Michael George Mulhall.

Handbook of the river Plate republics. Comprising Buenos Ayres and the provinces of the Argentine Republic and the republics of Uruguay and Paraguay online

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tiful as ever. The glory of Cordoba is its Alameda, called after
the Viceroy Sobremonte, who laid it out. An artificial lake of
4 acres, which is used as a city reservoir, is surrounded by
trees, under whose shade the Cordobeses loiter on summer
evenings or by moonlight, when this place has peculiar charms.
The water-supply is drawn from here by means of " acequias "
or smaU canals, which flow through the middle of each street.
The cholera of 1868 was dreadful in its ravages, as was
believed, owing to the fact that the Municipality had made a
new cemetery above the town, just where the water is drawn
from the Eio Primero : this is now partly remedied. The city
is subject to most intense heat in summer, when most of the
families retire to the sierras. Physicians complain that heart-
disease is very prevalent, which they ascribe in some manner to
the numerous revolutions, and also to the want of vegetable diet


and the inactive habits of the people. A foreigner who resided
here many years thus describes the Cordobeses : " The character
of the people is different from that of any other part of the
Eepublic. They are more primitive in their customs, more
difficult of access, but their acquaintance once formed they are
generous and obliging. The better class of families are as
intelligent, liberal people as anyone would wish to be ac-
quainted with ; but the lower class, which is far too much in
the majority, is very ignorant and superstitious."

The National Observatory, under the direction of the dis-
tinguished Professor Gould, from Massachusetts, is on the
heights overlooking the park, where the Exhibition of 1871
was held ; the Observatory was established three years ago, and
Mr. Gould is at present making a map of the Argentine heavens,
for which the clear atmosphere of this city offers special
facilities ; he reports 7200 stars visible to the naked eye,
against 6000 in the northern hemisphere. The TJranometria
Argentina will soon be completed : it wUl comprise 1700 maps,
of 50 stars each, say 85,000 stars, one-third being hitherto
unknown to the astronomical world.

The census of 1869 gave the city a population of 28,523, which
entitles it to rank next after Buenos Ayres : there were 4 women
to 3 men, and education seemed pretty general, 13,456 persons
being able to read, and 3344 children attending school. There
were 626 foreigners, including 159 French, 124 Italians, and 28
English. There is daily communication with Eosario by rail-
way, and the first section of the line to Tucuman was opened to
Jesus-Maria (30 miles) in March, 1874. Travellers going to
Mendoza can proceed to Villa Maria by train, and there take the
branch line to Eio Cuarto, which is being prolonged towards San
Luis. A number of pleasant excursions can be made on horse-
back or in carriage from Cordoba. Saldan, at the foot of the
sierras, is charmingly situated on an affluent of the Primero ; it
is the residence of Senor AUende, and has a walnut tree imder
whose shade some hundreds of people could sit down. The



sportsman will find pumas in these tills. Crossing the Cosquin
■ range, in the San Francisco valley, we find Mr. Gordon's estancia.
Higher up in the sierras are Tauticuche and Sinsacate, resorted
to by people with weak lungs. The Jesuit ruins of Santa Catalina,
Alta Gracia, and Jesus-Maria are also worth visiting, and show
what advanced industry the Fathers kept up in these remote
regions. Calera is a pretty bathing village, about 12 miles from
the city, and a railway is projected : an English hotel was built
here in 1871. The Tablada, close to the city, is a table-land
on which two battles have been fought. The view from here is
unrivalled: on one side, the church-spires and turrets of the
city ; on the other, the grandly diversified range of the sierras,
often capped with snow. A little above the city is a village of
primitive Indians, called El Pueblito,the inhabitants of which are
now Christians. Cordoba is the residence of the Governor, Bishop,
and Other chief authorities. There are 4 hotels, the best being
Hotel La Paz in the Calle Ancha, and that of Paris in the plaza.
The distance by rail from Eosario is 246 miles, Cordoba being
almost equidistant from the Atlantic and Pacific, and 436 miles
from Buenos Ayres. Travellers will find the manager of the
London and Eiver Plate Bank ready and able to give them ad-
vice on all matters. Mr. Bouquet, proprietor of the great flour
and saw mills, is also very obliging.

