Skip to main content

Full text of "Argentina;"

See other formats


Edited by Martin Hume 
Each Volume Demy 8vo, cloth. 

Second Edition 

VOL. I. 


Its History and Development, Natural Features, Products, 
Commerce and Present Conditions. By G. F. Scott 
Elliott, M.A., F.R.G.S., Author of "A Naturalist in Mid 
Africa." With an Introduction by Martin Hume, a Map, 
and many Illustrations. 

"An exhaustive and interesting account, not only of the turbulent 
history of this country but of her present conditions and seeming 
prospects." — Westminster Gazette. 



Its Former and Present Civilisation, History and Exist- 
ing Conditions, Topography and Natural Resources, 
Commerce and General Development. By C. Reginald 
Enock, F.R.G.S., Author of "The Andes and the Amazon." 
With an Introduction by Martin Hume, a Map, and 
numerous Illustrations. 

"An important work. . . . The writer possesses a quick eye and 
a keen intelligence ; is many-sided in his interests, and on certain 
subjects speaks as an expert. The volume deals fully with the 
development of the country, and is written in the same facile and 
graphic style as before. Illustrated by a large number of excellent 
photographs."— TAe Times. 


Second Edition 


Its Ancient and Modern Civilisation, History and Political 
Conditions, Topography and Natural Resources, Industries 
and General Development. By C. Reginald Enock, F.R.G.S. 
With an Introduction by Martin Hume, a Map, and 64 
Full-page Illustrations. 

" Mr. Enock unites to a terse and vivid literary style the commercial 
instinct and trained observation of a shrewd man of affairs." — Aberdeen 
Free Press. 

"Mr. Enock transmutes the hard material of ancient chronicles into 
gleaming romance ; he describes scenery with a poet's skill. Full of 
charm he makes his pages, alluring as a fairy tale, an epic stirring and 
virile." — Manchester City News. 



















{All rights reserved.) 


In establishing the commercial and industrial greatness 
of Argentina my countrymen have co-operated with her 
people for a longer time and more efficiently than any 
other foreign nation. The land and the people are 
therefore a subject of lively interest to Englishmen, 
and it is hoped that this sketch, however inadequate, 
will help towards a closer knowledge of Argentina. I 
have received much valuable assistance from many 
sources, but I do not indicate them, because I do not 
wish to shift the blame for any inaccuracies that may 
be found in these pages. For all such mistakes I am 
solely responsible. 

April 22, 1910. 

Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2007 with funding from 

IVIicrosoft Corporation 





— THE CLIMATE . . . .1 








PARAGUAY ..... 87 












TURE . . . . . .158 







THE ANDES ..... 254 




INDEX . . . . . . 303 


PLAZA DE MAYO, BUENOS AIRES . . . .Frontispiece 

Photo kindly lent by the Proprietors of La Argentina 


Photo kindly lent by the Buenos Aires Central Railway 

ACONCAGUA ....... 9 

Photo kindly lent by the Buenos Aires PaciHc Railway 


Photo kindly lent by the Buenos Aires Great Southern Railway 

ANDINE PASS . . ...... 15 

Photo kindly lent by the South American Misnionary Society 

TROOP OF MARES . . . . . . .27 

La Argentina photo 

RIVER LANDING STAGE . . . . . .29 

Photo kindly lent by Bovril, Ltd. 

BULL CALF . . . . . . .29 

Bovril, Ltd. photo 

PATAGONIANS . . . . . .43 

S. A. M. S. photo 

THE RIVER URUGUAY . . . . . -73 

Photo kindly lent by Lemco & Ozo 


La Argentina photo 

A SHEEP RUN . . . . . . .87 

La Argentina photo 


La Argentina photo 



ESTANCIA ....... 

B. A. G. S. R. photo 


B. A. P. R. photo 


B. A. G. S. R. photo 

La Argentina photo 

B. A. C. R. photo 


B. A. P. R. photo 

. I02 


. 120 
. 129 
. 145 


Photo kindly lent by Mr. Clarence Hailey, High-street, Newmarket 


Mr. Clarence Hailey's photo 


Lemco & Oxo photo 


B. A. G. S. R. photo I 


La Argentina photo 


B. A. G. S. R. photo 

B. A. C. R. photo 

B. A. G. S. R. photo 

B. A. G. S. R. photo 

B. A. C. R. photo 

Lemco & Oxo photo 


La Argentina photo 




B. A. G. 8. R. photo 

Lemco & Oxo photo 

Lemco & Oxo photo 

Lemco and Oxo photo 


Lemco and Oxo photo 

Lemco & Oxo photo 

B. A. C. R. photo 

B. A. C, R. photo 

B. A. P. R. photo 

B. A. P. R. photo 

S. A. M. S. photo 

AN OSTRICH . . . . . 

Bovril, Ltd. photo 

LA VENTANA . . . . . 

B. A. G. S. R. photo 

B. A. G. S. R. photo 


Photo kindly lent by the Chubut Railway 


S. A. M. S. photo 

S. A. M. S. photo 


S. A. M. S. photo 

. 203 

. 205 

. 207 

. 208 

. 210 

. 210 

. 221 

. 227 

. 229 

. 229 

• 234 

• 234 
. 238 
. 241 

. 250 
. 250 
. 250 



La Argentina photo 

La Argentina photo 


B. A. P. R. photo 

B. A. P. R. photo 

B. A. P. R. photo 

B. A. C. R. photo 

Lemco & Oxo photo 


Lemco & Oxo photo 

La Argentina photo 

La Argentina photo 

La Argentina photo 

S. A. M. S. photo 


S. A. M. S, photo 

TUCUMAN ..... 

La Argentina photo 


Photo kindly lent by the Pacific Steam Navigation Co. 


• 254 

. 256 

. 258 

. 261 

. 263 

. 266 

. 266 

. 268 

. 271 

. 274 

. 276 

. 276 

. 282 


The most stupendous achievement ever attained by a 
nation in so short a time was the discovery, conquest, 
and settlement of Mexico and South America by Spain 
within the compass of a century. To fix indelibly and 
for ever upon the peoples of a vast continent the 
language, religion, customs, polity, and laws of a nation 
on the other side of the globe called for qualities, which 
could only be temporarily evoked by an irresistible 
common sentiment. The sentiment which gave to 
Spain for a time the potency to carry through simul- 
taneously the tasks of imposing religious orthodoxy 
upon Christendom and founding her great colonial 
empire was pride : pride of religion, race, and person, 
deliberately fostered by rulers for political ends. This 
origin of the delusive strength that carried the Con- 
quistadores through an untracked continent regardless of 
perils and sufferings, and made South America Spanish, 
rendered inevitable that the rewards, national and indi- 
vidual, should disappoint the recipients. For pride and 
its concomitant covetousness are never satisfied ; and 
the frenzied thirst for rapid riches and distinction that 
spurred the Spanish explorers and conquerors onward 
rarely ended in the idle luxurious dignity that was their 
goal, and it ultimately brought to the mother country 
nought but penury and degradation. 


It was ignorance of economic truth that led Spaniards 
in the sixteenth century to regard the possession of the 
precious metals as wealth, regardless of circumstances : 
and the error coloured the whole domination of Spain 
in the New World. That the nation and the individual 
should hope to become permanently powerful and rich 
by obtaining vast stores of the metallic medium whilst 
discouraging productive industry appears to modern 
ideas ridiculous, but to the discoverers of America it 
was regarded as quite the natural course of events. The 
effect is seen in the rapid subjection and development of 
the regions believed to be rich in the precious metals, 
and the comparative neglect of the vast territories where 
patience and the labour of man were needed to win 
nature's abundant bounty from the fertile soil. 

The west side of the South American Continent, 
though furthest from Europe, therefore took precedence 
of the eastern coast in the efforts and regards of the 
conquerors. When the piled-up riches of the Incas 
and the inexhaustible mines of the Peruvian Andes 
beckoned to the greedy adventurers from the mother 
country, the endless alluvial pampas and dense primeval 
forests of the east might call in vain. From Panama 
down the Pacific Coast, therefore, the main tide of con- 
quest and empire flowed, drawn by the magnet gold ; 
and on the northern continent a similar course was 
taken. The Aztec empire with its accumulated treasures 
absorbed an ever-increasing stream of Spaniards, whilst 
the more northern territories now included in the 
United States were left later to English settlers, whose 
hopes were not centred upon wringing yellow metal 
from the earth, but upon founding a free new agricultural 
England across the sea. 

Thus it happened that to navigators in search of the 
short cut to Asia rather than to the typical Conquistador 




was left the first exploration of what we now know is the 
coming emporium of the South American Continent and 
its permanent centre of productive prosperity. Domingo 
de Solis, chief pilot of Spain, was sent by Charles V. 
to South America not as a settler, or primarily as a gold- 
seeker, but as an explorer ; and when in 1508 he entered 
the noble Bay of Rio Janeiro it seemed at last that the 
object of his quest was gained, and that here was the 
coveted waterway to the East. But he soon found out 
his mistake, and when, sailing further south, he crossed 
the wide estuary of the River Plate, his hopes again rose 
that this tremendous volume of water, a hundred and 
fifty miles wide at the mouth, was not a river merely, but 
the ocean channel to the Pacific. Returning home with 
his hopes still high Solis, was authorised by his sovereign 
to explore his important discovery, and in 15 16 he sailed 
into the delta of the great network of streams that have 
brought down upon their bosoms from the far Andes in 
the course of ages a large portion of the continent as 
we now know it. 

To the Spaniard's eyes the land was not inviting. Far 
stretching plains of waving grasses, great expanses of 
marsh and swamp, league after league. No palaces and 
temples of hewn stone, like those of Peru and Mexico, 
met the eye here ; no promise of gold in the fat alluvial 
soil ; no cities where the arts were practised and treasure 
accumulated. Such Indians as there were differed vastly 
from the mild serfs of the Incas. Nomad savages were 
these ; robust, stout, and hardy, elusive of pursuit and 
impossible of subjection in their wandering disunity. 
For three hundred miles through the endless pampa- 
country Solis sailed onward up the stream, his hopes that 
this way led to the Indies gradually fading as he pro- 
gressed, until he and his men fell into a trap laid for 
them by the pampa Indians and were slaughtered. 


Four years afterwards Magellan on his epoch-making 
voyage sailed up the great river ; but he too fell a victim 
to the perils of the way in the Asiatic seas, and never 
returned to Spain to tell of his discoveries in the heart of 
South America. Then Sebastian Cabot, the Englishman 
in the service of Spain, was sent to explore, and if 
possible to take possession of the land for Charles V. ; 
for the Portuguese claimed indefinite territory in this 
direction under the convention of Tordesillas, and it 
behoved Spain to assert ownership before it was too late. 
High up the river Paraguay Cabot found a country with 
different features and peopled by another race. Silver 
ornaments, too, he found in plenty amongst these 
Guaranies, to whom distant echoes of Inca influence had 
reached across the wastes and mountains to the west. 
But here, many hundreds of miles from the ocean and 
far from any base of supplies, it was impracticable for 
Cabot with the resources at his disposal to effect a settle- 
ment, and he also returned to Spain with his story of 
silver as an incentive for further expeditions. 

This was in 1527, and in the following year the first 
attempt to establish a permanent footing on the Plate 
was made by the building of a fort at Rosario, but this 
was soon abandoned for a site on the sea coast of what 
is now a part of Brazil to the north of the river. In the 
meantime the Portuguese were busy advancing their 
posts to the north of the delta in order to assert their 
claims ; and in face of this, rather than because remuner- 
ative metallic treasure from the new territory was to be 
expected, Charles V. authorised an extensive colonising 
experiment to be made and the great waterway and its 
banks claimed for Spain. The stirring history of Men- 
doza's attempts to found a settlement on the Parana, the 
establishment of Buenos Aires and its abandonment 
again and again, the fateful colonisation of Asuncion, 



far up the river in the heart of the continent, the heroic 
adventures of Irala, Ayolas, and Cabeza de Vaca, and the 
reconquest of the river territories down to the sea from 
the isolated Spanish post of Asuncion eight hundred miles 
up stream, is adequately told in Mr. Hirst's pages, and 
need not be related here. 

The permanent fixing of the flag of Spain on the 
territory east of the Andes was not less heroic an 
achievement than the more showy conquests of Peru 
and Mexico ; for in the former case the incentive of 
easily won gold was absent, and the object was more 
purely national than was the case elsewhere. But, 
though it was necessary for Spain to assert her owner- 
ship over these endless pampas and the unexplored 
wastes beyond, the new territory was always subordinated 
to the gold-producing viceroyalty of Peru across the 
Andes. A glance at the map will show the almost in- 
credible obstacles wilfully interposed by the home 
authorities upon the River Plate colonies in forcing the 
latter not only to be subject in government to the 
Viceroy of Peru, but to carry on most of their com- 
mercial communications with the mother country across 
the wide continent from the Pacific coast by way of 
Panama and Peru. The law was, of course, extensively 
evaded,*and the luxuriant fertility of the pampa both for 
agriculture and grazing made the River Plate colonies 
prosperous in spite of Government restrictions. 

The English slave-traders and adventurers made no 
scruple of braving the King of Spain's edicts ; and the 
estuary of the Plate, within a few weeks' sail of Europe, 
saw many a cargo welcomed upon a mere pretence of 
force by the colonists whose lives were rendered doubly 
hard by the obstacles placed in their way by their own 
Government. In 1586 the Earl of Cumberland's ships 
on a privateering expedition to capture every Spanish 


and Portuguese vessel they encountered sailed into the 
River Plate and learnt some interesting particulars of the 
settlements from one of the unfortunate shipmasters 
they had plundered. These give a good idea of the 
difficulties under which traffic was then carried on. 
*' He told me that the town of Buenos Aires is from the 
Green island about seventy leagues' standing on the south 
side of the river, and from thence to Santa Fe is one 
hundred leagues, standing on the same side also. At 
which town their ships do discharge all their goods into 
smalls barks, v/hich row and tow up the river to another 
town called Asuncion, which is from Santa Fe a hundred 
and fifty leagues, where the boats discharge on shore, 
and so pass all their goods by carts and horses to 
Tucuman, which is in Peru." The commerce here re- 
ferred to was probably the contraband trade done in 
spite of the Spanish regulations, for it was found that 
even to the far distant towns in the interior, like Tucu- 
man and Mendoza, it was easier and cheaper thus to 
convey goods from Europe by the eastern coast than 
from the Pacific across the almost impassable Andes. 

The Earl of Cumberland's factor gives also an account 
of the Spanish settlements then (1586) existing on the 
River Plate.^ " There are in the river five towns, some of 
seventy households, some of more. The first town was 
about fifty leagues up the river and called Buenos Aires, 
the rest some forty or fifty leagues from one another, so 
that the uppermost town, called Tucuman, is two hundred 
and thirty leagues from the entrance to the river .2 In 

' Hakluyt. 

* It need hardly be mentioned that Tucuman, which had been 
founded by the Spaniards from the Peru side some twenty years 
before, is not on the river at all, but nearly five hundred miles distant 
across the still almost unknown Gran Chaco. Tucuman is now 
reached by railway from the south by way of Cordoba. 


these towns is great store of corn, cattle, wine and 
sundry fruits, but no money of gold or silver. They 
make a certain kind of slight cloth, which they 
give in truck for sugar, rice, marmalade, and sucket, 
which were the commodities this ship (/.^., the prize) 

Thus with everything against it except its irrepressible 
natural advantages of soil and climate and its lack of 
mineral wealth, the colony grew in prosperity in spite of 
man's shortsightedness. There was no temptation here, 
even if it had been possible, for the Spaniards to exter- 
minate the aborigines by forced work in unhealthy mines. 
The innumerable herds of cattle and horses that in a 
very few years peopled the pampa from the few animals 
brought from Europe and abandoned by the first settlers 
provided sustenance, even wealth, with comparatively easy 
labour to the mixed race of Indians and Spaniards, which 
took kindly to the half-wild pastoral life in harmony 
with the nomadic traditions of the natives ; and thus 
with much less hardship and cruelty than in other South 
American regions the Argentines gradually grew into a 
homogeneous people, whose pastoral and agricultural 
pursuits brought them to a higher level of general well- 
being than populations elsewhere in South America. 

But great as is the actual and potential wealth of the 
Argentine from its favoured soil, it is not that alone that 
has made its capital the greatest in South America, and 
has brought to the development of the Republic citizens 
and resources from all the progressive nations of the 
world. It is also as the main highway to the remote 
recesses of the vast continent that the Argentine region 
has appealed to the imaginations of men. The noble 
waterways, navigable far into the interior, provide cheap 
and easy transport for the products of distant provinces 
possessing infinite possibilities as yet hardly known. 


The unbroken plains, extending from the Atlantic sea- 
board to the foot of the Andes eight hundred miles 
away, offer unrivalled facilities for the construction of 
railways to convey to the ports food supplies for the 
Old World from this, the greatest undeveloped grain 
and pasture region in temperate climes. It is this 
character of a thoroughfare offering easy access to 
the coming continent that ensures for Buenos Aires its 
future position as a world emporium, and to the States 
of the Argentine Republic readily accessible markets for 
their abundant and varied natural products. And to add 
to this advantage the opening of the Transandine tunnel, 
now at last an accomplished fact, makes the Argentine 
the natural highway for passengers and fine goods to the 
cities of Chile and the Pacific Coast, saving the tedious 
and costly voyage round Cape Horn or through the 
Straits of Magellan. 

The greatest admirers of the old Spanish colonial 
system will hardly deny that the prodigious develop- 
ment effected since the declaration of Argentine inde- 
pendence, of the resources of the country, thanks largely 
to the influx of foreign immigrants and capital, would 
have been impossible under the Spanish domination. 
That a new people, unaccustomed to, and perhaps as 
yet unprepared for, self-government and political eman- 
cipation should have had to work out its own problems 
during a period of turbulence was inevitable. It is no 
reproach to the Argentine people that this natural pro- 
cess, necessary to fit them for a stable political existence, 
has in the past caused violence and lawlessness. The 
constant introduction of men of other races into the 
Argentine is giving to the population new features and 
qualities which will render the racial stock of the future 
one of the most interesting ethnological problems in the 
world; and this abundant admixture of foreign blood, 



readily assimilated as it is by the native stock, certainly 
makes for increasing stability. 

The same may be said of the large amount of foreign 
capital invested in Argentine enterprises. Argentine 
statesmen, taught by experience as they have been, and 
keenly awake to the need for foreign aid in developing 
their country, are not in the least likely in future to 
frighten away capital by dishonest finance or revolu- 
tionary methods. Responsibility has already brought 
sobriety into Argentine politics, and although the 
official procedure and Governmental ethics of the 
Spanish races vary from those usually prevalent in 
Anglo-Saxon countries, they are in most cases better 
suited to the character of the people than those that 
commend themselves to us. When we for our own 
purposes go to a foreign country, it is unreasonable to 
expect, as many Englishmen do, that we can carry with 
us and impose upon our hosts our own traditions and 

No country known to me impresses upon a visitor 
from Europe so forcibly as the Argentine the unlimited 
possibilities of its soil. Travelling hour after hour by a 
railway straight as a line over gently undulating or per- 
fectly flat plains, stretching on all sides as far as the eye 
can reach, the observer is struck by the regular ripple of 
the rich grass, like the waves of the sea, as the breeze 
blows over it. Here and there little clumps of eucalyp- 
tus slightly break the monotony of the landscape, and a 
gleam of a bright green alfalfa field occasionally relieves 
the eye. Far away at rare intervals gleaming white walls 
and turrets surrounded by eucalyptus groves mark the 
position of an estancia, and innumerable herds of cattle, 
sheep, and almost wild troops of horses everywhere 
testify to the richness of the pasture. 

From Buenos Aires to Mendoza, almost at the foot 


of the Andes, some six hundred miles away, the scene 
hardly changes. Far to the south the pampa is poorer 
and more sparse, but still splendid pasture for certain 
sorts of cattle, whilst in Entre Rios, the great tract 
between the rivers Parana and Uruguay, the country is 
wilder and more broken, especially towards the north. 
Scattered amongst the vast flocks of sheep upon the 
open veldt are many ostriches, now a profitable invest- 
ment, whilst great numbers of running partridges seek 
cover in the pampa grass from the dreaded hawks that 
hover above them. The native grass is flesh-forming but 
not fattening, and, to an English grazier, looks poor 
food enough for the millions of head of cattle that 
thrive upon it. It does not, as does the best English 
pasture, entirely cover the surface, but grows in distinct 
tufts. The native grass, however, is now rapidly being 
supplanted in the rich plains of Central Argentina by 
new forms of pasture, mostly English, infinitely richer, 
perennial in its luxuriance, and forming upon this 
favoured soil the best cattle-grazing in the world. 

Of late years, as Mr. Hirst shows in his book, enor- 
mous tracts of land, especially to the south of Buenos 
Aires and high up the Parana, are being broken up for 
wheat-growing, and Bahia Blanca, the ambitious port 
south of Buenos Aires, bids fair soon to become a 
great centre of grain export. Vast quantities of maize 
are also raised in the country on the banks of the 
Parana, and are mainly exported from Rosario. Which- 
ever way one turns fresh evidences of fertility are forced 
upon the attention. Cattle standing knee-deep in pas- 
ture, sheep growing fat at fifty to the acre, leagues of 
ripening corn, equal to any on earth, growing upon 
virgin soil ; flowers to which we are accustomed in 
England as tender shrubs developing here into robust 
blossoming trees; and fruit orchards flourishing, solid 


miles of them, prolific beyond belief, within a short 
distance of Buenos Aires, where only a few years ago 
nothing but wild scrub and tangled forest existed. 

The extension of railways in every direction has now 
to a great extent destroyed or modified the old free life 
upon the pampas of Argentina. The estancias, except 
in remote districts, are often large establishments where 
all the comforts and some of the luxuries of life are to 
be found, instead of the walled semi-fortresses of olden 
times. The white-domed well, with its shady ombu-tree, 
still stands near the principal entrance to the courtyard, 
and the high palenque, the hitching-post for horses, still 
flanks the gateway, but the picturesque gaucho who goes 
loping over the plain, his lasso at his saddle-bow, his 
naked feet thrust into his big leather horseskin brogues, 
and his poncho fluttering in the breeze, is no longer the 
monarch of the pampa as he once was, for civilisation 
has touched even him. The silver ornaments that once 
covered his accoutrements are less abundant than they 
used to be ; he is fortunately less free with his knife, for 
he was never much of a hand with a gun, loving the 
bolas better ; and the rural railway station in which he 
likes to dawdle about in the intervals of his life in the 
saddle is the symbol of his discipline and decline. 

The great waterways that characterise Argentina, 
although they are now less used for passenger traffic 
into the hinterland than formerly, must still in the future 
be a great, if not the principal, highway for the produce 
of the distant interior. Rosario, some two hundred miles 
above Buenos Aires on the Parana, is a progressive and 
improving port, serving the rich maize and grain-growing 
expanses of the province of Santa F6 ; and far up the 
stream, almost to the Paraguayan border at Corrientes, 
river ports are rapidly growing into importance as centres 
of export as the surrounding country is developed. ' 


But wonderful as is the apparently boundless pro- 
mise of this country of favoured plains, Argentina is 
not only pampa. The Gran Chaco, a great country still 
for the most part a wilderness, is a region of dim tropical 
forest, where the parrots, birds of paradise, and brilliant 
butterflies vie with those of the Amazon ; a hot, moist 
region, where the monkey and the land crab flourish 
exceedingly, and where savage Indians still hunt down 
with primitive weapons the jaguar and the puma. From 
this sultry country of forest and flood to the almost 
treeless, arid steppes of Patagonia is a change rather 
to another world than to another province of the same 
Republic, and hardly less difference exists between the 
rolling plains of the pampa country and the magnificent 
regions of towering peaks, stern uplands, and vast lakes 
that form the Andine portions of Argentina. 

The change is noticed as the road approaches Men- 
doza, where the pampa gradually gives way to a country 
strongly resembling parts of Southern Spain ; a land of 
poplars, willows, and acacias shading endless lines of 
irrigation channels ; for rain falls but seldom on this 
eastern side of the Sierra, and on all hands, cHmbing 
the lower laps of the hills and lining the valleys, are 
miles of vineyards, which provide a stout red wine for 
the rest of the Republic. Further west still the land 
becomes more broken and barren as the hills rise 
higher and higher, until the ruddy sides, white glaciers, 
and snow-crested mountains of the Sierra appear, 
the giant Aconcagua monarch of them all. Further 
south than this the wonderful series of lakes that are 
almost inland seas high up in the Andes exist, as yet 
only partially explored to decide the frontier dispute 
between the Argentine and Chile, the remote valleys 
and austere uplands where the giant sloth is still 
believed by many to linger, a sole survival of the 



world before the great flood that destroyed life upon 
the nascent continent unrecorded ages ago. 

This marvellous country of Argentina is destined to be 
one of the great nations of the world. Nature is just, 
and in giving it a prodigious extent of flat fertile soil has 
more than compensated it for withholding the gift of 
abundant gold that has made the history of other por- 
tions of South America. With a climate that varies, as 
does that of Chile, from the tropical to the antarctic, 
with pasture and arable land unsurpassed in the world, 
and with facilities for transport by land and water 
enabling the fruits of the soil to be conveyed easily 
from remote districts to eager markets for them, no 
bounds can be set to the w^ealth that awaits enterprise 
in the country. As a highway, too, the possibilities of 
Argentina are immense. The connection of Buenos 
Aires by rail with Santiago and Valparaiso opens up a 
new and shorter route to New Zealand and Australia; 
whilst the rapidly progressing extension of the railway 
into Bolivia — another link, it is intended, of the line to 
run eventually from New York to Buenos Aires — will 
provide a new and welcome outlet for the treasures of 
her mines to Bolivia, a vast country without a port of 
its own. 

The possession of a temperate climate has made the 
Argentine and Chile the two South American nations of 
most promise for the future, owing to the fact that both 
countries have attracted and assimilated a great admix- 
ture of the robust peoples of Europe. The immigrants 
have been to a large extent drawn from the countries 
where life is hard and the fare frugal ; from North 
Italy, from Galicia and Russia ; whilst in stern Pata- 
gonia the Scotsman and the Welshman find an environ- 
ment after their own hearts. In the second generation 
the immigrants of all nations usually become sturdy 


Argentines, and this easy assimilation of new ethno- 
logical elements is one of the most striking signs of 
the energy of the nation as a whole, and the most 
promising fact as regards the future political stability 
of the country. That a composite race will result from 
this admixture, possessing much of the patient laborious- 
ness of the Ligurian and the practical hardheadedness of 
the Teuton, to temper the keen vehemence of the Ibero- 
American, may be confidently hoped : and if such be 
the case the advantages that nature has showered upon 
the Argentine will be complete, and a splendid future 
for the country secure. 





The attempt to present a bird's-eye view of Argentina 
may well be called presumptuous, for the country is 
larger than Russia in Europe and offers every variety 
of climate — " hot, cold, moist, and dry." Nor would the 
utmost industry of the traveller suffice to glean anything 
like complete information, for large tracts, owing to the 
inhospitality of nature or man, are unexplored, and both 
north and south he would be checked by impenetrable 
forests, or rugged barriers of rock, or by savage Indians 
who are saved from extinction by the inaccessibility of 
their habitations. Further, even as regards the settled 
parts of those districts which, however desolate, are 
practicable to the traveller, there is more to be learnt 
(and the conditions are ever changing) than could well 
be absorbed in a lifetime, for Argentina is not, like 
several South American countries, a mere gigantic mass 
of potential riches, but is rapidly assuming a leading 
position among the commercial states of the world. 
From Buenos Aires to Mendoza, from Bahia Blanca to 
Tucuman, are to be seen all the signs of wealth .and 

2 1 


prosperity, all the unmistakable portents of coming 
potency usually apparent in a new country that has 
emerged from the stage of childhood and weakness and 
feels the vigour of lusty youth in its veins, impelling it 
to take its place in the system of world politics. 

If a single volume is all too short to represent 
Argentina in its manifold aspects, still less adequate is 
a single chapter to sketch its physical characteristics. 
In fact, its interest is at present more physical than 
moral, rather in its vast capacities for producing wealth 
and distributing it by means of magnificent waterways 
and ever-extending railroads, than in anything which 
Argentinians have done to ennoble life by arts or other 

Before, however, proceeding to the study of a country 
the learner must endeavour to set before himself its 
principal geographical features, and as those of Argentina 
are well defined and comparatively simple they lend 
themselves to broad and clear classification. Geogra- 
phically Argentina falls into four divisions. Firstly, 
Patagonia, which stretches from the Rio Colorado to 
Cape Horn. Secondly, the Andine region, which runs 
from the southern frontier of Bolivia right along the 
Chilian border. Thirdly, the Gran Chaco, which 
embraces the whole of the north of Argentina except 
the Andine strip. Fourthly, the Pampa, which com- 
prises the central and best known region. 

