History of Argentina
The country’s unique and tumultuous history is key to appreciating and understanding the idiosyncrasies that define Argentina’s modern culture.
Pre-Columbian Argentina consisted of many unique indigenous groups across the broad territories. In the Northeast region, the Guaraní culture flourished wherein the Northwest native cultures were part of the expansive Inca empire of the Andes. Nomadic tribes populated the rest of the territories, including the Querandí in Buenos Aires and the Tehuelche in Patagonia.
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Colonial history of Argentina
Spanish colonists arrived in the 16th century, and for the next 200 years Argentina was part of the Spanish colonial empire, originally forming part of the Viceroyalty of Peru. Buenos Aires emerged as an important port to rival Lima largely due to contrabanding and smuggling.
In 1806 Great Britain attempted to take over and invaded Buenos Aires. Without any Spanish military support, local Argentines fought against the British invasion and successfully drove them out. Independence was declared but not fully adopted until 1816. Argentina struggled for several years wrought with civil war and power disputes but eventually the burgeoning nation began to expand and grow, to slowly emerge as the modern nation you will see on your Argentina tour today.
European immigration was encouraged and campaigns were enacted to tame the wild uncolonized regions through what today might be considered genocide. Rugged pioneers, mostly of European immigrants, settled in the vast expanses of the pampas and Patagonia forming the huge estancias (ranches).
The Golden Age in Argentina’s history
Argentina enjoyed a Golden Age in the early 1900s, brought on by the exportation of its wealth of raw materials like meat, leather, wool, wheat and other crops. During your Buenos Aires sightseeing during your trip to Argentina, you will see the French belle-epoch mansions and elegant buildings that characterize the city’s architectural style. In the 1970s the military took power and led an extreme right-wing military dictatorship. In 1980 Argentina declared war against England over the Falkland Islands (called Malvinas) and suffered a scarring defeat, which is still felt today.
In the 1990s Argentina experienced a short-lived stabilization to hyperinflation led by president Carlos Menem, who encouraged free trade and privatized most industries. Recent years have seen a sharp divide between supporters and critics of the previous president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, who was in office from 2007 – 2015, and the current president Mauricio Macri who was inaugurated in late 2015.
Elected in 1946, Peron revolutionized the country, implementing many socialistic policies and labor reforms, ruling by populist style, many say was a watered down version of European fascism such as Mussolini’s Italy. You will find that, to this day, Peron is a figure of debate – some Argentineans are stalwart devotees while others credit Peron with ruining the country.
After Peron the country once again slid into power struggles and instability with several controversial leaders and coup d’etats.
The late 19th and early 20th centuries are also characterized by Australia’s agricultural boom. Sheep and cattle farming in particular became a huge industry and you can still experience an authentic Aussie ranch by heading to Bullo River Station in the Northern Territory.
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One of the very best travel experiences I have ever had. We even got updates once at 3 am! He also made one change in one day’s itinerary to accommodate our wishes which was very wonderful. For business, I have traveled to Europe, Russia, all over Asia and South Africa but was blown away by all the beautiful sites in Argentina and Chile.
All the little touches made by our Enchanting Travel consultant, Amelia Edwards, were noticed and recognized by my wife and I. Thank you for making our milestone trip (25th wedding anniversary) such a memorable one! We look forward to engaging Enchanting Travels again for our next South American adventure!!
This was my first adventure as a solo traveler. But while I may have traveled on my own, I was never alone. I was well taken care of by a superb team of planners, trip coordinators, guides and drivers.
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