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Chaco Province

Province of Argentina
Template:Infobox settlement/columns
Location of Chaco within Argentina
Location of Chaco within Argentina
Country 23x15px Argentina
Capital and Largest City Resistencia
 • Acting Governor Juan Carlos Bacileff Ivanoff (PJ)
 • Deputies 7
 • Senators 3
Ranked 12th
 • Total 99,633 km2 (38,469 sq mi)
Population (2010)[1]
 • Total 1,055,259
 • Rank 10th
 • Density 11/km2 (27/sq mi)
Demonym Chacoan, chaqueño
Time zone ART (UTC−3)
ISO 3166 code AR-H

The Province of Chaco (Spanish: provincia del Chaco, Spanish pronunciation: [ˈtʃako]) is a province in northeastern Argentina. With an area of Script error: No such module "convert". and a population of 1,055,259 as of 2010, it is the 12th most extensive and the 9th most populated of the 23 Argentine provinces. Chaco is bordered by Salta and Santiago del Estero to the west, Formosa to the north, Corrientes to the east, and Santa Fe to the south. The province also has an international border with the Paraguayan Department of Ñeembucú. The capital and largest city is Resistencia.

Chaco has long been among the provinces with the worst social indicators in the country. Among Argentine provinces, it ranks last by GDP per capita and 21st by Human Development Index, above its neighbors Formosa and Santiago del Estero.


Chaco derives from chacú, the Quechua word used to name a hunting territory or the hunting technique used by the people of the Inca Empire. Annually, large groups of up to 30 thousand hunters would enter the territory, forming columns and circling the prey.[2] Jesuit missioner Pedro Lozano wrote in his book Chorographic Description of the Great Chaco Gualamba, edited in the Spanish Cordoba in 1733: "Its etymology indicates the multitude of nations that inhabit that region. When they go hunting, the Indians gather from many parts the vicuñas and guanacos; that crowd is called chacu in the Quechua language, which is common in Peru, and that Spaniards have corrupted into Chaco."[3]

However, the earliest known mention of the term in a written document was authored by the then Governor of Tucumán, Juan Ramírez de Velasco, who referred to the region as Chaco Gualamba in a letter to Fernando Torres de Portugal y Mesía, Viceroy of Peru, dated in 1589.[4] Gualamba is of uncertain origin and has since fallen into disuse.[4]


The province of Chaco lies within the southern part of the much larger Gran Chaco region, a vast plain lowland that covers territories in Argentina, Paraguay and Bolivia. It covers an area of Script error: No such module "convert". and ranks as the 12th largest province by size. The highest point of the province is also the westernmost, near the municipality of Taco Pozo, rising Script error: No such module "convert"..[5]

The Paraná and Paraguay separate the province from Corrientes and the Republic of Paraguay. To the north the Bermejo is the only other natural border, dividing Chaco and Formosa. In the south, the 28th parallel south separates the region from Santa Fe Province, while in the west it borders Salta and Santiago del Estero.

Other important rivers are the Negro and Tapenagá, Palometa and Salado. All of them are tributaries of the Paraná river or its anabranches.


File:Vista general de La Sabana en 1899.jpg
La Sabana and its new railway station in 1899

The area was originally inhabited by various hunter-gatherers tribes of the Mataco-Guaicuru language family. Several native tribes (Guaraní, Toba, Wichí and others) have persisted in the region and have important communities in this province as well as in Formosa.

The first European settlement was founded by Spanish conquistador Alonso de Vera y Aragón in 1585 under the name of Concepción de Nuestra Señora, but it was abandoned in 1632. During its existence, it was one of the most important cities in the region, but attacks from local Indians forced the residents to leave. In the 17th century, the San Fernando del Río Negro Jesuit mission was founded in the area of the modern-day city of Resistencia, but was abandoned 15 years later.

The Gran Chaco region remained largely unexplored and uninhabited by either Europeans or Argentines until the late 19th century, after numerous confrontations between Argentina and Paraguay during the War of the Triple Alliance. San Fernando was thus re-established, this time as a military outpost, and renamed Resistencia in 1876.

The Territorio Nacional del Gran Chaco was established in 1872. This territory included current Formosa province and lands that now belong to Paraguay. The Gran Chaco Territory was superseded by Territorio Nacional del Chaco upon its administrative division in 1884.

File:Chaco Province Government House seen from Marcelo T. de Alvear and Mitre streets.JPG
The Provincial Government House. Designed in 1955, political disputes delayed its completion until 1972.

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 other immigrants – were able to transform Chaco into a productive farming region known for its dairy and beef production.

The territory became a province in 1951, changing its name to Provincia Presidente Perón; the province recovered its historical name of Chaco in 1955, when the army overthrew the government of President Juan Perón. Chaco voters, however, continued to support Peronist candidates in subsequent elections, notably Deolindo Bittel, whose three terms as governor in the 1960s and 1970s were each cut short by military intervention; he ran for vice-president in 1983 and later served as mayor of the provincial capital, Resistencia.

