What is a pampas?

What is a pampas?

The fertile, blossoming plains surrounding Buenos Aires are known as Pampas. They played an important role in formation of Argentina as prosperous country with rich history and culture.

Value and origin of the term

Pampas, or Pampas (that is translated as ""steppe""), - the term borrowed by Spaniards the Indian tribe of Quechua for designation of flat steppe plains. Per se, it has broad application in the southeast of South America where the plains covered with a grass begin south of the Plateau of Brazil and last up to Argentina. There a pampas extends west of Rio-de-La Plata to meet the foothills of the Andes. And further, in the north, imperceptibly merge with Gran Chaco and the Southern Mesopotamia, stretching for the South to the Colorado River. Eastern frontier - the Atlantic coast.

Pampas has the gradual descending inclination from the northwest to the southeast. The approximate height difference varies from 500 meters above sea level on Mendoza up to 20 meters in Buenos Aires. The flat surface generally consists of the powerful deposits of the loess interrupted only by rare caps an allyuviya and volcanic ash. In the southern pampas the landscape gradually rises to meet the foothills of Sierra formed of old deposits and crystal breeds. The big part of the region looks absolutely flat. 

Climate and nature

Average temperature of a pampas is 18 °C. In the summer which in the southern hemisphere comes in December ""the dry season"" begins. The most part of this period strong winds blow. In general subtropical climate damp and warm. 

Here different types of animals, birds and plants which adapted to existence in steppe winds live. Many of them hide in a grass or dig holes in the earth. For example, local owls build so-called underground nests. And such birds as vyyurkovy porridge, flat porridge, a yellow chaffinch and some other representatives of this family eat seeds of the plants growing here. Besides, very rich world of birds a pampas is inhabited by several species of endemics. Most raspostranenny of them ipikakha, to a tinam and Nantes ordinary. This bird, the relative of the African ostrich and the Australian emu, one of largest meeting in a pampas.

Not numerous plants of local plains include a reed-mace, a water lily, reed. Usually they prefer to grow in wetland or damp grounds. But they managed to adapt to dry lands of a pampas.

Because of the frequent fires which occur there is not a lot of trees. Unlike herbs whose root system regenerutsya from the root kroner leaving deep into lands, they are not restored. Under the influence of fire just trees perish. An exception is the evergreen tree of Ombu. Its soft, spongy wood is almost completely impregnated with water. Therefore the green tree does not burn. 

Flora and fauna of a pampas are supplemented by several species of mammals. Geoffroi's cat, for example, spotty wool of which changes the shades from golden-yellow to gray, is almost imperceptible in a grass. At a jubate wolf very long legs. Therefore even high herbs do not interfere him with the review. Besides, among ponds the pampas can be found similar to a lama guanako. This slender mammal with the extended neck of family verblyudovy is an ancestor of the cultivated lama. 

In total a pampas is the house at least for fifteen species of mammals, twenty bird species and fifteen plant species which are under risk of disappearance now. The unique ecosystem is turned into one of the largest pasturable territories in the world, and a considerable part of the territory with rich, fertile soil - arable lands. Unfortunately, development of local livestock production and farming cause a loss to these territories. Only the few sites legendary ""oceans of a grass"" remained untouched. A pampas is considered as one of the most quickly disappearing habitats on the planet.

History of development and inhabitants of a pampas

Settling of territories of Pampas began in the nineteenth century. The Spaniards owning horsemanship, strong-willed character and who were famous for love for lawlessness on local lands began to breed cattle and horses. Local ""cowboys"", being engaged in a pasture of animals and agriculture, ""gauchos"" began to be called. 

After liberation of Spain from the French occupation in 1816 and destructions of the Indians wandering about plains active development of agriculture began. Fertile lands of damp Pampas began to attract millions of immigrants who, generally were natives of Italy, France, Spain and other European cities. Land owners employed them for cultivation of a lucerne which went on a forage, corn and more valuable cultures.  

Later they began to fence the lands and to import thoroughbred sheep and cattle from Great Britain. Through Pampas the railroads were paved, and replaced horses with tractors. Now gauchos quite often acted as workers, but not independent farmers. 

In process of development of a pampas of the territory of Mar del Plata and Tandil, rather cool and containing many marshy lands, were allocated for cultivation of high-quality sheep and cattle. While the western belt from Bahia Blanca to Santa Fe was used for cultivation of a lucerne and wheat, corn and a flax became the main cultures cultivated around Rosario. Besides, here parted some types of the cattle. Vicinities of Buenos Aires accustomed mainly for supply of the capital with vegetables, fruit and milk. Since the end of the twentieth century some parts of Pampas became the known regions of wine growing. The most known of them is the area around Mendoza where more than a half of the brand of wines of South America is made.

The gaucho in literature 

Many of us learned about a far pampas thanks to the song by the literary and cine character. Ostap Bender by Valery Zolotukhin's voice told of exotic lands where ""bisons" ", " "sunsets as if blood"", and still pirates, cowboys and ""a gloomy jungle of Amazon"" run. Meanwhile, throughout ages of the earth, sung in the movie ""12 chairs"", were the center of culture of the gaucho. For example, this ethnic group created own literary Spanish-American poetic genre imitating payada (ballad) which are traditionally executed under guitar accompaniment of vagrant gauchos minstrels of Argentina and Uruguay. In them it was told about a way of life and philosophy of the wandering gauchos.

There are several the most noticeable literary works which were created by the Argentina poets. In 1866 Estanislao del Campo was represented by the gaucho Fausto in the parody epic. Later the great Latin American poet, the talented journalist Jose Hernandez awakened national consciousness having immortalized an image of the wanderer gaucho in the poem about Martin Fierro. But history of the gaucho found the highest poetic expression in three verses on the legendary gaucho minstrel Santos Vega written by Raphael Obligado in 1887.

As for prose, perhaps, the Argentina military figure and the writer Domingo Faustino Sarmiento became the first who the creativity seriously announced cultural collision between ""pampas"" and ""the civilized world"". Later the subject of opposition ""old"" and ""new"" found reflection in many works: beginning from gloomy pages in works of the Uruguayan writer Javier de Viana to simple comic stories by Benito Lynch.

Author: «MirrorInfo» Dream Team