The sheep industry, driven by settlers European in origin from Punta Arenas, Chile, was imposed as the only productive option in the area since the 1880s. The stays multiplied, ending with the traditional lifestyle of the local Aboriginal

Wool production was known in England since the Bronze Age and was constantly developed from the Middle Ages. The Industrial Revolution had one of the first areas of development in the production of wool, which played a central role in the British economy since the Middle Ages.

England exported its effective models of sheep farming both its overseas possessions and other areas of influence around the globe. During the nineteenth century, Germany had a head to head race with England for dominance in the wool production, focusing its efforts on product quality rather than the volume. The development of the Australian sheep industry gave a definite advantage to the English.

Since 1845, Australia dominates the world wool market, and since the 1820s, the main sheep farming operations on both sides of the Rio de la Plata are carried out by British subjects: English, Irish, Scottish.

In the Patagonia, the inputs for the installation of sheep farming farms (fences, sheds, manufactured homes, veterinary drugs shearing machines, vehicles, stoves, and others) were brought directly from England to Punta Arenas, while shepherds , sheep and dogs came from the British possession of the Malvinas. These inputs are marketed through, among others, the house of trade Braun and Blanchard, whose majority shareholder was the businessman Mauricio Braun, whose family owned Monte León between 1920 and 2001, it opened offices in Santa Cruz in the early years of the twentieth century. Administrators were also imported, and it was often retired British military.

The design of the Patagonian sheep ranches was purely functional and productive, unlike traditional Pampas stay which was often inhabited by their owners. As in the case of Monte Leónthe owners corporations used to be based in London.

History of Stay Monte León:

Monte León worked as a sheep ranch between 1905 and 2001. Facilities such as the shearing shed, with its wool press, its huge single piston engine, offices, accommodation administrator and staff positions housed date back from about 1914 and are of British design and production. Correspond to the period when Monte León was owned by the corporation, based in London, Southern Patagonian Sheep Farming Co.

In the registry of 1895, the company Curtze and Wahlen, agents in Punta Arenas from Kosmos, German inter-oceanic vapor line, listed as owner of the lands of Monte León. There are 15,000 sheep, and in the ravines of the coast still live beef cattle pasture, a descendant of an unfortunate break colonization project of 1872. The land was sold to them at Walter Augusto Curtze and Wahlen by the Argentine government or, as the original title, by His Excellency, Mr. President, Lieutenant General Don Julio Argentino Roca.

Walter Curtze, based in Punta Arenas since 1885, embodied many of the forces that shaped the new Patagonia emerging in those years: the radiation from that Chilean city, the European origin, the link to the oceanic navigation, closely linked to finances and infrastructure development. Curtze was besides a cattleman and Kosmos agent, owner of a cabotage route, and one of the founders of the Bank of Punta Arenas and the power company in that city.

In turn, Augusto Wahlen, had reached Punta Arenas with his brothers in 1874 in the same immigration contingent that the founder core of the Braun family : Don Elias, his wife Sarah Hamburger and his four older children: Sara, Moritz or Mauritius, future owner of Monte Leon and brilliant businessman, Oscar and Ana

In 1903 the successors of Kurtze and Wahlen sold the rights on the grounds of Monte León to the mercantile house y Cia Vorverck in Valparaiso. He then formed the Society Santa Cruz stays whose director was German Edgar Vorverck. Other strong shareholders at the SESC were Mauricio Braun and the  British businessman and living in London Sir Peter Hannay Mc Clelland, through his company Duncan Fox & Co. The alliance with the powerful Mc Clelland was crucial for the initiation of Mauritius large-scale business. Mc Clelland provided the initial capital for the operation of the granting of 1,000,000 acres of government land in Chilean Tierra del Fuego that Sarah, sister of Maurice, inherited from her husband José Nogueira in 1893

In 1912 the Southern Patagonian Sheep Farming Co. Ltd., a company in which Braun and Duncan Fox & Co. have, once again, important participation, is in London with the stated goal:

"acquire field property for sheep breeding, partly located in Argentina and partly in the Republic of Chile (...) Make any productive land acquired by the company (...) building, maintaining and equipping all sorts of buildings, warehouses, shops and houses room and cultivating, planting, draining, plowing and otherwise develop any of this land. "

In 1913, the assets and liabilities of SESC, including, of course, land and animals are purchased entirely by SPSF Co. Ltd.

In 1914, the SPSF Co. Ltd. acquired the land of Monte León, where it carries out the purposes set forth in its charter. Most of the existing facilities of the ranch dating from that period. Besides the admirable functionality which allowed them to fulfill their purpose without major transformations over nearly a century, Monte León facilities are a valuable historical example of the processes of "globalization" of the sheep industry in those years.

While Duncan Fox & Co. acted as agents of SPSF Co. Ltd. in London, Braun and Blanchard did the same in Argentina and Chile.

The study of the Argentinean academician Eduardo Jose Miguez, "The Land of the English in Argentina, 1870-1914"; includes the following information:

"In 1914, the" Southern Patagonian Sheep Farming Co. ", formed two years earlier in London owned 121,500 hectares. and leased others 133,500. Lands were in Santa Cruz and Chile. Their capital was 141,003 and had also placed debentures in the market with an annual interest rate of 6% ​​and mortgage security 71,000 worth. Besides the payment of interest on debentures, the company distributed dividends of 6% since its inception in 1912 until the beginning of the War, increasing them then due to the rising price of wool. "

That is, the net benefits of wool were soaring for those years, and also Hannay McClelland made ​​an active and efficient offering of securities of the SPSF Co. Ltd. in the London market. Buying the SESC by SPSF Co. Ltd. was paid in shares of the newly created British public company.

