History of Argentina

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The history of Argentina can be divided into four sections: the pre-Columbian time or early history (until the 16th century), the colonial period (about 1516 to 1810), the independence wars and the post-colonial early days of the Nation (1810 to 1880) as well as the history of modern Argentina from the wave of immigration around 1880.

Prehistory and early history

Millstones in a house, Quilmes fortifications in the province of Tucumán

The areas that are now part of Argentina were relatively sparsely populated before the colonization by Spain . It is believed that the "discovery" of the area by humans around the 10th millennium BC. Chr. Occurred.

The ethnic groups that lived in the pampas ( Het (Querandíes), Tehuelches ) were not settled until the arrival of the Spaniards. This is not the case with the tribes in the north-west of the country, who practiced agriculture and livestock farming from around the middle of the 1st millennium and were particularly advanced in the field of architecture. The fortifications of Quilmes in the province of Tucumán are a testament to this. In the 13th and 14th centuries, the Inca Empire expanded strongly to the south, encompassing large parts of northwest Argentina around 1450 and, at the height of the expansion, included the area of ​​today's province of Mendoza . Many of the tribes of this region, such as the Kollas of the Puna plateau, adopted the language ( Quechua ) and partially the technology of the Incas. The Diaguita living in northwest Argentina were able to withstand the expanding Inca Empire for a long time. The Guaraní and their relatives ( Chiriguano , Mbya and Chané ) lived further east in the Gran Chaco and in today's Misiones and were not directly recorded by the Inca Empire.

Oldest finds

Apart from the controversial finds from Monte Verde in Chile and Pedra Furada in Brazil , the finds from Los Toldos , in the province of Santa Cruz , are probably the oldest in South America. They reach into the 10th millennium BC. BC back. Similar to the North American sites, the remains point to the hunting of large mammals such as the giant sloth (Milodon darwinii) and horses (Hippidion principale), as well as guanacos , llamas , etc. Corresponding remains were also found in Chile, such as in the Cueva del Milodón . However, projectile points, probably spears, testify to the Toldense culture. Patagonia has human traces for 11,000 BP , and the use of fire has also been proven there.

The Casapedrense culture is dated around 7000 to 4000 BC. Dated. It is considered the precursor culture of the Tehuelche (see below).

The North

Cueva de las Manos , Santa Cruz , 7300 BC. Chr.
Cueva de las Manos

In the Cueva de las Manos ("Cave of Hands") on the Río Pinturas , in the province of Santa Cruz, paintings were discovered that date back to around 7300 BC. BC, making them the oldest works of art in South America. Today they are part of the world cultural heritage .

Around this time, parts of the north and north-west of what would later become Argentina were settled by people who started farming relatively early. The culture of Ansilta (near Mendoza , San Luis and San Juan) is considered to be the first peasant culture and the forerunner of the later Huarpes . It was of great continuity and spanned the period from about 1800 BC. Until 500 AD

Around 200 BC The Condorhuasi culture at Catamarca can be documented, which was already based on llama breeding. She probably knew not only about animistic practices but also about human sacrifice. It left behind human-shaped sculptures, but disappeared between about AD 200 and 500.

At Tucumán there were traces of the Tafi culture (approx. 200 BC to 800 AD), which the Lama also used, but above all already planted maize.

The Ciénaga culture (around AD 600) was probably the first purely rural culture. It extended in the Catamarca region. These people also planted maize and already developed irrigation canals. At the same time, they expanded trade through lama caravans. They lived in villages with up to thirty houses and are considered to be the precursors of the Aguada culture .

This culture extended its sphere of influence from Catamarca to today's province of La Rioja and existed from the 4th to the 10th century. It was related to the culture of Tiahuanaco . The jaguar appears frequently in the pictorial representations . A proper division of the territory into partial domains, which were subordinate to individual chiefs , is likely. There were complicated irrigation systems, increased corn cultivation, beans, pumpkins and cassava . By means of long-distance trade, which was based on extensive use of the lama, this culture opened up a huge trading area that reached as far as San Pedro de Atacama . Metal was also processed, as shown by bronze finds.

The so-called culture Santa María (approx. 1200 to 1470) developed the already existing cultural techniques, but it was increasingly based on the construction of terraces. The population grew rapidly and large storage facilities were common. In addition to the already existing foods, the people of this culture increasingly cultivated potatoes , but also quinoa , which is known as Inca grain or Perureis, as well as carob from the carob tree . In addition to bronze, they processed copper, silver and gold. The rule became hereditary, separate classes of warriors and priests emerged.

The Llullaillaco volcano, on which graves around 500 years old were excavated in 1999

From about 1400 the Quechua and the Inca penetrated southwards from the Andean region (approx. 1400 to 1520), but independent groups continued to exist further south. Apparently human sacrifices were made on the 6710 m high volcano Llullaillaco . In 1999 three Incan mummies were found there. There were also statuettes, pottery, bags of food and coca .

The city of Tastil ( Salta ) is likely to have been the largest city in the region with over 3000 inhabitants. Why it was abandoned is unclear.

The guaraní

The cultures belonging to the Tupi-Guaraní language group on the rivers in the north-east are tangible much later. The ancestors of today's Guaraní probably only settled on the watercourses there in the 15th century.

They lived in villages (tekuas) that had a sense of togetherness. The villages were headed by a chief (mburuvichá), plus a religious head, the pajé . The real masters of the groups, however, were the caciques , a hereditary estate.

In addition to less developed land cultivation, they mainly caught fish, for which they built canoes. Cassava , potatoes, pumpkin and corn were their most important crops, plus mate tea , which the Jesuits later expanded into a monopoly. The village leaders increasingly developed into overlords over several villages who also had religious tasks. This power structure was to play an important role especially in the Jesuit reductions in Paraguay . Their language is still spoken today in the provinces of Misiones and Corrientes and in Paraguay .

