1902 Encyclopedia > Argentine Republic (Argentina)

Argentine Republic
(Argentina)




THE ARGENTINE REPUBLIC comprises the greater part of what was formerly the Spanish viceroyalty of Buenos Ayres [Buenos Aires]. On the separation of the country from Spain the remainder of he viceroyalty seceded from the authority of the government established at Buenos Ayres, and formed the three important republics of Bolivia, Paraguay, and the Banda Oriental del Uruguay, commonly called either the Oriental Republic of Uruguay. The city of Buenos Ayres, the capital of the province of the same name, then became the seat of the national government of the United Provinces of the Rio de la Plata,—so named in the treaty with England, by which their independence was recognised, and since termed the Argentine Republic. Including the Indian tribes, who are in almost undisputed possession of half its territory, the country does not contain half so many inhabitants as the city of London, though it extends over an area as great as all Central and Western Europe combined ; and the fertility of its vast plains, together with the yet undeveloped wealth of its mineral resources, indicates that it is well able to sustain as numerous a population as that of the part of Europe just alluded to. Its extent in latitude in greater than that of any other existing country, if we except the comparatively useless foreign regions of British America and those of the Russian empire, though it only slightly exceeds that of the comparatively narrow slip of land which forms the neighbouring Republic of Chili. It is bounded on the W. by Chili ; on the S. By the Strait of Magellan ; on the E. by the Altantic Ocean, the Oriental Republic, the Empire of Brazil, and the Republic of Paraguay ; and on the N. by the Republic of Bolivia. The boundary to the W. is formed by the mountain chain of the Andes. The southern limit is at present a question in dispute with the Government of Chili, who claim the entire extent of the Strait of Magellan ; but it is probable that the Argentine Government will make good its claim to the eastern portion. The broad stream of the Uruguay below its tributary, the Guarey, or Cuareim, divides it from the Oriental Republic, except that the small but important island of Martin Garcia, close to the Oriental shore of the Uruguay at its junction with the Parana, belongs to the Argentine Republic. The boundary with Brazil is then formed by the Uruguay and is tributary, the Pepiri Guazu, from the head waters of which crosses the Sierra de los Missiones to the head waters of the San Antonio Guazu, the course of which it follows, and then that of the Iguazu, or Rio Grande de Caritiba, and important tributary of he Parana. The Parana, down to its junction with the Paraguay, and the latter upward as far as the mouth of the Pilcomayo, form the boundary with the Republic of Paraguay. South of the 22d degree of latitude the country between the Pilcomayo and the Paraguay is disputed by the Agentine Republic and Paraguay. The boundary with Bolivia lies along the 22d degree of latitude between the Pilcomayo and the Vermejo, and then, leaving important tributaries of the latter to Bolivia, it follows the course of that river to its source, whence it takes a devious course westwards among the mountains which form spurs to the Andes On reaching the latter it follows the main chain southwards to latitude 25º 30´, where it passes to a more westerly ridge of the Andes on which the boundaries of the three neighbouring republics unite. The boundary we have described with Bolivia cannot be considered as permanently settled; and the boundary between Bolivia and Paraguay to the north of the Argentine Republic has not been determined. The boundary questions with all these republics are in an unsatisfactory state.

The most remarkable feature of the country is its plains, which may be said to extend over more than three-fourths of it. The plains of Patagonia in the south, the Pampas across the extending central part of the country, and the Chaco in the north-east, have no very definite natural boundaries. The two latter are, in the fact, the same continuous formation, in which a slight undulation divides the streams of the Chaco, which join the Parana, from those of the Pampas, which either flow into the Atlanticd south of the mouth of the latter river, or disappear by absorption into the soil, and evaporation as they spread over the plains. The best parts of these plains are covered with a rich alluvial soil from 3 to 6 feet in thickness, formed by the constant decaying of the luxuriant vegetation which grows upon it, and this soil rests upon a sedimentary deposit of earth, which appears to have been sourced away from the Andes and the high lands of the central part of the continent. A great part of Patagonia and the western Pampas consists of gravel and coarse detritus from the Andes, and, though apparently sterile, only requires irrigation to become productive. Other parts of the plains are dry, saline wastes of brackish marshes, which probably mark the former position of an inland sea. Excepting the hills in the south of the province of Buenos Ayres and those of Cordova, the mountain districts of the country consist of the eastern slope of the gigantic range of the Andes and its branches, which latter make all the north-western part of the country a mountainous region. The great chain of the Andes consists of a confused mass of broken and contorted strata, piled upon an elevated ridge of granite, through which numerous volcanoes, many of them still active, have ejected vast quantities of lava and scoriae. Along most parts of the great mountain chain there are three subsidiary and more or less parallel ridges, between which fertile valleys are formed in many places, whilst in other parts the separation between them is not very clearly denned. In the north-west the boundary with Bolivia lies along the most eastern of the ridges just mentioned, so that the valleys to the west of it are within that republic, but the boundary with Chili lies along the western ridge, so that the central and eastern ridges, with the fine valleys which lie between them, belong to the Argentine Republic. The great chain of the Andes, as described by Mr Evan Hopkins, who made extensive explorations in various parts of it, is formed of innumerable varieties of granite, gneiss, schists, hornblende, chloritic slates, porphyries, &c., and these rocks alternate with each other in great meridional bands. The crystalline rocks follow no particular order in the alternation. For miles only granite and gneiss are found, and again schist, quartz, gneiss, &c., intervening. The whole of the crystalline rocks, especially the micaceous variety, pass insensibly from the crystalline to the laminated structure. We have first the granite base, in which the crystals are somewhat confusedly mixed; these gradually become arranged upwards into parallel lines, and the rock is then called gneiss; by degrees the felspar is decomposed, and the mass becomes schistose, with enclosed veins of the predominating element of the compound below. This is the general character of the primary structure of the Andes, and upon it there are many bits of sandstones, limestones, &c., especially on the eastern chain.

The most careful and elaborate researches into the j geological conformation of the country were made by Mr Darwin, who published the results in his work on the geology of South America. He points out evidences of a gradual upheaval of the plains of Patagonia and the Pampas, to the extent of 400 feet in the southern part of the former, and 100 feet in the latter district. The Pacific and Atlantic Oceans were once connected through what is at present the basin of the Santa Cruz river, in latitude 50° S. This latter district appears to have been upheaved at least 1400 feet before the period of the gradual upheaval above mentioned, as indicated by the present position of gigantic boulders, which have been transported on icebergs 60 and 70 miles from their parent rock. The enormous layers of gravel and sand, on the plains and even on the hills of eastern Patagonia, give evidence of its having at one time formed the bed of an ocean which rolled against the Andes or intervening ranges of mountains. The characteristic feature of the plains of Patagonia is gravel, whereas that of the Pampean formation, which includes the Chaco, is earth which, according to Mr Darwin’s lucid arguments, has been deposited in the form of sand in the estuary of the River Plata, the position of which has been continually changing in consequence of the gradual upheaval of the country. This formation extends to the south-west and north-west from the present estuary, over an area at least 750 miles long and 400 miles broad, and the thickness of the deposit is from 30 to 100 feet. The hills of Tapalquen, Tandil, and Vulcan, composed of unstratified granular quartz, project through the eastern part of this Pampean formation. The higher range of the Sierra Ventana further south is also quartz. South of the Sierra Ventana, for a distance of 380 miles, crystalline rocks are seldom if ever met with on the east coast; and beyond that a porphyritic formation is found resembling the lowest stratified formation of the Andes.

