Junín de los Andes History and Legends


Its origin goes as far as the pre-hispanic era, when Mapuches and Tehuelches shared these immense natural spaces, while living off the products bestowed by nature and paying tribute to the "mapu"(land) and to "Nguenechen" (God) for all the gifts received every year from their generosity.
After the attack of the military troops organized by General Julio Argentino Roca, the "huincas" (white people in Mapuche language) started to arrive with the intention of expanding the sovereignty of the young Argentine Nation, and held some combats with the natives.
In 1882, an outpost of the army arrived to Yconiyén (Valley of the Chacayales), also called Cum Cum Niyeu (meeting place around a landmark), a depression where the city of Junín de los Andes is today and the first fort was built. Many people were killed on either bands during this first combat.
A new expedition set off towards this valley of the Chimehuín river in 1883, with the mission of setting the base for a village at the request of Cardenal Cagliero, who was convinced that natives should be conquered with the Gospels.
It is said that the place to build the fort was chosen by Sergeant Major E. Vidal, who was in command of the unit, and that is why he is considered the founder.
The village would initially be called General Frías, but was finally called Junín de los Andes.
The term Junín derives from the Aymará word "hunins", which means pastureland.
At he beginning, the settlement was closer to a military outpost than a village, but a new chapter started with the arrival of Salesian priests Domingo Milanesio and Juan Ruggerone in 1892, who visited the area as visitors. Father Milanesio settled definitively in 1895 and founded the Salesian House with two schools for native children who receive food, education and evangelization.
Settlers were gradually transforming this "pampa" into a vigorous livestock raising centre of Neuquén. The Sociedad Rural de Junín de los Andes was founded in 1933, and since that time, every year, they organize a livestock exhibition by the end of January.
Within the history of Junín de los Andes, it is very important to mention the proximity of Lanín Volcanoe, respected and feared by natives. The first existing record of an ascent belong to Mr. Laroute and Mr. Howart in 1933. Another old settler who has climbed the Lanín on several occasions is Mr. Vidal Pérez, 82 years old, who describes with absolute perfection every ascent he has made, and has been granted the dignity of illustrious citizen, and dedicated a book by a member of the community.
In 1945, the place was declared Municipalidad de Junín de los Andes together with two other cities in the province, San Martín de los Andes and Cutral-Có. This is the first foundation recorded in the province, what makes it the oldest city founded in Neuquén.
At present, people from all races and religions live in the area, attracted by the beauty of the place, scarcely used resources, and a quality of live that guarantes peace and welfare.

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