The First People

The name of Argentina is derived from the Latin word argentum, which means “silver”. The earliest use of the name Argentina can be traced back to the first voyages made by the Spanish and Portugeuese conquerors to the Rio de Plata , which means “Silver River”.
Along with several nomadic tribespeople, two major indigenous groups existed in Argentina before European conquest. In the northwest, near Bolivia and the Andes Mountains, there were people known as the Diaguita, while further southeast were the Guarani. Together, these two tribes formed the origins of permanent agricultural civilization by developing the technique for cultivating maize (Argentina History).


The Diaguita are also remembered for successfully stopping the Incan Empire from expanding to Argentina. It is believed that their legacy of successful resistance is what enabled the native people of Argentina to fight off colonization by the Spanish (Argentina History).
The first Spaniard to arrive in Argentina was Juan de Solis who landed on the shores of the Rio de Plata in 1516 and was repelled by the Indians, then captured and killed (Argentina's Independence Day). In 1527, Sebastian Cabot and Diego Garcia sailed up the Paranà and Paraguay Rivers to form a small settlement called
Sancti Spiritus (Argentina). The local natives destroyed the settlement and the two explorers fled back to Spain. The Spanish attempted conquest again in 1536. This time, Pedro de Mendoza arrived with a large force, well-supplied with equipment and horses. He founded a settlement called Santa Marìa del Buen Aire, and by the late 16th century, it was securely established as Buenos Aires (Argentina's Independence Day).
Indigenous resistance became weaker due to the introduction of European diseases. Even though the native threat was diminished, Argentina was neglected by Spain, who was more interested in the riches of Peru. The Spanish imposed trade regulation, forbidding Buenos Aires to trade with any foreign country (Argentina History). This had little affect on the colony because they smuggled goods anyway.
In 1806 and 1807, the British attacked Buenos Aires after Spain was under the control of Napoleonic France. Without the assistance of their mother country, the colony managed to defeat the British in both attacks. These two events promoted the colony’s growing sense of independence (Argentina History).


On May 25, 1810, after it was confirmed that King Ferdinand VII had been overthrown by Napoleon, the citizens of Buenos Aires established the first government (History of Argentina). This day is known as the May Revolution (Argentina). Two nations emerged: the Unted Provinces of South America in 1810 and the Liga Federal in 1815 (Argentina).

Military endorsement led by General Josè de San Martìn between 1814 and 1817 made independence a soon reality. He and his troops crossed the Andes and captured Lima and defeated Napoleon at Waterloo. Argentines recognize San Martìn as the hero of national independence (Argentina). The representatives of assorted provinces met in Tucumàn to discuss the future of Argentina. By late 1816, the separation between Argentina and Spain became quite evident, and on July 9, 1817, Argentina declared their independence (Argentina's Independence Day). It is celebrate on the 9th of July.

Casa Histórica de la Independencia
1868 .................................................. PRESENT

The early stages of independence were marked by a harsh struggle between two political groups: the Unitarists and the Federalists. The Unitarists wanted a strong central government, while the Federalists wanted local control. Unable to form a compromise, the opposing viewpoints ultimately led to a civil war in 1819 (The World Factbook). The government is now Democratic (Argentina).


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