Forms properly two departments, near the capital. North
Anejos comprises Calera, Ceballos, San Vicente, and Canas, the
first-named district deriving its name from excellent lime quar-
ries, in a picturesque locality, where there is also an English
hotel for summer visitors in quest of bathing or shooting.
South Anejos extends from the suburbs of Cordoba to Alta
Gracia and Eio Segundo, along the slope of the sierra and
taking in a part of the pampa. It comprises Carela, Molinos
Alta Gracia, Potrero de Garay, Tagunilla, San Antonio. San
Cosene, and San Isidro. In the lower districts traversed by Eio


Primero we find cattle-farms ; in the tipper parts are nnmerons
woods and tilled grounds. The Jesuits had a fine establish-
ment at Alta Gracia. The department extends as far north as
the Arroyo Ascochingas, where D. Miguel Aguero's model-farm
is supplied with the best agricultural implements.

Is watered by the Segundo and Tercero, and takes in a part of
the sierras with the table-land of Lutis. This department
comprises the well-known copper mines of Tio, Minotauro, and
Tacuru, as also the establiehments for refining' the metal.
Wooded hills and fertUe valleys render it one of the most
charming districts in Cordoba.

iSia« Alberto
Comprehends the hilly country on the western- slopes of the
Sierra de Cordoba, as far as the boundary of San Luis, taking in
the plain of San Pedro, the Nono table-land, and sundry popu-
lous and well-cultivated valleys of charming scenery, especially
those of Chaquinchuna, Ambul, and Panaolmo. This depart-
ment, until recently, formed part of the adjoining one of Saa
Xavier. The village of San Pedro, on the Arroyo de la Canada,
is 1700 feet above sea-level, and 15 leagues S.W. of Cordoba ;
the intervening sierra rises in some places to 7700 feet.

San Xavier
Is only separated from San Alberto by the Arroyo Canada,
and takes its name from a hamlet on the western side of the
sierra, 2700 feet over sea-level. The principal place of the ■
department is Dolores, a village opposite San Pedro. The in-
habitants follow both pastoral and agricultural pursuits.

Consists of a table-land between the sierras of Cordoba and
Eioja, overlooking the desert which marks the frontier between


these two provinces. Northwards extends the hill-range of
Guassf-pampa, including the extinct volcanoes of Yerba Buena,
Agua Tala, Cieriaga, and Salsacate, with a medium height of
3000 feet. In many places abound marble, copper, and lead;
iron is also said to exist. Some of the inhabitants raise cattle,
• others are occupied in the mines ; in the vicinity of the latter
are always found small plantations. The climate in the hills is
mUd and healthy. Pooho is a village with a chapel and school,
20 leagues due west of Cordoba.

Until recently, formed part of the department of Pocho, and
is only remarkable for its mining industry, at Argentine and
San Carlos.


Occupies the Dolores valley between the Cosquin and Pupilla
ranges, north-west from Cordoba. Orchards and small farms
abound where the mountain sides have been cleared ; including
the districts of San Eoque, San Antonio, Alejos Wood, and
Kosario. Mr. Gordon's estancia . is in this valley, which is
famous for fruits and wild parrots.

Cruz del EJe

Comprises the valleys on the_ north-western side of the.
Punilla range, which produce much wheat and a variety of
fruits. Southward is Guayco, where mines of lead and silver
exist. Candelaria, a ruined Jesuit establishment, is in the
wildest part of the mountains, surroimded by rich marble quar-
ries. The hamlets of Pichana and Higuera also belong to" this
.department. The village of Cruz del Eje is 30 leagues N.W.
of Cordoba, by a mountain-path only practicable for mules.
In the centre of the village is a large wooden cross, which for-
merly marked the spot where the Viceroy Liniers was murdered.