The Chaco

In the Gran Chaco you will find the language groups of Guaycurú , Mataco-Macá, Tupi-Guarani, Arauac and Lule-vilela . The Guaycurú or Abiponen were considered to be particularly warlike . They offered resistance throughout the colonial period. The Spaniards called them "frentones" because they marked the beginning of their sphere of influence.

The Mataco-Macá culture included the Mataco, the Chulupies and the Chorotes, who ruled the west of the Chaco.

The Chiriguanos in turn belonged to the Tupi-Guarani culture in the west, plus the Aruaques culture.

Pampas and Patagonia

The Tehuelches lived in the pampas and in Patagonia . The Tehuelches were hunter-gatherers and were supplanted by the Mapuches' culture in the 18th century . Their early history has not yet been explored, but the oldest finds date back to at least 4000 BC. They also included the Selk'nam in Tierra del Fuego . The Yámana in the south of Tierra del Fuego were fishermen who lived on the islands in the extreme south.

Colonial period (1516-1810)

Buenos Aires shortly after its founding in 1536
Argentina is shown in dark blue on the animated map of the territorial development of South America from 1700 to the present day. Today's Patagonia belonged to the independent Araucanian Indians until the end of the 19th century (light gray)

The Spanish navigator Juan Díaz de Solís was the first European to reach what is now Argentina in 1516 at the mouth of the Río de la Plata . But it was only between 1526 and 1530 that Sebastiano Caboto explored the Río Paraná up to its upper reaches. The Spaniards mistakenly suspected a large amount of precious metals in the region, hence the names Argentina (from Latin Argentum = silver) and Río de la Plata (German: silver river ).

Partial conquest and resistance of the indigenous people

Today's Argentina was colonized by the Spaniards from three directions : The first Spanish settlement in what is now Argentina was Sancti Spiritu (1527), which was abandoned in 1529. In 1536, the conquistador Pedro de Mendoza founded the city of Buenos Aires on the Río de la Plata . Conflicts arose with the resident population of the Het , who were to be forced into a colonial system, but were able to defend themselves against the invaders. Of the 1,600 de Mendoza men, only 150 survived the first few years after the settlement was founded. So he had to give up the first Buenos Aires in 1541, which was only re-established permanently in 1580 by Juan de Garay . From Peru the Spaniards took possession of the northwest, and from the west from the General Capitanate of Chile the region de Cuyo was colonized.

The areas further south of Patagonia were also claimed by Spain, but in the colonial times remained de facto outside of his sphere of rule due to the resistance of the indigenous population. Since there were no natural resources or riches there, Europeans had little interest in these areas for a long time.

The ongoing resistance of the Mapuche people from Chile forced the Spaniards to recognize an independent Mapuche nation in the Treaty of Quillín in 1641 as part of the 300-year Arauco War . In the 17th century, the Mapuche who lived on the other side of the Andes advanced more and more to the east, where they hunted feral cattle and horses. This resulted in a cultural transfer to the ethnic groups living there, the so-called " Araucanization ". This ethnic homogenization led to the independent indigenous population maintaining power until the 1880s.

Council of India, Encomienda, Mission

Administratively, the country was initially part of the Viceroyalty of Peru , which included South America with the exception of Venezuela and the Portuguese sphere of influence. However, the highest government body was in Madrid . It was the India Council , assisted by specialist committees, which advised the crown, collected and processed information and ultimately steered colonial policy. The economic policy aimed at providing the crown with the highest possible income through protectionist measures (cf. Casa de Contratación ) and sealing off the motherland and the colonies from competition. Argentina was also geared towards the needs of the mother country, with the bases serving on the one hand to prevent the indigenous population from resisting, on the other hand to keep the independence efforts of Spanish nobles under control, and finally to prevent the establishment of other colonial powers in this area . These foreigners were not allowed to call at Spanish ports. A single merchants' guild was allowed to run the merchant fleet, which ran out once a year, until 1765, and was allowed to call at only one port in Spain, Seville .

Initially, the encomienda system that emerged from feudalism prevailed, and the crown gave away huge lands to Spanish nobles and the natives who lived there. This initially corresponded to the late medieval-early modern procedure, but wars and excesses of rule as well as epidemics caused numerous population groups to collapse. In the middle of the 16th century, the vast majority of the huge area changed to the Repartimiento system, or Mita , according to which each region was obliged to provide a certain number of workers, especially for the mines (see agricultural structures in Latin America ) . This distributed the enormous burdens across the entire colonial area, and the depopulated region was then able to "recover" for a certain period of time.

In northeast Argentina and Paraguay, missionaries who were active there in the mid-16th century tried to learn the languages ​​of the Indians (cf. Jesuit reductions of the Guaraní ). The converted Indians were soon under the protection of the Jesuits, who were increasingly asserting themselves against the other orders . They brought them together in reductions and defended themselves there, partly under the leadership of caciques , against the Portuguese slave hunters from São Paulo , the so-called Bandeirantes . For the crown, the mission stations were a way of exercising internal control, but above all of defending the border area. This was shown by the exploration and slave raids of António Raposo Tavares . In order to promote the independence of the reductions, the Jesuits built up a lucrative monopoly on the coveted mate tea.

Reorganization and detachment

In the course of the 18th century, Spanish South America was politically reorganized. After the viceroyalty of New Granada in northern South America was separated from the viceroyalty of Peru in 1717 , the viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata in southern South America was split off from it in 1776. In addition to Argentina, this included today's Bolivia , Paraguay and Uruguay .

Buenos Aires became the capital of the new viceroyalty. The city also received the right to trade independently. This led to the city's rapid growth in the final decades of the 18th century and the development of a wealthy urban class.

This was where the emphasis of the Argentine national consciousness, developed in the meantime, lay, which took on anti-Spanish traits, which was expressed in the bitter and ultimately successful resistance to the attempts to occupy Buenos Aires by British troops (1806 and 1807). As a result of this success, the nationalists saw themselves strengthened in their ambitions and prepared the country's independence by obtaining ever more extensive concessions from the viceroy to local civil associations, the so-called Cabildos Abiertos .

