The first inhabitants of Mendoza arrived in the region between 10 to 12 thousand years ago. They were nomadic groups of hunter-gatherers that settled in areas surrounding the rivers and lagoons. About 500 years ago the province was inhabited by three aboriginal groups: the Huarpes (in the North), the Puelches (in the center) and the Pehuenches (in the South).
The Huarpes occupied the region from the actual greater Mendoza area extending to the Uco Valley. They were skilled hunter-gatherers and agriculturists. In order to resolve the problem of inadequate water they constructed a network of irrigation channels and asequias originating at the rivers.
In the year approximately 1470, the Incas, inhabitants of Peru, arrived in the Huarpe territory. The influence of the Incas was very important. Their advanced technological knowledge helped the Huarpes to greatly improve the irrigation canals. This irrigation system turned out to be of vital importance upon the arrival of the Spanish.
The first Spaniards that settled in the Mendoza territory came from Chile. Their objective was to find land suitable to establish cities and to find gold and silver mines in the Andes Range.
In 1551 Francisco de Villagra, who was on his way from Peru to Chile, was the first Spaniard to set foot on Mendoza soil. On his arrival to Chile he gave an account of the lands and their inhabitants that he had encountered.
A decade later the governor of Chile, Don Garcia Hurtado de Mendoza, sent an expedition with an order to found a city. The 38 explorers that formed the party for this mission were under the command of Captain Pedro del Castillo.
Pedro del Castillo crossed the Andes and founded the city of Mendoza on March 2, 1561. He designed the layout of the city and distributed the land that would be settled and cultivated by the colonists that accompanied him.
The few inhabitants of the city, the lack of water and the precarious life conditions made the cultivation and progression difficult tasks during the first years.
The Spaniards arrived with their farming tools, raised goats and sheep and brought seeds to cultivate fruit trees (peaches, apples, figs) and grapevines, developing thus a small vineyard industry that became the key for life in Mendoza. The wines and liquor obtained would be exchanged in Buenos Aires, Tucuman and along the coast for products that were produced in those regions.
On March 20, 1861 Mendoza was totally destroyed by an earthquake. The city of Mendoza was reconstructed in a new location this time bearing in mind its history of natural disasters. For this reason Julio Ballofet, who designed the new layout, included wide streets and squares that would allow for rapid movement of people in case of an earthquake.
From the 1800’s the governors of Mendoza were responsible for developing important constructions with the aim to modernize our province. They constructed dykes and railroad lines, built schools and hospitals and initialized other important developments such as the telegraph, drinking water services and electrical energy.
The important number of immigrants that arrived to Mendoza from Italy, Spain, France and Germany produced significant social and economic changes. These immigrants played a principal role in the wine industry. They brought with them new varieties of vines and thanks to their experience, innovative techniques were applied to cultivate the grapevines and to make the wine.
With the passing of the years, Mendoza has been transformed into one of the most important cities in Argentina.
Today, 960 000 inhabitants live in the greater Mendoza area, making it the fourth largest metropolis in the country.
We are proud to know that Mendoza is recognized not solely for its great beauty.
Mendoza is a city with important museums and historic monuments. It consists of great building developments, some of the most beautiful pedestrian walkways in Argentina, brilliant commercial galleries, a modern hotel infrastructure, impressive shopping malls, famous restaurants, movie cinemas, theatres, art galleries, a warm ambiance and extraordinary natural pathways, that makes Mendoza a must see destination for your vacation.