Argentina Declares Independence - History

Argentina Declares Independence - History

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Argentina Declares Independence
A provisional junta was established in the provinces of the Rio de la Plata (Argentina). They declared their independence from Spain. This began an ongoing war to insure independence.


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Argentina, country of South America, covering most of the southern portion of the continent. The world’s eighth largest country, Argentina occupies an area more extensive than Mexico and the U.S. state of Texas combined. It encompasses immense plains, deserts, tundra, and forests, as well as tall mountains, rivers, and thousands of miles of ocean shoreline. Argentina also claims a portion of Antarctica, as well as several islands in the South Atlantic, including the British-ruled Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas).

Argentina has long played an important role in the continent’s history. Following three centuries of Spanish colonization, Argentina declared independence in 1816, and Argentine nationalists were instrumental in revolutionary movements elsewhere, a fact that prompted 20th-century writer Jorge Luis Borges to observe, “South America’s independence was, to a great extent, an Argentine enterprise.” Torn by strife and occasional war between political factions demanding either central authority (based in Buenos Aires) or provincial autonomy, Argentina tended toward periods of caudillo, or strongman, leadership, most famously under the presidency of Juan Perón. The 1970s ushered in a period of military dictatorship and repression during which thousands of presumed dissidents were “disappeared,” or murdered this ended in the disastrous Falklands Islands War of 1982, when Argentina invaded the South Atlantic islands it claimed as its own and was defeated by British forces in a short but bloody campaign. Defeat led to the fall of the military regime and the reestablishment of democratic rule, which has since endured despite various economic crises.

The country’s name comes from the Latin word for silver, argentum, and Argentina is indeed a great source of valuable minerals. More important, however, has been Argentina’s production of livestock and cereals, for which it once ranked among the world’s wealthiest nations. Much of this agricultural activity is set in the Pampas, rich grasslands that were once the domain of nomadic Native Americans, followed by rough-riding gauchos, who were in turn forever enshrined in the nation’s romantic literature. As Borges describes them in his story The South, the Pampas stretch endlessly to the horizon, dwarfing the humans within them traveling from the capital toward Patagonia, the story’s protagonist, Señor Dahlmann, “saw horsemen along dirt roads he saw gullies and lagoons and ranches he saw long luminous clouds that resembled marble and all these things were casual, like dreams of the plain. The elemental earth was not perturbed either by settlements or other signs of humanity. The country was vast, but at the same time it was intimate and, in some measure, secret. The limitless country sometimes contained only a solitary bull. The solitude was perfect and perhaps hostile, and it might have occurred to Dahlmann that he was traveling into the past and not merely south.”

Despite the romantic lure of the Pampas and of vast, arid Patagonian landscapes, Argentina is a largely urban country. Buenos Aires, the national capital, has sprawled across the eastern Pampas with its ring of modern, bustling suburbs. It is among South America’s most cosmopolitan and crowded cities and is often likened to Paris or Rome for its architectural styles and lively nightlife. Its industries have drawn colonists from Italy, Spain, and numerous other countries, millions of whom immigrated in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Greater Buenos Aires is home to about one-third of the Argentine people. Among the country’s other major cities are Mar del Plata, La Plata, and Bahía Blanca on the Atlantic coast and Rosario, San Miguel de Tucumán, Córdoba, and Neuquén in the interior.

Argentina is shaped like an inverted triangle with its base at the top it is some 880 miles (1,420 km) across at its widest from east to west and stretches 2,360 miles (3,800 km) from the subtropical north to the subantarctic south. The country is bounded by Chile to the south and west, Bolivia and Paraguay to the north, and Brazil, Uruguay, and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. Its undulating Atlantic coastline stretches some 2,900 miles (4,700 km).

Argentina’s varied geography can be grouped into four major regions: the Andes, the North, the Pampas, and Patagonia. The Andean region extends some 2,300 miles (3,700 km) along the western edge of the country from Bolivia to southern Patagonia, forming most of the natural boundary with Chile. It is commonly subdivided into two parts: the Northwest and the Patagonian Andes, the latter of which is discussed below under Patagonia. The North is commonly described in terms of its two main divisions: the Gran Chaco, or Chaco, comprising the dry lowlands between the Andes and the Paraná River and Mesopotamia, an area between the Paraná and Uruguay rivers. The centrally located plains, or Pampas, are grasslands subdivided into arid western and more humid eastern parts called, respectively, the Dry Pampa and the Humid Pampa. Patagonia is the cold, parched, windy region that extends some 1,200 miles (1,900 km) south of the Pampas, from the Colorado River to Tierra del Fuego.

Argentina Early History

Between 15,000 and 10,000 BC BC people first settled in what is now Argentina. They came from the north. Some indigenous peoples were still living as hunters and gatherers when the first Europeans entered the country in the 16th century. In the pampas and in northern Patagonia, for example, the Het and in southern Patagonia the Tehuelches lived from hunting and wandered about. In Tierra del Fuego, the Yamaná lived as sea nomads: They moved around in canoes and lived from fishing.

Others, like the Diaguita in the north-west, farmed and lived in one place. They grew corn, beans, pumpkins, and quinoa. They kept the llama as a pet. The Guaraní lived in the northeast. The northwest belonged to the Inca Empire from 1450. Some Indian peoples such as the Kolla adopted the Inca language, Quechua.

Conquest by the Spaniards (16th century)

After Christopher Columbus discovered America, more and more Spaniards and other Europeans came to South America. They conquered the country by force and showed no consideration for the local population. Some peoples opposed the Spaniards until the 19th century, for example the Mapuches in Patagonia. But in the end the white settlers should gain the upper hand.

In 1536 Pedro de Mendoza founded Buenos Aires, today’s capital. However, its settlers had to give up the place again five years later, mainly because the Indians living here resisted submitting themselves to the Spaniards and serving them. In 1580 the city was re-established. In the meantime, other cities had sprung up in the northwest, from Peru.

Spanish colony

In 1542 the Spaniards founded the Viceroyalty of Peru, which initially comprised almost all of South America. Argentina was one of them. The Spanish conquerors forced the Indians to work on their estates. Many Indians died as a result of the cruel treatment by the conquerors or of illness. These had brought in the whites and the Indians had no defenses against the flu or measles.

The Jesuit Reductions (1609-1767)

In 1588 the Jesuits began to evangelize the Indians to Christianity. In 1609 they began to bring the indigenous population together in special settlements. These were called Jesuit reductions. The Jesuits wanted to protect the Indians from the violence of the Spanish conquerors and from slave hunters. On the other hand, their goal was to convert the Indians to the Christian God. This mission was based on the simultaneous recognition of the culture of the Indians.

Many of these settlements arose in an area of ​​the Guaraní that today belongs to the countries of Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil. In what is now Argentina, the area of ​​the Jesuit reductions lies in the northeast. Many Indians sought protection in the reductions. Spaniards were not allowed to enter the reductions.

These village communities were economically very successful, especially in agriculture and handicrafts – far more successful than the Spanish settlements. This led to resentment among the Spaniards. In addition, the attitude of the Jesuits towards the Indians did not correspond to the attitude of the Spanish colonial masters. There were repeated attacks on the reductions. In 1767 the Spanish king finally expelled the Jesuits and dissolved the reductions. The Spaniards hoped for rich income with the confiscated property, but this turned out to be a fallacy. The reductions fell apart.

Part of the Viceroyalty of Río de la Plata (1776-1816)

In 1717, the north of South America had already been split off from the viceroyalty of Peru as the viceroyalty of New Granada in order to better manage the large colony. In 1776 the south was also separated. Argentina no longer belonged to Peru, but with Paraguay, Uruguay and Bolivia to the viceroyalty of Río de la Plata. However, the south of the country remained sparsely populated and was not really under the control of the Spaniards.

Independence (1816)

The struggle for independence began throughout Latin America around 1800. In 1810 a government independent of Spain was formed in Buenos Aires (May Revolution). Argentina finally declared its independence from Spain in 1816, but still under the name United Provinces of the Río de la Plata. Paraguay had already split off in 1811, Bolivia followed in 1825 and Uruguay in 1828. In 1833 Argentina lost the Falkland Islands, which are 400 kilometers off the Argentine coast in the Atlantic, to Great Britain. To get more information on Argentine and South America, check youremailverifier.

The provinces of the Río de la Plata become Argentina (1862)

Until 1853, the provinces of Argentina were largely independent. Only afterwards did they come together to form a republic, which from 1862 was called Argentina. When Paraguay wanted to conquer land in 1864, Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay joined forces in the Triple Alliance War. Paraguay not only lost the war, but also had to surrender areas of its country. Argentina gained land in the north.

The desert campaign began in 1878: the areas in which the Indians had not allowed themselves to be subjugated were conquered militarily, namely in the Chaco, in the Pampas and in Patagonia. Many Indians died in this campaign. Settlers took the land and grew wheat there. It was urgently needed because the population grew rapidly.

Argentina becomes a country of immigration

Few people lived in Argentina. The government sought to bring people into the country in order to take over the sparsely populated areas in the south. The constitution of 1853 offered immigrants good conditions. In the following decades, mainly Italians and Spaniards, but also Germans, French, Poles and other Europeans came in the hope of making their fortune in the distant country.

From 1870 onwards there was an economic boom. Wheat and beef were successfully exported. It was not until the global economic crisis in 1929 that the upswing stopped. In addition, the country had missed industrialization and remained an agricultural country.

Argentina profile - Timeline

16th century - Spanish colonisation of the River Plate coast and inland areas begins.

1776 - Spain establishes separate Viceroyalty of the River Plate.

1810 - Viceroy overthrown, launching the war of independence.

1816 - Independence declared, followed by decades of turmoil, attempted foreign intervention, and civil war between centralist and federalist forces.

1861 - State of Buenos Aires finally reintegrated with Argentine Confederation to form a united country.

1880 - Start of decades of liberal economic and immigration policies that lead to rapid income and population growth as well as progressive education and social policies.

1908 - Argentina has seventh highest per capita income in the world.

1912 - Full adult male suffrage introduced.

1916 - Hipolito Yrigoyen of the Radical party is elected president and introduces a minimum wage to counter the effects of inflation. Mr Yrigoyen is elected again in 1928.

1930 - Armed forces coup ousts President Yrigoyen amid sharp economic downturn caused by Great Depression. Civilian rule is restored in 1932, but economic decline continues.

1942 - Argentina, along with Chile, refuses to break diplomatic relations with Japan and Germany after the Japanese attack on the US Pacific fleet at Pearl Harbour.

1943 - Nationalist army officers seize power in protest at stagnation and electoral fraud. One leading figures is Colonel Juan Peron.

1945 - Argentina declares war on Japan and Germany.

1946 - Juan Peron wins presidential election on a promise of higher wages and social security. His wife, Eva ɾvita' Peron is put in charge of labour relations.

1949 - A new constitution strengthens the power of the president. Opponents are imprisoned, independent newspapers are suppressed.

1951 - Peron is re-elected with a huge majority, but his support begins to decline after Evita dies the following year.

1955 August-September - Violent military uprisings drive President Peron to resign and go into exile.

1966 - General Juan Carlos Ongania seizes power after years of unstable civilian government.

1973 - The Peronist party wins elections in March, Peron becomes president in September.

1974 - Peron dies in July. His third wife, Isabel, succeeds him. Terrorism from right and left escalates, leaving hundreds dead amid strikes, protests and rampant inflation.

1976 - Armed forces seize power and launch ɽirty War' in which thousands are killed on suspicion of left-wing sympathies.

1982 April - Argentine forces occupy the British Falkland Islands, over which Argentina has long claimed sovereignty. British task force re-takes islands in June.

1983 - Junta, reeling from Falklands fiasco, restores democracy. Raul Alfonsin becomes president.

1989 - Carlos Menem of the Peronist party is elected president. He imposes an economic austerity programme.

1990 - Full diplomatic relations with the United Kingdom are restored, although Argentina maintains claim to Falklands.

1992 - Argentina introduces a new currency, the peso, which is pegged to the US dollar.

1994 - A Jewish community centre in Buenos Aires is bombed, 86 people are killed, and more than 200 injured in Argentina's worst terrorist atrocity. Prosecutors accuse Iran and its Lebanese Hezbollah allies of responsibility.

1999 - Fernando de la Rua of the centre-left Alianza opposition coalition wins the presidency, inherits 114 billion-dollar public debt after a year of recession.

2001 July - Much of the country is brought to a standstill by a general strike in protest against proposed government spending cuts. Country's credit ratings slip.

Return of the Peronists

2001 October - The opposition Peronists take control of both houses of parliament in congressional elections.

2001 December - IMF stops $1.3bn in aid, banks shut down. President De la Rua resigns after at least 25 people die in rioting.

2002 January - Congress elects Peronist Senator Eduardo Duhalde as caretaker president. Within days the government devalues the peso, ending 10 years of parity with the US dollar.

2002 November - Argentina defaults on an $800m debt repayment to the World Bank.

2003 May - Mainstream Peronist candidate Nestor Kirchner wins presidential election.

2003 September - After weeks of negotiations Argentina and IMF agree on debt-refinancing deal under which Buenos Aires will only pay interest on its loans.

2005 June - Supreme Court approves repeal of amnesty law that had protected former military officers suspected of human rights abuses during military rule in 1976-1983. Congress voted to scrap the amnesty in 2003.

2006 January - Argentina repays its multi-billion-dollar debt to the IMF.

2007 December - Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner is elected president, succeeding her husband Nestor Kirchner.

2009 July - Legislative elections result in President Fernandez's Peronist party losing its absolute majorities in both houses of parliament.

2009 December - Argentine parliament passes law claiming Falkland Islands and several other British overseas territories in the area.

2010 February - Argentina imposes new controls on ships passing through its waters to Falkland Islands in response to plans by a British company to drill for oil near the islands.

2011 October - Benefiting from strong economic growth, President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner wins a second term with a landslide 54% of the vote.

2012 November - Congress approves a law to lower the voting age to 16.

2013 February - Argentina becomes the first country to be censured by the International Monetary Fund for not providing accurate data on inflation and economic growth, under a procedure that can end in expulsion.

2013 March - Falkland Islanders vote overwhelmingly in favour of remaining a British overseas territory.

Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires is chosen as Pope. He is the first Latin American to lead the Roman Catholic Church, and takes the name of Francis.

