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For the city of Tucumán, capital of the province, see: San Miguel de Tucumánmarker

Tucumán is the most densely populated, and the smallest by land area, of the provinces of Argentinamarker. Located in the northwest of the country, the capital is San Miguel de Tucumánmarker, often shortened to Tucumán. Neighboring provinces are, clockwise from the north: Salta, Santiago del Estero and Catamarca. It is nicknamed "El Jardín de la República" (The Republic's Garden).


Senegalese immigrants arrived to work at a sugar mill in Tucumán in 1899.

Before the Spanish colonization, this land was inhabited by the Diaguitas and Calchaquíes, who practiced agriculture.

In 1533 Diego de Almagro explored the Argentine Northwest, including Tucumán. By 1565 saw the foundation of San Miguel de Tucumán by Diego de Villaroel, and the creation of the Provincia de Tucumán, Juríes y Diaguitas, whose first governor was Francisco de Aguirre. San Miguel de Tucumán was refounded in 1685 by Miguel de Salas some 65 kilometres from its first location, in order to avoid the constant attacks of the aboriginal malones.

The local aborigines of the region presented a strong resistance to the Spanish, who decided to move the defeated tribes towards Buenos Airesmarker, being the most famous the case of the Quilmes, who were moved to the city of Quilmesmarker.

Tucumán was a mid-point for shipments of gold and silver from the Viceroyalty of Peru, with important cattle, textile, and wood activities that provided supplies for the convoys on their way to Buenos Aires. Because of its important geographical position, and as head of the civil and Catholic governments it acquired special importance during the 18th century.

The creation of the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata in 1776 meant the end of the convoys from Perúmarker to the port of Buenos Aires. Tucumán, with 20,000 inhabitants by that time, suffered also from the Britishmarker imports from the newly opened customs of Buenos Aires, no longer under the monopoly of the Spanish Crown.

In 1783 the Intendency of Tucumán was divided and Tucumán was set under the control of the Intendency of Salta del Tucumán, with its centre in Salta.

José de San Martín arrived in Tucumán in 1813 and installed the Military School. In 1814 the Intendency of Salta was divided into the present provinces.

On July 9, 1816, at the Congreso de Tucumán, the Provincias Unidas del Río de la Plata ("United Provinces of the Río de la Plata") declared their independence from Spainmarker, but internal conflicts delayed the final fusion of the provinces into the República Argentina.

Following the failure of Argentina's first independence-era government, the Directorate, Governor Bernabé Aráoz on March 22, 1820, proclaimed the creation of the "Federal Republic of Tucumán." The experiment collapsed, however, when the neighboring provinces of Catamarca and Santiago del Estero withdrew, the following year.

The beginning of the 20th century, with the customs restrictions and the arrival of the railway, brought prosperous economic times for the province and its sugarcane production. Numerous landmarks were built, such as Ninth of July Parkmarker and the Tucumán Government Palacemarker, and a daily newspaper founded in 1912, La Gaceta, became the most circulated Argentine daily outside Buenos Airesmarker; but, the sugar price crisis of the 1960s and President Juan Carlos Onganía's order to have eleven large state-owned sugar mills closed in 1966, hit Tucumán's economy hard, and ushered in an era of instability for the province.

The next decade saw mounting unrest due partly to economic hardship and in 1975, Pres. Isabel Perón declared a state of emergency in the province. The decree led to Operation Independence, an official military campaign at least as brutal on local magistrates, lawmakers and faculty as it was on its stated target, the ERP. Violence did not fully abate until the appointment of General Antonio Domingo Bussi, the operation's commander, as governor at the behest of the dictatorship that deposed Mrs. Perón in 1976. Efficient as well as ruthless, Bussi oversaw the completion of several stalled public works; but, also presided over some of the worst human rights abuses during that painful 1976-77 period. Retaining a sizable following, Bussi was elected governor in his own right in 1995, losing much of his previous popularity during his four-year tenure.

Life in Tucumán has since returned to a certain normalcy and, if well its economy languished during much of the 1980s and '90s, it has recovered strongly during the expansive period Argentina has seen since 2002.


Tucumán: La Angostura Lake
Tucumán: Villa Nougues Chapel
Tucumán: sugar mill in San Pablo
In spite of the small size of Tucumán, its necessary to distinguish two different geographical systems. The east is associated to the Gran Chaco flat lands, while the west presents a mixture of the Sierras of the Pampasmarker to the south, and the canyons of the Argentine Northwest to the north, being the highest peak the Cerro del Bolsónmarker with .

