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Alumni Travel Reading: Patagonian Frontiers



Vargas Ponce on the Life and Customs of Patagonia

Map of Straits of Magellan

Map of the Straits of Magellan on Wikimedia Commons.

Vargas Ponce, Jose. A Voyage of Discovery to the Strait of Magellan: With an Account of the Manners and Customs of the Inhabitants; and of the Natural Productions of Patagonia (London, [Boston: Printed for R. Phillips; Milford House). This is a translation of the account of the voyage which settled the question of whether ships should attempt passage to the Pacific through the Straits of Magellan. Translated in 1820 from a 1788 edition. Freely Available for downloading in a variety of formats and to a variety of devices from the Open Library.

Patagonian Mountains

Rocky mountaintops with snow and clouds

Patagonia.  Photographed by Stefanos Nikologianis.  Obtained with Creative Commons on flickr.

Patagonian Frontiers

One brown seal pup and one black seal pup on rock

South American Sea Lion Pups by Killy Ridols on Wikimedia Commons.


Selected By:

Joe Holub
Librarian for Spain, Portugal, and Latin America
holub @

Annotated By:

Rebecca Stuhr
Coordinator for Humanities Collections
Classical Studies
Revised By:
Kelsey LeClair
Specialist in Classical Studies
Administrative Assistant, Penn Libraries

For more information about this and other excursions, visit Penn Alumni Travel.

Natural History

Title page and illustration in "Idle Days in Patagonia"

William Henry Hudson. Idle Days in Patagonia (New York: E. P. Dutton & Co., 1917). Step back in time to find out what travel to Patagonia entailed 100 years ago. Hudson fulfills a lifelong dream to travel to Patagonia. In his travels he pays close attention to bird life. This book is freely available and downloadable to multiple devices via the Internet Archive:


Two large dark birds with long beaks swooping towards ground

Flickr: Bandurrias (Theristicus caudatus)
Photo by lluis Cabarrocas  Ribas Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

History, People and Culture

History, People and Culture


Llamas grazing in foreground with plains and snow-tipped mountains in background

Patagonia.  Photographed by Paolo Macorig.  Obtained with a Creative Commons license on flickr.

Patagonia: Refuge of the Monsters

This documentary records the rich variety of wildlife in Patagonia, and in particular the arrival of the whales in July on the coast of Peninsula Valdes where they give birth to their calves and remain until November. Find the Video at Youtube. Video includes advertisements.


Megellanic Penguin

Magellanic penguin (Peninsula Valdés, Patagonia, Argentina)
photo taken by by Michaël CATANZARITI
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

Right Whales of Patagonia

The Tail of a Right Whale off the Coast of Patagonia

Right Whale off the Coast of Península Valdés, Patagonia (Argentina)
Photo by Edith Schreurs
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic

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