N 2-


Bio Primero

Takes its name from the river which flows through the capitfd,
and comprises fine pasture lands till reaching the large
salt-lake of Porongos or Mar-Ohiquita, which covers nearly
3000 square miles, forming the boundary between Cordoha,
Santiago and Santa Fe. The town of Santa Eosa or Eio Primero
has 2869 inhabitants, and is 20 leagues N.E. of Cordoba.

Bio Segwndo

Includes all the country between the Segundo and Tercero
rivers from the town of Bosario to the limits of Santa Pe. It
is a populous department, the inhabitants dividing their atten-
tion between cattle-farming and agriculture. The town of
Eosario or Eio Segundo has 1181 inhabitants, there being
6 women to 5 men. It is 15 leagues E. of Cordoba, on the
old coach-road for Santa Fe. The railway bridge over the Eio
Segundo is 1300 feet long, built of iron, in 32 spans, resting
on iron pillars 14 inches in diameter, the minimum height being
25 feet.

San Jiisto,

Better known as El Tio, lies along the Eio Segundo, south
of Lake Porongos, comprising several cattle-farms and some
little agriculture. The village of El Tio, otherwise called
Fort Concepcion, is 30 leagues E. of Cordoba, and about haK
that distance from Fort Sunchales on the Santa F6 frontier.
Arroyito and San Francisco on the Eio Segundo belong to this

Upper Tercero
Takes in the slopes of the sierra in which the Tercero takes
its rise, and comprises the villages of Salto, Pampayaste, and
Capilla de Eodriguez, which are met with between Villa Nueva
and the Sierra de Cordoba,



Villa Nukva,

Sometimes called Tercero Abajo, is an extensive department,
the inhabitants dividing their labours between cattle-farming
and wood-cutting. The Central Argentine Company have an
establishment for cutting and sawing lumber at Yucat. The
Indians sometimes carry off much horned cattle, which checks
the business, although the pastures are good. There are few
sheep, and of inferior quality. The soil would do well for
agriculture, but the inhabitants are too apathetic for such
pursuits. The women are industrious, making soap, candles,
and preserves. Water is found on digging a few feet, but
generally brackish.

Villa Maria, the haK-way station on the railway between
Eosario and Cordoba, is a straggling village with three wooden
hotels and numerous ranches, surrounded by dense woods and
perennial swamps. It suffers from a lack of good water, and
the cholera of 1868 carried off most of the inhabitants. The
heat in summer is excessive, the woods allowing no ventilation.
This plafie was fixed on by Congress in 1870 as the capital
of the Argentine Eepublic, but President Sarmiento vetoed
the bill.

VUla Nueva, on the other side of Eio Tercero, is an impor-
tant town of 3345 inhabitants, being the third in the province,
and seat of a considerable trade. Its exports in hides, wool,
timber, cattle, and preserved fruits are estimated at 60,000Z.
sterling per annum, and its imports almost as much in
European goods. There are 30 wholesale shops, besides
several carpenters', blacksmiths', bakers', &c., and one inn;
sometimes there is no doctor. The Indians used to make
inroads so close as to be visible from the roof of the church
but not since the commencement of the Eio Cuarto Eailway in
1870. The town has a poor appearance, as most of the houses
are built of adobes or mud, with straw roofs; the river is
generally low, but in flood tim.e often threatens the town. It is


about half-a-league hence to Villa Maria, an iron bridge having
recaitly been put ovpr the Tercero.

The railway for Eio Cuarto and Mercedes starts from Villa
Maria, branching off the Central Argentine. The journey to
Eio Cuarto takes about five hours.

