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Villa Maria


Villa Maria is a city in Cordoba Province, Argentina, and the head town of the General San Martin Department. It is located in the center of rich agricultural land. The area leads the country in production of milk. The city has a population of 72,162 per the , which makes it the third city in the province.

The city lies 140 km southeast from the provincial capital, on the left bank of the Tercero River, near the geographical center of Argentina, at the intersection of National Routes 9 and 158.

History

Villa Maria was founded on 27 September 1867 by Manuel Anselmo Ocampo, a young Porteno belonging to a wealthy family that then went on to become a Buenos Aires provincial senator and minister, founded by Italians (170 families), Germans (57 families), and English (10 families) immigrants. The town grew up around the train station on the Central Argentine Railway's line between Rosario and Cordoba which was completed 1870. In 1875 it became an important railway junction when the Ferrocarril Andino opened a line linking it to Villa Mercedes, and later to San Juan and Mendoza.

In 1871 the city was even declared Capital of the Republic by the National Congress, but the law was vetoed by President Domingo Faustino Sarmiento on the grounds that the site was subject to attacks by aboriginal tribes and therefore unsafe for the authorities.

The town became officially a municipality in 1883. Its first mayor was Pedro Vinas. It only had 825 inhabitants, but it grew so fast that by 1915 it had more than 10,000. Villa Maria became the seat of a Catholic diocese under Pope Pius XII, in 1957.

Economy

The business sector or of Villa Maria, consists of 516 industrial enterprises (which represent about 9% of economic activity), 3,476 commercial enterprises (about 63% of activity) and 1,551 service businesses (about 28%). It is an essential point of transit between the main cities of the country and the Mercosur.

The principal raw materials produced in Villa Maria are milk, cereals, meat, fodder, orchard fruits, oils, skins and leather, clay and organic material, sand, and stone.

Institutions

The city has three institutions of higher education: the National Technological University (founded 1970), the National University of Villa Maria (1997) and, for distance learning, the Catholic University of Salta (1998).

Villa Maria is the seat of the Intermunicipal Entity for Regional Development , consisting of 29 municipalities associated to effectively project their productive potential; by this means, these municipalities have achieved the highest gross domestic product of the provincial interior.

References

H.R.Stones, British Railways in Argentina 1860-1948, P.E.Waters & Associates, Bromley, Kent, England, 1993.

Official website

Daily Newspaper

Villa Maria Portal

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Villa Maria


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