"The highest peaks of the Cordillera, ‘says Mr Darwin, "appear to consist of active, or more commonly, dormant volcanoes—such ns Tupungato, Maypu, and Aconcagua, which latter stands 23,000 feel-above the level of the sea, and many others. The next highest peaks are formed of the gypseous and porphyritic strata, thrown into vertical or highly inclined positions. . . . This grand range has suffered both the most violent dislocations, and slow, though grand, upward and downward movements in mass : I know not whether the spectacle of its immense valleys, with mountain masses of once liquefied and intrusive rocks now bared and intersected, or whether the view of those plains, composed of shingle and sediment hence derived, which stretch to the borders of the Atlantic Ocean, is best adapted to excite our astonishment at the amount of wear and tear which these mountains have undergone."

We commend Mr Darwin’s work to the attention of readers desirous of becoming better acquainted with the geological conformation of the Argentine Republic.

The great extent of this country in latitude makes its climate range through all diversities of temperature from that of Northern Europe and Canada to that of Egypt and Arabia, The climate of Southern Patagonia is less intemperate than that of Labrador at the same distance from the equator in the northern hemisphere, but colder than the Atlantic shores of Europe in the same latitude. As the difference of climate in the same latitude in the northern hemisphere is in a great measure attributed to the fact of the warm water from the equatorical regions drifting towards the shores of the north of Europe, whilst the cold water from the Arctic regions is constantly flowing southwards along the coast of Labrador, so also the intermediate nature of the climate of Patagonia is doubtless, in some measure, due to the tendency of the cold water of the Antarctic regions to flow northwards through the central parts of the Atlantic Ocean, as pointed out by Maury, thus throwing the warm water southwards along the coasts of Brazil and Patagonia. Argentine Patagonia might, not inaptly, be termed the Sweden, and Chilian Patagonia the Norway of the southern hemisphere. In the north of Patagonia and the southern part of the province of Buenos Ayres the climate, as regards temperature, resembles that of England; and northwards of this is the broadest part of the republic, which contains the city of Mendoza in the far west, and Buenos Ayres in the east, and enjoys one of the finest climates in the world, rivalling that of Southern France and Northern Italy. North of this the summer heat becomes too oppressive, and in the extreme north the climate is thoroughly tropical. In some parts of the north-west the altitude of the country gives it a. cooler climate than that of the Chaco in the same latitude. Along the Argentine slopes of the Andes and the adjacent country the climate is remarkable for its dryness, because the prevalent westerly winds lose the moisture which they bring from the Pacific before crossing the mountains. This peculiarity is most marked in the southern part of the continent where Chilian Patagonia is deluged with almost incessant rain, whilst Argentine Patagonia is dry and arid. In the east, as at Buenos Ayres, there is more rain, which, with southerly winds and occasional north-westerly storms, is often very heavy. The oppressive humidity which is characteristic of the northerly and north-easterly winds forms the most, disagreeable and unhealthy weather experienced in that part of the country. The climate of Cordova, and also that of some of the more westerly districts, is found very suitable for consumptive patients.





