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Argentina's colonization: from failure to success

165 years after settler settlement in Esperanza, Santa Fe, a tour of the country of Sarmiento that was not: the country of agricultural colonies

 colonización argentina

Colonization and latifundia are exclusive.   Following the 1853 Constitution, and the Alberdian “govern es popular”, General Urquiza's first Argentine government undertook the cyclopeal task of promoting railway construction, immigration and agricultural colonization. With the background of his previous experience in the governorate of Entre Rios, Urquiza supported the Golden Age of the Settlers (1856-1893)   Then held mainly by the presidencies of Sarmiento and   Avellaneda   , and which included the pioneering Rivadavian projects, which, after ensuring the rights of foreigners equal to the rights of the natives, had been promulgated since the First Triumvirate,   “Foreigners engaged in the cultivation of the fields will be given sufficient ground and assisted for their first rural establishments, and in the trade of their productions,” Rivadavia signed in 1812 in a line similar to Mariano Moreno   . Both wanted to change the colonial matrix of accumulation of hectares in less than a few in productive units of independent settlers, “one hundred Chivilcoy”, would say half a century later Sarmiento “Vacas, cows, cows” would finish off a resigned Sarmiento in the final ostracism of Paraguay in 1888. Or “latifundio, latifundio, latifundio,” a scheme of land concentration and power stimulated as a result of the self-called Conquest of the Desert, and Roca presidency, which would drown with exorbitant leases and rates to settlers after 1880, the immigrant bulk that defined the effigy national   “The vaquitas are alienas and our penalties” could have been the cry of protest from the gringos of the pampas, rather tenants at the mercy of landowners, who did not coincidentally begin an escalation of agricultural rebellions and who reached the zenith in the Crito de Alcorta in 1912.   There was a time that was beautiful, a capitalism with a human face, based on the values of work and effort, without speculation, and it remained as a chimera in the first colonies in Santa Fe.

  “It will be convenient, it will be infinitely useful for the herding campaign to be narrowed, that there be beautiful cities, every kind of population”, analyzed in 1822 the deputy Juan José Paso,   secretary of the first national government in the May Revolution, on the foundations of the rivadavian Law of Enfiteusis, a brilliant idea in the role of stimulus colonization in public lands, although he resorted to international credit with the reality of subsequent public indebtedness, and graphed the snake egg,”   it is not convenient, less in our form than in another, that there are large owners and a lot of poor men around, all dependent on those”   Rosas in power dictates the rule of distributing land “to people that the government reserves to name as it deems appropriate (Anchorena, Miguens, Díaz Vélez, Martínez de Hoz and more patrician surnames),” and in 1840, 52 thousand square miles were held by some 800 families. Three times England. Rivadavia's efforts to attract foreigners failed due to pressure from landowners, conflict between modern agricultural needs and traditional expanded livestock grazing, and conditions were better in Buenos Aires than in the campaign; and   the tiny groups arrived before 1852 remained in Ensenada, Irish, and La Boca, Genoese.  

  Although the antecedents of the agricultural colonies, and the prolegomenos of the pampa gringa, appear in the liberal Corrientes de Juan Pujol, and the failed Colonia San Juan at the behest of Augusto Brougnes in 1855, and in Entre Ríos, the military colony of Urquiza in its lands of Las Conchas in 1853, will be & nbsp; Santa Fe where the national confederate government underpins its agricultural colonization measures   , partly because of a geopolitical view of strengthening facing Buenos Aires (port of Rosario), partly because of the weakness of the landowners in the Chaco Santafesino region, still under the control of the original peoples (the idea of the Santafesino ranchers was originally a defensive cord against the malones, i.e. armed militias of French and Swiss farmers were allowed, excellent shooters, something that would long regret the large owners of the land) To have a point of comparison, in the months of January and March 1856, the arrival of the thousand pioneer European settlers to Esperanza, Santa Fe, in the province of Buenos Aires 3,300,000 hectares were granted to 300 people.

