archived from the original on 24 August 2011.
  6. ^ a b c "Reseña Geografía" (in Spanish). Gobierno de Río Negro. Retrieved 15 December 2015.
  7. ^ "División Política, Superficie y Población" (in Spanish). Instituto Geográfico Nacional. Retrieved 15 December 2015.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s "Provincia de Río Negro–Clima Y Metéorologia" (in Spanish). Secretaria de Mineria de la Nacion (Argentina). Archived from the original on November 2, 2014. Retrieved June 30, 2014.
  9. ^ a b c "Población de la Provincia de Río Negro por sexo. Año 1895–2010" (in Spanish). Dirección de Estadísticas y Censos de la Provincia de Río Negro. Retrieved 15 December 2015.
  10. ^ "Censo Nacional de Población, Hogares y Viviendas 2010: Resultados definitivos: Serie B No 2: Tomo 1" (PDF) (in Spanish). INDEC. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 December 2015. Retrieved 15 December 2015.
  11. ^ "La Patagonia–Cuestiones demográficas de la tierra del fin del mundo" (PDF) (in Spanish). Dirección Provincial de Estadísticas y Censos de la Provincia del Neuquén. Retrieved 15 December 2015.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g "Los pueblos originarios" (in Spanish). Gobierno de Río Negro. Archived from [rionegro.gov.ar/?typeID=0&pagina=etnias the original] on 9 October 2018. Retrieved 9 October 2018. {{cite web}}: Check |url= value (help)
  13. ^ "Quién es Arabela Carreras, la primera mujer gobernadora de Río Negro". Perfil (in Spanish). 8 April 2019. Retrieved 17 November 2020.
  14. ^ "Departments". ARGENTINA: Río Negro. Citypopulation.de. Retrieved 22 November 2012.
  15. ^ "El déficit consolidado de las provincias rondará los $11.500 millones este año" (in Spanish). Instituto Argentino para el Desarrollo de las Economías Regionales. Archived from the original on 11 July 2015. Retrieved 10 July 2015.
  16. ^ "Indicadores Económicos" (in Spanish). Dirección de Estadística y Censos de la Provincia de Río Negro. Retrieved 10 July 2015.
  17. ^ "Official exchange rate (LCU per US$, period average) - Data". data.worldbank.org. Retrieved 21 March 2018.
  18. ^ "Calcatreu". Operations. Pan American Silver. Archived from the original on 18 October 2012. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
  19. ^ Dorothy Kosich (20 January 2012). "Boost for gold mining as Argentina's Rio Negro Province repeals cyanide ban". Mineweb. Moneyweb Holdings. Archived from the original on 27 January 2012. Retrieved 6 October 2012.
  20. ^ "Whales also choose Las Grutas - Las Grutas, Patagonia, Argentina". www.patagonia.com.ar. Retrieved 21 March 2018.
  21. ^ "Els Vermeulen - The Rufford Small Grants for Nature Conservation". www.rufford.org. Retrieved 21 March 2018.


  1. ^ a b Argentine Patagonia includes the provinces of Río Negro, Neuquén, Chubut, Santa Cruz, and Tierra del Fuego

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