Formation of a nation state (1810-1880)


Inspired by the French Revolution and the successful US War of Independence , liberal ideas also spread to Latin America at the beginning of the 19th century . The successful defense against two British attacks, including on Buenos Aires in 1806 and 1807 (see British invasions on the Río de la Plata ), strengthened the self-confidence of the Creole population there. In addition, the Spanish colonial empire was greatly weakened by the defeat at Trafalgar by the British (1805) and from 1808 by the occupation of Spain by French troops .

In May 1810, France had brought all of Spain under its rule, which met with reluctance among the population of the colonies. In the course of the May Revolution , they forced a congress on May 25, 1810, which deposed Viceroy Baltasar de Cisneros and placed the government in the hands of a junta chaired by the military Cornelio Saavedra . However, the government declaration still contained an oath of allegiance to the Spanish King Ferdinand VII , who had been deposed by Napoleon. May 25th later became a national holiday .

This provisional independence initially only had a local effect. The viceroy moved his seat to Montevideo , and some parts of the country on the Río de la Plata looked for their own paths. In 1811 Paraguay split off. A similar situation across Latin America led to a series of wars of independence in which the Spanish side initially gained advantages. The political situation was unstable and changes of government were frequent. In addition, there were numerous differences between the province of Buenos Aires and, above all, the provinces of the northwest, especially about the future form of government: while Buenos Aires was in favor of a constitutional monarchy under the government of a European prince, the provinces in the interior wanted a South American empire under one descendant of the Inca dynasty, whose capital was to be Cuzco . The background to this demand was to win the numerous Indian populations in the Andean region for independence.

These differences were discussed in 1816 at a congress in San Miguel de Tucumán ; However, no agreement could be reached on the latter point, which is why the provisional government of Buenos Aires was initially continued. The need for unity between the various independence movements in the face of tough Spanish resistance, however, led to the entire viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata - with the exception of Paraguay, which had broken away from Spain in 1813 - on July 9, 1816 finally declared independent.
The military successes of José de San Martín and Simón de Bolívar in the years 1817 to 1822, who were able to conquer the center of their resistance between Lima and Cuzco ( Peru ) despite the overwhelming Spanish power , also strengthened the independence of Argentina, which was initially Provincias Unidas del Río de la Plata (United Provinces of the Río de la Plata) called. In the years of turbulent domestic political disputes ,
Bolivia (1825) and Uruguay (1828) split off.

The Argentine Federation

After the defeat of the Spaniards, the conflict between Buenos Aires and the interior intensified. While the so-called Unitarians of Buenos Aires favored a tightly organized central state, the federalists in most of the inland provinces wanted a loose state union (confederation). In 1819 the new state had given itself a provisional constitution on a unitary basis, which provoked resistance from the provinces and led to a civil war that lasted until the middle of the 19th century, in which all provinces were de facto independent states despite their mostly still very small population. even if the province of Buenos Aires was entrusted with foreign policy and therefore assumed a supremacy over the other provinces.

A real central power for the whole state only existed between 1826 and 1827, when Argentina was supposed to transform itself into a centralized presidential republic due to the Argentine-Brazilian war after another national congress through the constitution of 1826 . In view of the still smoldering conflicts with the interior, however, the first president of the new republic, Bernardino Rivadavia , resigned after just one year, his successor Vicente López y Planes temporarily held office for a good month to call new elections for the suspended provincial government of Buenos Aires to effect the dissolution of Congress and the Constitution by resigning; then they returned to the loose league of the Argentine Confederación .

The years of liberation were followed by a conservative counter-movement under Juan Manuel de Rosas , who was governor of the most important province of Buenos Aires from 1829 to 1832 and from 1835 to 1852. Despite his actually federalist sentiments, he demanded extensive influence in the rest of the federation and rejected any liberalization of the trade monopoly of Buenos Aires, which is why resistance soon arose in the other provinces. In his second reign he was elected for an indefinite period of time and introduced a totalitarian , dictatorial system that forced many liberal politicians into exile because of extensive state terror . Against the confederation of the neighboring states Peru and Bolivia , which took place in 1836 , Argentina took military action together with Chile in the Peruvian-Bolivian Confederation War from 1837 , but could no longer gain power over these areas. Rosas also tried with a nine-year siege of Montevideo (1842-1851) to get Uruguay under his control, which had developed into the center of the exile movement against Rosas, but was unsuccessful. In addition, Argentina had lost the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) to Great Britain in 1833 .

The beginnings of the Republic of Argentina

Justo José de Urquiza
Bartolomé Miter around 1900

Rosas' dictatorship ended in 1852 with an overthrow under General Justo José de Urquiza , the governor of the Entre Ríos province , supported by Uruguay and Brazil and able to defeat the army of Buenos Aires at the Battle of Caseros . Urquiza was then provisional head of government. In 1853 the provinces passed a republican, federal constitution , which is still valid today with a few changes. However, it was initially not recognized by Buenos Aires, which resulted in the separation of this province from the republic. The capital of Argentina therefore initially became Paraná , and Urquiza was elected the first president under the new constitution in November of the same year and took office in 1854. From 1859 to 1861 the clashes between the new republic and Buenos Aires were fought militarily, with the subsequent unification of Argentina. Urquiza, however, had to resign from his office as a concession to the Unitarians, and Buenos Aires temporarily - finally from 1880 - became the capital of the republic again. The liberal politician Bartolomé Miter was elected president in the first truly national elections in 1862 . He was followed in 1868 by Domingo Faustino Sarmiento and in 1874 by Nicolás Avellaneda . The bloody Triple Alliance War (1865-1870) between Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay on the one hand and Paraguay on the other, which the three allies won, fell during this period.

In 1869 the first national census was carried out under Sarmiento. Argentina had 1,836,490 inhabitants at that time, 31% of whom lived in the province of Buenos Aires. 8% of the total population were European (in the sense of “non-Argentine citizens”). Only 5% were Indians. 71% of the population were illiterate and less than 17% of the 300,000 eligible voters could write.

