Sites & cities that bear the name of Santiago del Estero

Santiago del Estero

Today in : Argentina
First trace of activity : 1550 C.E
Last trace of activity : today
Recorded names : Santiago del Estero del Nuevo Maestrazgo

Description : Santiago del Estero is the capital of Santiago del Estero Province in northern Argentina. It has a population of 252,192 inhabitants, (2010 census ) making it the twelfth largest city in the country, with a surface area of 2,116 km². It lies on the Dulce River and on National Route 9, at a distance of 1,042 km north-northwest from Buenos Aires. Estimated to be 455 years old, Santiago del Estero was the first city founded by Spanish settlers in the territory that is now Argentina. As such, it is nicknamed "Madre de Ciudades" (Mother of Cities). Similarly, it has been officially declared the "mother of cities and cradle of folklore." After a series of exploratory expeditions from Chile starting in 1543, Santiago del Estero del Nuevo Maestrazgo was founded on July 25, 1553 by Francisco de Aguirre (although some historians consider its true foundation to be in 1550). Although it is the oldest city in Argentina, it preserves little of its former Spanish colonial architecture, except for several churches. In 1576, the governor of a province in northern Argentina commissioned the military to search for a huge mass of iron, which he had heard that Natives used for their weapons. They called the area "Heavenly Fields," translated into Spanish as Campo del Cielo. (This term now refers to a protected area situated on the border between the provinces of Chaco and Santiago del Estero, where a group of iron meteorites were found, estimated as having fallen in a Holocene impact event some 4,000–5,000 years ago. In 2015, Police arrested four alleged smugglers trying to steal more than a ton of protected meteorites.) The city was the capital of the Intendency of San Miguel de Tucumán during the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata, and first seat of its bishop; those were later moved to Salta and Córdoba respectively.

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