The province is bounded by Salta and Santiago del Estero to the west, Formosa to the north and east, Corrientes and the Republic of Paraguay to the southeast and Santa Fe to the south. From 1950 to 1955, Chaco was named Presidente Perón.
Chaco is a Quechua word for hunting, which was the main source of food for the aboriginal people prior to the Spanish colonisation of the Americas. Several native tribes (Guaraní, Toba, Wichí and others) have persisted in the region and have important communities in this province as well as Formosa.
First city in Chaco province was Concepción de Buena Esperanza, which existed between 1585 and 1632. During its life was one of the most important cities in its gobernation, but local Indians attacked it until local inhabitants had to leave it. In the 17th century the San Fernando del Río Negro Jesuit mission was founded in the area of the present city of Resistencia, but it was abandoned 15 years later.
At the end of the 19th century there were numerous confrontations between Argentina and Paraguay in the Gran Chaco area known as the War of the Triple Alliance, and San Fernando was reestablished, this time as a military outpost, and renamed to Resistencia in 1876.
In 1872 Territorio Nacional del Gran Chaco was created, this territory included current Formosa province and lands that now belong to Paraguay. In 1884 because of the split of this administrative division Territorio Nacional del Chaco was born. In 1951 the territory became a province, changing its name to Eva Perón province; the province recovered its historical name in 1955, when the army overthrew Juan Domingo Perón government.
Between the end of the 19th century and the first decades of the 20th, the province received a variety of immigrants; among them were Volga Germans and Mennonites from Russia, Germany, and Canada. They (along with the other immigrants) were able to transform the difficult geography of Chaco into a productive farming region known for its milk and beef production.
Underserved by paved highways and, therefore, very dependent on passenger rail, Chaco was adversely impacted by the national rail privatizations and line closures of the early '90s. The province, in 1997, invested in SEFECHA, at the time the only publicly-owned commuter rail in Argentina. SEFECHA today carries nearly a million passengers a year and has contributed to the province's vigorous recovery from the 2002 crisis.
Differences in vegetation show the unequal distribution of precipitation: An Impenetrable ("Impenetrable") dense dry forest lies in the west, with precipitations of around 600 mm per year, and the more humid east, with 1,100 mm annual precipitation, holds the Selva Chaqueña, a jungle with no dry season.
The rivers of the province end in either the Paraná River or the Paraguay River, and run from west to east. The most important of these are the Bermejo River, Río de Oro, Guaycurú Grande, Guaycurú Chico, Salado River, Negro River, Palometa and Tapenagá.
The area is inhabited by exotic wildlife, including crocodiles, monkeys, tarantulas, wild boars, jaguars, giant armadillos, anacondas, rattlesnakes, and a variety of other poisonous snakes. Transport: Major highways include 11 north from Santa Fé province north via Resistencia to Formosa, 16 across the Paraná from Correntes 322 km north-west via Resistencia and Presidencia Roque Sáenz Peña into Santiago del Estero province, and passing through Taco Pozo in the north-east to Salta, and 89 from Avia Terai 245 km south-west via Charata to Quimili in Santiago del Estero province. There is an airport at Resistencia.
Cattle consists of mixed races of Argentine cows with zebu, which adapt better to the high temperatures, grass shortage, and occasional flooding.
Industry contributes modestly to the economy (about 10%) and includes textiles (produced from local cotton), oil mills, and coal production, as well as sugar, alcohol and paper (all produced from sugar cane).
Chaco is home to the Chaco National Park, but tourism is not a well-developed industry in the province.