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Jujuy, province in northwestern Argentina with an area of 20,548 square miles and a population of 611,888 (2001) that stretches from the Andes into their foothills. A great number of the population are descended from the Aymara people of the Bolivian Puna and Altiplano. The landscape is similar in many respects to the southern Bolivian highlands, with extensive salt flats, barren high mountains, and fertile river oases in the piedmont. In 1561 the Spanish explorer Juan Pérez Zurita founded the city of Nieva on the site that would later become Jujuy, but in 1563 the settlement was destroyed by retaliatory raids organized by the original inhabitants of that region, a group of Tahuantinsuyo. In 1563 King Phillip of Spain declared the area a dependency of Tucumán in 1593, intended to protect trade caravans to Alto Peru (Bolivia) from the attacks of Humahuaca and Calchaquí warriors. To pacify and evangelize the indigenous peoples, Franciscan and Jesuit missions were established in the areas with the densest populations. In the Jesuit missions the cultivation of sugarcane and cotton was introduced, while in the settlements dominated by Spaniards, cattle ranching and the cultivation of tobacco, corn, oranges, and rice prevailed. In colonial times these activities lent significance to this northwesternmost corner of the Río De La Plata viceroyalty.

The decline of Jujuy started with the expulsion of the Jesuits in 1767. In 1776 this portion of what had been the viceroyalty of Peru was designated by the Spanish Crown as part of the newly created viceroyalty of Río de la Plata. This was followed by the War of Independence (during which Spanish troops occupied the region on eleven separate occasions) and several decades of internecine wars. It was not until 1853 that Jujuy exited its most turbulent period, but in the meantime the fragile agricultural bases of its economy had been severely damaged.

Irrigation works and the completion of a railroad in 1990 connecting Jujuy with Buenos Aires and another linking it with La Paz (Bolivia) eased that city's isolation while at the same time opening the way for an exodus of natives to Buenos Aires and for an influx of impoverished Bolivians that continues today. Mineral exploitation is an important pillar of the province's economy. Antimony and tin are mined in Rinconada, and Sierra del Aguilar and Nevado del Chañi have the richest deposits of lead, zinc, silver, and iron of Argentina. Iron from the Zapala mine is processed in the iron mill of Palpalá. Sugar refineries and wood-processing plants are elements of the industrial development of the province. There is also significant tourism in the region.

See alsoAgriculture; Aymara; Franciscans; Jesuits; Río de la Plata, Viceroyalty of; Tahuantinsuyu; Tucumán.


Eugenio Tello, Descripción de la provincia de Jujuy (San Salvador, 1989).

Additional Bibliography

Brennan, James P., and Ofelia Pianetto. Region and Nation: Politics, Economics, and Society in Twentieth-Century Argentina. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2000.

González, Ricardo. Imágenes dos mundos: La imágenería cristiana en la puna de Jujuy. Buenos Aires: Fundación Espigas, 2003.

Santamaría, Daniel J., and Enrique Normando Cruz. Celosos, amantes, y adúlteras: Las relaciones de género entre los sectores populares del Jujuy colonial. San Salvador de Jujuy, Argentina: Centro de Estudios Indígenas y Coloniales, Facultad de Humanidades y Ciencias Sociales, Universidad Nacional de Jujuy, 2000.

                                        CÉsar N. Caviedes