/fawr moh"seuh/, n.

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 city, capital of Formosa provincia (province), northeastern Argentina, on the western bank of the Paraguay River, southwest of Asunción, Paraguay. It was founded in 1879 during the military conquest of the central Gran Chaco following the defeat of Paraguay in the War of the Triple Alliance (1864–70). It served as a headquarters for the newly established national territory of Gran Chaco (later subdivided into the national territory, then province, of Formosa).

      Formosa is a river port and agricultural processing centre that has experienced rapid growth since the 1960s. Cattle, cotton, and rice are raised nearby. Pop. (2001) 198,074.

      provincia (province), northern Argentina, lying within the Gran Chaco, a vast alluvial plain having poor drainage. It is covered with forests, grasslands, and marshes. Formosa is bordered by Paraguay (north and east). The Pilcomayo, Bermejo, and Paraguay rivers define its northern, southern, and eastern limits, respectively. Río Pilcomayo National Park, with an area of some 190 square miles (500 square km), abuts the Pilcomayo River near the confluence of the Paraguay River; large numbers of indigenous Indians live within the park together with a rich collection of fauna including the maned wolf, La Plata otter, and giant anteater.

      The territory was explored in 1528 by a Spanish expedition led by Sebastian Cabot and Diego García de Moguer. A Jesuit reducción (work mission) established in 1590 was destroyed by Indian raids in 1632. Except for occasional expeditions up the Pilcomayo and Bermejo rivers, the area remained virtually abandoned until 1763 when another reducción was built. Four years later the Jesuits were expelled from the New World, and until after the War of the Triple Alliance (1864–70), Formosa continued to be an extremely remote region visited only by punitive expeditions retaliating against Indian raids. Following the defeat of Paraguay, the disputed territory became officially integrated into Argentina. In 1879 the city of Formosa was founded to serve as the seat for territorial authorities; it is now the provincial capital. Formosa was organized as a national territory in 1884 and became a province in 1955.

      Agriculture (cotton, rice, bananas, and avocados) and cattle raising are the chief economic activities, but both are seriously handicapped by recurrent droughts and floods. A large water-control project on the El Riacho River was begun in the 1970s. Quebracho trees (from which tannin is extracted) grow wild in the forests, providing another source of income. Area 27,825 square miles (72,066 square km). Pop. (2001) 486,559.

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Universalium. 2010.

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