Puerto San Julián
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Puerto San Julián, also known historically as Port St. Julian, is a natural harbour in Patagonia in the Santa Cruz Province of Argentina located at . In the days of sailing ships it formed a stopping point, 180 km (112 mi) south of Puerto Deseado (Port Desire). Nowadays Puerto San Julián is also the name of a small town (population 6,143 as per the 2001 census [INDEC]) located on the harbour.
Puerto San Julián
San Julián Bay
|Elevation||1 m (3 ft)|
|Time zone||UTC-3 (ART)|
It was given its name by the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan who arrived there on 31 March 1520 and overwintered in the harbour. They met the native people who were described by Antonio Pigafetta as giants, and called them Patagonians. Although Pigafetta's account does not describe how this name came about, subsequent popular interpretations gave credence to a derivation meaning 'land of the big feet'. However, this etymology is questionable. The term is most likely derived from an actual character name, "Patagón", a savage creature confronted by Primaleón of Greece, the hero in the Spanish chivalry novel by Francisco Vázquez, published in 1512, much in fashion at the time, and a favourite reading of Magellan. Magellan's perception of the natives, dressed in skins, and eating raw meat, clearly recalled the uncivilized Patagón in Vázquez's book. Novelist and travel writer Bruce Chatwin suggests etymological roots of both Patagon and Patagonia in his book, In Patagonia, noting the similarity between "Patagon" and the Greek word παταγος, which means "a roaring" or "gnashing of teeth" (in his chronicle, Pigafetta describes the Patagonians as "roaring like bulls").
At the start of April, Magellan was faced by a mutiny led by his Spanish captains at midnight on Easter day, but succeeded in overcoming it, executing mutineers including one captain and leaving another behind. He left the port on 21 August 1520 and on 21 October found the eastern entrance to the passageway he was looking for, the strait that now bears his name.
Fifty-eight years later Francis Drake reached the harbour, arriving on 15 June 1578 and also choosing to overwinter. They found the remains of the gallows where Magellan had executed mutineers. Drake had also been having difficulty with discontent during the voyage, and charged his friend Thomas Doughty with treachery and incitement to mutiny. A trial found Doughty guilty, but only on the mutiny charge. At Drake's insistence, Doughty was beheaded, but this stern example did not have the desired effect. Increasing tensions between mariners and gentlemen explorers brought the prospect of mutiny about a month later. Drake used a sermon to make a speech laying down rules of conduct, with himself in sole command. In August they went on to the Strait of Magellan.
The settlement of Floridablanca, a short lived Spanish colony of approximately 150 people, was founded not far from San Julián in 1780 by King Charles III. It was abandoned by 1784, and its ruins were rediscovered during the 1980s.
The port continued in use, and the young naturalist Charles Darwin arrived with the Beagle survey expedition under captain Robert FitzRoy in January 1834. While HMS Beagle carried out its hydrographic survey, Darwin explored the local geology in cliffs near the harbour and found fossils of pieces of spine and a hind leg of "some large animal, I fancy a Mastodon". On their return to England, the anatomist Richard Owen revealed that the bones were actually from a gigantic creature resembling the Llama and the camel, which Owen named Macrauchenia. This was one of the discoveries leading to the inception of Darwin's theory.
During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, San Julián and the surrounding countryside (or "camp" as it was known in the argot of the day) was an important sheep-raising region, and the "Swift" company installed a frigorifico, or freezer plant complex, along the coast to the north of the city itself.
During the 1982 Falklands War (Spanish: Guerra de las Malvinas/Guerra del Atlántico Sur), as San Julian is one of the nearest point to the islands, the city airfield was used by the Argentine Air Force. Two fighter squadrons, flying Daggers and A-4 Skyhawks, made 149 sorties against the British in the 45 days of operations. Ironically, many of the first permanent inhabitants of Puerto San Julián had been British subjects from the Falkland Islands, as part of the region's sheep-raising industry.
