Santa Cruz de la Sierra

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For the Spanish municipality, see Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Spain.
Santa Cruz de la Sierra
Autonomous City
Santa Cruz de la Sierra northern skyline
Santa Cruz de la Sierra northern skyline
Flag of Santa Cruz de la Sierra
Flag
Coat of arms of Santa Cruz de la Sierra
Coat of arms
Santa Cruz de la Sierra is located in Bolivia
Santa Cruz de la Sierra
Santa Cruz de la Sierra
Location within Bolivia
Coordinates: 17°48′S 63°11′W / 17.800°S 63.183°W / -17.800; -63.183Coordinates: 17°48′S 63°11′W / 17.800°S 63.183°W / -17.800; -63.183
Country  Bolivia
Department Santa Cruz
Province Andrés Ibáñez
Municipality Santa Cruz de la Sierra
Founded February 26, 1561
Government
 • Type Municipal Autonomous Government
 • Mayor Percy Fernandez
Area
 • Autonomous City 535 km2 (207 sq mi)
 • Metro 1,407 km2 (543 sq mi)
Elevation 416 m (1,365 ft)
Population (2012)[1]
 • Autonomous City 1,453,549
 • Density 2,700/km2 (7,000/sq mi)
 • Metro 2,102,998
 • Metro density 1,500/km2 (3,900/sq mi)
Time zone BOT (UTC−4)
Area code(s) (+591) 3
HDI (2001) 0.749 – high[2]
Website www.gmsantacruz.gob.bo

Santa Cruz de la Sierra (locally: [ˈsanta ˈkɾus de la ˈsjera]) (English: Holy Cross of the Mountain–Range), commonly known as Santa Cruz (locally: [ˈsanta ˈkɾus]), is the capital of the Santa Cruz department in eastern Bolivia.[1] Situated on the Pirai River in eastern Bolivia, the city of Santa Cruz and its metropolitan area are home to over 70% of the population of the department[3] and it is one of the fastest growing cities in the world.[4]

The city was first founded in 1561 by Spanish explorer Ñuflo de Chavez about 200 km (124 mi) east of its current location, and was moved several times until it was finally established on the Pirai River in the late 16th century. For much of its history, Santa Cruz was mostly a small outpost town, and even after Bolivia gained its independence in 1825, there was little attention from the authorities or the population in general to settle the region. It was not until after World War II and profound agrarian and land reforms that the city began to grow at a very fast pace.

Nowadays, the city is Bolivia's most populous, and the Department of Santa Cruz, ranked second in total population, produces nearly 35% of Bolivia's gross domestic product, and receives over 40% of all foreign direct investment in the country. This has helped make Santa Cruz the most important business center in Bolivia and the preferred destination of migrants from all over the country.[5]

History[edit]

Pre-Columbian era[edit]

Like much of the history of the people of the region, the history of the area prior to the arrival of European explorers is not well documented, mostly because of the somewhat nomadic nature and the absence of a written language in the culture of the local tribes. However, recent data suggests that the current location of the city of Santa Cruz was inhabited by an Aruwage tribe that later came to be known by the Spanish as Chane. Remains of ceramics and weapons have been found in the area, leading researchers to believe they had established settlements in the area. Among the few known facts of these tribes, according to accounts of the first Spanish explorers that came into contact with the Chane, they had a formal leader, a cacique, called Grigota, for several years but his reign came to an end after one of the several Guarani incursions in the area.

Early European incursions and founding of the city[edit]

The adelantado grants of Charles V prior to the establishment of the Viceroyalty of Peru.

The first Europeans to set foot in the area were Spanish conquistadores from the recently created Governorate of New Andalusia that encompassed the territories of present-day Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Chile and Bolivia.

In 1549, Captain General Domingo Martinez de Irala became the first Spaniard to explore the region, but it was not until 1558, when Ñuflo de Chaves, who had arrived in Asuncion in 1541 with Alfredo Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca, led a new expedition with the objective of settling the region. After discovering that a new expedition from Asuncion was already underway, he quickly traveled to Lima and successfully persuaded the Viceroy to create a new province and grant him the title of governor on February 15, 1560. Upon returning from Lima, Chaves founded the city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra (Holy Cross of the Hills) on February 26, 1561, 220 km (137 mi) east of its present-day location, to function as the capital of the newly formed province of Moxos and Chaves. The settlement was named after Chaves’s home town in Extremadura, where he grew up before venturing to America.

