Viceroyalty of La Plata, 1776-1816






Argentina 1530-1776



A first Spanish attempt to settle the La Plata region was made with the foundation of BUENOS AIRES in 1536, by PEDRO DE MENDOZA. ASUNCION in PARAGUAY was founded the same year. Yet the native Indios were hostile and destroyed the settlement. The surviving population was removed to Asuncion. A second effort to settle the area was made with the foundation of TUCUMAN in 1565, SANTA FE (Rosario) and CORDOBA in 1573 and the reestablishment of BUENOS AIRES in 1580, by JUAN DE GARAY.
The La Plata region was subordinated to the VICEROYALTY OF PERU; Lima being far and communications being difficult, the colony enjoyed a high degree of autonomy.
Trade with the motherland was restricted; the merchants of Lima had a monopoly; goods from Buenos Aires destined for Spain, and vice versa, had to take the route across the Andes via Peru; Buenos Aires did not, until late in the 18th century, obtain a charter permitting it to officially open a seaport. As shipping across the Atlantic proved much cheaper than across the Andes and the isthm of Panama, Buenos Aires became a center of a bustling smuggling trade.
Relations with the Indios remained hostile. The local economy was based on agriculture; CATTLE were introduced, to freely roam the Pampas. The city economies provided mining equipment for the mining industry of Alto Peru (modern Bolivia).
In 1617 the PROVINCE OF RIO DE LA PLATA was founded in 1617, with seat Buenos Aires, still subordinated to the Viceroyalty of Peru. The DIOCESIS OF CORDOBA was established in 1570, the DIOCESIS OF BUENOS AIRES in 1620; before the region had been part of the diocesis of Asuncion (established in 1547). The Jesuits entered the country in the late 16th century, and in 1611 estableged the COLLEGE OF CORDOBA, South America's second university.
The Jesuits established missions in Indio country, converting many and establishing flourishing communities based on a communist economy, i.e. everything was common property. These communities were destroyed by force in the 1750es, and the Jesuits were expelled in 1767.






EXTERNAL
FILES
Articles from infoplease : Argentina
Articles from Catholic Encyclopedia : Argentina, Buenos Aires, Tucuman, Cordova del Tucuman, Paraguay
DOCUMENTS
VIDEOS The Mission, 1986, cc, featuring the dissolution of the Jesuit Missions in Guarani territory in the 1750es
REFERENCE David Rock, Argentina 1516-1987, Berkeley : Univ. of California Press, revised edition 1987, 511 pp.



This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted in 2001, last revised on November 5th 2004

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