History of Buenos Aires

History of Buenos Aires


Buenos Aires:

The city of Buenos Aires was founded twice. First of all, an expedition led by captain Pedro Mendosa founded the city in 1536, having named it Nuestra Señora Santa María del Buen Aire after the patron saint of sailors, bringing them good wind i.e. buen aire). Mendosa soon became the first governor of the entire region. The local population didn’t like the fact that Spanish sailors were migrating to the shores of Argentina, which soon led to a rebellion. Due to the fact that the Spanish were a minority at the time, coupled with a lack of supplies, they were forced to retreat.

50 years later, Juan de Garray, leading a far bigger expedition under his wing, managed to establish the city of Trinidan in 1580 in the exact same place from where Spanish sailors had lived before. Land was distributed among the members of the expedition, under the principle of free will, so sailors started farming, keeping livestock and working the land. The New World offered so much to the Europeans. However, Buenos Aires grew very slowly when you take its potential into account, and its pier, which was the largest of its kind on the continent, was only partially used for trade. This can mostly be blamed on the political decision that the Kingdom of Spain enforced upon the South American continent.

Due to the vast space that separated it from other populous centers, coupled with the poorly maintained and operated pier, Buenos Aires started developing its own, unique lifestyle, mostly dealing with cattle, trade and the smuggling of goods. In the 18th century, the neighborhoods of Buenos Aires spread quickly along the Parana river, as the land was fertile and the many smaller rivers that ran all around the area enabled travelling by boat. During this time, Argentina used to export tons of grain, smoked beef, cattle skin for further manufacturing, all of which was used on the plantation in the north of South America, as well as in the Carribean.

In 1776, Buenos Aires became the capital of a newly*established sub-kingdom of Río de la Plata. At the end of the 18th, as well as the beginning of the 19th century, the city experienced financial growth, and population numbers doubled to around 43 thousand. Official trade made Buenos Aires the de-facto capital of the sub-kingdom, even though Spain tended to maintain control over the entire region, being very interested in profiting from trade, taxes etc. It was at this time that Spain became the most crucial trade partner of Buenos Aires.

According to numerous experts, the reforms introduced on an administrative level in 1776 were very significant, especially due to the fact that the “elite” was divided into two groups who had different economic interests. The first group was primarily interested in the development of trade, as well as the city’s relations with Brazil and the Carribean. As these countries were, politically speaking, close to Europe, this meant that the first group was primarily interested in external affairs, along with international trade. On the other hand, the second group dealt more with administrative duties on a local level. This group co-operated with Spain the most, which made it their business to protect Spain’s interests in the New World.

The wish for freedom that Argentina and its people are famous for came from the turbulent history of the country, coupled with the sucess that the people had in fending off foreing invaders. The national spirit strenghtened significantly in 1806 and 1807, when the British army was defeated by Argentina not once, but twice. In addition to this, Napoleon made his was into Spain in 1808, subsequently placing his brother on the throne. During this time, Argentina reconsidered its relations with Spain. Soon, in 1810, the newly-elected government decided to cut all ties with Spain. However, not everyone in the country was ready for such a step, let alone the rest of the South American continent. The battle for independence would take very long to reach an end.

Other provinces of the sub-kingdom, Bolivia, Paraguay, and Uruguay, refused to become part of the newly-established country, which was dominated by Buenos Aires. In such a situation, Buenos Aires took up all of the duties of central government in the next 30 years, while allowing other provinces to go their own way. In the ensuing decades, the aforementioned provinces struggled the most, which led them do organise a coup of their own. Even though the coup was successful, the government that came into power as a consequence lacked efficiency. Under Bartolomé Mitre, Argentina defeated local armed forces and established a centralized government system, placing the capital in Buenos Aires. With the change of government in 1880, Buenos Aires officially became the capital of Argentina.

In the 19th century, due to the large-scale industrialization of the country, Argentina florished. The whole of Europe became interested in the meat, grain and other products that Argentina sold. With the beginning of World War One, Argentina became one of the world’s main exporters of agricultural products. People from Spain, Italy, Germany and the rest of Europe migrated to Argentina during the next 40 years. Before the two world wars, Argentina had fluorished, and many villas and castles were built by immigrants from Italy and France. The government of Buenos Aires wanted the city to resemble European capitals, which led, in 1910, to the decision for the underground railway system and a wide promeades to be built.

Class differences started to form between the ruling elite and the working-class people who mostly inhabited welfare buildings near their work places. Apart from the people of Argentina, the lowest social layer consisted of many immigrants who came from other countries in South America. The poorest citizens all supported Juan Perón, who came into power after a military coup in 1943. He ruled over Argentina for 10 years, after which he was forcibly removed from power and exiled. However, he became president once again between 1973 and 1974, but his own death shortened his second presidency to a single year. Perón allowed Nazi war criminals to migrate to Argentina. He reformed society and provided the people with cheap education accessible to all the citizens of Argentina. A portion of the treasury’s reserves was directed to the poorest in the country, which made Perón particularly popular among the working class.

Anti-Perón soldiers, in attempt to remove Perón from power, ordered the Argentine Navy to bomb the Plaza del Mayo. The coup was unsuccessful, but the following one managed to remove and exile Perón.

Another grim scene from the history of Buenos Aires that shook the entire continent was the military government that Argentina was under between 1976 and 1983. This period saw the arrest of many alleged dissidents, who were questioned, and many of them went missing after being arrested. The entire event is shrouded in mystery, but the loss of human lives left a deep impression on the newer history of Buenos Aires. After the end of this notorious period, Raúl AlfonsÍn was elected president in 1983, who immediately started to prosecute those involved in the disappearances. Many of them were sentenced to life in prison.

In 2001, a great economic crisis hit the entire country, and the people lost trust in banks in general, mostly because of the fall of the rate of the peso. Unemployment accounted for 25% of the population, and mass protests forced the then-president, Fernando de la Rúa, to resign from power and escape the country. Many lost their jobs, and many businesses went bankrupt during this period.

Today, the economic situation of Buenos Aires is not ideal, but, overall, the city is considered to be safe. You will be amazed by its architecture, but even more by the people who live there. They will move you in a way that you have not experienced in your life.

Tourist destinations in Argentina:

Buenos Aires

When it comes to Buenos Aires, you can rest assured that it is a city that will touch your heart. Hidden inside a bay, but in no way unnoticeable, this metropolis with a population of 3 million people won’t cause you to lose track in it as other cold cities would. Kind passers-by will do their best to help you find your way around this pleasantly warm South American city. Buenos Aires is the third-largest city on the South American continent, and is home to one of the most important piers in that part of the world. The capital of Argentina is one of the rare autonomous municipalities of the world. Even though it is included in the territory of the province that carries the same name, the city separated from it in 1880, after the end of the Argentine Civil Wars, and thanks to a lengthy federalization process ended.

Discover Buenos Aires

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