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Patagonian camp, 1838

Tehuelches is a collective name for some native tribes of Patagonia and the southern pampas region. They are also called Patagonians.

It is possible that the stories of the early European explorers about the Patagones, a race of giants in South America, are based on the Tehuelches, because the Tehuelches are typically tall.[1] According to the 2001 census [INDEC], there were 4,300 Tehuelche in the provinces of Chubut and Santa Cruz, and a further 1,637 in other parts of Argentina.


The Tehuelche originally spoke Tehuelche, a Chon language, but later, with the Araucanization of Patagonia, many tribes started to speak variants of Mapudungun. The very name by which they are known, Tehuelche, comes from that language.


  1. ^ Fondebrider, Jorge (2003). "chapter 1 (Ámbitos y voces)" (in Spanish). Versiones de la Patagonia (1st edition ed.). Buenos Aires, Argentina: Emecé Editores S.A.. pp. 29. ISBN 950-04-2498-3.  

External links

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

TEHUELCHE, CHUELCHE, or Huilliche ("Southern People"), the generic name given by the whites of Argentina to the Indian tribes of Patagonia.

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