Shortly after the founding, attacks from local tribes became commonplace and Ñuflo de Chaves was killed in 1568 by Itatine natives. After Chaves’s death, the conflicts with the local population as well as power struggles in the settlement forced the authorities in Peru to order the new governor, Lorenzo Suarez de Figueroa to relocate the city to the west. Many of the inhabitants, however, chose to stay behind and continued living in the original location. On September 13, 1590 the city was officially moved to the banks of the Guapay Empero river and renamed San Lorenzo de la Frontera. Nevertheless, the conditions proved to be even more severe at the new location forcing the settlers to relocate once again on May 21, 1595. Although this was the final relocation of the city, the name San Lorenzo continued to be used until the early 1600s, when the settlers who remained behind in Santa Cruz de la Sierra were convinced by the colonial authorities to move to San Lorenzo. After moving, in 1622, the city was finally consolidated and took its original name of Santa Cruz de la Sierra given by Ñuflo de Chaves over 60 years before. Remnants of the original settlement can be visited in Santa Cruz la Vieja ("Old Santa Cruz"), an archeological site south of San José de Chiquitos.[6][7]

Colonial Santa Cruz and revolutionary war[edit]

Ignacio Warnes
Santa Cruz, seen from the International Space Station

Over the next 200 years, several tribes were either incorporated under Spanish control or defeated by force. The city also became an important staging point for Jesuit Missions to Chiquitos and Moxos, leading to the conversion of thousands of Guaranies, Moxeños, Chiquitanos, Guarayos and Chiriguanos that eventually became part of the racially mixed population of the modern Santa Cruz, Beni, Pando and Tarija departaments of Bolivia. Another important role the small town played in the region for the Spanish Empire was to contain the incursions of Portuguese Bandeirantes, many of which were repelled by the use of force over the years. The efforts for consolidating the borders of the Empire were not overlooked by the authorities in Lima, who granted the province a great degree of autonomy. The province was ruled by a Captain General based in Santa Cruz, and, in turn, the city government was administered by two mayors and a council of four people. Citizens of Santa Cruz were exempt from all imperial taxes and the mita system used in the rest of the Viceroyalty of Peru was not practiced. However, in spite of its strategic importance, the city did not grow much in colonial times. Most of the economic activity was centered in the mining centers of the west and the main source of income of the city was agriculture.

Animosity towards imperial authorities began at the turn of the 18th century, when the new system of intendencias reached the new world. The seat of government was taken away from the city and moved to Cochabamba, and many of the powers delegated by the viceroyalty were now in the hands of appointees of the crown. Like in many parts of Spanish America at the time, angered by the reforms the criollos saw as a threat to their way of life, and taking advantage of the Peninsular War, the local population, led by Antonio Vicente Seonane, revolted on September 24, 1810, overthrowing the governor delegate. In his place, a junta of local commanders took control of the government. The revolutionaries, as it was the case with most of the revolts in Spanish America, remained loyal to the King of Spain, while repudiating the colonial authorities until after the end of the Peninsular War.

By 1813, the city was once again under imperial control. At this time, by orders of General Manuel Belgrano, the revolutionary armies of Argentina sent a small force led by Ignacio Warnes to "liberate" Santa Cruz. After his successful campaign, he assumed control of the government of the city. In a little over a year, Warnes was able to gather tremendous support from the population, enlisting criollos, mestizos and natives to the revolutionary army, and allying with the revolutionary leader of Vallegrande, Alvarez de Arenales, to defeat a strong imperial force in the Battle of Florida. This victory proved to be a serious blow to Spanish forces in the region. Nevertheless, two years after the victory of Florida, imperial forces launched a new offensive in the province led by Francisco Javier Aguilera. This campaign ended with the defeat and death of Ignacio Warnes and his forces in the Battle of Pari. Triumphant, Aguilera marched into the city with orders to quell the insurrection and reinstate the Spanish governor. This proved to be a very difficult task, with several revolutionary leaders, such as Jose Manuel "Cañoto" Baca and Jose Manuel Mercado, rising up in the coming years from the city itself and elsewhere in the province. These new leaders fought colonial authorities for seven years until they finally deposed the last Spanish governor, Manuel Fernando Aramburu, in February 1825, after news of the defeat of the imperial armies in the west had reached the city.[8]

Geography[edit]

Santa Cruz de la Sierra
Climate chart (explanation)
J F M A M J J A S O N D
 
 
115
 
30
22
 
 
107
 
30
22
 
 
89
 
30
22
 
 
63
 
28
20
 
 
66
 
26
18
 
 
48
 
24
16
 
 
37
 
24
16
 
 
25
 
27
18
 
 
46
 
29
19
 
 
81
 
30
21
 
 
98
 
30
22
 
 
139
 
30
22
Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation totals in mm
Source: MSN

The city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra is located in the eastern part of Bolivia (17°45', South, 63°14', West) at 416 m above sea level. It is part of the province of Andrés Ibáñez and the capital of the department of Santa Cruz. The city of Santa Cruz is located not far from the eastern-most extent of the Andes Mountains and they are visible from some parts of the city.