The first Europeans who visited the River Plate were a party of Spanish explorers in search of a south-west passage to the East Indies. Their leader, Juan Dias de Solis,| landed, in 1516, with a few attendants on the north coast between Maldonado and Monte Video, where, according to Southey, they were treacherously killed, and then cooked and eaten by the Charrua Indians in sight of their companions on board the vessels. The survivors at once abandoned the country and returned to Spain, reporting the discovery of a fresh-water sea. In 1519 Magalhaens, in the service of the king of Portugal, entered this freshwater sea, or Mar Dulce, as it was then called, but finding no passage to the west, he left it without landing, and then achieved his famous voyage to the East Indies, passing through the strait which bears his name in 1520. After this Sebastian Cabot, already a renowned navigator, who, in the service of Henry VII. of England, had attempted to find a north-west passage to the East Indies, entered the service of Charles I. of Spain, and sailed in command of an expedition fitted out for the purpose of colonising the discoveries of Magalhaens in the East Indies. He, however, entered the River Plate in 1527, and anchored off the present site of the city of Buenos Ayres. He then ascended the Parana, and established a settlement, named San Espiritu, among the Timbú Indians in Santa Fé; and he succeeded in bringing that tribe of Indians to friendly terms with the colony. He continued the ascent of the Parana as far as the cataracts in Missiones, and afterwards explored the Paraguay, from which he entered the Vermejo, where his party suffered severely in a savage fight with the Agaces, or Payaguá Indians. Of this tribe a subdued remnant now lives on the delta of the Pilcomayo, opposite Asuncion, amalgamating neither with the Spaniards nor with the wild Guaycurus of the surrounding parts of the Chaco. The profusion of silver ornaments worn by these Indians, as well as by the Timbus and Guaranis, led him to give the name of Rio de la Plata, or Silver River, to the splendid stream which he had thus far explored. This name, rendered in English River Plate, is now applied only to the estuary below the junction of the Paraná and Uruguay. One of Cabot’s lieutenants, detached on a separate exploring expedition up the Uruguay, was killed, together with a great part of his crew, by the Charrua Indians. And subsequently at San Espiritu, an attempt of the chief of the Timbus to obtain possession of one of the Spanish ladies in the settlement led to a treacherous massacre of the garrison. Before this latter occurrence Diego Garcia arrived in the river with an expedition fitted out in Spain, for the purpose of continuing the explorations commenced by De Solis; and Cabot returned to Spain, where he applied to Charles I. for the means of opening communications with Peru by way of the Vermejo. But the resources of the king were absorbed in his struggle as emperor (under the name of Charles V.) with Francis I. of France, so that he was obliged to leave the enterprise of South American discoveries to his wealthy nobles. In August 1534 Mendoza left Cadiz for the River Plate at the head of the largest and wealthiest expedition that had ever left Europe for the New World. In January 1535 he entered the River Plate, where he followed the northern shore to San Gabriel, and then crossing the river, he landed on the Pampas. The name of Buenos Ayres was given to the country by Del Campo, who first stepped ashore where the city of that name now stands, and where, on the 2d February, the settlement of Santa Maria de Buenos Ayres was founded; the smaller vessels having been safely harboured in the Riachuelo, half a league south of the settlement Mendoza’s captains then explored the country between Paraguay and Peru, in which latter country Pizarro had, in 1535, founded the city of Lima. Of one of these expeditions consisting of 200 men, who left Paraguay in February 1537, and are said to have reached the south-east districts of Peru, under Ayolas, every man was killed by the Payaguá Indians in the northern part of the Chaco whilst the expedition was returning laden with plunder. Ayolas had, on his way up the river, built and garrisoned a fort named Corpus Christi among the Timbus in Santa Fe, near the deserted settlement of San Espiritu; and in Paraguay, after three days’ fighting with the Guaraní Indians, as narrated by Du Graty, he had, on the 15th August 1536, established a settlement where the city of Asuncion now stands. In the meantime the settlement of Buenos Ayres was attacked and burnt by the Indians; and after terrible sufferings from famine as well as attacks of the Indians, jaguars, and pumas, the Spaniards abandoned the place on the arrival of a fresh expedition from Spain, in company with which they ascended the river, first to Corpus Christi, and then to Asuncion, where, in 1538, Irala was elected captain- general. In 1542 Buenos Ayres was re-established by an expedition sent out from Spain for the purpose under Cabesa de Vaca. This able leader landed at Santa Catherina, in Brazil, and marched overland to Asuncion, from which he sent vessels to join the new expedition at Buenos Ayres, reaching that place, according to Southey, just in time to save the new comers from extermination by the Indians. Here the Spaniards again found themselves unable to withstand the incessant attacks of the savages, and the place was a second time abandoned on the 3d February 1543. At Asuncion the Spaniards were more successful in establishing themselves among the Guaraní Indians, who, after much severe fighting, finding themselves unable to vanquish the Spaniards, made alliance with them both offensive and defensive, and also intermarried with them. The events which transpired at Asuncion belong, however, to the history of Paraguay. In 1573 Garay, at the head of an expedition despatched from Asuncion, founded the city of Santa Fe near the abandoned settlements of San Espiritu and Corpus Christi. The expulsion of the Spaniards from the latter place had, according to the Historia Argentina, resulted from a wanton attack made by them on the Caracara Indians, slaughtering the men, and taking the women captive,—a mode of procedure which all Pampa Indians adopted, and have ever since acted on. It is unfortunate, both for the Indians and for the Spaniards, that the bold conquistadores were not always under the guidance of such high principled men as Cabot and Cabesa de Vaca. In 1580, when the new colony had been firmly established, Garay proceeded southwards and made the third attempt to establish Buenos Ayres, under the name "Cuidad de la Santissima Trinidad, Puerto de Santa Maria de Buenos Ayres;" and notwithstanding the determined hostility of the Querandi Indians, who were encouraged by the success of their two preceding wars, the Spaniards succeeded in holding the place. The settlement prospered, and the cattle and horses brought from Europe multiplied and spread over the plains of the Pampas. Whilst the Spaniards of the River Plate were thus engaged, Pizarro had effected the conquest of Peru; and his lieutenant, Almagro, had extended the conquest to the south of Chili, from which, in 1559, Hurtado de Mendoza crossed the Andes, and, having defeated the Araucanian Indians, founded the city of Mendoza. It is interesting to observe, that up to the present day the giant chain of the Andes has been a less effective barrier to trade than the rich plains of the Pampas. This state of affairs will, however, now soon be altered by the railway, for which Mr Clark has just obtained a concession, direct from Buenos Ayres to Mendoza. In 1550 the Spaniards from Peru entered the north-western provinces by way of Catamarca, and founded the city of Tucuman in 1565, and that of Cordova in 1573. It was only in 1873, just three hundred years after the cities were founded, that the boundary between the jurisdiction of Cordova and that of Santa Fe was determined by the intervention of the national Government. In 1620 Buenos Ayres was separated from the authority of the Government established at Asuncion, and was made the seat of a Government extending over Mendoza, Santa Fé, Entre Rios, and Corrientes, but at the same time remained, like the Government at Asuncion and that of Tucuman, which latter included Cordova, subject to the authority of the viceroyalty of Peru.

After the vast expenditure of blood and treasure which was incurred, by the Spaniards in establishing themselves on the River Plate as just described, the restrictive legislation of the home Government became a more effective hindrance to the development of its resources and the spread of civilisation over the country than the hostility of the Indian tribes. Cabot had urged the feasibility of opening an easier channel for trade with the interior of Peru through the River Plate and its tributaries than that by way of the West Indies and Panama; and, now that his views seemed about to succeed, the interests of the trade, which had in the meantime been established by the northern route, combined to crush the threatened development of that of the River Plate. Spanish legislation endeavoured to exclude all European nations except Spain from the trade by way of the West Indies, and to prevent any trade from being transacted by way of the River Plate, thus enacting most flagrant injustice towards the people it had encouraged to settle in the latter country. The hardy pioneers of European civilisation in these regions so far overcame the pernicious influences which acted upon Spanish legislation, that in 1602 they obtained permission to export two ship-loads of produce a year. But, to prevent internal trade with Peru, a custom-house was established at Cordova, to levy a duty of fifty per cent. on everything in transit to or from the River Plate. In 1665 a relaxation of this system was brought about by the continued remonstrances of the people; and in 1774 free trade was permitted between several of the American posts. In 1776, with a view to better maintaining the country against the encroachments of the Portuguese in their colonies in Brazil, Buenos Ayres was decreed the capital of a viceroyalty, with jurisdiction over the territories of the present republics of Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay, and the Argentina Confederation. All this country was then opened, to Spanish trade, even with Peru, and the development of its resources, so long thwarted, was allowed comparatively free play. From this time a succession of viceroys exercised jurisdiction over the whole of these territories. Velasco, however, was made governor of the semi-civilised Indians in the Jesuit settlements of Missiones on the Rivers Parana and Uruguay subject only to the direct authority of the home Government; and in 1806 he became also governor of the province of Paraguay, under the authority of the vice-royalty of Buenos Ayres, and these offices he still held when the independence of the country was declared.