Patagonia received its name, patagoriy or large paw, 
from the enormous footprints which the Spanish 
explorers remarked in the sand. Till recently it was 
almost a terra incognita^ roamed by Indians and herds 
of guanacos, but of late years the beginnings of settle- 
ment have been made, and sheep-farming has become 
a considerable industry. The southern portion is cold 
and inclement all the year round, but in the north the 


summers are hot. The country is well watered by six 
considerable rivers — the Negro, Chubut, Santa Cruz, 
Deseado, Coyly, and Gallegos — but scarcity of rain has 
caused it to be neglected by agriculturists. The whole 
of the plateau, indeed, has been called the Great Shingle 
Desert ; it is of Tertiary formation, and the endless waste 
of sand and gravel was chiefly contributed by glacial 
action. This inhospitable desert is arranged in terraces 
which slope gently eastward, first from heights of 2,000 
feet to 500, and then from this lower elevation to the sea- 

In old days wonderful tales were told about the 
Patagonian giants — their enormous size, strength, and 
ferocity, but here it need only be said that the accounts 
were at least exaggerated. " In height, although very 
much above the average — some, indeed, reaching the 
height of 6 feet 4 inches, and all being broad and 
muscular — they have been greatly exaggerated, for, 
being very long in the body, they seem to tower above 
the European while sitting on horseback. They are 
short in the legs, and when standing on the ground 
do not on an average come over about 5 feet 
II inches."^ 

The Andine region, which in some of the South 
American States is the overwhelming characteristic, 
does not set a distinctive mark upon Argentina — 
essentially a plain country — but the western frontier 
of the Republic is guarded by a colossal range of moun- 
tains. These begin with Cerro de las Granadas in the 
extreme north, and extend beyond the Upper Colorado 
basin, where the Sierra Auco Mahinda of 16,000 feet is 
one of the most southerly of the important peaks. 
After this, although there is still a chain of moderate 
height, the mountains are not distinctively Andine. The 
« W. O. Campbell, " Through Patagonia," p. 6. 


highest of all the Argentine mountains is probably the 
Nevado de Famatina. 

In general this region is excessively dry and the 
mountains are almost bare of vegetation. The annual 
rainfall at Mendoza is but 6 inches and at San Juan 
it is only 3. 

The Gran Chaco may be taken as a rough denomina- 
tion for the whole of the Republic lying north of the 
Pampa, excluding the Andine fringe. This is a land of 
luxuriant vegetation with a warm and moist climate and, 
as might be expected, the products vary greatly from 
those of the temperate plains. Rice and the sugar-cane, 
castor-oil, sesame, and the poppy are all cultivated, but 
this part of the country is as yet scantily populated and 
quite undeveloped ; there are therefore few surplus 
products to export. It is a region of great beauty, and 
travellers praise the silent tropical nights, whose dark- 
ness is relieved by myriads of fireflies, the primeval 
forests, and the magnificent rivers. But it is mostly 
virgin land and in many parts is peopled by savage 
inhabitants who make travel dangerous. 

The real Argentina is the Pampa ; it is that vast and 
fertile champaign which makes the great Republic what 
she is, and to which she owes all her wealth and pros- 
perity. Erroneous as is the popular idea that Argentina 
is merely a land of grassy steppes and rich cornfields, 
this is due to the fact that all except specialists have con- 
fined their travels to the Pampa. It extends from 
Cordoba to the Rios Negro or Colorado. In it are con- 
tained the great and growing towns, and from it these 
towns draw their prosperity. It is a country to delight 
the heart of the agriculturist. In many countries of 
South America the traveller passes through interminable 
jungles sparingly scattered with patches of cultivation 
where a few bony cattle scour for a livelihood. In the 





Pampa there is rich tilth and fine pasture ; magnificent 
red and white beasts graze and fatten, standing knee- 
deep in the fresh grass, and sheep innumerable are 
raised. The dead level of the land is not quite unbroken, 
for south of the Plate estuary there are two small moun- 
tain ranges, the Tandil and Ventana. They never exceed 
2,800 feet. In the east the rainfall is generally satisfac- 
tory, but it becomes scanty in the western districts. The 
winter is cold, the summer decidedly hot, but the 
climate is not intemperate, and might be called pleasant 
but for the fierce hot and cold winds which disturb en- 
joyment and are in some cases prejudicial to health. 
This brief summary must, for the present, suffice for the 
four regions ; as we survey the country more in detail, 
we shall have opportunities of describing their charac- 
teristics more fully. It remains, however, to take a brief 
survey of several features which can better be described 
while we look at the country as a whole. The geology 
of Argentina greatly interested Darwin. He says : ^ 
'*The geology of Patagonia is interesting. Differently 
from Europe, where the Tertiary formations appear to 
have accumulated in bays, here along hundreds of miles 
of coast we have one great deposit, including many 
Tertiary shells, all apparently extinct. The most common 
shell is a massive, gigantic oyster, sometimes even a foot 
in diameter. These beds are covered by others of a 
peculiar soft, white stone, including much gypsum, and 
resembling chalk, but really of a pumiceous nature. It 
is highly remarkable, from being composed, to at least 
one-tenth part of its bulk, of infusoria : Professor 
Ehrenberg has already ascertained in it thirty oceanic 
forms. This bed extends for 500 miles along the coast, 
and probably for a considerably greater distance. At 
Port St. Julian its thickness is more than 800 feet I 
' "Voyage of the Beagle," chap, viii. 


These white beds are everywhere capped by a mass of 
gravel, forming probably one of the largest beds of 
shingle in the world : it certainly extends from near the 
Rio Colorado to between 600 and 700 nautical miles 
southward ; at Santa Cruz (a river a little south of 
St. Julian) it reaches to the foot of the Cordillera ; half- 
way up the river its thickness is more than 200 feet ; it 
probably everywhere extends to this great chain, whence 
the well-rounded pebbles of porphyry have been derived : 
we may consider its average breadth as 200 miles, and 
its average thickness as about 50 feet. If this great bed 
of pebbles, without including the mud necessarily derived 
from their attrition, was piled into a mound, it would 
form a great mountain chain ! When we consider that 
all these pebbles, countless as the grains of sand in the 
desert, have been derived from the slow-falling masses 
of rock on the old coast-lines and banks of rivers, and 
that these fragments have been dashed into smaller 
pieces, and that each of them has since been slowly 
rolled, rounded, and far transported, the mind is stupe- 
fied in thinking over the long, absolutely necessary lapse 
of years. Yet all this gravel has been transported, and 
probably rounded, subsequently to the deposition of the 
white beds, and long subsequently to the underlying beds 
with their Tertiary shells." His observations upon the 
Cordillera are equally noteworthy. He says : ^ " No one 
fact in the geology of South America interested me more 
than these terraces of rudely stratified shingle. They 
precisely resemble in composition the matter which the 
torrents in each valley would deposit if they were checked 
in their course by any cause, such as entering a lake or 
arm of the sea ; but the torrents, instead of depositing 
matter, are now steadily at work wearing away both the 
solid rock and these alluvial deposits, along the whole 
* " Voyage of the Beagle,'' chap. xv. 


line of every main valley and side valley. It is impossible 
here to give the reasons, but I am convinced that the 
shingle terraces were accumulated during the gradual 
elevation of the Cordillera by the torrents delivering, at 
successive levels, their detritus on the beach-heads of 
long, narrow arms of the sea, first high up the valleys, 
then lower and lower down as the land slowly rose. If 
this be so, and I cannot doubt it, the grand and broken 
chain of the Cordillera, instead of having been suddenly 
thrown up, as was till lately the universal, and still is the 
common opinion of geologists, has been slowly upheaved 
in mass, in the same gradual manner as the coasts of the 
Atlantic and Pacific have risen within the recent period. 
A multitude of facts in the structure of the Cordillera, on 
this view, receive a simple explanation." His conclusion 
is : " Daily it is forced home on the mind of the geologist 
that nothing, not even the wind that blows, is so unstable 
as the level of the crust of this earth." 

The geological character of Argentina is tolerably 
uniform. The surface is a coating of sandy soil, not 
usually more than 2 feet thick, which is alluvial and, 
from a geological point of view, quite modern. In the 
western districts it is usually bare of vegetation, but in 
the east it is covered with green herbage more or less 
thick. Underneath this superficial covering, however, 
lies the true geological formation, and this consists of 
argillaceous earth or mud of a reddish colour and inter- 
spersed with marly rock called by the inhabitants Tosca 
rock. It extends to latitude 38° or thereabouts, and is 
the famous Pampean formation, which Darwin calls 
Pampean mud. The thickness of this stratum varies 
considerably ; it may average about 40 feet, and geologi- 
cally it belongs to the Quaternary epoch, otherwise called 
Diluvian or Post-Pliocene. Its most remarkable feature 
is the enormous number of mammiferous remains which 


are to be found embedded in this Pampean mud, and 
naturalists believe that it would be impossible to dig a 
deep trench in any direction without disinterring some 
of these extinct giants. Frequently perfect skeletons are 
discovered. These ossiferous remains are richest in the 
province of Buenos Aires and become somewhat less 
frequent in the north and west. Some observers have 
marvelled that such huge creatures in such vast numbers 
were ever able to find nourishment, but that question is 
not a serious difficulty, for the largest animals are by no 
means the most voracious, and doubtless, like elephants 
of to-day, their struggle for existence was not so much 
against hunger as against the depredations of other 
animals or natural catastrophes. A much greater puzzle 
is their disappearance. It has been suggested that they 
were killed off by the Glacial cold, but it is not obvious, 
as has been pointed out, why this visitation carried off 
the mastodons and spared the parrots and humming- 
birds. Another theory, put forward by a savant named 
M. Bravard, opines that a vast simoon overwhelmed 
them, but such a belief, inadequate and full of difficulties, 
is refuted by the fact that most of the skeletons are 
mutilated. Had they been overwhelmed by sand storms, 
they would have been preserved in almost perfect con- 
dition. The notion of drought is also inadequate. 
Darwin remarks that it is absurd to suppose that the 
most terrible calamity of this sort could destroy every 
species from Patagonia to Behring Straits. It is impos- 
sible to suppose that prehistoric man hunted down and 
slew these great creatures. The simplest hypothesis and 
the one which surmounts the greatest number of diffi- 
culties is that a mighty deluge overwhelmed man and 
beast in common ruin. A great geologist ^ says : " I 

* D'Orbigny apud Howorth, " The Mammoth and the Flood," 
P- 352- 




argue that this destruction was caused by an invasion of 
the continent by water — a view which is completely en 
rapport with the facts presented by the great Pampean 
deposit, which was clearly laid down by water. How 
otherwise can we account for this complete destruction 
and the homogeneousness of the Pampas deposits con- 
taining bones ? I find an evident proof of this in the 
immense number of bones and of entire animals whose 
numbers are greatest at the outlets of the valleys, as Mr. 
Darwin shows. He found the greatest number of the 
remains at Bahia Blanca, at Bajada, also on the coast, 
and on the affluents of the Rio Negro, also at the outlet 
of the valley. This proves that the animals were floated, 
and hence were chiefly carried to the coast." 

But D'Orbigny seems to have erred in attempting to 
push his theory too far, for he insists that the great deluge 
not only destroyed the mammoths but at the same time 
created the Pampean plain. Nothing, however, can be 
more certain than that the lapse of countless ages was 
necessary to accumulate " the dust of continents to be." 
It is incredible that a great fragment of a continent was 
created per saltum. Darwin believes (and, it appears, 
rightly), " that the Pampean formation was slowly accu- 
mulated at the mouth of the former estuary of the Plata 
and in the sea adjoining it." ^ As we shall see, when we 
come to deal with Patagonia, the country was once a lake 
or sea, and the water system of South America was very 
different from what it now is, nor is there any difficulty 
in believing that the stupendous volume of the Parana 
waters (then even mightier than now) was able to wash 
down an accumulation of mud capable of making the 
sea into dry land. 

So much, then, for the Quaternary Pampean mud 
interlaced with the bones of giant animals. 

' Darwin, " Geological Observations on South America," p. 99. 



The Patagonian plain, however, is, in appearance at 
any rate, a different and much older formation, namely, 
the Tertiary, an extensive gravel bed which possibly 
extends under the whole Quaternary deposit of the 
Pampa. But exposures occur of both varieties of this 
formation, i.e,y the Patagonian and the Guaraman, in 
the banks of the Parana and elsewhere. It is supposed 
to have been contributed chiefly by Glacial action. 

The river system of Argentina, which is perhaps the 
most remarkable physical feature of the country, next 
demands our attention. All the Argentine rivers find 
their way into the Atlantic, but all are insignificant com- 
pared with the marvellous confluence of mighty streams 
in the Plate estuary. The Parana rises in far-away 
Brazilian mountains, and is already a noble stream when 
it reaches the north-eastern confines of Paraguay. 
Flowing southward it then, for more than loo miles, 
serves as the boundary between Paraguay and Brazil, 
and from the point where it is joined by the Iguazu 
River it becomes an Argentine stream, and, inclining 
more and more to the west, it is now the boundary 
between Argentine and Paraguay. At Corrientes it 
unites with the Paraguay River and flows almost due 
south, running into the Plate estuary at the same point 
as the Uruguay. Few rivers can match the Parana in 
majesty ; at Rosario it is 20 miles wide, and would give 
the impression of the broad sea were it not for the 
cluster of poplar-clad islands which intercept the view. 
In thus tracing the course of the Parana we have men- 
tioned only a few of the innumerable streams of the 
system in which it takes the most conspicuous part ; the 
waters drain the south of Brazil, the whole of Uruguay 
and Paraguay, the fertile districts of Argentina, and even 
portions of Bolivia. The Parana — the Nile of the West — 
debouches through fourteen channels ; it has a drainage 


area of 1,198,000 square miles, and the discharge of each 
twenty-four hours is sufficient to create a lake a mile 
square and 1,650 feet deep.^ Subordinate to the Parana 
are several Argentine systems which deserve mention. 
The provinces of Corrientes and Entre Rios, called the 
Argentine Mesopotamia, are drained by the Corrientes, 
the Saranai, and the Gualeguay, which last falls even- 
tually not into the Parana but the Pavon, a curious 
channel which runs parallel with the lower course of 
the great river for a considerable distance. 

The northernmost part of the country is drained by 
the Pilcomayo and the Vermejo, which both fall into 
the Paraguay. The Vermejo has a course of 1,300 
miles. The Salado meanders through the Gran Chaco, 
and is the only perennial river in that region. Owing 
to the western dryness and the curious contour of the 
Gran Chaco and the Pampa, many of the rivers are 
unable to make headway and find a channel to carry 
them to the sea. Thus the Rio Dulce which, with 
innumerable small tributaries, drains a large area round 
about Tucuman, ends in a morass named Porongos, 
which is connected in flood-time with the great lake of 
Mar Chiquita — LitUe Sea. In like manner the Mendoza 
river loses itself in arid country. 

Having dealt with the giant, we now turn to the 
pygmies ; for pygmies are the Patagonian and South 
Argentine streams in comparison with the Parana of 
the upper region. The Colorado basin presents a very 
curious phenomenon, in that it has lost the whole of its 
upper tributaries. One of these is the aforesaid errant 
Mendoza, which, with the Salado (the second river of 
that name) fail to reach the parent stream and end in 

* It is estimated that during the floods the Parana rolls down 
1,650,000 cubic feet per second, while the Uruguay volume amounts 
to 500,000. 


the Laguna Amarga, a group of salt lakes situated 
at no great distance from the Rio Colorado. It is 
certain that, like Central Asia, Patagonia has ex- 
perienced an immense increase of aridity — probably in 
comparatively recent times. The Colorado proper is 
perennial, and when swollen by melting snows from 
the Andes it is as broad as the Thames at London 

South of the Colorado we have the Rio Negro. It 
runs a solitary course through the desert unaided by 
any tributaries. It is formed by two other streams, the 
Neuquen and the Rio Limaz, which has its source in 
the picturesque lake of Nahuelhuapi. Patagonia, it may 
be added, has numerous lakes, some of great beauty. 
Other solitary streams, wholly dependent upon the 
Andes, may be enumerated — the Chubut, the Desire, 
the Chico, the Santa Cruz, and the Gallegos. On these 
rivers Burmeister^ confesses that his information is very 
imperfect. They are now somewhat better known, but 
they are still difficult to explore. His remarks upon the 
Rio de Santa Cruz, concerning which he had gathered 
more facts than the others, may be given. He says : 
*^Near the ocean it has a breadth of from 5 to 10 
English miles, and is bordered by terraces in flights 
which rise on either side to a height of 500 feet. The 
surface of these terraces is occupied by broad plains 
covered with dry pebbles, and among them grow stunted 
plants and thorny bushes. It is a savage and gloomy 
land. Further inland, near the source, basaltic rocks 
appear which approach close to the river, and its bed 
is strewn with their fragments, which are about the size 
of a man's head. Huge blocks of granite and palaeo- 
logic schists are met with only in the neighbourhood 
of the Cordillera." Darwin made an adventurous voyage 
« " Description Physique," i. 310-11. 



of 140 miles up this river in 1834, ^^^ describes it with 
his accustomed acuteness and accuracy.^ 

When we come to deal with Patagonia we shall have 
another opportunity of reverting to its scanty and little- 
known river system. 

The climate of Argentina varies greatly, as might be 
expected in a country with a length of nearly 2,300 miles 
from north to south. In the provinces of Buenos Aires, 
Santa Fe, San Luis, Mendoza, parts of Cordoba, and 
parts of one or two adjoining provinces, the climate 
is temperate with mild winters and moderately hot 
summers, while in the north the climate is hot and moist. 
Towards the south the cold becomes more and more 
severe, and the winters last from May to the beginning 
of October. Snow frequently falls. In Buenos Aires 
the spring begins in September and lasts to mid- 
December, followed by summer, which extends into 
March. Autumn lasts till the end of May, and winter 
occupies the rest of the year. The following table will 
show that in the city of Buenos Aires itself the extremes 
are not rigorous : — 

At 2 p.m. 

At 9 p.m 











... 807 


March ... 

... ... 



April ... 




May ... 

... 61-3 



••• 597 


* "We found the river course very tortuous, and strewed with 
immense fragments of various ancient slaty rocks, and of granite. 
The plain bordering the valley had here attained an elevation of 
about eleven hundred feet above the river, and its character was 
much altered. The well-rounded pebbles of porphyry were mingled 
with many immense angular fragments of basalt and of primary 
rocks" ("Voyage of the Beagle," chap. ix.). 

2 p.m. 

At 9 p.m. 
















The annual rainfall is about 34 inches. But the above 
table gives only the average temperature. The ther- 
mometer in Buenos Aires often rises as high as 100, 
and in the early mornings of June and July sometimes 
touches freezing-point. In Mendoza, Cordoba, and 
Tucuman, and many other places, the mercury frequently 
falls below 32, while in Patagonia the cold of winter is 

The following figures will give a rough idea of the 
general climate of the Republic : — 




Ushwiya (Fuegia) ... 



120 inches 

Bahia Blanca 




Buenos Aires 

... 64 



San Luis 





... 63 







San Juan 

... 65 







La Rioja 

... 67 




... 69 



Santiago del Estero 









... 63 



On the whole, the climate of Buenos Aires is good, 
and does not interfere with the comfort or pursuits of a 
healthy and vigorous man. Its worst feature is the sonduy 
or north wind, which blows tempestuously chiefly in the 
winter, and causes rapid fluctuations in the temperature. 
The winds from the north are always considered un- 



•^ . x-~. 


healthy. In the summer the heat is greatly aggravated 
by the pamperos — the strong winds from the south- 
west. But the general climate of the country is dry and 

It will be noticed that the rainfall is scanty. Unfortu- 
nately, nearly all the valuable parts of Argentina have 
barely sufficient rain, and Mendoza is almost rainless. 
Irrigation, therefore, is largely used, and when it is ex- 
tended over the south many millions of additional acres 
will be brought under the plough. Droughts are by far 
the most formidable foe of the agriculturist. The Gran 
Seco of 1 827-1832, during which period scarcely any rain 
fell in the Pampa, destroyed all the vegetation down to 
the thistles, and caused enormous loss.^ It is feared that 
the dry area is extending; but it is fortunate that the 
magnificent rivers of Argentina would suffice to irrigate 
every part of the country, and even arid Patagonia has 
perennial streams. In general, it may be said that the 
climate of Argentina is far from disagreeable, and highly 
favourable to health and work. 

* " Very great numbers of birds, wild animals, cattle, and horses 
perished from the want of food and water. A man told me that the 
deer used to come into his courtyard to the well, which he had been 
obliged to dig to supply his own family with water ; and that the 
partridges had hardly strength to fly away when pursued. The lowest 
estimation of the loss of cattle in Buenos Ayres alone was taken at 
one million head " (Darwin, " Voyage of the Beagle," chap. vii.). 



Scanty beyond all belief is our information about the 
people of the River Plate before the coming of the 
Spaniards. Mexico and Peru had goodly hoards of gold 
and silver, and were therefore objects of eager curiosity 
to the invaders whose chroniclers deigned to inquire 
into the traditions and mythology of their subjects ; 
but the Silvery River — the Rio Plata — washed no treasure 
regions, and the settlements in that part of the continent 
were despised and neglected. Accordingly anthropo- 
logists have been obliged to work backwards ; they can 
only infer the character of the prehistoric races by 
examining their descendants and such scanty traces as 
have survived from ancient days. And they are able to 
glean very little. 

The European belief' in a western land beyond the 
Pillars of Hercules was deep-rooted in classical antiquity. 
Beginning with a vague legend of a wonderful world in 
the west, it hardened into a semi-scientific hypothesis. 
The pseudo-Aristotle 2 seems to have been the first to 
treat this subject in a practical manner. He says : 
" Popular speech divides our inhabited world into 
islands and continents, but it ignores the fact that the 

* For much of the matter in this chapter I am indebted to the late 
E. J. Payne's valuable " History of the New World called America." 
» In *' De Mundo." 



whole is but a single island surrounded by the sea 
named the Atlantic. It is probable that there are other 
lands far away, some of which are larger, some smaller, 
than the world we know." He conjectured that on the 
other side of the Atlantic there was a great Terra 
Australis corresponding to Africa. Strabo opined that 
it would be possible to make a westward voyage to India 
were it not for the immense extent of the Atlantic, and if 
circumstances had been favourable there would probably 
have been an early discovery of America. It is believed 
that the Carthaginians visited Madeira and the Canaries. 
But the two maritime nations, Greece and Carthage, fell 
before Rome, and the triumphs of Rome were on land. 
Roman poets and panegyrists often indulged in vague and 
magnificent predictions of nations both in the remotest 
East and the remotest West who should come under the 
sway of Rome, and Seneca's ^ language is particularly 
precise, but they found the ocean an insuperable barrier. 
With the downfall of the Empire and the influx of bar- 
barians progress was checked, but it is certain that about 
a thousand years after the birth of Christ some hardy 
Norsemen reached Greenland, and it is even conjectured 
that they penetrated into North America. Then, in the 
later Middle Ages, as the trading spirit grew stronger 
and the demand for slaves increased, the Portuguese 
began to make voyages down the African coast. But 
discovery became no longer a mere profitable adventure, 
it was imperatively demanded as the salvation of Christen- 
dom from ruin, when the Turks obtained possession of 
Constantinople and the caravan routes. Unless the rich 

' "Venient annis saecula seris 
Quibus Oceanus vincula rerum 
Laxet, et ingens pateat tellus, 
Tiphys que novos detegat orbes, 
Nee sit terris ultima Thule." 

(" Medea," ii. 373.-) 



Indian trade could be continued, two-thirds of the wealth 
of Europe would be destroyed, and thus the work of dis- 
covery was stimulated. The Portuguese found an easy 
route to India by way of the Cape of Good Hope; but 
the unsuccessful attempts to reach India by a western 
voyage brought even more fruit, and at last the great 
island in the Atlantic was discovered. 

Anthropologists have found much difficulty in deter- 
mining the origin of the various peoples who were found 
in the New World. The supposition now is that the 
human race migrated into the continent from Europe 
by way of Greenland and Labrador, and from Asia by 
way of the Behring Straits, and proof is afforded by the 
discovery in the Pampas of Argentina and many other 
places both of the long-headed Afro-European and the 
round-headed Asiatic skull. The Europeans were prob- 
ably the first arrivals, and they appear early to have 
found their way into Argentina, whither they were after- 
wards followed by the Asiatics. It should be noticed 
that the whole primitive civilisation of South America 
was concentrated into a comparatively narrow strip of 
mountainous country between Chile and Colombia, but 
this imperfect civilisation probably came into existence 
in quite recent times. 

The Spaniards themselves, doubtless relying on native 
traditions, believed that the establishment of the Inca 
dominion was an event of no great antiquity.^ But 
it appears certain that this itself was preceded by a 
civilisation of "white and bearded men" round about 
Lake Titicaca, and Prescott declines to hazard a con- 

* " Some writers carry back the date five hundred, or even five 
hundred and fifty, years before the Spanish invasion. ... In the 
Report of the Royal Audience of Peru, the epoch is more modestly 
fixed at two hundred years before the Conquest" (Prescott, 
"Conquest of Peru," p. 5, note). 


jecture as to the antiquity of South American civilisation. 
The long-headed race (its origin is uncertain) kept to the 
east, the round-headed (usually held to be Mongolian) 
kept to the west, and they met in Patagonia. However, 
some savants consider that all the American races are 
veritable aborigines and have no Asiatic or European 
origin, and although this theory seems hardly borne out 
by the little evidence we possess, there is no reason to 
question the belief of Ehrenreich and many others that 
the South American Indians have been so long isolated 
that they form a distinct type. 

Evidence as to the date of their migration or the 
length of time they may have been settled in Argentina 
we have none, but there is a theory of considerable 
plausibility to the effect that there was a break in the 
continuity of the human race in South America. It has 
already been shown that the bones of huge extinct 
animals appear very frequently in Argentina ; indeed, 
as Darwin remarks, "the whole area of the Pampas is 
one wide sepulchre for these extinct animals. Now, 
mingled with them have often been found human bones 
and the tools and weapons of man in his pleistocene 
stage. Near Buenos Aires,i for example, a discovery 
was made of bones of the mastodon, machairodus, and 
other extinct animals, and together with them were 
mingled human bones and tools in stone and bone. 
These facts help to strengthen the hypothesis that at 
a remote period of antiquity there occurred some 
gigantic natural cataclysm which swept away alike man 
and the vast animals with which he lived in these 
regions. Little as we know about the origin of South 
American man we can, of course, classify the races 
which are known to exist in South America or which 

* See Sir H. H. Howorth, "The Mammoth and the Flood," 
chap. xii. 


existed when the Spaniards appeared.^ The aborigines 
may be divided into three great races — the Ando-Peru- 
vian, the Pampean, and the Brasilio-Guaranian. The 
Ando-Peruvian has three branches, known as the Peru- 
vian proper, the Antisian, and the Araucanian. The 
Pampean Hkewise has three branches — the Pampean 
proper, the Chiquitean, the Moxean ; while the Brasilio- 
Guaranian has no ramifications. The Peruvians, who 
do not concern us here, include, of course, the whole 
of the Inca race. The Antisians are so called because 
they lived in the mountains east of Cuzco, which the 
Incas called Antis (hence Andes), and they now inhabit 
the hot and moist forest-lands of Bolivia and Peru. 
They are, and always have been, savages, with clear 
olive complexions and slight, somewhat effeminate 
figures. The Tacana is their most important tribe. The 
Araucanians (who include the Fuegians) are more 
important for our purpose, and are a very hardy race, 
who fought for hundreds of years on equal terms with 
the Spaniards and were finally subdued rather by the 
subtle blight of civilisation than by arms. A French- 
man 2 who visited the River Plate in the middle of the 
eighteenth century describes them in the following 
terms : "The Indians who inhabit this part of America, 
north and south of the river de la Plata, are of that 
race called by the Spaniards Indios bravos. They are 
middle-sized, very ugly, and afflicted with the itch. 
They are of a deep tawny colour, which they blacken 
still more by continually rubbing themselves with grease. 
They have no other dress than a great cloak of roe-deer 
skins hanging down to their heels, in which they wrap 
themselves up. These skins are very well dressed ; they 
turn the hairy side inwards and paint the outside with 

* See D'Orbigny, " L' Homme Americain," passim. 

' De Hougainville, "A Voyige Round the World," pp. 24-5. 


various colours. The distinguishing mark of their 
cacique is a band or strap of leather, which is tied round 
his forehead ; it is formed into a diadem or crown and 
adorned with plates of copper. Their arms are bows 
and arrows ; and they likewise make use of nooses and 
of balls. . . . Sometimes they come in bodies of two 
or three hundred men, to carry off the cattle from the 
lands of the Spaniards or to attack the caravans of the 
travellers. They plunder and murder or carry them 
into slavery. This evil cannot be remedied ; for how 
is it possible to conquer a nomadic nation in an 
immense uncultivated country, where it would be diffi- 
cult even to find them ? Besides, these Indians are 
brave and inured to hardships, and those times exist 
no longer when one Spaniard could put a thousand 
Indians to flight." D'Orbigny says that in character 
and religion the Araucanians have strong affinities to 
the Patagonians and Puelches, but physically they are 
very different, and they undoubtedly belong to the 
Peruvian or mountain race. 

