FACTS ON ARGENTINA
The Foundation Of The Argentine State
After the Napoleonic invasion of Spain and the consequent imprisonment of their
king, a revolutionary wave broke out in the colony still ruled by the Virreinato
del Río de la Plata. Perhaps under the influence of the recent independence
processes in other countries, finally the criollos (natives) became their own
policy-makers on May, 25, 1810. On July, 9, 1816, the Congress of Tucumán
proclaimed the independence of the Provincias Unidas de América del Sur
(United Provinces of the South). But difficulties were far from having ended:
they had only just begun.
The first constitution, enacted in 1819, created the legal framework for a unitary
country, that is, the powers would center in the capital city. As it could be
expected, the provinces opposed this situation and proposed a federal regime
which would give them some scope for autonomy. There was a bloody fight between
Unitarians and Federals, which dominated the political scene during the first
long years of the young country.
In 1825, the fundamental law changed the name of Provincias Unidas de América
del Sur by Provincias Unidas del Río de la Plata. Finally, the 1826 Constitution
made the United Provinces into the Argentine Nation. At this very moment there
was a dismemberment of the territories which had made up the Virreinato del
Río de la Plata; this process had become evident with the insurrection
of the Banda Oriental (today Uruguay) and its subsequent surrender to Brazil.
Federalism partly achieved its goals with the 1853 Constitution, which, while
establishing this kind of regime, could not put an end to the confrontations
between Buenos Aires and the provinces. The power of Buenos Aires as a city-port
and a "master key" to the livestock exports (the basis of the Argentine economy)
would condition the history of the country.