Climate[edit]

The city has a tropical savanna climate (Köppen: Aw), with an average annual temperature around 23 °C (73 °F). Although the weather is generally warm all year round, cold wind patterns, called "surazos", can blow in occasionally (particularly in the winter) from the Argentine pampas making the temperature drop considerably. The months of greatest rainfall are January and February. The average annual rainfall is 912 mm (36 in).

Climate data for Santa Cruz de la Sierra
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 30
(86)
30
(86)
30
(86)
28
(82)
26
(79)
24
(75)
24
(75)
27
(81)
29
(84)
30
(86)
30
(86)
30
(86)
27
(81)
Average low °C (°F) 22
(72)
22
(72)
22
(72)
20
(68)
18
(64)
16
(61)
16
(61)
18
(64)
19
(66)
21
(70)
22
(72)
22
(72)
19
(66)
Precipitation mm (inches) 115
(4.53)
107
(4.21)
89
(3.5)
63
(2.48)
66
(2.6)
48
(1.89)
37
(1.46)
25
(0.98)
46
(1.81)
81
(3.19)
98
(3.86)
139
(5.47)
914
(35.98)
Source: MSN 1981–2014[9]

Demographics[edit]

The first settlers of Santa Cruz were mainly Spaniards that accompanied Ñuflo de Chávez, as well as Guarani natives from Paraguay, and Flemings, Portuguese, Germans and Italians working for the Spanish crown.[10]

Government and infrastructure[edit]

The Centro de Rehabilitación Santa Cruz "Palmasola" is a prison located in Santa Cruz.[11]

Culture and food[edit]

Concert in Manzana Cero.

Museums, Cultural Centers and Galleries[edit]

Santa Cruz offers an interesting circuit of cultural and art spaces, from natural history, to religious art up to the newest contemporary art. There is a young art market which is growing fast.

  • Casa de la Cultura Raul Otero Reiche
  • Noel Kempff Mercado Natural History Museum
  • Teniente General German Busch Becerra National History Museum
  • National and Regional Museum and Archive
  • Guarani museum
  • Cathedral Museum of Sacred Art
  • Museum of Art and Archaeology
  • Museum of Independence
  • Museum of Contemporary Art
  • Manzana Uno (art center)
  • Cultural Center Santa Cruz
  • Cultural Center Simon I. Patiño
  • Training Centre of the Spanish Cooperation
  • Feliciana Rodriguez Cultural Center
  • Franco German Cultural Center
  • Art Gallery Axioma
  • Gallery Kiosko
  • Gallery Bhuo Blanco
  • Guembe Biocenter

The city of Santa Cruz has benefited from a fast paced growing economy for the last 15 years. Despite its fast growth, the city preserves much of its traditions and culture. This is particularly reflected in its typical foods.

The Spaniards introduced cows, poultry, rice, citrus fruits (oranges, tangerines and lemons), from southern Asia they brought sugar cane and from Africa plantains, bananas and coffee (which is cultivated in the yungas near Buena Vista. Moreover, local dishes include native vegetables such as corn, peanuts, yuca and squash, and also local fish such as surubi and pacu.

Native spices such as urucum, and native fruits (unique to the region) such as achachairu, guapuru and guabira, add to the uniqueness of Santa Cruz rich traditional cuisine.The agricultural richness of the region allows Santa Cruz to enjoy a vast variety of flavours and ingredients. The following is a list which describes the most typical foods:

Gastronomy[edit]

Typical Foods

Lomas de Arena
  • Majao or Majadito (a risotto style plate which includes charque, duck or chicken meat.served in two variations majadito tostado or majadito batido)
  • Locro (a very dense, rice and hen based soup containing potatoes and spiced with onion, garlic and oregano. It's common to use chicken instead of hen and it is eaten with a piece of boiled yuca) Not to be confused with an Argentinean typical food
  • Locro carretero
  • Pipian (peanut butter with which bathes a piece of chicken and serve it with rice and cassava(yuca))
  • Rapi al jugo
  • Keperi
  • Cogote Relleno
  • Masaco (smashed plantain with charque(sun dried meat)Also made with yuca and charque)
  • Patasca (A very dense soup made of corn and pork, served with cooked yuca,chopped green onions and must be added salt to taste)
  • Churrasco or Parrillada (served with arroz con queso,cooked yuca or fried yuca, chorizo and salad)

Typical Drinks

  • Somó (white corn based drink, served cold as a refreshment)
  • Chicha (non-alcoholic drink made by mixing white corn and cinnamon, very sweet).

