Tarija was founded on July 4th, 1574 as Villa de San Bernardo de Tarija by Don Luis de Fuentes y Vargas. Its name was a tribute to Francisco de Tarija, a member of Almagro's expedition who was the first Spaniard to visit the valley.
In 1810, Tarija declared independence from the Spanish rule, but the Spanish crown did not pay attention to the rebel act. On April 15th, 1817 at the Batalla de la Tablada, Tarija's citizens won a major victory over the Spanish forces, but not the long awaited independence.
Later on, Argentina was keen to annex the agriculturally favourable area, but Tarija chose to become part of Bolivia which won its independence and formally established itself as a Republic in 1825.