Tarija was founded as La Villa de San Bernardo de Tarixa by don Luis de Fuentes y Vargas on July 4, 1574, under the orders of Viceroy don Francisco de Toledo. He named the river flowing past the city the Guadalquivir (after Andalucía’s biggest river), and left the chapacos with a lilting dialect of European Spanish. In 1810 the region declared independence from Spanish rule. Although the breakaways weren’t taken seriously by the Spanish, the situation erupted into armed warfare on April 15, 1817 at the Batalla de la Tablada when the chapacos won a major victory over the Spanish forces.
In the early 19th century, Tarija actively supported Bolivia’s struggle for independence. Although Argentina wanted to annex the agriculturally favorable area, Tarija opted to join the Bolivian Republic when it was established in 1825.