Migration to the Americas began around 30,000 years ago and as a result, various groups with different traditions and beliefs were established long before the arrival of Europeans. These Europeans came to present-day Argentina a decade after Christopher Columbus came across the Americas and they found groups of highly mobile, and in some cases, highly developed peoples. There was hope that Argentina would provide the wealth that was rumoured to exist in places like Peru because of silver, but these riches were never matched in Argentina.
Initial settlements were established in the 1530s when Spanish aristocrat Pedro de Mendoza landed in present-day Buenos Aires. Unfortunately, these early attempts at colonization were unsuccessful and Buenos Aires was reestablished in 1580 by a more successful Spanish contingency. Argentina was home to a strong Jesuit population who, early in the 17th century, created over thirty settlements that housed almost 100,000 indigenous peoples.
Buenos Aires continued to grow as a result of the success of its port which was ideal for trade and had garnered a great deal of wealth for the city late in the 18th century. Spain could no longer ignore this burgeoning powerhouse and recognized its importance in direct transatlantic trade. By the end of the century, Argentine-born colonists were increasingly frustrated with Spanish rule and Buenos Aires declared independence in 1810. Similar movements continued throughout South America and Argentina became independent in 1816.
Despite Buenos Aires’ wealth, at the turn of the century, the country faced an economic crisis and the future of this young country was uncertain. The government was inconsistent, changing from civilian to military rule on several occasions until a coup in 1943 led to Lieutenant General Juan Domingo Perón becoming president in 1946. Along with his wife, former actress Eva (Evita) Perón, the new president followed a policy of extreme nationalism and social improvement. While Eva Perón died in 1952, she remains the most iconic female in Argentine history. Despite being overthrown and exiled in 1955, Perón was eventually reelected in 1973 only to die in 1974. He was replaced by his third wife Isabel Perón who was deposed by a military coup.
What followed is considered the darkest period in Argentine history. The new military regime that came to power instituted a “region of terror” characterized by fear, disappearances, torture, and in some cases, murder. With the country in ruins, new president General Leopoldo Galtieri attempted to galvanize the country through nationalism by invading the Falkland Islands in April 1982. The Falklands were claimed by Argentina almost 150 years previously, and the goal of the invasion was to rid the territory of British power. Argentine forces were defeated and forced to surrender.
The following decades witnessed more economic troubles but also some important milestones. In 2007, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner succeeded her husband 2007 and became Argentina’s first elected female president. Also, in 2010, despite being home to a largely Catholic population, Argentina became the first country in South America to legalize same-sex marriage.
Today the country is one of the most popular tourist destinations not just in South America, but in the world. A lively and vibrant country with an incredibly diverse landscape and immense natural beauty, Argentina continues to appeal to a wide variety of travellers, each expecting, and more importantly receiving, a unique and exciting adventure.
Argentina Travel Information
At Goway we believe that a well-informed traveller is a safer traveller. With this in mind, we have compiled an easy-to-navigate travel information section dedicated to Argentina.
Learn about the history and culture of Argentina, the must-try food and drink, and what to pack in your suitcase. Read about Argentina's nature and wildlife, weather and geography, along with 'Country Quickfacts' compiled by our travel experts. Our globetrotting tips, as well as our visa and health information, will help ensure you're properly prepared for a safe and enjoyable trip. The only way you could possibly learn more is by embarking on your journey and discovering Argentina for yourself. Start exploring… book one of our Argentina tours today!
Extend Your Trip
After your Argentina tours, why not consider another of Goway's Latin America tours. These include a large selection of other exciting countries. We offer Chile vacation packages and Easter Island tours, Ecuador vacation packages which include Galapagos cruises, Peru vacation packages which include Machu Picchu tours and Brazil tours including Iguassu Falls tours among many others.
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LATIN AMERICA by Goway is an exclusive division that specializes in planning and organizing Argentina tours, vacations and experiences. Choose from a simple city stopover, see the country highlights on one of our classic itineraries, enjoy a cruise to Antarctica, a Holiday of a Lifetime and much more. We want to be your first choice when next you go globetrotting to Argentina.
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