The authority of the viceroys was interrupted in the lower part of the River Plate during the wars between England and Spain. On the 27th June 1806 General Beresford landed with a body of troops from a British fleet under command of Sir Home Popham, and obtained possession of the city of Buenos Ayres. The viceroy, Sobremonte, retired to Cordova, where Liniers collected an army from all parts of the country, with which, on the 12th August, he assaulted the city, and Beresford with his troops surrendered. In the meantime Sir Home Popham had taken Maldonado; and in February 1807 Sir Samuel Auchmuty stormed and took the city of Monte Video. In May 1808 General Whiteclock, with 8000 men, endeavoured to regain possession of Buenos Ayres; but the inhabitants had made great preparations for resistance, and as all the houses were at that time built with their windows opening on the streets, protected with strong iron railings like prison bars, and with flat roofs, each one was of itself a fortress; so that after suffering terrible slaughter in the long straight streets of the city, the invading army capitulated, agreeing to abandon both banks of the River Plate within two months. Whitelock was brought before a court-martial appointed to inquire into the cause of the failure of the enterprise entrusted to him; the indignation excited against him in England, in consequence of his want of success, was as great as that excited on the River Plate against the viceroy, Sobremonte, in consequence of the first success of the English. The events which we have narrated tended to give self-confidence to the people of Buenos Ayres, who, on applying to the home Government for assistance against the English, had been told that they must protect themselves. But the disturbances which ultimately led to the separation of the country from Spain were initiated by the refusal of the Argentines to acknowledge the Napoleonic dynasty established at Madrid. Liniers, who was viceroy on the arrival of the news of the crowning of Joseph Buonaparte as king of Spain, was deposed by the adherents of Ferdinand VII.; and on the 19th July 1809, Cisneros became viceroy in the name of Ferdinand. In compliance with the urgent appeals of the people, he opened the trade of the country to foreign nations; and on the 25th May 1810, a council was formed, with his consent, under the title of the Provisional Government of the provinces of the Rio de la Plata. This has since been regarded as the commencement of the era of the political independence of the country. Of this council Mariano Morino, the secretary, was the most prominent member, and the people of the city of Buenos Ayres were for some time its only effective supporters. An attempt of the Spanish party to make Cisneros president of the council failed, and he retired to Monte Video. On the 31st January 1813 a congress was assembled at Buenos Ayres, and Posadas was elected dictator of the republic. Monte Video still supported the cause of Spain, but was besieged by the revolutionary army of Buenos Ayres, and capitulated in 1814. A sanguinary struggle between the party of independence and the adherents of Spain spread over all the country of the River Plate; but on the 25th March 1816, a new congress of deputies elected by the people was assembled at Tucuman, where Payridon was declared president of the republic; and on the 9th July the separation of the country from Spain was formally declared, and a state of comparative order was re-established. Buenos Ayres was then declared the seat of government. The whole of the viceroyalty did not, however, acknowledge this Government Bolivia, Paraguay, and Uruguay, established themselves each as a separate republic, after passing through scenes of disorder, whilst the city of Buenos Ayres was itself the scene of sanguinary disturbances. From this time, however, the struggle for independence became, as regards the Argentine Republic, more of a foreign than a domestic war. The combined forces of Buenos Ayres and Chili defeated the Spaniards at Chacabuco in 1817, and at Maypu in 1818; and from Chili the victorious General San Martin led his troops into Peru, where, on the 9th July 1821, he made a triumphal entry into the city of Lima, which had been the greatest s stronghold of the Spanish power, having been, from the time of its foundation by Pizarro, the seat of government of the viceroyalty of Peru. A general congress was assembled at Buenos Ayres on the 1st March 1822, in the presence of ambassadors from all the liberated states, and a general amnesty was decreed, though the war was not ended until the 9th December 1824, when the republican forces gained the final victory of Ayacucho, in the Peruvian districts of the Amazon. The Spanish Government did not, however, formally acknowledge the independence of the country until the year 1842. On the 23d January 1825, a National Constitution for the federal states which form the present Argentine Republic was decreed; and on the 2d February of the same year, Sir Woodbine Parish, acting under the instructions of Mr Canning, signed a commercial treaty in Buenos Ayres, by which the British Government acknowledged the independence of the country. For details of the history of the country up to the time of independence the reader is referred to the work of Sir Woodbine Parish, and to the Historia Argentina, published in Buenos Ayres. These works have been followed in this short narrative, except when otherwise stated, or in unquestionable matters to which they do not allude.

