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Argentine Republic (Argentina)

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Argentine Republic (ARGENTINA), a South American confederation of fourteen provinces, or States, united by a federal Constitution framed on the same lines as the Constitution of the United States of America. The provinces are: Buenos Aires, Santa Fe, Entre Rios, Corrientes, Cordoba, San Luis, Santiago del Estero, Mendoza, San Juan, La Rioja, Catamarca, Tucuman, Salta, and Jujuy. Each one has it own constitution, and its own autonomic government. The federal Constitution was promulgated September 25, 1860. The official name of the union, under the federal Constitution, is “The Argentine Nation”. In addition to the fourteen commonwealths constituting the union, there are ten “national territories”, depending upon the federal executive, the government of which is entrusted to governors appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate. These territories are called Misiones, Formosa, Chaco, Los Andes, La Pampa, Neuquen, Rio Negro, Chubut, Santa Cruz, and Tierra del Fuego. There is also, and this completes the similarity of organization between the Argentine and the American Union, a “Federal District”, namely, the city of Buenos Aires, which is also the capital of the State of the same name.

GEOGRAPHICAL SITUATION, AREA, POPULATION.—The Argentine Republic is situated in the southeastern part of South America and is bounded on the north by Bolivia, Paraguay, and Brazil; on the east by Paraguay, Brazil, Uruguay, the River Plata, and the Atlantic Ocean; on the south by Chile and the Atlantic Ocean; and on the west by Chile, from which it is separated by the Cordillera de los Andes. Nearly all its area, roughly estimated at 3,000,000 square kilometers (about 1,175,000 square miles), is included between 21° 30′ S. lat. and 54° 52′ S. lat. With the exception of a small strip of land on the north, which is in the tropics, the entire country is within the temperate zone. From east to west the country lies between 52° and 74° W. long.

According to the last official census, which was taken May 10, 1895, the total population of the Republic was 3,945,911, distributed as follows: Argentines, 2,950,384; foreigners, 1,004,527. The male population was given as 2,088,919; the female as 1,865,992. Of the foreign population, 492,636 were Italians; 198,685, Spaniards; 94,098, French; 91,167, Spanish Americans (Bolivians, Chilians, Uruguayans, and Paraguayans), 24,725, Brazilians; 21,788, British; 17,142, Germans; 12,803, Austrians; and 1,381, citizens of the United States of America. Foreign immigration to the Argentine Republic, between 1857 and 1903, was as follows: YEARS

