Early to modern times
Archaeological finds indicate that in some areas of the current state territory since 10,000 BC. Collectors and hunters lived. The northwest of the country in particular was already around 500 BC. influenced by the more developed countries to the south. During this time, innovations in field construction, ceramic and metalworking came from the Bolivian highlands. In the bloom of the mid-ceramic period from AD 600 to 1000. and in the late ceramic period until 1480 the first city-like settlements emerged. In 1480 the Incas subjugated the northwest and made it part of their wide-ranging empire.
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European influence began in 1515 with the landing of the Spaniard Juan D¨ªaz de Sol¨ªs at the mouth of the Rio de la Plata. A main reason was the search for silver, which gave the country its current name (lat. Argentum = silver). The hinterland was conquered against the resistance of the Indians and in 1776 it was taken over as an independent viceroy “R¨ªo de la Plata”. The country was part of the Spanish colonial empire until independence in 1816, but while Mexico, Bolivia and Peru found particular interest among the occupiers due to their rich mineral resources and Indian labor, Argentina was given relatively little attention due to the lack of these properties.
The settlers who immigrated to Argentina soon sought contact with the prosperous and industrially superior English because of the economic weakness of the Spaniards. But when these wanted to take advantage of the closer trade relations at the beginning of the 19th century and attacked Buenos Aires twice in quick succession, they were crushed by the Argentine “Criollos” (cavalry named after the semi-wild Argentinian pampas). From these successes a national consciousness emerged, which was subsequently also directed against the Spanish rulers. The Spanish viceroy was deposed in 1810 and after military clashes, the Argentine winners formally declared their independence at the Tucum¨¢n Congress in 1816.
A civil war broke out between progressive-liberal merchants in the capital, the so-called Unitarians, and more conservative landlords, the federalists. The federalists under Juan Manuel de Rosas prevailed and de Rosas established the first Argentine unitary state under dictatorial rule. After its fall in 1852, the country adopted a constitution and, after decades of war, became a federal state in 1880. A steep economic upswing began and increased European immigration began. With the immigrants came also new political ideas and the first mass party, the “Uni¨®n C¨ªvica” (civil union) was founded, from which the “Union C¨ªvica Radical” later emerged. In 1912 it introduced free, secret, equal and universal suffrage.
According to AbbreviationFinder, Argentina was politically and militarily neutral in both the First and Second World Wars. But the economic and social-political prosperity of the 1920s was wiped out by the global economic crisis and the inability of political leadership. A military coup occurred in 1930 and the conservative national forces gained the upper hand. Finally, in 1943, the military took over and in 1946 Juan Domingo Per¨®n was elected president with his new party “Partido Laborista”. With his “third way” policy, he sought a way between capitalism and communism. Per¨®n mainly recruited his electorate from the lower social classes, the so-called “descamisados”, the “shirtless”. Both his and the charisma of his wife Evita made Per¨®nism popular for a majority of the Argentines. But the ambitious social reforms and the nationalization of the economy failed. Evita Per¨®n died in 1952, the military intervened again in 1955 and overthrown Juan Domingo Per¨®n, who went into exile in Madrid.
A politically unstable phase began: the state leadership quickly switched between military administrations and elected governments; When Per¨®n returned to Argentina from exile with his new wife in 1972, he initially appeared to a large majority as the savior in need. But Per¨®n was unable to solve the new social and economic problems. In 1976 the military couped again and a three-junta from the army, navy and air force took over. The number of politically based murders soared and a political ice age spread over the country, the aftermath of which can still be felt today.
It was not until Raul Alfonsin, candidate of the radicals, was elected in 1983 that the turn came after decades of military or Peronist rule. Political parties and unions were re-admitted and the constitutional order, which had been largely broken by the junta, was restored. Members of the former military junta were tried in court and sentenced to high prison terms. The military tried to coup again in 1987 and 1988, but this time the attempts were thwarted. The question of amnesty remained an explosive domestic issue and when Peronist Carlos Sa¨²l Menem took over as President in 1989, he issued an amnesty the following year for everyone involved in the terrorist activities of the military regime.
A new constitution followed in 1994, and Menem was re-elected in 1995. The government privatized and restructured large parts of the economy through a radical neoliberal economic program. Menem’s successor as President and Prime Minister was Fernando de la R¨²a in December 1999. Under the government of the “alliance”, the country was brought into politically calmer waters in 2000. The same was supposed to happen in the economy, and reform programs and a loan from the International Monetary Fund – which was canceled at the end of 2001 – were intended to further stabilize the country, which was on the verge of default at the end of 2000.
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The rigorous austerity measures represented by President de la R¨²a and Economics Minister Domingo Cavallo, as well as the blocking of private accounts, led to violent protests by the population in December 2001; a 30-day state of emergency was then imposed. De la R¨²a and Cavallo resigned on December 20; the new President Adolfo Rodr¨ªguez Sa¨¢ (Peronist) was only able to hold office for a few days and was replaced by the Peronist Senator Eduardo Duhalde after his resignation. The country was now really bankrupt. Under Duhalde, the 1: 1 peso was pegged to the US dollar and the peso depreciated by almost a third against the US dollar. Interim President Duhalde was replaced by N¨¦stor Kirchner after the spring 2003 election.
In August 2003, amnesty laws were removed from members of the former dictatorship. Since then, the first trials against former soldiers and officers of the military junta and others involved in the military dictatorship have taken place. In 2006, the violations of human rights committed during the dictatorship were first referred to as “genocide”. The crimes are thus exempt from the statute of limitations.
Argentina has been able to recover from the economic crisis of previous years since 2003 and since then has recorded annual economic growth between 8% and 9%. However, the positive economic development was marred by an escalating inflation rate (officially 8%, actually more than 20%) and the ongoing energy crisis. In 2008 Argentina, along with the other eleven independent states of South America, founded the Union of South American Nations (Unasur) based on the model of the European Union.
Kirchner no longer ran in the 2007 presidential election; his wife Cristina Fern¨¢ndez de Kirchner became the new head of state and the country’s first elected president. In early parliamentary elections in 2009, the ruling party lost its majority. An increase in the export tax for certain grain products by the government led to violent farmers’ protests in 2008. The law on this tax measure finally failed in July 2008 in the Senate. As a result, the President suffered a major domestic defeat. Nevertheless, she was re-elected with a clear majority in October 2011. In the parliamentary elections held at the same time, the ruling party gained a majority in both chambers.