History of Argentina

Brief history of Argentina summarized

A brief review of the history of Argentina, in a summarized way.

Colonial Argentina

Before the Europeans arrived in Argentina, it was sparsely populated. In the Northwest people grew potatoes and pumpkins. Sometimes they lived in walled towns and used metal and pottery.

However, in most indigenous peoples they lived by hunting animals and gathering plants. They continued their hunter-gatherer lifestyle until the late 19th century.

Europeans arrived in present-day Argentina in the 16th century. In 1516 Juan de Solís reached the Río de la Plata but was assassinated by the natives. He was followed by Sebastián Cabot, who arrived in the Río de la Plata area in 1526. Then, in 1536, Pedro de Mendoza led an expedition to the area and built a fort. However, the Spanish were forced to withdraw by hostile natives.

However, later, in the 16th century, several cities were founded in the northwest of what is now Argentina. Buenos Aires was founded in 1580 to give access to the sea. However, the south of Argentina remained in the hands of the natives. Finally, in 1776, a new Viceroy of the Río de la Plata was formed with Buenos Aires as its capital.

In 1806 the British captured Buenos Aires but were forced to withdraw. In 1807 they attacked the city again but were repelled. However, ties between Argentina and Spain weakened in the early 19th century, especially after 1808, when Napoleon forced the Spanish king to abdicate and made his own brother king of Spain.

Finally, on May 25, 1810, the Viceroy was deposed and a junta took control of Argentina. However, the junta did not sever all ties with Spain until 1816. The United Provinces of the Río de la Plata were declared on July 9, 1816.

Argentina in the 19th century

At first the United Provinces were formed by what is now Argentina, Bolivia and Uruguay. However, the new state was bitterly divided between Unitarians who wanted a strong central government and Federalists who wanted a free federation of provinces.

Eventually, in the 1820s, the new state dissolved. Bolivia became independent in 1825 and Uruguay was created as a buffer state between Argentina and Brazil in 1828 after a war between the two countries.

In 1835 General Juan Manuel de Rosas became dictator of Argentina. He was a federalist, but ironically he introduced a strong (and repressive) central government. However, Rosas eventually alienated many people in the provinces, and in 1852 a rebellion removed him from power.

Until the end of the 19th century, the natives of southern Argentina lived in their traditional way. However, in 1879 General Julio Rica led an army to conquer them. The Conquest of the Desert ended in 1880.

Meanwhile, the first railway in Argentina was built in 1857. Many others followed. By 1900 there were more than 10,000 miles of railway in Argentina and by 1912 more than 20,000 miles. The railroads made it much easier to transport products to the coast for export.

Argentina exported meat, wool and grains and by 1900 it was the richest country in South America.

Meanwhile, Argentina’s population grew in part due to immigrants from Spain and Italy. At the end of the century the population of Argentina was about 4 million inhabitants.

Argentina in the 20th century

In the 1920s, Argentina was the seventh richest country in the world. However, Argentina, like the rest of the world, was affected by the Wall Street crash.

In 1930 the army staged a coup and General José F. Uriburu became president of Argentina. Uriburu called for elections in 1931 (although one important party, the Radical Party, was prohibited from participating). In 1937 another election was held.

Despite many accusations of electoral fraud, Roberto Ortiz became president with Ramón Castillo as vice president. Ill health forced Ortiz to hand over power to Castillo in 1940. However, in 1943 the army staged another coup.

In January 1944, Argentina broke off diplomatic relations with Germany and Japan. Finally, on March 27, 1945, Argentina declared war on Germany.

After the 1943 coup, Juan Perón gradually became the leader. In 1946 he was elected president. Perón introduced a series of welfare measures and nationalized industries. Perón was re-elected in 1951, but gradually lost support. In 1955 a revolution called the Revolution of Liberation forced Perón to flee abroad.

Several short-lived governments followed. In 1958 Arturo Frondizi was elected president of Argentina, but the military removed him in 1962. Further elections were held in 1963 and Dr. Arturo Illia became president. The military expelled him in 1966.

However, the military dictatorship did not bring peace. In May 1969 there were riots in Córdoba. The riots spread throughout Argentina. Meanwhile, inflation skyrocketed.

However, in 1973 the army allowed more elections and the Peronists (Perón’s supporters) won. A Peronist named Héctor Campora became president. Perón returned from exile and Campora resigned to make room for him.

More elections were held in September 1973, and Perón became president. However Perón died in 1974 and his widow Isabel Perón took power. Under her rule, inflation and riots continued. Finally, in March 1976, the army took power again.

Argentina then suffered a brutal military dictatorship during which thousands of people “disappeared” during a “dirty war”. Meanwhile, inflation continued to rise and Argentina fell heavily into debt.

In the early 1980s, despite the repressive protests that spread throughout Argentina. To try to distract people from their problems, the junta invaded the Falkland Islands on April 2, 1982. However, the war turned into a disaster when the British quickly recaptured the islands.

Meanwhile, the Argentine economy was in dire straits. Finally, the junta allowed elections in October 1983. Raúl Alfonsín took office on December 13, 1983.

However, Alfonsín was unable to solve the problem of hyperinflation in Argentina despite austerity plans introduced in 1985 and 1987. In 1989 Alfonsín peacefully handed over power to the next elected president Carlos Saúl Menem. During the 1990s Menem managed to curb inflation and privatized the industry.

Argentina in the 21st century

In 2001-2002, Argentina suffered a serious recession. However, the economy grew strongly for a few years. Today the economy of Argentina is growing steadily.

Meanwhile, in October 2007, Cristina Kirchner became the first woman elected president of Argentina. Then, in 2015, Mauricio Macri was elected president. The current population of Argentina is 44 million inhabitants.

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