TARIJA, or TARIXA, a department and town of south-eastern Bolivia. The department lies on the northern frontier of Argentina, and is bounded W. by Potosi, N. by Chuquisaca, and E. by Paraguay. Pop. (1900) 102,887. Area, 33,036 sq. m. The eastern and larger part of the department belongs to the great Chaco region. The Chaco districts are inhabited by small nomadic tribes of Indians, and the grassy Llanos de Manzo by the Chiriguanos, one of the strong Indian nations of South America. They are considered a branch of the Guarany race, and live in permanent villages, breed horses, cattle and sheep, and till the soil. Near the Argentine frontier are the less civilized tribes of the Tobas, and in the mountainous districts are remnants of the Quichuas, once masters of an empire.
The capital, SAN BERNARDO DE TARIJA (pop. 1900, 6980; 1906, estimate, 7817), is the only town of importance in the department. It is situated on the Rio Grande de Tarija, about 100 m. E. of Tupiza. It is about 5800 ft. above sea level and its climate is mild and healthy. The town was founded in 1577 by Luiz de Fuertes, by orders of the Viceroy of Peru, as a military post to hold the Chiriguanos in check. About the same time the Jesuits established themselves here, and the most important building in the town is their convent, afterwards occupied by the Franciscans.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)