The Pampean race spread over the whole of modern 
Argentina and beyond. They include the Patagonians 
and Puelches of the south and many tribes, such as 
the Charruas, in the river regions of the north. These 
all belong to the branch of the Pampean proper. 

The Chiquitean branch is of less importance, com- 
prising the foreign Indians of Paraguay — the unfor- 
tunate people who were so cruelly harried by the 
Paulistas in the seventeenth century. The Moxeans 
are an interesting branch, but they do not properly 
belong to our subject, for they inhabit the unexplored 
forest tracts on the confines of Peru, Bolivia, and 

The Brasilio-Guaranian race is very extensive, spread- 
ing from the north of Argentina over the whole of 


Brazil. They are a rude race, civilised by the Jesuits, 
but probably the paternal form of government was the 
highest to which they were adapted, and when their 
protectors departed they retrograded. Their physical 
characteristics are described as follows : ^ " The traits 
of the Guaranies can be distinguished at the first glance 
from those of the Pampean tribes ; their head is round 
and not compressed sideways, nor does their forehead 
recede ; it is, on the contrary, high, and its flatness in 
some of the tribes is due to artificial causes. Their face 
is almost circular, the no^e short and rather large with 
nostrils far less open than those of the plain races. 
Their mouth is of moderate size, but slightly projecting ; 
their lips are somewhat thin, their eyes small and 
expressive, . . . their chin is round, very short, and it 
never advances as far as the line of the mouth ; their 
cheekbones are not prominent in their youth, but in 
later life they project somewhat ; their eyebrows are 
well arched and very narrow. Their hair is long, 
straight, coarse, and black, and their beard, among the 
tribes of Paraguay and the Missions, is reduced merely 
to a few short bristles, straight and scanty, growing on 
the chin and upper lip." The Guaranies were more 
important in the earlier days when both their subjec- 
tion and protection were grave problems. Those who 
still live in their original state are to be found in the 
primitive forests of the north, where it is difficult to 
disturb them. 

The religion of these rude tribes was tolerably uniform 
and, as might have been expected, was on a much lower 
grade than that of the Incas, who worshipped the 
invisible God Pachacamac, the creator of all things. 
In general they believed in Quecubu, an evil spirit, but 
(what is curious) they did not think it necessary to 
* D'Orbigny, ii. 295-7. 



propitiate him in any way, nor, again, did they worship 
or supplicate the Creator of the world in which they had 
a shadowy belief. They believed that man was perfectly 
free in his actions and that neither good deeds nor evil 
deeds would affect the action either of the Creator or the 
evil spirit. This Epicurean apathy was tempered by a 
belief in a future life — the translation to a paradise of 
delight beyond the seas. Such ritual and religious 
observances as they had appear to have centred in their 
medicine-men, who interpreted dreams and omens and 
the like. If we consider their extreme barbarism, we may 
judge that their religion was singularly free from the 
taint of cruel rites and gross superstitions, but it seems to 
have been weak and cold. The majority of the tribes, 
even the most savage, have now nominally embraced 

It is thus possible to form some idea of the condition 
of the aborigines at the time of the appearance of the 
Spaniards, but to obtain any knowledge of the events in 
South America during the centuries immediately pre- 
ceding that event is a flat impossibility, and it is probably 
safe to say that the veil will never be uplifted, for the 
relics we have are of prehistoric not of modern man. 
Nor, in all probability, do we lose much by our igno- 
rance, for judging by the actual state of the inhabitants 
of the extra-Andine regions of South America, when the 
Spaniards found them, we may repeat the disparaging 
verdict of Thucydides upon ancient Greece — that looking 
back as far as we can we are inclined to believe that the 
ancients were not distinguished, either in war or in any- 
thing else. 

The history of Argentina may be held to begin with the 
advent of the Spaniards. 



Compared with Mexico and Peru the southern portions 
of the New World at first excited Httle interest, because 
they produced neither gold nor silver. Yet even here the 
discoverer was very early at work, and achievements less 
showy but on an almost equally grand scale have to be 
recorded. In 15 15 Juan Diaz de Solis was sent out on a 
voyage of discovery by the King of Castile, who wished 
to counteract Portuguese influence on the east coast of 
South America, and Solis was the first European to sail 
up the River Plate, which he named after himself. But he 
trusted to the natives, who proved treacherous. They 
invited him to land, and when he had accepted their 
invitation they attacked and killed him and every man in 
the boat-crew, and afterwards roasted and devoured them 
in the sight of their companions. It was long before the 
Spaniards touched on that coast again, and the name of 
Solis had no permanence in the land which he discovered. 
Some ten years later a more fortunate expedition was 
made by the Englishman Cabot. In the service of the 
King of Spain he left Seville with four ships, intending to 
make a search for the islands of Tarsis, Ophir, and 
Eastern Cathay by the newly discovered Straits of 
Magellan. The little fleet touched at Pernambuco and 
remained there for three months. The Spaniards still 
appear to have had a design to check the Portuguese in 



Brazil, but Cabot evidently found them too strong in that 
quarter, so, says Purchas,i "he thought good to busy 
himself in something that might be profitable ; and 
entered the year 29 discovering the River of Plate, where 
he was almost three years ; and not being seconded, with 
relation of that which he had found, returned to Castile, 
having gone many leagues up the River. He found plate 
or silver among the Indians of those countries, for in the 
wars which these Indians had with those of the kingdoms 
of Peru they took it, and from it is called the River of 
Plate, of which the country hath taken the name." 

Here Purchas makes two mistakes. The discovery 
was not made in 1529, but several years earlier, and the 
river derived its name not from any metaUic booty but 
from its silvery colour. Cabot went some distance up 
the Paraguay River, where he met with many adventures 
and lost many of his followers, and he made a serious 
endeavour to lay the foundations of Spanish power in 
Argentina, but the natives were unfriendly and he 
found the enterprise too formidable for his limited 
means. It is not surprising that he failed to secure the 
goodwill of the Indians. Cabot was a skilful and 
daring navigator and less ruthless than most of the 
Spanish adventurers, but he was rough in his methods 
and tainted by the prevailing inhumanity of the time. 
At San Vincente, for example, he bought fifty or sixty 
slaves of both sexes for the benefit of his partners in 
Seville. He had, in fact, disobeyed his instructions, 
which were to make for the Pacific, and when he re- 
turned to Seville in 1530 he was at once prosecuted and 
punished on various charges, though his disgrace was 
but temporary. His expedition has merely a geo- 
graphical importance. 

Charles V. had too many anxious concerns in Europe 
* Purchas, " His Pilgrimage," xiv. 546. 


to take an active part in organising expeditions to the 
New World, and he found it convenient to commit the 
task to wealthy nobles. Pedro de Mendoza had enriched 
himself at the sack of Rome and had dreams of still 
greater wealth. Accordingly he obtained a grant of the 
whole country from the River Plate to the Straits of 
Magellan, with a salary of 2,000 ducats a year as 
Governor, a similar sum as an official allowance, and 
valuable privileges as to ransom and booty. In return, 
he engaged to take out an adequate force and to open 
up a land route from the Atlantic to the Pacific. In 
August, 1534, he set sail from Cadiz with eleven ships 
and 800 men. This was the largest expedition which 
had ever sailed from Europe to the New World. 
Mendoza seems to have been an enterprising leader, 
but his lack of experience brought many unnecessary 
hardships upon his followers. The fleet entered the 
River Plate in January, 1535, and Mendoza landed on 
the right bank and founded the city of Buenos Aires, 
'^so named in regard of the freshness of the air, and 
the healthfulness of his men, during their abode there." ^ 
The Adelantado, or Governor, was eager to push up the 
great rivers and discover a land fabulously rich in gold, 
such as was then enriching many of his more fortunate 
countrymen. But still the difficulties were insuperable ; 
the Indians were implacably hostile and cut off all 
foraging parties ; the Spaniards had come with inadequate 
provisions and were frequently in danger of starvation. 
Many died of their privations, and the site of Buenos 
Aires was abandoned within a year of its foundation. 
Mendoza's lieutenants made many adventurous expedi- 
tions up the vast waterways and the ill-fated Azolas 
founded Asuncion in 1536.2 But their deeds belong 

* R. Hakluyt, Extra Series, xi. 252. 

» Or 1537 or 1538, according to various authorities. 




more to the history of Spanish conquest than: to Argentina 
proper. The estuary of the Plate was subject to sudden 
storms, and Mendoza, having lost eight ships and 
being thoroughly wearied by his misfortunes, decided 
to return home. On the voyage he fell ill and died, 
and of his large force not more than one hundred and 
fifty survived their privations and dangers. A highly 
interesting and important matter should here be 
mentioned. The Spaniards brought only thirty mares 
and seven stallions for breeding purposes, but a 
Portuguese mariner states thirty years later the country 
near the coast was full of horses. 

As successor to Mendoza the Spanish Government 
appointed Cabeza de Vaca, an experienced adventurer, 
who sailed from Spain in 1540 with four hundred men. 
He landed at Santa Catherina in Brazil, and thence made 
a most adventurous march to Asuncion. He set out on 
October 18, 1541, and did not arrive till March 11, 1542, 
after suffering extraordinary hardships. At Asuncion 
he found that the Spanish settlers had chosen Domingo 
Irala as their chief. The two rivals, however, had 
enough work for both, and Cabeza de Vaca sailed down 
to the River Plate where the Spaniards had practically 
abandoned their settlements, and the few survivors were 
in great danger of destruction by the Indians. He 
refounded Buenos Aires towards the end of 1542 ; but 
the time was not yet ripe for the planting of colonies, 
and not many months later the city was abandoned 
for the second time. Nor was Cabeza de Vaca fortunate 
in his undertakings in Paraguay. His attempts to 
reform abuses made him unpopular with the settlers, 
who preferred Irala, and in 1544 Cabeza de Vaca was 
seized and sent a prisoner to Spain where, after the 
law's long delays, he was acquitted, but never com- 


Irala, who was an able and daring leader, contrived 
to maintain his authority till his death, which occurred 
in 1557, and credit is due to him for keeping the Spanish 
flag flying in the isolated post of Asuncion, which was 
rapidly growing in importance, and in 1547 was made 
the seat of a Bishop by Pope Paul III. All this time, 
however, it should be remembered that we are dealing 
rather with the history of what is now Paraguay than 
Argentina, for the southern settlements on the River 
Plate were once more in the hands of the Indians. 
It was at this time that another important town was 
established in territory which now belongs to Argentina. 
Peru had been conquered by Pizarro, parts of Chile by 
Almagro, and in 1559 Hurtado de Mendoza passed over 
the Andes from the west and founded the pleasant city 
which bears his name. This work of building cities 
on the eastern side of the Andes was carried on by other 
Spaniards from Peru, and they founded Tucuman in 
1565 and Cordoba in 1573. 

In the meantime the Guaranies of Paraguay steadily 
resisted every advance of the Spaniards, but in 1560 they 
were defeated in a great battle at Acari, and the Spaniards 
began to push southwards with the determination of 
again colonising the Parana country — a step, indeed, 
which was almost essential to their safety, since it would 
secure their communication with the Atlantic. The 
necessary exploit was achieved by a man who deserves 
an honoured place among Spanish-American worthies — 
Juan de Garay.^ He advanced slowly towards the south 
from Asuncion, and in 1573 founded Santa Fe at the 
junction of the Parana and the Paraguay. In 1580 he 
took the still more important step of re-establishing 

« " A man of indefatigable courage and a rare prudence, he joined 
with these quaHties the experience of serving in many glorious 
campaigns " (Funes, i. 287). 




To face p. 29. 



Buenos Aires for the third time. With a true statesman's 
instinct he recognised that a mere military post would 
not be sufficient for the security of the rapidly growing 
colonies, and he took with him, besides Creoles and 
Spaniards, two hundred Indian settlers, and he laid out 
a town on a considerable scale, while farms and ranches 
were established in the neighbourhood. There was 
sharp fighting with the Indians, and Garay was unfor- 
tunately killed in a skirmish, but his work remained 
behind him. " The city," says Southey,i " immediately 
began to prosper, and the ship which sailed for Castile 
with tidings of its refoundation, took home a cargo of 
sugar, and the first hides with which Europe was 
supplied from the wild cattle which now began to over- 
spread the open country, and soon produced a total 
change in the manners of all the adjoining tribes." 

In 1588 Corrientes had been founded, and the people 
began to acquire pastoral wealth, although the advantages 
which they drew from the rapidly increasing herds of 
horses and cattle were seriously discounted by the 
exactions and restrictions of officials. It was a piece of 
great good fortune for both settlers and Indians that 
neither gold nor silver was to be found in the River 
Plate country, and thus European marauders, whether 
Spanish or English, were without one great temptation 
to harry them. The next generation was one of steady 
progress, and by the year 1620 the city of Buenos Aires 
contained three thousand inhabitants. The indefatigable 
Jesuits established themselves in the country in 1590, and 
though their history properly belongs to Paraguay, they 
did much good in Argentina by protecting the Indians 
and spreading civilisation. 

In 1620 a step of extreme importance was taken. The 
office of Adelantado, or Governor, was abolished, and the 
» " History of Brazil," i. 349. 


River Plate country was formed into two separate pro- 
vinces. Thus we get a rough beginning of Argentina, 
which now consisted of Buenos Aires, Santa Fe, Entre 
Rios, Corrientes, and the tract now called Uruguay. 
This last, however, was still uninhabited. Buenos Aires 
became the seat of a bishop. But the whole of the 
settlements remained under the Viceroyalty of Peru. 

More important than any measure of partition was the 
personality of Hernan Darias de Saavedra, the ruler at 
that time. Of pure Spanish blood, he was born in South 
America in 1561, early distinguished himself in wars 
with the Indians, and took as his model the able Garay. 
In 1602 he was appointed to act as Governor of Buenos 
Aires, and during his term of authority, which did not 
really end when a new Spanish Governor was placed 
over his head, he distinguished himself at once by his 
severity to refractory Indians and his energetic measures 
to protect those who followed peaceful pursuits. In 
1 61 5 he became substantive Governor, and it was by 
his advice that the division of 1620 was made. 

His whole heart was in the peaceful development of 
the country ; he encouraged the Jesuits to teach industries 
to the natives and to settle virgin tracts, and at the same 
time he set his face against all forms of slavery. Few 
Spanish Americans have exercised more beneficent rule, 
and he was the founder of Argentine prosperity — a tradi- 
tion which the country never wholly lost in the worst 
days, and which in recent times it has renewed in a 
wonderful manner. Not long after the partition this 
noble-minded statesman died, full, as the historian says, 
of glory and virtues. Funes ^ remarks : " From tender 
years he performed military service, earning fame for 
valour. His valour was rendered the more illustrious by 
that consummate prudence which in war gives glory to 
^ " Ensayo de la Historia Civil," p. 318. 



warriors. He distinguished himself by his ability both 
in the arts of peace and war. He was a staunch protector 
of the Indians and, in fine, being one of the heroes to 
whom the New World has given birth, he! deserved to 
have his portrait placed in the Chamber of Commerce in 
Cadiz. We regret that time has destroyed the records 
which might have enabled us to draw a more accurate 

With his death it may be said that the history of 
Argentina as a Spanish colony has fairly begun. It is 
true that the Governorship of Buenos Aires was both 
smaller and larger than the present Argentine Republic — 
larger as comprising Uruguay, and considerably smaller 
in the absence of Patagonia and much other territory. 
In fact, there were three Governorships — Buenos Aires, 
Paraguay, and Tucuman — and these were looked upon 
as a single colony, although each one was an adminis- 
trative entity, dependent upon the Crown and inde- 
pendent of its neighbours. Our narrative will necessarily 
ignore the interesting history of Paraguay and embrace 
the other two provinces. The above narrative has few 
of the exciting episodes which marked the history of the 
conquest of Mexico or Peru, but the history, though less 
dazzling, is less sullied by crimes, and the two figures 
of Garay and Hernan Darias afford examples of dis- 
interested toil for the common welfare which in that 
age was rare indeed except among a small proportion 
of the clergy. And as the earlier years of Argentina 
were less turbulent, so have the latter years been more 
blessed with prosperity than has been the case with other 
South American States. 

The colonisation of South America proceeded upon 
lines very different from those pursued in the northern 
continent. The latter was the objective of men who 
belonged, for the most part, to the Anglo-Saxon race. 


and who came not for adventure or any kind of gain, 
but to escape from uncongenial institutions and live 
their own life. As far as possible they avoided contact 
with the natives, and neither desired, nor, in fact, main- 
tained, intimate relations with the mother country. But 
in spite of the circumstances of their exile, they carried 
with them most of the institutions of their own land, 
and continued to develop on the lines of their brothers 
on the other side of the Atlantic. The Spaniards did H 
not, indeed, treat the natives in South America with 
humanity ; on the contrary, in the mining regions 
their cruelty was notorious, and they were frequently 
at war with the old inhabitants. But in Argentina 
and many other places they showed no disinclination 
to intermarry ; they made, as we have seen, systematic 
settlements of Indians, which assumed that the conquered 
race was an integral part of their own body politic, and 
in some respects their policy was statesmanlike and even 
humane according to the standards of the time. The 
result was a fusion of races, and the various nations 
which sprang up were as much Indian as Spanish. 
How the Argentine nation was evolved it will be the 
business of the succeeding historical chapters to show, 
as it will be that of the remainder of this volume to dis- 
play the country and the people as they actually are after 
four centuries of growth. 




The subsequent history of Argentina during the Spanish 
dominion does not present much incident, and indeed it 
is not an uncommon practice for historians of Latin- 
American countries to make a single leap from the 
Conquest to the Revolution. But to the real student 
of history there is much that is of interest in the record 
of the attempt of Spain to govern a mighty empire and 
the rapid decay of her power. In the next chapter the 
Spanish colonial system will be examined ; in the pre- 
sent it will be observed in operation. Much will be said 
about the illiberal restrictions which here receive only 
incidental notice, but however short-sighted they may 
have been, at least they could not prevent Argentina 
from thriving. A considerable trade sprang up between 
Cordoba and the Andine territories now known as Chile 
and Bolivia ; nor was it only in material well-being that 
progress was made. At Cordoba, also, a university was 
founded in 1613, and the town became a seat of learning 
and a centre of Jesuit influence. For some years peace 
reigned, but in the second quarter of the seventeenth 
century it received two serious disturbances. The first 
was a dangerous Indian war with the powerful nation of 
the Calchaquies. 

This people had lived from time immemorial in the 
valleys of Rioja and Catamarca, and had been under 

4 33 


the suzerainty of the Incas. As the Spaniards around 
the River Plate became more powerful they made 
aggressions upon the Calchaquies, and by the end of 
the sixteenth century had partly subdued them. Many 
of these Indians were sold into slavery, and many more 
were forced to settle about Santa Fe and Rosario, but 
the spirit of the remainder was still unsubdued, and they 
awaited an opportunity of recovering their independence. 
It was about the middle of the century that they made 
their expiring effort. A leader named Bohorquez came 
forward and claimed to be the descendant and heir of the 
Inca kings. He is said to have been a mere impostor of 
humble Andalusian origin, but it is seldom easy to find 
out the exact truth about pretenders. Funes doubts 
whether he was in his right mind. '^But the light of 
reason appeared when he took his first steps in deceit, 
an art to which he was naturally inclined." ^ He and 
his wife were greeted with the honours due to the Inca 
kings, the revolt spread, and he caused the Spaniards 
endless trouble. The Calchaquies, whom he claimed to 
represent, were a hardy race, and down to modern times' 
have shown good fighting qualities, and they were in- 
flamed by resentment against the intruding Spaniards, 
who had undoubtedly oppressed them. Bohorquez first 
came forward in 1656, and though he appears to have 
possessed nothing better than the showy qualities of a 
bold charlatan, he brought about a dangerous war. 
Don Alonso Mercado, who had been appointed Governor 
of Tucuman the year before, was obstinate and over- 
bearing, and, strangely enough, began by patronising 
and encouraging the impostor. The Jesuits, who were 
always anxious to redress Indian grievances, also sup- 
ported him, and the revolt assumed such serious pro- 
portions that the Governor soon had to abandon his 
^ Funes, vol. iii. 73, 


former attitude and took up arms against him. The 
Indians, who, with simple credulity, accepted all the 
claims of Bohorquez, made a long and heroic resistance, 
but the Spanish power was too great. The pretender 
was defeated, and the Spaniards, aware that there could 
be no safety for the northern provinces as long as 
Bohorquez was alive, spared no effort to track him 
down, and were eventually successful. Bohorquez was 
taken to Lima and put to death, and the Calchaquies 
were placed under a military Deputy-Governor, who was 
subordinate to Tucuman. Their martial spirit, however, 
did not die out, and in the nineteenth century they 
proved themselves one of the most spirited of the 
warlike races of South America. 

The other trouble of the seventeenth century was more 
serious and involved more bloodshed. We have seen 
that there was considerable jealousy between the Spanish 
and Portuguese in South America. In 1580 Portugal 
had been united to Spain, but this change did not make 
the relations any more harmonious, for there was a 
standing cause of quarrel between the two nations. The 
Portuguese had founded in the temperate Brazilian 
uplands the city of Sao Paulo, and the inhabitants, 
known as Paulistas, were a turbulent people and had 
an intense hatred of the Jesuits. The Jesuits, supported 
by the Spanish Government, protected the Indians and 
devoted themselves to their general welfare, but the chief 
business of the Paulistas was to capture Indians and sell 
them into slavery. They looked with covetous eyes 
upon the Reductions, as the Jesuit settlements were 
called, for here was the raw material of their industry in 
the shape of hundreds of thousands of submissive 
Indians. Accordingly, in 1629 they picked a quarrel 
with the Jesuits and attacked the Reduction of San 
Antonio, where they committed great ravages, killing 


and capturing multitudes of the helpless Indians. The 
Jesuits, who were not loved by the Governor of Para- 
guay, were compelled to evacuate Guayra and the scope 
of their benevolent labours was largely curtailed. This 
cruel and devastating war continued for many years and 
caused widespread ruin and loss of life until, in 1638, the 
Jesuits appealed to the Court of Spain, requesting that 
their wrongs might be redressed and that they might 
arm their helpless converts against the oppressor. The 
appeal was successful. "The King," says South ey,i "con- 
firmed all the former laws in favour of the Indians : 
he declared the conduct of the Paulistas, who had 
carried away more than thirty thousand slaves from 
Guayra, and had begun the same work of devastation in 
the Tap6 and on the Uruguay, to be contrary to all laws, 
human and divine, and cognisable by the Holy Office. 
The enslaved Indians were ordered to be set at liberty, 
and directions given to punish those who should commit 
these crimes in future, as guilty of high treason. A more 
important edict, because more easily carried into effect, 
provided that all Indians converted by the Jesuits in the 
province of Guayra, Tap6, Parana, and Uruguay, should 
be considered as immediate vassals of the Crown, and 
not on any pretext consigned to any person for personal 
service. Their tribute was fixed, but not to commence 
till the year 1649, by which time, it was presumed, they 
might be capable of discharging it. And the King not 
only granted permission to the Jesuits to arm their 
converts, but sent out positive orders to the Governors of 
Paraguay and the Plata to exert themselves for the pro- 
tection of the Reductions." But in 1640 Portugal 
regained her independence and the marauding Paulistas 
left a lasting mark on the map of South America. 
Undoubtedly but for their incursions the whole valley 
' " History of Brazil," ii. 322-3. 


of the Parana would have been Spanish instead of Portu- 
guese, but, as it was, the Spaniards had to retire behind 
the river Iguazu. 

Emboldened by this success, the Portuguese ever kept 
in view the design of extending their dominions still 
further southward. In 1680 the Governor of Rio de 
Janeiro sent an expedition by sea and built a fort, which 
he named Nova Colonia, opposite the city of Buenos 
Aires. Thus the disputed territory of Uruguay was for 
the first time occupied by Europeans. The establish- 
ment of this hostile post caused great annoyance to the 
Governor of Buenos Aires, and he succeeded in capturing 
it upon several occasions, but the Home Government, in 
view of European politics, had no wish to offend 
Portugal, nor did it consider that the possession of 
almost uninhabited tracts was worth the risk of compli- 
cations. It thus happened that Nova Colonia was 
always restored to the Portuguese eventually. It 
became a most prosperous port, for it was the seat of 
the contraband trade, and by its means the Argentines 
were able to export hides to Brazil. Doubtless it was 
beneficial to them, however much it may have in- 
terfered with the illicit gains of Spanish Governors. It 
remained in the possession of the Portuguese until 

The contraband trade was indeed the chief feature of 
the domestic history of Argentina in the sixteenth cen- 
tury, and its tendency was to raise important inter- 
national questions. The fight against the Spanish 
monopoly became every year keener as the various 
countries of Europe became more settled and secure 
and began to devote their energies to trade. In 1616 the 
monopoly received a heavy blow by the discovery of 
a way into the Pacific without passing through the 
guarded Straits of Magellan. This was made by 'the 


Dutchman, Schouten,^ who named Cape Horn after 
Hoorn, his birthplace. Immediately numerous Dutch 
and English ships took advantage of the new route and a 
great trade sprang up. As we have seen, the Governors 
of Buenos Aires played a prominent part in this trade, 
and no earthly power was able to prevent the economic 
law from taking effect. The case of Villacorta, a 
Governor who was discovered to have sent away three 
million dollars' worth of prohibited goods to Flanders, 
illustrates the helplessness of the artificial law. He was 
dismissed at the moment, but not long after he reappears 
as Governor of Tucuman. But, however illegally, trade 
went on and Argentina flourished. A traveller ^ who 
visited Buenos Aires in 1769 says that its chief trade was 
with Chile and Peru, and that it sent to them ^' cotton, 
mules, some skins, and about 400,000 Spanish pounds' 
weight of the Paraguay herb, or South Sea tea, every 
year." In fact Argentina, like the other Spanish 
colonies, advanced steadily in wealth and population 
during the eighteenth century, until progress was 
abruptly checked by the Revolution. But her history 
from the founding of Nova Colonia to the appearance of 
the English before Buenos Aires is remarkably barren in 

It was, of course, the fate of colonies to be pawns in 
the wars between powerful European States. Spain was 
a principal in the great war of the Spanish Succession, 
which was ended in 1713 by the Peace of Utrecht. Two 
of the articles were of importance to the Spanish posses- 
sions. By the Asiento de Negros England obtained the 

* Drake in 1578 visited the south of Tierra del Fuego, and dis- 
covered that there was a passage round, but he did not himself 
make the voyage round Cape Horn. 

^^ Bourgainville (See J. H. Moore), "Collection of Voyages and 
Travels," 266. 



right to send yearly to the Spanish colonies twelve 
hundred negro slaves, and Buenos Aires was named 
as one of the establishments for that traffic, while 
by the Navio de Permiso she was permitted to send out 
yearly to the South Seas a ship with 650 tons of 
merchandise. These concessions, of course, greatly 
stimulated the contraband trade, for the colonists were 
as eager to buy as the English merchants were to sell, 
nor had the Spanish officials the will or the power to 
prevent many interlopers following in the wake of the 
privileged ships. Parish ^ remarks that it was " a trade 
which supplied the most pressing wants of the colony, 
and the profits of which were shared by the native 
capitalists. If they (the officials) did occasionally make 
a show of exercising their right to visit the ships, it was 
an empty threat, little heeded by men who were looked 
upon with almost as much dread as the buccaneers who 
had so long been the terror of all that part of the world." 

Under the Bourbons and under the skilful administra- 
tion of Alberoni, the fortune of Spain revived, and the 
colonies benefited in a corresponding degree. 

In 1726 the Spaniards seized and fortified Montevideo 
which had been founded by the Portuguese a few years 
previously ; this was an important step, for it declared 
that, in spite of Nova Colonia, the territory now known 
as Uruguay should be Spanish. The new town rapidly 
became wealthy and second only to Buenos Aires. 

There can be little doubt that historians have con- 
siderably exaggerated the weakness and decay of Spain 
during the eighteenth century. Her comparative strength 
is proved by the fact that she maintained her trade regu- 
lations which were only contravened surreptitiously. 
The attempt of England to overthrow them by force 
shows how great was the resistive power of this unenter- 
' " Buenos Ayres/' 59, 


prising but still formidable empire. The War of Jenkins's 
Ear may be considered as a rehearsal of the struggle for 
the New World which occupied a great part of the 
eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and which is still 

Therefore, although the war is in itself trivial and 
ineffective, its purport is not so ; it was the battle of the 
new spirit against the old, of the trader against the 
official, of the active against the passive. If here and 
elsewhere the latter had conquered, we might have had, 
in place of our modern hives of industry, vast thinly 
populated regions dotted with little, self-sufficient villages, 
which possibly were destined to be overrun by a more 
restless and energetic yellow racej 

Undoubtedly the English had not a shadow of right 
on their side ; they were encouraging the breaking of 
treaties and flagrant political dishonesty. But under the 
brutal economic codes of the time there was no law but 
the law of the stronger ; England might take if she had 
the power and Spain might keep if she could. The 
turbulent English mobs, clamouring for war, were 
shrewder than Walpole, shrewder than Burke, for they 
, knew that to an island and trading people outlets for 
/ their commerce were matters of sheer necessity. 

