Mendoza, city (1991 pop. 773,559), capital of Mendoza prov., W Argentina. With a backdrop of snowcapped mountains, Mendoza is surrounded by a fertile oasis, known as the "Garden of the Andes," irrigated by the Mendoza River. It is an agricultural market and the center of a rich wine-producing region, largely settled by Italian immigrants. Food processing and petrochemicals are also important to the city's economy. Mendoza was founded in 1561 and belonged to Chile until the creation of the viceroyalty of Río de la Plata (1776). Destroyed by earthquake in 1861, the town was rebuilt and expanded rapidly after the completion of the railroad to Buenos Aires late in the 19th cent. It was also the eastern terminus of the Transandine Railway. It was in Mendoza that San Martín began (1817) the final liberation of Chile from Spain. The city has three universities. Its landmarks include a Franciscan monastery where several Argentine national heroes are buried.