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 1990s. In 1997 the province invested in SEFECHA, at the time the only publically-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.[6] Chaco, however, remains among the provinces with the worst social indicators in the country, with 49.3% of its population living below the poverty line by income, and 17.5% of children aged between 2 and 5 in a state of malnutrition.[7] Among Argentine provinces, it ranks last by GDP per capita and 21st by Human Development Index, above its neighbors Formosa and Santiago del Estero.

Official languages

In 2010, Chaco became the second province in Argentina to declare indigenous languages official within the province, after Corrientes.[8] Three local languages gained official status in Chaco besides Spanish: Kom, Moqoit and Wichí.[9]


Chaco's economy, like most in the region, is relatively underdeveloped, yet has recovered vigorously since 2002. Its economy was estimated to be US$4.4 billion in 2006, or US$4,470 per capita (half the national average and the third-lowest in Argentina).[10] Chaco's economy is diversified, but its agricultural sector has suffered from recurrent droughts over the past decade.

Agricultural development in Chaco is mostly linked to the commercial growing of quebracho wood and of cotton, of which Chaco currently accounts for 60% of national production.

Agriculture for food accounts for an elevated 17% of output: this includes crops such as soy, sorghum and maize. Sugarcane is also cultivated in the South, as well as rice and tobacco in lesser proportion.

Cattle consists of mixed races of Argentine cows with zebu: these adapt better than pure-breeds 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. The province's main airport, Resistencia International Airport, serves around 100,000 passengers annually.

Political organization

The province is divided into 25 departments (Spanish: departamentos).

Department Seat Area
Almirante Brown Pampa del Infierno 17,276 34,075 29,086 1.97
Bermejo La Leonesa 2,562 25,052 24,215 9.77
Chacabuco Charata 1,378 30,590 27,813 22.19
Comandante Fernández Presidencia Roque Sáenz Peña 1,500 96,944 88,164 64.63
12 de Octubre General Pinedo 2,576 22,281 20,149 8.65
2 de Abril Hermoso Campo 1,594 7,432 7,435 4.66
Fray Justo Santa María del Oro Santa Sylvina 2,205 11,826 10,485 5.36
General Belgrano Corzuela 1,218 11,988 10,470 9.84
General Donovan Makallé 1,487 13,490 13,385 9.07
General Güemes Juan José Castelli 25,487 67,132 62,227 2.63
Independencia Campo Largo 1,871 22,411 20,620 11.98
Libertad Puerto Tirol 1,088 12,158 10,822 11.17
Libertador General San Martín General José de San Martín 7,800 59,147 54,470 7.58
Maipú Tres Isletas 2,855 25,288 24,747 8.85
Mayor Luis J. Fontana Villa Ángela 3,708 55,080 53,550 14.85
9 de Julio Las Breñas 2,097 28,555 26,955 13.61
O'Higgins San Bernardo 1,580 20,131 19,231 12.74
Presidencia de la Plaza Presidencia de la Plaza 2,284 12,499 12,231 5.47
Primero de Mayo Margarita Belén 1,864 10,322 9,131 5.53
Quitilipi Quitilipi 1,545 34,081 32,083 22.05
San Fernando Resistencia 3,489 390,874 365,637 112.03
San Lorenzo Villa Berthet 2,135 14,702 14,252 6.88
Sargento Cabral Colonia Elisa 1,651 15,899 15,030 9.63
Tapenagá Charadai 6,025 4,097 4,188 0.68
25 de Mayo Machagai 2,358 29,215 28,070 12.39

See also


  1. ^ "República Argentina por provincia o jurisdicción". Censo 2010. INDEC. 28 February 2012. Retrieved 29 March 2012. 
  2. ^ "Chaco". Fundación para el Desarrollo Sustentable del Chaco. Retrieved 7 April 2012. 
  3. ^ Lozano, Pedro (1989). Descripción corográfica del Gran Chaco Gualamba. San Miguel de Tucumán: Universidad Nacional de Tucumán. p. 486. 
  4. ^ a b Edelmiro Porcel. "Chaco Gualamba". Periodico Domine. Retrieved 7 April 2012. 
  5. ^ "23 Cumbres - Chaco". 23 Cumbres. Retrieved 8 April 2012. 
  6. ^ Sefecha - Railway in Chaco
  7. ^ "Capitanich admitió que Chaco tiene los peores indicadores sociales de la Argentina pero culpó a la Nación". 26 July 2009. Retrieved 6 April 2012. 
  8. ^ Template:Cite Argentine law/aux
  9. ^ Template:Cite Argentine law/aux
  10. ^ I.A.D.E.R
  11. ^ a b "Cuadro P1-P. Provincia del Chaco. Población total y variación intercensal absoluta y relativa por departamento" (PDF). INDEC. 2010. Retrieved 16 April 2012. 

External links

Coordinates: 27°27′05″S 58°59′12″W / 27.45139°S 58.98667°W / -27.45139; -58.98667{{#coordinates:27|27|05|S|58|59|12|W|source:kolossus-eswiki |primary |name= }}