2014 July - Argentina defaults on its international debt for the second time in 13 years, after failing to resolve its differences with US hedge funds that hold 1.3bn dollars worth of bonds, bought at a discount after the country last defaulted.

2015 January - Prominent prosecutor Alberto Nisman is found dead in mysterious circumstances, after accusing the government of a cover-up over the country's worst terrorist attack - the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community centre in Buenos Aires that left 85 people dead.

2015 November - Conservative Mayor of Buenos Aires Mauricio Macri beats Peronist Daniel Scioli in run-off presidential election, takes office in December.

2016 February - Argentina agrees to settle multi-billion-dollar dispute with US hedge funds over bond repayments, which had restricted the country's access to international credit markets.

2016 December - Britain and Argentina sign an agreement to identify the remains of 123 Argentine soldiers who died in the Falklands War.

2017 October - Mr Macri's coalition wins decisively in a parliamentary election seen as a referendum on his market reform policies.

2018 May - Government raises interest rates dramatically in an effort to shore up the tumbling value of the peso currency.

2019 October - Peronist candidate Alberto Fernández wins the presidential election, becoming the first challenger to oust a sitting Argentinean president.


The description of the region by the word Argentina has been found on a Venetian map in 1536. [34]

In English, the name "Argentina" comes from the Spanish language however, the naming itself is not Spanish, but Italian. Argentina (masculine argentino) means in Italian "(made) of silver, silver coloured", probably borrowed from the Old French adjective argentine "(made) of silver" > "silver coloured" already mentioned in the 12th century. [35] The French word argentine is the feminine form of argentin and derives from argent "silver" with the suffix -in (same construction as Old French acerin "(made) of steel", from acier "steel" + -in, or sapin "(made) of fir wood", from OF sap "fir" + -in). The Italian naming "Argentina" for the country implies Terra Argentina "land of silver" or Costa Argentina "coast of silver". In Italian, the adjective or the proper noun is often used in an autonomous way as a substantive and replaces it and it is said l'Argentina.

The name Argentina was probably first given by the Venetian and Genoese navigators, such as Giovanni Caboto. In Spanish and Portuguese, the words for "silver" are respectively plata and prata and "(made) of silver" is plateado and prateado. Argentina was first associated with the silver mountains legend, widespread among the first European explorers of the La Plata Basin. [36]

The first written use of the name in Spanish can be traced to La Argentina, [C] a 1602 poem by Martín del Barco Centenera describing the region. [37] Although "Argentina" was already in common usage by the 18th century, the country was formally named "Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata" by the Spanish Empire, and "United Provinces of the Río de la Plata" after independence.

The 1826 constitution included the first use of the name "Argentine Republic" in legal documents. [38] The name "Argentine Confederation" was also commonly used and was formalized in the Argentine Constitution of 1853. [39] In 1860 a presidential decree settled the country's name as "Argentine Republic", [40] and that year's constitutional amendment ruled all the names since 1810 as legally valid. [41] [D]

In English, the country was traditionally called "the Argentine", mimicking the typical Spanish usage la Argentina [42] and perhaps resulting from a mistaken shortening of the fuller name 'Argentine Republic'. 'The Argentine' fell out of fashion during the mid-to-late 20th century, and now the country is simply referred to as "Argentina".

In Spanish, "Argentina" is feminine ("La [República] Argentina"), taking the feminine article "la", as the initial syllable of "Argentina" is unstressed. [43]

Pre-Columbian era

The earliest traces of human life in the area now known as Argentina are dated from the Paleolithic period, with further traces in the Mesolithic and Neolithic. [19] Until the period of European colonization, Argentina was relatively sparsely populated by a wide number of diverse cultures with different social organizations, [44] which can be divided into three main groups. [45] The first group are basic hunters and food gatherers without development of pottery, such as the Selknam and Yaghan in the extreme south. The second group are advanced hunters and food gatherers which include the Puelche, Querandí and Serranos in the centre-east and the Tehuelche in the south—all of them conquered by the Mapuche spreading from Chile [46] —and the Kom and Wichi in the north. The last group are farmers with pottery, like the Charrúa, Minuane and Guaraní in the northeast, with slash and burn semisedentary existence [44] the advanced Diaguita sedentary trading culture in the northwest, which was conquered by the Inca Empire around 1480 the Toconoté and Hênîa and Kâmîare in the country's centre, and the Huarpe in the centre-west, a culture that raised llama cattle and was strongly influenced by the Incas. [44]

Colonial era

Europeans first arrived in the region with the 1502 voyage of Amerigo Vespucci. The Spanish navigators Juan Díaz de Solís and Sebastian Cabot visited the territory that is now Argentina in 1516 and 1526, respectively. [20] In 1536 Pedro de Mendoza founded the small settlement of Buenos Aires, which was abandoned in 1541. [47]

Further colonization efforts came from Paraguay—establishing the Governorate of the Río de la Plata—Peru and Chile. [48] Francisco de Aguirre founded Santiago del Estero in 1553. Londres was founded in 1558 Mendoza, in 1561 San Juan, in 1562 San Miguel de Tucumán, in 1565. [49] Juan de Garay founded Santa Fe in 1573 and the same year Jerónimo Luis de Cabrera set up Córdoba. [50] Garay went further south to re-found Buenos Aires in 1580. [51] San Luis was established in 1596. [49]

The Spanish Empire subordinated the economic potential of the Argentine territory to the immediate wealth of the silver and gold mines in Bolivia and Peru, and as such it became part of the Viceroyalty of Peru until the creation of the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata in 1776 with Buenos Aires as its capital. [52]

Buenos Aires repelled two ill-fated British invasions in 1806 and 1807. [53] The ideas of the Age of Enlightenment and the example of the first Atlantic Revolutions generated criticism of the absolutist monarchy that ruled the country. As in the rest of Spanish America, the overthrow of Ferdinand VII during the Peninsular War created great concern. [54]

Independence and civil wars

Beginning a process from which Argentina was to emerge as successor state to the Viceroyalty, [21] the 1810 May Revolution replaced the viceroy Baltasar Hidalgo de Cisneros with the First Junta, a new government in Buenos Aires composed by locals. [54] In the first clashes of the Independence War the Junta crushed a royalist counter-revolution in Córdoba, [55] but failed to overcome those of the Banda Oriental, Upper Peru and Paraguay, which later became independent states. [56] The French-Argentine Hippolyte Bouchard then brought his fleet to wage war against Spain overseas and attacked Spanish California, Spanish Chile, Spanish Peru and Spanish Philippines. He secured the allegiance of escaped Filipinos in San Blas who defected from the Spanish to join the Argentine navy, due to common Argentine and Philippine greivances against Spanish colonization. [57] [58] At a later date, the Argentine Sun of May was adopted as a symbol by the Filipinos in the Philippine Revolution against Spain. He also secured the diplomatic recognition of Argentina from King Kamehameha I of the Kingdom of Hawaii. Historian Pacho O'Donnell affirms that Hawaii was the first state that recognized Argentina's independence. [59]

Revolutionaries split into two antagonist groups: the Centralists and the Federalists—a move that would define Argentina's first decades of independence. [60] The Assembly of the Year XIII appointed Gervasio Antonio de Posadas as Argentina's first Supreme Director. [60]

On 9 July 1816, the Congress of Tucumán formalized the Declaration of Independence, [61] which is now celebrated as Independence Day, a national holiday. [62] One year later General Martín Miguel de Güemes stopped royalists on the north, and General José de San Martín took an army across the Andes and secured the independence of Chile then he led the fight to the Spanish stronghold of Lima and proclaimed the independence of Peru. [63] [E] In 1819 Buenos Aires enacted a centralist constitution that was soon abrogated by federalists. [65]

The 1820 Battle of Cepeda, fought between the Centralists and the Federalists, resulted in the end of the Supreme Director rule. In 1826 Buenos Aires enacted another centralist constitution, with Bernardino Rivadavia being appointed as the first president of the country. However, the interior provinces soon rose against him, forced his resignation and discarded the constitution. [66] Centralists and Federalists resumed the civil war the latter prevailed and formed the Argentine Confederation in 1831, led by Juan Manuel de Rosas. [67] During his regime he faced a French blockade (1838–1840), the War of the Confederation (1836–1839), and a combined Anglo-French blockade (1845–1850), but remained undefeated and prevented further loss of national territory. [68] His trade restriction policies, however, angered the interior provinces and in 1852 Justo José de Urquiza, another powerful caudillo, beat him out of power. As new president of the Confederation, Urquiza enacted the liberal and federal 1853 Constitution. Buenos Aires seceded but was forced back into the Confederation after being defeated in the 1859 Battle of Cepeda. [69]

Rise of the modern nation

Overpowering Urquiza in the 1861 Battle of Pavón, Bartolomé Mitre secured Buenos Aires predominance and was elected as the first president of the reunified country. He was followed by Domingo Faustino Sarmiento and Nicolás Avellaneda these three presidencies set up the bases of the modern Argentine State. [70]

Starting with Julio Argentino Roca in 1880, ten consecutive federal governments emphasized liberal economic policies. The massive wave of European immigration they promoted—second only to the United States'—led to a near-reinvention of Argentine society and economy that by 1908 had placed the country as the seventh wealthiest [25] developed nation [26] in the world. Driven by this immigration wave and decreasing mortality, the Argentine population grew fivefold and the economy 15-fold: [71] from 1870 to 1910 Argentina's wheat exports went from 100,000 to 2,500,000 t (110,000 to 2,760,000 short tons) per year, while frozen beef exports increased from 25,000 to 365,000 t (28,000 to 402,000 short tons) per year, [72] placing Argentina as one of the world's top five exporters. [73] Its railway mileage rose from 503 to 31,104 km (313 to 19,327 mi). [74] Fostered by a new public, compulsory, free and secular education system, literacy quickly increased from 22% to 65%, a level higher than most Latin American nations would reach even fifty years later. [73] Furthermore, real GDP grew so fast that despite the huge immigration influx, per capita income between 1862 and 1920 went from 67% of developed country levels to 100%: [74] In 1865, Argentina was already one of the top 25 nations by per capita income. By 1908, it had surpassed Denmark, Canada and the Netherlands to reach 7th place—behind Switzerland, New Zealand, Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom and Belgium. Argentina's per capita income was 70% higher than Italy's, 90% higher than Spain's, 180% higher than Japan's and 400% higher than Brazil's. [25] Despite these unique achievements, the country was slow to meet its original goals of industrialization: [75] after steep development of capital-intensive local industries in the 1920s, a significant part of the manufacture sector remained labour-intensive in the 1930s. [76]

Between 1878 and 1884 the so-called Conquest of the Desert occurred, with the purpose of giving by means of the constant confrontations between natives and Criollos in the border, [78] and the appropriation of the indigenous territories, tripling the Argentine territory. The first conquest, consisted of a series of military incursions into the Pampa and Patagonian territories dominated by the indigenous peoples, [79] distributing them among the members of the Sociedad Rural Argentina, financiers of the expeditions. [80] The conquest of Chaco lasted up to the end of the century, [81] since its full ownership of the national economic system only took place when the mere extraction of wood and tannin was replaced by the production of cotton. [82] The Argentine government considered indigenous people as inferior beings, without the same rights as Criollos and Europeans. [83]

In 1912, President Roque Sáenz Peña enacted universal and secret male suffrage, which allowed Hipólito Yrigoyen, leader of the Radical Civic Union (or UCR), to win the 1916 election. He enacted social and economic reforms and extended assistance to small farms and businesses. Argentina stayed neutral during World War I. The second administration of Yrigoyen faced an economic crisis, precipitated by the Great Depression. [84]

In 1930, Yrigoyen was ousted from power by the military led by José Félix Uriburu. Although Argentina remained among the fifteen richest countries until mid-century, [25] this coup d'état marks the start of the steady economic and social decline that pushed the country back into underdevelopment. [30]

Uriburu ruled for two years then Agustín Pedro Justo was elected in a fraudulent election, and signed a controversial treaty with the United Kingdom. Argentina stayed neutral during World War II, a decision that had full British support but was rejected by the United States after the attack on Pearl Harbor. In 1943 a military coup d'état, lead by General Arturo Rawson toppled the democratically elected government of Ramón Castillo. Under pressure from the United States, later Argentina declared war on the Axis Powers (on 27 March 1945, roughly a month before the end of World War II in Europe).

During Rawson dictatorship a relatively unknown military colonel named Juan Domingo Perón was named head of the Labour Department. Perón quickly managed climb the political ladder, being named Ministry of Defence by 1944. Being perceived as a political threat by rivals faction in the military and the conservative camp he was forced to resign in 1945 and was arrested days later. He was later released under mounting pressure from both his base and several allied unions. [85] He would later become president after a landslide victory over the UCR in the 1946 general election as the laborioust candidate. [86]

Peronist years

The Labour Party later renamed Justicialist Party, the most powerful and influential party in Argentine history, came into power with the rise of Juan Domingo Perón to the presidency in 1946. He nationalized strategic industries and services, improved wages and working conditions, paid the full external debt and claimed he achieved nearly full employment. He pushed Congress to enact women's suffrage in 1947, [87] and developed a system of social assistance for the most vulnerable sectors of society. [88] The economy began to decline in 1950 due in part to government expenditures and the protectionist economic policies.