Puerto San Julián has a cold semi-arid climate (Köppen climate classification: BSk) that is nevertheless mild for its latitude. Summers are mild and dry, whereas winter remain firmly above freezing during daytime, with frosts being common albeit often light during nights.
|Climate data for Puerto San Julián (1981–2010, extremes 1951–1960 and 1962–present)[a]|
|Record high °C (°F)||37.5
|Average high °C (°F)||23.1
|Daily mean °C (°F)||16.3
|Average low °C (°F)||9.7
|Record low °C (°F)||−0.8
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||14.3
|Average precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm)||6.4||6.3||6.7||7.4||8.6||8.4||6.5||6.8||5.9||6.4||6.6||7.5||83.5|
|Average relative humidity (%)||50.9||55.3||58.0||62.5||69.9||74.4||72.4||68.1||62.3||56.4||51.6||51.4||61.1|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||248.0||211.9||204.6||141.0||120.9||117.0||120.9||139.5||165.0||220.1||249.0||272.8||2,210.7|
|Mean daily sunshine hours||8.0||7.5||6.6||4.7||3.9||3.9||3.9||4.5||5.5||7.1||8.3||8.8||6.1|
|Source #1: Servicio Meteorológico Nacional (normals and extremes 1962–present)|
|Source #2: Secretaria de Mineria, Deutscher Wetterdienst (sun, 1980–1990)|
- Viviana Alder, Antarctic researcher
- Col. Don Antonio de Alcedo. The Geographical and Historical Dictionary of America and the West Indies: Containing an Entire Translation of the Spanish Work of Colonel Don Antonio de Alcedo, with Large Additions and Compilations from Modern Voyages and Travels and from Original and Authentic Information, Volume 4. G. A. Thompson, Esq., trans and ed. Carpenter and Son, et al., 1814. pp.198-99.
- Stanley J. Ulijaszek, Francis E. Johnston, M. A. Preece, The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Human Growth and Development, Cambridge University Press, 1998, p. 380: "Patagonian Giants: Myths and Possibilities."
- Chatwin, Bruce. In Patagonia (1977). Ch. 49
- Senatore, María Ximena: Orden Social y orden material en la colonia española de Floridablanca. (in Spanish)
- "World Map of Köppen−Geiger Climate Classification".
- "Estadísticas Climatológicas Normales - período 1981-2010" (in Spanish). Servicio Meteorológico Nacional. Retrieved January 18, 2018.
- "Clima en la Argentina: Guia Climática por San Julián Aero". Caracterización: Estadísticas de largo plazo (in Spanish). Servicio Meteorológico Nacional. Archived from the original on 4 September 2017. Retrieved 9 October 2017.
- "Fin de febrero: lo destacado del mes" (in Spanish). Servicio Meteorológico Nacional. Archived from the original on 4 March 2019. Retrieved 3 March 2019.
- "Provincia de Santa Cruz - Clima Y Meteorologia: Datos Meteorologicos Y Pluviometicos" (in Spanish). Secretaria de Mineria de la Nacion (Argentina). Archived from the original on January 19, 2015. Retrieved April 21, 2015.
- "Klimatafel von San Julián, Prov. Santa Cruz / Argentinien" (PDF). Baseline climate means (1961-1990) from stations all over the world (in German). Deutscher Wetterdienst. Retrieved 23 January 2016.
- The record highs and lows are based on the Secretaria de Mineria link for the period 1951–1960 and from 1971–1980 while records beyond 1962 come from the Servicio Meteorológico Nacionallink since it only covers from 1962–present
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Puerto San Julián.|
- Official Government site
- Official Government site 2006 War Anniversary
- Ferdinand Magellan
- Geometry.net Magellan, Ferdinand
- Who had gone before?
- Drake: The Famous Voyage: The Circumnavigation of the World, 1577-1580
- [permanent dead link] Broadside: Anson's Circumnavigation, 1740
- Portal of the town of Puerto San Julián.
- Municipal information: Municipal Affairs Federal Institute (IFAM), Municipal Affairs Secretariat, Ministry of Interior, Argentina. (in Spanish)
- Panoramic virtual tour of San Julián from the lighthouse