Paleo-Indian hunters were found at Pampas in Patagonia (Los Toldos Cave) as early as 13000–9000 BC. (for the so-called paleoindian stage, see America, Prehistory). Llamas, deer and nandu were hunted with leaf-shaped spearheads.
In southern Argentina, the coastal area’s nutritional resources had begun to be utilized around 4000 BC. Nomadic hunters and collectors lived in these areas until historical times (the Ona and Tehuelche peoples of Pampas and yahgan peoples of Eldslandet).
Agriculture with irrigation, Laman as pets and ceramics was introduced in northwestern Argentina between 500 BC. and 600 AD Communities with simple ceremonial buildings and fortifications were founded under the influence of the high cultures in the central Andes. Bronze was produced in considerable quantities, and roads were built during the Incarceration (1438-1532).
The colonial era (1516-1816)
Argentina’s modern history begins in 1516, when the Spanish Juan Díaz de Solís (c. 1470-1516) discovered La Plateau. To see more information other than history, please visit Abbreviationfinder to learn more about climate, population, government, and economy for the country of Argentina. In 1536, Pedro de Mendoza (1487-1537) built the city of Santa María del Buen Aire, which was abandoned in 1541 because of the indigenous people’s attacks. The colonization resumed from Chile, Peru and Paraguay. From there, the expeditions laid the foundations for the cities of Mendoza, San Juan, San Miguel de Tucumán, Córdoba and Santa Fe. Buenos Aires was again built in 1580 by Juan de Garay (1528–83).
Argentina took a peripheral position during the colonial period, originally under the Viceroy of Peru, and it was Peru’s silver and markets that gave life to northern Argentina and Buenos Aires. During the 17th century, Córdoba was the country’s most important city and seat of its first university (1613). In the 18th century, the commercial importance of Buenos Aires grew, and the city became the principal place of the Viceroy of Río de la Plata, founded in 1776 and which also included Paraguay, Bolivia and Uruguay.
British troops occupied Buenos Aires in 1806. Before the Deputy King’s handfall, the city’s residents proved capable of self-inflicting stinging defeat on the British. Napoleon’s invasion of Spain led May 25, 1810, to the formation of a government independent from Spain in Buenos Aires. The events leading up to this are usually called the May Revolution (Revolución de Mayo), and still this Revolution Day is celebrated as Argentina’s National Day (Venticinco de Mayo). Argentina’s independence was formally proclaimed July 9, 1816. Commander José de San Martín led the Argentine forces to victory in the fight against the Spanish empire in Chile and Peru. However, Spain’s defeat did not lead to peace.
Worried start to independence (1816-1860)
Violent conflicts characterized Argentina’s history until 1860. War was fought against Brazil, Uruguay and Bolivia. A strong contradiction arose between supporters of a strong central power (unitarians) in Buenos Aires, supported by merchant circles, and supporters of far-reaching regional self-government (federalists) in the country, supported by the larger landowners. In the years 1835–52, Argentina was ruled by Juan Manuel de Rosas, major property owner and federalist from the province of Buenos Aires. With brutal methods, he protected the unity and sovereignty of the country, thereby promoting, despite federalism, the interests of the central power.
After Rosas was overthrown, in 1853 Argentina’s constitution was adopted until 1994. However, Buenos Aires broke out of the proposed federation. The conflict was resolved on the battlefield and resulted in 1861 when Buenos Aires conquered the federation and itself became part of it. During the first half of the 19th century, the emphasis of Argentina’s economy was shifted from Bolivia to Buenos Aires and the Atlantic coast.
- Countryaah: Check to see the location of Argentina on the world map. Also covers major mountains, rivers and lakes in Argentina.
Political stability and population growth (1860-1930)
With Bartolomé Miter’s presidency (1821-1906, President 1862-68) initiated a 70-year period of stability, civilian governments and rising prosperity, but also of territorial expansion (wars against Paraguay and various indigenous peoples) and extensive immigration (mainly Italians and Spaniards). Through the massive immigration, the country was fundamentally changed and gained a distinctive European feel. Argentina’s population increased from about 800,000 in 1852 to nearly 8 million in 1914. Meat, wool and wheat were exported in growing quantities, and industrialization began. The country was physically united through an impressive railway network, which in the 1910s had reached over 30,000 km. British capital poured into the country in large quantities. Urbanization was also characteristic of this period. Buenos Aires had more than 1.5 million residents in 1913,
Argentina had become one of the richest countries in the world. New social groups, especially the middle class and industrial workers, began to demand social and political rights. The big proprietorship was subjected to increasing pressure. In 1912, universal suffrage was introduced, and in 1916 the Radical Party candidate Hipólito Irigoyen (1852–1933) won the election. However, the workers were largely excluded from political influence. Syndicalists and anarchists led industrial workers to an increasingly radical opposition, which caused unrest in 1918-19. The labor movement was defeated, but its role in Argentine politics was not played out.
