12 Facts About Argentina Colonization You Won’t Believe Are True
When was Argentina colonized? Argentina’s colonization took place in the 16th century. In 1816, Argentina declared its independence from Spain and emerged as a democratic republic, but it has since periodically been under military rule.
The Argentine people are a mix of different ethnic and national groups, with the descendants of Italian and Spanish immigrants being predominant—due to Argentina’s colonization period.
What country colonized Argentina? Spain. How was Argentina founded? Argentina had times of intense political conflict between the military and civilians and between liberals and conservatives.
After a long period of Peronist authoritarian rule in the post-World War II era, interference in subsequent governments followed.
Why is Argentina important? The name “Argentina” comes from the Latin word for silver, “argentum,” as Argentina is an invaluable source of silver and other valuable minerals. It’s a rich culture with a fascinating history.
Argentina Country Profile
Official name: Argentina Republic or Argentine Nation (República Argentina o Nación Argentina)
ISO country code: ARG
Time zone: UTC -3h
Capital city: Buenos Aires
Other key cities: Córdoba, Rosario, Mendoza, Santa Fe, La Plata, Mar del Plata, Tucuman
Argentina government type: Republic
Argentina economy type: A Mixed Economic System
12 Facts About Argentina Colonization You Won’t Believe Are True
Learn more about Argentina’s colonization through this timeline. These Argentina facts are fascinating to learn! Let’s dive in.
1. Pre-Columbian Civilizations Existed Until European Settlers Arrived
In Argentina before colonization, people settled as early as 16,500 BCE. The pre-Columbian civilization existed until European settlers arrived in the late 15th century.
For three centuries, the Spanish Empire expanded across South America. Italian and Spanish emigrants settled in what is known today as Argentina.
2. Argentina Was Part of Peru
During Argentina’s colonization period, the country was divided and a part of the Viceroyalty of Peru until 1776.
Its three major cities—Córdoba, San Miguel de Tucumán, and Buenos Aires—were part of Peru until Argentina’s independence.
3. San Miguel de Tucumán Dominated in the 16th and 17th Centuries
The city of San Miguel de Tucumán dominated trade from the late 16th century until the 17th century. Its ecclesiastical and political jurisdiction extended over northern Argentina, including Córdoba.
It hosted the main economic activity in the area and supplied a rich silver-mining area in Upper Peru (which is now Bolivia) with livestock and other food in return for European goods from Spain.
4. Córdoba Rose to Leadership in the 17th and 18th Centuries
The city of Córdoba rose to leadership in the 17th and 18th centuries under the same economic system.
Because the expansion of settlement made the city a central location for trade and business, the University of Córdoba was founded there in 1613, making the city an intellectual forefront in Argentina.
5. Buenos Aires Symbolized Argentina’s Reorientation
The current capital city, Buenos Aires, rose to leadership in the later part of the 18th century and became a symbol for the reorientation of Argentina’s intellectual, economic, and political life from west to east.
On the economic side, commerce was oriented toward transatlantic trade with Europe and becoming stronger as a country. Intellectually, the European Enlightenment found fertile soil in Buenos Aires.
6. Political Life was Reoriented in 1776
In 1776, political life was reoriented when Spain created the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata. It consisted of modern Uruguay, southern Bolivia, Paraguay, and Argentina—with Buenos Aires as its capital.
7. Argentina Colonization’s Chief Threat Came from Brazil
One of the biggest threats to Argentina’s colonization came from Brazil because it was growing rapidly in wealth, population, and military power.
This is why Buenos Aires opened transatlantic trade with Spain and many other countries. This gave them an upper hand and resulted in a great increase in trade.
More on Argentina: 10 Mind-Blowing Reasons to Explore Patagonia in Argentina & Chile
8. Napoleon I’s Intervention in Spain Plunged Argentina into Civil War
Argentina’s colonization would soon come to an end with the independence movement. This movement started in 1806 when British attacks on Buenos Aires began two battles known as the Defensa and the Reconquista.
Another important aspect was Napoleon I’s intervention in Spain that began in 1808 and plunged the country into a civil war between rival governments. The first was one set up by Napoleon himself and the other was created by patriotic meetings in Spain in the name of Ferdinand VII and supported by the British.
In most of Latin America, there was sympathy with the regency but claims started to get rejected and countries under the king’s dominion in America had the right to govern themselves if they didn’t have a lawful king.
9. The Revolution Established an Autonomous Government in Argentina
On May 25, 1810 an open cabildo (council) in Buenos Aires established Argentina as an autonomous government and that it would be administered by the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata. I
t was in the name of Ferdinand VII, but when Ferdinand was restored in 1814, he was powerless in Spain and it remained under France’s shadow.
Later, there was an assembly representing the viceroyalty in San Miguel de Tucuman. On July 9, 1816, Argentina was declared an independent country under the name of United Provinces of the Río de la Plata.
10. Italians Became Half the Population in Argentina
Another important part of Argentina’s colonization period was Italy’s influence on Argentina. Unlike many other countries in South America such as Ecuador, Bolivia, and Peru, Argentina had fewer native people and a large part of their population became European. 95% of Argentina’s population is of European descent and they are mostly from Italy and, to a lesser extent, Germany and Spain.
About half of the population in the Buenos Aires area comes from an Italian family. Buenos Aires is called the Paris of South America by many.
11. Jewish Immigrants Settled in Argentina
In the late 19th century, many immigrants were fleeing from poverty in Eastern Europe and Russia. Since Argentina had an open-door immigration policy, many Jews moved to Argentina.
They were referred to as rusos (Russians). In 1889, about 800 Jewish Russians arrived in Argentina and became gauchos (cowboys). They bought land in Argentina and established their own colony. Jews continued to immigrate to Argentina, mostly from Morocco and Europe.
12. British Colonization Was Important for Argentina’s Independence
Another part of Argentina’s colonization history is the role the British played. In an 1825 treaty, the U.K. became one of the first countries to recognize Argentina as an independent country.
English investments and arrivals played a major role in the development of Argentina’s railway system, agriculture, refrigeration, livestock breeding, and more. In 1939, 39% of the investment in Argentina was from the U.K.
Where Is Argentina Located?
Argentina is the southernmost country in South America. Check out this map of Argentina’s and its most important cities with capitals and flags:
Travel to Argentina and Learn More about Its History
The effects of colonization are evident in Argentina. When I lived in the capital city of Argentina, Buenos Aires, I was blown away by the stunning architecture, fun people, European influence, and lifestyle. Their culture, government, and national identity is strong. Visiting such a rich country is an unforgettable experience. And if you’re wondering what people from Argentina are called, they are usually referred to as Argentinos (male Argentinians) or Argentinas (female Argentinians).
An amazing reason to learn Spanish is to become a translator or interpreter and travel for a living! Spain, the United States, and many countries in Latin America are looking for interpreters and translators. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, they’re are among the top five fastest growing occupations. Why not learn Spanish and advance your career as you travel?
There’s no better time than now! Sign up for a free trial class at Homeschool Spanish Academy before your trip to Argentina and get on the path toward fluency today.
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