He also engaged in a campaign of political suppression. Anyone who was perceived to be a political dissident or potential rival were subject to threats, physical violence and harassment. The Argentine intelligentsia, the middle-class, university students, and professors were seen as particularly troublesome. Perón fired over 2,000 university professors and faculty members from all major public education institutions. [89]

Perón tried to bring under his thumb most trade and labour unions, regularly resorting to violence when needed. For instance, the meat-packers union leader, Cipriano Reyes, organised strikes in protest against the government after elected labour movement officials were forcefully replaced by Peronist puppets from the Peronist Party. Reyes was soon arrested on charges of terrorism, though the allegations were never substantiated. Reyes was tortured in prison for five years and was only released after the regime's downfall in 1955 without any formal charges. [90]

Perón managed to get reelected in 1951. Eva Perón, his wife who played a critical role in the party, died of cancer in 1952. As the economy continued to tank, Perón started losing popular support. Seen as a threat to the national process and taking advantage of Perón's withering political power, the Navy bombed the Plaza de Mayo in 1955. Perón survived the attack but a few months later, during the Liberating Revolution coup, was deposed and went into exile in Spain. [91]

Revolución Libertadora

The new head of State, Pedro Eugenio Aramburu, proscribed Peronism and banned the party from any future elections. Arturo Frondizi from the UCR won the 1958 general election. [92] He encouraged investment to achieve energetic and industrial self-sufficiency, reversed a chronic trade deficit and lifted the ban on Peronism yet his efforts to stay on good terms with both the Peronists and the military earned him the rejection of both and a new coup forced him out. [93] Amidst the political turmoil, Senate leader José María Guido reacted swiftly and applied anti-power vacuum legislation, ascending to the presidency himself elections were repealed and Peronism was prohibited once again. Arturo Illia was elected in 1963 and led an increase in prosperity across the board however he was overthrown in 1966 by another military coup d'état led by General Juan Carlos Onganía in the self-proclaimed Argentine Revolution, creating a new military government that sought to rule indefinitely. [94]

Perón's return and death

Following several years of military rule, Alejandro Agustín Lanusse was appointed president by the military junta in 1971. Under increasing political pressure for the return of democracy, Lanusse called for elections in 1973. Perón was banned from running but the Peronist party was allowed to participate. The presidential elections were won by Hector Cámpora, Perón's surrogate candidate. Dr. Héctor Cámpora, a left-wing Peronist, took office on 25 May 1973, and a month later in June, Perón had returned from Spain. One of Cámpora's first presidential actions was the granting of amnesty to members of terrorist organizations who had carried out political assassinations and terrorist attacks, and who had been tried and sentenced to prison by judges. Cámpora's months-long tenure in government was beset by political and social unrest. Over 600 social conflicts, strikes, and factory occupations took place within a single month. [95] Even though far-left terrorist organisations had suspended their armed struggle, their joining with the participatory democracy process was interpreted as a direct threat by the Peronist right-wing faction. [96]

In a state of political, social, and economic upheaval, Cámpora and Vice President Vicente Solano Lima resigned in July 1973, calling for new elections, but this time with Perón as the Justicialist Party nominee. Perón won the election with his wife Isabel Perón as vice president. Perón's third term was marked by the escalating conflict between left and right-wing factions within the Peronist party, as well as the return of armed terror guerrilla groups like the Guevarist ERP, leftist Peronist Montoneros, and the state-backed far-right Triple A. After a series of heart attacks and with signs of pneumonia in 1974, Perón's health deteriorated quickly. Perón suffered a final heart attack on Monday, 1 July 1974, and died at 13:15. He was 78 years old. After his death, Isabel Perón, his wife and Vice President, came into office.

Isabel, born María Estela Martínez Cartas, a grade school drop-out [97] and a former nightclub dancer, proved to be a thoroughly incompetent and weak president. During her presidency, a military junta along with the Peronists' far-right fascist faction became once again the de facto head of state. She served as President of Argentina from 1974 until 1976 when she was ousted by the military. Her short presidency was marked by the collapse of Argentine political and social systems and led to a constitutional crisis paving the way for a decade of instability, left-wing terrorist guerrilla attacks, and state-sponsored terrorism.

National Reorganization Process

The "Dirty War" (Spanish: Guerra Sucia) was part of Operation Condor, which included the participation of other right-wing dictatorships in the Southern Cone. The Dirty War involved state terrorism in Argentina and elsewhere in the Southern Cone against political dissidents, with military and security forces employing urban and rural violence against left-wing guerrillas, political dissidents, and anyone believed to be associated with socialism or somehow contrary to the neoliberal economic policies of the regime. [98] [99] [100] Victims of the violence in Argentina alone included an estimated 15,000 to 30,000 left-wing activists and militants, including trade unionists, students, journalists, Marxists, Peronist guerrillas, [101] and alleged sympathizers. Most of the victims were casualties of state terrorism. The opposing guerrillas' victims numbered nearly 500–540 military and police officials [102] and up to 230 civilians. [103] Argentina received technical support and military aid from the United States government during the Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, and Reagan administrations.

The exact chronology of the repression is still debated, yet the roots of the long political war may have started in 1969 when trade unionists were targeted for assassination by Peronist and Marxist paramilitaries. Individual cases of state-sponsored terrorism against Peronism and the left can be traced back even further to the Bombing of Plaza de Mayo in 1955. The Trelew massacre of 1972, the actions of the Argentine Anticommunist Alliance commencing in 1973, and Isabel Martínez de Perón's "annihilation decrees" against left-wing guerrillas during Operativo Independencia (Operation Independence) in 1975, are also possible events signaling the beginning of the Dirty War.

Onganía shut down Congress, banned all political parties, and dismantled student and worker unions. In 1969, popular discontent led to two massive protests: the Cordobazo and the Rosariazo. The terrorist guerrilla organization Montoneros kidnapped and executed Aramburu. [104] The newly chosen head of government, Alejandro Agustín Lanusse, seeking to ease the growing political pressure, allowed Héctor José Cámpora to become the Peronist candidate instead of Perón. Cámpora won the March 1973 election, issued pardons for condemned guerrilla members, and then secured Perón's return from his exile in Spain. [105]

On the day Perón returned to Argentina, the clash between Peronist internal factions—right-wing union leaders and left-wing youth from the Montoneros—resulted in the Ezeiza Massacre. Overwhelmed by political violence, Cámpora resigned and Perón won the following September 1973 election with his third wife Isabel as vice-president. He expelled Montoneros from the party [106] and they became once again a clandestine organization. José López Rega organized the Argentine Anticommunist Alliance (AAA) to fight against them and the People's Revolutionary Army (ERP). Perón died in July 1974 and was succeeded by his wife, who signed a secret decree empowering the military and the police to "annihilate" the left-wing subversion, [107] stopping ERP's attempt to start a rural insurgence in Tucumán province. [108] Isabel Perón was ousted one year later by a junta of the combined armed forces, led by army general Jorge Rafael Videla. They initiated the National Reorganization Process, often shortened to Proceso. [109]

The Proceso shut down Congress, removed the judges on the Supreme Court, banned political parties and unions, and resorted to employing the forced disappearance of suspected guerrilla members including individuals suspected to be associated with the left-wing. By the end of 1976, the Montoneros had lost nearly 2,000 members and by 1977, the ERP was completely subdued. Nevertheless, the severely weakened Montoneros launched a counterattack in 1979, which was quickly put down, effectively ending the guerrilla threat and securing the junta's position in power.

In 1982, the head of state, General Leopoldo Galtieri, authorised the invasion of the British-claimed territories of South Georgia and, on 2 April, of the Falkland Islands. The occupation provoked a military response from the United Kingdom leading to the Falklands War. Argentine forces were defeated and formally surrendered to British troops on 14 June. Street riots in Buenos Aires followed the defeat and the military leadership responsible for the humiliation withdrew. [110] Reynaldo Bignone replaced Galtieri and began to organize the transition to democratic governance. [111]

Return to democracy

Raúl Alfonsín won the 1983 elections campaigning for the prosecution of those responsible for human rights violations during the Proceso: the Trial of the Juntas and other martial courts sentenced all the coup's leaders but, under military pressure, he also enacted the Full Stop and Due Obedience laws, [112] [113] which halted prosecutions further down the chain of command. The worsening economic crisis and hyperinflation reduced his popular support and the Peronist Carlos Menem won the 1989 election. Soon after, riots forced Alfonsín to an early resignation. [114]

Menem embraced and enacted neoliberal policies: [115] a fixed exchange rate, business deregulation, privatizations, and the dismantling of protectionist barriers normalized the economy in the short term. He pardoned the officers who had been sentenced during Alfonsín's government. The 1994 Constitutional Amendment allowed Menem to be elected for a second term. With the economy beginning to decline in 1995, and with increasing unemployment and recession [116] , the UCR, led by Fernando de la Rúa, returned to the presidency in the 1999 elections. [117]

De la Rúa left in effect Menem's economic plan despite the worsening crisis, which led to growing social discontent. [116] Massive capital flight from the country was responded to with a freezing of bank accounts, generating further turmoil. The December 2001 riots forced him to resign. [118] Congress appointed Eduardo Duhalde as acting president, who revoked the fixed exchange rate established by Menem, [119] causing many working- and middle-class Argentines to lose a significant portion of their savings. By late 2002, the economic crisis began to recede, but the assassination of two piqueteros by the police caused political unrest, prompting Duhalde to move elections forward. [120] Néstor Kirchner was elected as the new president. [121]

Boosting the neo-Keynesian economic policies [120] laid by Duhalde, Kirchner ended the economic crisis attaining significant fiscal and trade surpluses, and rapid GDP growth. [122] Under his administration, Argentina restructured its defaulted debt with an unprecedented discount of about 70% on most bonds, paid off debts with the International Monetary Fund, [123] purged the military of officers with dubious human rights records, [124] nullified and voided the Full Stop and Due Obedience laws, [125] [F] ruled them as unconstitutional, and resumed legal prosecution of the Junta's crimes. He did not run for reelection, promoting instead the candidacy of his wife, senator Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who was elected in 2007 [127] and subsequently reelected in 2011. Fernández de Kirchner's administration established positive foreign relations with countries with questionable human rights records, including Venezuela, Iran, and Cuba, while at the same time relations with the United States and United Kingdom became increasingly strained. By 2015, the Argentine GDP grew by 2.7% [128] and real incomes had risen over 50% since the post-Menem era. [129] Despite these economic gains and increased renewable energy production and subsidies, the overall economy had been sluggish since 2011. [130]

On 22 November 2015, after a tie in the first round of presidential elections on 25 October, center-right coalition candidate Mauricio Macri won the first ballotage in Argentina's history, beating Front for Victory candidate Daniel Scioli and becoming president-elect. Macri was the first democratically elected non-peronist president since 1916 that managed to complete his term in office without being overthrown. [131] He took office on 10 December 2015 and inherited an economy with a high inflation rate and in a poor shape. In April 2016, the Macri Government introduced neoliberal austerity measures intended to tackle inflation and overblown public deficits. [132] Under Macri's administration, economic recovery remained elusive with GDP shrinking 3.4%, inflation totaling 240%, billions of US dollars issued in sovereign debt, and mass poverty increasing by the end of his term. [133] [134] He ran for re-election in 2019 but lost by nearly eight percentage points to Alberto Fernández, the Justicialist Party candidate.

President Alberto Fernández and Vice President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner took office in December 2019, just months before the COVID-19 pandemic hit Argentina and among accusations of corruption, bribery and misuse of public funds during Nestor and Cristina Fernández de Kirchner's presidencies. [135] [136]

With a mainland surface area of 2,780,400 km 2 (1,073,518 sq mi), [B] Argentina is located in southern South America, sharing land borders with Chile across the Andes to the west [138] Bolivia and Paraguay to the north Brazil to the northeast, Uruguay and the South Atlantic Ocean to the east [139] and the Drake Passage to the south [140] for an overall land border length of 9,376 km (5,826 mi). Its coastal border over the Río de la Plata and South Atlantic Ocean is 5,117 km (3,180 mi) long. [139]

Argentina's highest point is Aconcagua in the Mendoza province (6,959 m (22,831 ft) above sea level), [141] also the highest point in the Southern and Western Hemispheres. [142] The lowest point is Laguna del Carbón in the San Julián Great Depression Santa Cruz province (−105 m (−344 ft) below sea level, [141] also the lowest point in the Southern and Western Hemispheres, and the seventh lowest point on Earth) [143]

The northernmost point is at the confluence of the Grande de San Juan and Río Mojinete rivers in Jujuy province the southernmost is Cape San Pío in Tierra del Fuego province the easternmost is northeast of Bernardo de Irigoyen, Misiones and the westernmost is within Los Glaciares National Park in Santa Cruz province. [139] The maximum north–south distance is 3,694 km (2,295 mi), while the maximum east–west one is 1,423 km (884 mi). [139]

Some of the major rivers are the Paraná, Uruguay—which join to form the Río de la Plata, Paraguay, Salado, Negro, Santa Cruz, Pilcomayo, Bermejo and Colorado. [144] These rivers are discharged into the Argentine Sea, the shallow area of the Atlantic Ocean over the Argentine Shelf, an unusually wide continental platform. [145] Its waters are influenced by two major ocean currents: the warm Brazil Current and the cold Falklands Current. [146]


Argentina is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world [147] hosting one of the greatest ecosystem varieties in the world: 15 continental zones, 2 marine zones, and the Antarctic region are all represented in its territory. [147] This huge ecosystem variety has led to a biological diversity that is among the world's largest: [147] [148]

  • 9,372 cataloged vascular plant species (ranked 24th) [G]
  • 1,038 cataloged bird species (ranked 14th) [H]
  • 375 cataloged mammal species (ranked 12th) [I]
  • 338 cataloged reptilian species (ranked 16th)
  • 162 cataloged amphibian species (ranked 19th)

The original pampa had virtually no trees some imported species like the American sycamore or eucalyptus are present along roads or in towns and country estates (estancias). The only tree-like plant native to the pampa is the evergreen Ombú. The surface soils of the pampa are a deep black color, primarily mollisols, known commonly as humus. This makes the region one of the most agriculturally productive on Earth however, this is also responsible for decimating much of the original ecosystem, to make way for commercial agriculture. The western pampas receive less rainfall, this dry pampa is a plain of short grasses or steppe. [ citation needed ]

The National Parks of Argentina make up a network of 35 national parks in Argentina. The parks cover a very varied set of terrains and biotopes, from Baritú National Park on the northern border with Bolivia to Tierra del Fuego National Park in the far south of the continent. The Administración de Parques Nacionales (National Parks Administration) is the agency that preserves and manages these national parks along with Natural monuments and National Reserves within the country. [149]

Argentina had a 2018 Forest Landscape Integrity Index mean score of 7.21/10, ranking it 47th globally out of 172 countries. [150]


In general, Argentina has four main climate types: warm, moderate, arid, and cold, all determined by the expanse across latitude, range in altitude, and relief features. [152] [153] Although the most populated areas are generally temperate, Argentina has an exceptional amount of climate diversity, [154] ranging from subtropical in the north to polar in the far south. [155] Consequently, there is a wide variety of biomes in the country, including subtropical rain forests, semi-arid and arid regions, temperate plains in the Pampas, and cold subantarctic in the south. [156] The average annual precipitation ranges from 150 millimetres (6 in) in the driest parts of Patagonia to over 2,000 millimetres (79 in) in the westernmost parts of Patagonia and the northeastern parts of the country. [154] Mean annual temperatures range from 5 °C (41 °F) in the far south to 25 °C (77 °F) in the north. [154]

Major wind currents include the cool Pampero Winds blowing on the flat plains of Patagonia and the Pampas following the cold front, warm currents blow from the north in middle and late winter, creating mild conditions. [157] The Sudestada usually moderates cold temperatures but brings very heavy rains, rough seas and coastal flooding. It is most common in late autumn and winter along the central coast and in the Río de la Plata estuary. [157] The Zonda, a hot dry wind, affects Cuyo and the central Pampas. Squeezed of all moisture during the 6,000 m (19,685 ft) descent from the Andes, Zonda winds can blow for hours with gusts up to 120 km/h (75 mph), fueling wildfires and causing damage between June and November, when the Zonda blows, snowstorms and blizzard (viento blanco) conditions usually affect higher elevations. [158]

Climate change in Argentina is predicted to have significant effects on the living conditions in Argentina. [159] : 30 The climate of Argentina is changing with regards to precipitation patterns and temperatures. The highest increases in the precipitation (from the period 1960–2010) have occurred in the eastern parts of the country. The increase in precipitation has led to more variability in precipitation from year to year in the northern parts of the country, with a higher risk of prolonged droughts, disfavoring agriculture in these regions.

