Several groups populated what is now Argentina at the beginning
of the 16th century: Tehuelches, Rehuelches, Rampas, Matacos,
Guaycures, Huerpes, Diaguitas, Mapuches,etc.
When, in the early 16th century, the first Europeans came to
Argentina, the Native Americans had already halted the Inca drive
southwards from Peru through Bolivia into northern Argentina.
The Spaniard Juan de Solís landed on the shores of the Plata estuary
in 1516, but the Indians resisted to his conquest intent, he was
killed and the expedition failed. Magellan touched at the estuary
four years later, but turned southwards to winter on the Patagonia's
shores, after that he discovered the strait that connects the
Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
In 1776 the Viceroyalty of Río de la Plata was created-including
today's Chile, Paraguay, Argentina, Uruguay and part of Bolivia-
with Buenos Aires as its capital. On 25 May 1810, the cabildo
of Buenos Aires deposed the viceroy and announced that it was
governing henceforth on behalf of king Fernando VII, the captive
Representatives of the various provinces convened at Tucumán
in March 1816. On the following July 9 the delegates proclaimed
independence from Spanish rule and declared the formation of the
United Provinces of South America (later United Provinces of the
Río de la Plata).
By the beginning of the 20th century Argentina had become one
of the richest countries in the world, and its population had
been boosted by the arrival of millions of Europeans. Civilian
rule was generally peaceful and stable until a military coup in
1930. Another coup occurred in 1943, after which Juan Domingo
Perón, a key figure in the coup, emerged as the country's leader.
He encouraged the growth of labour unions and raised wages, and
in 1946 he was elected president. Perón and his wife, Eva ( Evita
), who was a champion of social welfare programmes, were immensely
popular among the masses, but as the economy deteriorated Perón
became increasingly autocratic. His efforts to secularize the
nation brought him into conflict with the Roman Catholic Church
and alienated his military officers; he was overthrown in 1955.
After a series of military governments, Perón was allowed to
return to power in 1973, but he died in 1974, leaving his second
wife, Isabel, who had no political experience. Isabel led the
military to take power in 1976. The army then embarked upon its
own "dirty war" against those it considered subversive; thousands
were murdered or disappeared.
Since 1983 until now, Argentina has a democratic government.
Actually, Mr. Kirchner took office as Argentina's new president
25th May 2003. Consolidating democracy and starting a new era
for the country.