In the following decade, the Pampas and Patagonia were completely subjugated by the generals Julio Argentino Roca and later Conrado Villegas in the so-called desert campaign (Conquista del Desierto, 1878-1884). This company had already been started by Rosas in the 1830s, but initially only achieved partial success. In 1877, when the Rocas campaign began, most of the country south of a line between Buenos Aires and Mendoza was still ruled by the Mapuche and Tehuelche Indians. While Rosas had relied on alliances and negotiations with friendly Indian tribes in his campaign, Roca decided to wage a war of extermination against all Indian dominions in the region. Some historians refer to this campaign as genocide , while other historians reject this concept. Discussions from the Argentine congress are documented that explicitly saw the elimination of the Indian population as a goal, while Juan José Cresto , director of the Academia Argentina de la Historia , for example , argues that this was already the case with the group under attack no longer dealt with real Indians, but with Argentine criminals, which is why the term genocide is misleading. Only a fraction of the Indians survived this campaign, which made any further resistance pointless, even if until 1919 there were isolated military conflicts with individual groups.

Roca was elected president in 1880. In the same year, Buenos Aires was officially declared the capital of Argentina.

Wave of immigration and economic prosperity (1880–1955)

The República Liberal

Nicolas Avellaneda
Julio A. Roca

The years from 1880 to 1929 brought Argentina economic growth and increased immigration , mainly from Europe. This was stimulated by a law by Roca's predecessor Avellaneda, which made it much easier to obtain a residence permit. The economy was heavily geared towards the export of raw materials and the import of industrial products. This period ended with the Great Depression .

The Roca government and its successors until 1916 under presidents Miguel Juárez Celman (1886–1890), Carlos Pellegrini (1890–1892), Luis Sáenz Peña (1892–1895), José Evaristo Uriburu (1895–1898) and again Roca, the all of them belonged to the conservative-economically liberal party Partido Autonomista Nacional (PAN), are now summarized under the heading República Liberal . They were oligarchic , with great influence from the big landowners . A sophisticated electoral fraud system withheld political rights from the majority of the population . The system, in which practically all institutions related to the elections were involved, was based on several pillars: refusal of a secret ballot, falsification of the electoral roll (e.g. multiple nominations of individual voters, nomination of dead voters, non-nomination of sympathizers of political opponents), multiple elections individual citizens in different districts, non-admission of undesired voters as well as non-recognition and cancellation of unpleasant election results. Put simply: only those who belonged to the upper class or who collaborated with the government were allowed to vote - everyone else was sent back home with the slogan ya votaste (you have already voted). Even the immigrants, who at that time already made up a considerable part of the population, had no voting rights as foreigners . Out of displeasure with these conditions, a counter-movement was founded in the mid-1880s, the Unión Cívica (Citizens' Union). From 1890 onwards, it drew attention to itself through violent uprisings and, despite the bitter resistance of the oligarchs, obtained some concessions.

The border dispute with Chile in Patagonia was settled peacefully through an arbitration ruling by King Edward VII on November 20, 1902.

Nationalist ideas have been popular since 1900. They were more oriented towards Europe than the USA . In the meantime, the immigrants organized themselves in solidarity communities that formed the basis for the later unions. In 1901 an anarchist- oriented trade union umbrella organization, the FORA, was founded, which together with the Unión Cívica and the Socialist Party founded by German, French, Spanish and Italian immigrants formed the opposition. The FORA and the socialists were persecuted by the government, only the Unión Cívica could achieve respectable successes. In 1904 Manuel Quintana (PAN) was elected president, but he died in office in 1906. He was succeeded by José Figueroa Alcorta (PAN). In 1912, at the urging of the opposition, President Roque Sáenz Peña (PAN), who had been in office since 1910, was forced to introduce compulsory voting, which made the previous election fraud mechanism impossible. After Peña's death in 1914, Victorino de la Plaza (PAN) became president.


Hipólito Yrigoyen

In 1916, the Unión Cívica Radical (UCR - Radical Citizens Union) under Hipólito Yrigoyen , a spin-off from the Unión Cívica , replaced the existing government. This change of power was made possible by the reform of the electoral law in 1912. Yrigoyen and his successor Marcelo T. de Alvear (1922–1928) (also UCR) tried to lead a policy of national consensus. Negotiations began with the trade unions, as well as with the student movement, which in 1918 called for the reform of the encrusted university hierarchies in Cordoba . Nevertheless, bloody labor disputes continued in Buenos Aires (1919) and Patagonia (1921–1922). In 1928, Yrigoyen was re-elected president. With the global economic crisis, however, the conservative opposition movement regained popularity, and plans for a coup d'état were forged.

Great Depression and Notorious Decade

In 1930 Yrigoyen was overthrown in a military coup. The conservative general José Félix Uriburu set about restoring the old order. Nevertheless, the democratic system should be retained. The conservatives had come together in the Partido Demócrata Nacional (National Democratic Party), which, together with the right wing of the UCR (the so-called anti-personalists) and a split from the socialists , the Partido Socialista Independiente , had formed a legal alliance called Concordancia and ultimately up to Remained in power in 1943.

In 1932 elections were held, from which the anti-personalist Agustín Pedro Justo emerged as the winner. In the province of Buenos Aires , the so-called patriotic electoral fraud occurred for the first time , which in the following years ensured the continuity of the conservative governments. The Conservatives were of the opinion that the Argentine people were not yet ready for democracy and therefore did not respect true national values ​​in their decisions, which is why they saw the electoral fraud as justified. The 1930s are therefore known in Argentina under the name década infame (German: infamous decade ), even among historians, the governments of this time are viewed by the majority as illegitimate.

