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Mendoza is a city in western Argentina and capital of Mendoza Province. Mendoza was founded on 2 March 1561 by Captain Pedro del Castillo, by order of the governor of Chile, García Hurtado de Mendoza. Its twenty-one square miles are set on a semiarid plain, about 2,475 feet above sea level at the foot of the Andes. It is surrounded mostly by vineyards and wineries, the principal industry of the province. In colonial times it was an isolated trade center between Buenos Aires, 800 miles to the east, and Chile, across the Andes. In 1861 Mendoza was practically destroyed by an earthquake; it was rebuilt close to the old settlement. In the 1880s the city underwent vast technological change: In 1884 the railway line reached Mendoza, opening a flourishing trade with Córdoba, Buenos Aires, and other provinces of the littoral, but weakening the trade with Chile. In 1885 a streetcar system was established, as well as the first telephone lines. In 1882 Adolfo Calle founded the newspaper Los Andes, which continues to serve the city and region. Because of Mendoza's dependence on irrigation, water is of critical importance. The oasis provided by the Mendoza River contributed to the city's continuous growth. From 9,900 inhabitants in 1869, the population of Mendoza reached 58,800 in 1914, 109,000 in 1960, and 126,400 in 1985. While the 1990s and 2001 census found decreases in population to 105,818, a phenomenal demographic expansion took place in Mendoza's outlying areas, which today constitute Greater Mendoza (Godoy Cruz, Las Heras, Guaymallén, Maipú, and other adjacent towns). In 2001 this area reached 871,998 inhabitants, 56 percent of the total population of the province, 1,563,838. The arrival of immigrants, especially from Italy and Spain, made an extraordinary commercial, industrial, and cultural contribution to the development of the city. Immigration reached its peak during the pre-World War I years. According to the 1914 census, 31 percent of the population of the capital were Europeans. Today, the city and surrounding areas continue to attract immigrants, particularly from Chile and Bolivia. In 1939 the National University of Cuyo was established (Cuyo is the name given to the region formed by the contiguous provinces of Mendoza, San Luis, and San Juan). Besides this public institution, there are three private universities in the city. The cleanliness of Mendoza is one of its most outstanding characteristics. The irrigation ditches, or acequias, open in every street, transform the semidesertic landscape into a charming oasis. The city's wide avenues, plazas, and the attractive General San Martín Park, contribute to the pleasant environment of what constitutes the major urban center in western Argentina.

In the twenty-first century Mendoza province has more than 1,000 wineries, and the recent growth of the industry has increased tourism to the city, which serves as a base for tours to local vineyards. The Vendimia (wine harvest) festival celebrated in the city each March is a growing attraction.

See alsoArgentina, Geography; Tourism; Wine Industry.


Jorge M. Scalvini, Historia de Mendoza (1965).

Miguel Marzo and Osvaldo Inchauspe, Geografía de Mendoza, 2 vols. (1967).

Rosa T. Guaycochea De Onofri, Arquitectura de Mendoza (1978).

Pedro Santos Martínez, Historia de Mendoza (1979).

James R. Scobie, Secondary Cities of Argentina: The Social History of Corrientes, Salta, and Mendoza, 1850–1910 (1988).

Additional Bibliography

Bragoni, Beatriz. Los hijos de la revolución: Familia, negocios y poder en Mendoza en el siglo XIX. Buenos Aires: Taurus, 1999.

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

García Vázquez, Cristina B. Los migrantes, otros entre nosotros: Etnografía de la población boliviana en la provincia de Mendoza, Argentina. Mendoza, Argentina: Editorial de la Universidad Nacional de Cuyo, 2005.

Gudiño, María Elina. Estrategias de integración y transfor-maciones metropolitanas: Santiago de Chile y Mendoza, Argentina. Mendoza, Argentina: Editorial de la Universidad Nacional de Cuyo, 2005.

Martínez, Pedro Santos. Historia económica de Mendoza durante el Virreinato, 1776–1810. 2nd edition. Buenos Aires: Ciudad Argentina, 2002.

Ponte, Jorge Ricardo. La fragilidad de la memoria: Representaciones, prensa y poder de una ciudad latinoamericana en tiempos del modernismo: Mendoza, 1885–1910. Mendoza, Argentina: Ediciones Fundación Centro Regional de Investigaciones Científicas y Tecnológicas, 1999.

Richard Jorba, Rodolfo A. La región vitivinícola argentina: Transformaciones del territorio, la economía y la sociedad, 1870–1914. Buenos Aires: Universidad Nacional de Quilmes Editorial, 2006.

                                         Celso RodrÍguez

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MENDOZA , province in Argentina and capital city of the province.

The Province

According to data of Vaad Hakehilot as of 2005 there were some 550 families in the capital city of Mendoza and some 30–40 families in San Rafael, out of a total population in the province of about 1,579,651 (2001). Jews had settled in the province as agriculturists and plantation owners by the end of the 1880s. In 1904–05 Jews from Yekaterinoslav attempted to settle in Palmira, but after a short time found they could not meet the difficult terms of their settlement contract and were compelled to leave. A similar attempt to settle there in 1913 likewise failed. In 1943 there were Jews in 24 out of the 123 towns and villages in the province. In 1964 only San Martín, San Rafael, and the capital city of the province, Mendoza, had organized Jewish communities affiliated with the Va'ad ha-Kehillot (see *Argentina). The province is well known for its grapevines and since 1952 there has been industrial production of strictly kosher wine.

The City

In 1909 there were some 600 Jews in the city – approximately 500 from Eastern Europe and the remainder from France and Sephardim. The first community organization, Sociedad Israelita de Beneficencia, was established in 1910, and continues to function. Its membership in 1968 was 577 families. The Sociedad, which comprises the Ashkenazim of Mendoza, owns a large community building, a synagogue, and a cemetery, and plays an important role in the operation of all Jewish institutions in the city. In 1918 a Sephardi community – the Sociedad Israelita de Socorros Mutuos – was established. In 1943 it comprised about 60 families and has come to maintain its own synagogue and cemetery. The Sephardi and Ashkenazi organizations, however, cooperate in running the school, the Maccabi Social Club, and the country club (purchased in 1954).

Various welfare institutions were established in the city but they became superfluous and no longer exist. The financial institution Asociación Israelita de Crédito Mutual has become the Jewish bank Crédito de Cuyo with branches in other provinces. The bank and the Ashkenazi community cooperated in financing the erection of the Max Nordau Jewish School, which in 1968 had an enrollment of 277 students in kindergarten, elementary school, and high school. Local committees of the Jewish National Fund and of the United Jewish Appeal are active in Mendoza as well as the local committee of *daia, the umbrella organization of Argentinean Jewry. There formerly existed in Mendoza a pro-Communist group whose number was estimated in 1966 at 80 families; it maintained its own committee and a school, "I.L. Peretz." The majority of Jews in Mendoza are engaged in business and some own vineyards and fruit plantations. Jewish participation in the liberal professions and in the local university has been increasing.

[Daniel Benito Rubinstein Novick]

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