Salta, Province Of
SALTA, PROVINCE OF, a N.W. province of Argentina, bounded N. by Bolivia and the province of Jujuy, E. by the territories of Formosa and the Chaco, S. by Santiago del Estero and Tucuman, and W. by the Los Andes territory and Bolivia. Area, 62,184 sq. m.; pop. (1904, estimated) 136,059. The western part of the province is mountainous, being traversed from N. to S. by the eastern chains of 'the Andes. Indenting these, however, are large valleys, or bays, of highly fertile and comparatively level land, like that in which the city of Salta is situated. The eastern part of the province is chiefly composed of extensive areas of alluvial plains belonging to the Chaco formation, whose deep, fertile soils are among the best in Argentina. This part of the province is well wooded with valuable construction timbers and furniture woods. The drainage to the Paraguay is through the Bermejo, whose tributaries cover the northern part of the province; and through the Pasage or Juramento, called Salado on its lower course, whose tributaries cover the southern part of the province and whose waters are discharged into the Parana. The climate is hot, and the year is divided into a wet and a dry season, the latter characterized by extreme aridity. Irrigation is necessary in a great part of the province, though the rainfall is abundant in the wet season, about 21 in. Fever and ague, locally called chucho, is prevalent on the lowlands, but in the mountain districts the climate is healthy. There is considerable undeveloped mineral wealth, including gold, silver and copper, but its inhabitants are almost exclusively agriculturist. Its principal products are sugar, rum (aguardiente), wine, wheat, Indian corn, barley, tobacco, alfalfa and coffee. The Cafayate wines are excellent, but are chiefly consumed in the province.
Various tropical fruits are produced in abundance, but are not sent to market on account of the cost of transportation. Stockraising is carried on to a limited extent for the home and Bolivian markets. The province is traversed by a government railway (the Central Northern) running northward from Tucuman to the Bolivian frontier, with a branch from General Guemes westward to the city of Salta (q.v.), the provincial capital. The principal towns are Oran (1904, 3000) on a small tributary (the Zenta) of the Bermejo, in the northern part of the province, formerly an important depot in the Bolivian trade, and nearly destroyed by earthquakes in 1871 and 1873; Rosario de Lerma (pop. 1904, 2500), 3om. N.W. of Salta in the great Lerma valley; and Rosario de la-Frontera (pop. 1904, 1200) near the Tucuman frontier, celebrated for its hot mineral baths and gambling establishment.
Salta was at one time a part of the great Inca empire, which extended southward into Tucuman and Rioja. It was overrun by adventurers after the Spanish conquest. The first Spanish settlement within its borders was made by Hernando de Lerma in 1582. Salta was at first governed from Tucuman, but in 1776 was made capital of the northern intendencia, which included Catamarca, Jujuy and Tucuman. After the War of Independence there was a new division, and Salta was given its present boundaries with the exception of the disputed territory on the Chilean frontier, now the territory of Los Andes.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)