Neuquén is a province in the West of Argentina. It is bordered by Mendoza on the North, Río Negro on the East and South, and Chile on the West.
The capital of Neuquén is the city of Neuquén, the largest city in the province. The majority of the province's population lives along one of the two highways, one running from the city of Neuquén to the mountains in the West, and the other highway running North-to-South along the Andes.
Originally home to the Pehuenche and Tehuelche people, the province was explored by conquistadors in the late 17th century. The native populations were mostly eliminated or assimilated by other Mapuche tribes during the "Conquest of the Desert" in the 1870s, a push by the European settlers to drive the Mapuche out of Patagonia.
Neuquén's flag was legislated in 1989. The colours coincide with the national flag colours of Argentina. The central image is made up of a number of images that represent aspects of the province: the stars are for departments that make up the province; the green laurels along the bottom represent glory, freedom, and peace; the red star symbolises national spirit, and is based on the red star-shaped flowers of the poinsettia (which is called "La Estrella Federal" in Spanish, "the federal star"); the Araucaria tree (a conifer tree native to parts of Chile and Argentina, having existed from as early as the Triassic) is stylised in the middle, representing Neuquén, and its struggle for a better future; the Lanin volcano is the white triangle in the background, which is the point marking the border with Chile, and represents the potential of the province.
Neuquén is named after the Neuquén River, which got its name from the Mapudungun word "Nehuenken", meaning "drafty". The Mapuche called the river Nehuenken.