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Santa Cruz de la Sierra

Santa Cruz de la Sierra
Full nameSanta Cruz de la Sierra
Official nameSanta Cruz de la Sierra
DepartmentSanta Cruz
ProvinceAndrés Ibáñez
MunicipalitySanta Cruz de la Sierra
FoundedFebruary 26, 1561
TypeCity Governement
MayorPercy Fernandez
Total Area206.5 sq mi (535 km2)
Elevation1364.8 ft (416 m)
Total Population1616063 (2010)
Density (pop.)4215.24/km2 (10917.5/sq mi)
Metro (pop.)2102998
Other information
Time zoneUTC-4 (UTC)

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Santa Cruz de la Sierra, commonly known as Santa Cruz, is the capital of the Santa Cruz department in eastern Bolivia and the largest city in the country. Situated on the river Piray in Eastern Bolivia, the city of Santa Cruz and its metropolitan area are home to over 70% of the population of the department and it is one of the fastest growing cities in the world.

The city was first founded in 1561 by Spanish explorer Ñuflo de Chavez about 200 km east of its current location, and was moved several times until it was finally established on the Piray River in the late 16th century. For much of its history, Santa Cruz was mostly a small outpost town, and even after Bolivia gained its independence in 1825, there was little attention from the authorities or the population in general to settle the region. It was not until after World War II and profound agrarian and land reforms that the city began to grow at a very fast pace.

Nowadays, the city, and the Department of Santa Cruz, rank second in total population, produce nearly thirty percent of Bolivia's gross domestic product, and receive over forty percent of all the foreign direct investment in the country. This has helped make Santa Cruz the most important business center in Bolivia and the preferred destination of migrants from all over the country.

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