The Spaniards strongly disliked the Asiento Treaty, and, 

* Carlyle has an accurate perception of the gravity of the issue. 
" The Jenkins's Ear Question, which then looked so mad to every- 
body, how sane has it now grown to my Constitutional Friend ! In 
abstruse ludicrous form there lay immense questions involved in it ; 
which were serious enough, certain enough, though invisible to 
everybody. Half the World lay hidden in embryo under it. 
Colonial-Empire, whose is it to be? Shall Half the World be 
England's, for industrial purposes; which is innocent, laudable, 
conformable to the Multiplication-table at least, and other plain 
Laws ? Or shall it be Spain's for arrogant-torpid sham-devotional 
purposes, contradictory to every Law ? " (" History of Frederick 
the Great," xii. 12, § 3). 



as is well known, English merchants, under cover of the 
privilege, carried on extensive smuggling operations 
against which the Spanish guarda castas retaliated 
vigorously. It was in 1731 that they perpetrated upon 
Captain Jenkins the outrage which was to make so great 
a stir some years later. It may be added that Jenkins did 
really lose his ear on the high seas, and that the insinua- 
tions that the whole affair was a fabrication are them- 
selves quite without foundation.^ However, not for 
nearly seven years was there any attempt to make poli- 
tical capital out of it, although the smuggling question 
remained a constant source of irritation between the two 
countries. It was at the beginning of 1738 that circum- 
stances were favourable for an outbreak, for a powerful 
opposition was longing to bring about the fall of 
Walpole, and his position was weakened by the death 
of Queen Caroline. No weapon could be more effectual 
than the accusation of being insensible to the claims of 
national honour and of tamely suffering insults from 
Spain. On March 30th Carteret, in the House of Com- 
mons, carried an address against the right of search, and 
Walpole, who was anxious on all grounds to settle the 
matter, expedited the negotiations which had been for 
some time proceeding with Spain on the subject of com- 
pensation. In January, 1739, the terms of the agreement 
were published to the following effect. The Spaniards 
were willing that damages against themselves should be 
assessed to the amount of ;^2oo,ooo, but, on the other 
hand, the English Government acknowledged a counter- 
claim of ;£6o,ooo, on account of the destruction of the 
Spanish fleet by Byng in 1718. With this and other 
possible deductions and abatements, the compensation 
seemed rather meagre, and the whole question of right of 
search being left to a Commission's decision, there was 
' See Sir J. K. Laughton, English Hisioncal Review, October, 1889. 


nothing in the findings that could be agreeable to 
Englishmen. A storm at once rose. The Prince of 
Wales voted against the Government. Young Pitt 
thundered against Walpole. The Prime Minister had 
to give way. His colleagues were in favour of war, and, 
as often happened in such struggles, Admiral Vernon was 
despatched, long before a declaration of war, " to destroy 
the Spanish settlements and to distress their shipping." 
The national feeling continued to rise, and great were the 
manifestations of popular joy on the occasion of the formal 
declaration of war on October 23rd. "They now ring 
the bells," said Walpole, " they will soon*ring their hands." 
Meanwhile Vernon, though his force was small, lost no 
time, and having appeared off Porto Bello with six ships 
on November 20th, he captured it the next day, and the 
news of this success (which did not reach London till 
March, 1740), was received with extravagant demon- 
strations of rejoicing. In the spring Vernon was mena- 
cing Cartagena, and on March 24, 1740, captured Chagre. 
The home authorities appear to have been extremely 
dilatory, for it took them a whole year to send effectual 
reinforcements, and then their value was seriously dis- 
counted by the fact that General Wentworth had suc- 
ceeded to the command of the land forces. This officer 
was thoroughly incompetent, and no exhortations of 
Vernon could rouse him to energy, and owing to his 
mismanagement the assault upon Cartagena of April 9th 
was a complete failure. The armament departed about a 
week later, having lost at least eight thousand men, and 
in July an attempt upon Santiago in Cuba failed likewise, 
owing to Wentworth's incompetence. Little more of 
note occurred on that side, and it is here proper to 
mention that Vernon was in nowise to blame for the 
unfortunate results, and that, with an efficient colleague, 
there seems no reason to doubt that he would have made 


To face p. 43. 


a great name for himself in the annals of the British 
Navy. Nor should Smollett, because he happens to be a 
famous novelist, be accepted as a judge of the strategy of 
the expedition. He had, in fact, infinitely less materials 
for forming a judgment than a private at Waterloo had 
for criticising Wellington's dispositions. 

The haphazard general management is well illustrated 
by the only brilliant achievement of the war — the Anson 
circumnavigation. Anson, with six ships manned by 
Chelsea pensioners and raw recruits, was ordered to the 
Pacific, and set sail on September i8, 1740. Although 
his little squadron dwindled to three, he rounded the 
Horn, and subsequently burnt Paita in Peru, and played 
havoc with Spanish commerce. He crossed the Pacific, 
captured a great treasure-ship, and returned by the Cape 
of Good Hope to England, which he reached June 15, 
1744. He brought home treasure amounting to ;^5oo,ooo, 
and this was paraded through the streets of London in 
thirty-two wagons. 

It would be difficult to say when the War of Jenkins's 
Ear ended, or what were its results. Carlyle ^ says : 
" What became subsequently of the Spanish War, we in 
vain inquire of History-Books. The War did not die for 
many years to come, but neither did it publicly live ; it 
disappears at this point : a River Niger, seen once flow- 
ing broad enough, but issuing — Does it issue nowhere, 
then ? Where does it issue ? . . . Forgotten by official 
people ; left to the dumb English Nation." Doubtless it 
was not forgotten by the people ; they soon showed 
once more their eagerness to break down the monopoly, 
and this curious war is noteworthy both as striking the 
real keynote of a long series of vast struggles, and also as 
showing the great vis inerticB of Spain. Southey 2 remarks 

* See Sir J. K. Laughton, English Historical Review, October, 1889. 
^ " History of Brazil," iii. 300. 


that the history of the War of Jenkins's Ear proves the 
strength of Spain in South America, and points out that 
an event in the war contributed indirectly to the pros- 
perity of the River Plate settlement. When it was known 
that Anson was fitting out his celebrated squadron, the 
Spanish Government for its part also despatched six ships 
and three thousand five hundred men to protect the 
settlement. They delayed a long time there and, it is 
said, eventually not more than one hundred of the crews 
returned home, the greater part remaining to settle in 
the country. 

Not less important than these hostilities against English 
and Portuguese (who from their near neighbourhood 
were almost equally dangerous in the contraband trade) 
was the loss to South America of that body which had 
been the conscience of Spanish America, which had 
protected the Indians, instructed the ignorant, and 
turned the wilderness into fertile fields. For a long time 
the civil power in Roman Catholic countries had been 
jealous of the influence wielded by the Jesuits. As their 
object was to suppress everything opposed to the Roman 
Catholic system as they understood it, so every element 
that felt itself menaced naturally rose in self-defence, and 
the Jesuits found themselves friendless in Europe. Their 
downfall was principally due to the able and astute 
Pombal, the Prime Minister of Portugal, who considered 
that his country was depressed by a too powerful hier- 
archy, and his machinations were greatly assisted by 
circumstances in the River Plate settlements. 

Colonia had long been a trouble to the Spaniards, 
diminishing their trade and insulting them by its pro- 
pinquity, and in 1750 they made overtures for an 
exchange. The offending port was to be surrendered 
and the Portuguese were to receive in exchange a large 
portion of the Jesuit Missions, ix.j the territory called La 



Guayra and about 20,000 square miles to the east of the 
Uruguay River. This included seven Jesuit Reductions, 
and the Society and the Indians strenuously resisted the 
transference. Although the story of the Jesuits belongs 
rather to Paraguay than Argentina, it is for many reasons 
necessary to refer to that wonderful and benevolent 
despotism which they exercised in the Parana settlements, 
and also to relate the circumstances of their expulsion 
from South America — a matter of great importance to all 
the colonies. 

The Jesuits did not commence effective work in 
Paraguay earlier than the beginning of the seventeenth 
century. In the days of the conquest attempts had been 
made by them to convert the natives and to further 
general missionary work, but the circumstances had not 
been favourable. It was in 1610 that two members of 
the Order, Cataldino and Mazeta, founded the settle- 
ment of Loreto on the Upper Parana. An unfriendly 
critic I remarks ; " They began by gathering together 
about one hundred and fifty wandering families, whom 
they persuaded to settle, and they united them into a 
little township. This was the slight foundation upon 
which they have built a superstructure which has amazed 
the world, and added so much power at the same time, 
that it has brought so much envy and jealousy upon 
their society. For when they had made this beginning, 
they laboured with such indefatigable pains, and with 
such masterly policy that, by degrees, they mollified the 
minds of the most savage nations,^ fixed the most ram- 

' " An Account of the Spanish Settlement in America," 340-1. 

» " They collected them into fixed habitations, gave them laws, 
introduced useful and polite arts among them ; and, in short, of a 
barbarous nation, without civilised manners, and without religious 
principles, they made a good-natured and well-governed people, 
who strictly observed the Christian ceremonies '' (De Bougainville, 
p. 98). 


bling, and subdued the most averse to government. 
They prevailed upon thousands of various dispersed 
tribes of people to embrace their religion, and to submit 
to their government ; and when they had submitted, the 
Jesuits left nothing undone that could conduce to their 
remaining in this subjection, or that could tend to 
increase their number to the degree requisite for a well- 
ordered and potent society, and their labours were 
attended with amazing success." 

The Jesuit establishments are one of the many meri- 
torious acts of Saavedra who, seeing with concern the 
depression of the Indians and recognising their value to 
the Spanish Crown, appealed to the King, whereupon 
Phillip III., in 1609, issued royal letters patent to the 
Order of Jesuits for the conversion of the Indians. It is 
true that the Jesuits drew considerable wealth from their 
obedient subjects. They exported hides in large 
quantities and had a monopoly of the production of 
mate. Their method of government also would have 
been unsuitable to a race of harder fibre,^ for they 
jealously excluded their Reductions from the external 
world, allowing no European to enter, and the Indians 
were kept constantly at work at the agricultural pursuits 
which the Jesuits themselves had greatly improved. But 
in those days it was rare indeed for any settlers to pay 
any regard to the welfare of the uncivilised races whom 
they encountered, and it must be remembered that the 
Jesuits were practically the only Christian missionaries 
in the period between the Reformation and the mid- 
dle of the eighteenth century. All honour, then, is due 
y to them for their devotion and philanthropy. 

When the peaceful Indians heard of the great disaster 

» " These Indians live at present in an entire assurance, that what- 
ever their priests advise them to is good, and whatever they repre- 
hend is bad" (UUoa, ii. 183). 


that had overtaken them in their abandonment to their 
old enemies the Portuguese, there was consternation, 
but they were remorselessly driven from their homes. 
However, the Jesuits protested strongly, and in the end 
the Spanish Government was induced to annul the 
treaty. Nevertheless, the Indians never recovered their 
losses and the West of Rio Grande became permanently 
Portuguese, in spite of the abrogation of the treaty. The 
result would, no doubt, have been different had their 
powerful protectors remained in the country. 

The officials at Buenos Aires cared much about Colonia 
and little for the Reductions or the fate of the Indians, 
and the Jesuits were accused of having brought about the 
recision of the treaty. Any pretext was now welcome, 
for their destruction was contemplated. As we have 
seen, the able Pombal had resolved to expel them from 
Portugal, and in 1759 he trumped up against them a 
charge of attempting to assassinate the King, and issued 
a decree for their deportation from Portugal. France 
eventually followed this example, and in 1767 even 
the Spanish King was induced to do the same, while 
in 1773 Pope Clement XIV. decreed the entire suppression 
of the Order. 

In Argentina the Jesuits were seized and deported. 
It was expected that the Indians, who were armed, would 
make a serious resistance, but they were as sheep having 
no shepherd, and rather than remain in their old abodes 
to be harried by new masters they migrated to Entre 
Rios and Uruguay. But the work of the Jesuits has not 
perished, for they and the conventual orders were the 
first to give an example of humanity in the treatment of 
inferior races. 

This great change was quickly followed by another. 
In 1776 the Vice-royalty of Buenos Aires was created, 
that is, the four countries now known as Argentina, 


Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay, were detached from the Vice- 
royalty of Peru, under Don Pedro Cevallos, sometime 
Governor of Buenos Aires. This step was a recognition 
of the importance of Buenos Aires, to which all observers 
testify. All the efforts of the Spaniards to force the trade 
of Europe over the Isthmus of Panama and the Andes 
had failed, and Buenos Aires was now to fulfil its destiny 
as the metropolis of Spanish America. The new 
Governor brought a large force, for there had been serious 
trouble with Portugal. As the latter was too weak to 
resist, and as the news of peace between the two countries 
followed almost immediately, there was no difficulty in 
coming to terms, and Colonia was finally made over to 
Spain. The result of this important treaty was that Spain 
was left in undisputed possession of Uruguay and 
Portugal of Brazil in its present form, for she recovered 
Rio Grande and Santa Catharina. Free trade was 
established between Buenos Aires and Spain, and 
Argentina made wonderful industrial advances. The 
rest of the century was uneventfully prosperous, but 
great events were in the wind, and they were destined to 
have a powerful influence on Spanish America. The 
easygoing paternal rule was to come to an end, and a 
long period of bloodshed and turbulence was to succeed. 
As was the case in every other part of the world, the 
motive power was supplied by the French Revolution. 



Colonies were one of the many new things which were 
introduced to Europe at the end of the fifteenth century.' 
Of them mediaeval Europe had known nothing since the 
dissolution of the Roman Empire ; the means of com- 
munication were too bad, the Asiatic races were too 
powerful, and the Western world itself was too thinly 
populated to allow of distant excursions. The planting 
of settlements was familiar to both Greece and Rome. 
The Greek system was the simpler of the two, for the 
city state merely propagated itself by colonies as a plant 
propagates itself by seeds, and two cities existed instead 
of one, each independent of the other. But a Roman 
colony was incorporated as a subordinate and inferior 
part of the mother state. Greek history and literature 
were almost unknown in the Middle Ages, and even after 
the Renaissance they remained much less familiar than 
Latin. On the other hand, many European States, and 
especially Spain, inherited their law and their municipal 
systems from Rome, Latin was the international 
language, and the Church, by far the most powerful 
mediaeval institution, was Roman. It is, therefore, not 
surprising that Spain followed the Roman colonial 
system, but all the circumstances were so different that 
beyond the mere incorporation and inferiority of the 
new dominions there was little other resemblance. 

5 « 


The main difference and the main characteristic of the 
Spanish colonial system was this — the colonies were the 
private property of the King of Spain. This, then, is the 
keystone of the edifice — that the dominions were vested 
in the Crown, not in the nation. The derivation of this 
theory is doubtless from the fact that in the early 
exploring days the Spanish and Portuguese kings were, 
really or apparently, private adventurers, and, in fact, the 
adventurers always assumed that they were stewards of 
royal estates rather than officers of a kingdom. Thus the 
colonies were the property of the King of Spain for the 
time being. Ferdinand had, in 151 1, established a tribunal 
to manage his new property. This was the Council of 
the Indies, which made laws for the colonies and 
distributed all the appointments and acted as a Court 
of Appeal from the Audiencia in America. The King 
made all grants of land, and allowed the colonists only 
local liberties ; the Spanish nation had no concern what- 
ever in the matter. A modern parallel is the Congo Free 
State as it was a year or two ago. It is probable that the 
New World had little to complain of except in the matter 
of trade and commerce, but here the system was illiberal 
and short-sighted. The fifth share of the King in the 
produce of all the gold and silver mines was a small 
matter in comparison with the multitude of harassing 
restrictions,! which Spain never had the wisdom to cancel 
till it was too late. No colony was allowed to trade with 
any country except Spain ; all the exports, whatever their 
destination, had first to go to the mother country, and the 

* The following is a typical example. " In 1602 a custom-house 
was established at Cordoba for the purpose of levying duties 
equivalent to 50 per cent, of the value of all commodities passing 
between Peru and the River Plate. It was not till 1665 that this 
irritating restraint on commercial business was relaxed" (C. E. 
Akers, " A History of South America," p. 1 1). 



navigation laws were conceived in a similar spirit. The 
most glaring instance of stupidity was the prohibition 
of import trade laid upon Buenos Aires. No Atlantic 
colonial port might receive goods from Spain except 
Nombre de Dios. When Argentina purchased goods 
from Spain they were despatched across the Atlantic 
to Nombre de Dios, carried by mule across the Isthmus, 
transhipped to Callao, and then taken over innumerable 
mountains into the River Plate country. Merely to state 
such a system is to condemn it, but there was no 
possibility of altering it, because the whole shipping 
trade of Spain was in the hands of a syndicate of Cadiz 
merchants, and they were all-powerful. 

As is well known, no foreign State was allowed to 
trade with Spanish America, nor was any foreigner even 
allowed to enter it without special permission. Various 
manufactures were forbidden, and even the cultivation 
of the vine and olive was placed under restrictions, as 
it was feared that their produce might compete with the 
produce of Spain. In fact, the ideal of the home-staying 
Spaniard was that the colonies should be mere mining- 
camps. Gold and silver were regarded as the whole 
of wealth, and it was considered the height of commercial 
wisdom to drain the whole produce of the mines of 
America into Spanish ports without allowing a fraction 
to be diverted elsewhere. 

Thus legitimate trade was made extremely difficult, 
for the Spaniards even discouraged colonial exports 
from the fear that precious metals might be concealed 
among them. Accordingly, in 1599, the Governor of 
Buenos Aires was commanded to forbid exportation and 
importation alike under penalty of death. But the 
stringency of the various laws and regulations defeated 
their own objects, a gigantic contraband trade grew 
up, and all the officials, from the Governor downward, 


were implicated in it. Bribes accompanied almost 
every business transaction.^ The manufactures of 
Europe were surreptitiously landed at Buenos Aires, 
and of course ruined the sale of the goods that 
had come over oceans, Isthmus, and mountains. This 
contraband trade was chiefly carried on by the English 
and the Dutch, and, as Professor Seeley has frequently 
pointed out, the power to trade with the New 
World formed for some two hundred years the chief 
bone of contention in the foreign politics of European 
countries. The practice of smuggling has had two 
marked and very pernicious effects upon Spanish-Ameri- 
can character ; it has fostered contempt of law and the 
preference of Government service to profitable industry. 
As the Argentines despised the laws of contraband, so 
they came to despise all laws, and during their indepen- 
dent history the shackles of the law have been cobwebs 
light as air to restrain individuals or communities from 
disturbing the public peace. In a word, out of the 
contraband trade sprang one of the worst features of 
South America — lawlessness and turbulence. It is 
obvious that it also fostered an almost equally injurious 
spirit — the craving of office. It was easier and more 
profitable to take bribes from the smugglers than to 
engage actively in smuggling, and so the tradition has 
descended to prefer the certain emoluments (direct and 
indirect) of office to the uncertain gains of trade. In 
Spanish America it is better to be the nephew of a 
President than of a successful trader. Of course, it 

» " The commerce between Peru and Buenos Aires is chiefly for 
cattle and mules ; such as are concerned in the former, go first to 
the Governor, and ask his leave to drive a herd of cattle into Peru, 
which is never refused when backed by a present of some thousand 
pieces of eight" ("An Account of the Spanish Settlements in 
America (1762)" 331). 


would be absurd to attribute these two evils solely to the 
contraband trade, but the first has been undoubtedly 
encouraged, and the second, to a considerable extent, 
caused by the practice which was forced upon the 
Spanish colonies by an absurd fiscal system. The 
economic condition, therefore, of these countries appears 
to us very sombre. It must, however, be remembered 
that such treatment of "plantations" was the accepted 
policy of the age, and probably the reason why Spain 
was more unfortunate with her foreign possessions than 
other nations is rather to be found in the indolent 
character of her sons and her foreign embarrassments 
than in any particular set of restrictions. 

Till the middle of the eighteenth century the principles 
of the Spanish colonial system were considered the last 
words of commercial policy by all nations and practically 
all individuals.^ That great statesman. Lord Chatham, 
was fully convinced of the wisdom of these principles. 
He remarked : " Let the sovereign authority of this 
country over the colonies be asserted in as strong terms 
as can be devised, and be made to extend to every point 
of legislation whatsoever. That we may bind their trade, 
confine their manufactures, and exercise every power 
whatsoever, except that of taking money out of their 
pocket without their consent." 2 Indeed, the general 
commercial and colonial policy of Spain was at least as 
liberal as that of England, and was, during the half 
century preceding the Revolution, infinitely more liberal, 
and if we make allowance for the enlargement of the 
human mind in a hundred and fifty years, it must be 

* "In the trade to America every nation endeavours to engross 
as much as possible the whole market of its own colonies, by fairly 
excluding all other nations from any direct trade to them " (Adam 
Smith, " Wealth of Nations," ii. 129). 

* Thackeray, "A History of William Pitt," ii. 73, 74. 



admitted that the present commercial policy of the South 
American Republics compares unfavourably with the 
Spanish system. There was at least material prosperity. 
Adam Smith,i while censuring the Spanish system of 
government and considering it inferior to that obtaining 
in English colonies, recognised that great progress was 
being made. He says : " The Spanish colonies are 
under a government in many respects less favourable 
to agriculture, improvement, and population, than that 
of the English colonies. They seem, however, to be 
advancing in all these much more rapidly than any 
country in Europe. In a fertile soil and happy climate 
/ the great abundance and cheapness of land, a circum- 
stance common to all new colonies, is, it seems, so great 
an advantage as to compensate many defects in civil 
government." It is impossible to put down the failure 
of Spain to anything but defect of character — the grand 
defect of mananay of putting off every exertion till to- 
morrow, or rather for ever. But it cannot be denied 
that a hundred years ago the ill-starred country had to 
face a series of misfortunes which might well have dis- 
/ heartened a more energetic people. The revolutionary 

/ spirit which had spread all over the globe was at first" 

wonderfully impotent in the Spanish settlements owing 
to the rigid disciplinary system which had been in force 
for upwards of two hundred years. Yet that of itself 
would have been enough to have taxed all the energies 
of an ancient and absolute monarchy. Further, Spain 
contrived to change sides in such a way during the war 
as to get all the hardships of defeat and none of the 
fruits of victory. When she was in alliance with France 
her fleet was destroyed by the English, and when she 
was in alliance with England her territory was overrun 
by the French. At this crisis also she was afflicted by 
^ " Wealth of Nations," i. 203. 


the feeblest king of a feeble line and probably the worst 
queen and minister that ever lived. Under these cir- 
cumstances it can hardly be a matter for wonder that 
she lost her colonies. 

And yet if her general policy towards them be con- 
sidered, it must be acknowledged that she deserved her 
fate less than any colonial power then existing. The 
Spanish merchants did indeed greatly hamper the 
development of South America, but they acted in obedi- 
ence to a theory which was considered axiomatic, and 
which was rigorously put into practice by every other 
nation. The King and the high officials always exerted 
their influence in favour of humane treatment of the 
Indians. Irala was conspicuous for his humanity, and 
the protective regulations which he put forward on their 
behalf and at the beginning of the seventeenth century, 
when reports reached Spain that the Indians in Tucuman 
were being ill-treated, it was ordered that Don Francisco 
de Alfaro, Auditor of the Supreme Court of Peru, should 
go to Paraguay and investigate the whole matter. The 
result was the Ordinances of Alfaro in 1612, which abol- 
ished both the forcible subjection of Indians and slavery, 
and substituted a small capitation tax. As we have seen, 
the Court of Madrid warmly seconded the early efforts 
of the Jesuits. The treatment, then, of subject races 
was as benevolent as circumstances and theories would 
permit, nor were the colonists in practice subject to any 
considerable severity. The commercial regulations were 
easily evaded, and the Argentina steadily advanced in 

The latter days of Spanish rule were extremely credit- 
able to the sagacity and liberality of the Crown and its 
advisers. In 1764 a line of vessels was established to 
run between Corunna and various South American 
ports, with permission to carry Spanish merchandise 


and bring back in return the products of the colonies, 
and in 1774 the colonies were allowed intercommunica- 
tion and trade. In 1778 a new commercial code was 
drawn up for the benefit of the Spanish Indies, and this 
was surprisingly liberal for those days. Nine ports in 
Spain and twenty-four in the colonies were declared 
"ports of entry," and goods, for the most part, were 
allowed to pass in and out freely. The general duty 
was nominally 3 per cent, on Spanish goods and 7 per 
cent, on foreign goods ; but as the latter had to be 
shipped from Spain, the duty upon them was really 
40 or 50 per cent. If we compare this scale with that 
now in force, we shall see how greatly South America 
has retrograded since the removal of the control of 
Spain. It is interesting to remember that these benefi- 
cent regulations were framed while Smith was publishing 
the " Wealth of Nations," and that therefore backward 
Spain anticipated both Pitt and Huskisson. 

After this Argentina advanced by leaps and bounds. 
The average export of hides had been 150,000 ; they soon 
rose to 800,000, and in one particular year the figure was 
1,400,000. At least seventy ships sailed to Spain every 
j^ear, and the population of Buenos Aires rose from 
^,000 in 1778, to 72,000 in 1800. Buenos Aires became 
openly what she had long been struggling to be — the 
entrepot for wine and brandy from Cuzo, hides from 
Tucuman, tobacco, yerba mate, and wood from Para- 
guay, and gold, silver, copper, rice, sugar, and cocoa 
from the distant interior. Had the fate of Spain been 
happier, and the character of her sons stronger. South 
America would have had a very different destiny, for 
everything pointed to a period of peaceful development, 
and the people had a government which was exactly 
suited to them. The Revolution substituted for the mild 
rule of Spain a preposterous democracy which was only 


effective or tolerable when metamorphosed into a dicta- 
torship, and for more than two centuries of comparative 
peace an indefinitely long period of -disorder and bloodshed. 
Before closing this brief sketch of a period which has 
been both neglected and misunderstood (for it is usually 
passed over with a few reflections upon the perversity 
and tyranny of Spanish rule) it is desirable to indicate 
briefly the machinery of government, which underwent 
substantial alteration only in the last generation of the 
Spanish dominion. The King had a special body of 
advisers to help him in the administration of his over- 
sea territory, and this was called the Council of the 
Indies. There were only two Viceroys — who, of course, 
were subject to the home authorities — they were the 
Viceroy of Mexico and the Viceroy of Peru. The latter 
ruled over the whole of South America. When a new 
colony was founded it was put under the charge of an 
Adelantado, or Governor, who was nominally subject 
to the Viceroy, but in practice he was independent and 
answerable only to the King. When he vacated office 
his acts were subject to a review, and he was liable to 
punishment if found guilty of misconduct, but in the 
nature of things there was little effective check upon 
him by the Home Government, and he was really a 
military ruler with almost despotic powers. However, 
the Spaniards, following the Roman tradition, always 
strongly favoured municipal government, and provisions 
were made which modified the arbitrary character of the 
system, although, as was inevitable, there were loud 
complaints that the claims of the Creoles — those born 
in the country — were neglected, and that the good posts 
were given to Spaniards from over the seas. Even to 
the last this grievance remained.^ 

* Writing of the time of Galvez, Funes (iii. 225) says : " Civil 
and military appointments were never before distributed with such 


The system of local government, which modified this 
exclusiveness and gave the children of the soil a con- 
siderable share in the management of their own affairs, 
is a most important feature in the history of Argentina. 

To begin with, the Governor made grants of land to 
each white settler. The recipients of the grants became 
Encomenderos, who received also in fief several Indian 
villages and took tribute from the inhabitants in return 
for protection and Christian teaching. The Encomen- 
deros swore "to defend, enrich, and ennoble the 
kingdom and care for the Indians," and they appear 
to have discharged their trust with tolerable fidelity. 

