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Mendoza, Argentina

MENDOZA, ARGENTINA, a city of Argentina, capital of Mendoza province, 632 m. by rail W.N.W. of Buenos Aires. Pop. (1904, estimate), 32,000. It stands on a plain near the foot of a secondary Andean range called the Sierra de los Paramillos, at an elevation of 2320 ft. The surrounding district is arid, but has been irrigated and is covered with gardens, orchards and cultivated fields. The city is about 15 m. N. of the Mendoza, or Lujan river, whose waters are utilized for irrigation and for the requirements of the city by means of a channel which leaves the main river a little above the town of Lujan and runs to the Tulumaya river and the lagoons of Huanacache. This channel is called El Zanjon, and is believed to have been opened by Guaymallen, the chief of the Guarpes who inhabited this district at the time of the Spanish conquest, but it is more probably natural. The city is laid out in a regular manner with broad well-paved streets and numerous public squares. The Zanjon and another stream called the Guaymallen traverse the city, and the principal streets have water flowing through them and are shaded by poplars. Because of earthquake risks, the public buildings are neither costly nor imposing. The private residences are commonly of one storey, built with wooden frames filled in with adobes. The climate is hot, dry and enervating, notwithstanding the elevation and the proximity of the Andes. The surrounding districts produce fruit, vegetables, alfalfa and cereals. The vineyard industry is prominent, and raisins and wine are exported. The position on the main route across the Andes into Chile, by way of the Uspallata or Cumbre pass (highest point 12,870 ft.), has given the city commercial importance. It has railway connexion with the principal cities of the republic, including the ports of Rosario, Buenos Aires and Bahia Blanca, and also with the capital of San Juan.

Mendoza was founded by Captain Pedro del Castillo, who had been sent from Santiago across the Andes in 1559 by Garcia Hurtado de Mendoza, the governor of Chile, to conquer and annex the territory extending N.E. to Tucuman. The city was named after Mendoza. It was made the capital of the province of Cuyo, and belonged to Chile down to 1776, when the province was transferred to the newly created viceroyalty of La Plata. It was the headquarters of General San Martin while he was organizing an army for the liberation of Chile, and greatly assisted him with men and money. Under republican administration Mendoza suffered much from revolutions. Moreover, on the 20th of March 1861, the city was destroyed by an earthquake and a fire which followed. Not a building was left standing, and the loss of life was estimated at 10,000 to 12,000. The French geologist Bravard, who had predicted the catastrophe, was one of its victims. The poplars in the streets, together with some species of fruit-trees, were first planted in Mendoza by a Spaniard, Juan Cobos, in 1809, who thus became one of its greatest benefactors.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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