Indigenous Resistance in Argentina’s History

Argentina Panorama, geographia_com

Along with numerous nomadic tribespeople, two main indigenous groups existed in Argentina before the European arrival.  In the northwest, near Bolivia and the Andes, was a people known as the Diaguita, while further south and to the east were the Guarani. Together the Diaguita and the Guarani constitute the origins of permanent agricultural civilization in Argentina, both developing the cultivation of maize. The Diaguita are also remembered for having successfully prevented the powerful Inca from expanding their empire into Argentina from what is now Bolivia.

It was perhaps a legacy of this successful resistance that enabled the native peoples of Argentina to carry on a prolonged campaign against colonization and rule by the Spanish.  The first Spaniard to land in Argentina, Juan de Solis, was killed in 1516, and several attempts to found Buenos Aires were stymied by the local inhabitants.   Inland cities were more successful, and it wasn’t until the late 16th century that Buenos Aires was securely established.

Despite its military success, indigenous resistance was inexorably weakened by the introduction of diseases from Europe. Even after the native threat became minimal, however, Argentina was still mostly neglected by Spain, which was more interested in developing Lima and the riches of Peru. Buenos Aires was forbidden to trade with foreign countries, and the city became a smuggler’s haunt. The restrictive trade policy probably did little to endear Spain to the colonists. The British attacked Buenos Aires in 1806 and 1807, as Spain’s had come under the control of Napoleonic France. The colony managed to repulse Britain’s attacks without any assistance from their mother country, an act of strength that no doubt helped to foster the region’s growing sense of independence.

When the French captured Spain’s King Ferdinand VII, Argentina fell completely under the rule of the local viceroyalty, which was highly unpopular. The locals rebelled against the viceroyalty and declared their allegiance to the captive king. By 1816, the deep division between Argentina and its mother country had become quite apparent, and a party of separatists decided to declare the country’s independence. One of the new patriots, Jose de San Martin, crossed the Andes and captured Lima. Along with Simon Bolivar, Martin is credited with breaking the shackle of Spanish rule in South America … read more —>  http://www.geographia.com/argentina

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