But the Spaniards are city-dwelling people, and the 
history of Argentina chiefly centres in the towns where 
the governing body was the Cabildo, or town council. 
The Cabildo consisted of from six to twelve members, 
and although they had bought their offices of the King 
and held them for life, they imparted no insignificant 
popular element into the system of government, and 
when the Revolution came the Cabildos had sufficient 
vitality to act as the rallying-point for the revolutionists 
in every district. In Buenos Aires the Cabildo had great 
power, and the Governor could not easily override it, 
while in every city in the provinces the little town 
councils represented Creole and local interests. This 
system lent itself to particularism and was unfavourable 
to representative government, which accordingly has not 
been a success in Argentina, partly owing to this cause 
and partly to the natural incapacity of the people. It 
has been always very difficult to obtain a national 

complete partiality to the European Spaniards. In general, the 
native-born were shut out ; they were not esteemed worthy to be 
appointed door-keepers of the offices." He also remarks that there 
was similar exclusiveness in the distribution of ecclesiastical pre- 



assembly even for the decision of the most momentous 
questions and legislation, elections and administrations 
are controlled by functionaries rather than by electors 
and deputies. Under Spanish rule the Cabildo system 
worked extremely well. In the thinly populated districts 
the great proprietors ruled in patriarchal fashion. 

Inefficiency and indolence were the chief grievances 
which the inhabitants of the Plate district could have 
reasonably urged against their rulers. The commercial 
regulations, as we have seen, were so bad that they were 
perpetually evaded, and the Governor and other officials 
took bribes and connived at the evasions. Thus grew 
up the evil tradition that official and political careers 
are above all others desirable, and that the productive 
classes are fair game for every kind of official exaction. 
But, in spite of all defects, the settlements steadily pros- 
pered, there were few serious Indian wars, comparatively 
little fighting even with the Portuguese or other foreign 
nations, and civil tumults were few and far between. 
If we make allowance for the natural progress that all 
nations must make in the face of all adverse circum- 
stances, we cannot deny that even Argentina has lost 
ground in the nineteenth century, as compared with her 
position in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. 

Another institution which exerted great influence upon 
the history of Spanish America was the Consulado, or 
Chamber of Commerce. In 1543 the first of these 
bodies was founded at Seville, and its principal object 
was to regulate trade with the Indies. The Consulado 
of Cadiz became eventually by far the most influential 
and gained an unenviable notoriety for its commerce- 
destroying enactments ; but it was following the accepted 
commercial principles of the age, and there can be no 
doubt that the Consulados at Mexico and Lima were 
beneficial. Their business was to adjudge commercial 


suits and carry on the entire trade in their respective 
Viceroyalties, and in general they undertook the com- 
mercial development of the settlements. Their policy 
was cautious and conservative. 

Such, then, were the institutions which tempered the 
rigours of personal or despotic rule, modifying either the 
unlimited power of the Crown or the absolute military 
sway of the Governor. But in theory the royal authority 
was as complete as that of the Roman Emperor. Just as 
in later days Queen Victoria took the title of Empress of 
India as the successor of the Mogul Emperor, so the King 
of Spain was Emperor of the Indies in succession to 
Montezuma in Mexico and the Incas in Peru. The 
King's will was the source of law ; legislation was carried 
out by means of Cedulas Reales, or Royal Decrees, which 
were issued by the Council of the Indies in his name, 
and, as was natural, the attempt was made at regulation 
on far too complete a scale, and matters which ought to 
have been settled by local authorities were the subject of 
decrees, and thus these enactments increased with alarm- 
ing rapidity. The principles of these Cedulas soon fell 
into confusion ; it is said that their codification, ordered 
in 1635, was not carried into effect until 1680, by which 
time it had become obsolete. It does not appear, how- 
ever, that the rulers troubled themselves much about the 
confusion of the law ; they would probably have been 
much more uneasy had all the decrees become effective, 
for it was obviously impossible to carry on all legislation 
at such a distance, and travellers and annalists agreed 
that the Governors and their subordinates usually 
neglected the law and governed according to equity. 
The result was not unsatisfactory. 

Current ideas about history are very often wrong; 
they are often the repetition at third or fourth hand 
of an extremely indifferent authority. An American 



traveller may have come with the preconceived belief 
that all republics are free and all monarchies grinding 
tyrannies, and having accordingly stated that the con- 
dition of South America under Spanish rule was miser- 
able, his statement has been echoed by all his successors. 
Or, again, another writer notices that the commercial 
regulations were absurd and vexatious, and he declares 
that the colonies were paralysed by the blight of Spanish 
rule. A third has no difficulty in discovering instances 
of atrocities committed against the Indians who worked 
in the Peruvian mines, and he enlarges upon the greed 
and inhumanity of the Spaniards. Thus the whole 
history, which possesses few striking incidents to tempt 
investigators, is distorted by prejudice and the three 
hundred years of Spanish rule are summarily dismissed 
as a barren period, fruitful in nothing but misery. 

In fact, from first to last the Spanish colonies enjoyed 
a more liberal trade policy than did those of England. 
The reason that the abuses of the Spanish colonies were 
so much more prominent was that the Spanish trade was 
incomparably more valuable than the North American. 
Again, apart from the mines, the Spanish treatment of 
the Indians was considerably in advance of the standards 
of the time in humanity, nor would it be easy to find 
any body of men in the three centuries who pursued a 
wiser and juster policy towards inferior and conquered 
races. And, further, such cruelty as was perpetrated was 
the work of private exploiters or, at worst, of disobedient 
officials. The King of Spain and the ecclesiastics of 
Spain made every effort to redress the instances of ill- 
treatment which came to their ears. It was Charles III. 
who encouraged the Jesuits to proceed upon their 
mission of mercy, and if he had had the power he would 
have restrained the cruelty of the Portuguese Paulistas. 
The condition of the River Plate settlements Under 


Spanish rule compares favourably with that of most 
^ civilised nations during the same period. 

A recent writer,^ summing up the general subject, 
makes some remarks which deserve quotation : "In 
discussing the often-repeated accusation of Spanish 
oppression, it is necessary to define what sort of oppres- 
sion is meant : whether oppression of the Indians by 
the whites, or oppression of the whites by the Spanish 
Government. If the former is meant, then the Creoles 
were as guilty as the Europeans, and both were more 
guilty than the Spanish Government and its immediate 
representatives. If the latter, the restraint of the whites 
/ was in fact the measure of protection enjoyed by the 
natives ; free immigration and large autonomy granted 
to European settlers would have meant extermination 
or enslavement. But the theory of a universal control 
which should foster both 'commonwealths' and protect 
the weaker was largely ineffective ; and in this failure 
lay the troubles of the Indians. . . . 

" The usual exclusion of Creoles from the highest posts 
was a grievance ; but both its extent and its significance 
were much exaggerated during the struggle for indepen- 
dence, since a very large number of subordinate posts, 
some of them commanding large influence and dignity, 
were usually held by Creoles. In fact, almost all the 
revolutionary leaders were connected with the royal 
service through posts held either by themselves or by« 
their fathers. . . . 

"Here was an empire which, by the testimony of its 
own administrators, was honeycombed with continuous 
decay in all directions ; yet this empire survived repeated 
external shocks, continually extended its influence, and 
after three centuries evoked the admiration of foreign 
observers. This vitality is not explained by the theoretic 
^ A. F. Kirkpatrick, " Cambridge Modern History," x. 277-9. 


system of administration, nor yet by the practical neglect 
of that system. Perhaps the explanation may partly be 
found in personal character. . . . Examples constantly 
recur of admirable and loyal service, which has some- 
thing Oriental in its simplicity and self-abandonment; 
in emergencies the presence of one capable leader 
counterbalances all vices. Again, the undefinable 
Spanish quality of hidalguid, which animated the better 
part of the community, especially in New Spain, showed 
itself in a noble charity and hospitality, a liberal and 
careless use of wealth, indifference to material results, 
and an old-fashioned, uncalculating loyalty, sometimes 
almost fantastic." 

The Spaniards had not the constructive genius of the 
Romans, and both in the mechanical contrivances of 
civilisation and in the moral force which founds laws 
and institutions they were far inferior. But they played 
very much the same part in South America which the 
Romans did in Europe. France, Spain, Portugal, and 
Italy are not more distinctively Roman than Argentina, 
Chile, Peru, and Colombia are Spanish. As Spain was 
in language and institutions the most completely 
Romanised of all European countries, so she has left 
her mark upon the West more distinctively than any 
other colonising Power. For good or evil, Buenos 
Aires, Lima, and the rest are Spanish cities, and there 
seems no reason to believe that they will ever be any- 
thing else, and the Spanish influence seems likely to be 
as permanent as the Roman in Southern Europe. Nor 
will any candid student of the history of the continent 
be unwilling to acknowledge that it was no small achieve- 
ment for a nation to build up and administer such an 
empire, and he will regret that ignorance and prejudice 
have prevented the world from giving the praise due to 
a vast political and religious experiment which, in spite 




of extraordinary difficulties, was successful as far as its 
own character was concerned, and which, when it broke 
down by reason of the weakness of the mother country, 
left behind it all its institutions, political, religious, and 
social. Governors became Dictators or Presidents, but 
everything remains substantially Spanish. 



In the early years of the nineteenth century England was 
engaged in a life and death struggle with Napoleon, and 
Spain and Holland, two of the chief colonial Powers, 
were in alliance with the Corsican. At Trafalgar, in 1805, 
the naval power of France and Spain had been shattered, 
but Napoleon was master of practically the whole of 
Europe, and he was devising weapons against his enemies 
which he hoped would be more potent than fleets or 
armies. England's trade and industries were advancing 
rapidly, but the long-continued war tended to spoil her 
markets, and Napoleon was attempting to prevent his 
subject allies from engaging in any trade whatever with 
the enemy. Consequently there was throughout the war 
frequent distress, especially in the North of England, 
and the manufacturing interest was urgent upon the 
Government to find new markets. Possibly in some 
cases the effective fighting strength of England was 
dissipated in distant expeditions, but in these years some 
of the most valuable additions were made to our Empire, 
and if the expedition which is to be related had been 
in competent hands, the history of South America would 
have been changed and England would have had vast 
dominions in every continent of the world. 

One such was acquired in South Africa in January, 
1806, when Cape Town was rapidly and easily taken 

6 65 


from the Dutch. Sir Home Popham commanded the 
naval forces while Sir David Baird was Commander-in- 
Chief. Popham was an able and restless man, and hear- 
ing a few months later from an American sea-captain 
that the people of Buenos Aires and Montevideo were 
oppressed by the Spanish Government and would wel- 
come the English as liberators, he resolved to make an 
attempt in that quarter and persuaded Baird to lend him 
a brigade.^ The flotilla consisted of five ships of war 
and five transports, and the little army numbered 1,635 
men under the command of that fine soldier. General 
Beresford. Popham was disobeying his orders and 
leaving Cape Town defenceless, but he knew that the 
acquisition of a new trade opening would atone for any 
technical disobedience in the eyes of the Home Govern- 
ment. The expedition left Table Bay on the 13th of 
April, 1806, and reached the River Plate on June loth. 
Very wisely Popham proceeded to Buenos Aires instead 
of Montevideo, and on June 25th anchored off Quilmes, 
which is 15 miles south of the capital, and disembarked 
the same evening. The Spanish Viceroy made a very 
feeble resistance, and the next day the English force 
was encamped in the suburb of Barracas. On the 
27th of June Beresford hoisted the English flag on the 
fort and a city of 72,000 inhabitants had been captured 
by a weak brigade. The Viceroy fled to Cordoba, and 
undoubtedly the feebleness displayed by the Spanish 
officials on that occasion helped to prepare the ground 

* ** From various informations I have received from different 
people of the defenceless state of Monte Video, Buenos Ayres, and 
their dependencies, I have deemed it expedient, with the squadron 
under my command, assisted by his Majesty's 71st Regiment, to 
proceed on an expedition against those places, not doubting in the 
smallest degree of such success as will add lustre to his Majesty's 
arms, distress our enemies, and open a most beneficial trade for 
Great Britain" (Popham to Governor of St. Helena, April 13, 1806). 


for the subsequent Revolution. The Argentines, indeed, 
had lost the qualities of self-help and initiative under the 
paternal rule of Spain, but they were ashamed of the 
surrender to so small a force, and under their non- 
chalant attitude there was an eager desire to expel the 
foreigners if an opportunity should arise. All that was 
needed was a leader, and a leader was found in Jacques 
Liniers. He was a Frenchman who had been thirty 
years in the service of Spain, and at the time of the 
invasion he was Governor of Misiones. Seeing that the 
people were ripe for an attempt upon the English he 
made his way to Montevideo and asked for help from 
the General in command. This was readily given, and 
with a small force he marched to Colonia and thence 
passed over by boats to Conchas, 21 miles north of 
Buenos Aires. Meanwhile Puirredon, a Creole patriot, 
had been skirmishing in the neighbourhood, and had 
succeeded in capturing a gun from the English. This 
success, which was won by Gauchos, greatly emboldened 
Liniers and gave him confidence in the abilities of his 
followers for partisan warfare. His force amounted to 
1,124 "^^^ with two large guns and four small pieces. 
On August loth he suddenly entered the northern suburb 
of Buenos Aires. The next day he summoned Beresford 
to surrender, and on his refusal the attack began. On 
the 1 2th the enemy forced their way to the Cathedral 
which overlooks the square where the English had their 
headquarters, and soon, by annoying street-fighting, com- 
pelled them to abandon all the neighbouring streets. 
From the square itself Beresford was forced by artillery 
fire to retreat, and the situation was soon seen to be 
untenable. After 165 had been killed or wounded, the 
English force, which had attempted an enterprise for 
which its numbers were altogether inadequate, surren- 
dered to General Liniers. He honourably desired to 


keep the terms, which were that the soldiers should be 
embarked for England and not serve again until ex- 
changed, but the Spanish authorities maintained that 
they had surrendered at discretion and marched them 
up-country as prisoners of war. Beresford, it may be 
added, contrived to escape six months later. The people 
of Buenos Aires had learned the lesson that if they desired 
security they must depend upon themselves rather than 
upon Spain. The first step they took was to depose 
their faint-hearted Viceroy and set up Liniers in his place. 
Popham had sent home a glowing account of the 
commercial possibilities of the new conquest, and English 
traders made immense preparations to take advantage of 
the opportunity which was indeed sufficiently great. Sir 
David Baird had sent reinforcements of 1,400 men from 
the Cape, which arrived after the surrender, but of 
course Popham was too weak to retake the capital. 
He landed at Maldonado on the left bank and awaited 
reinforcements which were soon forthcoming, for the 
Cabinet had been greatly elated by the easy initial victory. 
On October nth Admiral Sterling sailed from England in 
charge of a military force of 4,350 and a month later an 
expedition of equal strength under General Crauford 
followed for Chile. When the news of the disaster to 
Beresford reached England a swift ship was despatched 
after Crauford, ordering him to sail to the River Plate. 
Finally there followed General Whitelocke with additional 
troops and orders to take command of the whole expedi- 
tion. The total armament amounted to twelve thousand 
men, eighteen ships of war, and eighty transports — a 
force amply sufficient to command success if it were 
well handled, but unfortunately it was placed in in- 
competent hands. The Ministry of All the Talents 
failed to justify its title in the planning of expeditions 
and the allocation of commanders. 



John Whitelocke,! the new commander, had served 
with moderate success in the West Indies, but he owed 
his advancement (chiefly in pacific appointments) to his 
brother-in-law, Matthew Lewis, the Deputy Secretary at 
War, and father of the well-known " Monk " Lewis. 
But his appointment to this important command remains 
a mystery. It appears from Windham's Diary that he 
wished to give the command to Sir John Stuart, while 
Leveson Gower was in favour of Whitelocke, and the 
annotator to the Diary declares that the Duke of York 
decided in favour of Whitelocke. This does not seem 
very probable, and though Lord Holland, who was a 
member of the not very competent Cabinet, suggests 
more plausibly that Whitelocke as Inspector-General of 
Recruiting was opposed to an important scheme of 
Windham, who therefore wished to get rid of him, still 
this view seems untenable in face of Windham's positive 
statement. The appointment can only be considered as 
one of the many blunders which sometimes counteract 
England's usual good luck ; and on this occasion the 
effect was complete. 

However, until he arrived matters proceeded in 
brilliant fashion. The first officer of high rank to appear 
was Sir Samuel Auchmuty, a loyal American who had 
served the King, for whose sake his family had suffered 
ruin, in America, India, and Egypt. Although he had 
expected merely to assist in the task of completing the 
conquest of Argentina, he was not dismayed when he 
found that the work had to be begun over again. He 
promptly began the bombardment of Montevideo and 

* " All future prospects were marred and rendered hopeless by 
the selection of General Whitelocke for the chief command ; a man 
of most unpopular character, unrecommended by previous services, 
and void of all claim or pretension beyond powerful interest" 
(J. W. Cole, " Memoirs of British Generals," i. 224). 


within a few days, February 3, 1807, the breach was found 
to be practicable. The town, strongly fortified as it was, 
taken by storm with a loss to the English of six hundred 
men, and the General acting humanely and prudently, 
conciliated the inhabitants and established civil rule. 
Many adventurous English merchantmen, whose owners 
anticipated a boom, arrived and unloaded, and necessaries 
and luxuries were sold at prices hitherto unknown in 

Whitelocke arrived on May loth and Crauford on 
June 15th. It was on June 28th that the expedition left 
Montevideo. It consisted of four brigades, of which 
three were commanded by Generals Crauford, Auchmuty, 
and Lumley, the fourth by Colonel Mahon. The trans- 
ports left amidst the cheers of the fleet, and success might 
well have been anticipated, for an enterprise was being 
attempted which a year earlier had been easily accom- 
plished by less than one-sixth of Whitelocke's army, which 
was ten thousand strong. But these proportions hardly 
represented the difference between the brother-in-law of 
Matthew Lewis and the future victor of Albuera, and, 
moreover, the spirit of the colonists had risen, and they 
rejected both the feeble restrictions of Spain and the 
new prosperity offered by England. The first mistake 
was made in landing at Ensenada, 48 miles south of 
Buenos Aires, and the troops had to make long marches 
through deep swamps. But Whitelocke arrived at 
Quilmes (where he ought to have landed) on July ist 
without having seen an enemy, and all promised to 
go well. 

On that day Liniers attempted to oppose the invaders 
in force, but Crauford, with a vigorous charge, beat 
down all resistance and pursued the enemy to the 
suburbs. There is little doubt that Crauford was cor- 
rect in his belief that if he had been supported by the 



main body, Buenos Aires would have fallen on that 
very day. But Leveson-Gower, the second in com- 
mand, who was as incompetent as Whitelocke and who 
was the moving spirit in the whole disaster, recalled 
the troops and gave the discouraged Spaniards a wel- 
come delay. On July 2nd Whitelocke called upon them 
to surrender, and they refused. He himself was well 
aware of the difficulties of an assault. As soon as 
Crauford arrived at Montevideo the Commander-in- 
Chief had taken him round the works, pointed out 
the peculiar facilities which the flat-roofed South 
American houses afforded for street-fighting, and de- 
clared that he would never expose his troops to the 
risk of a general assault. In this resolve Crauford 
heartily concurred. 

The General had two easy and certain means of 
attaining his object. He might blockade the town 
and so starve it into surrender, or he might bombard 
it. But unfortunately he was too unstable to perse- 
vere in his previous resolution, and he allowed Leveson- 
Gower to persuade him to adopt a preposterous scheme 
of assault. It was decided that on July 5th the troops 
should be divided into eight columns, and orders were 
actually issued that they should advance with their 
muskets unloaded, lest they should be tempted to waste 
time in returning the enemy's fire. The columns were 
to march through the town until each had arrived at 
the square nearest the river. Then they were to halt 
and, apparently, do nothing, for no further orders 
were issued. 

The attack began at half-past six in the morning. 
When the English had entered the town a withering 
fire was poured upon them from innumerable houses. 
But they pushed gallantly on. Auchmuty, who was on 
the left, made his way to the Retiro and the Plaza de 


Toros, where he captured thirty-two guns and six hun- 
dred prisoners. The troops on the right seized the 
Residencia. But these successes were of no avail through 
lack of a competent guiding mind ; the column leaders 
did not even know the whereabouts of the Commander- 
in-Chief, much less what he wished them to do, and 
further, the ill-judged scheme had borne its natural 
fruit in several serious disasters. 

Crauford had seized the Convent of San Domingo, 
but he was surrounded by a very large force of the 
enemy who kept up a deadly fire of musketry and 
artillery, and by half-past four in the afternoon he 
was compelled to surrender. The same fate befell 
columns under Colonel Cadogan and Colonel Duff. 
In this day's fighting the English lost 70 officers and 
1,130 men, killed and wounded, while prisoners amounted 
to 120 and 1,500. 

Whitelocke and Auchmuty were now besieged in the 
Retiro. Their army had suffered severely, but they had 
still a large and efficient force, they had command of the 
sea, and the knowledge that the English Government 
would support them with all its available strength. Even 
if ordinary skill were out of the question, ordinary reso- 
lution would quickly have retrieved the initial reverses. 
But it was not to be. 

Flushed by his success. General Liniers the next 
day sent a flag of truce to Whitelocke proposing to 
surrender all his prisoners if the English would evacuate 
Buenos Aires. He probably hardly expected anything 
but rejection of such terms, but the civilian Alzaga 
seemed to have had a better appreciation of the character 
of Whitelocke and insisted that Montevideo should be 
added to Buenos Aires. Nothing could be lost by 
making extravagant demands. The panic-stricken 
Whitelocke agreed to everything. At first he seems 




to have hesitated a little, but Liniers had added the 
menace that he could not be responsible for the safety 
of the prisoners if the attack were renewed. In any 
case such a threat should have been treated with con- 
tempt, but it was, as it happened, perfectly empty, for 
the life and property of every inhabitant of Montevideo 
were in Whitelocke's power. 

Finally, he accepted the terms of surrender without 
raising the slightest objection to the inclusion of Monte- 
video, and taking great credit to himself for his humanity 
in yielding to Linier's threat, he wrote complacently : 
" Influenced by this consideration, which I knew to 
be founded in fact, and reflecting of how little advan- 
tage would be the possession of a country the inhabitants 
of which were so absolutely hostile, I resolved to forego 
the advantages which the bravery of the troops had ob- 
tained, and acceded to a treaty, which I trust will meet 
the approbation of his Majesty." 

He had signified his willingness to withdraw from 
Buenos Aires in forty-eight hours and from Montevideo 
in two months. As the Judge-Advocate remarked at the 
subsequent trial : " He is his own accuser : he has fur- 
nished the strongest testimony against himself." The 
English army sailed from Buenos Aires on July 12th, 
from Montevideo on September 9, 1807. 

Seldom has there been such a fine army and such 
splendid officers under such a pusillanimous commander. 
A young officer ^ on the staff remarks that on many of 
the street corners in Montevideo was written : " General 
Whitelocke is either a coward or a traitor I Perhaps 
both!" He also tells us: "All the English merchants 
are in an uproar. They say the losses will be im- 
mense ; that upwards of three millions worth of pro- 
perty is on its way to this country, and that, if it is 
* See " A Memoir of Sir Samuel Ford Whittingham " 24, 25.' 


given up; half the merchants in England will be ruined. 
God knows what will be the result of this unfortunate 
affair. It appears to me one of the most severe blows 
that England has ever received." Whittingham adds, 
with some penetration, that *^the period of a revo- 
lution " was ** not far distant." 

It is some small consolation that the court-martials 
y administered even-handed justice. The most important 
tribunal adjudged "that the said Lieutenant-General 
Whitelocke be cashiered, and declared totally unfit and 
unworthy to serve his Majesty in any military capacity 
whatever." On the other hand Popham, who had dis- 
obeyed his orders in initiating the whole scheme, was 
severely reprimanded, but received a sword of honour 
from the City of London and a few months later was 
given an important command. 

Sir David Baird, who had sanctioned Popham's adven- 
ture, was censured and recalled from the Cape, but he 
also was given the chief command of the very same 
expedition as Popham — that against Copenhagen. It 
is certain that public opinion would not have sanctioned 
any severe measures against officers who had been 
zealous in the South American attempt. 

The most noticeable point throughout the whole affair 
is the eagerness of the English commercial world, which 
was dreading the loss of the Continental markets and was 
rightly convinced that the discovery of new outlets was a 
matter of life and death. 

The remarks of the Judge-Advocate condense the whole 
case : " By this most unfortunate event all the hopes have 
been defeated which had been justly and generally enter- 
tained, of discovering new markets for our manufactures, 
of giving a wider scope to the spirit and enterprise of our 
merchants, of opening new sources of treasure, and new 
fields for exertion in supplying either the rude wants of 


countries emerging from barbarism, or the artificial and 
increasing demands of luxury and refinement, in those 
remote quarters of the globe. Important as these objects 
must be at all times to this country, the state of Europe, 
and the attempts that have been daily making to exclude 
us from our accustomed intercourse with the Continent, 
have added to the importance of these objects, and to the 
disappointment of these hopes." It is, perhaps, doubtful 
whether England could have held any considerable 
territory in Argentina, for a revolutionary spirit was 
rapidly being wafted into South America from Europe, 
and though the population was small the country was 
vast, and if the population had continued hostile the diffi- 
culty of either conciliating or conquering them would 
have been immense. But, doubtless, the retention of 
Montevideo and the territory now called Uruguay would 
have been feasible, and would have been highly beneficial 
both to England and South America. To have had one 
country in South America governed upon liberal and 
conservative principles, with an enlightened system of 
commerce and complete security for life and property, 
would have been an incalculable benefit, and would un- 
doubtedly been a salutary check upon the wars and 
revolutions which have devastated South America since 
the overthrow of the Spanish dominion. 



When the English retired from Buenos Aires and 
Montevideo there seemed no reason to expect any 
change in the relations between Argentina and the 
mother country. The Spanish rule was not rigorous, 
and, from a financial point of view, its policy was now 
highly favourable to the colonists. They also warmly 
sympathised with their European kinsmen in the 
apparently hopeless struggle against the oppression of 
Napoleon. When Charles IV. abdicated in 1808, all the 
Spanish-American dependencies hailed Ferdinand VII. 
as their King with enthusiasm. Nothing seemed less 
likely than any kind of disloyalty. And yet a very few 
years saw the beginning of a struggle which ended in an 
old and haughty nation being stripped of every one of 
the dominions she possessed on the American continent, 
and sinking into a state of lethargy and decay from which, 
after the lapse of a century, there seems little prospect of 
a "Roman recovery." The causes of this strange 
phenomenon certainly do not seem adequate. It is, of 
course, obvious that the weakness of the Home Govern- 
ment and their own successful repulse of the English 
showed the Argentines that if they had the will to be 
independent there was no doubt about the power. 
Again, their sense of importance could not but be 
increased by the eagerness with which foreigners sought 




for a share in their trade, and Cisneros, the Viceroy, had 
strengthened this impression by admitting neutrals un- 
reservedly to the South American trade — a step which he 
took with great reluctance. But neither of these circum- 
stances could have had any effect if goodwill and loyalty 
had remained unimpaired. These had probably been 
undermined by the jealousy between Creole and Spaniard, 
by the pride of caste shown by the latter towards the 
former, and by the preference always given to Spaniards 
in the matter of official appointments. As the people 
of Argentina increased in consciousness of worth and 
power, they would be the less willing to brook this 
assumption of superiority, and doubtless hot-headed 
young men had frequently discussed the possibility of 
the step for which the cant term is now "cutting the 
painter." There is a further circumstance which may 
have had influence on the course of events. Able and 
ambitious men could not but see that in the turmoil 
of revolution, followed by independence, there was a 
prospect of unbounded riches and power, which, how- 
ever speculative, is always more attractive to such minds 
than to be seated in the mean. Indeed a certain 
Francisco Miranda from Caracas, ex-volunteer insWash- 
ington's army, had, at the close of the war, discussed 
Spanish emancipation with Washington himself. He 
then visited Europe, fought in the French revolutionary 
army, and actually attained to the rank of general. His 
efforts subsequently to induce Pitt or President Adams 
to initiate a war of liberation in South America were, 
however, unsuccessful, but his constant intrigues with 
Spanish Americans show that the project was un- 
doubtedly in the air. 

Yet when we have gone over the meagre list of possible 
causes, we cannot but attribute the chief place to one 
which strengthened all the circumstances favourable to 


change and neutralised or reversed those which were 
favourable. This was the doctrine of the Rights of Man 
or, to be plain, the revolutionary spirit itself. Its in- 
fluenc ewas felt by all classes, and it caused ferment and 
bloodshed in such widely different places as Ireland 
and the West Indies. It had already invaded England, 
and afterwards attacked her ancient rival and overthrew 
the French monarchy and trampled down the French 
Church. Thus, this purely moral cause must be taken 
as the efficient factor of the Spanish-American Revolu- 
tion ; the others could have effected nothing had not 
the seemingly barren dogma of equality provided an 
atmosphere and a soil ready to foster any revolutionary 
seed that might find its way to South America. 

