- Santa Cruz de la Sierra
official_name = Santa Cruz de la Sierra
native_name = Santa Cruz
imagesize = 240px
image_blank_emblem = Escudo Santa Cruz de la Sierra.jpg
mapsize = 150px
pushpin_map_caption =Location within Bolivia
subdivision_type = Country
subdivision_type1 = Department
subdivision_name1 = Santa Cruz
subdivision_type2 = Province
subdivision_name2 = Andrés Ibáñez
leader_title = Mayor
leader_name =Percy Fernandez
established_title = Founded
established_date = February 26, 1561
area_magnitude = 1 E8
area_total_km2 = 325.57
population_as_of = 2006
population_footnotes = [ [http://www.gmsantacruz.gov.bo/ Portal del Municipio Autónomo de Santa Cruz de la Sierra ] ]
population_total = 1,528,683
population_density_km2 = 4215.24
population_metro =1,862,911(includes neighbouring municipality of Cotoca)
population_urban = 1,545,161 in 2008
latd=17 |latm=48 |lats= |latNS=S
longd=63 |longm=10 |longs= |longEW=W
elevation_m = 416
website = http://www.gmsantacruz.gov.bo/
Santa Cruz de La Sierra, commonly known as Santa Cruz, is the capital city of the Santa Cruz department in eastern
Bolivia. The municipality's population was 1,528,683 inhabitants in 2006 (official estimate [ [http://www.ine.gov.bo/ Instituto Nacional de Estadística de Bolivia ] ] ) and the urban population is 1,545,161 in 2008 (official estimate) [ [http://www.word-gazetteer.com World Gazetteer] ] which makes it the largest city in Bolivia.
Santa Cruz de La Sierra was founded on
february 26, 1561by Ñuflo de Chávezwho gave the new settlement its name, which means "Holy Cross of the Hills," in honor of his beloved native city in Extremadura, Spain. Ñuflo de Chávez was a Spanish captain whose biggest legacy was the expansion of colonization through virgin rainforest and savanna areas in southeastern South America. His campaign started in Buenos Aires - then Argentina's capital city - to the second biggest settlement, Asunción - then Paraguay's capital city - and finishing with the last of the larger settlements, Santa Cruz de la Sierra. Each of the three cities helped to consolidate the colonization of several indigenous populations through what was named as Audiencia de La Plata, or a type of administrative province during the colonial stage of Latin America history. The Audiencia de La Plata consolidated what today is Argentina, Uruguay, the three Southern states of Brazil, Paraguay, and the south, southeast, and north of Bolivia, inclusively the state of Acre which is currently part of the Brazilian Federation.
Within the specific area of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, several tribes were incorporated under Spaniard control and converted to the Catholic faith, as a result of the Jesuits' influence over this region; the Guaranies, Moxeños, Chiquitanos, Guarayos, and Chiriguanos were just a few of several ethnic groups who were the ancestors of the racially mixed population of the modern Santa Cruz, Beni, Pando, and Tarija departamentos (states) of Bolivia.
The original settlement of Santa Cruz de la Sierra was actually 220 km east of its modern location, only a few kilometers south of today's
San José de Chiquitos. After conflicts with the indigenous population, the town was moved to another location closer to the banks of Río Grande; as a result of unfriendly environmental conditions, however the city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra was then moved to its present location on the banks of Piraí Riverin 1592. 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. It is commonly believed there were more than two relocations of the city between February 26, 1561 and the year when the last settlement was finally founded, but this is still not known for certain.
After the city was moved, it became an important staging point for Jesuit and other Christian missions to Chiquitos and Moxos for the next two centuries. Still, Santa Cruz saw little growth during that period of time. It was not until nearly a century after Bolivia gained its independence that the city started to take an important role in the nation's history. The
Acre warwith Brazilin the early 20th century, as well the Chaco warwith Paraguayin the 1930s, forced the central government to turn its attention to the east, allocating more resources for regional governments and improving communication. The isolated town was connected by a road to Cochabambain the 1950s, and subsequently to Brazil by railway, thus stimulating economic and demographic growth. Improvement in routes and pathways of communication, such as Viru Viru International Airport), as well as a continuous influx of immigrants, turned the city into one of the most industrialized and important trading centers of the country during the second half of the twentieth century.
