The tribe that originally inhabited the region called themselves Chichas and left some archaeological evidence of their existence. Despite this, little is known about their culture or language, and it’s assumed these were distinct from those of the tribes in neighboring areas of southern Bolivia and northern Argentina.

Officially, Tupiza was founded on June 4, 1574, by Captain Luis de Fuentes (who was also the founder of Tarija). From Tupiza’s inception through the War of Independence, its Spanish population grew steadily, lured by the favorable climate and suitable agricultural lands. Later, the discovery of minerals attracted even more settlers. More recently, campesinos (subsistence farmers) have drifted in from the countryside and many unemployed miners have settled here.