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It is one of the most important population centres in the province of Entre Ríos . It also managed to become over time an unfailing tourist destination in Argentinean getaways. But Gualeguaychú is much more than carnivals, although this is much of its idiosyncrasy. It is a town with an exquisite legacy that several original settlements left it . That is why every October 18 becomes the right moment to go back to its creation and to honor what has been achieved so far.
The name Gualeguaychú contains Guarani roots and is inspired by the river that saw it born. However, its etymological meaning has generated many discussions about translation. The main reason for discord would be the incorporation of the letter “l”, which is non-existent in the vocabulary of the aboriginal ethnic group mentioned. However, the most accepted etymology is that of “Yaguarí Guazú” or “Rio del Jaguar” .
Other names such as “Curé-Gua-Ig” , which is transcribed “Cuevas del baraje”. This concept is associated with the wild boar , an existing animal in the area that used to take refuge in caverns. Finally, field scholars added “Slow Walking Water” , “River of caves or wells” and “Rio of the big tiger” . All definitions that are in constant debate and analysis by experts of toponymy.
The tribes that inhabited the lands of Entrerriana belonged to various native groups of litora l . On the one hand, there were the mepenes and mocoretas , who lived in the northwest. Then, in the southern part were the tybues, chanás and mebguás , who also inhabited the Delta . While the charrúas moved along the areas near the Uruguay River. Although their customs will have changed, unanimity was based on their friendship with water and their great knowledge of rivers and streams . In this sense, they traveled on canoes built by themselves and skillfully handled the bow and arrow.
Although colonizing currents in the territory began to advance on three different fronts. From the north, from the Jesuit Missions, from the west, from Santa Fe and from the south, from Buenos Aires. Thus, from the 17th century , Spanish representatives, the second and third gave permission to possess on these lands. Those authorized were settlers who founded precarious rural establishments in continuous dispute with native natives.These conflicts resulted in a series of campaigns of extermination and enslavement of Aborigines that were decimated in the middle of the 18th century .
The journey through its background is long and rich in history. In 1783, Tomás de Rocamora founded three villages by order of the Buenos Aires City Council: Concepción del Uruguay, Gualeguay and Gualeguaychú . This decision was directly related to the need to militarily control the region against the Portuguese and smugglers. In this way, the official arrived at the initial small village and was received by the neighbors. There, he ended up deciding to move the settlement further north, in front of the island today called Libertad.
On October 18, 1783 , the First Cabildo was formed, for which it was officially founded. According to the Law of the Indies, Rocamora cut out the land, carried out the measurements, allocated the public places and distributed 85 plots. In addition, he chose the members of the junta and the patron saint, passing the town to be called San José de Gualeguaychú .However, it was only on November 4, 1851 that it was elevated to the category of city . It was possible through a decree of the then governor of Entre Ríos, General Justo José de Urquiza .
By 1787 , only 285 people lived in the territory, including adults and children. It was only at the beginning of the 19th century that the urban centre began to be consolidated and the estancieros began to build their houses. From then on, the town continued to grow with the creation of the Plaza Mayor . It was later called Independencia and today is Plaza San Martín. A testimony of centuries of anecdotes and events that marked the locals forever .
Publication Date: 18/10/2020
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