The collapse of international trade as a result of the global economic crisis led to the beginning of an import substitution policy with the development of industry and greater economic independence. At the same time, however, with the Roca-Runciman Pact of 1933, far-reaching concessions were made to Great Britain in order to continue to gain access to the meat market of the European great power, which was economically very isolated as a result of the crisis. This was at the expense of the independence of the Argentine central bank, which was founded in 1935 largely with British capital, and of the transport sector, in which British companies have had a de facto monopoly since then, as they were treated in the pact as "benevolent" ( "tattamiento benévolo") ) was awarded.

Roberto María Ortiz , who was elected president in 1938 and came from the anti-personalist wing of the UCR, tried to strengthen democracy and tried to reduce the influence of the conservatives, but had to resign due to illness in 1942 and was replaced by his ultra-conservative vice-president Ramón Castillo . The latter withdrew the attempts at democratization, but not only met with the displeasure of the population, but also of the military, above all because of his neutral policy in World War II , which was questioned by a new group of pro-fascist generals, the Grupo de Oficiales Unidos ( GOU).

Second World War

Perón on the cover of Obrero Ferroviario magazine (1945)

Ramón Castillo was ousted by a coup in 1943; a transitional phase followed until 1946, when the military held power. The GOU generals Arturo Rawson (1943), Pedro Pablo Ramírez (1943–1944) and Edelmiro Julián Farrell (1944–1946) replaced each other in the presidency. Argentina was officially neutral during World War II , although it sympathized with the Axis powers, it supported the Allies towards the end of the war .

During this time, the young officer Juan Perón managed to maneuver himself into power in a tricky way: he occupied the Ministry of Labor under Ramírez and Farrell and quickly became a popular hero in the working class because of his far-reaching concessions to the unions. He was also supported by most of the entrepreneurs, as he justified these concessions with the defense of communism and the preservation of the people's peace. The internal migration to the big cities as a result of the import substitution policy, which began in 1930, had allowed the urban working class to grow rapidly and provided a socially explosive factor, especially in the greater Buenos Aires area.

When a heterogeneous democratic opposition movement against the military formed in 1945, which was also directed against the pro-fascist tendencies in Perón's environment, they tried to restore social peace by releasing and arresting Perón on October 10th of that year. The unions protested against this decision, however, and since the demonstrations by the opposition did not subside either, the military opted for the lesser evil and accepted the demand for Perón's return in initially secret negotiations. The working class, called by the trade union federation CGT , held a mass demonstration on October 17 for his release. With more than 300,000 people, this mass demonstration was the largest Argentina had ever seen and resulted in his release the same day. This then used its popularity and organized free elections.


Eva Perón (Evita)

Juan Perón won the 1946 elections by only a small margin, but dominated political life with his wife Eva Perón (called Evita, † 1952) until 1955. Part of Peronist politics was the nationalization of important branches of industry and the expansion of the import substitution model to include the consumer goods industry. Perón pushed through a constitutional amendment in 1949 that allowed him a second presidency. His reign can be described as a mixture of democracy and dictatorship: other parties were allowed and there were free elections, but the media and the trade union movement were controlled by Perón and his party . Personality cult and nationalist propaganda were important pillars of Perón's rule. Especially in its first reign, Argentina experienced the industrialization of large parts of the previously agricultural country and a subsequent economic boom with a level of prosperity that was never reached again. Argentina profited from the high demand of the destroyed Europe. It was from this period that Perón said that what an Argentine family threw in the trash would allow five European families to survive. Until the 1950s , Argentina was actually far more prosperous than the European countries suffering from the consequences of the war. Social measures such as the 8-hour day gave Perón support from the broad mass of the population.

Perón is controversial in Germany today mainly because of his sympathy for the ideology of National Socialism . He admired Mussolini and was extremely anti-Semitic. During the Second World War he was involved in governments that hindered the escape of European Jews to Argentina. Still, Argentina was the main country of refuge in South America, often through illegal immigration. It is estimated that around half of the 45,000 refugee European Jews had to enter Argentina illegally. After taking power in 1946, Jewish immigration continued to be hindered, and Perón supported the wave of Nazi war criminals and Nazi collaborators from all over Europe who escaped their jurisdiction. Nazi criminals like Adolf Eichmann , Josef Mengele or Walter Rauff found refuge in Argentina after 1945, often with the help of the Vatican . Nazi war criminals should play a role in Perón's sense, especially for military needs, and had an influence on the immigration authorities of Santiago Peralta .

The conservatives observed Perón with suspicion and forged plans for a violent overthrow during Perón's second presidency (from 1951). A broad conservative-liberal as well as nationalist opposition movement emerged, which was mainly supported by the old big landowner oligarchy , but later also by the Catholic Church . The onset of economic problems meant that this movement was also supported by a section of the middle class and industrialists, but the working class remained loyal to Perón.

The instability phase (1955–1983)

Perón's time in exile

In June 1955, some officers attempted a coup and bombed Perón's seat of government in the center of the capital. Over 300 people - mostly civilians - were killed. The coup attempt initially failed. In September 1955 (so-called Revolución Libertadora ), the military, led by Eduardo Lonardi , succeeded in staging a coup and overturning Perón's government. But even after his disempowerment, Perón remained popular with the masses and influential from exile .

In the years that followed, the conflict between three interest groups shaped politics: The reform populists , who found themselves primarily in the UCR, wanted little to reform the economic policy of the Peronists and continued to rely on industrialization based on Argentine capital. The Desarrollistas (for example: development politicians) wanted to extend the industrialization process to intermediate products and durable consumer goods such as cars, i.e. to sectors that were determined by foreign capital, and to align wage policy in favor of the entrepreneurs in order to enable higher investments. The liberals , who were mainly supported by the well-off classes and large parts of the military, wanted to do away with inefficient industries and instead relied on free trade. In her opinion, numerous artificial industries were created during the import substitution process between 1930 and 1955, the justification of which was doubtful.