At the meeting of SESC shareholders held in Valparaiso to decide on the proposed purchase by the English company, President Arthur Goldfinch, who is both shareholder representative Mauricio Braunhis sister Sara, Juan Blanchard and Duncan Fox & Co. presented to the shareholders their views on the operation:

"The President informed the Board about the establishment of the Southern Patagonian Sheep Farming Co. Ltd. and other negotiations that company has on track to buy the stays" La Carlota "and" The Springs "(which) give a good basis to begin operations with a total of 217,000 hectares of land and a mass of about 90,000 sheep heads. President also stated that the Board had very carefully studied this business and it was very favorable for which reason he dared to recommend acceptance to the board. "

The proposal was accepted of course, and as it turned out, payment in shares and debentures (debt securities) of the SPSF Co. Ltd. was certainly advantageous.

The conglomerate of successful companies that directed Mauricio Braun included not only the sheep farm, which began at age 20 (1885) with the establishment of the stay Coy Aike in the estuary of the Coyle River, but the products are diversified shipping, financial and mining among others.

The time lapse between the association of the SPSF Braun Co. and the total absorption of the assets of the company for the same Braun is one of great change in the global economic outlook. The War of 1914 carries wool prices at record levels, but the benefits of rising entrepreneurs to Punta Arenas were partially canceled with the opening of the Panama Canal in 1916, which impacted violently on the strategic importance of the Magellan region. However, it can be said that this was an expected crisis, since the opening of the Panama Canal had been announced years in advance.

On July 6, 1920, the Southern Patagonian Sheep Farming Co., in liquidation since the previous year, sold to the Corporation "La Ganadera Argentina Limitada" family business of  Mauricio Braun and his father José Menéndez, "all personal property , livestock, property marks and signs of that forming the establishment of field named "Monte León". sheep farm the establishment rises to 40,535 heads. There were also 375 horses, 8 cows and a bull. in the purchase also fall facilities , furniture, tools and equipment, shearing machines and tools, vehicles and telephone lines. The total amount paid for all these concepts is 422,899 pesos, of which 364,815 correspond to sheep, paid 9 pesos each .

As for land, 87,143 hectares sum property, sold at 871,430 pesos. Interestingly, the price per hectare (10 pesos) barely exceeds that of the sheep. The operation was paid in shares of the acquiring company. In the same operation the other two stays at SPSF Co. Ltd. acquired "La Carlota" on the Rio Gallegos, with some of their land in Chilean territory and "The Springs", near San Julian

Nationalist interpretations throughout history have often condemned the sheep farm of the Patagonia Argentina questioning the occupation of vast expanses of Argentine territory for their use by British subjects, or in the case of Braun, Chileans. It is undeniable that most of these stays were, and still are posed as English models, and their owners and managers also tended to be of that origin. Moreover, in the vast expanses of coastline and Patagonian steppe, also afflicted by a chronic shortage of labor, only extensive farming systems you were likelihood of success. In that circumstance is partly ecosystem preservation of large areas of Patagonia, scarcely modified by the immense pastures and animals relatively small load.

The sheep farming investments in the Patagonia although had a moment of high profitability over the years decreased, of the 3,500 registered stays in Santa Cruz 2,000 remain active today, capitalist enterprises were always of risk that of impressive efforts required for installation and maintenance. The ideal theoretical means that the development of capitalism found in local tax breaks and ample business opportunities Punta Arenas, had its counterpart in the implicit barriers in the Patagonian climate and distances.Even more important, government land policies were, at best, erratic, and often investors did not have legal assurances on land exploitation. A major source of problems was the grid in which the territory of Santa Cruz was divided for lot division. This division was purely geometrical and does not take into account such essential elements as the presence or absence of water and the relative height of the fields: high, usable land in summer, are completely unproductive during the winter.

The bitterness of some political sectors against the Patagonian landowners persisted even recently. In 1985, a group of lawmakers of the Justicialist Party, introduced a bill to expropriate several stays of Patagonia, among which included Monte León. The wording of the fundamentals is illustrative:

"Our country has indeed a long conflict with Great Britain following the usurpation of the Malvinas Islands. rather than centenary This dispute has not prevented that in all this time, companies of British origin have since had a presence decisive in different areas of the Argentina economy circumstance (...) who set a true vassal relationship, through which they were draining our ability to consolidate the material foundation to support them in the exercise of our economic independence and our full national sovereignty.

"What happened with the railways, ports, the meat industry and many other areas, items that managed to rescue the people of Argentina struggled in recent history, and a task that is still unfinished relieve us from further comment.

"This effort, unfortunately, could not be fully unfolded in Patagonia, and particularly in Santa Cruz where the presence of companies of British origin constitute (sic) today double affront. Firstly, for what they represent themselves as usufructuary of a land occupied by the end of the previous century and for economic and trade relationship was entirely favorable to them. Secondly, because after the deed of 1982, in which our soldiers generously shed their blood to regain our Malvinas the British presence in our mainland is clearly unacceptable. "

The wave of labor reforms essential that was the basis of the Peronist success did not come as a surprise to Mauricio Braun in 1940, the Anónima actually offered exceptional welfare conditions for their staff. Despite some media campaign up against the southern landowners, companies were exempted from Braun programs reform of land that prompted the government. A personal interview between Braun and Peron in 1951 unfolded in the most cordial terms, and put a stop to those calling for expropriations.