The original pampa has loose, dark, well drained soils with a high percentage of organic matter.
It is the most fertile soil in the country, fitted for agriculture and the rearing of livestock.
Geography of the original pampa:
The fertile area of the pampa is more than half a million square kilometres. Its most important rivers are the Salado and the Colorado which marked the limits in the history of Spanish colonization.
“Immense plain, immense rivers, an uncertain horizon, always melted into the land between the cloudscape and flimsy vapours that do not allow, in a distant perspective, show the point where the land ends and the sky starts.” (Domingo F. Sarmiento).
The fertile pampa of Buenos Aires, the original desert, was formed thanks to the treading of immense herds of wild animals, the fertilization of its waste matter, and pasturage.
Estancias in the Pampa
When the big Argentine estancias started being established by the end of the seventeenth century in the original pampa, its settlers suffered the loneliness of the endless plain. Many years went by, until the desert was totally conquered and the pioneers could eventually get their reward.
The use of wire fencing was the next big step towards the creation of the modern Estancia. The wild and savage herds, protected by limitless freedom, were finally penned.
The inhabitant of the pampa, the itinerant gaucho, also saw in wire fencing the end of his freedom and of his infinite horizons, and it was then that this character turned into the myth and archetype he is now.
In the wired fields, the wild livestock became tame and the estancieros (Argentine farmers) started crossing them with pedigree animals, especially those belonging to races brought from England.
It was then, that the cabañas (pedigree cattle breeding farms) were created. Here they devoted themselves to intensive breeding in the Estancia.
Not only were the cattle improved, the the fields started being carefully tended as well. They were sown with better fodder and were intensely prepared for cultivation.
In Argentina, cattle are still bred in the open and fed on natural grass.
Immigrants in the original pampa:
In the twentieth century, when European immigrants arrived, the fields around the cities were subdivided in order to create smaller farms, called chacras, to cultivate cereals and vegetables.
The hardworking colonists and farmers were not Argentine but Italian, German, French, who worked with simple ploughs, had moved water pumps and home made winches.
(Mónica Gloria Hoss de le Comte)
There are many ways of experiencing the pampa Argentina: Camino Pampa Tours
Tourism in the Pampa: San Antonio de Areco
Departing from Buenos Aires everyday visit to the original Pampa: Estancia Tour