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1880: beginning of the Argentine Nation

150 years ago the federalization of Buenos Aires finally meant the constitution of a national state. One more chapter of an Argentine dilemma.

1880: inicio de la Nación Argentina

On the morning of June 24, 1880, the Buenos Aires woke up with the guns of the squadron ship Villarino. For an hour Plaza de Mayo, and the south of the city, received sustained punishment by national forces against the seditious Buenos Aires. A few hours earlier, a truce had been attempted between  Bartolomé Mitre,  chief of the Buenos Aires rebel army, and representatives of President  Nicolás Avellaneda  . Such management was the result of the bloody days before where General Nicolás Levalle had crushed the defenders of separatism in Puente Alsina and Los Corrales —now Parque Patricios— and from Plaza Constitución commanded the attacks on Salta street and parallel. Between cobblestones and stonewers responded to shots and stones, from informal barricades, neighbors of Monserrat and San Telmo. Three thousand dead in the streets and squares were the price to definitively resolve the integration of Buenos Aires into the Argentine Nation, something that had been suspended in the 1853 constituent and its 1860 reform.In the middle, the battles of Cepeda and Pavón between nationals and autonomists. A painful crack that could be traced to the days of the Viceroyalty. And that can be extended to the present, one hundred and fifty years later,  Porteños versus provincians has no end. 

 The largest movement of civilian militias since the fall of Rosas 

That core year in Argentine history had started with the dispute over the presidential succession. A weakened government of  Nicolás Avellaneda  lived with a city that considered it a guest, in the words of Buenos Aires governor Carlos Tejedor. In January 1880, the Buenos Aires legislature authorized the purchase of armaments, ignoring national laws, and rebel soldiers paraded to the disguised fire brigade in front of the houses of national deputies. Meanwhile, the main Buenos Aires families send their children to the rebel barracks as cotillion generals, the largest seditious camp in today's Miserere Square, those aristocrats who “for the first time in their life take primed mattes by their own hands.” On June 2, a Buenos Aires newspaper titled: “Go to arms! Long live Buenos Aires!”, and the newspaper   La Nación   ended in a chorus: “Enough of provincial presidents, either it will be Buenos Aires, or we will go to a civil war.”

From Cordoba,  Julio Argentino Roca  longed for his time.This was a liberal military man who came from a traditional Tucuman family, and who was a product of the young Argentine state administration, more after “successfully” the self-called Conquest of the Desert. A 37-year-old young man who wants, for the first time since the May Revolution, the ill-called “interior” to go on the offensive, skillful politician of “riders of a federal”, founder of the League of Governors; and who battle in stealth against the aspirations for re-election of Mitre &  Mitre – or Sarmiento— and the shadows of Buenos Aires segregation.       Roca  writes: ” Mitre  will be the ruin of the country, his party is a kind of caste or sect that believes he has divine rights to govern the Republic”, describes the Tucumano to the Buenos Aires Mitrists and Alsinists, whom he had already defeated in the 1874 uprising.  Roca , the only winner, true father of the Argentine State , will occupy the political scene with ideas and actions from 1880 to 1914.

Once  Roca  's electoral triumph in April 1880 is known, a spiral of political violence begins, and a threat of civil war, which will erupt in June. In June there were raffles present at the  National Congress , which operated in the current corner of Balcarce and Hipólito Yrigoyen, ready to shoot on provincial deputies who confirmed the roquista victory. Hours later, Cordovan Felipe Yofre prints in a letter to Governor  Juarez Celman , witness the deputy of the event arrested with the cry “It's not time!” by Mitre himself.Yofre says: “Everywhere noises of drums, buzzles, echoes of war; battalions of volunteers (to one patacon per day of service) making martial movement from left to right, from right to left. This province is then armed in a hurry!... We are therefore faced with this dilemma: either we defend ourselves against ad hoc aggressions prepared to eliminate our votes in the House, or we let ourselves be beaten.” Something that was not figurative, since even the president of the Nation,  Avellaneda , had to flee after they shot his home in Moreno 522. Along with the nationalist deputies, some 40, set the seat of the national government to a rural town in Belgrano, the current neighborhood of Buenos Aires.

 1880, starting point of the Argentine State 

Twenty thousand men participated in the fighting in June 1880, many of them Italian immigrants who did not know how to speak Spanish among the Buenos Aires, and some 80 pieces of artillery deployed in trenches fortified with Remington rifles. The militias of the brothers in arms had mobilized a total of 50,000 Buenos Aires; and another 50,000 from the sector commanded by the Argentine army, coming from all provinces by rail. And a warship on the state side, of course. The categorical victory of the national forces resulted in the delayed federalization law of   Buenos Aire s , sent by Avellaneda on July 24 despite their reluctance and fears. Fears he shared with the only deputy who voted against the law, Leandro N. Alem, and who said with one eye in the future: “The supporters of centralisation are wrong in the results they expect... What will we do with that new Capital that will rise imposing, dangerous and threatening in every way?”.

Source: D'Amico, C.  Buenos Aires, his men, his politics (1860-1890).    Buenos Aires: American Editorial. 1967; Ramos, J. A.  D the patriciate to the oligarchy (1862-1904). Buenos Aires: Editorial Plus Ultra. 1973; Luna, F.   Soy Roca .  Buenos Aires: South American. 1989.

Publication Date: 03/09/2020

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We suggest you continue reading the following notes:

nicolas avellaneda Argentine Presidents - Nicolás Avellaneda (1874 — 1880)
Mitre Argentine Presidents - Bartholomew Mitre (1862 — 1868)



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