Today Santa Cruz is not only the most populated city in
Bolivia, but the department is also the richest, with over 30% of the national GDP.
The department 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 Ibáñezand the capital of the department of Santa Cruz.
The weather is semi-tropical, with an average annual temperature around 21 °C (or 70 °F). Although the weather is generally warm all year round, cold wind patterns, called "surazos", can blow in occasionally (especially in the winter) from the Argentine
pampasmaking the temperature drop considerably. The months of greatest rainfall are January and February.
The city of Santa Cruz has benefited from a fast paced growing economy for the last 15 years. This has allowed for a multicultural and ethnically diverse city to develop. Despite its fast growth, the city preserves much of its traditions and culture. This is particularly reflected in its typical foods. 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:
Picante de Pollo(chicken in a red hot salsa served with a portion of rice and yuca
Majaoor Majadito(a risotto style plate which includes charque, duck or chicken meat.)
Locro(a very dense, rice based soup containing vegetables and chicken)
Sopa de maní( Another dense soup, whose base is made of cooked peanuts, crushed and boiled)
Masaco(smashed plantain with charque(sun dried meat)Also made with yuca and charque)
Mocochinchi(drink consist of sun dried peaches which are boiled with honey and clove, served cold)
Somó(white corn based drink, served cold, very refreshing)
Chicha(non-alcoholic drink made by mixing white corn and cinnamon, very sweet).
Cuñapé( yucaand cheese baked as small bread bunds)
Zonzo( yucaand cheese, boiled and mixed in a type of mashed potato consistency, oven baked or grilled)
Additional Notes of Interest
* The city's street layout currently consists of a
concentric ring model.
* There are several Japanese-manufactured taxi cabs throughout the city. The steering wheels have been modified to the left side of these vehicles, thus earning them the name of "transformers" (transformed).
* The Spanish language of Bolivia's eastern lowlands (the departments of Santa Cruz, Beni, Pando) is referred to as "
CambaSpanish". Aside from local idioms and vernacular, the distinctive, phonological traits of Camba Spanish include using the " j" instead of the " s" (similar to Caribbean SpanishFact|date=October 2007 mixed with Argentine Spanish) and the use of the " voseo" pronoun instead of "tú" in informal address. The use of "vos" is spoken also with frequency within the departments of Tarija, Beni, Pando.
* Santa Cruz de la Sierra is a major fashion and modeling hub in Bolivia. Cruceños pride themselves in winning the most Bolivian beauty pageant titles, including the
Miss Boliviapageant whose delegate continues her representation at the Miss Universepageant. For this reason, Cruceños colloquially honor their city as "La Capital de la Belleza Amazónica" ("The Capital of the Amazon Beauty"), even though it is not located in the Amazon forest. Nationally, Cruceños spend the highest amount of money per capita on personal care and beauty products.
* "Las Magníficas de Pablo Manzoni" is a modeling troupe and agency that conducts showcases of Bolivia's top fashion models; several of them being from Santa Cruz. The showcase is heralded as one of Bolivia's most prestigious fashion and modeling events, having recently acquired international appeal and interest.
* The city is home to
* [http://www.gmsantacruz.gov.bo/ Official city government site]
Viru Viru International Airport(Aeropuerto Internacional Viru Viru): [http://www.sabsa.aero/aeropuertointernacionalviruviru www.sabsa.aero/aeropuertointernacionalviruviru] (Sabsa = Servicios de Aeropuertos Bolivianos S.A. is the operator of three airports in Bolivia).
*The railway company
Ferroviaria Oriental S.A.: [http://www.ferroviariaoriental.com www.ferroviariaoriental.com] (Train from Santa Cruz to Quijarro ( Puerto Quijarro) on the border with Brazil).
*Estatuto Autonomico de Santa Cruz: [http://www.asamcruz.org/Estatuto%20autonomicode%20scz.htm]
* [http://www.bolivia-online.net Bolivia-Online.net] Online City Guide about Bolivia
*Gutsch, Jochen-Martin, "Im Labyrinth der Unordnung" Der Spiegel 5 December 2005, pp. 144-50.
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