The Big 20: Argentina’s Largest Cities San Juan

Okay, San Juan’s city population is not technically large enough to be as high as I have ranked it.  It only has a population of 112,000 people but the reason it is ranked among the largest is the cities metro area with over 500,000 living there.  The Province only has 681,000 people, so the vast majority of the population lives in the metro area of the city of San Juan.  If you googled San Juan and then pulled up the map you can see the city limits marked out in red and you can also see that there is a large section of the city not included in the official city limits.

A landscape picture from Valle de La Luna (Valley of the Moon) located in San Juan Province
A landscape picture from Valle de La Luna (Valley of the Moon) located in San Juan Province

The city was founded in 1562. The city was hit with a major earthquake in 1944 that killed over 10,000 people in the city and left over half the provincial population homeless.  Up until the 1944 earthquake the city had a Colonial look, but now has taken on a modern look since it’s reconstruction.

The most well known Argentinian from San Juan was Domingo Faustino Sarmiento who would become the seventh President of Argentina. He would be president from 1868 to 1874.  President Sarmiento’s story is a fascinating one. As a young man he would fight during Argentina’s civil war, he would be a proponent for freedom of the press (producing several publications himself down through the years), and he would live as an exile three different times in Chile. He become editor-in-chief of the newspaper El Nacional in 1855, then served as a Senator.  He was elected govornor of San Juan in 1862 then had a failed presidential run in 1864.  In 1865 he was sent to the United States as the ambassador from Argentina.  His time in the US impressed him and inspired him.  He would take back to Argentina many ideas of democracy and freedom which would help him begin a new era in Argentina as he became the president in 1868.  As president he would push education for children and women.  His desire was to create freedom for everyone in the country.  He pushed for the freedom of the press and for modernizing the country.  He died September 11th 1888 at the age of 77.  He is now pictured on the Argentinian 50 Pesos.

President Domingo Faustino Sarmiento
President Domingo Faustino Sarmiento


Back to the city.  As far as we know San Juan has only one Baptist Church and Pastor.  It is not only the only one in the city but it is also the only one in the whole province.  With a population of 600,000 people and only one Baptist church much more needs to be done here.  Please pray for more workers.

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