The Quechua word pampa means space, a flat surface in the center of Argentina without trees in its original pampa argentina environment.
It is the name given to the large Argentine plain: one of the largest and most fertile plains in the world, a sea of land without end and according to the famous Argentine poet, Jorge Luis Borges, “the only place on earth where God can roam at large”.
“Well did the ancient Quechuas name the plains, with the word signifying space, for all was spacious – earth, sky, the waving continent of grass, the enormous herds of cattle and of horses, the strange effects of light, the fierce and blinding storms and, above all, the feeling in men´s minds of freedom, and of being face to face with nature, under those Southern skies.”
When the Spanish conquerors arrived, the pampa was nothing but a desert, a scrubland covered with bushes and some tala-woods, an arid, unattended land.
The delusion of the newly arrived was enormous, they did not find what they were looking for, there was no gold and there was no silver. But there was the pampa, the boundless pampa, waiting to show them the sort of gold that lay hidden in its soil.
At that time the Spanish were not interested in the country occupied by the pampa, they did not need it, so only a few expeditions crossed the desert to have a closer look at it.
The founder of the City of Buenos Aires, Juan de Garay, was the first Spaniard to travel along the coast of what today is the Province of Buenos Aires.
That was in 1581, only one year after founding Buenos Aires. In 1604, the Governor Hernando Arias de Saavedra crossed the plain from north to south looking for the mythic, rich and evasive Ciudad de los Césares, which was said to be a city made of gold.
The pampa was practically uninhabited and the few Indians, with limited mobility to cover these immense distances, lived in a low culture society.
The Spanish colonizers who arrived in what is now Argentina, had to put a lot of hard work into tending the land, more than anywhere else in America.
They bravely fought against shortages and poverty not known in other places, since the Indians were not eager to help them in their work.
The new inhabitants started crossing the desert in large caravans of carriages. They had to go very cautiously, the fear fo meeting bellicose Indians was genuine.
(Mónica Gloria Hoss de le Comte)
For more information about Pampas in Argentina: https://gauchoexperience.com