Founded in 1565, Tucumán hosted the congress that declared Argentine independence in 1816. Unlike other northwestern colonial cities, it successfully reoriented its economy after independence. At the southern end of the sugarcane zone, it was close enough to Buenos Aires to take advantage of the capital’s growing market. From 1874 the railway facilitated transportation and rapid growth. Economic crises have hit hard in the past, but sugarcane’s increasing use as a fuel source keeps locals optimistic.