In the 20th century, Argentina experienced significant political turmoil and democratic reversals. [160] [161] Between 1930 and 1976, the armed forces overthrew six governments in Argentina [161] and the country alternated periods of democracy (1912–1930, 1946–1955, and 1973–1976) with periods of restricted democracy and military rule. [160] Following a transition that began in 1983, [162] full-scale democracy in Argentina was reestablished. [160] [161] Argentina's democracy endured through the 2001–02 crisis and to the present day it is regarded as more robust than both its pre-1983 predecessors and other democracies in Latin America. [161]


Argentina is a federal constitutional republic and representative democracy. [163] The government is regulated by a system of checks and balances defined by the Constitution of Argentina, the country's supreme legal document. The seat of government is the city of Buenos Aires, as designated by Congress. [164] Suffrage is universal, equal, secret and mandatory. [165] [J]

The federal government is composed of three branches:

The Legislative branch consists of the bicameral Congress, made up of the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies. The Congress makes federal law, declares war, approves treaties and has the power of the purse and of impeachment, by which it can remove sitting members of the government. [168] The Chamber of Deputies represents the people and has 257 voting members elected to a four-year term. Seats are apportioned among the provinces by population every tenth year. [169] As of 2014 [update] ten provinces have just five deputies while the Buenos Aires Province, being the most populous one, has 70. The Chamber of Senators represents the provinces, has 72 members elected at-large to six-year terms, with each province having three seats one third of Senate seats are up for election every other year. [170] At least one-third of the candidates presented by the parties must be women.

In the Executive branch, the President is the commander-in-chief of the military, can veto legislative bills before they become law—subject to Congressional override—and appoints the members of the Cabinet and other officers, who administer and enforce federal laws and policies. [171] The President is elected directly by the vote of the people, serves a four-year term and may be elected to office no more than twice in a row. [172]

The Judicial branch includes the Supreme Court and lower federal courts interpret laws and overturn those they find unconstitutional. [173] The Judicial is independent of the Executive and the Legislative. The Supreme Court has seven members appointed by the President—subject to Senate approval—who serve for life. The lower courts' judges are proposed by the Council of Magistracy (a secretariat composed of representatives of judges, lawyers, researchers, the Executive and the Legislative), and appointed by the President on Senate approval. [174]


Argentina is a federation of twenty-three provinces and one autonomous city, Buenos Aires. Provinces are divided for administration purposes into departments and municipalities, except for Buenos Aires Province, which is divided into partidos. The City of Buenos Aires is divided into communes.

Provinces hold all the power that they chose not to delegate to the federal government [175] they must be representative republics and must not contradict the Constitution. [176] Beyond this they are fully autonomous: they enact their own constitutions, [177] freely organize their local governments, [178] and own and manage their natural and financial resources. [179] Some provinces have bicameral legislatures, while others have unicameral ones. [K]

During the War of Independence the main cities and their surrounding countrysides became provinces though the intervention of their cabildos. The Anarchy of the Year XX completed this process, shaping the original thirteen provinces. Jujuy seceded from Salta in 1834, and the thirteen provinces became fourteen. After seceding for a decade, Buenos Aires accepted the 1853 Constitution of Argentina in 1861, and was made a federal territory in 1880. [181]

An 1862 law designated as national territories those under federal control but outside the frontiers of the provinces. In 1884 they served as bases for the establishment of the governorates of Misiones, Formosa, Chaco, La Pampa, Neuquén, Río Negro, Chubut, Santa Cruz and Tierra del Fuego. [182] The agreement about a frontier dispute with Chile in 1900 created the National Territory of Los Andes its lands were incorporated into Jujuy, Salta and Catamarca in 1943. [181] La Pampa and Chaco became provinces in 1951. Misiones did so in 1953, and Formosa, Neuquén, Río Negro, Chubut and Santa Cruz, in 1955. The last national territory, Tierra del Fuego, became the Tierra del Fuego, Antártida e Islas del Atlántico Sur Province in 1990. [181] It has three components, although two are nominal because they are not under Argentine sovereignty. The first is the Argentine part of Tierra del Fuego the second is an area of Antarctica claimed by Argentina that overlaps with similar areas claimed by the UK and Chile the third comprises the two disputed British Overseas Territories of the Falkland Islands and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. [183]

Foreign relations

The country is one of the G-15 and G-20 major economies of the world, and a founding member of the UN, WBG, WTO and OAS. In 2012 Argentina was elected again to a two-year non-permanent position on the United Nations Security Council and is participating in major peacekeeping operations in Haiti, Cyprus, Western Sahara and the Middle East. [184] Argentina is described as a middle power. [31] [185]

A prominent Latin American [32] and Southern Cone [33] regional power, Argentina co-founded OEI and CELAC. It is also a founding member of the Mercosur block, having Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela as partners. Since 2002 the country has emphasized its key role in Latin American integration, and the block—which has some supranational legislative functions—is its first international priority. [186]

Argentina claims 965,597 km 2 (372,819 sq mi) in Antarctica, where it has the world's oldest continuous state presence, since 1904. [187] This overlaps claims by Chile and the United Kingdom, though all such claims fall under the provisions of the 1961 Antarctic Treaty, of which Argentina is a founding signatory and permanent consulting member, with the Antarctic Treaty Secretariat being based in Buenos Aires. [188]

Argentina disputes sovereignty over the Falkland Islands (Spanish: Islas Malvinas), and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, [189] which are administered by the United Kingdom as Overseas Territories.

Armed forces

The President holds the title of commander-in-chief of the Argentine Armed Forces, as part of a legal framework that imposes a strict separation between national defense and internal security systems: [190] [191]

The National Defense System, an exclusive responsibility of the federal government, [192] coordinated by the Ministry of Defense, and comprising the Army, the Navy and the Air Force. [193] Ruled and monitored by Congress [194] through the Houses' Defense Committees, [195] it is organized on the essential principle of legitimate self-defense: the repelling of any external military aggression in order to guarantee freedom of the people, national sovereignty, and territorial integrity. [195] Its secondary missions include committing to multinational operations within the framework of the United Nations, participating in internal support missions, assisting friendly countries, and establishing a sub-regional defense system. [195]

Military service is voluntary, with enlistment age between 18 and 24 years old and no conscription. [197] Argentina's defense has historically been one of the best equipped in the region, even managing its own weapon research facilities, shipyards, ordnance, tank and plane factories. [198] However, real military expenditures declined steadily after 1981 and the defense budget in 2011 was about 0.74% of GDP, a historical minimum, [199] below the Latin American average. Within the defence budget itself funding for training and even basic maintenance has been significantly cut, a factor contributing to the accidental loss of the Argentine submarine San Juan in 2017. With the United Kingdom also actively acting to restrict even modest Argentinian military modernization efforts, [200] the result has been a steady erosion of Argentine military capabilities, with some arguing that Argentina had, by the end of the 2010s, ceased to be a capable military power. [201]

The Interior Security System, jointly administered by the federal and subscribing provincial governments. [191] At the federal level it is coordinated by the Interior, Security and Justice ministries, and monitored by Congress. [191] It is enforced by the Federal Police the Prefecture, which fulfills coast guard duties the Gendarmerie, which serves border guard tasks and the Airport Security Police. [202] At the provincial level it is coordinated by the respective internal security ministries and enforced by local police agencies. [191]

Argentina was the only South American country to send warships and cargo planes in 1991 to the Gulf War under UN mandate and has remained involved in peacekeeping efforts in multiple locations like UNPROFOR in Croatia/Bosnia, Gulf of Fonseca, UNFICYP in Cyprus (where among Army and Marines troops the Air Force provided the UN Air contingent since 1994) and MINUSTAH in Haiti. Argentina is the only Latin American country to maintain troops in Kosovo during SFOR (and later EUFOR) operations where combat engineers of the Argentine Armed Forces are embedded in an Italian brigade.

In 2007, an Argentine contingent including helicopters, boats and water purification plants was sent to help Bolivia against their worst floods in decades. [203] In 2010 the Armed Forces were also involved in Haiti and Chile humanitarian responses after their respective earthquakes.

Benefiting from rich natural resources, a highly literate population, a diversified industrial base, and an export-oriented agricultural sector, the economy of Argentina is Latin America's third-largest, [205] and the second largest in South America. [206] It has a "very high" rating on the Human Development Index [18] and a relatively high GDP per capita, [207] with a considerable internal market size and a growing share of the high-tech sector.

Access to biocapacity in Argentina is much higher than world average. In 2016, Argentina had 6.8 global hectares [208] of biocapacity per person within its territory, much more than the world average of 1.6 global hectares per person. [209] In 2016 Argentina used 3.4 global hectares of biocapacity per person – their ecological footprint of consumption. This means they use half as much biocapacity as Argentina contains. As a result, Argentina is running a biocapacity reserve. [208]

A middle emerging economy and one of the world's top developing nations, [210] [L] Argentina is a member of the G-20 major economies. Historically, however, its economic performance has been very uneven, with high economic growth alternating with severe recessions, income maldistribution and—in the recent decades—increasing poverty. Early in the 20th century Argentina achieved development, [26] and became the world's seventh richest country. [25] Although managing to keep a place among the top fifteen economies until mid-century, [25] it suffered a long and steady decline, but it is still a high income country. [211]

High inflation—a weakness of the Argentine economy for decades—has become a trouble once again, [212] with an annual rate of 24.8% in 2017. [213] To deter it and support the peso, the government imposed foreign currency control. [214] Income distribution, having improved since 2002, is classified as "medium", although it is still considerably unequal. [16]

Argentina ranks 85th out of 180 countries in the Transparency International's 2017 Corruption Perceptions Index, [215] an improvement of 22 positions over its 2014 rankings. [216] Argentina settled its long-standing debt default crisis in 2016 with the so-called vulture funds after the election of Mauricio Macri, allowing Argentina to enter capital markets for the first time in a decade. [217]

The government of Argentina defaulted on 22 May 2020 by failing to pay a $500 million due date to its creditors. Negotiations for the restructuring of $66 billion of its debt continue. [218]


In 2012 [update] manufacturing accounted for 20.3% of GDP—the largest sector in the nation's economy. [220] Well-integrated into Argentine agriculture, half of the industrial exports have rural origin. [220]

With a 6.5% production growth rate in 2011 [update] , [221] the diversified manufacturing sector rests on a steadily growing network of industrial parks (314 as of 2013 [update] ) [222] [223]

In 2012 [update] the leading sectors by volume were: food processing, beverages and tobacco products motor vehicles and auto parts textiles and leather refinery products and biodiesel chemicals and pharmaceuticals steel, aluminum and iron industrial and farm machinery home appliances and furniture plastics and tires glass and cement and recording and print media. [220] In addition, Argentina has since long been one of the top five wine-producing countries in the world. [220] However, it has also been classified as one of the 74 countries where instances of child labour and forced labour have been observed and mentioned in a 2014 report published by the Bureau of International Labor Affairs. [224] The ILAB's List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor shows that many of the goods produced by child labour or forced labour comes from the agricultural sector. [224]

Córdoba is Argentina's major industrial centre, hosting metalworking, motor vehicle and auto parts manufactures. Next in importance are the Greater Buenos Aires area (food processing, metallurgy, motor vehicles and auto parts, chemicals and petrochemicals, consumer durables, textiles and printing) Rosario (food processing, metallurgy, farm machinery, oil refining, chemicals, and tanning) San Miguel de Tucumán (sugar refining) San Lorenzo (chemicals and pharmaceuticals) San Nicolás de los Arroyos (steel milling and metallurgy) and Ushuaia and Bahía Blanca (oil refining). [225] [ unreliable source? ] Other manufacturing enterprises are located in the provinces of Santa Fe (zinc and copper smelting, and flour milling) Mendoza and Neuquén (wineries and fruit processing) Chaco (textiles and sawmills) and Santa Cruz, Salta and Chubut (oil refining). [225] [ unreliable source? ]

The electric output of Argentina in 2009 [update] totaled over 122 TWh (440 PJ), of which about 37% was consumed by industrial activities. [226]


Argentina has the largest railway system in Latin America, with 36,966 km (22,970 mi) of operating lines in 2008 [update] , out of a full network of almost 48,000 km (29,826 mi). [227] This system links all 23 provinces plus Buenos Aires City, and connects with all neighbouring countries. [228] There are four incompatible gauges in use this forces virtually all interregional freight traffic to pass through Buenos Aires. [228] The system has been in decline since the 1940s: regularly running up large budgetary deficits, by 1991 it was transporting 1,400 times less goods than it did in 1973. [228] However, in recent years the system has experienced a greater degree of investment from the state, in both commuter rail lines and long-distance lines, renewing rolling stock and infrastructure. [229] [230] In April 2015, by overwhelming majority the Argentine Senate passed a law which re-created Ferrocarriles Argentinos (2015), effectively re-nationalising the country's railways, a move which saw support from all major political parties on both sides of the political spectrum. [231] [232] [233]

By 2004 [update] Buenos Aires, all provincial capitals except Ushuaia, and all medium-sized towns were interconnected by 69,412 km (43,131 mi) of paved roads, out of a total road network of 231,374 km (143,769 mi). [235] Most important cities are linked by a growing number of expressways, including Buenos Aires–La Plata, Rosario–Córdoba, Córdoba–Villa Carlos Paz, Villa Mercedes–Mendoza, National Route 14 General José Gervasio Artigas and Provincial Route 2 Juan Manuel Fangio, among others. Nevertheless, this road infrastructure is still inadequate and cannot handle the sharply growing demand caused by deterioration of the railway system. [228]

In 2012 [update] there were about 11,000 km (6,835 mi) of waterways, [236] mostly comprising the La Plata, Paraná, Paraguay and Uruguay rivers, with Buenos Aires, Zárate, Campana, Rosario, San Lorenzo, Santa Fe, Barranqueras and San Nicolas de los Arroyos as the main fluvial ports. Some of the largest sea ports are La Plata–Ensenada, Bahía Blanca, Mar del Plata, Quequén–Necochea, Comodoro Rivadavia, Puerto Deseado, Puerto Madryn, Ushuaia and San Antonio Oeste. Buenos Aires has historically been the most important port however since the 1990s the Up-River port region has become dominant: stretching along 67 km (42 mi) of the Paraná river shore in Santa Fe province, it includes 17 ports and in 2013 [update] accounted for 50% of all exports.