Whilst the events already described were in progress Buenos Ayres was involved in a war with Brazil, in consequence of the Government of the country having, in 1817 taken possession of the Banda Oriental, which, under the rule of Artigas, had become a scene of anarchy. Buenos Ayres, unassisted by the northern provinces, waged war with Brazil for the possession of the Banda Oriental, until, in the year 1827, by the mediation of England, that country was made independent of both powers. The origin and progress of that war are more connected with the history of the Oriental than with that of the Argentine Republic. Under the new regime, inaugurated as above described in 1825, Rivadavia, who was elected president, endeavoured to establish a strong central government; and his party obtained the name of Unitarians in contradistinction to their opponents the Federals, who endeavoured to keep each state or province as independent as possible of the National Government. At the expiration of Rivadavia’s term of office his opponents triumphed in the election of Vicente Lopez as president; and he was followed in 1827 by Dorrego, another representative of the Federal party. The Unitarians, under the leadership of General Lavalle and his troops, relieved from the war in the Banda Oriental, rebelled against the administration, and in 1828 they defeated the Federals, under Dorrego and General Rosas, in a battle in which Dorrego was taken prisoner and afterwards shot. General Rosas then became chief of the Federal party. In 1829 he defeated Lavalle; and obtaining from Congress, during a "reign of terror," such extraordinary powers as enabled him to rule as dictator, he became as hostile, to many members of the Federal party as to the Unitarians. In 1838, a dispute between Rosas and the French Government led to a blockade of the port of Buenos Ayres by the French fleet; and, encouraged by this occurrence, Lavalle, in 1839, returned to the country to rally the Unitarian party. In 1840 he invaded the province of Buenos Ayres at the head of troops raised chiefly in the province of Entre Bios; but he was routed by the Federal army under General Pacheco, and was chased as far as the city of Jujuy, where he was overtaken and shot by troops under the command of Oribe. The rule of Rosas was now one of terror and almost incessant bloodshed. in Buenos Ayres, whilst his partisans, General Oribe and Colonel Mazza, endeavoured to exterminate the Unitarians throughout the province. This scene of slaughter was extended to the Banda Oriental by the attempt of Oribe, with the support of Rosas, and of Urquiza, governor of Entre Rios, to establish himself as president of that republic, whose existing Government was hostile to Rosas, and sheltered all political refugees from the country under his despotic rule. The siege of Monto Video by the forces of Rosas led to a joint intervention of England and France, and in 1845 the English minister plenipotentiary declared Buenos Ayres blockaded, and determined to establish direct communications with the Republic of Paraguay by ascending the Parana, the right of navigating which was denied to foreign flags by Rosas, who had always refused to acknowledge the separation of the Government of Paraguay from the authority of Buenos Ayres. At Point Obligado, just above the delta of the river, a severe fight occurred, in which the men of the combined squadrons landed and carried the batteries by storm, after Captain Hope of the "Firebrand" and his crew had succeeded in cutting a heavy iron chain which closed the river under their fire. The allied forces then proceeded to Paraguay, and proclaimed the navigation of the mighty river which forms the highway to that country free to all nations. Ineffectual attempts were made by the allies to induce the people of the River Plate, and more especially Urquiza, to rise against the despotic rule of Rosas; and finding the accomplishment of this impracticable without an army, they withdrew their several forces, and raised the blockade of Buenos Ayres in 1847. Brazil, whose alliance England and France had rejected in consequence of the opposition of that country to the English policy in the suppression of the slave trade, now came to terms with Urquiza; and the forces of Brazil, under Caxias, allied with those raised and commanded by Urquiza, invaded the province of Buenos Ayres, and routed the army of Rosas on the 3d February 1852 at Monte Caseros, about 10 miles from the city. Rosas escaped from the battlefield in disguide, and sough protection at the house of the English change d’affaires, by whom he was conveyed on board H.B.M. steamer "Locust," leaving the city in a delirium of joy at its sudden emancipation from his tyranny. A provisional Government was formed under Urquiza, and the Brazilian and Oriental troops retired. Urquiza then assembled all the provincial governors at San Nicholas, in the province of Buenos Ayres, and on the 31st May they proclaimed a new constitution, with Urquiza as provisional director of the Argentine nation. This constitution gave each province two representatives in the Senate or Upper Chamber of a Congress of Representatives, which was duly elected and met at Santa Fé; but the people of Buenos Ayres, considering that their political and commercial pre-eminence were apt duly represented in the Congress, rose in rebellion against it on the 11th September. Alsina then became governor of Buenos Ayres; and in the new civil war which was now inaugurated might be regarded as the representative of the city, which was his chief support, in opposition to the peasantry, who throughout the country districts were chiefly partisans of Urquiza, or of Rosas. Alsina resigned office in face of a rising of the country districts, under districts, under Colonel Lagos, in favour of a restoration of Rosas; but Pacheco, who had defeated the Unitarian General Lavalle in 1840, rallied the city party, and with the support of the most influential citizens, proclaimed the aged General Pintos provisional governor, and the influence of the leading members of the foreign community was actively exerted in his favour. The defence of the city, now besieged by Lagos, was entrusted to General Hornos; and Urquiza, having been duly elected president by the other thirteen provinces, came to terms with Lagos, and took command of the army of the besiegers; and in April 1853 his fleet blockaded the port. In July the besiegers suddenly disappeared without awaiting an expected sally of the city forces under General Paz, now commander-in-chief. Urquiza signed, on board H.B.M. steamer "Locust," as representative of the thirteen provinces, a treaty with Sir Charles Hotham, by which the free navigation of the rivers was confirmed. The province of Buenos Ayres then became established as an independent state, and inaugurated an era of commercial and political development, with. Obligado as constitutional governor, whilst Parana became the capital of the thirteen provinces under Urquiza. Differential duties imposed by the Confederation for the purpose of preventing the foreign trade of the confederated states from taking its ordinary course through Buenos Ayres caused great irritation in the latter province; but peace was, nevertheless, maintained until 1859, when Alsina again became governor of Buenos Ayres, and the numerous questions in dispute soon led to active hostilities between the Government at Parana and d Buenos Ayres. The army of the latter, under General (then Colonel) Mitre, was defeated by the Confederate forces at Cepeda, in the province of Buenos Ayres, in October 1859; and Urquiza re-entered the city, when Alsina resigned his office of governor to Ocampo, and Buenos Ayrea rejoined the Confederation, of which Urquiza resigned the presidency. Derqui was then elected president of the fourteen provinces, with the seat of government at Parana; whilst Urquiza became governor of Entre Eios, and Mitre governor of Buenos Ayres. Hostilities, however, recommenced in 1861, and the armies of the opposite parties, under Generals Urquiza and Mitre respectively, met at Pavon, in the province of Santa Fé. Mitre this time was victorious, and in 1862 he was elected president of the Argentine Confederation, of which, with the consent of the provincial Legislature, the city of Buenos Ayres became provisionally the capital. Urquiza retired to the province of Entre Rios of which he continued to be governor. The history of these struggles is ably told by Mr Latham from a Buenos Ayrean point of view; and also, from the opposite side, by M. De Moussy, in his able and elaborate work dedicated to Urquiza.

In 1864 the Republic of Paraguay commenced war against Brazil, and on the 5th February 1865, President Lopez sent a despatch to the Argentine Government, requesting permission for the passage of a Paraguayan army through the province of Corrientes. This Mitre refused, the neutrality of the country having previously been declared. On the morning of the 13th April a Paraguayan fleet entered the port of Corrientes, and, without any previous warning of belligerent intentions, fired into and took possession of two vessels of the Argentine navy which were lying at anchor in the port, and also fired on the crew as they endeavoured to swim ashore to escape the unexpected slaughter. In the course of the following day a detachment of Paraguayan troops took possession of the city, whilst the main body of an invading army marched across the province, and, crossing the Uruguay, invaded Brazil. The sudden seizure of the vessels in the port of Corrientes was the first notification of war which reached the Argentine Government. The official declaration of war, which was dated the 29th March, and was based on a declaration passed in Congress on the 18th, did not reach the Argentine Government until the 3d May. The people of Buenos Ayres were thrown into a frenzy of indignation on the receipt of the news of the above-mentioned hostilities ; and on the 1st May a treaty was signed between the Argentine Government, Brazil, and the Oriental Republic, by which these powers mutually bound themselves not to lay down their arms until they had abolished the Government of Lopez, but at the same time guaranteeing the independence of Paraguay. Thus the National Government established at Buenos Ayres was launched into a war which sorely tried its resources, both for the prosecution of the war itself, and for the suppression of the opponents of its policy in some districts. The war was soon carried into Paraguay ; but the withdrawal of the main body of the Argentine army, under Generals Paunero and Arredondo, was necessitated by a rebellion in the north-west (January 1867), where the rebels, under Saa and Videla, had obtained control of several of the Provincial Governments. The rebel army was not able to cope with the veterans fresh from the battlefields of Paraguay, who drove them across the Andes into Chili, where they laid down their arms. These internal troubles made it requisite for Mitre to retire from the post of commander-in-chief of the allied forces in the field, which then devolved upon the Brazilian General Caxias. Urquiza, though nominally under the order of the National Government, having, on the outbreak of the war accepted from them the appointment of commander-in-chief of the forces of Entre Rios, virtually held that province in a state of neutrality throughout the war, which was ended by the shooting of Lopez on the 1st March 1870, after the extermination of his army and a large majority of the inhabitants of the county. Urquiza, at the outbreak of the war, was the most renowned and powerful chieftain in the country, and doubt regarding the course he might take was a source of anxiety in Buenos Ayres He had accumulated immense estates and wealth in Entre Bios; and he was doubtless actuated by an earnest desire to preserve to his province the blessings of peace and commercial prosperity in the midst of the surrounding disturbances. The hope of obtaining support from him is, however, supposed to have encouraged the rebellion of the north-western provinces, which neutralised the reckless audacity with which the Argentine troops fought their first battle in Paraguay. In 1868, whilst the war was going on, Mitre’s term of office as president expired, and Sarmiento was peacefully elected in his place. The close of the Paraguayan war did not bring permanent peace to the country; for, on the 12th April 1870, Urquiza was assassinated at his family residence by some well-known officers of his army, and the provincial Legislature immediately elected Lopez Jordan as governor in his place. The new governor, in his address to Congress on his installation, took upon himself the responsibility of the assassination, and the National Government refused to acknowledge him as governor of the province, on the ground of undue influence having been brought to bear on the members of the Legislature by which he had been elected. The National troops accordingly invaded the province, for the avowed purpose of affording protection for the free expression of opinion in a new election. This became the commencement of a civil war, which materially interfered with the former prosperity of the province, but which was fortunately brought to a conclusion in the end of January 1873 by the Entre-Riano army being completely routed by the National troops, armed with Remington rifles, under Colonel Gainza. The Entre-Riano leader with about 40 followers, escaped across the Uruguay. Tranquillity has since that time prevailed in Entre Rios.





