Argentina Brief History

What do you think of when you hear the country Argentina mentioned; Patagonia, Pampas, tango, Evert Taube’s songs, the song “Don´t cry for me Argentina”, Evita Peron, the Falkland Islands war, military aggression or economic collapse? Yes, all this has in one way or another a connection to the country, but Argentina is so much more than this.

According to, Argentina offers travelers many sights and fantastic nature experiences and therefore my expectations for this trip were high. Would they be met? Yes, they really did, and with flying colors! For a little over four weeks I managed, among other things, to visit the capital Buenos Aires, “Fin del Mundo” – “End of the World” as the world’s southernmost city Ushuaia is usually called, El Calafate and the mighty Perito Moreno glacier, in El Chalten I walked in a wild and incredibly beautiful mountain environment, in the lake district with Bariloche as a base, I did further hikes in Patagonia, I looked at the world’s largest waterfall Iguazú Falls, (which means “The Great Water” in the language of the Guarani Indians), both in Argentina and in Brazil.

Several nature experiences will live on in strong memory for all eternity, for example when I was waiting for the bus in El Chalten and a large condor flew in over the community and at low altitude circled above me, when I stood at a mountaintop to enjoy the views during the hike on El Catedral in Bariloche and two condors came gliding behind the rock wall straight towards me or when a small flock of guanacos was peacefully grazing next to the road and allowed themselves to be photographed on the way to Cachi.

A small calm detail; in Ushuaia there is a house, Villa Beban, which was ordered from a Swedish mail order catalog in parts in 1910 and built in the city in 1911!

The total hiking distance during the trip was almost 300 kilometers and with this trip, some of my travel dreams came true!

Traveling in Argentina is easy. The country is, in relation to several other South American countries, well developed. There is a functioning infrastructure with good bus and air connections, which is why it is easy to get around the country, but the distances are great and bus travel is time consuming, which is why travel with domestic flights is a must if you have limited time. I flew a few distances, but also rode the comfortable and comfortable long-distance buses. On some of them there are chairs that can be folded so that they become like beds, basically, and food is included in the ticket price. Some higher ticket classes also include wine and champagne!

My journey began a bit dramatically with a classic robbery attempt already the first day in Buenos Aires and a bus that did not come and pick me up when I was far out in the wilderness on a hike in Tierra del Fuego, the Land of Fire! By the way, the trip went like on “rails”!

Argentina history in brief


The country we today call Argentina has been inhabited since about 10,000 years before Christ. The people who then lived here, whose ancestors were the nomads who migrated to the North American continent about 30,000 years before Christ via the headland that existed at today’s Beringssund, were hunters and gatherers. One of the oldest and most significant archaeological remains in the country is the Cueva de los Manos, “The Cave with His Hands”, in Patagonia. It contains strange cave paintings, mostly by left-handers, dating to 7,370 BC.

Among the indigenous peoples of Argentina, there were no high cultures similar to those developed in other parts of South America, such as the Incas in Peru. In the northwestern part of the country, however, lived groups that belonged to the Inca cultural area, including Quechuas and groups in Gran Chaco that were connected to Indians further north. In the south, hunters and gatherers lived as puelche in the Pampas and tehuelche in Patagonia, but the country was sparsely populated when the Spaniards arrived in the early 16th century.

Some important years in Argentina’s history (after Christ)


Settled Incas from Peru in the northwestern parts


The Spaniard Juan Díaz de Solís arrived on the Gulf of Río de la Plata between Argentina and Uruguay


El Puerta de Nuestra Senora Santa Maria del Buen Aire, originally named Buenos Aires, was founded by the Spaniard Pedro de Mendoza at Rio de La Plata. However, the settlement was soon abandoned in search of gold and silver inland. Famine and resistance from the Indians forced the colonizers to seek refuge along the Paraná River. From there, the Spaniards spread south again. Argentina was incorporated into the Spanish Viceroyalty of Peru, but became a relatively unnoticed area on its outskirts


The Spaniards expanded more and more and founded about twenty cities in northwestern Argentina, including Tucumán, Córdoba and Mendoza.