In 2013 [update] there were 161 airports with paved runways [237] out of more than a thousand. [228] The Ezeiza International Airport, about 35 km (22 mi) from downtown Buenos Aires, [238] is the largest in the country, followed by Cataratas del Iguazú in Misiones, and El Plumerillo in Mendoza. [228] Aeroparque, in the city of Buenos Aires, is the most important domestic airport. [239]

Media and communications

Print media industry is highly developed in Argentina, with more than two hundred newspapers. The major national ones include Clarín (centrist, Latin America's best-seller and the second most widely circulated in the Spanish-speaking world), La Nación (centre-right, published since 1870), Página/12 (leftist, founded in 1987), the Buenos Aires Herald (Latin America's most prestigious English language daily, liberal, dating back to 1876), La Voz del Interior (centre, founded in 1904), [240] and the Argentinisches Tageblatt (German weekly, liberal, published since 1878) [241]

Argentina began the world's first regular radio broadcasting on 27 August 1920, when Richard Wagner's Parsifal was aired by a team of medical students led by Enrique Telémaco Susini in Buenos Aires' Teatro Coliseo. [242] By 2002 [update] there were 260 AM and 1150 FM registered radio stations in the country. [243]

The Argentine television industry is large, diverse and popular across Latin America, with many productions and TV formats having been exported abroad. Since 1999 Argentines enjoy the highest availability of cable and satellite television in Latin America, [244] as of 2014 [update] totaling 87.4% of the country's households, a rate similar to those in the United States, Canada and Europe. [245]

By 2011 [update] Argentina also had the highest coverage of networked telecommunications among Latin American powers: about 67% of its population had internet access and 137.2%, mobile phone subscriptions. [246]

Science and technology

Argentines have received three Nobel Prizes in the Sciences. Bernardo Houssay, the first Latin American recipient, discovered the role of pituitary hormones in regulating glucose in animals, and shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1947. Luis Leloir discovered how organisms store energy converting glucose into glycogen and the compounds which are fundamental in metabolizing carbohydrates, receiving the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1970. César Milstein did extensive research in antibodies, sharing the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1984. Argentine research has led to treatments for heart diseases and several forms of cancer. Domingo Liotta designed and developed the first artificial heart that was successfully implanted in a human being in 1969. René Favaloro developed the techniques and performed the world's first coronary bypass surgery.

Argentina's nuclear programme has been highly successful. In 1957 Argentina was the first country in Latin America to design and build a research reactor with homegrown technology, the RA-1 Enrico Fermi. This reliance in the development of own nuclear related technologies, instead of simply buying them abroad, was a constant of Argentina's nuclear programme conducted by the civilian National Atomic Energy Commission (CNEA). Nuclear facilities with Argentine technology have been built in Peru, Algeria, Australia and Egypt. In 1983, the country admitted having the capability of producing weapon-grade uranium, a major step needed to assemble nuclear weapons since then, however, Argentina has pledged to use nuclear power only for peaceful purposes. [247] As a member of the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Argentina has been a strong voice in support of nuclear non-proliferation efforts [248] and is highly committed to global nuclear security. [249] In 1974 it was the first country in Latin America to put in-line a commercial nuclear power plant, Atucha I. Although the Argentine built parts for that station amounted to 10% of the total, the nuclear fuel it uses are since entirely built in the country. Later nuclear power stations employed a higher percentage of Argentine built components Embalse, finished in 1983, a 30% and the 2011 Atucha II reactor a 40%. [250]

Despite its modest budget and numerous setbacks, academics and the sciences in Argentina have enjoyed an international respect since the turn of the 1900s, when Luis Agote devised the first safe and effective means of blood transfusion as well as René Favaloro, who was a pioneer in the improvement of the coronary artery bypass surgery. Argentine scientists are still on the cutting edge in fields such as nanotechnology, physics, computer sciences, molecular biology, oncology, ecology and cardiology. Juan Maldacena, an Argentine-American scientist, is a leading figure in string theory.

Space research has also become increasingly active in Argentina. Argentine built satellites include LUSAT-1 (1990), Víctor-1 (1996), PEHUENSAT-1 (2007), [252] and those developed by CONAE, the Argentine space agency, of the SAC series. [253] Argentina has its own satellite programme, nuclear power station designs (4th generation) and public nuclear energy company INVAP, which provides several countries with nuclear reactors. [254] Established in 1991, the CONAE has since launched two satellites successfully and, [255] in June 2009, secured an agreement with the European Space Agency for the installation of a 35-m diameter antenna and other mission support facilities at the Pierre Auger Observatory, the world's foremost cosmic ray observatory. [256] The facility will contribute to numerous ESA space probes, as well as CONAE's own, domestic research projects. Chosen from 20 potential sites and one of only three such ESA installations in the world, the new antenna will create a triangulation which will allow the ESA to ensure mission coverage around the clock [257]


The country had 5.57 million visitors in 2013, ranking in terms of the international tourist arrivals as the top destination in South America, and second in Latin America after Mexico. [258] Revenues from international tourists reached US$4.41 billion in 2013, down from US$4.89 billion in 2012. [258] The country's capital city, Buenos Aires, is the most visited city in South America. [259] There are 30 National Parks of Argentina including many World Heritage Sites.

The 2010 census counted 40,117,096 inhabitants, up from 36,260,130 in 2001. [261] [262] Argentina ranks third in South America in total population, fourth in Latin America and 33rd globally. Its population density of 15 persons per square kilometer of land area is well below the world average of 50 persons. The population growth rate in 2010 was an estimated 1.03% annually, with a birth rate of 17.7 live births per 1,000 inhabitants and a mortality rate of 7.4 deaths per 1,000 inhabitants. Since 2010, the crude net migration rate has ranged from below zero to up to four immigrants per 1,000 inhabitants per year. [263]

Argentina is in the midst of a demographic transition to an older and slower-growing population. The proportion of people under 15 is 25.6%, a little below the world average of 28%, and the proportion of people 65 and older is relatively high at 10.8%. In Latin America this is second only to Uruguay and well above the world average, which is currently 7%. Argentina has one of Latin America's lowest population growth rates as well as a comparatively low infant mortality rate. Its birth rate of 2.3 children per woman is considerably below the high of 7.0 children born per woman in 1895, [264] though still nearly twice as high as in Spain or Italy, which are culturally and demographically similar. [265] [266] The median age is 31.9 years and life expectancy at birth is 77.14 years. [267]

In 2010, Argentina became the first country in Latin America, the second in the Americas, and the tenth worldwide to legalize same-sex marriage. [268] [269]


Argentina is considered a country of immigrants. [270] [271] [272] Argentines usually refer to the country as a crisol de razas (crucible of races, or melting pot).

In colonial times, the ethnic composition of Argentina was the result of the interaction of the pre-Columbian indigenous population with a colonizing population of Spanish origin and with sub-Saharan African slaves. Before the middle 19th century, the ethnic make up of Argentina was very similar to that of other countries of Hispanic America. [273] [274] [275] [276]

Between 1857 and 1950 Argentina was the country with the second biggest immigration wave in the world, at 6.6 million, second only to the United States in the numbers of immigrants received (27 million) and ahead of other areas of new settlement like Canada, Brazil and Australia. [277] [278] However, mass European immigration did not have the same impact in the whole country. According to the 1914 national census, 30% of Argentina's population was foreign-born, including 50% of the people in the city of Buenos Aires, but foreigners were only 2% in the provinces of Catamarca and La Rioja (North West region). [274]

Strikingly, at those times, the national population doubled every two decades. This belief is endured in the popular saying "los argentinos descienden de los barcos" (Argentines descend from the ships). Therefore, most Argentines are descended from the 19th- and 20th-century immigrants of the great immigration wave to Argentina (1850–1955), [279] with a great majority of these immigrants coming from diverse European countries, particularly Italy and Spain. [277] The majority of Argentines descend from multiple European ethnic groups, primarily of Italian and Spanish descent, with over 25 million Argentines (almost 60% of the population) having some partial Italian origins. [280]

Argentina is home to a significant Arab population including those with partial descent, Arab Argentines number 1.3 to 3.5 million, mostly of Syrian and Lebanese origin. As in the United States, they are considered white. The majority of Arab Argentines are Christians belonging to the Catholic Church (the Latin Rite church and Eastern Rite churches), and Eastern Orthodox churches. A minority are Muslims, albeit the largest Muslim community in the Americas. The Asian population in the country numbers around 180,000 individuals, most of whom are of Chinese [281] and Korean descent, although an older Japanese community originating from the early 20th century still exists. [282]

A 2010 study conducted on 218 individuals by the Argentine geneticist Daniel Corach established that the genetic map of Argentina is composed of 79% from different European ethnicities (mainly Italian and Spanish), 18% of different indigenous ethnicities, and 4.3% of African ethnic groups 63.6% of the tested group had at least one ancestor who was Indigenous. [283] [284]

From the 1970s, immigration has mostly been coming from Bolivia, Paraguay and Peru, with smaller numbers from the Dominican Republic, Ecuador and Romania. [285] The Argentine government estimates that 750,000 inhabitants lack official documents and has launched a program [286] to encourage illegal immigrants to declare their status in return for two-year residence visas—so far over 670,000 applications have been processed under the program. [287]

Genetics studies

  • Homburguer et al., 2015, PLOS One Genetics: 67% European, 28% Amerindian, 4% African and 1,4% Asian. [288]
  • Avena et al., 2012, PLOS One Genetics: 65% European, 31% Amerindian, and 4% African. [289]
    • Buenos Aires Province: 76% European and 24% others.
    • South Zone (Chubut Province): 54% European and 46% others.
    • Northeast Zone (Misiones, Corrientes, Chaco & Formosa provinces): 54% European and 46% others.
    • Northwest Zone (Salta Province): 33% European and 67% others.


    The de facto [M] official language is Spanish, spoken by almost all Argentines. [292] The country is the largest Spanish-speaking society that universally employs voseo, the use of the pronoun vos instead of ("you"), which imposes the use of alternative verb forms as well. Due to the extensive Argentine geography, Spanish has a strong variation among regions, although the prevalent dialect is Rioplatense, primarily spoken in the Pampean and Patagonian regions and accented similarly to the Neapolitan language. [293] Italian and other European immigrants influenced Lunfardo—the regional slang—permeating the vernacular vocabulary of other Latin American countries as well.

    There are several second-languages in widespread use among the Argentine population:

    • English, [N] taught since elementary school. 42.3% of Argentines claim to speak it, with 15.4% of them claiming to have a high level of language comprehension. [citation needed] , by 1.5 million people. [292][O] , specially its Northern Levantine dialect, by one million people. [292] , by 400,000 people. [292][P] , by 200,000 people, [292] the largest Jewish population in Latin America and 7th in the world. [294] , by 200,000 people, [292] mostly in Corrientes (where it is official de jure) and Misiones. [3] , by 174,000 people. [292] , by 65,000 people, mostly in the Northwest. [292] , by 53,700 people, mainly in Chaco [292] where, along with Kom and Moqoit, it is official de jure. [5] , by 52,000 people. [292] , by 40,000 people. [295] , by 32,000 people. [292] , by 30,000 people, mostly in the Northwest. [292] , by 27,000 people. [292] , 5,000 people in Patagonia. [292] Some districts have incorporated it as an educational language. [296]


    The Constitution guarantees freedom of religion. [297] Although it enforces neither an official nor a state faith, [298] it gives Roman Catholicism a preferential status. [299] [Q]

    According to a 2008 CONICET poll, Argentines were 76.5% Catholic, 11.3% Agnostics and Atheists, 9% Evangelical Protestants, 1.2% Jehovah's Witnesses, and 0.9% Mormons, while 1.2% followed other religions, including Islam, Judaism and Buddhism. [301] These figures appear to have changed quite significantly in recent years: data recorded in 2017 indicated that Catholics made up 66% of the population, indicating a drop of 10.5% in nine years, and the nonreligious in the country standing at 21% of the population, indicating an almost doubling over the same period. [302]

    The country is home to both the largest Muslim [300] and largest Jewish communities in Latin America, the latter being the seventh most populous in the world. [303] Argentina is a member of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. [300]

    Argentines show high individualization and de-institutionalization of religious beliefs [304] 23.8% claim to always attend religious services 49.1% seldom do and 26.8% never do. [305]

    On 13 March 2013, Argentine Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the Cardinal Archbishop of Buenos Aires, was elected Bishop of Rome and Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church. He took the name "Francis", and he became the first Pope from either the Americas or from the Southern Hemisphere he is the first Pope born outside of Europe since the election of Pope Gregory III (who was Syrian) in 741. [306]


    Argentina is highly urbanized, with 92% of its population living in cities: [307] the ten largest metropolitan areas account for half of the population. About 3 million people live in the city of Buenos Aires, and including the Greater Buenos Aires metropolitan area it totals around 13 million, making it one of the largest urban areas in the world. [308]

    The metropolitan areas of Córdoba and Rosario have around 1.3 million inhabitants each. [308] Mendoza, San Miguel de Tucumán, La Plata, Mar del Plata, Salta and Santa Fe have at least half a million people each. [308]

    The population is unequally distributed: about 60% live in the Pampas region (21% of the total area), including 15 million people in Buenos Aires province. The provinces of Córdoba and Santa Fe, and the city of Buenos Aires have 3 million each. Seven other provinces have over one million people each: Mendoza, Tucumán, Entre Ríos, Salta, Chaco, Corrientes and Misiones. With 64.3 inhabitants per square kilometre (167/sq mi), Tucumán is the only Argentine province more densely populated than the world average by contrast, the southern province of Santa Cruz has around 1.1/km 2 (2.8/sq mi). [309]


    The Argentine education system consists of four levels: [311]

    • An initial level for children between 45 days to 5 years old, with the last two years [312] being compulsory.
    • An elementary or lower school mandatory level lasting 6 or 7 years. [R] In 2010 [update] the literacy rate was 98.07%. [313]
    • A secondary or high school mandatory level lasting 5 or 6 years. [R] In 2010 [update] 38.5% of people over age 20 had completed secondary school. [314]
    • A higher level, divided in tertiary, university and post-graduate sub-levels. in 2013 [update] there were 47 national public universities across the country, as well as 46 private ones. [315] In 2010 [update] 7.1% of people over age 20 had graduated from university. [314] The public universities of Buenos Aires, Córdoba, La Plata, Rosario, and the National Technological University are some of the most important.

