When Did Argentina Become A Country?

The National Congress Building in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
The National Congress Building in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Argentina (officially known as the Argentine Republic) is a country located at the southernmost tip of the continent of South America. As such, it borders the Drake Passage to the south, Chile to the west, Bolivia and Paraguay to the north, and Uruguay and the South Atlantic Ocean to the east. It has a total land area of 2,780,400 square kilometers which makes it the world's 8th largest nation.

Spanish Colonization

The Spanish Empire colonized the lands of Argentina in the 16th century. The area between Andes mountains to Buenos Aires was of little importance to the Spanish as it did not contain the highly sought after minerals that were in plenty in the regions around Peru and Bolivia. The Spanish Empire had established a viceregal capital at Lima, Peru and governed the whole region from there.

In 1776, there was an administrative reorganization that changed the region's fortunes. Previously, it had been governed as part of the viceroyalty of Peru. The area was then granted semi-autonomous leadership through the establishment of the viceroyalty of La Plata headquartered at Buenos Aires. In 1806, the city was captured by the British although they were later forced to withdraw. Buenos Aires was then ruled by a creole militia after the Spanish governor fled on 25th May 1810. This revolution came to be called the May Revolution.

Argentinian Independence

The country took its first steps towards full independence in the early 19th century when links between Spain and Argentina broke down due to events in Europe. In 1808, Napoleon had forced the Spanish King to abdicate the throne, and his position was taken up by the incompetent brother of the deposed king. The overthrow of Ferdinand VII caused all sorts of problems to Spain’s colonies.

The junta did not immediately break all links with Spain. Within the country itself, the Centralist and Federalists continuously fight for control of the region. These fights shape the fresh beginnings of the country. In 1816, the revolutionaries through the Congress of Tucuman declared their independence from Spain. The United Provinces of the River Plate was formally proclaimed on July 9, 1816. Independence Day (Día de la Independencia) is celebrated in Argentina annually on July 9th in commemoration of the Argentinian declaration of independence in 1816.


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