Since the beginning of the occupation of its territory, in which its pioneering spirit seemed to be guided by conflicting objectives and attitudes, Argentina has always lived its history with struggle and restlessness, regional rivalries, divergence between classes and factions. In the midst of these flames, it became politicized, acquired vigorous social combativeness and an unmistakable profile as a nation, but even today it has problems to integrate itself around a safe perspective and a decided national project.
Discovery and colonization
It is difficult to say which was the first navigator to set foot in Argentine lands. It may have been the Florentine Américo Vespúcio and they may have been Portuguese. It was in the name of the Spanish crown, however, that the official communication of the discovery was made, under the responsibility of Juan Díaz de Solís, who disembarked (1516) in Candelaria (today Maldonado), discovering the Dulce or Solís sea, later river da Prata. The navigator perished shortly afterwards with almost all his men, attacked – and probably devoured – by Guarani. A few remnants arrived in Brazil, telling fantastic stories about the empire of a white king where there would be a mountain full of silver. The account, which would have come to him by the Indians, certainly referred to the Incas, who were not yet conquered. For Portuguese and Spaniards,
According to Petsinclude.com, the Argentine territory, at that time, was inhabited by several indigenous peoples, adding up to a population that would be close to 300,000. The Spaniards tried to use them as labor, which only worked with those already engaged in agriculture, in the north of Mesopotamia and in the mountains of the northwest. However, in southern Mesopotamia, Chaco, Pampas and Patagonia, hunter tribes were hostile to colonization, opposing constant resistance.
Six years after Fernão de Magalhães discovered the strait that took his name and connects the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, the Genoese Sebastiano Caboto entered the estuary of the Prata, founded the fortress of Sancti Spiritus and, although he did not find silver, he had new information about a vast empire northwest of the region. It was the starting point for the interest of the Spanish emperor Carlos V, who entrusted the colonization of the territory to Pedro de Mendoza. This, on February 3, 1536, founded the fort of Nuestra Señora Santa María del Buen Aire, the initial nucleus of the city of Buenos Aires, soon abandoned (1541) to the Indians who attacked it. In the following year, the city of Asunción (later capital of Paraguay) would be founded, from which the Argentine lands began to be colonized.
With the conquest of the Inca empire, the economic activities of the Río de la Plata basin started to supply the mining workers in the viceroyalty of Peru. Juan de Garay founded Buenos Aires for the second time in 1580, while other urban centers were emerging on the route to Asunción: Santiago del Estero (1553), Mendoza and San Juan (1562), Tucumán (1565), Córdoba and Santa Fe (1573), Salta (1582), Corrientes and Paraná (1588) and La Rioja (1591). The division and administration of land under the regime of encomiendas did not give good results due to the lack of labor accustomed to agricultural work. The main economic activity started to be vaquejada, or hunting of wild cattle, practiced by the gauchos (mestizos of Spanish and Indian, in these times of rare immigration). Jesuit missionaries, from 1585 and particularly in the province of Misiones,
The viceroyalty of Peru in 1617 divided the government of Paraguay and Rio de la Plata into two provinces – of which Asunción and Buenos Aires became the capitals -, while that of Tucumán saw a permanent shock from the colonizers (coming from the Chile and Peru) with the Indians of the region, hard subjugated. In 1776, from the wide territory that comprised present-day Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and southern Bolivia, a separate viceroyalty was created, with Buenos Aires as its capital. It was his first big boost.
With the legislation of Free Trade of Spain and Indies (1778), the city started to have a huge movement as a port, in business – mainly of leather – with Brazil, Great Britain and France. The advantages thus gained by the porteño warehouse fed the rivalry of other points and provinces of the future nation.
The Argentine social organization is distinguished by a very particular characteristic in the Latin American panorama: it consists predominantly of a Europeanized middle class, with more than ninety percent of Catholics, living standards and professional qualifications in progress and an efficient social security system. and health.
Spanish is the country’s official language, but some indigenous languages and dialects survive. As in so many other Hispanic-American countries, Spanish has acquired very particular aspects in Argentina. Probably due to the influence of the Italian, it appears to have greater flexibility and fluidity than in other lands of Spanish colonization. The most important indigenous language is Guarani, spoken in the Mesopotamian region. Also noteworthy are the diaguita and Araucanian dialects. In Buenos Aires, the popular vocabulary incorporated words of Italian origin, slang terms linked to horse racing and tango and a rural accent, giving rise to the lunfardo, who enjoys great autonomy in relation to Spanish.
In the transition from the 1980s to the 1990s, the Argentine population, in spite of the successive economic and political-administrative crises, maintained a child mortality rate significantly low by the standards still found in South America, being also superior to those of these other countries. their life expectancy and calorie and protein consumption per capita. Buenos Aires remains the capital and the economic axis of the country, but in 1987 the National Congress approved a proposal by the executive to move the capital to Viedma-Carmen de Patagones.