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Tarma, province in the central highlands of Peru, department of Junín, and also the name of its provincial capital. The city of Tarma (1990 population 47,472) is situated at an altitude of 10,130 feet above sea level and only 30 miles east of La Oroya, the railway and highway linkage point with Lima, the capital of Peru. The city was founded in 1538 only 4 miles away from the Incan city of Tarmatambo by orders from conquistador Francisco Pizarro. Since precolonial times the area has served as a base for penetrating the eastern jungle. During the colonial period Tarma was a strategic commercial, missionary, and military post. It produced coarse textiles. The millenarianist and anti-Spanish Indian rebellion led by Juan Santos Atahualpa caused social turmoil in the region between 1742 and 1753.

In modern times Tarma has been a gateway to jungle colonization and the development of the coffee-producing areas and the easternmost towns of San Ramón, La Merced, and Satipo. The province has a wide variety of agricultural produce including potatoes, wheat, barley, corn, and quinoa, as well as livestock. In the city of Tarma there are a few factories for producing cement and processing food and fruits. In the early 1950s, Tarma benefited from the regional policy of President Manuel A. Odría, a native of the city of Tarma.

See alsoAtahualpa (Juan Santos); Odría, Manuel Apolinario.


Florencia Mallon, The Defense of Community in Peru's Central Highlands: Peasant Struggle and Capitalist Transition, 1860–1940 (1983).

Additional Bibliography

Garayar, Carlos; Walter H. Wust; et. al. Atlas departmental del Perú: Imagen geográfica, estadística, histórica y cultural. Lima: PEISA: La República, 2003.

Giarracca, Norma, and Bettina Levy. Ruralidades latinoamericanas: Identidades y luchas sociales. Buenos Aires: CLASCO, 2004.

Jahnsen, Freidrich Eduardo, and Ricardo Arroyo Guevara. El país de las lagunas: Historia y ecología de la Puna de Junín. Lima: SEDAPAL: Ministerio de la Presidencia, 1999.

Parsons, Jeffrey R.; Charles M. Hastings; and Ramiro Matos Mendieta. Prehispanic Settlement Patterns in the Upper Mantaro and Tarma Drainages, Junín, Peru. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan, 2000.

                                       Alfonso W. Quiroz