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Cochabamba, from Quechua qucha or qhucha, meaning "lake", pampa meaning "plain", is one of the nine departments of Bolivia. It is known to be the "granary" of the country because of its variety of agricultural products from its geographical position. It has an area of 55,631 km². Its population in the 2012 census was 1,758,143. Its capital is the city of Cochabamba, known as the "City of Eternal Spring" and "The Garden City" because of its spring-like temperatures all year.HistoryThe Cochabamba valley was inhabited for over a thousand years due to its fertile productive soils and climate. Archaeological evidence suggests that the initial valley inhabitants were of various ethnic indigenous groups. Tiwanaku, Tupuraya, Mojocoya, Omereque and Inca inhabited the valley at various times before the Spanish arrived.The first Spanish inhabitant of the Valley was Garci Ruiz de Orellana in 1542. He purchased the majority of the land from local tribal chiefs Achata and Consavana through a title registered in 1552 at the Imperial City of Potosí. The price paid was 130 pesos. His residence, known as the House of Mayorazgo, still stands in the Cala Cala neighbourhood of the city.The city, called Villa de Oropesa was founded on 2 August 1571 by order of Viceroy Francisco de Toledo, Count of Oropesa. It was to be an agricultural production centre to provide food for the mining towns of the relatively nearby Altiplano region, particularly the city of Potosí which became one of the largest and richest cities in the world during the 17th century – funding the vast wealth that ultimately made Spain a world power at the time. With the silver mining industry in Potosi at its height, Cochabamba thrived during its first centuries of existence. The city entered a period of decline during the 18th century as mining began to wane.Find what you're looking for from your Cochabamba Department holiday, by planning the whole thing with us using our handy Bolivia day trip site.
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