Argentina: Historical Overview                                        

For more in depth history of Argentina navigate your way through different time periods here (scroll to Argentina and click the down arrow to start)!

  • The history of Argentina can be divided into the following five parts:

  1. Pre-Columbian period

  2. Early history (up to the 16th century)

  3. Colonial period (1516 - 1810)

  4. Independence wars and the early post-colonial period (1810 - 1880)

  5. Modern Argentina (1880 - present)

  • The first human settlements in Argentina were on the southern tip of Patagonia around 13,000 years ago.

  • Written history began with the arrival of the Spanish expedition lead by Juan Díaz de Solís in 1516 to Río de la Plata river. This marks the beginning of Spanish control of the region.

  • In the early 1800's a series of conditions and events sparked rebellion against Spain including:

    • Increased prosperity

    • Spanish mis-rule

    • The failure of the Spanish to defend Buenos Aires against British attacks

    • Napoleon's invasion of Spain

  • Buenos Aires revolted in 1810, but the independence of the United Provinces of Rio de la Plata (image) was not formally declared until July 9, 1816. By this time, the northern and eastern regions had declared their independence as separate nations—Paraguay in 1811 and Uruguay in 1815.

  • Argentina’s population and culture were influenced by immigrants from Europe. From 1860 to 1930, most came from came from Italy and Spain. 

  • Until the mid-20th century, much of Argentina's history was dominated by periods of internal political conflict between Federalists and Unitarians and between civilian and military factions.

  • After World War II, there was an era of Peronist (named after Juan Perón) (photo) support for the needs of the common people. Direct and indirect military interference in subsequent governments were followed by a military junta (a group that takes power by force) that started in 1976.

  • Democracy returned in 1983 after a failed attempt to take the Falkland (aka Islas Malvinas) Islands (found on map on previous page) by force.

  • There was a severe economic crisis in 2001-02 that led to violent public protests and the resignation of several interim presidents.

  • In 2003, mainstream Peronist candidate Nestor Kirchner wins presidential election.

  • In 2007, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner (photo) is elected president, succeeding her husband Nestor Kirchner (photo) in the December.

  • In 2009, Argentina hands documents to UN formally laying claim to a vast expanse of the ocean, as far as the Antarctic and including British island chains. That same year, the Argentine parliament passes law claiming Falkland Islands and several other British overseas territories in the area.

  • In 2011, President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner wins a second term with a landslide 54% of the vote.

  • In 2013, Falkland Islanders vote overwhelmingly in favor of remaining a British overseas territory. That same year, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires is chosen as Pope. He is the first Latin American to lead the Roman Catholic Church, and takes the name of Francis.