1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Córdoba (Argentine)

CÓRDOBA, a city in the central part of the Argentine Republic, capital of the above province, on the Rio Primero, 435 m. by rail N.W. of Buenos Aires by way of Rosario, 246 m. from the latter. Pop. (1895) 42,783—the suburbs having 11,679 more—(1905, estimate) 60,000. The city is connected by railway with Buenos Aires and Rosario, and with the capitals of all the surrounding provinces. Córdoba stands on a high eastward-sloping plain called the “Altos,” 1240 ft. above sea-level, and is built in a broad river bottom washed out by periodical inundations and the action of the rains on the alluvial banks. The inundations have been brought under control by the construction of barriers and dams, but the banks are constantly broken down. The city is regularly laid out, and contains many fine edifices and dwellings. Several suburban settlements surround the city, the more important of which are served by the urban tramway lines. The streets are lighted by gas and electricity, and an excellent telephone service is maintained. The noteworthy public buildings include the cathedral, a handsome edifice curiously oriental in appearance, a massive old Jesuit church with a ceiling of richly carved and gilded cedar, the old university, founded in 1613, which still occupies the halls built by the Jesuits around a large quadrangle, the fine old cabildo, or government house, of Moorish appearance, and the national observatory on the barranca overlooking the city. There are, also, two national normal schools, a national college, an episcopal seminary, an endowed Carmelite orphanage, a national meteorological station, a national academy of sciences, and a good public library. Among the attractive features of the city is an alameda of about six acres, within which is a square artificial lake of 4 acres, surrounded by shrubbery and shaded walks; the alameda dates from the time when the Jesuits ruled the city, and to them also are due the tiled baths, supplied with running water. A short avenue connects the alameda with the principal plaza, a pretty garden and promenade. The water supply of Córdoba is derived from the Rio Primero, 12 m. above the city, where an immense dam (Dique San Roque), one of the largest of its kind in South America, has been built across the river valley. This dam also serves to irrigate the valley below, and to furnish power for the electric plant which provides Córdoba with light and electric power. In and about the city there are several industrial establishments which have sprung into existence since the opening of the first railway in 1870. The surrounding country is irrigated and well cultivated, and produces an abundance of fruit and vegetables.

The city was founded in 1573 by Luis Geronimo de Cabrera and was for a long time distinguished for its learning and piety. It was the headquarters of the Jesuits in this part of South America for two centuries, and for a time the capital of the Spanish intendencia of Tucuman. The expulsion of the Jesuits in 1767 proved to be a serious blow to the academic reputation of the city, from which it did not recover until 1870, when President Sarmiento engaged some eminent scientific men from Europe to teach modern science in the university.