Esquel is a town in the northwest of the province of Chubut, in the Argentine Patagonia. It is located in the Futaleufú, of which it is the head town. The town's name derives from a Mapuche term meaning "thorn", which refers to the characteristics of the local flora, including several spiny bushes, most famously the Calafate ("Berberis buxifolia").

The founding of the town dates back to the arrival of Welsh immigrants in Chubut in 1865. The settlement was created on 25 February, 1906, as an extension of the Colonia 16 de Octubre, now known as Trevelin.

The city, the main town of the area, is located by the Esquel Stream and surrounded by the mountains La Zeta, La Cruz, Cerro 21 and La Hoya. La Hoya is known as a ski resort with good quality snow right through the spring. The Los Alerces National Park is convert|50|km|mi|0|abbr=on|sp=us northwest of the city.

Another important tourist attraction is the narrow-gauge train (with 75 cm between the rails), known as "La Trochita" locally and in English as "The Old Patagonian Express", after the book by Paul Theroux. It is said to be the only narrow-gauge long-distance train in operation and the southernmost railway in the world. The first fifty locomotives were brought from Germany (Henschel & Sohn) in 1922 and were originally modified to use fuel oil and steam. Later twenty-five locomotives were bought from the Baldwin Locomotive Works of Philadelphia. The train remains in operation and authentic thanks to the effort of the team of workers at "Talleres Ferroviarios El Maiten", that make a lot of pieces and parts by hand. The trains now run as a tourist excursionbetween Esquel and the small settlement of Nahuel Pan, located at the foot of the volcano of the same name, with other services all the way to El Maitén. Until 1993, the train ran all the way to the city of Ingeniero Jacobacci in Río Negro, from where trains ran to Viedma and from there to Buenos Aires, forming the General Roca railway.

According to the census-ar|2001, the Esquel district had about 28,000 inhabitants, with one of the highest rates of growth in the province, mainly as result of the immigration of people from Buenos Aires, but also from other provinces.

The townspeople have been in a long battle to prevent a gold mine being set up nearby, with concerns that the metal extraction will contaminate the watercourse permanently and irreversibly.

Esquel meteorite

In 1951 a farmer found a meteorite of convert|755|kg|lb, later called Esquel, while digging a hole for a water tank. When cut and polished, the meteorite shown beautiful yellowish olivine (peridot) crystals. The Esquel meteorite is world wide known among collectors and meteoritical scientific community.

External links

* [ Municipality of Esquel] - General, government and tourism information (in English and Spanish).
* [ La Trochita]
* [ Tourism information, photographs]

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  • Esquel — Original name in latin Esquel Name in other language EQS, Ehskel , Esquel, Эскель State code AR Continent/City America/Argentina/Catamarca longitude 42.91147 latitude 71.31947 altitude 553 Population 28486 Date 2013 08 06 …   Cities with a population over 1000 database

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  • Esquel (meteorite) — Meteorite Name= Esquel Image caption= The slice shows the crystals transparency Image width= Type= Stony iron Class= Pallasite Group= Main Group Pallasite (MGP) Structural classification= Composition= 8.5% Ni, 21.5 ppm Ga, 55.5 ppm Ge, 0.023 ppm… …   Wikipedia

  • Esquel (метеорит) — …   Википедия

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