The most peculiar characteristic of Argentina is the historical coexistence between the strong European cultural heritage and the rural and regionalist traditions. The economic power of the landowning oligarchy did not prevent the country from achieving levels of development typical of first world nations. The high level of education of the population, the level of income and the advancement and diversification of the economy make Argentines a privileged people among South Americans. Its troubled contemporary political history and its dependence on foreign capital, however, closed the path to full development.
Unlike almost all other South American countries, white Europeans have become the main racial component of the Argentine people. The geographic distribution of the population proved to be uneven, with an increasing concentration in coastal metropolises and in fertile interior regions.
According to Localbusinessexplorer.com, there were few inhabitants in the country when Spanish colonization began. Some of the existing indigenous groups, on which the Inca civilization still influenced, occupied small areas of the Pampas elevations, close to the mountain range, in the valleys of the Paraguay and Paraná rivers. They were Araucanos, Guaranis and Diaguitas, more like Quechua. The fight against the bellicose hunting tribes and the small influx of immigrants kept demographic growth at relatively low levels during the colonial period. When the country proclaimed its independence from Spain (1816), it had no more than 400,000 inhabitants.
From the second half of the 19th century onwards, Argentina began to encourage the mobilization of European immigrants to the maximum to occupy their most fertile regions. In 1860 the population had already risen to more than 1,700,000 and half a century later, six million immigrants had arrived, with a constant predominance of Spaniards and Italians, to which was added a contingent from South America itself. This migratory flow it went beyond the second world war, remaining until 1956.
From 1960 onwards, political instability and economic problems fueled the reverse process, leading many Argentine citizens to emigrate to other countries. Despite this, the general population continued to grow, but moderately, at an average annual rate of 1.5%. In addition to Buenos Aires, the cities of Córdoba, Rosario, Mendoza and Mar del Plata have also become important, with a large demographic concentration.
The Indian and the Negro practically disappeared. Although the mestizo element is substantial in the provinces contiguous to Chile, Bolivia and Paraguay, and there are communities of pure Indians in the northwest of the country, the populous centers of Argentina, and in particular the capital, have become almost one hundred percent white. At the end of the 20th century, the Argentine territory was home to just over one hundred thousand indigenous people.
The lack of a solid industrial infrastructure, the scarcity of capital, exports based on the primary sector, social and labor conflicts and political instability were some of the obstacles to the prosperity of a country that, if it is not underdeveloped, has its own aspects. of Third World economies.
In the second half of the 19th century, Argentina experienced rapid economic development, with the colonization of the Pampa and the start of exports. However, the distribution of land between large landowners and small landowners and the absence of an authentic agrarian middle class hindered the technical renewal of farming. The Argentine economy tended to stagnate and was excessively dependent on fluctuations in the international market. These structural deficiencies were evident from 1930, when the American and European markets closed to agricultural products.
Economic stagnation deepened after the Second World War, despite government efforts to industrialize the country and mitigate the effects of rising inflation. The 1958 crisis, the 1962 drought and the rise in oil prices in the 1970s further aggravated the nation’s economic problems. Attempts were made to resolve them with agricultural and industrial development plans, the success of which was not always what was desired. The exploitation of oil fields since 1967, the increase in hydroelectric energy production and the expansion and improvement of irrigation systems were some of Argentina’s main economic achievements in the second half of the 20th century.