Lonardi was replaced in 1955 by Pedro Eugenio Aramburu , who essentially reinstated the constitution of 1853 and banned the Peronist party. Elections in February 1958 brought Arturo Frondizi from the UCRI ( Unión Cívica Radical Intransigente , Unyielding Radical Citizens Union), a wing close to the Desarrollistas of the then split UCR, with the support of some of the Peronists and politicians from various provincial parties up to the communists the government. During his reign, Argentina opened up to foreign capital, and the ban on the Peronist party was gradually relaxed and lifted completely in 1961. This provoked the resentment of the anti-peronist sector.

After the 1962 gubernatorial elections, which the Peronist Party clearly won, the armed forces, which were still dominated by anti- peronists , demanded that the elections be annulled. Although Frondizi gave in, he was ousted in a coup just ten days after the election. In order to prevent the leader of the coup Raúl Poggi as president, José María Guido , then provisional chairman of the Senate and party friend Frondizis from the UCRI, was sworn in as interim president in a tactical consideration that came from the judges of the then Supreme Court . It was therefore the only coup in Argentina's history after which the successor to the deposed president was at least formally determined under the constitution. The military were surprised by this turnaround and initially reacted with rejection. However, since Guido behaved cooperatively and accepted the conditions imposed by the military, finally withdrew the elections of 1962, banned the Peronist Party again and announced a conservative economic policy, they accepted him as head of state. Frondizi was meanwhile interned on the island of Martín García .

The following new elections in July 1963, in which Peronists and communists were not allowed to participate, won Arturo Umberto Illia from the anti- peronist movement of the UCR, the UCRP ( Unión Cívica Radical del Pueblo , Radical Citizens' Union of the People). The UCRP received the highest number of votes, but this still only corresponded to around 25% of the total votes cast. The UCRI of the ousted President Frondizi came third with 16%. About 40% of the votes cast were distributed among 47 other parties. Although Illia's style and rhetoric were more sober, less nationalist and populist, his economic and social policy was closer to a classic economic nationalist model than the Frondizis. For example, he canceled the contracts Frondizi had concluded with foreign oil companies. Illia's policies were also characterized by their strict respect for democratic procedures and norms, which did not help him to support the Peronist trade unions.

Juan Carlos Onganía

The success of the Peronists in regional and by-elections in 1965 as well as labor unrest due to the poor economic situation led to another coup on June 28, 1966 by General Juan Carlos Onganía ; the incumbent President Arturo Umberto Illia was declared deposed. The conservative Onganía was sworn in as the new president on June 28th and set up a dictatorship that should be led by "experts". Parliament was dissolved and the parties banned. The Onganía government continued to focus on the development policy approach and expanded industrialization, but now with the increased participation of multinational companies in the spirit of an economically liberal course. Although the powerful Peronist union leader Augusto Vandor , also known as el lobo (the wolf) , originally supported Onganía's government, an opposition of workers and students against the regime soon formed, which led to increasingly violent clashes from 1969 onwards. In 1969, for example, Vandor was murdered by left-wing Peronist guerrillas who tried to steer the exiled leader's movement on course.

In the same year there were riots in Córdoba ( Cordobazo ) and Rosario ( Rosariazo ) , which cost Onganía the presidency. He was succeeded by Roberto Marcelo Levingston , who saw himself as a pioneer of a democratic turnaround, but had to resign again in 1971 after unrest in Cordoba ( Viborazo ) . Various guerrilla organizations, which were supported by part of the student movement, enjoyed great popularity throughout the epoch. The Montoneros , the largest of them, were Peronist while others such as the Ejército de Liberación Nacional (ELN) and the People's Revolutionary Army (Ejército Revolucionario del Pueblo, ERP) were communist. The ERP in particular stood out for its social activities (e.g. food delivery in slums), which made it very popular with the population and students.

Second Peronist epoch

The last president to be appointed by the military, Alejandro Lanusse , has been preparing to restore democracy since taking office in 1971. Protests and violence as well as constant tactics between the exiled Perón and Lanusse shaped the years 1972 and 1973. The election of March 1973 was won by the Peronists with Héctor José Cámpora as presidential candidate. During the election campaign, Cámpora stressed that if Perón returned, he would give him the place.

After escalating terrorism from the right and left and Perón's return, Cámpora resigned, Raúl Alberto Lastiri took over the presidency for a short time, and then the way was clear for Perón's renewed presidency. Perón returned to his homeland on June 20, 1973. At the rally on his return, riots broke out between various groups of demonstrators, the police and the military, with numerous dead. During this time, Perón practiced a tough right course. He could not solve the economic problems. After Perón's death in July 1974, Isabel Perón , his third wife, succeeded him in office. Her reign was marked by economic decline, peso inflation and renewed terrorism . The semi-state terrorist brigade Alianza Anticomunista Argentina (AAA), which was founded under Perón, murdered numerous opposition members and activists of the left and made people disappear .

Military dictatorship and state terror

Some madres with the former President Nestor Kirchner

In March 1976, the military under Jorge Rafael Videla took over government again, supported by the Liberal faction, who saw their hour in the face of the economic crisis. The so-called “ Process of National Reorganization ” ( Proceso de Reorganización Nacional or Proceso for short ) was intended to convert Argentine society, which was viewed as “sick”, back to conservative ideals and to finally destroy the left guerrilla organizations. For the military, democratization was only possible after this “process” had been successfully completed.

Terror and counter-terror as well as the unsuccessful departure into neoliberalism initiated by the Minister for Economic Affairs José Alfredo Martínez de Hoz , which seemed suitable for fighting inflation according to the liberal school, but ultimately amounted to a national sell-off and caused industrial production to drop by 40%, shaped the following years. In the dirty war of the military government against their political opponents, especially against the Montoneros , around 2,300 people were demonstrably murdered and 10,000 arrested , according to information from the National Commission on the Disappearance of Persons . Between 20,000 and 30,000 people, called Desaparecidos , disappeared without a trace during this time. The Madres de Plaza de Mayo have been demanding the investigation of these crimes without success since 1977. In 2006, former chief investigator Miguel Etchecolatz was sentenced to life imprisonment for murder, deprivation of liberty and torture of political opponents . The term “ genocide ” was used for the first time in the grounds of the judgment , since according to the court it was a systematic plan of extermination.