Whilst these events were in progress, a rupture between the Argentine Republic and Brazil regarding the settlement of the boundaries of Paraguay, was at one time imminent; but by the influence of Mitre, who went as special envoy to Rio on the occasion, the friendly relations of the two a Governments have, it is hoped, been placed on a secure basis.

The prosperity of the country received a temporary d check in 1874 from a brief revolution initiated when President Avellanda was declared elected. The unsuccessful party, under Brigadier-General Mitre, incensed at their defeat, asserted that the elections had been gained by corrupt and fraudulent practices, and resolved to appeal to arms to overthrow the president-elect. The revolution was declared on 24th September. President Sarmiento, whose tenure of office was just expiring, took active measures to repress the revolt; and no collision of forces had taken place when the new president, Don Nicolas Avellanda, was constitutionally installed on the 12th October. The president followed up with energy the measures of his predecessor to suppress the revolution, and his efforts were crowned with success in two decisive victories over the insurgents by the Government troop; whereupon Generals Mitre and Arredondo, with their forces, surrendered at discretion, and were made prisoners (Dec. 2). The revolution had lasted but seventy-six days. On the 17th December a state holiday was declared, and dedicated to rejoicings on the restoration of peace. The complete and absolute crushing of this revolution has great significance, as it has brought about the dissolution of a powerful and ambitious party, whose movements might have seriously affected the onward march of the country. Those who know the country believe that it will be long before any similar revolutionary attempts can be made with the slightest hopes of success, or the welfare of one of the most favoured countries in the world jeopardised by internal commotion.

The following table gives the names of the fourteen provinces which form the Argentine Republic, together with the superficial area of the country as given by the Statistical Department of the National Government, and the population according to the census of the year 1869, the numbers given as the population of the Indian territory being the official estimate of that year. As regards the area, it must be observed that, according to the Almanach de Gotha, an estimate by the Geographical Institute of G. Perthes at Gotha, reduces that given in this table by about one-fourth:—

TABLE

The most remarkable features of the present state of the country, as shown by the foregoing table, are the vast extent of the Indian territory and the small number of its inhabitants. Excepting a comparatively narrow tract of land stretching from the southern part of the province of Santa Fé into that of Cordova, and dividing the Indians of the Chaco from those of the Pampas, the dominions of the Indians may be said to extend from the extreme south of the republic, over all the plains of Patagonia, the central parts of the Pampas, and through the Chaco, into the territories of Paraguay and Bolivia. The civilised districts of the west and north-west, which we have seen were settled, the former by way of Chili, and the latter by way of Peru, have now established means of communication with those of the east, except through the district just mentioned. In that district civilisation, of which the Central Argentine Railway is the chief representative, is rapidly establishing and extending itself; but even during the last few years warfare with the Indians on both sides of the line of railway has been almost incessant. In the neighbourhood of Frayle Muerto or Belleville, many Englishmen possessed of some amount of capital established themselves some years ago as cattle farmers, under the protection of modern rifles; but they have been obliged to turn their attention to sheep and agriculture, as offering less tempting plunder to the Indians. It is interesting to record that the city of Cordova, on the west of the Chaco, was founded on the same day, in 1573, as the city of Santa Fé, on the east of that region; and an exploring party from the latter city was saved from being exterminated by the Indians by the timely and. unexpected assistance of another party of explorers from the city of Cordova. To the north of Belleville, the land lying between the cities just mentioned is now being peopled by families of Swiss, German, French, Italian, English, and Anglo-American immigrants, who are encouraged by liberal grants of land and assistance from the Provincial Government of Santa Fé; and they appear to be gradually establishing themselves in the country, notwithstanding the hardships they have suffered from the ravages of locusts and the hostility of the Indians. Some of the tribes of the Chaco are among the most savage and intractable in the territory of the republic, though even before the arrival of the Spaniards they supported themselves to some extent by agriculture, and were not so nomadic as the hunting tribes of the south. On the Pampas the Indians appear to be in larger tribes, and their warfare is more formal, since powerful chiefs of the different tribes have considerable control over them, .and they in general conform themselves to the policy of peace or war determined on by their chiefs. For many years past the border lands between the Indians and the European settlers in the province of Buenos Ayres have been a scene of constant bloodshed; and some of the Indian invasions have been made on a very extensive scale by a combination of the different tribes. The relations of the Argentine Government with the Indians, it will thus be seen, are in a very unsatisfactory state; and m the midst of all this the condition of the Argentine peasant, or Gaucho, is most deplorable. He has constantly been subject to conscription for service in the army engaged in foreign or civil wars, leaving in the frontier districts his home defenceless against the depredations of the savages. It is true that the Gauchoes may be said to be the primary cause of the civil wars which have devastated the country; for, despising, or at least not appreciating, their constitutional influence, they have been accustomed to regard war as a normal means of subsistence, and to be used as such for its own sake. Nevertheless, in face of the peculiar hardship of the condition of these men, even though in the aggregate self-inflicted, it is scarcely surprising that immigrants are occasionally subjected to annoyances and dangers, through a spirit of hostility engendered by feelings of envy, as the Gaucho is subjected to the conscription, whilst the foreigner is undisturbed in his industrious occupations. Families have fallen victims to the sudden outburst of animosity on the part of the Gauchoes, who when once roused have been as cruel as the Indiana ; and, though the arguments which might be pleaded in extenuation for the latter cannot be applied to the former, their condition is a practical evil, and enlightened legislation for these frontier districts is one of the most urgent necessities of the country. The war with Paraguay, and subsequently the war in Entre Rios, have exhausted the resources of the Government, leaving the Indian frontier almost undefended. The tribes of the Pampas have established settlements, from which they scour the country in pursuit of game; and it is not improbable that some of their recent raids upon the civilised districts have been forced upon them by the immediate necessities of their position, resulting from their improvident mode of living and the absence of agricultural pursuits among them. On the slopes of the Sierra Ventana, north of Bahia e Blanca, many Englishmen have established themselves as sheep farmers, where the land stretches away into the Indian territories, without an armed force or a barrier of any sort intervening, and their protection from the savages lies in the respect the latter have for the Snider rifle combined with the greater attraction which the cattle farms of the north have for the plunderers. On the Rio Negro English settlers are engaged in agricultural pursuits on a soil whose fertility for the production of wheat and other cereals may be said to be unrivalled. To the south of this the country to a great extent accords with the description erroneously applied to all the country south of the River Plate by Guerara, who says that it is a barren land without timber for building, without firewood, without water, without soil to receive seed, and without anything that a city requires for its maintenance. Nevertheless, in the country thus described, a Welsh colony has established itself on the Chupat River; and, though at first they suffered severe hardships, and were saved from starvation only by food supplied by the Tehuelche Indians in the first instance, and afterwards by similar supplies from the Argentine Government, there appears no reason now why it should not become a prosperous colony. In the far south, on the Santa Cruz River, the Argentine Government have a military establishment. The tribes of Patagonia do not appear to have any settled villages, but make the whole country a vast hunting ground. The different parties meet in their excursions either as friends or as foes, just as accident, the humour of the moment, or any occasion of enmity between the chieftains determines. The game on which they live is superabundant, and the chief impediment to an increase of the population seems to be the remorseless butchery which ensues on the meeting of hostile hunting tribes, which sometimes results in the extermination of one party or the other; and also the incessant slaughter resulting from sudden quarrels among members of the same party. Lieutenant Musters, of the Royal Navy, has recently traversed the country from the Strait of Magellan to the Rio Negro with one of the hunting tribes; his book may be commended to those who desire to be better acquainted with that wild country and its inhabitants. The Tehuelche Indians, with whom he travelled, average about 5 feet 10 inches in stature, but he describes the Araucanians as somewhat taller and equally athletic. All the Indian tribes have more or less of the peculiar characteristics; of the red or copper-coloured race, and analogies in the languages of the numerous tribes also indicate an identity of origin. According to their traditions at the time of the discovery of the country by the Spaniards, as recorded by Guerara, their ancestors came from the north, and they also held confused traditions of the disasters of the delude.