Frayle Muerte,
Sometimes called Union, or San Geronimo, was formerly
included in the department of Villa Nueva, and covers a vast
extent of country, for the most part exposed to Indians. The
soil is equally suitable for pasture or agriculture, and a number
of English farmers have formed a settlement within a few
leagues of the town of Frayle Muerto, which is officially called
Bell-viUe in honour of the first settler, Mr. Bell. The town ib
built on the Eio Tercero, and has a population of 2754 souls.
It is one of the principal stations of the Central Argentine
EaUway, being about five hours' journey from Eosario. The
department includes also the dependencies of Ballesteroa,
Saladnio, and Cruz Alta, three wretched hamlets on the Eio
Tercero,. very much exposed to Indians, especially the last-
named, which is on the Santa Pe border, at that place where the
Tercero changes its name, and becomes the river CarcaraSd.
Cruz Alta is about 15 leagues N. of Fort Melincue, the point
where the provinces of Cordoba, Buenos Ayres, and Santa Pe
meet. The whole of this department was, xmtil recently, no
better than Indian territory ; the present population is less
than one to the square mile. The English settlers number
109 men and 14 women. President Sarmiento paid a visit to
the English colony in 1870, accompanied by several of the
Corps Diplomatique.

Bio Cuarto
Occupies an immense area of the pampas, between the rivers
Cuarto and Quinto. It forms nearly haK the province, this
department being almost as large as Ireland. A project was


started by SeSor Echegaray, in 1863, to bring out 10,000 families
to settle here, the .Government having granted him 650,000
acres. The comitry suffers much from Indians, who have more
than once besieged the town of Eio Cuarto, aQd obliged the
women to remain for some days shut up in the church ; but since
the Quinto frontier is better guarded and the railway pushed
forward, we hear less of their inroads.

Rio Cuarto, otherwise Concepcion, is the second town in the
province, and contains 5414 inhabitants, of whom there are
4 women to 3 men. The situation is picturesque, on the river
of the same name, from which canals are drawn to irrigate
the suburbs. A garrison is maintained here, as also at Achiras,
the southern point of the sierra. The town of Eio Cuarto is
40 leagues S. of Cordoba, and by railway within a day's journey
of the port of Bosario.

Bio Seco,
The most northern department of Cordoba, touches the
frontiers of Catamarca and Santiago, and derives its name ■
from the aridity of its soil, except in the vicinity of Lake
Porongos, were there are fine pastures. The village of Eio
Seco, otherwise Santa Maria, has 452 inhabitants, there being
3 women to 2 men.

Sdbre Mamie,
Formerly part of Eio Seco, near the Santiago frontier, along
the eastern base of the Sierra de Cordoba, mostly covered with
fine pastures. The village of San Francisco del Chanar is
30 leagues N. of Cordoba on the high road to Santiago,
standing 2400 feet over sea-level. The hamlet of Calniniaga,
on the west side of the sierra, also belongs to this department.

On the eastern side of the sierra, includes some fine valleys and
lowland, the district of Sinsacate being admirably cultivated.


The village of Totpral counts 779 inhabitants, witli 3 women
to 2 men, and is nearly 20 leagues N. of Cordoba. A district
called Macha, another Candelaria, are both in this department.


Embraces a large range of hill' country, composed of five dis-
tricts, in which the inhabitants devote themselves to the care of
cattle. The village of Tulumba has 1140 souls, and farther
north, on the high road to Santiago, are those of San Pedro and
Santa Cruz, the latter at an elevation of 3000 feet. Southward
of Tulumba are the ruins of Santa Catalina and Jesus-Maria,
where the Jesuits had fine establishments. The Tucuman rail-
way passes through Jesus-Maria and Tulumba.

There is a Government property called Estancia de Caroya,
with a massive buUding, to which is attached an estate of
50 square leagues (or 334,000 acres), situate about 10 leagues
from Cordoba, on the route of the railway to Tuctiman ; its value
js about ^100,000. This would be an admirable place for the
establishment of a School of Agriculture ; it has water-power
to turn a mill, besides wood and pasture, and poor natives who
might be employed as peons.


