San Fernando del Valle de Catamarca is a city in northwestern Argentina and capital of Catamarca Province, on the Río Valle River, at the feet of the Cerro Ambato. The city name is normally shortened as Catamarca.
The city of , located above the sea level, has 141,000 inhabitants, with more than 200,000 counting the suburbia, what represents around 70% of the population of the province.
History and politics
An initial settlement, called Londres, was established here by Spanish colonists in 1558; a permanent settlement was not founded until 1683, by Fernando de Mendoza y Mate de Luna. Catamarca comes from Quechua meaning "fortress on the slope".
The city, which had only 8,000 inhabitants in 1882 and was reached by a railway line in 1888, grew very slowly, and the region remained poor even in the middle of the 20th century. This situation was exacerbated by nepotism on the part of the ruling Saadi family, before they lost political power in the 1990s. In spite of this, the province remains still politically unstable, and a large part of its population lives in precarious conditions.