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Departamento de Leales

Loyal is a department located in the east of the province of Tucumán in Argentina. It is bordered to the north by the Cruz Alta department, to the east by the Province of Santiago del Estero, to the south by the Simoca department and part of the Monteros department, and to the west by the Famaillá and Lules departments. Its head is the city of Bella Vista. The name Loyal, could originate in the existing link between this department and one of its main families: The Leal de Medina, taking the name of loyal of the community of Villa de Leales, since this community was the first in the area using its name as department name.

However, the historical background of this department dates back to the creation in 1780 of the "Mission of the Rio Grande" or the Curato of Los Juárez, parochial headquarters whose continuation is the current Parish Our Lady of the Candlemas of the Villa de Leales, around which the first village was formed on the banks of the Salí River. During the eighteenth century, this area was one of the main producers of mule and yegurizo cattle for sale to Upper Peru, highlighting the families Brito, Acosta, Delgado and Campero in this business. In the middle of the 19th century, with the political reforms of Governor Alejandro Heredia, the old Curato of Los Juárez was transformed into the new department of Los Leales. For that time, the main population centers were Villa de Loyal, Los Saueldos, Rio Colorado and Las Encrucijadas. In the year 1863, a violent flood of the Salí River, destroyed the Villa de Loyal, which was rebuilt in its current location.

Then, with the arrival of the Railroad to Tucumán in 1874, new towns were erected around the line of the railway line, favoring the installation of Ingenio Bella Vista in the town of Bajo Grande. This ingenuity, owned by Spanish immigrants named García Fernández, would be the sugar plantation that would promote sugarcane production during a large part of the 20th century until its closure in the 1970s. In the 1930s, Ingenio Loales was founded in Los Sueldos, owned by the Prat Gay family, currently in operation. In 1901 the Villa de Santa Rosa de Leales was founded, and by 1917 the railway that ran between San Miguel de Tucumán and Villa de Leales was inaugurated. In 1929, the tip of the rail of this branch would reach the town of Termas de Río Hondo in Santiago del Estero.

In 1914 the agricultural colony of Yutu Yacu was inaugurated by the government of Ernesto Padilla, now converted into the Experimental Colony of INTA, Loyal.