In January 1779, the expedition commanded by Juan de la Piedra discovers Golfo San José, landing in Playa Villarino.
King Charles III ordered to populate this territory with farmers, artisans, and up to 200 families to fortify the area and secure his domains. On 20th January they start building the fort and tracing the first irrigation channels. Short time after, a part of the population moves to a new settlement where Carmen de Patagones and Viedma are today due to the difficult situation created for the lack of drinking water. Finally in 1810, The fort then called Candelaria is destroyed by a Tehuelche attack.
Only after the campaign to the wilderness by Julio Argentino Roca, the site is inhabited by white people again.
Years later, Puerto Pirámides prevails over Puerto San José, and at present there are no signs of the primitive buildings.
As all along the coast of Patagonia, a fundamental problem for the settling of the population is lack of drinking water, since the salinity of the water makes it almost impossible for communities to stay.
The most reliable reference of the origin of Puerto Madryn is given by the narrations of colonists who disembarked from the Mimosa and found the wooden huts constructed for women and children, a community of 41 women and 61 children. These shelters were previously caves carved in rock in the cliffs.
According to data handled by historians, all this occurs in the area of Punta Cuevas, and in 1886 with the construction of the railway and the arising of Puerto Madryn next to Laguna de Derbes, the port activity moves from Punta Cuevas to Puerto Madryn, being the railway and the port the two main factors in the development of the population.
This structure is maintained, and the city grows around its activities, until in the 50s customs exemptions cease, Compañía Mercantil del Chubut disappears, and Ferrocarril Patagónico closes.
In the following decade settle some textile industries, which later stop working due to recession in the wool production.
During the seventies starts an incipient touristic activity and an alluminium plant is installed.
In these last years, Puerto Madryn has had a booming development related to tourism and to new industrial settlements, what has caused to duplicate the permanent population, and defined the city as head of services in the region, with a special emphasis in environmental care.