The foregoing historical sketch will have given the reader some insight into the government of the country. The framers of the Constitution professed to be guided by that of the United States of North America, and freely adopted the liberal principles there embodied. The president is elected for a term of six years, and the president of the Senate, elected to that office by his fellow-senators, becomes ex-officio vice-president of the republic. The government is conducted by a ministry responsible to Congress, and an adverse vote of the Senate and deputies on any important question leads to the formation of a new ministry. The number of senators and deputies returned by each province is in proportion to the number of its inhabitants. Each province has its own independent form of government for all matters not expressly delegated to the National Government, and is supposed to have irresponsible jurisdiction in its own affairs so long as the articles of the National Constitution are not contravened. The city of Buenos Ayres, besides being the seat of the Government of the province, is also the seat of the National Government, having been so declared by the Constitution, until such time as a suitable site for a new capital for the republic may be determined on by the Legislature. Not only the Constitution itself but also the spirit in which its enactments are carried out, is thoroughly liberal, and worthy of the magnificent country over which civilisation, under its enlightened regulation, is struggling successfully against barbarism. Fresh arrivals from Europe are not only cordially welcomed, but every effort is made by the authorities to induce foreigners to settle in the country. They are free either to naturalise themselves as Argentines, or to maintain their foreign nationality; in the latter case they have not the privilege of a vote in the government of the country, nor are they liable to the conscription for service in the army. In other respects the law is the same for all. Every one born in the country is by law an Argentine.

The population of the city of Buenos Ayres is almost thoroughly European, nearly one-half being, in fact, foreigners born in Europe. But on passing from that city into the country the Mestizo race becomes more prominent; and in the northern provinces, as in Paraguay and Peru, the Mestizoes, with Indian blood predominating, form the majority of the population. The Negroes, or Mestizoes in whom Negro blood can be traced, do not form an important part of the population as they do in Brazil. The difference between the two countries in this respect is, in fact, very striking. Slavery was abolished during the war of independence ; and the importation of Negroes, which had never been an extensive trade, then ceased; and the constant stream of immigration from Europe, which of late years has been steadily augmenting, is gradually changing the aspect of the population of the country. In 1858 the arrivals amounted to only 4600 persons; but they increased every year till they amounted to 29,000 in 1868, 37,000 in 1869, 41,000 in 1870, 20,000 in 1871, 40,000 in 1872, 80,000 in 1873, and about 90,000 in 1874. This constantly increasing stream of immigration has been absorbed into the various industries of the country as fast as the new arrivals reach its shores. As regards the nationalities of the immigrants, the Italians are the most numerous, then the French, Spaniards, Germans, English, and Swiss. During the above-mentioned years the new arrivals have almost always found their services eagerly sought for at wages of 8 to 10 shillings a day for the most ordinary employments, and at proportionally higher rates for skilled workmen. The comparatively small amount of the immigration in 1871 is due to the occurrence of the epidemic of yellow fever which decimated the population of the city of Buenos Ayres in the early part of that year, and caused the bulk of the emigrants from Europe on their way to the country to stop at the ports of Brazil and at Monte Video, and turned the tide of emigration from Europe in other directions at the close of the year. Though this terrible pestilence is said to have been imported from Brazil, its rapid spread in the city can clearly be ascribed to temporary causes which even the unrivalled salubrity of the climate was insufficient to neutralise. In the absence of any artificial drain age-the cleanliness of the city had depended on its occasional scouring by the heavy rains, whilst an ever increasing number of cesspools have been accumulating filth beneath the houses; and up to the year 1870 the consumption of water, beyond the amount of rain water accumulated in tanks in the houses of the wealthy, was limited by the cost of cartage from the river ; but in that year new water-works were opened, by which a supply is pumped up from the river, and conveyed by pipes to all parts of the city, and the increased waste of water may, by leading to an unusual disturbance of the cesspools, have partly contributed to the spread, of the epidemic. Though frightfully contagious in the city, the disease was not so in the country; and no instance could, it is believed, be recorded in which it was communicated to those who nursed patients that took the disease from the city, and sickened and died in the suburbs.It is hoped that the extensive drainage works which the Provincial Government is having constructed under the superintendence of Mr Bateman will obviate the risk of another outbreak of a plague, which whilst it lasted put a stop to commercial pursuits and almost disorganised society. The total number of foreigners in the Argentine Republic at the time of the last census, was, according to the Almanach de Gotha, 212,000. A recent writer, who has given particular attention to the subject, says, "There are about 40,000, between Irish, Scotch, and English settlers and their families, in quiet and undisputed possession of about two millions of acres of land in the province of Buenos Ayres alone; in the full enjoyment of all religious and social liberty. They own upwards of 35,000,000 sheep, besides horned cattle, horses, and valuable buildings..... The bulk of this vast property has been acquired in the country by men who on their arrival did not possess a sixpence."