1857-1860

1861-1870

1871-1880

1881-1890

1891-1900

1901-1903 The immigration in 1903 was: Italians

Spaniards

French

English HISTORY.—The territory of the Argentine Republic was originally inhabited by Indian tribes of fierce disposition who were “reduced” to civilization through the Catholic religion. The missions founded in these regions were called “Reducciones” (Reductions) by the Spaniards to convey the idea that these establishments were intended to tame the wild spirit of the savages and “reduce” them to a condition of relative civilization. The first Spanish establishment in the region of the Rio de la Plata, or Plate River, was the fort called La Sancti Spiritus, erected by Sebastian Cabot, a Venetian in the service of Spain, and son of John Cabot the celebrated navigator who cruised along the eastern coast of North America. This fort was erected in 1526 at the confluence of the Parana and Carcarana Rivers, and was garrisoned with 170 men. Four years later it was destroyed by Timbu Indians, who killed the men, carried away the women and children, and burned all the buildings. Together with the report of his trip to these regions Cabot forwarded to Spain some silver jewels which the Guarani Indians had presented to him; whence comes the name of Rio de la Plata (River of Silver), given to the stream through the mistaken idea that silver mines abounded on its banks. In 1535 Don Pedro de Mendoza, a Spanish general in the service of Charles V, came with a powerful expedition consisting of 14 ships and 2,000 soldiers, and on January 6 laid the foundations of a city which he called Santa Maria de Buenos Aires. Some time afterwards this settlement was attacked and partially destroyed by the Indians. The work of rebuilding it was begun June 11, 1580, by Don Juan de Garay. The city of La Asuncion, now the capital of Paraguay, was founded by Juan de Ayolas, a lieutenant of Mendoza, August 15, 1536. Under the rule of Hernando Arias de Saavedra, generally called Hernandarias, who was born on Argentine soil, and had been elected governor by the settlers, the Jesuits were called to civilize the Indians. The first Fathers landed at Salta in 1586, and established a college at Cordoba, from which they sent missionaries to all parts of the Argentine territory. Fathers Montoya and Cataldino went to Paraguay and settled, in 1610, at La Asuncion. Seven years after the landing of the Jesuit Fathers, over 100,000 Indians had been congregated in four different towns and were engaged in agricultural pursuits and useful arts and trades. They built houses, hospitals, and asylums; learned to read and write, and became acquainted also with painting, sculpture, and music. Even at this early date they had established a printing office with type made by themselves. In course of time, this work of civilization was greatly extended. The “Geograffa Argentina” of Senores Urien and Colombo says that in or about 1631 there were not less than thirty centers of population under the rule of the Jesuits. Each town had a curate who was at the same time the governor, the judge, and the spiritual adviser of the inhabitants. But the expulsion of the Jesuits from the Spanish dominions by the Government of Charles III put an end to this prosperous condition. The expulsion took place in Buenos Aires, July 3, 1767. Governor Don Francisco de Paula Bucarelli was the official entrusted with the execution of the disastrous measure. On August 1, 1776, the Government of Spain decided to establish what it called the viceroyalty of the River Plate, under Don Pedro de Zeballos, the first viceroy. The last viceroy was Don Baltasar Hidalgo de Cisneros (1809). The revolutionary movement which ended in the independence of the country, began in the Argentine territory, as everywhere else in South America, in 1808, at the time of the imprisonment of King Ferdinand of Spain by Napoleon. The formal declaration of independence was made, July 9, 1816. In 1853, after the country had passed through the ordeals of several civil wars, a war with Brazil, and the Rosas Dictatorship, the federal Constitution which is now in force (amended in 1860) was framed and promulgated. Since then the Argentina has prospered and developed rapidly.

SOURCES OF WEALTH.—The most important factors of the wealth and prosperity of the Argentine Republic may be grouped under three different heads: agriculture and agricultural industries, cattle-raising and its cognate occupations, and commerce. The chief agricultural pursuits are the cultivation of wheat, maize, linseed, alfalfa, sugar cane, tobacco, and grapes. The whole area of cultivation, in 1904, was estimated conservatively at 7,500,000 hectares, or 18,750,000 acres (Urien and Colombo, “Geografia Argentina,” Buenos Ayres, 1905). According to official information of 1901, the area of cultivation of the different products was as follows: Wheat

Maize

Alfalfa

Linseed The agricultural industries are chiefly the manufacture of flour, sugar, cigars, wines, spirits, and ales. The exportation of flour in 1901 represented a total of 71,742 tons, estimated at $2,711,208 in gold. Cattle-raising and its cognate industries constitute the most lucrative business of the Argentine Republic. Nature has endowed Argentina with advantages for agricultural and pastoral farming hardly to be found in any other country of the world.

FOREIGN TRADE.—The foreign trade of the Argentine Republic is mainly with the countries enumerated in the following table. The values of this trade are given in gold.— Countries

Great Britain

France

Germany

Belgium

United States

Italy

Brazil The commercial statistics of the United States give the trade with Argentina for five years, as follows:- Imports (to U.S.)

Exports (from U.S.) The chief imports from Argentina into the United States in 1904 were hides and skins, $4,389,123; the chief exports from the United States to Argentina were agricultural implements, $4,996,476; timber, $2,996,912, and mineral oil, $1,868,957.

SHIPPING AND NAVIGATION.—In 1902, the registered shipping consisted of 101 steamers of 38,770 tons, and 151 sailing vessels of 38,071 tons; total, 252 of 76,841 tons. In 1904, the number of oceangoing vessels which entered the port of Buenos Aires was 2,072 with an aggregate tonnage of 3,896,197 tons, as against 1,842 of 3,461,208 tons in 1903.