Ferdinand VII. was proclaimed King in 1808. The 
heroic Liniers was then Viceroy at Buenos Aires, but 
doubtless his French nationality gave rise to suspicions, 
and as soon as the news came that Joseph, the puppet of 
Napoleon, had been imposed upon Spain, the French- 
man was deposed, and on July 19, 1809, Cisneros became 
Viceroy in the name of Ferdinand. As stated above, he 
threw open the ports with startling results, for the 
customs revenue was immediately quadrupled. And yet 
this wise measure revealed to the people their strength 
and self-sufficiency, and may have predisposed them to 

On the 13th of May, 18 10, news came from Spain that 
the mother country was now under the heel of France 
and had no longer any power to help or control them. 
Cisneros was in a very difficult situation. On May 25th 
he consented to the formation of a Council under the 

* " The Liberal Creoles were delighted, for experience showed 
them the immense resources of their country, and proved that it 
could subsist upon its revenues without asking for anything from 
Peru or Spain (Arcos," " La Plata," p. 241). 



title of the Provisional Government of the Provinces of 
Rio de la Plata, and this date has been generally regarded 
by historians as the beginning of the Revolution. Pro- 
minent among those who desired change were Moreno, 
Belgrano, Saavedra, and Castelli. Moreno, who was 
secretary to the new Council, was a man of large views, 
irresistible enthusiasm, and full of daring. Belgrano was 
equally fervent in the cause and was devoted to Moreno, 
content to serve him without reward for the liberation of 
Spanish America, and he was one of the few men in the 
Province who, by business aptitude and coolness of 
character, was qualified to direct the movement. The 
Council acted with considerable adroitness. Professing 
to be acting for Ferdinand and thus conciliating all 
classes, they worked steadily in the direction of depress- 
ing and discrediting all Spanish officials, and at last, 
on June ist, Moreno ordered Cisneros and other high 
functionaries to be seized and deported. A merchant 
brig conveyed them to the Canaries and they vanish 
from history. 

Moreno anticipated trouble from Cordoba ; but even 
there his opponents were losing ground. Liniers had 
retired thither, but despairing of success he, with several 
loyal Spaniards, collected a force of about four hundred 
men and marched in the direction of Peru. They were 
pursued, overwhelmed, and captured. The liberator of 
La Plata and five of his colleagues were thereupon 
shot. This outrage, equally remarkable as an instance 
of atrocity and ingratitude, was a fitting prelude to 
Spanish-American history. Before the end of the year 
the whole of the north was in the hands of the revolu- 
tionists, and about the same time they experienced an 
equally valuable success. The loyalists still held Monte- 
video and their fleet blockaded Buenos Aires. Moreno 
took advantage of the English anxiety for open markets, 


and appealed to the English Minister at Madrid. He 
received the reply that the British Government could 
not recognise the blockade, as it desired to maintain a 
position of perfect neutrality, and thus a potent Spanish 
weapon was rendered innoxious. 

However, it was very early evident that unity and 
federation would not characterise the Revolution ; that 
each Province would aim at its own particular inde- 
pendence ; that Buenos Aires would not be the New 
York of a single new nation. An expedition sent to 
Paraguay, with the object of extirpating the Spanish 
partisans, failed altogether to attach that country to 
Argentina. Paraguay, like its neighbours, preferred 

At the same time jealousies broke out between the 
leaders. Moreno was worsted in a personal dispute with 
Saavedra, and at the beginning of the year 1811 was 
glad to accept an important mission to England. He 
died on the voyage thither. But the revolutionists were 
reminded that internal dissensions were out of place by 
the arrival at Montevideo of the able and energetic EHo, 
who had been appointed Viceroy by the Home Govern- 
ment. Although he was speedily forced to content him- 
self with holding the town only, he was a source of great 
trouble to the Council and formed a valuable rallying- 
point for the loyalists. The Peruvian partisans also 
harassed them in the north, but Belgrano, by the victory 
of Tucuman on September 25th, laid the foundations 
of Argentine independence. The triumphant general 
wrote to Buenos Aires : " Our country may celebrate 
with just pride the complete victory obtained on the 
25th of September, the anniversary of Our Lady of 
Mercy, whose protection we had invoked. We have 
captured seven guns, three flags, one standard, fifty 
officers, four chaplains, two cures, and six hundred men, 



besides four hundred wounded prisoners, the stores 
belonging to the infantry and the artillery, the largest 
part of the baggage. Such is the day's result. Officers 
and soldiers have behaved gloriously and bravely. We 
are pursuing the routed enemy." This victory freed the 
north from all fear of invasion in the future. 

There is no need to give details of the skirmishes with 
the royal forces or the skirmishes between intriguing 
leaders which occupied the next eighteen months. It 
is sufficient to say that during this time the influence 
of the soldier San Martin was growing rapidly, and 
towards the close of the year 1813 he replaced Belgrano 
as commander of the northern army. Hitherto power 
had been in the hands of two or three men, among 
whom Alvear was now the most prominent ; but in 
January, 18 14, a Congress assembled at Buenos Aires, 
and on the 31st of that month it chose Posadas, a 
relation of Alvear, to be Dictator of the so-called United 
Provinces. In June Alvear captured Montevideo, and 
the hopes of Spain in the Plate district were for ever 
quenched; but Uruguay refused to be subordinate to 
Buenos Aires, and Posadas was in no position to 
coerce her. Uruguay, therefore, finally severed the 
connection with Argentina, and passes out of our 

Meanwhile San Martin, who had become Governor of 
Mendoza, was carrying on that campaign for the libera- 
tion of South America which was to make his name 
immortal ; but in Buenos Aires affairs were going by 
no means well — in fact, anarchy reigned. The appoint- 
ment of Puirredon as Dictator brought about some 
improvement, and on July 9, 1816, the separation from 
Spain was formally announced. 

The next year San Martin, with an efficient army of 
four thousand men, moved to help the Chilians, and 



gained a glorious victory over the Spaniards at Chaca- 
buco, not far from Santiago. A year later he won a 
no less decisive triumph at Maipu (April 5, 1818), which 
secured the independence of Chile, and by his victories 
he also strengthened the position of Puirredon and the 
Government at Buenos Aires. 

V, It was now time for constructive work. A Congress 
assembled once more at Buenos Aires, and, on May 25, 
1 8 19, promulgated a federal Constitution on the pattern 
of the United States of North America. At the same 
time Puirredon was glad to resign his difficult position, 

^ and, in his stead, General Rondeau became Dictator, or 
President. He was incapable, and the system of govern- 
ment by Juntas or Dictators, which had distracted the 
country for ten years, came to an end, and seemed 
likely to be succeeded by even worse conditions, for 
all the " United Provinces " flew back to particularism 
and anarchy. But in 1821 the able and honest Riva- 
davia intervened, and reduced affairs to some semblance 
of order. In that year also San Martin entered Lima 
in triumph, and it was clearly necessary to organise the 
new and sovereign States of South America. In 1822 
Lord Londonderry declared for the part of the English 
Government that " so large a portion of the world could 
not long continue without some recognised and estab- 
lished relations, and that the State, which neither by its 
councils nor by its arms could effectually assert its own 
rights over its dependencies so as to enforce obedience, 
and thus make itself responsible for maintaining their 
relations with other Powers, must sooner or later be 
prepared to see those relations established by the over- 
ruling necessity of the case in some other form." The 
United States had recognised the independence of Argen- 
tina, and in 1823 the complicated state of world politics 
made decisive action necessary. Spain was once more 


in the grip of France, and it was the object of England 
to counteract her influence. Accordingly it was inti- 
mated to France that England considered the separation 
of the colonies from Spain as complete, and in the 
December of that year the United States put forward 
the celebrated Munroe Doctrine to serve as a warning 
to France or any other European Power that might 
cherish transatlantic designs. 

It was on January 23, 1825, that the inevitable result 
was brought about. With the countenance of Sir 
Woodbine Parish, the English Minister, whose name 
is preserved by a meritorious work upon the country 
where he played so conspicuous a part, the federal 
States assembled and decreed the fundamental law of 
the Constitution. Here we may date the true commence- 
ment of the Republic of Argentina. The Revolution 
was at an end. True to the general character of her 
history Argentina displayed, in this important struggle, 
fewer striking events than any of the other young 
nations. The battles in her territory were few, and 
even the city feuds and inevitable executions were com- 
paratively mild and infrequent. And yet that Argentina 
had the leading share in the Revolution no one can 
doubt, for, first of all, she gave to Spanish America that 
disinterested patriot San Martin, who was the George 
Washington of South America ; and, in the next place, 
the victory of Belgrano at Tucuman went far towards 
paralysing loyalist activity in Peru, and finally Buenos 
Aires was even then regarded as the capital of the con- 
tinent, on which were fixed the eyes of all South 
American revolutionists, and towards which all the plans 
of European statecraft and private intrigue were directed. 
Argentina was the leader and organiser of victory. 

And what good came of it all ? It may be regarded 
as a regrettable necessity due to the weakness of Spain. 


Spain was too feeble and the other Powers were too 
alien in every way to control this great Empire. It was 
necessary to act ; but who will say that the consequences 
of the action were wholly beneficial ? Argentina ex- 
changed a benevolent, if unenterprising, Government 
for a long period of anarchy, alternating with despotism, 
but she was less unfortunate than most of the sister 
Republics. The men who fought and laboured for the 
cause of South American independence had no illusion 
on the subject. General Bolivar, the Liberator, when his 
task was over, said: "This country will inevitably fall 
into the hands of the unbridled rabble, and little by 
little become a prey to petty tyrants of all colours and 
races. If it were possible for any part of the world to 
return to a state of primitive chaos, that would be the 
fate of South America." 

/ South America was in every respect most unfortunate. 
' The weakness and misfortunes of Spain followed closely 
upon the growth of the revolutionary spirit which dis- 
turbed the whole world, and though the Continent was 
for a long time comparatively little affected by it, vigorous 
intrigues in Europe kept it alive, and when the time was 
ripe the revolutionists set to work. Equally unfortunate 
was it that the Revolution took place at a time when 
unchecked democracy was considered a practicable form 
of government. Experience has shown that it is beset 
with difficulties in all States ; but where a portion of the 
people have political instincts and capacity, public affairs 
may go on, even if to some extent hampered by pro- 
fessions of a belief in ochlocracy, without serious disaster. 
Few people in the world could have been found less 
suited to direct democratic institutions than the Spanish 
Creole was at the time of the War of Independence. 
Little town communities, paternally governed groups of 
villages, all with complete local self-government and 


united only by common loyalty to a King or Viceroy 
— such was the form of government under which the 
Indo-Spaniards might have lived and prospered ; but the 
constitutions which they attempted to formulate were 
altogether incongruous under the circumstances. Political 
theorising has cost South America very dear. 

Canning's oft-quoted sentence about the " New World 
which was called into existence to redress the balance of 
the Old " is, in the sense in which it is often quoted, a 
piece of cheap rhetoric. But, in fact, he was arguing 
that it was not worth while to go to war with France 
on account of the marching of French troops into 
Spain ; the present Spain, he said, was not the country 
of which our ancestors were jealous ; the Spain over the 
waters is independent, and the fact has entirely changed 
the balance of power. 

To suppose, as those who quote the phrase often 
suppose, that South America was initiating a happy age 
in contrast to the wrongs and oppressions of the Old 
World, is too extravagant a belief to require refutation. 
In the nineteenth century the countries of Europe made 
steady progress, and even their internal troubles were 
generally fruitful in improved conditions. In South 
America most of the countries retrograded, and the 
whole continent was drenched with blood uselessly 
shed. Comparative tranquillity now prevails, but this 
is due to the general progress of the peoples — a progress 
which it would be rash to say was furthered by their 
political institutions. The heroics which have been 
uttered over the Spanish-America War of Indepen- 
dence are discounted by the facts of South American 
history. For a long time bloodshed and tyranny were 
its results ; the people were as yet unfitted for full 
emancipation, and so little advantage has been taken 
of the experiences of three-quarters of a century that 


the promise of the future is by no means serene, and 
its chief hope is that material prosperity may counter- 
balance defective political conditions. These are still 
unsound, and until rulers and subjects advance in civic 
capacity the good of Argentina will be the effects rather 
of the industry and enterprise of private individuals than 
of assemblies and statesmen. 





The rule of Rivadavia was of great value to the country. 
He reformed the laws and administration, introduced 
wide and somewhat drastic ecclesiastical changes, estab- 
lished the University of Buenos Aires, and, in general, 
pursued an enlightened and progressive policy.^ But 
the country was divided into two hostile parties, and 
neither being prepared to tolerate the triumph of the 
opposing system, the position of Rivadavia was rendered 
very difficult. He belonged to the Unitarian party, and 
its members have succeeded in maintaining their system, 
which aimed at a Republic with merely municipal local 
government. Buenos Aires was to be the administrative 
centre and to control every province, and thus to hold 
the position which Paris occupied in France. But the 
propertied classes in the interior belonged chiefly to the 
Federalist party. They viewed with suspicion the oli- 
garchy of office at the capital, and advocated a federa- 
tion on the model of the United States. At first 
Rivadavia held his ground against his active oppo- 
nents, led by Manuel Dorrego, who were eagerly 
looking for an occasion against him ; and this was 
speedily found in a foreign war. 

Uruguay has been united to Brazil, but in 1825 it 
* In 1825 he successfully introduced Southdown sheep. 


revolted against the Emperor, and, as might have been 
expected, Argentina took the part of her neighbour, and 
Brazil declared war. Assisted by Admiral Brown, an 
Irishman, the Argentines inflicted great loss upon 
Brazilian shipping, and Alvear took command of a 
large army, which invaded Rio Grande do Sul and 
completely defeated the Brazilians at Ituzaingo on 
February 20, 1827. This blow was decisive, and a 
treaty was made by which Rivadavia, distracted by 
domestic troubles and anxious to secure peace at any 
price, agreed that Uruguay should still remain a part of 
Brazil. His enemies had already spared no efforts to 
rouse prejudice and inflame public resentment against 
him. Appeals had been made to provincial jealousies, 
the issue of paper-money was alleged to be draining the 
country of the precious metals, and even his statesman- 
like efforts to encourage immigration and the hospitality 
he offered to foreigners were matters of accusation against 
him. The treaty raised a storm of indignation, and had 
to be annulled. Rivadavia was so completely discredited 
by this transaction that on July 7, 1827, he was forced to 
resign, and thus the country lost probably the best con- 
structive statesman she has produced — a loss which she 
could ill afford. 

Dorrego succeeded him, but in reality the Republic 
was showing a strong tendency to split up, and Lopez 
in Santa Fe, Ibarra in Santiago, Bustos in Cordoba, and 
Quiroga in Cuyo, possessed almost as much power as 
Dorrego at Buenos Aires. However, with the help of 
several of these men, he succeeded in ending the war 
by a compromise which left Uruguay an independent 
state. Argentina was thus free to devote herself to 
domestic warfare. 

Lavalle was now the head of the Unitarians, and he 
succeeded in expelling Dorrego from Buenos Aires. 


The latter fled to his estates and raised a body of 
adherents, but was captured and shot by Lavalle. 
The death of Dorrego cleared the way for a man who 
was destined to have a much longer political life than is 
usual in South America, and also to fill a much larger 
space in the eyes of the world. That man was Juan 
Manuel Rosas. 

Darwin records that he and the well-wishers of 
Argentina were looking with satisfaction and hope at 
the vigorous measures and rapid advances of this 
remarkable man, and he also adds in a note written 
years afterwards that these hopes had been miserably 
disappointed. Rosas was a rich man, and from his 
earliest days had been engaged in cattle-raising on the 
southern Pampas. In this hardy open-air life he had 
greatly distinguished himself by his boldness and skill 
in riding, and was the idol of hundreds of half-savage 
Gauchos. He was not endowed with signal abilities, but 
he was a hard, practical man, full of audacity and little 
troubled by scruples. He was now the chief of the 
Federalists, but at first there seemed little prospect 
that he would be able to make head against Lavalle. 
The latter led an army to attack his enemies in Santa 
Fe, while General Paz marched upon Cordoba, and at 
the same time they sent some veteran troops to operate 
against Rosas in the south. But these were overthrown 
by the hardy horsemen of Rosas, and he came to the 
rescue of the Federalists. General Paz had captured 
Cordoba, and defeated Quiroga with heavy slaughter, 
but Rosas' weight turned the scale. He marched to 
Buenos Aires, and in June, 1829, Lavalle, who had 
become involved in a dispute with the French Minister, 
was glad to resign and leave the country. His successor, 
Viamont, was a puppet of Rosas. 

On December 8, 1829, Rosas was elected Captain- 


General in the interests of the Federalists, but he had 
no intention of allowing Federalist principles to stand 
in the way of his supreme rule. Lopez was despatched 
against Paz, who had the misfortune to be accidentally 
taken prisoner. Showing unusual magnanimity, Lopez 
spared his life. The troops of the Unitarians never 
recovered from the loss of their brave leader, and 
being attacked by the ferocious Quiroga and driven 
to Tucuman, they were in a hopeless position. Quiroga 
butchered five hundred prisoners in cold blood, and few 
of the remnants of Paz's army escaped to Bolivia. 

Rosas then employed himself in consolidating his power 
at Buenos Aires, and with this object he repealed several 
of the Liberal laws of Rivadavia. In this task he was 
assisted by a clever and crafty man named Anchorena, 
with whose collaboration he passed a rigorous law of 
" suspects " directed against the Unitarians. Severe as 
he was against that party, and detested as he was by the 
late holders of office in the capital, who resented the 
dominion of a rustic, he was really, by his masterful 
measures, advancing the principle against which he posed 
as the nominal antagonist.^ At the end of 1832 his term 
of office came to an end, and he was re-elected. But as 
his extraordinary powers were not renewed he haughtily 
refused office, and left Buenos Aires to reduce the Indians 
of the Pampa, who had taken advantage of the civil dis- 
cords of Argentina. Again a man of straw was put at 
the helm. His name was Balcarce. 

In the Indian war Rosas was successful, penetrating as 
far as the Rio Negro and destroying, according to his own 
computation, twenty thousand of the enemy. It is not 

' " In fact, for Don Juan Manuel the Federal cause was solely a 
means of attaining power. This object gained, he proved by his 
extraordinary concentration of authority that he was more of a 
Unitarian than any one else" (Brossard, "La Plata," p. 181). 



necessary to describe the manoeuvres and hesitations 
which preceded his return to nominal as well as real 
power. In 1835 ^^ accepted the title of Governor and 
Captain-General, and henceforth ruled as a military Dic- 
tator. Never was there a more ruthless tyrant. The two 
most prominent soldiers and possible rivals left in Buenos 
Aires were Quiroga and Lopez. Quiroga had seen the 
elevation of Rosas with ill-concealed disgust, and the 
new Dictator resolved to make away with him. Rosas, 
therefore, commissioned him to go to pacify Salta and 
Tucuman, and on his way thither caused him and his 
suite to be assassinated. Shortly afterwards Lopez died, 
and it is only necessary to say that his physician was 
handsomely rewarded by Rosas. He established a 
reign of terror, and formed a club of ruffians called 
the Massorca, whose business it was to murder his 
enemies. One Maza attempted a Parliamentary resis- 
tance to him, and the crafty Dictator, after the plan had 
failed, first lulled him into security by vague promises 
of safety and then sent four men to stab him to 
death. His death was followed by an extensive pre- 
scription ; in fact, the history at this period is distinctly 

The power of Rosas was the greater because he had 
the help of a skilful general named Urquiza, against 
whom none of the Dictator's many enemies could make 
head. For a long time his power was unassailable, for 
the poignards of the Massorca were ready to repress any 
opposition, and even the Church was powerless against 
him. He expelled the Jesuits, paying a tribute at the 
same time to "their Christian and moral virtues," but 
declaring that they were opposed to the principles of 
government. Undoubtedly they were to the principles 
of his Government. 

One of the main features of his policy was jealdusy of 


foreign influence. He decided that all children born in 
Argentina were ipso facto citizens and liable to military 
service, and this decision remains in force at the present 
day. It led, however, to endless trouble with France. 
It is probable that if he had been able Rosas would have 
closed the country to all foreign nations, as his brother- 
tyrant, Francia, did in Paraguay. 

But the old Greek saying that the worst disease of 
tyranny is the impossibility of reposing trust in its friends 
was to be justified, and Urquiza, his right-hand man, 
who had crushed the invaders from Uruguay at the 
battle of India Muerta and who had overawed all 
opposition, was at last to prove faithless. He had long 
been established as Governor of Entre Rios, where he 
had acted with remorseless cruelty in stamping out dis- 
affection. His first attempts to subvert the authority of 
Rosas were unsuccessful, but in 1851 he made an alliance 
with Brazil and one of the Uruguayan factions, and in the 
December of that year he assembled a force of twenty- 
four thousand men, crossed the Parana, and marched 
into Santa F6. On February 3, 1852, Rosas was over- 
whelmed at the battle of Casseros near the capital and 
he fled to Europe. Twenty-five years later he died in 

Rosas disappeared unregretted. Although it is possible 
that at the time he came to the front a military dictator- 
ship was the only possible form of government, yet he 
was one of the worst of the long list of South American 
tyrants, and it is probably impossible to find any redeem- 
ing feature about him except the fact that he encouraged 
agriculture — a service which was largely neutralised by 
his hatred of foreigners and foreign commerce. Un- 
doubtedly he stopped the progress of a promising 
country, not only for the twenty years of his remorseless 
tyranny but for the long years which were required to 



recover from the effects of his sanguinary and soulless 

Anxious as all were for peace and constitutional 
government, there was some civil warfare and much 
dissension before the position of Urquiza could be 
secured. Finally, on May i, 1853, the Constituent 
Congress drew up a Federal constitution, and this is 
practically still in force.^ Hardly less important was 
the treaty of the loth of July following, made with 
England, France, and the United States, which declared 
that the Parana and other rivers should be for ever open 
to navigation. 

Urquiza was elected the first President under the new 
constitution for a period of six years, and the country 

' Brossard, who knew him personally, gives Rosas the following 
character : "A man of the country, Rosas has indeed been the chief 
of the reaction of men of the country against the predominant 
influence of the town. Steeped in the prejudices of Castilian pride, 
he loathes all foreigners alike. Their energy and capital might 
enrich his country, but he accords them a grudging welcome. 
Being an agriculturist by birth, by training, and by taste, he is 
little interested in industry. This preference has inspired several 
good measures ; he sets a good example in his estates, which are 
perfectly managed and cultivated. He has encouraged the culture 
of cereals, and thus under his rule he has justified the extremely 
high custom duty by which he struck a blow at the wheat formerly 
demanded by Buenos Aires from North America. In other 
measures he has overshot his mark. Having been brought up in 
the rigid principles of the Spanish colonial system, he does not 
understand trade, and only permits it when surrounded by prohibi- 
tive tariffs and stringent custom duties. Thus we have stagnation 
in commerce and industry and complete neglect of objects of 
material utility" ("Considerations," pp. 458-9). 

" Although the constitution of Argentina is in form Federal, the 
logic of facts has been too strong for the intentions of its framers. 
The immense importance of Buenos Aires has, in effect, forced 
upon the Republic a centralised form of government, and the 
Provinces are largely under the direct control of the administration 
at the capital. 


began to recuperate. The port of Rosario sprang into 
being, and the other river cities rapidly doubled in 
population. But towards the end of Urquiza's term 
civil troubles were renewed. The Province of Buenos 
Aires had been left outside the Confederation and was 
in a position of antagonism to the other Provinces. The 
party of the capital was called the Portenos — the men of 
the Port — and they took the place of the old Unitarian 
party. In 1859 Buenos Aires actually declared war upon 
the Federal Government, but Urquiza defeated its forces. 
Before a settlement could be made his term of office 
expired and he was succeeded by Dr. Durqui. For- 
tunately, the Governor of Buenos Aires, Bartolemo 
Mitre, was a true patriot, and though he was obliged 
to make war upon the President his efforts were directed 
to settling the Federal question, and they were, for the 
time, successful. Urquiza evacuated the capital and 
retired southwards. Mitre followed him with a large 
army, and in October, 1861, defeated him at Pavon 
and himself became President. 

It would have been well if the energies of Mitre had 
been left unhampered to settle the thorny question of the 
respective claims of the Portenos and the provincials, 
but it was the misfortune of Argentina to be suddenly 
involved in the most serious foreign war of its history. 
This was the great Paraguayan war. 

The occasion of the hostilities was Uruguay. That 
country had long been distracted by the savage political 
strife of the Colorados and Blancos, and in 1864 the 
Blancos, having got the upper hand, elected Dr. Aguirre 
to the Presidency, who, by his rigorous measures against 
all suspected of disaffection, excited the resentment of 
both Argentina and Brazil. Both of these countries 
had important stock-raising interests on the Uruguay 
frontiers, and in the civil turmoil their subjects were 


frequently subjected to extortion and plunder. Having 
incurred the hostility of its too-powerful neighbours, 
Uruguay looked about for an ally, and found one in 
General Lopez, the Dictator of Paraguay. 

Lopez in his youth had visited Europe, admired the 
great armies of the Continent, and returned convinced 
that he might play the part of Napoleon in South 
America. He had still hardly reached middle age and 
was able, cruel, and obstinate. He devoted all his efforts 
to raising and equipping an army by which he hoped to 
make himself the arbiter of South American politics. 
Accordingly he welcomed the appeal of Uruguay, and 
declared that he would regard an invasion of Uruguay 
by Brazil as an unfriendly act. When Brazil attacked 
Uruguay he did not, indeed, hasten to fulfil his promise ; 
he cared nothing for the Colorados or Blancos, and the 
difficulties of invading Brazil were at first insuperable, 
but he was awaiting a favourable opportunity for his 
own aggrandisement. As far as Uruguay was concerned 
the Brazilians soon settled the matter ; they beat down 
all resistance, set up Flores as President in February, 
1865, and having established good relations with Monte- 
video, withdrew their army. But Lopez was a more 
difficult problem. 

Lopez had already declared war ; he had attacked 
Brazilian ships and made preparations to invade Rio 
Grande do Sul. His main object was to crush the 
Brazilian troops in the Plate district before they could 
be reinforced. His plans were bold, but there appeared 
no reason why they should not be successful. He had 
forty-five thousand infantry, ten thousand cavalry, and 
adequate artillery. Another fact in his favour was the 
friendship of Urquiza, now Governor of Corrientes, who 
was the enemy of Mitre. Both Brazil and Paraguay 
requested permission from Mitre to march their army 


through Misiones, but the President wished to remain 
neutral and refused both requests. Lopez, however, was 
dismayed by no obstacle, and directed General Robles 
with twenty-five thousand men to invade Corrientes. 
They soon overran the province. Argentina was in 
an awkward position, for her regular army amounted 
to six thousand men only, but she had the support of 
Brazil and Uruguay. On June 2, 1865, the defeat of the 
Paraguayan fleet by Brazil at Riachuelo baulked Lopez's 
schemes of an offensive war, and the allies prepared to 
invade Corrientes. Lopez was further hampered by the 
defection of Urquiza, who finally refused to assist him. 

The plan for the invasion of Rio Grande had not been 
abandoned, but the Paraguayan force was opposed by 
that of Brazil and Uruguay on August 17th, and suffered 
defeat. A month later the defeated army under Erti- 
garribia surrendered. Before the end of the year Lopez 
was compelled to evacuate the Argentine territory. 

But his position was less unfavourable than might be 
supposed upon a comparison of the resources of the 
contending countries, for he had an excellent army and 
the country between the Parana and the Paraguay was 
admirably adapted to defensive operations. It was 
densely wooded and liable to floods which often made 
it impassable. As long as he could hold Humaita, 
where he had erected batteries to stop the Brazilian fleet, 
it would be impossible for the allies to make an effective 
advance. They had an army of forty thousand men 
concentrated near the town of Corrientes, and by April, 
1866, they had forced the passage of the Parana and 
were in Paraguay. On May 24th they were attacked by 
twenty-five thousand Paraguayans and a desperate battle 
ensued, which ended in the victory of the allies. The 
Paraguayans lost five thousand killed and wounded, and 
their opponents, who lost about two thousand, were so 


severely crippled that they could not advance upon 
Humaita — a movement which might have ended the 

The army was devoted to Lopez and the Paraguayan 
made a fine soldier, while the allies, encamped in un- 
healthy swamps, lost heavily from disease. Mitre at last 
began an onward movement, but on September 22nd he 
was repulsed with great slaughter at Curupaiti, and the 
war came to a standstill. There was a long pause, for 
the difficulties of the allies were enormous and cholera 
broke out in their camp. It was not till November, 
1867, that the Brazilian army succeeded in crossing the 
Paraguay north of Humaita, and this clever movement 
of the Brazilian Marshal Caxias decided the fate of the 
war. The allied armies began to close round Humaita 
and Brazilian warships forced their way beyond Curu- 
paiti. Lopez fought with remarkable determination and 
skill, but his embarrassments rapidly increased, and on 
February 18, 1868, the Brazilian fleet ran the batteries 
at Humaita, and this entirely disorganised the transport 
system of Lopez, who relied chiefly upon his waterways. 
All through the year fighting continued, but on Decem- 
ber 27, 1868, Lopez received a crushing defeat at Angos- 
tura, south of Asuncion, and he was compelled to fly 
into the interior. A few days later the Brazilians 
occupied Asuncion. But the irrepressible Lopez pro- 
claimed a new capital at Peribebuy and made desperate 
efforts to carry on the war. After much fighting the 
allies succeeded in capturing the town in August, 1869, 
and pursuing Lopez, defeated him at Campo Grande, the 
last pitched battle of the war. He fled into the forest 
with his mistress, Madame Lynch, his children, and 
numerous faithful followers. Even in this extremity 
he still kept the field, until at last, on March i, 1870, 
while he was encamped far to the north on the river 



Aquidaban, his men were thrown into a panic by the 
approach of the enemy. In the confusion Lopez and 
his staff attempted to escape, but the General's horse 
stuck in a swamp ; he refused to surrender, and was 
killed by a spear-thrust. Thus died this extraordinary 
man, who had wantonly led his country into a war in 
which five-sixths of her population perished. 

