The pre-Columbian phase. Various Amerindian populations lived in the Argentine territory before the European colonization. Some of them were extremely backward, while in the North-West provinces a group of sedentary populations, the diaghites, possessed a higher civilization, similar to that of ancient Peru. Tribes of hunters (puelche, querandí, mocoví, abipón) instead populated the Pampas and the southern Chaco. The Araucans were found in the Andes, while Guaraní tribes lived between Paraná and Uruguay, and Patagonian and Fuegine tribes in the southern territories. In the wooded plains of central and northern Chaco lived the mataco, toba, pilagá, etc. tribes, whose economy was essentially based on hunting and fishing. Overall the population was low, also given the modest technological level of the indigenous tribes,
From conquest to independence. The European penetration in Argentina began in 1516, the year in which Juan Díaz de Solís touched the estuary of the Rio della Plata. The territories of the Rio della Plata, definitively occupied by the Spaniards in 1536, when Buenos Aires was founded, were governed until 1591 with the adelantados system, then with that of the governorate. Only in 1602 did the colony obtain the first export permit from Spain, which favored its development. In 1776 it was elevated to viceroyalty of the Rio della Plata, then divided into 8 administrations, at the head of each of which was an intendant governor. The first aspirations for independence matured in the Napoleonic era: in 1806-07 it was the local forces, with S. de Liniers, who successfully fought the English and in May 1810 the patriots replaced Viceroy B. Cisneros a «provisional governmental council of the Rio della Plata». Thus the definitive detachment from Spain took place, but strong internal conflicts immediately emerged, due on the one hand to the differences between the conservative C. Saavedra and the democrat M. Moreno, and on the other to the tendency towards caudillism, a phenomenon widespread throughout Italy. Latin America for which the political direction of a country was entrusted to the military leader who had seized power with a coup d’état. Independence officially proclaimed at the Congress of Tucumán (9 July 1816), endowed on 11 May 1819 with a republican and moderately liberal Constitution, the Argentina experienced a period of severe anarchy (1819-21), from which it came out thanks to B. Rivadavia, but with the sad legacy of a bitter struggle between federalists and unitaries, which continued even after the ferocious dictatorship of JM de Rosas, which resulted in the detachment of Buenos Aires and closed only in 1862, with the advent of President B. Miter, who was able to successfully enter the struggle between JJ de Urquiza and M. Derqui. Shortly after, with the long war against Paraguay (1865-70), the phase of international conflicts in which the Argentina had participated: the age-old border question with Chile was peacefully settled through the agreements of 1881 and 1896.
Argentina in the twentieth century and the Peronist experience. At the beginning of the 20th century. internal politics was centered on the contrasts between the Radical Party, which ruled from 1916 to 1930 and had its maximum exponent in H. Irigoyen, and the conservative one (later called national democrat). Irigoyen deposed by a coup d’état, power passed to the concordance group(coalition of conservatives, radicals, dissidents and independent socialists) with presidents Argentina Justo (1932-38) and R. Ortiz (1938-42). When the Second World War broke out, the Argentina he accentuated the policy of autonomy from the USA and, while accepting “continental solidarity” (conferences of Lima, 1938, and of Rio de Janeiro, 1941), he strove to remain neutral towards the powers of the Tripartite, especially under the vice-presidency of R. Castillo (July 1940). The tension with the USA, and with other American states, intensified after the military coups of June 4 and 7, 1943, carried out by P. Ramírez, in favor of the Axis, and only eased when EJ Farrell declared war on Germany and to Japan (March 27, 1945) and adhered to the Chapultepec Act (1945), obtaining admission to the Conference of San Francisco (signing of the United Nations Pact, 8 Sept. 1945). In the meantime, the political ascent of Colonel JD Perón had begun, who in 1946 won the presidential election, in the wake of the nationalist reaction against “North American pressure”, and managed to gradually strengthen his power, also favored by the popularity of wife Eva Duarte, known as Evita. On 11 March 1949 the Constituent Assembly voted a new Constitution inspired by nationalistic ideals and with the aim of strengthening presidential authority (claim of the Falkland Islands, economic autarchy and social reforms, limitation of freedom of discussion and of the press) and the November 11, 1951 Perón was re-elected president. While the currency suffered a strong devaluation, following the huge military expenses, opposition grew between the conservative and Catholic strata. In June 1955 there was a first attempt at revolt by naval aviation, which was forcefully rejected by the Peronists; three months later, a new naval uprising, supported by units of the army and air force, was successful: Perón fled to Paraguay and the presidency was assumed by General E. Lonardi, ousted a few months later by General PE Aramburu. The provisional government immediately tried to restore democratic normality, but the masses of workers, who had seen their standard of living rise, proved loyal to the deposed dictator. The elections of March 1958 gave victory to the so-called intransigents of Argentina Frondizi, who proved to be able to exploit the conflicts within the armed forces, divided between coup leaders and legalists, but it drew criticism from the Peronists and the left for having reinstated the privileges taken from the Church by Perón. Despite the efforts made to restore the national economy, at the end of 1961 the economic crisis always seemed acute. When then, in the regional elections of 1962, the Peronist party Frente Justicialista, readmitted to legality, obtained a surprising victory, Frondizi was deposed by the military, led by General JC Onganía. The government of the country then passed into the hands of the president of the senate JM Guido, and from 1963 into those of Argentina Illía, winner of the July elections with the Unión cívica radical del pueblo. But the worsening of the economic situation and Illía’s attempt to reconcile the Peronists led to a new military coup (1966) and to the dictatorial regime of General Onganía. The opposition intensified; armed groups dedicated to urban guerrilla warfare were formed; Strong tensions in the Peronist movement also led to the split of the powerful Confederación general del trabajo (CGT), between an Orthodox wing and a more left-oriented one. In 1970 a new knock military overthrow Onganía which was replaced by General RM Levingston, followed, on March 25, 1971, by General Argentina Lanusse. He tried to start a work of national pacification and announced general elections for 10 March 1973. But that date marked the resounding success of H. Cámpora, a very faithful lieutenant of Perón who soon resigned to make way for the latter. Returning to Argentina from the long Spanish exile, Perón was then confirmed as president by a triumphal popular consultation. The young wife of Perón, ME Martínez, known as Isabelita, was appointed to the vice-presidency, in charge of guaranteeing continuity in the event of the impediment of the now elderly president. This singular event, defined as a “consensual coup”, had the approval of the military and the political opposition. When Perón died, on July 1, 1974, He was succeeded, as expected, by his wife, who confirmed in the role of secretary to the presidency the Minister of Social Welfare JL Rega, belonging to the conservative wing of the party and disliked by young Peronists. The anti-government guerrilla activity of the montoneros, while the far-right teams called Argentine anticommunist Alianza (AAA) created a widespread climate of terror. Decreed a state of siege as early as 1974, the following year Rega, accused of inspiring the action of the AAA, was forced to resign.