Santa Cruz de la Sierra (sän`tä kro͞os thā lä sēĕr`ä), city (1992 pop. 697,278), capital of Santa Cruz dept., central Bolivia, on the Piray River. A trade and processing center for sugar, rice, cotton, fruit, soy, and corn, it is of strategic and commercial importance because of its central location; there are also natural-gas reserves and an oil refinery nearby. Important industries are leather crafting, sugar refining, and alcohol production. A rail line gives the city access to both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Santa Cruz de la Sierra was founded in the 16th cent. and was an early Jesuit missionary center.