San Miguel de Tucumán (usually referred to as simply Tucumán) is the capital of the Tucumán Province, located in northern Argentina at 1,311 kilometres (815 mi) from Buenos Aires. The fifth-largest city of Argentina after Buenos Aires, Córdoba, Rosario and Mendoza, it is the most important city of Northern Argentina. The European city was founded in 1565 by Spanish Conquistador Diego de Villarroel during an expedition from present-day Peru, and was moved to its present site in 1685.
For decades, San Miguel de Tucumán has been one of the most outstanding cultural spots in the country, in part due to the influence of the prestigious National University of Tucumán. It has been the birthplace and/or the home of well-known personalities such as folk singer Mercedes Sosa, noted author Tomas Eloy Martínez, a professor at Rutgers University in the United States; musician Miguel Ángel Estrella, artist/architect Tomás Saraceno, botanist Miguel Lillo, painter Luis Lobo de la Vega, and many others.
Two large theatres (San Martín and Alberdi) and several smaller and independent theaters offer a wide array of events, including plays, concerts, operas, and ballet, all year round. The Septiembre Musical is by far the most important cultural event during the year. This music festival, generally held at Independence Square, brings together several local and national artists who perform different musical styles ranging from folk music to rock.
Universities in the city include the public National University of Tucumán and the National Technological University, and the private (and Catholic) Saint Thomas Aquinas University of the North and the Saint Paul T University.
Since August 2008, the city has been the location of trials of high-ranking former military officers charged with war crimes from the 1976–83 dictatorship. Luciano Menéndez, a former colonel, was convicted for crimes against humanity, including the kidnapping and disappearance of senator (Guillermo Vargas Aignasse) on the night of the golpe (coup) in 1976.
Many Abuelas de la Plaza de Mayo (Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo) have been seen in and around the Tucumán trials. The convictions of Menéndez and Ricardo Bussi were the first of this round of prosecution of military leaders of the Jorge Rafael Videla dictatorship. Their sentencings were seen as symbolic victories for the mothers and grandmothers whose children or husbands were “disappeared” by the military during that dark period of Argentine history.