I. PUBLIC STATUS OF THE CHURCH.—Under the second article of the federal Constitution, “the Federal Government supports the Roman Catholic Apostolic Religion“. According to the last complete, official national census, referred to above, of every thousand inhabitants of the country there were 991 Catholics, 2 Jews, and 7 Protestants and dissenters of whatever kind. The total population (3,954,911) is distributed as follows: native Catholic population, 2,944,397, of whom 1,449,793 are male, and 1,494,604 female; foreign Catholic population, 976,739, divided into 617,470 males, and 359,269 females. The total Catholic population is 3,921,136. The non-Catholic population included 26,750 Protestants, 6,085 Jews, and 940 other non-Catholics. The federal congress appropriates every year a certain amount of money to assist the Church in meeting its expenses. For the fiscal year of 1905 these appropriations amounted to $857,420 in the national currency. Out of this sum, $617,420 were set aside for the salaries of Church functionaries and ecclesiastics of all kinds, and for defraying the necessary expenses of Divine worship. The balance ($240,000) represented “subsidies” to certain churches in the provinces.

II. HIERARCHY.—The Argentine hierarchy consists of the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, and the Bishops of Cordoba, La Plata, Parana, San Juan de Cuyo, Santa Fe, Salta, and Tucuman. The right to appoint a bishop belongs, of course, to the Holy See; but the federal Senate has the right, when a vacancy occurs, to send three names to the President of the Union for transmission to Rome, where the choice is to be made, if made at all, out of the three nominees. Each cathedral is provided, according to Spanish usage, with a chapter, i.e. a number of canons and ecclesiastical officials appointed by the Government upon nomination of the respective bishops. There is an ecclesiastical seminary in each diocese, under the control of the bishop, for the support of which an appropriation is made yearly. The Holy See is represented at Buenos Aires by an Apostolic internuncio, who ranks as the dean of the diplomatic corps. The Argentine Nation has in Rome a charge d’affaires. Until lately the representation of the Argentine Republic at the Pontifical Court was entrusted to the Argentine representative in Paris. The Catholic spirit which animated the framers of the federal Constitution is forcibly illustrated by the provisions of article 76, which requires as a condition of eligibility for the position of President, or Vice-President, of the Union, “to belong to the Roman Catholic Apostolic religion”; and by those contained in clauses 15 and 20, article 67, which respectively empower the federal Congress “to promote the conversion of the Indians to the Catholic religion”, and “to admit into the territory of the Republic other religious orders additional to those now in existence”. Article 20 of the same instrument grants to foreigners the right of freedom of worship. The right of approval and ratification of concordats and agreements with the Holy See, of nomination for the ecclesiastical positions of high rank, and of allowing or refusing promulgation in the Argentine territory to decrees of councils, or bulls, briefs, and rescripts of the Supreme Pontiff, are respectively regulated by clause 19, article 67, and by Clauses 8 and 9 of article 86.

ECCLESIASTICO-CIVIL LEGISLATION.—Though this country is Catholic, civil marriage, lay primary instruction, and purely municipal cemeteries are among its institutions. The civil marriage law, which was passed, November 2, 1888, and went into effect, December 1, 1889, gives validity only to marriages “solemnized before the public officer in charge of the Civil Register, in his office, in public, and before two witnesses” (art. 37). The ceremony may take place at the residence of either the groom or the btide, but four witnesses shall then be required. The registrar is forbidden (art. 39) to prevent the contracting parties from seeking to have “their union blessed” immediately afterwards by a minister of their religion. Article 64 of the law declares that the only divorce recognized and authorized in the Argentine Nation is the separation a mensc et toro, without dissolution of the bond of marriage.