    The Argentine state guarantees universal, secular and free-of-charge public education for all levels. [S] Responsibility for educational supervision is organized at the federal and individual provincial states. In the last decades the role of the private sector has grown across all educational stages.

    Health care

    Health care is provided through a combination of employer and labour union-sponsored plans (Obras Sociales), government insurance plans, public hospitals and clinics and through private health insurance plans. Health care cooperatives number over 300 (of which 200 are related to labour unions) and provide health care for half the population the national INSSJP (popularly known as PAMI) covers nearly all of the five million senior citizens. [317]

    There are more than 153,000 hospital beds, 121,000 physicians and 37,000 dentists (ratios comparable to developed nations). [318] [319] The relatively high access to medical care has historically resulted in mortality patterns and trends similar to developed nations': from 1953 to 2005, deaths from cardiovascular disease increased from 20% to 23% of the total, those from tumors from 14% to 20%, respiratory problems from 7% to 14%, digestive maladies (non-infectious) from 7% to 11%, strokes a steady 7%, injuries, 6%, and infectious diseases, 4%. Causes related to senility led to many of the rest. Infant deaths have fallen from 19% of all deaths in 1953 to 3% in 2005. [318] [320]

    The availability of health care has also reduced infant mortality from 70 per 1000 live births in 1948 [321] to 12.1 in 2009 [318] and raised life expectancy at birth from 60 years to 76. [321] Though these figures compare favorably with global averages, they fall short of levels in developed nations and in 2006, Argentina ranked fourth in Latin America. [319]

    Argentina is a multicultural country with significant European influences. Modern Argentine culture has been largely influenced by Italian, Spanish and other European immigration from France, United Kingdom, and Germany among others. Its cities are largely characterized by both the prevalence of people of European descent, and of conscious imitation of American and European styles in fashion, architecture and design. [323] Museums, cinemas, and galleries are abundant in all the large urban centres, as well as traditional establishments such as literary bars, or bars offering live music of a variety of genres although there are lesser elements of Amerindian and African influences, particularly in the fields of music and art. [324] The other big influence is the gauchos and their traditional country lifestyle of self-reliance. [325] Finally, indigenous American traditions have been absorbed into the general cultural milieu. Argentine writer Ernesto Sabato has reflected on the nature of the culture of Argentina as follows:

    With the primitive Hispanic American reality fractured in La Plata Basin due to immigration, its inhabitants have come to be somewhat dual with all the dangers but also with all the advantages of that condition: because of our European roots, we deeply link the nation with the enduring values of the Old World because of our condition of Americans we link ourselves to the rest of the continent, through the folklore of the interior and the old Castilian that unifies us, feeling somehow the vocation of the Patria Grande San Martín and Bolívar once imagined.


    Although Argentina's rich literary history began around 1550, [327] it reached full independence with Esteban Echeverría's El Matadero, a romantic landmark that played a significant role in the development of 19th century's Argentine narrative, [328] split by the ideological divide between the popular, federalist epic of José Hernández' Martín Fierro and the elitist and cultured discourse of Sarmiento's masterpiece, Facundo. [329]

    The Modernist movement advanced into the 20th century including exponents such as Leopoldo Lugones and poet Alfonsina Storni [330] it was followed by Vanguardism, with Ricardo Güiraldes's Don Segundo Sombra as an important reference. [331]

    Jorge Luis Borges, Argentina's most acclaimed writer and one of the foremost figures in the history of literature, [332] found new ways of looking at the modern world in metaphor and philosophical debate and his influence has extended to authors all over the globe. Short stories such as Ficciones and The Aleph are among his most famous works. He was a friend and collaborator of Adolfo Bioy Casares, who wrote one of the most praised science fiction novels, The Invention of Morel. [333] Julio Cortázar, one of the leading members of the Latin American Boom and a major name in 20th century literature, [334] influenced an entire generation of writers in the Americas and Europe. [335]

    A remarkable episode in the Argentine literature's history is the social and literarial dialectica between the so-called Florida Group named this way because its members used to meet together at the Richmond Cafeteria at Florida street and published in the Martin Fierro magazine, like Jorge Luis Borges, Leopoldo Marechal, Antonio Berni (artist), among others, versus the Boedo Group of Roberto Arlt, Cesar Tiempo, Homero Manzi (tango composer), that used to meet at the Japanese Cafe and published their works with the Editorial Claridad, with both the cafe and the publisher located at the Boedo Avenue.


    Tango, a Rioplatense musical genre with European and African influences, [338] is one of Argentina's international cultural symbols. [339] The golden age of tango (1930 to mid-1950s) mirrored that of jazz and swing in the United States, featuring large orchestras like those of Osvaldo Pugliese, Aníbal Troilo, Francisco Canaro, Julio de Caro and Juan d'Arienzo. [340] After 1955, virtuoso Astor Piazzolla popularized Nuevo tango, a subtler and more intellectual trend for the genre. [340] Tango enjoys worldwide popularity nowadays with groups like Gotan Project, Bajofondo and Tanghetto.

    Argentina developed strong classical music and dance scenes that gave rise to renowned artists such as Alberto Ginastera, composer Alberto Lysy, violinist Martha Argerich and Eduardo Delgado, pianists Daniel Barenboim, pianist and symphonic orchestra director José Cura and Marcelo Álvarez, tenors and to ballet dancers Jorge Donn, José Neglia, Norma Fontenla, Maximiliano Guerra, Paloma Herrera, Marianela Núñez, Iñaki Urlezaga and Julio Bocca. [340]

    A national Argentine folk style emerged in the 1930s from dozens of regional musical genres and went to influence the entirety of Latin American music. Some of its interpreters, like Atahualpa Yupanqui and Mercedes Sosa, achieved worldwide acclaim.

    The romantic ballad genre included singers of international fame such as Sandro de América.

    Argentine rock developed as a distinct musical style in the mid-1960s, when Buenos Aires and Rosario became cradles of aspiring musicians. Founding bands like Los Gatos, Sui Generis, Almendra and Manal were followed by Seru Giran, Los Abuelos de la Nada, Soda Stereo and Patricio Rey y sus Redonditos de Ricota, with prominent artists including Gustavo Cerati, Litto Nebbia, Andrés Calamaro, Luis Alberto Spinetta, Charly García, Fito Páez and León Gieco. [340]

    Tenor saxophonist Leandro "Gato" Barbieri and composer and big band conductor Lalo Schifrin are among the most internationally successful Argentine jazz musicians.

    Another popular musical genre at present is Cumbia villera is a subgenre of cumbia music originated in the slums of Argentina and popularized all over Latin America and the Latin communities abroad. [341]


    Buenos Aires is one of the great theatre capitals of the world, [343] [344] with a scene of international caliber centered on Corrientes Avenue, "the street that never sleeps", sometimes referred to as an intellectual Broadway in Buenos Aires. [345] Teatro Colón is a global landmark for opera and classical performances its acoustics are considered among the world's top five. [346] [T] Other important theatrical venues include Teatro General San Martín, Cervantes, both in Buenos Aires City Argentino in La Plata, El Círculo in Rosario, Independencia in Mendoza, and Libertador in Córdoba. Griselda Gambaro, Copi, Roberto Cossa, Marco Denevi, Carlos Gorostiza, and Alberto Vaccarezza are a few of the most prominent Argentine playwrights.

    Argentine theatre traces its origins to Viceroy Juan José de Vértiz y Salcedo's creation of the colony's first theatre, La Ranchería, in 1783. In this stage, in 1786, a tragedy entitled Siripo had its premiere. Siripo is now a lost work (only the second act is conserved), and can be considered the first Argentine stage play, because it was written by Buenos Aires poet Manuel José de Lavardén, it was premiered in Buenos Aires, and its plot was inspired by an historical episode of the early colonization of the Río de la Plata Basin: the destruction of Sancti Spiritu colony by aboriginals in 1529. La Ranchería theatre operated until its destruction in a fire in 1792. The second theatre stage in Buenos Aires was Teatro Coliseo, opened in 1804 during the term of Viceroy Rafael de Sobremonte. It was the nation's longest-continuously operating stage. The musical creator of the Argentine National Anthem, Blas Parera, earned fame as a theatre score writer during the early 19th century. The genre suffered during the regime of Juan Manuel de Rosas, though it flourished alongside the economy later in the century. The national government gave Argentine theatre its initial impulse with the establishment of the Colón Theatre, in 1857, which hosted classical and operatic, as well as stage performances. Antonio Petalardo's successful 1871 gambit on the opening of the Teatro Opera, inspired others to fund the growing art in Argentina.


    The Argentine film industry has historically been one of the three most developed in Latin American cinema, along with those produced in Mexico and Brazil. [347] [348] Started in 1896 by the early 1930s it had already become Latin America's leading film producer, a place it kept until the early 1950s. [349] The world's first animated feature films were made and released in Argentina, by cartoonist Quirino Cristiani, in 1917 and 1918. [350]

    Argentine films have achieved worldwide recognition: the country has won two Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film, for The Official Story (1985) and The Secret in Their Eyes (2009), from seven nominations:

    • The Truce (La tregua) in 1974
    • Camila in 1984
    • The Official Story (La historia oficial) in 1985
    • Tango in 1998
    • Son of the Bride (El hijo de la novia) in 2001
    • The Secret in Their Eyes (El secreto de sus ojos) in 2009
    • Wild Tales (Relatos salvajes) in 2015

    In addition, Argentine composers Luis Enrique Bacalov and Gustavo Santaolalla have been honored with Academy Awards for Best Original Score, and Armando Bó and Nicolás Giacobone shared in the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for 2014. Also, the Argentine French actress Bérénice Bejo received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 2011 and won the César Award for Best Actress and won the Best Actress award in the Cannes Film Festival for her role in the film The Past. [353]

    Argentina also has won seventeen Goya Awards for Best Spanish Language Foreign Film with A King and His Movie (1986), A Place in the World (1992), Gatica, el mono (1993), Autumn Sun (1996), Ashes of Paradise (1997), The Lighthouse (1998), Burnt Money (2000), The Escape (2001), Intimate Stories (2003), Blessed by Fire (2005), The Hands (2006), XXY (2007), The Secret in Their Eyes (2009), Chinese Take-Away (2011), Wild Tales (2014), The Clan (2015) and The Distinguished Citizen (2016), being by far the most awarded country in Latin America with twenty-four nominations.

    Many other Argentine films have been acclaimed by the international critique: Camila (1984), Man Facing Southeast (1986), A Place in the World (1992), Pizza, Beer, and Cigarettes (1997), Nine Queens (2000), A Red Bear (2002), The Motorcycle Diaries (2004), The Aura (2005), Chinese Take-Away (2011) and Wild Tales (2014) being some of them.

    In 2013 [update] about 100 full-length motion pictures were being created annually. [354]

    Visual arts

    In 1946 Gyula Košice and others created The Madí Movement in Argentina, which then spread to Europe and United States, where it had a significant impact. [355] Tomás Maldonado was one of the main theorists of the Ulm Model of design education, still highly influential globally.

    Other Argentine artists of worldwide fame include Adolfo Bellocq, whose lithographs have been influential since the 1920s, and Benito Quinquela Martín, the quintessential port painter, inspired by the immigrant-bound La Boca neighbourhood.

    Internationally laureate sculptors Erminio Blotta, Lola Mora and Rogelio Yrurtia authored many of the classical evocative monuments of the Argentine cityscape.


    The colonization brought the Spanish Baroque architecture, which can still be appreciated in its simpler Rioplatense style in the reduction of San Ignacio Miní, the Cathedral of Córdoba, and the Cabildo of Luján. Italian and French influences increased at the beginning of the 19th century with strong eclectic overtones that gave the local architecture a unique feeling. [356]

    Numerous Argentine architects have enriched their own country's cityscape and those around the world: Juan Antonio Buschiazzo helped popularize Beaux-Arts architecture and Francisco Gianotti combined Art Nouveau with Italianate styles, each adding flair to Argentine cities during the early 20th century. Francisco Salamone and Viktor Sulčič left an Art Deco legacy, and Alejandro Bustillo created a prolific body of Neoclassical and Rationalist architecture. Alberto Prebisch and Amancio Williams were highly influenced by Le Corbusier, while Clorindo Testa introduced Brutalist architecture locally. César Pelli's and Patricio Pouchulu's Futurist creations have graced cities worldwide: Pelli's 1980s throwbacks to the Art Deco glory of the 1920s made him one of the world's most prestigious architects, with the Norwest Center and the Petronas Towers among his most celebrated creations.


