History of Villa Unión

At present, Villa Unión is the head of the District of Coronel Felipe Varela. Both the town and the territory changed names several times ever since their creation in September, 1881. Their original name was Hornillos.

Long ago, groups of natives known as paziocas or cacanos used to be settled at this location. These were independent peoples who became organized in this area around 850. The petroglyphs and pictograms found in the overhangs and rocks of the various canyons of Banda Florida and Anchumbil date from those days.

These peoples stood out for their religious spirit and their talent for pottery. They practiced transhumance and obtained water to irrigate their crops from the Vinchina and the Bermejo Rivers. The Church of San Nicolás de Guandacol shelters mortal remains in jugs and vessels made by the natives according to the traditional customs of those tribes.

The Spanish arrived and settled down in this region after the Calchaquí Wars in 1680. The pass called Pircas Negras was the mandatory gorge joining the present territory of Cuyo with Salta and towards Chile.

The life of Villa Unión is linked to several neighboring sites such as Guandacol, Pagancillo and Aicuña, which were the battlefield of urban guerilla in 1860. Their main protagonist was Colonel Felipe Varela, military man and leader in command of the federal forces of this territory against the central government in Buenos Aires. He was known as Quijote de los Andes. Quite a controversial character.

One of his most famous deeds was his victory at Cuesta de Miranda, where he defeated the troops led by Colonel Linares. Instead, he himself was defeated at the battle called Pozo de Vargas before General Antonino Taboada. This resulted in his disrepute and exile in Chile, where he died years later.

The name of Villa Unión refers to the admission of those exiled from the town of Guandacol in the times of Brizuela and Doria's administration.

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