Argentina is located at the bottom of South America, and is the second largest country on the continent and the 8th largest in the world. It is the largest Spanish speaking country in South America and is often accused of being a South American country that wished that it was located in Europe. People have occupied the country since Paleolithic times but prior to colonization the country was sparsely populated. The people who resided on the land were either hunter and gatherers, or farmers. There was little development with only the farmers producing any pottery.
The first Europeans arrived in the region from Spain in 1502. In 1536 Pedro De Mendoza created the settlement of Buenos Aires. There were further excursions from other South American Countries such as Paraguay and Peru, and twice the British tried to conquer the country. It became a Viceroyalty of Peru as the region started to develop. In 1810 the May revolution resulted in the locals inserting their own junta to rule the country. The revolutionaries were split between the federalists and the centralists, and in 1820 they fought each other at the Battle of Cepeda.
Victory for the federalists over the army resulted in the appointment in 1826 of the first president Bernardino Rivadavia, who was soon replaced by Juan Manuel de Rosas. Other battles still followed but the country’s independence became settled in the late 19th century. The country was becoming an attractive destination for migrants. Its wheat and beef exports created a great deal of wealth for the country and by 1908 its economy had grown to become the 8th richest in the world. Funded by the successes of its agricultural money was poured into the education system with the country’s literacy rates being the highest on the continent.
During this prosperous era Argentina failed to capitalize with its industrialization. In the 1930 economic slump the labor intensive industries really suffered. In 1930 as a result of the poor economic conditions the military retook power but things really deteriorated from this point. The period following the Second World War saw a constant battle between the military and Peronism. This was the political movement formed by Juan Domingo Peron and his wife Eva. Between 1946 and 1955 they nationalized industries, paid off national debt and produced full employment in the country. The army still sort power and eventually Juan Domingo fled to exile in Spain.
The battle between the people and the military continued and in 1974 the “Dirty War” started and lasted until 1983. During this period the United States, concerned with the spread of communism into the continent, financed the military against the rebels. During the conflict over 30,000 Argentine citizens disappeared as anyone with socialist ideas were seen as a threat. The defeat of the left wing threat in 1983 has seen the country resume to normal elections with the Radical Civic Union Party and the Peronist party competing for power. There has been relative stability since with various economic successes and failures along the way, but the threat of the army is always lurking in the background.
The country is now one of the most developed on the South American Continent. There is a real style to its architecture and the capital Buenos Aires boasts many of the fashion outlets that can be found in the European Capitals. Despite its “bloody past” the future of the country appears to be quite bright as it leads the way on the continent in trying to experience the affluence enjoyed by other countries in different parts of the world.