    Pato is the national sport, [357] an ancient horseback game locally originated in the early 1600s and predecessor of horseball. [358] [359] The most popular sport is football. Along with Brazil and France, the men's national team is the only one to have won the most important international triplet: World Cup, Confederations Cup, and the Olympic Gold Medal. It has also won 14 Copas América, 7 Pan American Gold Medals and many other trophies. [360] Alfredo Di Stéfano, Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi are among the best players in the game's history. [361]

    The country's women's field hockey team Las Leonas, is one of the world's most successful with four Olympic medals, two World Cups, a World League and seven Champions Trophy. [362] Luciana Aymar is recognized as the best female player in the history of the sport, [363] being the only player to have received the FIH Player of the Year Award eight times. [364]

    Basketball is a very popular sport. The men's national team is the only one in the FIBA Americas zone that has won the quintuplet crown: World Championship, Olympic Gold Medal, Diamond Ball, Americas Championship, and Pan American Gold Medal. It has also conquered 13 South American Championships, and many other tournaments. [365] Emanuel Ginóbili, Luis Scola, Andrés Nocioni, Fabricio Oberto, Pablo Prigioni, Carlos Delfino and Juan Ignacio Sánchez are a few of the country's most acclaimed players, all of them part of the NBA. [362] Argentina hosted the Basketball World Cup in 1950 and 1990.

    Rugby is another popular sport in Argentina. As of 2017 [update] the men's national team, known as 'Los Pumas' has competed at the Rugby World Cup each time it has been held, achieving their highest ever result in 2007 when they came third. Since 2012 the Los Pumas have competed against Australia, New Zealand & South Africa in The Rugby Championship, the premier international Rugby competition in the Southern Hemisphere. Since 2009 the secondary men's national team known as the 'Jaguares' has competed against the US, Canada, and Uruguay first teams in the Americas Rugby Championship, which Los Jaguares have won six out of eight times it has taken place.

    Argentina has produced some of the most formidable champions for Boxing, including Carlos Monzón, the best middleweight in history [366] Pascual Pérez, one of the most decorated flyweight boxers of all times Horacio Accavallo, the former WBA and WBC world flyweight champion Víctor Galíndez, as of 2009 [update] record holder for consecutive world light heavyweight title defenses and Nicolino Locche, nicknamed "The Untouchable" for his masterful defense they are all inductees into the International Boxing Hall of Fame. [367]

    Tennis has been quite popular among people of all ages. Guillermo Vilas is the greatest Latin American player of the Open Era, [368] while Gabriela Sabatini is the most accomplished Argentine female player of all time—having reached #3 in the WTA Ranking, [369] are both inductees into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. [370]

    Argentina reigns undisputed in Polo, having won more international championships than any other country and been seldom beaten since the 1930s. [371] The Argentine Polo Championship is the sport's most important international team trophy. The country is home to most of the world's top players, among them Adolfo Cambiaso, the best in Polo history. [372]

    Historically, Argentina has had a strong showing within Auto racing. Juan Manuel Fangio was five times Formula One world champion under four different teams, winning 102 of his 184 international races, and is widely ranked as the greatest driver of all time. [373] Other distinguished racers were Oscar Alfredo Gálvez, Juan Gálvez, José Froilán González and Carlos Reutemann. [374]


    Besides many of the pasta, sausage and dessert dishes common to continental Europe, Argentines enjoy a wide variety of Indigenous and Criollo creations, including empanadas (a small stuffed pastry), locro (a mixture of corn, beans, meat, bacon, onion, and gourd), humita and mate. [375]

    The country has the highest consumption of red meat in the world, [376] traditionally prepared as asado, the Argentine barbecue. It is made with various types of meats, often including chorizo, sweetbread, chitterlings, and blood sausage. [377]

    Common desserts include facturas (Viennese-style pastry), cakes and pancakes filled with dulce de leche (a sort of milk caramel jam), alfajores (shortbread cookies sandwiched together with chocolate, dulce de leche or a fruit paste), and tortas fritas (fried cakes) [378]

    Argentine wine, one of the world's finest, [379] is an integral part of the local menu. Malbec, Torrontés, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Chardonnay are some of the most sought-after varieties. [380]

    National symbols

    Some of Argentina's national symbols are defined by law, while others are traditions lacking formal designation. [381] The Flag of Argentina consists of three horizontal stripes equal in width and colored light blue, white and light blue, with the Sun of May in the centre of the middle white stripe. [382] The flag was designed by Manuel Belgrano in 1812 it was adopted as a national symbol on 20 July 1816. [383] The Coat of Arms, which represents the union of the provinces, came into use in 1813 as the seal for official documents. [384] The Argentine National Anthem was written by Vicente López y Planes with music by Blas Parera, and was adopted in 1813. [384] The National Cockade was first used during the May Revolution of 1810 and was made official two years later. [385] The Virgin of Luján is Argentina's patron saint. [386]

    The hornero, living across most of the national territory, was chosen as the national bird in 1928 after a lower school survey. [387] The ceibo is the national floral emblem and national tree, [381] [388] while the quebracho colorado is the national forest tree. [389] Rhodochrosite is known as the national gemstone. [390] The national sport is pato, an equestrian game that was popular among gauchos. [357]

    World War II: Argentina Declares War Against Japan and Germany

    With reference to the communication of His Excellency, Señor Don Ezequiel Padilla, President of the Inter-American Conference on Problems of War and Peace, received through the Pan American Union with a note of the Director General dated March 14, I am pleased to inform you

    First: That the Government of the Argentine Republic accepts the invitation extended to it by the twenty American Republics that participated in the Inter-American Conference on Problems of War and Peace, and adheres to the Final Act of the Conference

    Second: That in order to identify the policy of the Nation with the common policy of the other American nations and associate itself with them against threats or acts of aggression of any country against an American State, the Government of the Nation yesterday declared a state of war between the Argentine Republic on the one hand and the Empire of Japan and Germany on the other

    Third: That in accordance with the position adopted, there shall be taken immediately all emergency measures incident to the state of belligerency, as well as those that may be necessary to prevent and repress activities that may endanger the war effort of the United Nations or threaten the peace, welfare or security of the American Nations.

    For appropriate action I transmit herewith the text of the decree issued by the Executive Power which pertains to the above-mentioned measures.

    I beg to remain, Mr. Director General, with assurances of my highest consideration.



    Decree No. 6945/45

    Buenos Aires, March 27, 1945

    In view of the communication of the Director General of the Pan American Union enclosing a copy of the Final Act of the Inter-American Conference on Problems of War and Peace held at Mexico City, and a certified copy of Resolution LIX, approved March 7, 1945, by the twenty American States that participated in the aforementioned Conference, and considering:

    That Article 6 of said resolution referring to our country, states that the Final Act is open to the adherence of the Argentine Republic and authorizes the President of the Conference so to inform the Government of the Argentine Republic through the Pan American Union

    That said resolution recognizes that the unity of the peoples of America is indivisible, and rightly affirms that the Argentine Republic is and always has been an integral part of the Union of the American Republics, and that it likewise considers that complete solidarity and a common policy among the American States in the event of threats or acts of aggression by any State against an American State are essential to the peace and security of the Continent

    That the Government of the Republic, pursuant to the established foreign policy of the Argentine Republic, reaffirmed its opposition to aggression and its solidarity with its sister nations by means of the declarations of the Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs and Worship on March 7 of the present year, in which he referred especially to previous declarations of this Government based on Argentine tradition and policy

    That the preamble of the Act of Chapultepec and the principles it enumerates as incorporated in the international law of our Continent since 1890, have at all times guided the foreign policy of the Nation and coincide with the principles of Argentine international policy

    That the Argentine Republic has always collaborated with the American States in all action tending to unite the peoples of the Continent that this traditional policy of generations of Argentines from the early days of our independence has been inspired by a sentiment of true and effective Americanism, a consequence of the injunctions of the noble principles that have always regulated our international life, manifested and proclaimed by the Argentine Republic in Pan American conferences, incorporated in numerous laws, reflected in the work of the Pan American Union, and put into effect with disinterested effort

    That in view of the unanimous gesture of the sister nations that attended the Mexico City Conference, the Government of the Nation, animated by the highest ideals of Continental solidarity, the guiding principle of our international policy, cannot remain indifferent, in view of the elevated spirit of American confraternity

    That Japan attacked the United States at Pearl Harbor, as was recognized officially by the Argentine Government in a decree of December 9, 1941, declaring the United States, upon which Germany later declared war, a non-belligerent that new aggressions on the part of Japan against any American nation are not impossible that neighboring and friendly countries are now in a state of belligerency with the Empire of Japan and thus exposed to possible attack by the latter

    That in view of this situation, and new events that have occurred, the Government of the Nation, pursuant to its tradition of American solidarity, proposes once again to unify its policy with the common policy of the other States of the Continent in order to occupy the place that corresponds to it and to share the responsibilities that may devolve upon it

    That the Government of the Nation accepts and finds itself prepared to put into effect the principles, declarations and recommendations of the Mexico City Conference that the provisions of Article 67, Section 21, and Article 86, Section 18, of the National Constitution and the decisions of the Supreme Court of the Nation authorize the taking of the measures consequent upon the acceptance by the Government of the Republic of the invitation of our sister nations that in order to adopt such measures the Executive Power in the present circumstances considered it desirable to consult public opinion that would assure a knowledge of the popular will

    The President of the Argentine Nation, in a General Agreement with the Ministers, Decrees:

    Article 1. The Government of the Nation accepts the invitation extended by the twenty American Republics participating in the Inter-American Conference on Problems of War and Peace, and adheres to the Final Act of that Conference.

    Article 2. In order to identify the policy of the Nation with that of the other American Republics and associate itself with them against threats or acts of aggression of any country against an American State, there is declared a state of war between the Argentine Republic on the one hand and the Empire of Japan on the other.

    Article 3. There is likewise declared a state of war between the Argentine Republic and Germany, in view of the fact that the latter is an ally of Japan.

    Article 4. Through the respective Ministers and Government Departments, there shall be adopted immediately the measures necessary for a state of belligerency, as well as those required to put to a definite end, all activity of persons, firms and enterprises of whatever nationality, that might endanger the security of the State or interfere with the war effort of the United Nations or threaten the peace, welfare, and security of the American Nations.

    Article 5. This decree shall be communicated, published, listed in the National Register, and filed.

    (Countersigned) CÉSAR AMEGHINO

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    Argentina — History and Culture

    Argentina’s culture has been defined mostly by its European immigrant population. The Basque and Irish worked in sheep rearing, the Germans and Italians established farms, and the English invested in developing the infra-structure. Today, more than one-third of the country’s population lives in Buenos Aries with a distinctive mix of Spanish, Italian, German, and Jewish influences giving the capital an old-world feel. The main indigenous groups are the Quechua in the northwest and the Mapuche in Patagonia. Others can be found in the Chaco and the northeast.


    The first Europeans arrived in the region with the 1502 voyage of Amerigo Vespucci. Spain established a permanent colony on the site of Buenos Aires in 1580. It wasn’t until 1816 that Argentina formally declared independence from Spain. The great national hero General Jose de San Martin campaigned in Argentina, Chile and Peru, winning spectacular victories against the forces of European power. Following the defeat of the Spanish, centralist and federalist groups waged a prolonged conflict to decide the future of the nation. A modern constitution was put into effect in 1853 and a unified government was established in 1861.

    From 1880 to 1930, Argentina became one of the world’s 10 wealthiest nations as a result of the rapid expansion of agriculture and foreign investment in infrastructure. However, the Great Depression brought a halt to this period of prosperity, and combined with other social and political changes, brought an unstable government. The ruling parties of the 1930’s attempted to hold back the tide of economic and political change that eventually led to a military coup and the rise to power of Juan Domingo Peron.

    The military ousted Argentina’s government in 1943. Peron, then an army colonel, was one of the leaders, and he soon became the government’s dominant figure as Minister of Labor, elected president in 1946. In 1947, Peron’s charismatic wife, Eva Duarte de Peron, better known as Evita, played a key role in developing support for her husband’s re-election in 1952, but the military exiled him in 1955. With considerable national support in 1973, he returned to power, but died soon after in July of 1974. Military rule continued throughout the 1970’s until mounting charges of corruption, human rights violations and the country’s 1982 defeat by the British in an unsuccessful attempt to take control of the Falklands (Malvinas) Islands combined to discredit the regime.

    The contagious effect of the Asian financial crisis of 1998 mushroomed into a four-year depression for the country, culminating in their own financial panic in November 2001. In December 2001, President De la Rua resigned during bloody riots. After a prolonged period of political turmoil and several provisional presidents, the country has finally regained some semblance of social stability and seen slow, but steady growth.


    Art, architecture, lifestyle, and sports can all be traced back to several European countries who originally occupied Argentina. However, when it comes to literature, an even broader ethnic mix prevails. Internationally known authors such as Jorge Luis Borges, Julio Cortázar, Ernesto Sábato, Manuel Puig, and Oby svaldo Soriano have all made huge contributions to form the cultural identity.

    One often overlooked facet of Argentine culture is soccer. It is by far the most popular sport in the country and inspires intense passion in most of the nation’s citizens – men and women. For some visitors, this can be a little overwhelming, but for those who enjoy the sport, attending a match between arch-rivals Boca Juniors and River Plate can be exhilarating.

    This week in history: Argentina independence bicentennial

    July 9, 1816 marks the declaration of Argentine independence by the Congress of San Miguel de Tucumán, a city in the northwest of the country. In reality, the congressmen who assembled in Tucumán declared the independence of the United Provinces of South America, which is still today one of the legal names of the Argentine Republic. The borders of the United Provinces did not include the Federal League Provinces in parts of what is now eastern Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil. At the same time, several provinces from Upper Peru that would later become part of present-day Bolivia were represented at the Congress.

    Eight years before, in 1808, Spanish King Ferdinand VII was deposed by the Napoleonic French. The French occupation is remembered in the paintings of Francisco Goya, and in his print series “The Disasters of War,” as well as by Georges Bizet’s 1875 opera Carmen. The 1810 May Revolution started in Buenos Aires, capital of the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata, the Spanish colony that included roughly the territories of present-day Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay and Uruguay. The result was the removal of the Spanish Viceroy Baltasar Hidalgo de Cisneros and the establishment of a local government, the Primera Junta (First Junta), on May 25. It was the first successful revolution in the South American independence process.

