In 1776, the year in which San Juan passed to the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata, an earthquake almost completely destroyed the city.
The father of Argentine independence, Gen. Jose de San Martin, was appointed Governor of Cuyo in 1814 (at the time, the area included San Juan). From there, San Martin began his legendary crossing of the Andes, one of military history's great tactical decisions. San Juan, then a small town, was a great supporter of 's expedition to cross the Andes, supplying gold, men and mules.
In 1820, San Juan was granted autonomy from the Province of Cuyo, thereby becoming a province, itself. The remainder of Cuyo became Mendoza Province.
Following an era of international isolation for Argentina, the advent of new, more liberal government in 1853 attracted a number of exiled intellectuals back into Argentina. Among these, was a San Juan military officer and novelist named Domingo Sarmiento. Sarmiento was eventually elected governor in 1862, pursuing sorely needed public works investments and enacting Argentina's first laws mandating compulsory, modern education (something which, according to a census in that era, about 80% of the adult population lacked). Elected President of Argentina in 1868, these policies became national law.
In 1944 a moderate, yet highly destructive earthquake near the capital destroyed most of the city and killed 10,000 people. A fundraiser to benefit the victims of the quake was instrumental in the meeting of Colonel Juan Perón and his eventual wife and political companion Eva Duarte.
A more powerful earthquake stuck the same city in 1977; but, new construction codes put in effect following the 1944 incident kept damage to a relative minimum. The most noteworthy loss following this event was that of the Cathedral of San Juan (image, at top). A new, modernist house of worship was quickly put up in its place and inaugurated in 1979.
Among the most rapidly growing provinces in Argentina after 1945, the national government appropiated funds for the construction of the es:Universidad Nacional de San Juan, which opened its doors in 1973. Congress further responded to the needs of San Juan's growing agricultural sector by breaking ground in the mid '70s for the largest hydrostructural project in the province up to that point, the es:Dique Ullum. On line since 1980, it's contributed to the province's becoming an rival to larger, neighboring Mendoza Province in the production of irrigated desert crops, like olives, figs and, most importantly, wine grapes. San Juan is now Argentina's second largest producer of these three valuable crops.
In 2005, Barrick Gold Corporation, one of the world's largest gold-mining concerns, announced the purchase of large tracts in the San Juan andes. These have, so far, been yielding over 11,000 ounces of gold yearly, though evidence suggests these activities may be having an adverse impact on San Juan's glaciers.
The province is part of the continental semi-desert Cuyo region. The arid plains on the east, with a few low sierras (hills), swiftly turn into 6,000-meter-high mountain peaks towards the west. Both areas are subject to the dry hot Zonda (a kind of foehn wind). Most of the precipitations take place during the summer, often as storms.
The hot wind has modeled the clay-rich red soil into Pampa del Leoncito (Reserva Natural Estricta El Leoncito) and Valle de la Luna (Parque Provincial Ischigualasto) 200 million year old geological formations.
The Jáchal and San Juan rivers, both part of Desaguadero River system, are the source of fertile valleys and centre of the province's economy. The San Juan River finishes in the Huanacache lagoons (sometimes called Guanacache), on the southeast.
San Juan's is a somewhat underdeveloped, yet diversified, economy. Its output was estimated in 2006 at US$3.6 billion, or US$5,820 per capita (a third less than the national average).
Now about 10% of output, agriculture has traditionally played a small, though significant role in San Juan's economy, in that the province produces crops not widely grown in most of the rest of Argentina. This is especially so in regards to wine. San Juan is the second-largest producer of Argentine Wine, after neighboring Mendoza Province.
The vine reaches San Juan between the years 1569 and 1589 at the hands of Spanish conquistadors. Favored by optimal weather conditions and soil, the winemaking largely expressed and accelerated development in the province. AI beginning occurred in small volume, limited to meet the needs of small communities in the colony. We faced several difficulties on the one hand the arid climate forced to build dams and irrigation systems artificial (channels) and on the other hand the jurisdiction of products from Europe higher quality.
Viticulture is the main crop of the province's economy, with some 500 km² (56% of the productive area), and the later wine production from 90% of the crop. San Juan is the second Argentine wine producer after the Mendoza Province. Other plantations include tomato, maize, potato, fig, peach and many others.
