1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Catamarca (city)

CATAMARCA (San Fernando de Catamarca), capital of the above province on the Rio del Valle de Catamarca, 230 m. (318 m. by rail) N.N.W. of Cordoba. Pop. (1895) 7397; (1905, estimate) 8000, with a large percentage of mestizos. Catamarca is connected by railways with Rioja and Patquia and with Cordoba. The city stands in a narrow, picturesque valley at the foot of the Sierra de Ambato, 1772 ft. above sea level. The valley is highly fertile, partially wooded, and produces fruit in abundance, wine and some cereals. In the city are flour mills and tanneries, and among its exports are leather, fruit, wine, flour, and a curious embroidery for which the women of Catamarca have long been famous. There is a fine church, 220 by 90 ft., and a national college occupies the old Merced convent. The alameda is one of the prettiest in the Argentine Republic, having a reservoir of two acres surrounded by shrubbery and walks. Catamarca was founded in 1685 by Fernando de Mendoza because the town of Chacra, the former provincial capital, a few miles north of Catamarca, had been found unhealthy and subject to inundations. Previous to the selection of Chacra as the provincial capital, the seat of government was at San Juan de Londres, founded in 1558 and named after the capital of England by order of Philip II. in honour of his marriage with Queen Mary. The arid surroundings of Londres led to its partial abandonment and it is now a mere village. Cholla, a suburb of Catamarca, is inhabited wholly by Calchaqui Indians, a remnant of the original inhabitants of this region.