Political unrest with military dictatorship and coups and the rise of Peronism (1930–84)
The year of depression 1930 became the beginning of the political instability of modern Argentina. Conservative generals deposed the re-elected Irigoy. Then followed 13 years of faltering governments, and in 1943 a new coup was implemented. One of the coup leaders, Colonel Juan Perón, was allowed to lead the Ministry of Labor. He pursued a worker-friendly policy, which won great confidence in the rebuilt labor movement. In 1945, Perón was deposed and imprisoned but freed as a result of worker protests. The 1946 presidential election was won by Perón. The women were given the right to vote and the workers received higher wages, the state took over control of agricultural exports and a number of foreign-owned companies were nationalized. Peron’s future wife, Eva Duarte(“Evita”), became the most popular political figure in Argentina’s history. Perón, who was re-elected in 1951, was deposed in a coup in 1955 and fled.
Alongside the dictatorial elements, the Perón government had pursued a controversial agricultural policy. Initially, low agricultural prices achieved both cheap food for urban residents and profits through exports at higher international prices. However, this policy led to stagnant agriculture and declining exports. This happened at the same time as the agriculture of other countries was being modernized. The result was acute financial problems, which forced Perón to change his economic policy, but without much success. Argentina’s basic industry was thus undermined during the period when the Argentine living standards had been substantially improved by Perón’s reforms.
With Perón’s fall, a spiral of faltering civilian governments, workers’ protests, military intervention and escalated violence began. The military deposed the elected radicals Arturo Frondizi (1908–95, president 1958–62) and Arturo Umberto Illia (1900–83, president 1963–66). Generals Juan Carlos Onganía (president 1966–70), Roberto Marcelo Levingston (1920–2015, president 1970–71), and Alejandro Lanusse (president 1971–73) ruled over a troubled nation. Militant left groups and peronists began a guerrilla war against the military dictatorship, which in the 1970s would strike back in a terrible massacre.
The military withdrew in 1973 and presidential elections were announced. The Peronists won big, first in May through Héctor Cámpora (1909-80), who resigned in favor of the returning Perón, who in September again became president with his new wife Isabel as Vice President. Perón died in July 1974, and until 1976, Isabel Perón led a government in progressive decline. The military gained free hands in the fight against both the Peronist and Marxist left, and the so-called dirty war began. Tens of thousands of people disappeared in this war.
Generals Jorge Rafael Videla (President 1976–81), Roberto Eduardo Viola (1924–94, President 1981) and Leopoldo Galtieri (President 1981–82) pursued a neoliberal policy that led Argentina to economic bankruptcy. In a desperate attempt to save the government’s face, Galtieri ordered the occupation of the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas). A degrading defeat in the ensuing war against Britain April – June 1982 (see the Falklands War) paved the way for a new, civilian government. General Reynaldo Bignone (1928–2018) led a transitional government between July 1982 and December 1983.
The radicals, with Raúl Alfonsín in the lead, for the first time defeated the Peronists in a free presidential election in October 1983. However, Argentina’s major economic and social problems remained as a constant threat to the newly won democracy. After a promising start, Alfonsín lost complete control of Argentina’s economy, heavily burdened by a foreign debt of over US $ 50 billion.
Continued financial problems
In the October 2015 presidential election, Buenos Aires Mayor Mauricio Macri defeated, which meant that the country’s president for the first time in 14 years did not represent the Peronist Party.
Macri abolished export taxes on several agricultural products as well as currency controls. He also removed price controls on basic commodities such as electricity, water and gas. The decisions made the currency lose value while in many cases prices doubled and unemployment increased. The president also pushed through large savings packages for the state administration, which among other things led to the dismissal of over 20,000 public servants. He negotiated a solution to the protracted conflict with US hedge funds, which enabled Argentina to once again borrow money in the international financial market.
Initially, the budget deficit fell at the same time as investment increased, but the promised promise for the economy failed. Poverty increased again, and protests against the policies pursued grew, mainly led by the trade union movement. Despite this, Cambiemos, the center-right alliance that supported Macri, won the parliamentary elections in late 2017. The Parliament subsequently approved a reformed pension system with increased retirement age and a lifting of the laws governing employment.
In 2018, Argentina was forced to ask the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for help and negotiated a three-year US $ 50 billion aid package, which was the IMF’s largest emergency loan to date. The loan terms with additional savings packages and reintroduction of export taxes on certain agricultural commodities as well as currency controls meant that Macri was forced to breach several of its most important election promises. The decision to ask the IMF for support led to major protests as many Argentines blame the IMF for the deep economic crisis in the early 2000s. Later in the year, the emergency loan was raised by a further US $ 7 billion, but the economy’s crunch continued and the president’s popularity halved.
In 2019, the crisis continued to worsen with falling GDP, high inflation (60 percent) and rising poverty. In an attempt to stop the negative spiral, the government introduced price cuts on a number of basic commodities.
In the primary elections ahead of the 2019 presidential election, opposition candidate Alberto Fernández clearly received stronger support than the president. Immediately after the election, Macri presented promises of lower taxes and increased wages and grants. At the same time, Parliament voted on special crisis measures to alleviate rising poverty. By electing former president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner as his vice presidential candidate, Fernández succeeded in uniting the Peroni movement and winning the presidential election with 48 percent of the vote against 40 percent for Macri.