Since 1980, San Juan has experienced an industrial expansion that now includes, in addition to the wineries, food processing plants and chemical factories, plastics, iron, auto parts and textiles. Manufacturing now accounts for nearly 20% of San Juan's output.
In the year 2000, the province came into mineral development with the Veladero Project, which, on the first year of mining alone, yielded more than 11,000 ounces of gold. These efforts were highlighted with more projects including the Easter Lama, with the particularity that it is shared with neighbouring Chile.
Large-acale efforts began, in 2006, in the exploration for petroleum north of the capital, in the department of Jáchal.
Energy production is mainly hydroelectrical, produced by a few dams such as Quebrada de Ullum, La Roza, San Emiliano and El Pinar Station, which also help regulate water the level for irrigation of the arid lands. Electricity is also produced, in a lesser proportion, by thermal power stations.
As throughout Argentina, San Juan is beginning to have considerable income from tourism. Ischigualasto Provincial Park, San Guillermo National Park and Mercedario Hill have long been the main tourist attractions, where tourists come from all over the world (mainly from Europe), also underscoring ecotourism and adventure tourism. Beginning in 2005, a trend towards agrotourism started, particularly around the wine industry, creating the so-called "Wine Routes."
International tourism is not very developed in the province and it has long consisted mainly of local visitors. Its main attractions are the city of San Juan (and birth house of Sarmiento) the Ischigualasto Provincial Park, the Ullum Dam, the Pismanta hot springs, and the pagan Difunta Correa shrine.
The Province of San Juan has many attractions, including the Ischigualasto Provincial Park, as the main attraction, the area also northwest, department Iglesia in the town Rodeo: where it is possible to appreciate its green mountains with great streams of melting of the mountain or Cuesta Wind Reservoir, where you can practice departes water. Calingasta, with its majestic mountains and rivers, is also one of the most visited areas: * highlighting Leoncito The Astronomical Complex, which houses the largest reflecting telescope in the country, with a diameter of 2,215 cm, which was used by the entire international scientific community It can contemplate heaven sanjuanino, the National Park Leoncito to practice or carrovelismo, Cerro Mercedario, was elected as a tourist destination for people from the most diverse origins of the world for climbing and also can be seen doing Route sanmartiniana Pass by the Ducks. Jáchal, located north offers a different alternative to a more thematic tourism vasado in tradition and history museums in the town of San Jose de Jáchal and in the environs around ancient flour mills, which reflect and show economic activity in that area egg amediados of 1700, can also be performed adventure sports like climbing mountains or on their raftin Jáchal in the river. Valle Fértil, characterized by its majestic scenery of green mountains with the presence of rivers and streams, and being forced to step tourists who want to visit the Valley of the Moon, becomes the most visited area of the province, has attractive as Reservoir St. Augustine, the town of San Agustin del Valle Fertile with the presence of hotels, lodges and several campsites and even the Tumana River, turned into one of the largest resorts in the area.
Tulum Valley, has attractive as Ullum Dam, for the practice of various water sports, the Gorge Zonda, with the presence of spas, camping and the Speedway Zonda Eduardo Copello known nationally, La Laja, here are waters Applications therapeutic classified the group of hipotermales, Sulphurous clorosulfatadas, aciduladas, which are 700 meters above sea level, is recommended for rheumatism, skin diseases and respiratory tract. And incorporate a thematic tourism vasado in production and winemaking olivícola with creation of the so-called Wine Routes and Routes of the Olive. The City of San Juan, is characterized as one of the most modern cities in the country, and is known as the city as a haven for by lush vegetation on its streets, squares and parks, also has numerous museums highlighting the Native Home Domingo Faustino Sarmiento. It also has a strong presence in hotel capacity of all types and are a lot of dance clubs for all tastes and ages.
Moreover develop several civic holidays that celebrate the different economic activities and natural attractions with some recognized musicians local, national and international, typical food and sales of regional products, especially as the main National Day of the Sun, is feast is the most popular in the province since the entire province meets them, starts with a property exhibition in the capital dominated artistic performances and a fair gastronomic then also becomes the ride of the queens carousel through the principal streets of San Juan and concludes with a spectacle of dancers artistic scenery and fireworks, there is the choice of queen and virreina Sun delivering the respective awards. The National Day of Saint Lucia, the Provincial Tradition in Jáchal, and the Apple Seed Church, the Mining in Los Berros, the Melon and Watermelon in Sarmiento, the muscat grape in Albardó
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