History of Argentina

Explore the Fascinating History of Argentina

Though the area was initially inhabited by native Indians, Europeans arrived in 1502 and exerted a considerable amount of influence of the indigenous people. Not long after their arrival, the Spaniards established a permanent colony at the site of present day Buenos Aires. They also set up the Viceroyalty of the Rio de la Plata in 1776. However the native people quickly came to resent Spanish rule and on 9 July 1816, Argentina declared its independence. Initially there was a lot of conflict between centralist and federationist groups but the Argentinean constitution was drawn up and this lead to a greater degree of national unity.

In the late 19th century, Argentina saw the introduction of modern farming techniques. This development was largely due to foreign investment and immigration but it helped to integrate Argentina into the world economy. Before long, Argentina became one on of the top ten wealthiest nations in the world. All the while Argentina was struggling with local rule. Conflict between the Radical and Conservative forces continued and the government remained conservative for the most part. In 1946 Juan Perón came into government and began efforts to empower the working class and increase the number of unionized workers. In 1955 he was deposed by the Revolución Libertadora.

The 1950s and 1960s were a time of great political upheaval. Military governments came into power but they quickly lost favor when they were unable to suppress terrorism. This opened the way for Perón to return to power with his third wife acting as Vice President. Unfortunately acts of terrorism continued. When Perón died in 1974, he was succeeded by his wife but she was forcefully removed from office by a military coup. After this the armed forces exercised power over the country and illegally repressed opposition. Eventually the country was defeated in the Falklands War in 1982 and the military regime ended. Democracy was restored and were efforts were made to improve the country. Carlos Menem put forth effort to stop hyperinflation and took other positive steps which helped the economy to not only recover but to grow significantly. Sometime later the economy suffered a crisis which lead to riots and recession. The Peso-Dollar link that Menem had established was abandoned and unemployment and poverty skyrocketed.

In 2003, Néstor Kirchner rose to presidency and began to implement new policies which have lead to the economy becoming somewhat more stabilized. Kirchner has focused on re-industrialization, increased exportation, import substitution, a high exchange rate and consistent fiscal surplus. So far his methods have had a marked improvement and Argentina is profiting from his efforts.


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