In 1898, the "División de los Andes", commanded by General Rudecindo Roca, arrived to the valley of lake Lácar, to take possession of the area in the name of the Nation.The division was formed by Regimiento 3 de Caballería de Línea, constituted by four squadrons.
The first encounter between General Rudecindo Roca and Cacique Curruhuinca took place in the old watching point over the valley of creek Pocahullo. This meeting was arranged by Mr. Serafín O. Galán Deheza, who had travelled in the area some years before, and had made friends with Cacique Curruhuinca. In this meeting they agreed to found the village of San Martín de los Andes in the valley where the aborigines spent the cold winter.
At the beginning, the economy of San Martín de los Andes was based mainly on forestry, agriculture and cattle raising. Streets and roads were precarious trails, being the water the fastest means of transportation. The space was divided into sectors for the production of food.
In the area of LaVega( the fertile lowland), wheat was cultivated, and 15 mills produced flour. Livestock was abundant, since this is a swampy area with very good pastures.
Valle de San Martín de los Andes: In every garden there were vegetables and fruit trees, and every kitchen was a real jam and syrup factory.
Costa del Lago Lácar: The coast of lake Lácar was apt for families to settle, and there were sawmills and small groups of houses, as in Hua Hum.
Along provincial route 48 to Hua Hum, colonists settled in pampas or in small valleys and dedicated to a lesser extent to cattle raising. They also developed vegetable gardens, fruit trees, wheat, maize, and chicken breeding for family consumption.
At that moment, communication with other cities of Argentina was scarce and difficult; it was easier and faster to cross to Chile through the lakes than to start long excursions on horseback or in a cart to Zapala, Chos Malal or Bahía Blanca, what gave an impulse to commerce with Chile.
In 1937, Lanín National Park was created, what produced a substantial change in the life of this small village: The cutting of certain tree species was restricted, and the villages around the lake were gradually disappearing, new roads were traced and food was brought from other regions in the country, what caused to diminish cattle raising and agriculture, almost to the point of disappearing. Touristic activities were fostered by the incorporation of boats on the lake, the opening of access roads to natural attractions and the creation of the first ski slopes in Cerro Chapelco.
Since the 70s, touristic activity has grown significantly. Banks gave accessible credits for the development of important touristic enterprises. Big companies like Sol Jet gave the striking impulse for San Martín de los Andes to become one of the most important cities in the province and the world related to tourism.
Today, more than 100 years after its foundation, San Martín de los Andes has become a vigorous city, but with the spirit of the people living between it and nature.