Villa María is a city in Córdoba Province, Argentina, and the head town of the General San Martín Department. It is located in the center of rich agricultural land. The area leads the country in production of milk. The city has a population of 72,162 per the 2001 census [INDEC] (Greater Villa María: 119,000), which makes it the third city in the province.
The city lies 137 km southeast from the provincial capital, on the left bank of the Tercero River, near the geographical center of Argentina, at the intersection of National Routes 9 and 158, and right next to the Cordoba-Buenos Aires Highway, one of the nation's most important communication arteries.
|Villa María, Córdoba, Argentina|
Villa María was founded on 27 September 1867 by Manuel Anselmo Ocampo, a young Porteño belonging to a wealthy family that then went on to become a Buenos Aires provincial senator and minister, founded byItalians (170 families), Germans (57 families), and English (10 families) immigrants. The town grew up around the railway station on the Central Argentine Railway's line between Rosario and Cordoba which was completed 1870. In 1875 it became an important railway junction when theFerrocarril Andino opened a line linking it to Villa Mercedes, and later toSan Juan and Mendoza.
In 1871 the city was even declared Capital of the Republic by the National Congress, but the law was vetoed by President Domingo Faustino Sarmiento on the grounds that the site was subject to attacks by aboriginal tribes and therefore unsafe for the authorities.
The town became officially a municipality in 1883. Its first mayor was Pedro Viñas. It only had 825 inhabitants, but it grew so fast that by 1915 it had more than 10,000. Villa María became the seat of a Catholic diocese under Pope Pius XII, in 1957.
Villa Maria lies on a very flat portion Pampa, at an altitude of about 200 metres above sea level, with a gradient northwest to southeast. The Tercero river (also known as Ctalamochita river) separates the city from neighbouring Villa Nueva; due to treacherous currents and varying depth, it is not suitable for navigation (except for canoes and kayaks). The climate has four marked seasons: summers are long (from late November to early March), hot, and humid, with average high temperatures ranging from 28°C to 32°C (82F to 90F) and lows of 15°C to 20°C (59F to 68F). Heat waves are common and may bring temperatures of up to 38°C (100F) and possibly higher for a few days; however, southerly Pampero winds often bring brisk, comfortable weather following storms. Thunderstorms are common as precipitation ranges from 95 mm to 125 mm per month in the summer. Fall runs from early March to late May, and the change in temperature is progressive: nights are noticeably cooler by March, in April, daytime temperatures are usually between 20°C and 25°C (68F to 77F) and nights between 8°C and 14°C (46F to 57F). By late April, the weather is already very dry, and in May the frost is to be expected. Winter in Villa Maria runs from late May to late August; daytime temperatures are usually in the range of 12°C to 20°C (53F to 68F) and nighttime lows range from 0°C to 7°C (32F to 45F). Due to the wind, humidity and fog, it often feels much colder than that. Freak variations occur frequently, as temperatures might reach 28°C (82F) for a few days in the winter (but with cool nights) and then fall and stay below 5°C (41F) a few days later. Light frost is very frequent, and moderate frost also occurs. Rain is uncommon, snow even more so. In 2007, an unusual snowstorm brought over 10 cm (4 in) of snow to the city, and temperatures plummeted to -9°C (16F)once and descended below -5°C (23F)every night for an entire week. Spring is known for being windy with pleasant days and cool nights well into November; however, precipitation is most variable then: sometimes, the normal winter drought can last longer than expected; on other years, very severe thunderstorms bring hail and over 100 mm (4 inches) of rain in a few hours. Temperatures often change extremely quickly at this time: heat waves with 38°C (100F) might be followed by windy days and highs of 15°C (59F) and much colder nights. Frost is frequent until mid-September, but can occur even in early November. Annual precipitation ranges between 760 mm and 800 mm, and falls mostly in the summer.