CHURCHES OF BUENOS AIRES.—The cathedral of Buenos Aires is a magnificent edifice, erected on the site of the first church of the settlement built by Don Juan de Garay in 1580. This church and all the others thereafter built, depended upon the ecclesiastical authorities of Paraguay until 1620, when Pope Paul V, at the request of King Philip III of Spain, erected the Diocese of La Plata River. The parochial church of Buenos Aires, then an humble structure of mud walls and thatched roof, was turned into a cathedral, and put in charge of Fray Pedro Carranza, the first Argentine bishop. Such repairs and improvements as were possible at that time were made in the building, and it was solemnly dedicated, June 26, 1622. The construction of the present cathedral began in 1791. It was built on the same plan as most of the Spanish cathedrals, and attracts the attention of visitors on account of the beauty of its interior, and the fine tomb of General San Martin, erected in a chapel at the right side of the main building. The church and convent of La Merced are almost contemporary with the foundation of Buenos Aires. There is no record showing the exact date of their construction, but there is evidence that they were in existence in 1580, when Juan de Garay founded in their immediate neighborhood, as he said, the hospital which he called Saint Martin. Until 1821 the convent was the home of the Fathers of Mercy. The church is now one of the most sumptuous of the city and the center of a parish. The church of St. Ignatius, another noted ornament of the city of Buenos Aires, dates from 1722. Its construction, begun in that year, was entrusted to the Jesuit Fathers Andres Blanqui and N. Primoli, who brought expert architects from Europe for that purpose. Many rich citizens, among whom Don Juan Antonio Costa was distinguished by his liberality, contributed large sums for this work. This church was the home of the Jesuits at Buenos Aires, until their expulsion from the Spanish dominions in 1767. The church and convent of St. Francis are still the home of the most ancient religious order in the country; there is evidence that the Franciscan Fathers had come to that part of South America prior to 1580. The church and convent of St. Dominic, still occupied by the Dominican Fathers, are also worthy of mention. The construction of the present church of St. Francis was begun in 1731. The cornerstone of the church of St. Dominic was laid in 1751. The convent of St. Francis contains a rich and well arranged library of more than 7,000 volumes, free to all on application to the Father Superior. One of the remarkable churches of Buenos Aires is the church of the Savior (El Salvador) built in 1872 by the Jesuit Fathers, burned February 28, 1875, by a group of “liberals”, and rebuilt in 1884. Attached to the church is the Jesuit college. The so-called “Chapel of Mount Carmel” (Capilla del Carmen), favored by the higher classes for the celebration of marriages, and the chapel of the Passionist Fathers are counted among the attractions of the city.

EDUCATION, COLLEGIATE AND UNIVERSITY.—It is well known that the Jesuits were the pioneers of progress and public instruction in all the vast region which extends on both sides of the River Plate, where they founded schools and novitiates, and propagated learning as well as Christian faith. Their college of St. Francis Xavier, established at Cordoba in 1611, and completed in 1613, soon became the Colegio Maximo of the Jesuit province of La Plata, which embraced what is today the Argentine Nation and Chile. This institution, where grammar, Latin, philosophy, and theology were taught, and whose first rector was a Jesuit, Father Alvir, became, a little later, the University of Cordoba, still in existence, and in the order of time, the second university established in South America; the first was that of San Marcos at Lima (1551). Public schools in the Argentine Republic as in the United States are absolutely secular. But the law of public instruction provides that, “after official hours, religious instruction (Catholic or otherwise) may be given to the children who voluntarily remain in the schools for the purpose of receiving it. This religious instruction in the public schools shall be given only by authorized ministers of the different persuasions, before or after school hours”.

SANCTUARY OF LUJAN AND CHRIST OF THE ANDES.—In the city of Lujan, about two hours and a half by rail from the federal capital, is the celebrated shrine of Our Lady of Lujan, since 1630 a center of intense religious fervor. It is to be made part of the monumental basilica of Lujaan, still in the process of construction. When finished this will be one of the most imposing buildings of its kind in Spanish America. How closely interwoven the Catholic faith is with the life and ideas of the Argentine people may be seen by the monument known as El Cristo de los Andes (The Christ of the Andes), erected on the summit of that range, chiefly by the efforts of an Argentine lady and Monsignor Benevente, Bishop of San Juan de Cuyo. It is a colossal statue of Our Lord, with a cross in His left hand, and the right raised as if blessing the world. The statue is made from old bronze cannon left by the Spaniards, and is the work of a native sculptor, Mateo Alonso. It stands at 14,000 feet above sea level, on the line which divides the Argentine Republic from Chile, and commemorates the arbitration by both nations of the boundary question that more than once endangered their mutual peace.

NON-CATHOLIC POPULATION.—The small non-Catholic portion of the population has five Protestant houses of worship, as follows: one Anglican Episcopal, one Lutheran, one Methodist Episcopal, one Scotch, and one in which the worship varies according to the time of day in which it is offered. The first Protestant church was built in 1829.

JOSE IGNACIO RODRIGUEZ


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