Puerto San Julián can rightfully claim to be the birthplace of Patagonia. In 1520, during Magellan’s stay in the bay, the very first encounter occurred between the Europeans and the “giants” of this nameless land, when, it is believed, the explorer bestowed on them the name “patagon” (literally “big foot”) in reference to their comparatively large build. As related by Antonio Pigafetta, the expedition’s chronicler: “One day, without anyone expecting it, we saw a giant, who was on the shore of the sea, quite naked, and was dancing and leaping, and singing, and whilst singing he put sand and dust on his head… When he was before us he began to be astonished, and to be afraid, and he raised one finger on high, thinking that we came from heaven. He was so tall that the tallest of us only came up to his waist… The captain named this kind of people Patagon.” On Palm Sunday, April 1, 1520, Magellan celebrated the first Mass on Argentine soil, near a site marked by a cross, down by the town’s port.

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