  La Esperanza de Castellanos  

  On June 15, 1853 Salteño Aarón Castellanos, the father of the pampa gringa, signed the original colonization and immigration contract - although this word was not included - with the government of the province of Santa Fe, who wanted to “promote and develop, in the province it commands, the elements of wealth and prosperity that enclose its territory... preferably the agricultural industry, the main source of wealth and strength”   A singular character, Don Aarón, hero of Independence, gaucho de Güemes, explorer of the Bermejo River and, finally, rich landowner between Salta and Buenos Aires. In Paris, exiled from Rosism, American immigration agents draw their attention and began to promote Argentine goodness in revolutionary Europe in the mid-nineteenth century. He returned to Buenos Aires with railroad, port and colonization projects on the banks of the Rio Negro, rejected by Governor Valentín Alsina.   But Castellanos was not discouraged and took his colonizing ideas to the Santa Fe governor Domingo Crespo. With the approval he settled in Europe in 1855 and worked with the best-known immigrant agencies, Vanderet & Cia from Dunkirk, and Beck & Herzog, Basel. About 200 immigrant families from the Cantons of Switzerland, southern Germany, France, Savoy, Belgium and Luxembourg, with all their work elements, crossed the Atlantic to arrive in the first months of 1856.     Zero Time for immigratory Argentina   .   Immigrants occupied a desert field 30 - eight kilometers from the capital of Santa Fe,   Colonia Esperanza       ,   in a land near the Salado River — not to Paraná for fears that it will become an autonomous port held by foreigners — and with personal effort in the face of adverse conditions which were not in its calculations either by the authorities or Castellanos,   they took the first steps of the Argentine wheat boom, and in the first agricultural colony (officially founded on September 8, 1856, Farmer's Day) The few knowledge in the work of the land, and the fight against pests, were remedied with the assistance of gauchos santiagueños according to   Juan Bialet Massé       .   The government granted the land of twenty square blocks, plus the ranch and animals, which were to be reimbursed in the first two years with the fruit of the work - together with the Castellanos commission -, and at five years they would pass to owners. Only two years later the cultivated hectares were 5400, harvesting 4715 wheat sludge, 615 barley, 3061 corn and 61 peanuts. The following year three mills would be opened and Argentinean flour would be traded, in a country that imported it until 1876. Castellanos kept open the colonizing line towards Esperanza, in his role as municipal chief of Rosario, until his death in 1880.

By 1858 some Swiss immigrants who did not settle in Esperanza accepted the offer of a strong English landowner from the current department of Las Colonias, Richard Foster, and gave rise to the   Colonia San Gerónimo, although they were dedicated to livestock that performed better with less work. And they showed the boundaries of the agricultural colony model. In addition, immigration companies demanded land from governments as a form of payment and 50,000 hectares went to Beck & Herzog, who founded by leasing Colonia San Carlo   The following decade this private model expands with Helvecia, part of the first settlers of Esperanza who could not settle their debts, California, an exceptional group of Americans, Emilia and San Justo, within the 2 million hectares of Mariano Cabal, Candelaria-Casilda and Reconquista. It advances in the center, northwest and west of Santa Fe but stagnates towards 1872 with the failure of the establishment of Sunchales.   Simultaneously, the massive, spontaneous immigration, which solidifies the tendency to move from settlers, within an immigration policy protected by national and provincial laws, there the Avellaneda Law of 1876, to simply tenants, who achieve domination of the land not by work but by the money   (and in this way the beginning of the plantation of indiscriminate alfalfa, the soy of the nineteenth century, to the detriment of the most sustainable ones such as wheat and corn. The other cows needed alfalfa...)

”   The encouragement of the earth with which they are flattered to decide to leave their homes, friends and relationships, then becomes discontent, when they see the fortune of the so-called colonizer entrepreneur increase,” said in 1866 the Santafesino governor Nicasio Oroño, and   glimpsed the problems of privatized colonization, “discontent with the increasing value of the land they cultivate and make it more expensive by fertilizing it in their daily work, for the benefit of the land-owner speculator,” he closed in a speech for a law granting public land to immigrants — and natives — north of their province.   It was known that the progressive governorate of Oroño, land for which he works, civil marriage (the first Argentine was in Colonia Esperanza in 1867), free and free education before the Common Education Law of 1882, was truncated in 1868. As the sarmientine colonizing revolution of Cien Chivilcoy   . Another number estimated by Gastón Gori indicates that if the successful example of Castellanos in Colonia Esperanza had been replicated throughout the territory, the three million immigrants between 1880-1914 would have installed 6,000 colonies with 600,000 farms of independent agricultural producers. In 1914 there were 76 thousand farms in 80 million hectares suitable for the cultivation of cereals. Moreover, ten years after the adoption of the Avellaneda Law there were only six colonies in national territories and two in Córdoba, with 161 thousand hectares alienated by public arrangement. Meanwhile, the Congress of the Nation granted 500 thousand hectares in Chubut to Juan Temperley, in sheep fever, a fervor that made La Pampa an extensive territory with ten thousand people and a million sheep, without agricultural colonies, and two only population centers, General Acha and Oh, Victoria.

