Salta is a province of Argentina, located in the northwest of the country. Neighboring provinces are from the east clockwise Formosa, Chaco, Santiago del Estero, Tucumán and Catamarca. It also surrounds Jujuy. To the north it borders Bolivia and Paraguay and to the west lies Chile.
Before the Spanish conquest, numerous native peoples (now called Diaguitas and Calchaquíes) lived in the valleys of what is now Salta Province; they formed many different tribes, the Quilmes and Humahuacas among them, which all shared the Cacán language. The Atacamas lived in the Puna, and the Wichís (Matacos), in the Chaco region.
The first conquistador to venture into the area was Diego de Almagro in 1535; he was followed by Diego de Rojas. Hernando de Lerma founded San Felipe de Lerma in 1582, following orders of the viceroy Francisco de Toledo, Count of Oropesa; the name of the city was soon changed to "San Felipe de Salta". By 1650, the city had around five hundred inhabitants.
An intendency of "Salta del Tucumán" was created within the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata. In 1774, San Ramón de La Nueva Orán was founded between Salta and Tarija (Tarija was added to the intendency later, in 1807). In 1783, in recognition of the growing importance of the city, the capital of the intendency of Salta del Tucumán was moved from San Miguel de Tucumán to Salta.
The battle of Salta in 1813 freed the territory from Spain, but occasional attacks were mounted from the Viceroyalty of Peru as late as 1826. Gervasio de Posadas created the Province of Salta in 1814, containing the current provinces of Salta, Jujuy, and parts of southern Bolivia and northern Chile.
Exploiting internal Argentine conflicts that arose after the Argentine Declaration of Independence, Bolivia annexed Tarija in 1826. In 1834, Jujuy withdrew from Salta and became a separate province. The borders of Salta were further reduced in 1900, with the loss of Yacuiba to Bolivia.
The National Government of Los Andes, constituted from the province in 1902 with a capital at San Antonio de los Cobres, was returned to Salta Province in 1943 as the Department of Los Andes.