During this long war the domestic history of Argentina 
was uneventful. Brazil was far more prominent in the 
war than Argentina, for General Mitre was several times 
distracted by rebellions in the north-west which called 
him from Paraguay. The rebels were easily driven 
across the Andes. But the constitutional question had 
never been settled, and hostility to the Portenos became 
stronger. The influence of Mitre had waned, and in 
1868 Sarmiento was quietly elected in his place. 

The close of the Paraguayan war is also the close of 
the anarchical period of Argentina's history. Hereafter, 
though she was often to be unwisely governed, the worst 
of the wars and revolutions were at an end, and the 
people were to devote themselves to developing the 
natural wealth of the country. Since the Revolution, 
her history had been almost as bloodstained and turbu- 
lent as the worst of her neighbours, but henceforward 
peace and prosperity, though not uninterrupted, are 
to distinguish her from the other South American 



The era of modern Argentina is inaugurated by the 
Presidency of Sarmiento in 1868. Hitherto her busi- 
ness had been to work out her destiny with much waste 
of human life and wealth, now her task was to create 
both. Population ^ began to increase and industries 
flourished. Railways were extended and the administra- 
tion was improved. It was a season of prosperity in 
almost every part of the world, and in this Argentina 
fully shared. Brazil had suffered much during the war, 
and Argentina profited by supplying its needs and also 
made up for her own losses by developing the vast 
pastoral and agricultural resources. The only political 
event of importance during Sarmiento's term of office 
was an insurrection in Entre Rios, where the veteran 
Urquiza was still Governor. One Lopez Jordan was 
leader of the revolt, and he succeeded in capturing and 
murdering Urquiza. The old man deserved a more 
peaceful end, for, though cruel, he had aimed at the 
public welfare, and he was one of those who did good 
service in establishing the Republic on a firm basis. 

* During forty-five years before 1857 the population had only a 
little more than doubled ; during the forty-five years since that 
date the increase has been 450 per cent. (Dawson, "South 
American Republics" i. 143). 


After much bloodshed the rebellion was suppressed by 
young Julio Roca, a rising soldier. 

Sarmiento's term of office came to an end in 1874. 
Mitre, favoured by the Porteiios, and Dr. Avellaneda 
were rivals for the succession, and the latter became 
President, greatly to the annoyance of the Portenos. 
He introduced a more economical policy, and the 
country continued to prosper, but by far the most 
important event of the time was the reduction of 
Patagonia — an event the magnitude of which cannot 
even yet be estimated. It was less than a hundred 
years ago since the first small attempts at settlement had 
been made there, and Patagonia was still practically an 
enormous waste, a no-man's land, unmapped and roamed 
over by savage Indians. General Roca, now Minister of 
War, began to peg out claims for posterity. After Rosas 
had fallen from power the Indians had recovered most 
of the territory which he had taken from them, but now 
that Argentina was at peace the Government was more 
than able to hold its own, and in 1878 Roca employed 
the whole power of the country to subjugate Patagonia. 
He succeeded in making the Rio Negro the southern 
boundary. The Province of Buenos Aires claimed the 
whole of this new territory, but the other members of the 
Federation were naturally unwilling to see her thus aug- 
mented, and she had to be content with an addition of 
63,000 square miles. The rest of the new land was 
divided into Gobernaciones, or Territories, as they would 
be called in the United States. 

But he was to attain more notoriety in a less useful 
struggle. The perennial source of discord — the Pro- 
vinces against Buenos Aires or the Federalists against 
the Unitarians — which ought to have been settled on 
the downfall of Rosas, was once more to convulse the 
Republic. Avellaneda, who was favourable to the Pro- 


vinces, was determined to choose his successor, and the 
opposition candidate was Dr. Tejedor, who had the 
support of Mitre. Roca was the nominee of the outgoing 
President. The situation rapidly became strained, and 
in June and July, 1880, the partisans of either side took 
up arms and there was considerable bloodshed in Buenos 
Aires. The advantage rested with Roca's party ; the 
Portenos were compelled to ask for terms of peace, and 
at last the difficult constitutional question was settled. 
Without delay Buenos Aires was declared the Federal 
capital, and although the Portenos were nominally 
defeated, their principles triumphed in reality. The 
result was the establishment of a strong central Govern- 
ment, and this was of the happiest effect in consolidating 
the Confederacy and in binding together its hitherto dis- 
jointed members. 

This was a time of great material prosperity. Other 
opportunities will be taken of dwelling on this subject ; 
here it is sufficient to say that industry and commerce 
expanded very rapidly. There was a huge boom ; men 
seemed to be growing rich rapidly ; it was a period of 
inflation and the President's attempt to establish the 
currency on a gold basis was unpopular and unsuccess- 
ful. But under his rule, and with the assistance of the 
able Pellegrini, the credit of Argentina improved and 
a loan of ;£8,ooo,ooo was negotiated. On the whole, 
Roca's administration did him credit, although un- 
doubtedly he might have taken more advantage of the 
exceptionally favourable circumstances, and introduced 
sounder and more honest principles of administration. 

His successor. Dr. Juarez Celman, was a person of 
altogether inferior stamp. The fever for speculation 
grew rapidly, large additions were made to the national 
indebtedness, and the premium on gold doubled. The 


Government, as is usually the case with South American 
Governments, was below rather than above the public 
standard of conduct. Government, Provinces, and 
municipalities, led the way in wasteful expenditure, the 
inflation reached its height. The time of the inevitable 
crash drew near. 

In 1889 public opinion, wiser than the Government, 
grew apprehensive, and the Civic Union was formed 
with the object of overthrowing the President and 
reforming the finances and administration. Roca and 
Mitre, sincerely anxious for the good of their country, 
were the leading spirits in the opposition, and in July, 
1890, the Revolution began. Some fighting took place, 
but the spirit of faction was less ferocious than it had 
been a generation ago, and most men seemed to consider 
that the desperate financial condition needed radical 
measures. The resistance of the Government was half- 
hearted, and on July 30th Celman resigned. 

Pellegrini, the Vice-President, succeeded him, and it 
was time for the national affairs to be placed in more 
capable hands. The treasury was empty, and there was 
a great burden of debt. The whole financial and 
monetary system was in confusion, and in September 
Pellegrini was obliged to issue notes for $50,000,000. 
This step provided money for the immediate necessities 
of administration, but it helped to precipitate the crash 
which came in March, 1891. This vast monetary con- 
vulsion will be long remembered in England, and it has 
served as a salutary warning both to European investors 
and to speculators in the country itself, who now 
recognise that credit and the reputation for honesty is 
one of the chief factors in a country's prosperity. The 
Banco Nacional, in spite of all efforts on the part of the 
Government to save it, was submerged, and the same 
fate met every other bank except the London and River 



Plate. As a matter of course, political trouble followed 
industrial trouble, and in February while Roca was 
driving in a carriage he was fired at and slightly 
wounded. It was, however, to him and Mitre that the 
people looked to extricate them from their troubles, 
and the Portefios nominated Mitre as candidate for the 
Presidency amidst great enthusiasm, but the Cordoba 
section was indignant, and Mitre was induced to with- 
draw on condition that the new candidate should be 
non-party and that the election should be impartial. At 
the beginning of 1892 Saenz Pena, the candidate 
favoured by Mitre and Roca, was elected, and Alem, 
the leader of the new Radical party, known as the Civic 
Union, was banished. Pellegrini's term of office had 
disappointed his supporters and few regretted his 

The task of Pena was hardly less difficult than that 
of Pellegrini. The improvement in the finances and 
administration came very slowly, but the chief troubles 
were political, for Argentina had not yet adapted herself 
to the smooth working of federal institutions. Alem, 
who had returned from exile, was still preaching dis- 
affection and taking advantage of the turbulent disposi- 
tion of the various Provinces. In 1893 Costa, the 
Governor of the Province of Buenos Aires, who had 
a strong military force, planned the overthrow of the 
central Government, and his example was followed by 
Santa F6 and several other Provinces. In August Costa 
was forcibly deposed, but the movement in Santa Fe was 
fostered by Alem, and the Radicals were eager to over- 
throw Pena and his friends. Matters grew extremely 
serious, for there was disaffection in the navy, but on 
September 25th General Roca took command of the 
army, and on October ist he rescued Rosario from the 
hands of the revolutionists. Alem and other leaders 


were imprisoned and the power of the Radicals vanished, 
but pubhc affairs remained in a threatening condition. 

Evidence was found of widespread corruption, and 
that there was no pubhc feehng against it is shown by 
the following incident. Costa had left the affairs of 
Buenos Aires in confusion, and the central Government 
appointed Dr. Lopez to administer them. He found 
evidence of malpractices against one Colonel Sarmiento 
and charged him, but failed to secure a conviction. 
Thereupon Sarmiento provoked Lopez to a duel, in 
which the latter was mortally wounded, but Sarmiento 
received a merely nominal punishment. The Government 
was thoroughly distrusted ; it seemed powerless to reform 
abuses, and there was little likelihood that if the ruling 
Ministers were removed their successors would do any 
better. Such progress as the country made was due to 
the efforts of private citizens and the improvement in 
the trade conditions of the world. 

The detachment of Pena from political parties had 
been expected to prove advantageous, but in practice 
this was not the case, for the President, having no 
party, had no supporters in the Congress, and matters 
approached a deadlock. At the beginning of 1895 the 
President found it impossible to induce the Congress to 
vote the Budget, and there was also a split in the Cabinet 
about the fate of two naval officers condemned for 
participation in the Santa Fe outbreak. Pena wished to 
confirm the death sentence ; there was strong opposition, 
and Peiia was probably glad of the excuse to resign 
and disappear from political life. This took place on 
January 21, 1895. The sentence upon the two officers 
was commuted to one of imprisonment. 

He was succeeded by the Vice-President Uriburu, who 
had also been chosen on account of his neutrality ; but 
he was more successful, and he had the powerful support 


of Roca and Pellegrini. During his first year of office 
it seemed probable that a foreign war would be added to 
all the other troubles of the Republic, for the boundary 
dispute with Chile was assuming a threatening attitude 
and continued to disturb public tranquillity for seven 
years. This subject can be treated more conveniently 
in the history of the next administration, when it was 
settled. In this year a boundary dispute with Brazil 
about the Misiones was settled by the arbitration of 
President Cleveland in favour of the latter country.^ 

Little progress in settling the nation's difficulties was 
made under Uriburu, but internal and external peace was 
maintained. In 1898 General Roca succeeded him as 
President, and it was generally felt that a man had 
appeared who was competent to steer the ship of State 
into smoother waters. He had been of great service 
during the troubles which had attended the resignation 
of Celman, and had kept the disorderly elements in 
check. He had, all through the troubles of ten years, 
been on the side of law and order, and he was practically 
the leader of a national party. 

In May, 1898, the President in his message to Congress 
denounced judicial corruption, and the publicity which 
he gave to these abuses resulted in several improvements ; 
but there is still much matter for adverse criticism in the 
administration of justice in Argentina. The improvements 
in Government methods led to gradual general im- 
provement, which, however, was also the result of 
natural causes, and Argentina became undoubtedly the 
most prosperous country in South America. The fear 

' " The boundary line between the Argentine Republic and the 
United States of Brazil, in that part submitted to me for 
arbitration and decision, is constituted and shall be established by 
and upon the rivers Pepiri (also called Pepiri-guazu) and San 
Antonio " (" The Misiones Award/' Article VI.). 


of political disintegration has become a thing of the past, 
owing to the preponderance of the capital in wealth and 
influence, but neither Roca himself nor any other 
successor has been able to banish a serious evil from 
which Argentina suffers, and which, though not causing 
civil war on a large scale, brings about disquieting strikes 
and riots. This is due to defective methods of govern- 
ment. The President may be said to have been the 
" saviour of his country " in the sense that a weaker or 
dishonest man would probably have plunged the country 
into both domestic and foreign war, and neutralised all 
the progress of a generation. But he could not bequeath 
political capacity to his colleagues, nor could he eradicate 
many bad traditions of long standing. 

His last work was the settlement of the boundary 
dispute with Chile. It is not necessary to go into the 
history of the subject previous to the Treaty of 1881. 
In the old Spanish days there had been uncertainty 
about the boundary, and during the existence of the two 
Republics the quarrel had never slept. " During the 
whole of its progress the Argentine Republic contended 
that her western boundary from north to south was the 
Cordillera de los Andes, and that, in consequence, she 
had dominion over all the territory eastward of the crest 
of the Cordillera, the greater part of the Straits of 
Magellan, and the whole of Tierra del Fuego. Chile on 
her part accepted the natural boundary of the Cordillera, 
to a great extent, but maintained that this boundary did 
not rule in the southern part of the continent ; that in 
Patagonia the territory on both sides of the Andes were 
Chilian, from the Pacific to the Atlantic ; that the Straits 
of Magellan were Chilian ; and that Tierra del Fuego 
was also Chilian." ^ 

The two Republics made a Treaty in 1881. They 
' Report, i. 152. 



agreed that down to 52° S., i.e.j to the Straits of Magellan, 
the boundary was to be the Cordilleras de los Andes. 
The line was to pass over the highest points of the water- 
shed. The southern boundary was also determined. 
The Treaty represents a concession on the part of Chile, 
who gave up her extravagant claims to the east of 
Patagonia. But she still claimed that the line should 
follow the highest points in the watershed, while the 
Argentine Government insisted that the hne should run 
from highest peak to highest peak. 

This Treaty was ratified, but not carried out. In 1883 
the Argentine Government informed its Ambassador at 
Santiago that the time had come to trace the boundary 
line. But procrastination is a South American char- 
acteristic, and the affair drifted on until, in 1888, a 
Convention was made. In accordance with the Treaty 
of 1 88 1, this Convention appointed experts to trace the 
line. The matter, in fact, was one of great difficulty, for 
unfortunately it turned out that the watersheds and the 
highest summits did not coincide, and the experts 
disagreed hopelessly. 

The question of the rivers had raised fresh obstacles, 
and the experts had brought matters to such a tangle that 
it was necessary in 1893 to draw up a Protocol to explain 
them further. The main principle which it fixed was 
that in case the high peaks of the Cordillera should be 
crossed by any river, that river should be cut by the 
boundary line. The experts continued their work, which 
was extremely arduous, for the boundary line ran through 
unexplored forests and mountains. But in 1895 feelings 
ran to a dangerous height in both countries, and the 
people of Argentina declared that the Chilians were 
assuming an aggressive attitude and were likely to attack 
them. They were made the more uneasy by the dis- 
covery that the army and stores had, like everything else, 


suffered from long years of misrule, and Congress 
voted fifty million gold dollars for military preparations. 
In July, 1898, a further controversy arose. The Puna de 
Atacama is a great salt waste of rugged tableland, 
volcanic, grassless, and inhospitable. Working from the 
north, the experts had found no great difficulty until 
they reached this savage territory. Here there was a 
deadlock, and the Chilians claimed the whole district. 
Possibly the belief that the disputed territory contained 
considerable borax deposits accentuated the quarrel, but 
the main source of it was national pride, for the majority 
of the Andine territory was of small value. The experts 
south of the Atacama waste proceeded more smoothly 
till they reached Patagonia. " Here,^ indeed, the funda- 
mental condition of identity between the '^ highest crest " 
and the "water parting" (or "divide," as it is called in 
North America), existed in full force, and no ground for 
dispute presented itself, the " main range " of the 
Andes being exceptionally well adapted by position 
and structure for an international boundary. It was the 
divergence of these two essential conditions in Pata- 
gonia which imperilled the peace of South America. 
The Patagonian rivers were found to flow from east to 
west right athwart, or transverse to, the general trend of 
the Andine mountain system from north to south. They 
were found to break across the great mountain masses, 
and to intersperse wide valleys, across which the boundary 
must either be carried from one mass of peaks to the 
next or else be made to skirt the indefinite edge of 
Cordillera and pampas, where the two insensibly combine 
and where the rivers rise. A very little examination proved 
the incompatibility of " higher crests " with " water part- 
ing " as a fixed principle of demarcation in these parts." 2 

' I.e, north of Patagonia. 

=^ Sir T. H. Holdich, "The Countries of the King's Award," p. 50. 




With this fruitful field of dispute before them it is not 
surprising that angry feelings were engendered, especially 
among the Chilians, who have narrow territory, and were 
unwilling to give up a square mile without a struggle. 
In August Chile despatched an ultimatum demanding 
arbitration, and Roca, induced his Cabinet to assent to 
the demand. 

The smaller question — the Atacama territory — was 
referred to the United States. Mr. Buchanan was ap- 
pointed arbiter, and he was assisted by one Chilian and 
one Argentine Commissioner. Mr. Buchanan drew a 
boundary line which he considered to be just, and by an 
ingenious device contrived that both the agreement and 
the disagreement of the Commissioners should preserve 
its integrity.^ The dispute was thus happily settled, and 
not long afterwards Roca met the Chilian President 
at Punta Arenas, and an agreement to restrict arma- 
ments was made. 

But the Patagonian boundary was a matter of much 
greater difficulty. It was referred to Great Britain, and 
in December, 1899, the Commission in London issued a 
most exhaustive report. It was necessary to proceed very 
slowly in such a perplexing matter, and public feeling 
was greatly excited, both countries appearing to be eager 
for war. Such a catastrophe seemed to be probable, for 
Sefior Alcorta, the Argentine War Minister, was extremely 
bellicose, but on January 31, 1902, Sir Thomas Holdich 
was sent with a small Commission to endeavour to 
determine the boundary line, and it was intimated to 

' "Where the boundary was adverse to Chile the Argentine 
Commissioner voted for it, and Mr. Buchanan siding with him gave 
a majority against the Chihan representative. Where the conditions 
were reversed, Mr. Buchanan agreed with the ChiHan Commissioner. 
In this manner the work was concluded in three days'' (Akers, 
"A History of South America," p. 114). 


both Governments that if hostile preparations continued 
King Edward VII. would be compelled to withdraw from 
his position as arbiter. The tension was somewhat 
relieved by the sudden death of Senor Alcorta, and Roca 
acted a statesmanlike part in working for peace, and it 
was largely through his exertions that in June, 1902, a 
Treaty was signed to restrict armaments. When Sir 
Thomas Holdich's Commission gave its decision a few 
months later, the award was loyally accepted. 

This settlement of a great question is one of the most 
signal triumphs for the principle of arbitration, for on this 
occasion neither party was willing to make concessions 
and the disposition of both was rather to war than to 
peace. The benefit of the settlement was incalculable, 
for it preserved the two most flourishing States in South 
America from a war which would have gone far towards 
ruining both.^ This example has been of the utmost 
value to South America, and arbitration is undoubtedly 
beginning to replace the appeal to arms. 

With this triumph of peace this modern history of 
Argentina may fitly be closed. President Roca, who had 
deserved so well of his country, was succeeded in 1904 by 
Dr. Manuel Quintana, who still holds that post, and his 
term of office has been one of great material prosperity 
for the Republic. 

' " Political combination is now possible between two strong and 
self-reliant Republics, recognising a common ancestry, bound by the 
ties of ethnic affinity, owning and revering the same splendid 
history (which has before now included concerted action in the 
common cause of South American freedom), and rejoicing in the 
present possession and future prospect of magnificent material 
advantages, such as never could possibly be secured, except under 
conditions of peaceful development, unchecked and unhindered by 
the recurrent threat of war. It is difficult to overestimate the 
results of such a combination on the future of South America" 
(" Holdich," Ibid. pp. 413, 14). 



Argentina is nominally a Federal Republic and her 
Constitution closely resembles that of the United States. 
But, in fact, the federal element is much fainter in the 
southern Republic, for, as has been shown, the struggles 
between the two great parties eventually led to the 
attainment by the central Government at Buenos Aires of 
that preponderance which was inevitable in view of the 
vast superiority of the capital to the Provinces in popula- 
tion, civilisation, and geographical position. But the 
Spanish distaste for centralised administration shows 
itself in the reluctance to admit the facts, and of this the 
town of La Plata is an almost comic instance. When, in 
1882, it was decided to make this place, which is distant 
about thirty-five miles from Buenos Aires, the capital of 
the Province, the authorities spared no effort in planning 
and building a magnificent city which should be an 
effectual counterpoise to the federal capital and a standing 
protest against Unitarian theory. But to build a town is 
one thing and to people it another ; the vast political and 
commercial interests of Buenos Aires completely over- 
shadowed the upstart city, and it remains a mere lifeless 
husk, unvitalised by the comparatively insignificant 
Provincial business. In the United States interference 

by the Federal Government in State rights is extremely 



rare and would be liable to cause real civil war; in the 
Argentina it is common and only brings about a 
"revolution" — a political phenomenon which has been 
very mild in type in Argentina during the last decade 
or two, and indeed public opinion generally seems to 
applaud the President when he brings an unruly Governor 
to book. , 

The President is the outstanding feature of the Con- 
stitution. Important as the head of the State is in the 
North American Republic, in Argentina the President 
might almost say "L'Etat c'est moi," for the well-being 
of Argentina has practically been conditioned by the 
character of the Presidents. The wickedness of a Rosas 
or the folly of a Celman formerly made her a byword 
among nations, while the sagacity and patriotism of a 
Rivadavia or a Roca have turned imminent disaster into 
prosperity. The President and Vice-President are elected 
by Presidential electors who are chosen in each Province 
by the direct vote of the people, and who, as in the United 
States, are chosen for that purpose alone. The office of 
President is held for six years, and the holder of it is 
Commander-in-Chief and has all the State patronage, 
including the ecclesiastical. In him, of course, the 
executive power is embodied. He is assisted by eight 
Secretaries of State — the Interior, Foreign Affairs, 
Finance, War, Justice, Agriculture, Marine, and Public 
Works — but they are appointed by him and may be 
dismissed at pleasure, so it will be easily understood that 
his power is enormous. 

The Legislature is of the familiar type. The upper 
house is the Senate with thirty members, two for each of 
the fourteen Provinces and two for the city of Buenos 
Aires, and their term of office is for nine years, but one- 
third of them is renewed every three years. The pro- 
vincial senators are elected by the Legislatures of the 


Provinces, the two for Buenos Aires by a special body 
of electors. The House of Deputies, which is the lower 
branch of the National Congress, consists of 120 
members, elected by the people, and there is supposed 
to be one deputy for every 33,000 inhabitants. Each 
member of Congress receives the somewhat extravagant 
allowance of 12,000 dollars, or about ;^i,o6o. The 
Vice-President is Chairman of the Senate — and here it 
will be noticed how very closely the Argentines follow 
the northern practice — and it has also sometimes happened 
that the apparent sinecure of the Vice-Presidency has 
been the step to the great office. The President now in 
power. Dr. Jos6 Figueroa Alcorta,i was Vice-President 
till March, 1906, when he succeeded on the death of 
President Quintana. Like our House of Commons, the 
House of Deputies is the money chamber, and it has the 
right of impeaching guilty officials before the Senate. 

The various Provinces have their own Constitution 
and in theory have complete local self-government, even 
to the right of framing their own fiscal policy, but, as 
hinted above, they have not in practice very great power. 
There are also a number of Gobernaciones, thinly popu- 
lated and governed in more or less absolute fashion. For 
convenience of reference, the list of Provinces and 
Gobernaciones, with their areas and estimated population, 
may be given. 

» He will be succeeded almost immediately by 

Dr. Roque Saenz 



Area in Square Miles 


Buenos Aires 

City .. 



>} ft 




Santa Fe 



Entre Rios 






La Rioja 








Provinces {continued). 

krea in Square Miles. 


San Juan 


















San Luis 






Santiago del Estero 











Salta ... 






Jujuy ... 

















El Chaco 





Pampa ... 





Rio Negro 





Nequen ... 





Chubut ... 





Santa Cruz 





Tierra del Fuego 





Los Andes 






The Supreme Federal Court with its five judges ad- 
ministers justice and is also the Court of Appeal. Trial 
by jury appears in the Constitution but it is never 
practised. The administration of justice has long been 
acknowledged to be in an unsatisfactory state and 
attempts to improve it have not borne much fruit. 
Cases are known in which Englishmen have been kept 
twelve months in prison awaiting trial, and if this is the 
case with foreigners it may be supposed that natives 
have much cause for complaint. In his last Message 
to Congress (May, 1909) the President, while paying a 
tribute to ^*the patriotic diligence of our magistrates," 
remarked that the ordinary Courts of Justice of the 
capital still leave something to be desired as regards 
rapidity of action, and he attributes the delay to the fact 
that the population has outgrown the system, which, he 
said, " is too cramped to cope with the demands on it, 


and I think there is urgent and imperious need for reform 
if we desire to avert a permanent cause for complaint and 
discredit." Undoubtedly the foreign man of business, 
whose capital and enterprise is essential to the development 
of Argentina, will be more deterred by defects in the 
administration of justice than any other circumstance, for 
if there is the probability of pecuniary loss in civil cases 
and discomfort and persecution for his subordinates in 
the criminal Courts, the advantages of the country as a 
field for capital must be seriously discounted. It is, 
however, in far-away, scantily populated districts where 
the hard cases occur, but it is generally acknowledged 
that there is considerable room for improvement in the 
administration of justice. 

The position in the world of a great State depends 
upon the courage and endurance of its people, and 
these qualities are typified by the efficiency which they 
demand in the army and navy. Argentina is advancing 
on the road to greatness, and therefore her military 
position is a matter of increasing importance. It may 
be hoped that conditions are now no longer favourable 
to the unprofitable wars which in the past have been 
perpetually waged between South American States, for 
foreign capital has a steadying influence and the sense of 
kinship between Latin Americans is becoming stronger. 
However, it must be remembered that the fraternal spirit 
of the Greeks did not preserve them from internecine 
wars, and Argentina, flanked by each of the other two 
powerful South American Republics, cannot afford to 
neglect her armaments. It may be that the wars nullos 
hahitura triumphos are at an end ; it is almost certain 
that they will be less frequent; but there is now the 
question of foreign interference, and every Republic, 
however small and weak, jealously guards its own inde- 
pendence and wishes to be safe from the possibility of 


dictation from either the United States or Japan. None 
of the Republics as yet are World States, but South 
America is a World Power, though not a political entity, 
and as time goes on it is safe to predict that Pan- 
Americanism will become a powerful force. Accord- 
ingly, Argentina, Chile, and Brazil, at least, are busily 
strengthening their defences. 

Military service is compulsory upon all citizens, and, it 
may be added, every person born in Argentina, what- 
ever his parentage, is liable. At the age of twenty the 
young recruit has to serve for two years ^ and in some 
cases he prolongs his term for three years more. Thus 
the Republic is certain of having a tolerably large 
amount of disciplined material upon which to draw for 
an army. The peace strength of the army consists of 
sixteen thousand or seventeen thousand officers 2 and 
men, and is made up as follows : There are eighteen 
batteries of artillery and two mountain batteries, two 
battalions of chasseurs of the Andes, nine regiments of 
cavalry, two regiments of gendarmes, five batteries of 
field artillery, three mountain batteries, and five com- 
panies of engineers. For ten years after the first enlist- 
ment the Argentine soldier belongs to the active army, 
and is liable to frequent drill and must attend the annual 
rifle meeting of his district. Then, for ten years, he 
passes into the National Guard, and subsequently serves 
for another five years in the Territorial Guard. In these 
two forces the drilling is, of course, much less frequent. 
In war ten divisions of twelve thousand men would be 
available, but there might be a difficulty in obtaining 

* But in practice the period does not usually exceed one year, 
and many are released after three months. 

