Catamaiua. I. A province of the Argentine Republic, lying between lat. 25° and 29D S., and lon. 60°' and 69° W., and bounded NT. by the province of Salta, E. by Tucuman and Santiago, S. by Rioja, and W. by the Chilian Andes; area, 35,000 sq. m.; pop. in 1869, 79,551, most of whom, with the exception of 411 foreigners, are mestizos and Indians of pure blood, descendants of the once numerous and formidable tribe of the Calchaquis. Catamar-ca, the most picturesque of all the Andine provinces, is intersected by lofty mountain chains, the highest and most generally known of which is the Sierra de Aconquija, nearly 17,000 feet high. Watercourses are very numerous, but the only one deserving the name of river is the Santa Maria. Most of the streams become dry in summer, but in winter they swell to enormous proportions and commit great ravages. Some of the elevated plains are entirely deprived of water and all moisture, being sandy deserts; while others are periodically inundated, and when the water subsides are covered with immense crystallized cakes of salt, which are cut into blocks of about 24 inches square, and transported on llamas to the neighboring provinces.
The principal other minerals are gold and silver, rich mines of which were formerly worked, but afterward abandoned, and copper, which is extracted in large quantities. The vegetable productions comprise nearly all the grains, fruits, and vegetables of tropical and temperate climates, apples being especially plentiful. Cotton, said to be the finest in the world, is raised, though much less extensively than formerly; and there are vast forests yielding many kinds of valuable timber. The inhabitants are mainly occupied in agriculture, the manufacture of earthenware, weaving of ponchos and horse covers, and other fabrics of llama, vicuna, and sheep's wool, and also of alpaca. Large herds of these animals, and likewise of horned cattle, asses, and mules, are raised for export. Ca-tamarca also exports raisins, tolerable wine, brandy, hides, leather, tobacco, red pepper, anise and cummin seeds, cochineal, copper in bars, etc. II. A city, capital of the province, situated in its centre, in a valley formed by the Ambato mountains, 725 m. N. W. of Buenos Ayres; pop. about 6,000. The streets are well laid out, and the houses, although extremely diverse in size, are strongly built and nearly all whitewashed, and surrounded by orange trees. The country immediately surrounding it is highly cultivated.
The chief occupation of the inhabitants is the manufacture of woollen and silk hats. There are several flour mills and some other industrial establishments.