Videla's successors Roberto Viola (March 1981) and Leopoldo Galtieri (December 1981) were unable to free the country from the severe economic crisis. The attempt to mobilize Argentina by occupying the Malwinen ( Falkland Islands ) in April 1982 failed because of the British victory in the Falklands War in June 1982. Galtieri was then replaced by Reynaldo Bignone , who initiated democratization after mass protests against the dictatorship.

Democratic Argentina (after 1983)

Raúl Alfonsín

The 80s

Heavily indebted and economically troubled, Argentina elected Raúl Alfonsín of the Unión Cívica Radical as president on October 30, 1983 . Alfonsín introduced military reforms, but did not get the economic problems under control. In 1985 the currency was reformed and the Austral was introduced, accompanied by a sudden austerity policy, combined with a general wage and price freeze . From 1987, however, inflation increased again. In 1989, despite numerous emergency economic programs, hyperinflation occurred , and the dollar rate rose to several hundred Australes; the poverty rate multiplied and reached a record 48%.

The Menem government

In this crisis-ridden situation , the Peronists won the May 1989 election with Carlos Menem , who initially tried to return to Peronist ideals of redistribution, but quickly switched to a strictly neoliberal course. But it was not until 1991 that inflation could be combated efficiently with the help of the new Minister of Economics Domingo Cavallo's so-called Plan de Convertibilidad . Cavallo introduced a fixed dollar rate of 10,000 Australes per US dollar. In 1992 the Austral was replaced by the Argentine Peso , which was 10,000 Australes and therefore worth exactly one dollar. As part of the convertibility plan, one dollar was programmed into the reserves for each peso, which meant that, under the guarantee of the state, pesos could be exchanged for dollars at a ratio of 1: 1 at any time. The privatization of state-owned companies - albeit in some cases poorly organized - and a restructuring of national debt led to a brief recovery. Mostly foreign investors acquired the Argentine state-owned companies and other ailing companies and restructured them, which in many cases also resulted in mass layoffs.

After widespread constitutional reform, Menem won a second presidential mandate in 1995. In the same year, the tequila crisis that began in Mexico spilled over and caused a recession for the first time since 1990 . The dollar parity slowly led to an overvaluation of the peso. So the pointed Big Mac Index of the Economist in an overvaluation of the peso by about 20%. Many companies had to close because of stifling competition from cheap imports from Asia, and unemployment reached record highs. Nevertheless, the dollar parity was initially maintained and the economy recovered slightly by 1998 despite the negative effects of the Asian , Russian and Brazilian crises .

The attack on the Israeli embassy (1992) with 29 deaths and the bomb attack on the AMIA building (the Jewish community of Buenos Aires) (1994) with 85 deaths also fell during Menem's reign .

Economic crisis and recovery

Fernando de la Rúa

From the end of 1998 Argentina found itself in a deep deflationary economic crisis. In 1999 the population found hope when Fernando de la Rúas was elected President of Argentina. De la Rúa entered with a center-left coalition and was able to replace the Peronist government. However, the directionless course of the government under De la Rúa and disputes within the coalition led to a further deterioration in the economic situation. The economics minister changed several times until De la Rúa brought Domingo Cavallo, a former Peronist and the spiritual father of the 1: 1 link to the US dollar, into the government as economics minister. At the end of 2001, he felt compelled to freeze all bank accounts, which triggered a storm of indignation among the population, which found its expression above all in the so-called cacerolazos (collective loud beating with a wooden spoon on a saucepan). In addition, at the end of 2001 there was large-scale looting in and around Buenos Aires by the unemployed and so-called piqueteros (piqueteros are organized unemployed people who want to draw attention to their situation through so-called piquetes (street and company blockades)). De la Rúa finally resigned on December 21, 2001 after more than 25 people had died in violent clashes between demonstrators and police in the previous days. Four changes in the presidency followed within just ten days.

First, Ramón Puerta ( Peronist Party ), the President of the Argentine Senate, took over the business of government. On December 23, he handed over the administration to Adolfo Rodríguez Saá (Peronist Party). This finally declared the national bankruptcy ; after five days, Saá also resigned from their own ranks as a result of resistance. On December 30th, Eduardo Camaño , President of the House of Representatives , took over . He called parliamentary elections, from which Eduardo Duhalde emerged victorious. This belongs to the more conservative menemist wing of the Peronists and then devalued the currency in a largely uncontrolled manner, at times it fell below 25% of its previous value.

Another high point of the economic crisis was the first half of 2002, when unemployment and the poverty rate rose to record highs. The dissatisfaction with the situation caused especially citizens from underprivileged classes ( unemployed ) and from the middle class to frequent demonstrations.

Néstor Kirchner

From mid-2002 the situation slowly stabilized, and at the end of 2002 economic growth was recorded again. In May 2003, after a very chaotic presidential election, Néstor Kirchner was elected as the new head of state. He belongs more to the left wing of the Peronist party. Despite his low election results, he was very popular among the population because he tackled some reforms that could slowly improve the country's situation in many areas, including social ones. In 2003 Argentina recorded a growth in gross domestic product of 8.7% compared to -10.9% in 2002.

In the elections to the Argentine Senate and the Argentine Chamber of Deputies in October 2005, Néstor Kirchner's supporters emerged victorious with around 40% of the vote. In the election for senatorial posts in the important province of Buenos Aires , his wife Cristina Fernández de Kirchner won against the wife of the former president Eduardo Duhalde Hilda González de Duhalde , who also belongs to the Peronist Party. The president was thus strengthened and was able to rely on a large majority in both chambers, including within his own party.