    After Napoleon was defeated, the Spanish monarchy was determined to recover control over its American colonies. Royalists from Peru had been victorious at several battles in Upper Peru, and seriously threatened the United Provinces from the north. Amid political and military instability in the Río de la Plata area, a General Congress was summoned. Thirty-three delegate deputies, each representing 14,000 inhabitants, were sent from all the United Provinces of the Río de la Plata to the sessions, which started on March 24, 1816 in Tucumán. The Congress had the freedom to choose topics to debate, and endless discussions ensued.

    The voting finally ended on July 9 with a declaration of independence. The Declaration, published in both Spanish and Quechua, pointed to the circumstances in Europe of the past six years – not only the removal of the king of Spain by the Napoleonic forces, but the subsequent refusal of Ferdinand VII to accept constitutional rule both at home and overseas. The declaration claimed that Spanish America recovered its sovereignty from the Crown of Castile in 1808, when Ferdinand VII had been deposed, and therefore any union between Spain and its overseas dominions had been dissolved. This was a legal concept that was also invoked by the other Spanish American declarations of independence, such as Venezuela’s in 1811 and Mexico’s in 1810, which were responding to the same events. Subsequent discussions at the Congress centered on what form of government the emerging state should adopt.

    The Congress continued its work in Buenos Aires in 1817, but typically for the new governments in the New World, deep differences emerged between the Unitarian Party, who favored a strong central government, and the Federales, who favored a weak central government.

    At that time the South of Argentina, Patagonia, was inhabited almost exclusively by sparsely settled Indigenous peoples. In the North, the dense pre-Columbian Quechua, Aymará and Guaraní populations made up a large percentage of the new country’s inhabitants. Beginning in the 1880s, as in the United States, large-scale immigration from Europe started transforming the ethnic character of Argentina. Over the course of a century, Argentina and its neighbor Uruguay became the most “European” nations in South America, and continued to oscillate between liberal and authoritarian government. In the 20th and 21st centuries the influences of British and U.S. neoimperialism have been felt particularly strongly.

    Recognition of Argentine independence came haltingly. The first nation to recognize Argentina was the Kingdom of Hawaii in 1818, followed by Portugal in 1821, Brazil and the U.S. in 1822. Spain eventually recognized Argentina in 1857.

    A few famous Argentines include Pres. Juan Domingo Perón and his wife Evita, soccer player Diego Maradona, the current Pope Francis, revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara, author Jorge Luis Borges, singer-songwriters Carlos Gardel, Atahualpa Yupanqui and Mercedes Sosa.

    Adapted from Wikipedia and other sources.

    Photo: Declaration of Independence of the United Provinces of South America, in Spanish and Quechua

    The Centennial and the Debate Over Preservation, 1876-1921

    In 1876 the Declaration traveled to Philadelphia, where it was on exhibit for the Centennial National Exposition from May to October. Philadelphia's Mayor William S. Stokley was entrusted by President Ulysses S. Grant with temporary custody of the Declaration. The Public Ledger for May 8, 1876, noted that it was in Independence Hall "framed and glazed for protection, and . . . deposited in a fireproof safe especially designed for both preservation and convenient display. [When the outer doors of the safe were opened, the parchment was visible behind a heavy plate-glass inner door the doors were closed at night.] Its aspect is of course faded and time-worn. The text is fully legible, but the major part of the signatures are so pale as to be only dimly discernible in the strongest light, a few remain wholly readable, and some are wholly invisible, the spaces which contained them presenting only a blank."

    Other descriptions made at Philadelphia were equally unflattering: "scarce bears trace of the signatures the execution of which made fifty-six names imperishable," "aged-dimmed." But on the Fourth of July, after the text was read aloud to a throng on Independence Square by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia (grandson of the signer Richard Henry Lee), "The faded and crumbling manuscript, held together by a simple frame was then exhibited to the crowd and was greeted with cheer after cheer."

    By late summer the Declaration's physical condition had become a matter of public concern. On August 3, 1876, Congress adopted a joint resolution providing "that a commission, consisting of the Secretary of the Interior, the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, and the Librarian of Congress be empowered to have resort to such means as will most effectually restore the writing of the original manuscript of the Declaration of Independence, with the signatures appended thereto." This resolution had actually been introduced as early as January 5, 1876. One candidate for the task of restoration was William J. Canby, an employee of the Washington Gas Light Company. On April 13 Canby had written to the Librarian of Congress: "I have had over thirty years experience in handling the pen upon parchment and in that time, as an expert, have engrossed hundreds of ornamental, special documents." Canby went on to suggest that "the only feasible plan is to replenish the original with a supply of ink, which has been destroyed by the action of light and time, with an ink well known to be, for all practical purposes, imperishable."

    The commission did not, however, take any action at that time. After the conclusion of the Centennial exposition, attempts were made to secure possession of the Declaration for Philadelphia, but these failed and the parchment was returned to the Patent Office in Washington, where it had been since 1841, even though that office had become a part of the Interior Department. On April 11, 1876, Robert H. Duell, Commissioner of Patents, had written to Zachariah Chandler, Secretary of the Interior, suggesting that "the Declaration of Independence, and the commission of General Washington, associated with it in the same frame, belong to your Department as heirlooms.

    Chandler appears to have ignored this claim, for in an exchange of letters with Secretary of State Hamilton Fish, it was agreed-with the approval of President Grant-to move the Declaration into the new, fireproof building that the State Department shared with the War and Navy Departments (now the Old Executive Office Building).

    On March 3, 1877, the Declaration was placed in a cabinet on the eastern side of the State Department library, where it was to be exhibited for 17 years. It may be noted that not only was smoking permitted in the library, but the room contained an open fireplace. Nevertheless this location turned out to be safer than the premises just vacated much of the Patent Office was gutted in a fire that occurred a few months later.

    On May 5, 1880, the commission that had been appointed almost 4 years earlier came to life again in response to a call from the Secretary of the Interior. It requested that William B. Rogers, president of the National Academy of Sciences appoint a committee of experts to consider "whether such restoration [of the Declaration] be expedient or practicable and if so in what way the object can best be accomplished."

    The duly appointed committee reported on January 7, 1881, that Stone used the "wet transfer" method in the creation of his facsimile printing of 1823, that the process had probably removed some of the original ink, and that chemical restoration methods were "at best imperfect and uncertain in their results." The committee concluded, therefore, that "it is not expedient to attempt to restore the manuscript by chemical means." The group of experts then recommended that "it will be best either to cover the present receptacle of the manuscript with an opaque lid or to remove the manuscript from its frame and place it in a portfolio, where it may be protected from the action of light." Finally, the committee recommended that "no press copies of any part of it should in future be permitted."

    Recent study of the Declaration by conservators at the National Archives has raised doubts that a "wet transfer" took place. Proof of this occurrence, however, cannot be verified or denied strictly by modern examination methods. No documentation prior to the 1881 reference has been found to support the theory therefore we may never know if Stone actually performed the procedure.

    Little, if any, action was taken as a result of the 1881 report. It was not until 1894 that the State Department announced: "The rapid fading of the text of the original Declaration of Independence and the deterioration of the parchment upon which it is engrossed, from exposure to light and lapse of time, render it impracticable for the Department longer to exhibit it or to handle it. For the secure preservation of its present condition, so far as may be possible, it has been carefully wrapped and placed flat in a steel case."

    A new plate for engravings was made by the Coast and Geodetic Survey in 1895, and in 1898 a photograph was made for the Ladies' Home Journal. On this latter occasion, the parchment was noted as "still in good legible condition" although "some of the signatures" were "necessarily blurred."

    On April 14, 1903, Secretary of State John Hay solicited again the help of the National Academy of Sciences in providing "such recommendations as may seem practicable . . . touching [the Declaration's] preservation." Hay went on to explain: "It is now kept out of the light, sealed between two sheets of glass, presumably proof against air, and locked in a steel safe. I am unable to say, however, that, in spite of these precautions, observed for the past ten years, the text is not continuing to fade and the parchment to wrinkle and perhaps to break."

    On April 24 a committee of the academy reported its findings. Summarizing the physical history of the Declaration, the report stated: "The instrument has suffered very seriously from the very harsh treatment to which it was exposed in the early years of the Republic. Folding and rolling have creased the parchment. The wet press-copying operation to which it was exposed about 1820, for the purpose of producing a facsimile copy, removed a large portion of the ink. Subsequent exposure to the action of light for more than thirty years, while the instrument was placed on exhibition, has resulted in the fading of the ink, particularly in the signatures. The present method of caring for the instrument seems to be the best that can be suggested."

    The committee added its own "opinion that the present method of protecting the instrument should be continued that it should be kept in the dark and dry as possible, and never placed on exhibition." Secretary Hay seems to have accepted the committee's recommendation in the following year, William H. Michael, author of The Declaration of Independence (Washington, 1904), recorded that the Declaration was "locked and sealed, by order of Secretary Hay, and is no longer shown to anyone except by his direction."

    World War I came and went. Then, on April 21, 1920, Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby issued an order creating yet another committee: "A Committee is hereby appointed to study the proper steps that should be taken for the permanent and effective preservation from deterioration and from danger from fire, or other form of destruction, of those documents of supreme value which under the law are deposited with the Secretary of State. The inquiry will include the question of display of certain of these documents for the benefit of the patriotic public."

    On May 5, 1920, the new committee reported on the physical condition of the safes that housed the Declaration and the Constitution. It declared: "The safes are constructed of thin sheets of steel. They are not fireproof nor would they offer much obstruction to an evil-disposed person who wished to break into them." About the physical condition of the Declaration, the committee stated: "We believe the fading can go no further. We see no reason why the original document should not be exhibited if the parchment be laid between two sheets of glass, hermetically sealed at the edges and exposed only to diffused light."

    The committee also made some important "supplementary recommendations." It noted that on March 3, 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt had directed that certain records relating to the Continental Congress be turned over by the Department of State to the Library of Congress: "This transfer was made under a provision of an Act of February 25, 1903, that any Executive Department may turn over to the Library of Congress books, maps, or other material no longer needed for the use of the Department." The committee recommended that the remaining papers, including the Declaration and the Constitution, be similarly given over to the custody of the Library of Congress. For the Declaration, therefore, two important changes were in the offing: a new home and the possibility of exhibition to "the patriotic public."

    Argentina Declares Independence - History

    We’d like to think that it is common knowledge that anti-blackness is a global phenomenon but unfortunately, the targeted white-washing of known history has prevented that. History has been white-washed so severely that often, the extent of racism across the world is masked. The country that has been most ‘successful’ in white-washing its population, history and culture is Argentina.

    Argentina is considered the whitest country in South America, which is odd considering that, like Brazil, they were colonized and subjected to Spanish colonists shipping in African slaves from the West Coast of the African continent. Currently, Argentina’s population of European ethnicity constituted 97% of the population – this is a disturbing figure taking into account that “[b]y the late 1700s nearly 50 percent of the population in the interior of the country was black, and between 30 and 40 percent of the population of Buenos Aires was black or mulatto,” reported The Root. When asked about Afro-Argentines, most Argentineans believed that Argentina never took part in the slave trade or that the Afro-Argentines left Argentina “naturally”. Both of these theories are wrong.

    “Former Argentine President Carlos Menem who once declared: ‘In Argentina blacks do not exist, that is a Brazilian problem.’” – The Root

    What actually happened to Black Argentineans is so disturbing and inhumane, it would be shocking that it wasn’t being taught in classrooms if the world wasn’t so inherently racist. It is widely reported that president of Argentina from 1868 to 1874, Domingo Faustino Sarmiento, undertook a ‘covert genocide’ that wiped out the Afro-Argentinean population to the point that by 1875, there were so little Black people left in Argentina that the government didn’t even bother registering African-descendants in the national census.

    “On a broader scale, the ‘elimination’ of blacks from the country’s history and consciousness reflected the long-cherished desire of successive Argentine governments to imagine the country as an ‘all-white’ extension of Western Europe in Latin America.” – The Root

    During his term, Sarmiento instituted highly oppressive and deadly policies to eradicate Black people. He segregated the Black community from European descendants, placing them in squalor with no descent infrastructure and healthcare. This became a death sentence when cholera and yellow-fever outbreaks ravaged this community with no adequate measures to prevent or treat the illnesses. Sarmiento’s genocide also constituted, “the forced recruitment of Afro-Argentines into the military, mass imprisonment for minor or fabricated crimes, and mass executions.” Sarmiento also enlisted Afro-Argentinean men in the army to fight the Paraguayan War of 1864. Allegedly, Sarmiento knew that Argentina wouldn’t fare well in the war, sending thousands of Afro-Argentine men to their deaths. The war impacted the gender balance so severely that Afro-Argentine women were “forced” to have children with white or mixed Argentinean men.

    Tellingly, Sarmiento wrote in his diary in 1848: “In the United States… 4 million are black, and within 20 years will be 8 [million]…. What is [to be] done with such blacks, hated by the white race? Slavery is a parasite that the vegetation of English colonization has left attached to leafy tree of freedom,” – International Business Times

    The endeavor was pushed by Argentinean leaders and intellectuals, who wanted to erase the Afro-Argentine presence from all parts of Argentinean life, including culture. The Tango is Argentina’s most prized cultural export but according to early art relating to the dance, it has African origins through the influence of Black Argentineans. The Tango has deep roots in the former African kingdom of Kongo and is currently considered one of the world’s most beautiful dance forms. Legendary white Tango dancer Carlos Gardel actually had Black composer and poet, Gabino Ezieza as his tutor, which shows an Argentinean dedication to not associating the Tango with any form of blackness.

    “The Kikongo word for sun is ntangu”, Thompson writes, and the movements of the ntangu through the sky inspired dance forms on Earth that were eventually Creolized with Spanish and Italian influences in Buenos Aires as tango, which means, literally, “‘moving in time to a beat.’ ” – The Root

    Across the world, movements have erupted to fight back against the systematic erasure of black humanity so seeing a country actually succeed in removing blackness from its identity is chilling. It seems every day, black people are finding just how much we are hated just for being ourselves and on top of that, we have to deal with living a world that would let something like this happen with little to no international outrage. The amnesia that Argentineans enjoy has led to comments like “Argentina has no black people, so we can’t be racist” but I think we have to contend with another country on earth that might rival America as a hostile place for black bodies.

    Watch the video: The Animated History of Argentina