Tarija is a department in Bolivia. It is located in south-eastern Bolivia bordering with Argentina to the south and Paraguay to the east. According to the 2012 census, it has a population of 482,196 inhabitants. It has an area of 37.623 km². The city of Tarija is the capital of the department.
The department is divided into five provinces and one autonomous region:
Gran Chaco Province (autonomous region)
Aniceto Arce Province
José María Avilés Province
Eustaquio Méndez Province
Burdett O'Connor Province
Notable places in Tarija include:
Villamontes in the department's oil-producing eastern scrubland
Bermejo, a border town adjoining Aguas Blancas, Argentina
Yacuiba, a border town with Argentina.
The Department of Tarija is renowned for its mild, pleasant climate, and comprises one of the country's foremost agricultural regions. Its citizens have traditionally felt close to, and conducted a lively international trade with, neighboring towns of northern Argentina. Between 1816-1898, the region was part of Argentina, and was ceded to Bolivia in exchange for Puna de Atacama.
Tarija boasts South America's second-largest natural gas reserves. Increased gas revenues and foreign direct investment in gas exploration and distribution are fueling growth and turning Tarija into Bolivia's next industrial hub. Political instability at the national level has hindered development of the reserves, as the region has chosen to align with pro-autonomy forces which aim at the devolution of considerable powers away from the central government in favor of the departments.
More than 20 different indigenous tribes, ranging in population from 20 persons up to 1500, live in the region. The Guaraní is the largest tribe.
Important battles and events related to the 1932-35 Chaco War with Paraguay took place in the department's eastern dry lands. Tarija was the home of Víctor Paz Estenssoro, leader of the 1952 Bolivian Revolution and four-time Constitutional President.