Jesuit monks began building mission stations in the northeastern part of the country


Founded the University of Córdoba, which is now the oldest in South America


Buenos Aires became the capital of the new Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata, which included the territories that today make up Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and parts of Bolivia. The new colony was intended to strengthen Spain’s influence over the South Atlantic, where the English and French had gained a foothold


Buenos Aires declares independence from Spain on May 25


Formal independence from Spain is proclaimed, the united provinces of South America, in Tucumán on 9 July

1835 – 1852

The country is ruled by the Roses with dictatorial methods until 1852 when a united opposition succeeds in defeating him militarily.


A new federal constitution is adopted


The whole country unites into a republic


Declared Buenos Aires as the capital of the Argentine Republic

1869 – 1895

Strong economic development, immigration increases sharply, population in Buenos Aires increases from 90,000 to 670,000


On behalf of President Nicolás Avellaneda, Defense Minister Roca brutally crushed the fierce opposition to settlers in Patagonia led by the Mapuche and Tehuelche Indians.


The new left party Radikalpartiet is formed


The Socialist Party is formed


The American gunmen and train robbers Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid settle in Argentina to become cattle breeders. However, they get tired pretty soon and move back to the United States where they continue their criminal activities


The Radical Party was heard for its demand for universal suffrage for men and its leader Hipólito Yrigoyen was later elected president


Radical Party leader Hipólito Yrigoyen was elected president


The military took power in the country


The opposition was prevented from running, or boycotted this year’s election, won by General Augustín Pedro Justo


The country’s general decline drove a group of young army commanders to seize power and Juan Domingo Perón becomes head of the Ministry of Labor after a military coup.
Military regime dissolved the political parties and introduced censorship by the media. It emphasized nationalism, industrial development and social reforms. Partly inspired by Italian fascism, the junta advocated a social system in which the overarching issues would be handled by a political elite, but in which the individual would have great influence over his professional life.

Argentina history, modern 1945 – 1999

1945 Juan Perón is captured by the military, but is released after strong protests from the people


Juan Perón was elected president. As president, Perón improved the situation of the poor, giving women the right to vote and nationalizing industries. A strong trade union movement, GCT, with close ties to the Peronist Party was also built

Peron’s politically active wife Eva (Evita) Duarte de Perón became an almost canonized symbol of this policy. At the same time, Perón ruled by dictatorial means, the opposition was suppressed and the mass media controlled


Juan Peróns was elected president for the second time


Evita Perón dies of cancer on July 26


President Perón is deposed by a military coup and forced into exile (to Spain). The Peronists are forbidden to act politically


Juan Perón returns to Argentina after his exile after a loyal Peronist Hector Cámpora was elected president and resigned in his favor


Juan Perón dies and his wife María Estela (Isabel) Martínez de Perón becomes president

1976 – 1983

A bloodless military coup led by General Jorge Rafael Videla is carried out on March 24, 1976. Thus begins a brutal period of abuse of the population, about 30,000 Argentines may have been executed or disappeared


In March, General Roberto Viola becomes President
In December, General Leopoldo Galtieri becomes President


In April, Argentina invades the Falkland Islands and thus begins the war for these islands. British leader Margaret Thatcher is determined that the islands should remain British-owned and strikes back hard. After only 71 days, the war is over and the Argentines are defeated. More than 900 people were killed in the war, of whom 655 were Argentines. Galtieri resigns as president. However, defeat paved the way for a return to democracy


Elections were held in October. The Radical Party and its presidential candidate Raúl Alfonsín, who has been a fierce critic of the military dictatorship, won. He is elected president and becomes the first civilian president since 1976. Alfonsín initiates legal action against officers who have committed human rights violations

1986 – 1987

Amnesty laws were issued that prevented the trial of lower-ranking officers during the military dictatorship. Later, convicted junta leaders were also granted amnesty


In May, the Peronist Carlos Menem won the presidential election and promised a positive economic development in the country during his tenure, despite the fact that the economy was close to collapse, which created social unrest.


A drastic currency reform was implemented


The exchange rate for the Argentine Peso was pegged to the US Dollar


Despite austerity policies and social unrest, Carlos Menem and the Peronists won the election again


The parliamentary elections were a success for an alliance between the Radical Party and Frepaso, an association of various center-left parties


Fernando de la Rúa won the presidential election. He promised to put an end to the corruption that plagued Menem’s government, but the deteriorating economy forced him to make drastic cuts.

Argentina Brief History