Warm sub-tropical temperatures rein almost all over the province, but the mountain region receives more than of precipitations per year, in contrast with the of the plains. This is due to the effect of the mountains on the humid winds from the Atlantic Oceanmarker that elevate the wind to higher, and thus colder air, forcing the condensation of the humidity and later rain.

It is because of the abundant precipitations that Tucumán has a wide area of abundant vegetation that justifies the title of Jardín de la República ("Garden of the Republic").

The Salí is the main river of the province. There are a few dams in Tucumán used for hydroelectricity and irrigation; El Cadillal on Salí River, the most important of the province, Embalse Río Hondo and Hondo River, La Angostura on de los Sosa River, and Escaba on Marapa River. The Valles Calchaquíes are crossed by the Santa María River.


Long among the most underdeveloped Argentine provinces, Tucumán Province has been growing strongly, and, in 2006, its economy measured US$7.2 billion, the nation's 7th largest. Its' per capita output of US$5,400 is nearly 40% below the national average; but, it compares favourably with that of most of its neighbors.

Known internationally for its prodigious sugarcane (with 2,300 km², and the sugar production, 60% of the country's), Tucuman's economy is quite diversified and agriculture accounts for about 7% of output. After the sugar crisis of the 1960s, Tucumán tried to diversify its crops, and now cultivates, among others, lemon (world 1st. productor), strawberry, kiwifruit, beans, maize, alfalfa, and soybeans.

Cattle, sheep and goats are raised, mainly for local consumption.

Manufacturing is not prominent in Tucuman; but, still, adds about 15% to output. Besides the industrialisation of the sugarcane into sugar, paper and alcohol, there are food, textile, automotive, and metallurgic industries. Among these latter, the freight-truck assembly operated by Volkswagen Group controlled Swedishmarker Scaniamarker company is probably the best-known. Mining is a minor activity, centred on salt, clay, lime and other non-metallic extractions.

Cultural and sport tourism is common in the Province, and attracts a number of Argentine tourists every year. The Panamerican Highway (Route 9) crosses San Miguel de Tucumánmarker, and connects it with Santiago del Estero and Buenos Aires. The city also serves as a mid-stop for tourists visiting other provinces of the Argentine Northwest. The Teniente General Benjamín Matienzo International Airportmarker have regular flights to Buenos Airesmarker and Santa Cruz de la Sierramarker, and receives almost 300,000 passengers every year.

The most visited destinations of the Province are the Campo de los Alisos National Park, Valles Calchaquíes, Tafí del Vallemarker, Quilmes' Ruins, the Diaguitas' community of Amaicha del Valle, and the city of San Miguel de Tucumánmarker.

There are four important universities in the province: the Universidad Nacional de Tucumán (with 60,000 students), the Universidad Tecnológica Nacional, Universidad del Norte Santo Tomás de Aquino and the Universidad de San Pablo-T.

Political division

Departments of Tucumán Province.
Boulevard in the city of Yerba Buena.
Governor's offices, San Miguel de Tucumán.
Partial view of San Miguel de Tucumán metro area.
The province is divided into 17 departments (Spanish departamentos).

Department Population Area Seat
Burruyacú 32,936 3,605 km² Burruyacú
Capital 527,607 90 km² San Miguel de Tucumánmarker
Chicligasta 75,133 1,267 km² Concepciónmarker
Cruz Alta 162,240 1,255 km² Banda del Río Salímarker
Famaillá 30,951 427 km² Famaillá
Graneros 13,063 1,678 km² Granerosmarker
Juan Bautista Alberdi 28,206 730 km² Juan Bautista Alberdi
La Cocha 17,683 917 km² La Cocha
Leales 51,090 2,027 km² Bella Vista
Lules 57,235 540 km² Lules
Monteros 58,442 1,169 km² Monteros
Rio Chico 52,925 585 km² Aguilaresmarker
Simoca 29,932 1,261 km² Simoca
Tafí del Valle 13,883 2,741 km² Tafí del Vallemarker
Tafí Viejo 108,017 1,210 km² Tafí Viejomarker
Trancas 15,473 2,862 km² Trancas
Yerba Buena 63,707 160 km² Yerba Buena


  1. Archdiocese of Tucumán
  2. Andersen, Martin. Dossier Secreto. Westview Press, 1993.
  3. I.A.D.E.R

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