Typical Pastries

Economy[edit]

CAINCO Towers

The city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra has utility infrastructure, roads and highways, and lively shopping and business. The main sectors that drive the economy are oil, forestry companies, agribusiness, and construction. Santa Cruz contributes more than 80% of national agricultural production, and also has contributed over 35% of GDP in recent years. It also has the country's largest airport, making it an ideal city for trade shows, international events and investments.

It is noteworthy that in Santa Cruz there is considerable investment in the construction sector (office buildings and houses), business (large supermarket chains and mass consumption centers), the health sector (high-tech private clinics), the fashion industry, national and international shows, agribusiness, hospitality and cuisine (highly developed), not to mention many private universities. The airline AeroSur had its headquarters in Santa Cruz.[12] The airline ceased operations in the month of May, 2012 and has been replaced by Boliviana de Aviación, which flies from Santa Cruz to Madrid, Buenos Aires and São Paulo.

Hotels[edit]

Santa Cruz de la Sierra has one of the best hotel infrastructures in the country.

Twin towns – Sister cities[edit]

Santa Cruz de la Sierra is twinned with:

United Kingdom Edinburgh, United Kingdom[13][14]
Brazil Campinas, Brazil
Brazil Curitiba, Brazil
Argentina Córdoba, Argentina
Argentina Paraná, Argentina
Argentina Rosario, Argentina
Argentina La Plata, Argentina
Argentina Salta, Argentina
Spain Barcelona, Spain[15]
United States Miami, Florida, USA
United States Santa Cruz, California, USA
Taiwan Taichung, Taiwan
Taiwan Tainan City, Taiwan
Spain Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain
Paraguay Asunción, Paraguay
Peru Arequipa, Peru
Chile Arica, Chile

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "National Statistics Institute. General Population Estimates". www.ine.gob.bo. Retrieved 2011-09-08. 
  2. ^ http://idh.pnud.bo/usr_files/informes/regional/municipios/capitulos/I2%20IDH%20Municipios%20Bolivia%20part%201.pdf
  3. ^ "National Statistics Institute. General Population Estimates". www.ine.gob.bo. Retrieved 2011-09-08. 
  4. ^ "World's fastest growing urban areas (1)". City Mayors. Retrieved 2012-04-10. 
  5. ^ "The Contributions of Santa Cruz to Bolivia (Spanish only)". CAINCO. 2008. 
  6. ^ Nino Gandarilla (1995). Santa Cruz en los umbrales del desarrollo. Santa Cruz de la Sierra: Proyecciones RRPP. p. 41. 
  7. ^ [1] Fundación de Santa Cruz de la Sierra: una historia épica del Siglo XV, El Mundo, 09/11/2011
  8. ^ Nino Gandarilla (1995). Santa Cruz en los umbrales del desarrollo. Santa Cruz de la Sierra: Proyecciones RRPP. p. 46. 
  9. ^ "Eureka". Bolivian Climate Normals 1981–2010 (CSV (4222 KB)). Bolivia. Climate ID: 2401200. 
  10. ^ Al Margen de mis Lecturas, by Marcelo Terceros Banzer. Published September 1998
  11. ^ Meilhan, Pierre. "Dozens killed in Bolivia prison fire, brawl." CNN. August 24, 2013. Retrieved on August 24, 2013.
  12. ^ "Contact Information." AeroSur. Retrieved on February 27, 2010.
  13. ^ "Edinburgh – Twin and Partner Cities". 2008 The City of Edinburgh Council, City Chambers, High Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1YJ Scotland. Archived from the original on 28 March 2008. Retrieved 21 December 2008. 
  14. ^ "Twin and Partner Cities". City of Edinburgh Council. Retrieved 16 January 2009. 
  15. ^ "WWF Spain - Barcelona y Santa Cruz de la Sierra (Bolivia): ciudades hermanadas por los bosques" (in Spanish). Wwf.es. Retrieved 2012-04-10. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Gutsch, Jochen-Martin, "Im Labyrinth der Unordnung" Der Spiegel 5 December 2005, pp. 144–50.

External links[edit]