- Ibicuy Islands
The Ibicuy Islands ( _es. Islas del Ibicuy) are a maze of low-level islands in the east of the
Paraná Delta, within Entre Ríos Province, Argentina. They make up the Islas del Ibicuy Departmentand are sparsely but widely populated, with their capital at Villa Paranacito. The principal access is by the Ibicuy River, a branch of the Paraná River.
"Ibicuy" is a Guaraní word, meaning 'sandy area'. The
Guaraníwere the first inhabitants of the islands, and created raised platforms of sand and earth as look-outs and flood defences known as "cerritos", which can still be seen rising above the dense vegetation which characterises the river delta. It is thought that the Guaraní arrived in Ibicuy in search of the "tierra sin mal", the earthly paradiseinhabited by the spirit Ñandey, located in the east close to the sea.
The islands were colonised in the late 19th century and early 20th century by
European settlers, originally Italians from Montevideosearching for wood for charcoalproduction. The majority of settlers were from northern and central Europe and were employed in agriculture and forestry, still the predominant industries. In an effort to demarcate, protect and irrigate their lands, settlers dug new channels and filled others in, changing the geography of the islands.
The remoteness of the islands - originally accessible only by boat - made them a hideout for fugitives and criminals from
Buenos Airesand Montevideo. The marxist Liborio Justolived there in the 40's,the harsh environment and the outlaws who inhabited it,inspired his book of short stories, entitled "Rio Abajo" (Down the River)which was later made into a film with the same title.. Now tourists are increasingly visiting the islands, where typical Delta wildlife such as the Neotropic Cormorant, Capybaraand Marsh Deercan be seen.
15 January 2006, [http://www.clarin.com/suplementos/viajes/2006/01/15/v-02201.htm Ibicuy, Las islas de la fantasía]
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