Another extensive and mountainous department, between Cmz
del Eje and Tulumba, suitable for cattle-farming, and thickly
inhabited. The village of Ischilin is 5 leagues W. of Tulumba
and 15 N. of Cordoba. The districts of Copacabana, Eio Pinto,
and Quilino belong to this department. The number of persons
over 100 years in Ischilin and Tulumba is remarkable, being
respectively 7 and 4 out of 28 in the whole province. The hill
range from IschiUn to Cruz del Eje and Soto is apparently
rich in minerals. In 1871 an English company at Soto got a
crushing-machine from Eansome and Simms, but the yield of
gold was too small to pay expenses, viz., 38 oz. from 45 tons
of quartz.


The prizes taken by this province at the, National Exhibition
of 1872 were 13 gold, 13 silver, and 12 bronze medals ;—

Genaro Perez, oil painting : gold medal.

Female Orphanage, embroidery : one gold and one bronze medal.
Kosario Alba, needlework : gold medal.
Ledesma Brothers, Angora goats and hair : two gold medals.
P. Crespo, dyed fabrics : gold medal.
Messrs. Stow, farming implements : gold medal.
M. Argnello, butter, and Durham bull: one gold, one silver, and one
bronze medal.

F. Cordero„ native wines : gold medal.

B. Broussaint, tanned goat skins : gold medal.

Barker, Kaulen, and Co., Angora goats and hair : two gold and two

James Temple and Co., machinery : one gold and one bronze medal.
Mdlle. Velez, embroidery : silver medal.
M. Taspuir, starch : silver medal.
M. Vasquez, cheese : silver medal.

G. Allio, marble ornaments : silver medal.

C. Bocco, landscapes : silver medal.

Dr. Oster, medicinal herbs : silver medal.

M. Echeniqne, fine arts : silver medal.

Tulumba rugs, marble samples, &c. : three silver medals.

Mme. Benites, embroidery : bronze medal.

Mme. Martinez, silk ditto : bronze medal.

Mme. Benavides, needlework : bronze medal.

M. Pefla, poultry : bronze medal.

M. Castellano, native wine : bronze medal.

M. Jaudin, engraving : bronze medal.

E. Bedat, terra-cotta flguies : bronze medal.

N. Podesta, liqueurs : bronze medal.

H. Poerzler, cabinet-work : bronze medal.

showing that Cordoba came next after Buenos Ayres in indus-
trial development.



This province ranks twelfth in point of population, and is in a
very backward condition. Its area is put down at 40,000 square
miles, which, includes a large portion of pampa territory occu-
pied by Eanqueles, Pehuenches, and other Indian tribes. It is
a wild, mountailious, and, in some parts, a wooded . country,
between the 32nd and 35th parallels of south latitude, and
enjoys a delightfjil climate. It is bounded on the north by the
Salinas desert, which forms the boundary with Bioja and Cor-
doba ; on the west, by the Desaguadero river, on the side of
Mendoza and the Quijadas lakes towards San Juan ; on the
south, by the Eio Quinto and the Pampas ; on the east, by the
Sierra Estanzuela branch of the Oordobese Sierras.

San Luis formed a part of the old Spanish province of Cuyo,
but separated from Mendoza in 1820, at the same time as San
Juan : all this country had belonged to the jurisdiction of Chile
imtil 1776, when Cuyo was passed over to the Viceroyalty of
Buenos Ayres. Ever since the Independence this province has
suffered from civil wars and Indian forays, but for which its
cattle-farms would have proved highly profitable. The only
river of any importance is the Quinto, which takes its rise in the
Sierra Pancanta, 6500 feet ; but the want of streams is com-
pensated by frequent rains. Lake Bebedero, which receives the
Desaguadero, is famous alike for its fish and for the salt which
is used throughout the province. The Sierra de San Luis is like
a branch of the Cordoba system, the highest points, such as San
Francisco, Pancanta, Monigote, and Tomalasta varying fifom