In early 2006, the beginning led the construction of pulp mills in the Uruguayan Fray Bentos on the Uruguay River , bordering Argentina to a serious diplomatic conflict with the neighboring country. Argentina accused Uruguay of polluting the river for a lack of thorough research into the impact of this investment, thereby disregarding international treaties governing its sharing. The conflict intensified when the population of the city of Gualeguaychú blocked the border crossings between the two countries with roadblocks opposite the planned location of the factories. The blockades were not ended until the end of April. Argentina reported the case to the United Nations International Court of Justice in The Hague , which, however, did not identify any concerns about the construction of the factories.

In the 2007 presidential election , Cristina Fernández de Kirchner was able to prevail with 45.3% of the votes in the first ballot. Their party alliance Frente para la Victoria was also strengthened in the simultaneous election to the House of Representatives and Senate. Fernández took office on December 10, 2007 . She was confirmed in office in 2011 .

Since 2014 Argentina has been in an economic crisis again with partially negative economic growth and a high inflation rate. The country has repeatedly faced another bankruptcy.

In the 2015 presidential elections , the former mayor of Buenos Aires, Mauricio Macri , won from the conservative Propuesta Republicana (PRO) party, which was also supported by the UCR. In the 2019 presidential and parliamentary elections in Argentina , Alberto Fernández (PJ / Frente de Todos ) won a companion of former President Néstor Kirchner. He and his Vice President, the former President Cristina Kirchner, were sworn in on December 10, 2019.


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Web links

Commons : History of Argentina  - Collection of Images, Videos and Audio Files

Individual evidence

  1. Ariel D. Frank: Tratamiento térmico y manejo del fuego de Sociedades cazadoras-recolectoras de la Meseta Central de Santa Cruz , Facultad de Ciencias Naturales y Museo, Santa Cruz, Argentina 2011, p. 9
  2. On this topic, cf. the diss. By Ariel D. Frank: Tratamiento térmico y manejo del fuego en sociedades cazadoras-recolectoras de la Meseta Central de Santa Cruz , Facultad de Ciencias Naturales y Museo, Santa Cruz, Argentina 2011. ( online )
  3. ^ Nikolaus Werz : Argentina . Wochenschau-Verlag, Schwalbach 2012, p. 17.
  4. Collection ( memento of June 23, 2006 in the Internet Archive ) of texts by various historians who support or reject the genocide theory (Spanish)
  5. Juan José Cresto: Roca y el mito del genocidio , La Nación , November 29, 2004
  6. ^ Ricardo Forte: La crisis argentina de 1890: estado liberal, política fiscal y presupuesto público . In: Relaciones . No. 67/68 , 1996, pp. 128 ( edu.mx [PDF]).
  7. See in detail Natalio R. Botana: El orden conservador , section El Sufragio: fraude y control electoral. Hyspamérica, Buenos Aires 1977, p. 174 ff.
  8. ^ The Cordillera of the Andes Boundary Case (Argentina, Chile) . In: United Nations (ed.): Report of International arbitral awards . tape 9 , November 20, 1902, p. 37–49 (English, French, pdf ).
  9. Susana Freier: Línea sistemática: una democracia inacabada en constante transformación. Universidad Católica Argentina, Documento CSOC 12/2003, p. 24.
  10. ^ A b Luis A. Romero: Breve Historia contemporánea de la Argentina. Cape. III: La Restauración Conservadora. P. 89 ff.
  11. Juan Carlos Torre: Los años peronistas. Cape. 1: Introducción a los años peronistas. Ed. Sudamericana, Buenos Aires 2002, pp. 30-33
  12. Historia de los judíos en la Argentina: Judios en la Argentina - La circular 11. 2012, accessed on February 25, 2019 (Spanish).
  13. See in detail in Uki Goñi : Odessa. The true story. Escape aid for Nazi war criminals. Berlin / Hamburg 2006. ISBN 3-935936-40-0 . See also: Theo Bruns: Mass exodus of Nazi war criminals to Argentina. The largest escape aid operation in criminal history. In: ila 299: Mass exodus of Nazi war criminals to Argentina
  14. ^ Rosa Elsa Portugheis: Bombardeo del 16 de junio de 1955 . Ministerio de Justicia y Derechos Humanos de la Nació, Buenos Aires 2015, ISBN 978-987-1407-88-0 , p. 148 .
  15. ^ Anne Huffschmid: Cracks in Space: Memory, Violence and Urban Life in Latin America . Springer, Wiesbaden 2015, p. 229 .
  16. ^ Marcelo Cavarozzi: Autoritarismo y democracia. Cape. 1: El fracaso de la "semidemocracia" y sus legados. CEAL, Buenos Aires 1987, pp. 23-26
  17. ^ Carlos Floria, César Garcia Belsunce: Historia Política de la Argentina Contemporanea (1880-1983). Alianza Universidad, Buenos Aires 1989, p. 184
  18. Bernd Wulffen: The Perón Phenomenon: Populism in Latin America . 2nd Edition. Books on Demand, Norderstedt 2017, pp. 208 ff .
  19. ^ Article ( Memento of April 21, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) of the Salzburger Nachrichten of September 21, 2006
  20. Peter Burghardt, Buenos Aires: Argentina wants to reopen the investigation . In: sueddeutsche.de . February 25, 2013, ISSN  0174-4917 ( sueddeutsche.de [accessed February 25, 2019]).
  21. Argentina: A Guide to National Bankruptcy. December 19, 2011, accessed March 13, 2019 .
  22. Source: INDEC ( Memento of the original dated April 6, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.indec.gov.ar
  23. kas.de (2010): International Court of Justice falls Solomon's judgment. - Cellulose factory on the Río Uruguay does not have to be demolished
  24. GDP growth (annual%) | Data. Retrieved August 26, 2019 .
  25. Argentina - inflation rate up to 2018 | Statista. Retrieved August 26, 2019 .
  26. Florian Diekmann: Consequences of the bankruptcy: So it goes on with Argentina . In: Spiegel Online . August 1, 2014 ( spiegel.de [accessed August 26, 2019]).
  27. tagesschau.de: Worries about a new state bankruptcy in Argentina. Retrieved August 26, 2019 .
This version was added to the list of articles worth reading on October 24, 2005 .