Excepting the mining districts in the north-west of the republic, the agricultural district of Chivilcoy, in the north of the province of Buenos Ayres, the agricultural colonies of Santa Fé, and the establishments of the English settlers in the north of Patagonia, the Argentine Republic is at present a pastoral country. The manufacturing and agricultural pursuits of the north-western provinces are not important items in the general wealth of the republic. The development of its vast resources as a mining and agricultural country has scarcely commenced; and its greatest wealth is at present represented by the herds of cattle and sheep which graze upon its fertile plains. The manufactures and luxuries imported into the country are paid for with the annual increase of these flocks and herds, though the latter are not so numerous as in an equal area of Central and Western Europe. The number of herd cattle in the country may be roughly estimated at from 15 to 18 millions; of which, in the year 1866, the province of Buenos Ayres contained 6,800,000; Entre Rios, 2,500,000 ; and Corrientes, 2,000,000. In the same year Buenos Ayres contained 60,000,000 sheep ; and Entre Rios and Corrientes together, 7,000,000. The number of sheep in the whole country is estimated at 100,000,000.

The extent of the trade which the Argentine Republic carries on with different foreign countries is indicated in the subjoined tabular statement of values of the imports and exports of the whole country, for 1873. The amounts are given in bard dollars, of which the sterling equivalent is about 49 pence.

TABLE

The principal items of the import trade from Great Britain are as follows (the figures representing hard dollars as before):—Cotton goods, 2,359,000; woollen, 904,000; other textures, 3,364,000; clothing, 1,367,000, besides 951,000 in shoes; iron, 2,757,000; and railway materials, 1,706,000. France sends wines to the value of 4 1/2 millions; textile fabrics, 2 1/2; clothing, shoes, &c., 2 1/2; hardware, fancy goods, &c., 6 1/2. More than half the value of the United States imports (2,769,000) is in lumber. The whole import trade of the country in 1873 exceeded that of 1870 by 49 per cent.

The following table exhibits the amount, values, and principal destinations of the more important articles of export for 1873 :—

Wool ….185,000.000 lb $19,600,000 whereof $10,000,000 to Belgium.
Tallow.... 88,000,000 lb $5,500,000 whereof $2,632,000 to England.
Sheepakins.. 55,000,000 lb $4,300,000 where of $1,854,000 to England.
Dry Hides... 1,700.000 $5,140,000 whereof 1,333,000 to United States.
Salted, do.... 1,300,000 $4,900,000 whereof 2,720,000 to England.
Jerked Beef.. 88,000.000 lb $1,400,000 mostly to Brazil and West Indies.
Cattle..........180,000 $2,700,000 to other South Americans countries.

Other items of export are metals (copper and silver) of the value of 420,000 dollars; grain, 120,000; ostrich feathers, 150,000. The entire export trade of 1873 shows an increase of 55 per cent. on the trade of 1870.

The tonnage of the vessels that arrived and cleared during the four years 1870 to 1873 was as follows:—

TABLE

Of this tonnage the proportion returned for English vessels is no less than 30 per cent.; French vessels rank next, with 16 per cent.; then Argentine and Italian, 12 per cent. each. There are twelve lines of steamers constantly plying between Europe and Buenos Ayres. The passage occupies about twenty-nine days.

The advancement of the Argentine Republic has received a great impetus from the introduction of steam communication and telegraphy. The first railway was opened in 1857; and in 1874 there were more than 800 miles open for traffic, with about 1000 miles more in course of construction. A system of tramways was commenced in the city of Buenos Ayres in 1869. There are now about 80 miles within the city and suburbs, and this means of transit is being extended to all the smaller towns. There are in use within the republic above 7000 miles of telegraphic wires. Complete communication is now established with Europe, the first telegrams having been exchanged with London on 4th August 1874.

The province of Buenos Ayres is, in wealth and general importance, far in advance of all the other provinces of the Confederation. Under the enlightened administration of Senor Castro, the late governor, great improvements have been made in the means of communication throughout the province, which is the first step requisite for the due development of its resources. Besides railway extensions a great number of iron bridges have been imported from England and erected under the superintendence of Mr Coghlan, by order of the Provincial Government of Buenos Ayres. The National and Provincial Governments established in the city of Buenos Ayres are rivals in their efforts to promote the true welfare and prosperity of the country. Señor Acosta, the governor of the province, may be relied on to continue the policy of assisting the development of the resources of the country, which may almost be said to have been inaugurated by his predecessor. And his Excellency Señor Sarmiento, whose term of office as president of the republic expired in October 1874, must, from his unceasing exertions in the cause of education, be regarded as one of the greatest benefactors of the country.

The following are the returns of the national revenue collected in the years 1866 and 1872 respectively, the figures representing hard dollars as before:—

TABLE

The revenue, as shown by the above tables, is obtained chiefly from the Custom-House; and of the duties on the foreign trade of the country more than four-fifths are collected in Buenos Ayres. The ordinary expenditure for 1872 is returned as 7,419,832 dollars; but to this the interest of the national debt has to be added, with other extraordinary expenditure, raising the whole amount to 23,992,975 dollars. The deficit in 1872 was thus 5,820,596 dollars. Besides the expenses of the National Government, each province has its separate revenue. That of the province of Buenos Ayres amounted in 1871, as shown by the Report of the provincial minister of finance, to more than 5.000,000 hard dollars. The following statement of the national debt of the republic at the end of 1872, is taken from the Almanach de Gotha for 1875 :—

TABLE

Further information respecting the republic will be found under BUENOS AYRES and other headings. (W. L. J.)



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