  Last postcards of the model “El arado civiliza”  

“Touring Colonia San Carlos is a lovely walk”, Estanislao Zeballos ecstatic in mid-1890 in his “Pleasant Description of the Argentine Republic”, a panorama of the Santafesino communities that mixed Swiss, French and German and Creoles, bucolic, “about everything in summer, when mature wheats present in fields limited to look, covering parts of the buildings, that arise from among the ears like the sea searches... no one passes without greeting each other in this region of good, hospitable and simple people... there are ten mills, two coffins, twelve thousand blocks cultivated or with livestock, fifteen thousand animals of labor and breeding, fourteen carpentry, eight blacksmiths, numerous other workshops and only one pool table (sic)”, closed when the first settlers were allowed to farm, formerly prohibited by contract”   The until then autonomous Santa Fe agriculture will begin to be governed since 1893 by the needs of livestock - analyzes Ezequiel Gallo - which consisted basically in the improvement of pastures, by granting farmers -tenants - of large plots of land within the stays for them to plant wheat, flax and finally alfalfa” End of cycle   ”   The economic revolution that Argentine statesmen had tried to stimulate through immigration and agriculture achieved some of its objectives after 1880 — reflects James Scobie - but this revolution destroyed the colonization system and the small independent farmer   (as the Santafesino chacareros de Santa Fesinos would understand strikers who promoted the Grito de Alcorta in 1912, the seed of a socialist Argentine Agrarian Federation, and that would cause the displacement of wheat and corn to the less conflicting Buenos Aires and La Pampa) The agricultural colonies of Santa Fe played a an important role in achieving Argentina's self-sufficiency of wheat — and the myth of the Barn del Mundo. But they were too few and absorbed too small a proportion of the growing number of immigrants, to change Argentina's social and economic structure   ” Another difficulty was the resistance between Creoles and Gringos, who called the gauchos derogingly “schwarze-cheib”, a pejorative expression to African Black people. On the other hand, the armed militias of the first settlers, and the beginnings of wire delimitation of crops, which prevented the free wandering in the fields, were a constant source of friction, which happened irrepressible with the murder of a French settler in San Carlos in the hands of a pulp in El Sauce   , for a debt of the latter. This fact of 1869 requires the intervention of President Sarmiento, who authorizes armed action against gauchos and Indians (sic) From there escalate acts of violence, exacerbated by increasing fiscal pressure.   In 1893 several colonies will be folded to the radical revolt and were fiercely repressed with an ostensible   anti-gringo feeling.   Commander Romero ordered the leader Von Will of the Helvecia Colony to “slit him in a shallow and remove his knife,” recalls Gallo.  

“In Villa Alba — since 1942, General San Martín, La Pampa — we have visited the Narcisse Leven colony (La Esmeralda) of the   Jewish Colonization Association   . The JCA —an international association with colonies in Brazil, Canada, Palestine, etc- was instituted by Baron Mauricio Hirsch... in our country, it has colonies in Buenos Aires, Santa Fe, Santiago del Estero, Entre Rios and La Pampa Central”, transcribes Fernando Aráoz fresco early twentieth century   a colony of Jewish gauchos, “40 thousand hectares, which are cultivated 30,000, and the rest goes to livestock... 265 families that make up a total of 2075 souls. The colonizing farmers are 1852 and emigrants 223, Russians all except for some Romanians... a lease agreement and a loan of 3 thousand pesos corresponding to three annuities are formalized... even though the Cologne has been established for eight years, a single settler has been able to pay 3 thousand pesos to formalize the promise to buy their 150-hectare farm... a colony subject to severe commitments and delaying... settlers seek relief from their presses... buy some vaquitas and few wool... the youngest leave to the cities” Or the death - announced - of the spirit of the pioneer settlers .  

However, the economic failure of colonization had a cultural and social legacy that is recorded in this late “Guide to the Spanish Immigrant” of 1931 (edited by the National Library),”   Argentinism as it should be. His duties are: to love this earth well and sincerely...   and forget, as a family, that he is a foreigner. Being Argentine in thinking and saying... you have to earn every day's bread... and if you fall in love, you must — marry — an Argentinean woman. Not forgetting Spain and his own, his friends are here, his man habits here acquired them, and his children must be Argentine, because he too is almost.” Anchor and wheat are the symbols of the coat of arms of Esperanza since 1861. In the phrases of the almost centenary Spanish guide the same echoes of integration of worlds that make us Argentine persist.

Sources: Gori, G.   Immigration and colonization in Argentina   . Buenos Aires: Eudeba. 1986; Tur, C.   Colonies and colonizers   . Buenos Aires. Latin America Editor Center. 1974; Ansaldi, W.   Pampean agrarian revolts   in The Life of Our People Volume 3. Latin America Publishing Center. 1981

Publication Date: 17/03/2021

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15 datos poco conocidos sobre Sarmiento 15 little-known facts about Sarmiento
La-vez-que-fuimos-colonia-británica-88556724 The time we were a British colony



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