V. The Modern Period, 1789–1914 > I. Latin America, 1806–1914 > 3. Latin America, 1820–1914 > b. South America
  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
b. South America
1. Argentina
After independence, the city of Buenos Aires was dominant because of its commercial role, but its place in the broader political system was disputed. Urban elites wanted to make it the national capital and form a central government with control over the provinces. Powerful rural landowners of Buenos Aires Province, in contrast, sought to subject the city to their interests and a federalist framework.  1
The fragmentation of the territory controlled by Buenos Aires created a general crisis in the region. Gen. Martín Rodríguez installed a governing junta.  2
Gen. Rodríguez became governor of Buenos Aires and named an extreme liberal, Bernardino Rivadavia, as minister. Liberal policies helped British merchants gain preeminence in the Río de la Plata trade. Native merchants shifted investments and formed a new class of big ranchers (estancieros).  3
Liberals enforced antivagrancy laws to compel peasants and gauchos (free horsemen) to seek fixed employment. Gen. Martínez undertook a campaign against Indians to open new lands for ranching.  4
Treaty with Great Britain to suppress slave trade. Buenos Aires organized a war against Brazil for the liberation of the Banda Oriental.  5
Rivadavia was elected president of the United Provinces of the Río de la Plata. He made the city of Buenos Aires the national capital, separating it from its province. Ranchers opposed this and united under the federalist banner against Rivadavia's unitarian policies.  6
Forces from Buenos Aires and the Banda Oriental defeated Brazil at Ituzaingó (Feb. 20), but negotiations with Brazil ended in failure. Rivadavia was forced to resign and was exiled. The congress returned the city of Buenos to its province. Manuel Dorrego, federalist leader in Buenos Aires, became its governor. JUAN MANUEL DE ROSAS (1793–1877), a wealthy rancher, was named chief of the Buenos Aires militias. Facundo Quiroga, caudillo of La Rioja, mobilized militias from the interior provinces against the congress. The congress dissolved itself, and the Confederación del Río de la Plata (Argentine Confederation) was established.  7
Brazil and Buenos Aires accepted the independence of the Banda Oriental. Unitarians led by Gen. Juan Lavalle protested the accord by occupying Buenos Aires and executing Dorrego, provoking antagonism toward the unitarians.  8
Rosas, with peasant support, vanquished Lavalle at Puente de Márquez. Federalists seized the city of Buenos Aires; Rosas was elected governor of Buenos Aires Province.  9
Federalists strengthened Buenos Aires's influence in the provinces. Rosas courted support from the urban black population, but he reopened the slave trade.  10
Rosas led the “Expedition of the Desert” against various Indian cultures of the Pampas. The elite supported this campaign because big ranchers expected to grab Indian lands.  11
In the city of Buenos Aires, Encarnación Ezcurra, Rosas's wife, mobilized plebeian support against Rosas's opponents, patronizing a paramilitary band popularly known as the Mazorca.  12
An English army occupied the Falkland (Malvinas) Islands.  13
The legislature of Buenos Aires, with the assent of the provinces, made Rosas dictator. The ultraconservative Rosas, despite his populist veneer, supported the big ranchers who massively increased their landholdings and secured tight control over the gauchos. The ranching economy offered women few opportunities and led to their migration to the cities to work as domestic servants.  14
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.