Santa Cruz is the second-most Southern province in Argentina. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the East, Chile to the South and West, and the province of Chubut to the North.
The capital of Santa Cruz is the city of Río Gallegos, which is also home to about a third of the province's population. The province's people tend to live in one of the four main cities: Caleta Olivia and Pico Truncado in the North, and Río Gallegos and El Calafate in the South. The Western and central parts of the province tend to be rather sparsely populated.
The region has been inhabited by the Tehuelche people for as long as 14,000 years. During the Spanish conquests of South America, the Tehuelche were largely left alone, and are still living in the region of Argentina. The explorers Charles Darwin and Ferdinand Magellan were early explorers of the area. Santa Cruz became an official province in 1957.
Santa Cruz's flag was adopted by the province in 2000, after a province-wide contest was won by Santiago Sebastián Arenillas. The blue background and sun of the flag are references to Argentina's flag, with the sun also being a symbol of the native people of Santa Cruz. The sun is rising, representing the youth of the province. Inside the sun are the night sky, the Southern Cross, and Cerro Chaltén (Mount Chaltén), which are symbols of the Aónikenk people who used to live in the region. The waves on the bottom of the flag represent the ocean along the coasts of the province.
The name of the province translates from Spanish as "Holy Cross". It gets its name from its original capital of Puerto Santa Cruz, which itself was named after the river Río Santa Cruz. The river was named in 1520 by Ferdinand Magellan when he first discovered the area.