History Tupiza

Tupiza has 24,000 inhabitants. The climate is nice. During winter, temperatures are between 3 and 24 degrees Celsius (38 to 75 Fahrenheit). In the summer the average is between 15 and 26 degrees Celsius (59 to 79 Fahrenheit). In the rainy season, from January to March, there are occasional showers in the afternoon. Surrounded by the colored rocks of the Precordillera, Tupiza lies at an altitude of 2950 m (9680 feet) above sea level, in the fertile valley of the Rio Tupiza. It has become a beloved town with a panoramic view of the canyons, its colorful red and sullen rocks, its willows, pepper trees and acacias in springtime, with summer always bringing a new dawn where hope is reborn with the notes of "anata" tree, the "box" tree and the "erke" tree, cheerful and weeping at the same time.

The name Tupiza was based on the vocabulary of the "CHICHAS" culture. It was a historical term, used to identify the region. Its original pronouncation was "topecsa" or "tucpicsa". With the arrival of the Spanish in 1534 this was altered to "Tupiza." The original population has suffered a significant acculturation after the invasion and at present, much of the population of the South Chichas is a mixture with mostly creole characteristics. The Chicha horse riders have achieved fame for their equestrian skills in this mountain area. The main language is Spanish, spoken by 96% of the inhabitants. About 59% of the people speak or understand Runa Simi (Quechua language).

In early times, Tupiza was probably established by various ethnic groups in the fertile valleys of the river San Juan del Oro and Talina. In the present provinces of North and South Chichas, with Tupiza as their political and cultural center, ceramics and human remains of yet unknown origin have been found. Later on, after the demise of the kingdom "Colla" the Quechuas came. They expanded their reign to Tucuman, for which Inca armies conquered the Andean people of Kollasuyo. Among those who surrendered in Tupiza in 1471 and 1478 was the Inca Tupaj Yupanqui. Hence we know that people were living in Tupiza, fifty years before the Spanish entered, to settle at this strategic point for their conquests.

Tupiza is presumably founded by Don Luis de Fuentes y Vargas on June 4, 1574, on his way to establish Tarija. On 25 November 1985, President Mariano Baptista decreed that Tupiza was recognized as the capital of the Province Sud Chichas, in the Potosí department. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, major mining companies operating in southern Bolivia (like the Aramayo Company) built their headquarters in Tupiza. In 1908 the notorious American bandits Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid carefully planned the robbery of the payroll of the Aramayo Company at Huaca Huañusca, not far from Tupiza. A little later, both of them were trapped by a small platoon of the army in the nearby mining town of San Vicente. After a shootout in which the bandits were severely wounded, Cassidy is thought to have shot his dying teammate to death and then himself.