5000 to 7400 feet. Pasture and timber abound in the valleys
and table-lands. 'Gold is found at Carolina and other places ;
also copper, lead, and antimony. The heat in summer is exces-
sive, but the rest of the year is agreeable. AH European fruits
thrive, especially grapes. The poverty of the inhabitants
appears from the return of only 120 houses (other than mud
ranches) in the city and province. As a general rule the natives
are well formed, robust, healthy, intelligent, and of a brave and
generous disposition. The women are pretty, amiable, and
virtuous, and of a careful, thrifty, and laborious disposition;
they generally make excellent wives and mothers. In the towns
they soon become corrupted and vitiated, but in the camps they
are usually innocent and unassuming. The men are steady and
intelligent, and many migrate in search of better employment.
In the country they are simple and uncouth, but in the towns
they are distinguished for their civility, and usually get on well
in business.

Volcanic agencies are visible in Tomalasta and other peaks,
and an earthquake shock was felt in San Luis, in 1849, so
severely that some old houses fell down.

The province is so poor that the revenues hardly exceed
^40,000, and would be wholly inadequate but for the subsidy
from the National Government. At the same time the public
lands will prove of much value when European immigration
gets so far inland.

Sportsmen will find pumas and guanacos on the mountain

The founder of this province was nephew of the famous
founder of the Jesuit order, and, having been sent out as Vice-
roy of Chile, married the native princess Clara Beatriz Coya,
daughter of the Inca Sayri-Tupac, and last descendant of that
royal race. San Luis gave some of the best isavaby regiments
. in the War of Independence : in 1819 the Spanish officers taken
prisoners at Maypu were massacred by the populace.


The province comprises 8 departments, viz. : —

Population. Sq. Miles.

San Luis 7,049

Saladillo 5,038

Morro 4,000

Eenoa 6,418

Santa Barbara . . . . 7,891

Piedra Blanca- .. .. 8,126

San Francisco . . . . 9,332

Nogoli 5,440


53,294 40,000

The proportion of sexes is as 7 women to 6 men, probably
owing to the wars, for which reason also we find only 128
Europeans in the whole province, but there are 380 Chilians.
The number of persons that can read is returned at 7142 ; there
are 3815 children attending 84 schools. The tables show that
of 25,908 children there are 8780, or more than one-third, ille-
gitimate. There are 627 adults unfit for labour by reason of
wounds received in the wars, and 3703 orphanSi

The province of San Luis is now connected with Eosario by
the railway via Eio Cuarto and VUla Maria, which is being
actively pushed forward by Messrs. Eogers and Thomas to
Mercedes, on the Eio Quinto. This wiU give a great impulse to
the country by inducing Europeans to settle here. For sheep-
farmers and agriculturists the points which offer the most
striking advantages are the Eio del Eosario, in the partido Canada
del Moro, which stretches for an immense distance across an
almost unpopulated country. The Eio Quinto is by far the
most picturesque stream in the province, its banks are of a rich
and fertile soil. The Sierra de Varela has also its advantages,
and here, on the bank of the river, might be established a. small
farming colony ; at Plumerite also, a little to the south-east of
Varela, a flourishing little agricultural town may be formed;
the same may be said of the camps of PantaniUo or Punilla, as
also those to the south-east of Morro, which are watered by


large streams, ttus providing an easy conduct for all the pro-
duce of the surrounding country. A little capital judiciously
employed here would produce great returns ; besides this, steady
active men will always find lucrative employment, such as black-

Online LibraryMichael George MulhallHandbook of the river Plate republics. Comprising Buenos Ayres and the provinces of the Argentine Republic and the republics of Uruguay and Paraguay → online text (page 15 of 36)