* The President, in his last Message, speaks of thirty thousand, 
but he is referring to a special occasion — the celebration of thQ 


them in full strength and satisfactory condition. Sir 
Thomas Holdich speaks of sixty thousand infantry, 
twenty-five thousand cavalry, and twenty thousand 
artillery. There is, however, little doubt that Argentina 
possesses a good army, sufficient for the defence of 
even her very vulnerable frontier. Upon the Argentine 
army, at least as regards the cavalry ^ and artillery, 
favourable judgments have been passed. The cavalry 
is, to a large extent, ready-made. In England two years 
of incessant training is required to make an efficient 
cavalry trooper, but the Gaucho is a horseman from 
his childhood ; he and all his ancestors have passed all 
their life with horses, and horsemanship is part of his 
nature. Consequently, although Argentine soldiers, as 
a rule, have very little service to their credit, they learn 
their trade in an astonishingly short time. The troops 
are also well mounted — not on the common Criollo 
horse, which is grass-fed, and, except under Pampa 
conditions, not over-hardy. The artillery are armed 
with 75-millimetre Krupp guns ; the infantry have 
Mauser rifles ; the arms and stores are in a high state 
of efficiency. The infantry some years ago was con- 
demned as untidy and undisciplined, and its officers 
as ignorant of their duties, but Sir Thomas Holdich 
considers that there is no ground for sweeping con- 
demnation. It is, however, undoubtedly much inferior 
to the cavalry, and pains are being taken to improve it. 
Possibly the training of officers is too short, and there 
is reason to believe that military service is not popular 
among Argentines of the highest class. An excellent 

» " Owing to the conditions of his country life, the Argentine is 
transformed readily into a good cavalry soldier, and in general he 
soon learns to shoot, because he has been accustomed to train his 
eye to the calculation of distances " (F. Seeber, " Argentina," &c., 
p. 88). 


institution has been started in a technical school for 
warrant officers (we should call them non-commis- 
sioned), which has five hundred pupils, and has already 
provided 278 corporals to various regiments. At the 
same time the pay and condition of the sergeants have 
been improved. As the backbone of the army is the 
non-commissioned man, these steps will doubtless be 
most effective. Sir T. Holdich ^ remarks : " The fight- 
ing army of South America, generally will, however, 
never be infantry in the future, unless it be mounted 
infantry. In Argentina especially, where a horse can 
readily be found for every man, and where every man 
knows how to ride, and where there is a large population 
(diminishing, unfortunately, day by day) which habitually 
exists on the very scantiest of a meat supply which needs 
no special transport, caring nothing for those extras 
which make so large a demand on English commissariat, 
efficient mounted infantry is almost ready-made. The 
mobilisation of such a force would be as effective as 
that of the Boers, and its discipline far superior." 

The Argentines are proud of their army, and with 
reason, for its history is more illustrious than that of 
any other Latin American people. They twice con- 
quered the English under some of our best (and one 
of our worst) generals. The exploits of San Martin in 
Chile are among the most glorious in the history of 
the continent. The Argentine army also had a large 
share in the reduction of Paraguay, then the strongest 
military power in South America, and there seems to be 
every probability that it will maintain its reputation. 
It may, however, be reasonably doubted whether it is 
equal in military efficiency to the army of Chile, and it 
rests with wealthy and influential Argentines to make 
the choice of Hercules, and, preferring the national 
* " The Countries of the King's Award," p. 104. 


good to luxury and pleasure, encourage by their active 
example the military traditions of the race. 

The naval efficiency of Argentina is a matter of equal 
moment. Her Atlantic sea-board extends for i,ooo 
miles and her southern ports are increasing in size 
and number. In South America sea-power is of vital 
importance ; on the Pacific coast the ocean is the 
only highway, and on the eastern coast also journeys 
from north to south must be almost invariably made by 
sea. If Peru had possessed one or two more efficient 
warships, she might have defeated Chile, and the Para- 
guayan war was decided by the fact that the allies 
commanded the rivers. Indeed, the whole history of 
South America affords the clearest proof of the capital 
importance of sea-power. It is, therefore, necessary that 
Argentina should have a navy ; but in forming it there 
are serious obstacles to be encountered. Her sons are 
not sea-faring men ; they have ever found the vast plains 
of the interior too tempting, and have avoided the coasts. 
There are no fishing villages and no natural nurseries 
of sailors. It seems strange that the Government, which 
is only too ready to attempt to create industries, suitable 
or unsuitable, has not attempted to bring into being a 
maritime population which would serve for defence as 
well as opulence. There is, in fact, little interest in 
any such matters on the part of the population, and 
the President is now lamenting/the disinclination to a 
sea-faring life, and of recent years steps have been 
taken to obtain more satisfactory results ; but the total 
mercantile marine, as yet, amounts to barely 100,000 
tons. There is, however, a College for training officers, 
and also engineers and stokers for the mercantile marine, 
and there is a Pilot School, and various measures show 
that the authorities are alive to the importance of the 
question. In his last Message to Congress the Presi- 



dent said : " One of the principal reasons for granting 
privileges to ships flying the Argentine flag is the 
employment of native crews, so that the nation's sons 
may find a new path of life, and the navy a fresh source 
from which to draw sailors in case of an emergency." 
The Argentine sailor is a land-conscript, laboriously 
taught an unfamiliar art, which he learns wonderfully 
well. It is quite possible to create an efficient navy 
out of landsmen, but the lack of natural seamen will 
always be a great handicap, which, doubtless, the 
Government will do its best to remove. It will thus be 
gathered that Argentina, in spite of her geographical 
position, is not by nature a sea Power, and indeed she 
appears to devote attention to the navy only under 
external pressure. It was apprehension of war with 
Chile during the boundary dispute that induced the 
Government to buy the Buenos Aires in 1896, the 
Garribaldi in 1897, and in 1898 the San Martin, the 
Puerryedon, and the Belgrano. Again, the present naval 
programme is due to the activity of the Brazilian naval 
preparations. The following table gives the strength of 
the fleet :— 



in Tons. 

Speed in 


Almiranie Brown 
Independencia Liberiad 

Armoured Cruisers. 





San Martin 



Protected Cruisers. 




25 de Maio 


Buenos Aires 








In 1908 the naval officers numbered 493 and the 
petty officers and seamen nearly 6,000. There has been 
constructed at Belgrano, about 27 miles from Bahia 
Blanca, a naval port which will admit of the docking 
of vessels of 12,000 tons. In 1908 the cost of the 
army and fleet was ;£ 1,849,300. But in the future 
Argentina, like most other countries, will have to bear 
a heavier burden, for a scheme is being carried out 
which, it is hoped, will be completed in five years and 
will cost about seven million sterling. The new vessels 
will consist of three battleships of 15,000 tons each, nine 
destroyers, and twenty-one torpedo boats, as well as 
several vessels for harbour defence. In the course of 
a few years, therefore, Argentina will have a fairly 
powerful fleet. That there is any risk of a conflict 
between Brazil and Argentina no one believes. In both 
countries the same opinion is invariably expressed that 
as one country is building warships, it is necessary for 
the other to follow suit, and that though there is some 
jealousy there is little animosity and no material what- 
ever for quarrel or any probability of war. It may be 
added that Argentina, at any rate, is well able to bear 
the extra burden, that it is for many reasons desirable 
that the principal South American States should possess 
some naval strength, and that an adequate fleet will 
add to the weight and dignity of Argentina in the 
councils of South America. For example, the decision 
of Argentina in the recent Peruvian-Bolivian arbitration 
case might have been repudiated by Bolivia and the 
insult to the Argentine Legation at La Paz might have 
been condoned, had Argentina been weak ; and thus it 
was proved once more that it is strength and not 
weakness that preserves peace. In this case, of course, 
the fleet does not enter into the question, as Bolivia, 
like Bohemia, has no sea-coast, but the people of 


Argentina deserve every credit for the efforts and 
sacrifices which they are making to secure an efficient 
army and navy, and, in all probability, the money 
will be handsomely repaid merely in the matter of 
preservation from costly wars. 

In foreign affairs the present policy of the Republic 
is creditable as, on the whole, the past has been. 

The Government has shown itself honourably desirous 
of resorting to arbitration for the settlement of its dis- 
putes and of encouraging the other Republics to do 
the same. In all external relations a dignified and 
conciliatory attitude is maintained and every effort is 
made to encourage foreigners to visit the country and 
settle, and the statesmen of the Republic are zealous 
to maintain the Republic in a reputation worthy of 
her great prospects in the eyes of other nations. It 
is in domestic politics that the outlook is unsatis- 
factory, and here it must be acknowledged that although 
Argentina, owing to her wealth and the energetic char- 
acter of her inhabitants, does not appear^ to the world 
in the same deplorable light as several South American 
Republics almost habitually exhibit themselves, she is 
nevertheless an extremely ill-governed country. The 
subject of South American politics is a commonplace 
with all writers ; the hot-blooded Creole, who for cen- 
turies had been subject to a paternal government, was 
altogether unfitted for Parliamentary institutions. 

It has been seen that Argentina, on the whole, shows 
a considerably better state of affairs in the nineteenth 
century than most of its neighbours, and had she not 
fallen under the malign influence of Rosas, the Plate 
District might have been the one bright spot in Latin 
America. But all the faults of inexperience, ignorance, 
and passion marred the political history, and the com- 
plaint ever is that the government is carried on in the 


interests of the official few at the expense of the hard- 
working many. 

The politics are almost entirely personal, and the 
parties have little discipline ; the leaders are full of vague 
ideas of progress and the megolomania common in the 
politicians of a new country, and this lack of experience 
and capability appears very clearly in the finance. 
Congress is not really competent to consider the 
budget, and it is usually hurried through in a most un- 
ceremonious manner, and the vast increase of expen- 
diture alarms the thoughtful men of the Republic. A 
recent work ^ on the general financial conditions says : 
" The increase of national expenditure is a constant, we 
might almost say fatal, fact, which reproduces itself year 
by year in the Argentine administration." 

It is true that a young country ought not to be 
criticised on the same principles as ancient, long-estab- 
lished States. It is necessary for the former rapidly to 
develop its resources and lay foundations upon which 
future generations may build, and such a process 
entails great public expense. But there is a conviction 
that economy and good administration are urgently 
needed, and that the future is being unduly mortgaged. 
Resentment at the growth of public burdens is very keen, 
and political strikes are becoming common. The temp- 
tation to squander public funds is almost irresistible, and 
as elsewhere, economy is unpopular and has utterly 
inadequate safeguards. 

There is reason to fear that little actual improvement 
is hkely in the near future, for the whole system is 
on an unsound basis — the view that political power is 
not an honourable privilege but a perquisite. The 
general national attitude towards this subject is worse 
in many countries than in Argentina, but an eminent 
' " L' Argentine au XX** Siecle," p. 300. 


French economist ^ points out the capital vice of South 
American politics : " Leurs hommes les plus energiques, 
au lieu de chercher la richesse dans I'exploitation des 
agents naturels, I'ont cherche dans I'exploitation du 
pouvoir. lis n'ont pas pour force motrice la concur- 
rence ^conomique, mais la concurrence politique. lis 
considerent que le moyen le plus prompt et le plus 
facile de s'enricher est d'etre les maitres du gouvern- 

There is some analogy between the position of 
Argentina and the United States. In both countries 
business careers have offered such attractions that the 
best and strongest men have devoted themselves to the 
amassing of wealth, and politics have fallen into inferior 
hands. This is better than the case in many States 
where those who desire wealth look first of all to a 
political career, but the United States has of late realised 
that politics is a pursuit which demands high intelligence 
and character, and thus the national welfare has been 
appreciably advanced. In Argentina the race for wealth 
has been too absorbing to allow devotion of the best 
energies to politics, but as time goes on professions 
will become more sharply distinguished and a leisured 
and, it may be hoped, public-spirited class will grow 
up, and Argentina may gain a reputation not only for 
stability but also for good administration. 

' Yves Guyot, " L'Espagne," pp. 188-9. 



The Condition of the People question, as Carlyle says, 
is the most pressing of all. But it is a question almost 
impossible to answer, and few inquiries are more futile 
than the attempt to ascertain the comparative well-being 
of different countries. Two inquirers with equal know- 
ledge of a country will collect statistics and compile 
elaborate volumes, and one will come to the conclusion 
that the people are extremely well off and the other 
that they are in extreme destitution. They will then 
apply themselves to another country with the same 
contradictory results. Carlyle complains : " Hitherto, 
after many tables and statements, one is still left mainly 
to what he can ascertain by his own eyes, looking at 
the concrete phenomenon for himself. There is no 
other method ; and yet it is a most imperfect method. 
Each man expands his own hand-breadth of observation 
to the limits of the general whole ; more or less, each 
man must take what he himself has seen and ascertained 
for a sample of all that is seeable and ascertainable. 
Hence discrepancies, controversies, widespread, long- 
continued ; which there is at present no means or hope 
of satisfactorily ending." Wages, price of food, rents, 
and the other weapons of the statistician are of very 
little use in attacking the problem. The Hindu peasant 



may be too poor to buy meat, but if he is non- 
carnivorous, the deprivation is no hardship, and he may 
enjoy much greater material well-being than many who 
eat meat daily. But knowledge of the elementary facts 
about the life of a people seems to have little effect in 
elucidating the question, for, as just remarked, people 
with long experience come to diametrically opposite 
conclusions. Those who have lived all their lives in 
England or Ireland disagree toto ccelo in their opinions 
as to the well-being of the working classes. Many 
observers, of course, believing that facts are silent until 
they are interpreted by theory, use their facts for the 
sole purpose of making their theory speak, but, as a 
matter of fact, entirely disinterested persons differ quite 
as profoundly. One is tempted to believe that in the 
Condition of the People question there is nothing either 
good or bad, but thinking makes it so. Probably no 
one could get an idea of the condition of the poor 
approaching in any degree to accuracy without living 
long among them in exactly their way, and even then 
his conclusions would be warped in every way by refer- 
ence to his own standards and by the fact that the 
circumstances, which to him were temporal, were to his 
associates everlasting. Further, his imperfect knowledge 
would apply only to one people and so would be useless 
for the purposes of comparison. 

It is not likely, therefore, that a visitor will be able 
to impart much information upon the subject, but 
the opinions of the experienced and the testimony 
of statistics form a rough guide, and these may be 

In Buenos Aires, of course, wages are higher than 
elsewhere and the cost of living is also high. The 
following table shows the rate of wages in some im- 
portant trades in that city : — 



£ s. 


Leading hand ... 

per diem 

o 8 


Belle wsman 

... ... ,, 

o 7 



per month about 

6 lo 



per diem 

O lO 




o 7 


... ... ), 

o 7 


per month about 




Head bellowsman 

per diem 















... ... „ 




... ... „ 


Furniture Makers — 

Leading poHsher 

... ... „ 



Second poUsher 



Cabinetmaker ... 

... ... „ 




... ... „ 








Decorating foreman 




... ... „ 



Mason's mate ... 







Mechanical Carpenters— 

Leading hand ... 

per month about 

17 10 


per diem 


Assistant carpenter 

... ... „ 



Furnishing carpenter „ 




... ... „ 



Printers — 

Compositors ... 

per month about 


Litho engravers 

i> » 




« ff 


Leading hand ... 

per diem 




per month about 




>» a 



» >j 

12 10 






per diem 





Leading hand ... 

... ... , „ 




Second hand ... 

... ... „ 





per month about 




The above figures, then, give a rough idea of the 
rewards of the labour market in Argentina. In Rosario 
also, where there are great railway works which compete 
with other occupations and so raise the standard of 
wages, the figures are probably high. But in smaller 
centres wages are lower and probably the figures before 
us are somewhat optimistic, for they are compiled with 
a view to encouraging immigration. It must also be 
remembered that their advantage is discounted by the 
cost of living, which is very high everywhere and 
especially so in Buenos Aires and Rosario. All im- 
ported goods are, of course, extremely dear, and in 
many cases this fact does not affect the labourer, seeing 
that most of his simple luxuries can be procured in the 
country, but in the matter of clothes he gets very poor 
value for his money. Tobacco also is extremely dear. 
That foreign goods should be expensive is not strange, 
for not only is it the policy of the Government (hitherto 
not very successful) to stimulate home manufactures, but 
also the customs are absolutely necessary for revenue 
purposes. However, it is surprising that all other articles 
follow suit. Meat, for example, although Argentina 
supplies most of the markets of the world in increasing 
quantities, is nearly as dear as in England, and, in fact, 
a very tiny sheet of paper would have ample room for 
a list of the articles that are cheaper in Argentina than 
in the Old World. The people have not learned to 
regard the day of small things ; they will not take 
trouble in little matters ; in dairy-farming, gardening, 


cookery, all the little arts that make for comfort, they 
are extremely negligent ; it is too much trouble to put 
on the market the hundred and one little comforts that 
are cheap and ever present in England or France. This 
is, of course, the case with all new countries, but par- 
ticularly with those of South America. 

The poorer classes certainly suffer by it, both in being 
deprived of numerous conveniences and also in the 
absence of these industries which, in France for example, 
give a livelihood to more poor people than are con- 
tained in the whole of Argentina. House rent also 
is extraordinarily high. In Buenos Aires this is 
always attributed to the vast improvements which were 
made in the Celman, times, and which have certainly 
transformed Buenos Aires from a very dingy into a 
very fine city. Complaint is made that the better 
streets and better buildings have sent up the price of 
rents, that the ramshackle old tenements which were 
swept away afforded cheap and central lodgings which 
the poor now lack, and that in all ways splendour, clean- 
liness, and health have cost money. But in Rosario, 
where there is ample room for expansion, the same com- 
plaints are made, and at Mendoza, which is almost a 
garden city, site values are doubling in value every 
few years. The secret probably is imperfect industrial 
organisation. Labour is scarce and not very efficient, 
municipal dues weigh upon all classes, every circumstance 
contributes towards making building a dear operation. 
It may be added that any man, still more any woman, 
who would consent to wait at table, would be assured 
of a comfortable livelihood. Servants are abnormally 
scarce and dear; a domestic with six months' char- 
acter is rare treasure, the subject of eager competition, 
and mistresses (according to their own account), are 
quite at their mercy. 



It cannot be said that Argentina is a poor man's para- 
dise, in the sense that his interests and general well-being 
are carefully regarded. Indeed the newspapers are full 
of complaints of the " oligarchies of office " and the 
scuffle for power among lucky cliques, who appropriate 
all the good things and leave the uninitiated multitudes 
to take care of themselves. An inquiry as to why 
Mendoza had no tramways elicited the reply, " Oh, 
the people in power here have carriages. As long as they 
can get about comfortably themselves, they do not care 
about the others." The authorities squeeze the poor as 
much as they can, but the latter yield most reluctantly to 
the process. A standing subject of wrangle is licences, 
which are like Sydney Smith's taxes ; everything is 
licensed ; the most petty trader or porter has to pay 
handsomely for the right to live, and this licence question 
is a perpetual source of friction. Besides the cost to the 
poor, it is excellent matter for the ingenuities of police 
persecution. Licence regulations are bulky and compli- 
cated, and licence-holders are, of course, liable to the 
attention of the law of street-traffic and the like ; con- 
sequently the police have powerful weapons to hold 
in terrorem over the refractory, for it is easy to awaken 
a sleeping statute and efifect an arrest under it. As 
might have been expected, there is considerable discon- 
tent among the working classes, and strikes are frequent. 
Trades Unions exist, but it does not appear that they 
are very well organised, and the South American mind 
is so permeated with politics that industrial strikes 
tend to become wholly poHtical. About a year ago the 
whole of Rosario went on strike against the municipal 
dues, and the movement was by no means unsuccessful. 
A few months later there were repeated attempts at a 
universal strike in Buenos Aires, and a considerable 
amount of bloodshed resulted from the sharp repressive 



measures which were taken against it. If the poor 
complain, they have considerable justification. 

But it would convey a very false impression to suggest 
that the condition of the people was miserable, or even 
that it was unsatisfactory, as far as an observer can judge. 
The worker is no doubt harassed by petty officials and 
exactions, but in the Latin countries, whence he came, he 
probably suffered as much or more ; he was therefore 
acclimatised before he arrived ; and he has now, what 
he seldom had before — a bellyful of food and some 
pocket-money, and, if he is enterprising, the chance of 
rising to competence or wealth. If we make allowance 
for different standards of comfort, it would be correct 
to say that any man who is willing to work hard with 
his hands can live in Argentina in as great comfort as the 
worker in any country in the world, and infinitely better 
than in most lands. It is a testimony to the prosperity of 
Argentine labour, that swarms of reapers come from 
Spain for every harvest, and return with ^^30 apiece in 
their pockets. The evils, from a material point of view, 
are upon the surface, while it is a fact that the working 
man in Argentina has, besides a fair livelihood, that hope 
which is at the same time the main factor in individual 
happiness and the best security for the economic effici- 
ency of the country. 

This subject leads us to one which is the crux of 
the situation in Argentina — that of immigration. The 
natural growth of the population ' is not very consider- 
able ; it may be that, apart from immigration, it would 
remain stationary. Thus the matter is one of great 

' The figures on this subject are striking. In 1904 it was com- 
puted that in Argentina 1,000 Italian women gave birth to 175 
children, 1,000 Spaniards to 123, 1,000 Germans to 96, 1,000 Uru- 
guayans to 93, 1,000 English to 92, 1,000 Argentines to 85, 1000 
French to 74. (See "L'Emigration Europeenne," by M. R. Gonnard.) 



import, and all rulers since Rosas have done every- 
thing in their power to encourage the influx from 
foreign countries. Several different views have been 
taken about the subject. We have the pessimistic view 
of Mr. Theodore Child,i who, while praising the "urban 
development" of Buenos Aires and Montevideo, says 
that : "In the rural districts, however — even in the 
provincial capitals of the old colonial days, but more 
especially in the new colonies, where the scum of Spain 
and Italy has been deposited in ever-increasing num- 
bers during the past twenty years — one sees aspects of 
humanity that fill one with sadness rather than with 
satisfaction, or even hope." This extremely superficial 
work has formed the material for a few contemptuous 
sentences by M. Gustave Le Bon," 2 in which he 
dismisses South America as an instance of " the 
terrible decadence of the Latin race." On such slight 
foundations do philosophers erect their edifices. Again, 
there is a natural but perhaps somewhat Chauvin- 
istic view which regards Argentina as a " puissance 
nouvelle qui suffirait a elle seule a rehabiliter la race 
latine a laquelle elle appartient et a la relever de cette 
espece de decheance et d'inertie dont elle semble frapp^e, 
dans ce dernier quart de siecle, devant la brutale expan- 
sion du monde saxon et germanique." 3 

It may be added that these two views well illustrate 
the power of the human mind, to which reference was 
made in a previous page, of drawing diametrically oppo- 
site conclusions from the same premises. Thirdly, there 
is the view of the statesman, which is doubtless shared 
by all Argentines and their well-wishers, and which has 
been expressed by the veteran statesman M. Charles 

* " The Spanish-American RepubHcs," pp. vi. vii. 

* " The Psychology of Peoples," p. 152. 

3 L. Guilaine, " La Republique Argentine," p. xxiii. 


Pellegrini :^ "The unity of language strongly encourages 
this fusion and explains the fact, elsewhere illustrated 
by the United States, that the descendants of immi- 
grants of races differing in speech, religion, manners, 
and customs have the power of effecting a complete 
fusion into a mass of people perfectly homogeneous, 
with the same mental characteristics and sentiment, and 
thus making a new nationality, both young, vigorous, 
Nand strongly characterised." 

The first view may be ignored. To speak of the 
" scum of Spain and Italy " in connection with immi- 
grants whom the mother-countries would give anything 
to retain — sturdy peasants who are the life-blood of 
Argentina — is absurd, and indeed the danger of the 
country is not that it may become the common sewer 
of Madrid and of Rome, but rather the tendency of the 
people to crowd into those examples of " urban develop- 
ment" which the writers regard with so much com- 
placency. As regards the second view, it is natural that 
Frenchmen should look with satisfaction upon the stately 
cities and wide plains in which the ageing Latin race 
is renewing her mighty youth ; but people do not 
emigrate to illustrate theories. The Latin races are no 
doubt glad to find other Latin races to welcome them 
across the Atlantic, and also a congenial climate, but 
they go abroad in search of bread. It is undoubtedly 
a good thing that the Latin races should flourish in 
the New World, although hitherto they have been 
sterile from an intellectual point of view ; but the 
forces that impel them are e^onoraic, not racial. The 
loss to Europe is undoubtedly great, but the third 
view is naturally that of Argentina, which is every year 
receiving an abundant stream of white colonists to 
develop the industries which cry aloud for labour. 
^ " L' Argentine au XX^ Siecle, p. xxviii. 



The figures are indeed remarkable. In 1857 there were 
4,000 immigrants, in 1908 there were 255,710. The 
following table shows the rate of progress : — 

I 861-1870 



It will be noticed that during the eighties, when trade 
in Europe was indifferent, while the progress of Argen- 
tina was rapid, the figures were very high, and that after 
the crash they fell considerably, though they recovered 
somewhat before the end of the century. The follow- 
ing are the figures for recent years : — 

1904 ... 

... 125,567 

1905 ... 

... 177,117 

1906 ... 

... 252,536 

1907 ... 

... 209,103 

1908 ... 

... 255,710 

It will be seen that the influx is now larger than ever. 

It is important to observe the nationalities of the new 
subjects. Between 1857 and 1893 Argentina received 

> m the followmg propc 

Drtions :- 



... .. 









... . .. 


Austrians and Hungarians 












In 1895 th^ total population was 4,044,770, and of 


these 1,005,487 were immigrants who arrived after the 
age of eighteen. That the people came to settle rather 
than as pioneers or temporary labourers is shown by the 
fact that the proportion of men to women was con- 
siderably less than two to one. The population is now 
estimated at over 6,300,000. In 1907 the proportions 
show considerable variations upon those of former 
years. The figures were : — 

Italians 90,282 

Spaniards 82,606 

Russians 9*53^ 

Syrians 7,436 

French 4*125 

Austrians and Hungarians 3A39 

Germans 2,322 

English 1*659 

Portuguese 1,118 

The remainder came chiefly from the Balkan States 
or from other American Republics. 

It will be noticed that Italy ^ still leads, but that 
Spain has nearly caught her up ; indeed there is hardly 
a limit to the migration from Spain except the fertility 
of the home-staying Spaniard. A moderate increase 
in Spanish emigration would cause the population 
returns of that ancient and famous monarchy to show 
a positive decrease. Greeks and islanders are included 
under the term Syrian, and it is probable that this head 
will show rapid increases in the near future. The 
French are declining in numbers, and indeed that 
nation has favoured the Argentine Republic as a place 
of settlement to an unusual degree. It is said that 
in San Rafael more French is spoken than Spanish." 
The Germans prefer Brazil. Englishmen do not emi- 

* " The Argentine is, one may say, Italy's finest colony — a colony 
'without a flag,' but prosperous" (R. Gonnard, Ibid. p. 219). 




grate to Argentina in large numbers, and they are 
often warned against so doing, as the environment is 
not suited to the English working men, though of 
course mechanics and others find lucrative billets — 
which, however, should be secured before leaving home. 
In 1865 a small Welsh colony was founded at Chubut, 
and, favoured by the climate, it has attained consider- 
able prosperity. Reference will be made to it in the 
chapter on Patagonia. 

The largest class among those who enter the Republic 
is that of agricultural labourers, while ordinary day 
labourers are also numerous. Many also are tradesmen 
and domestic servants, but it is probable that the latter 
abandon their old calling, for the most part, after landing. 
The Consular Office in London gives the following 
advice : " The best chances of employment are, of 
course, for those who can speak some Spanish, and are 
farm labourers, dairymen, or stockmen of practical 
experience ; but mechanics are in fair demand, especially 
in the building and allied trades. Clerks, shop-assistants 
and others in search of office work, &c., are strongly 
advised not to emigrate, unless they can count before- 
hand on a good chance of immediate employment. 
Persons with some capital, and not burdened by families 
having many members unable to work, may find good 
openings even in the towns ; but as a rule there is more 
chance of success in agricultural or pastoral enterprises." 
All children born in the country are ipso facto Argentine 
subjects, and the males are liable to military service. 
This has been made a ground of complaint, but it 
cannot be seriously maintained that a State must 
maintain a huge alien population, enjoying all the 
benefits and few of the burdens of citizenship, who 
might in course of time actually outnumber the 



At Buenos Aires there is an Immigration Office, which 
looks after the welfare of the new arrivals, and the 
Immigration Law ^ is conceived on liberal and favourable 
principles. The London Consul-General remarks : 
" The people who arrived in the year 1908 coincide 
with the requirements of the country. They were 
not outcasts or people who were forced to leave their 
native country ; on the contrary, they were sound and 
heathly people, honest workers, and well disposed to 
establish themselves, especially up country." This is 
one of the chief needs of Argentina — a rural population, 
for the towns are increasing out of all proportion to 
the countrysides. 

This constant stream of workers to the River Plate 
is one of the most hopeful signs ; young, healthy, hard- 
working people bring prosperity to the country and fill 
up the vast tracts that require only labour for their 
development. In the past the settlement of the southern 
regions has been hindered because the Government 
imprudently offered great blocks for sale at prices low 
enough to tempt speculators to buy them up, but now 
the importance of the matter is thoroughly realised, and 

' Some particulars as to the law upon this subject may be of interest. 
Foreigners may obtain naturalisation papers after residing two years 
in Argentina, or earlier if tiiey can prove service to the State. They 
are immune from compulsory military service for ten years after 
naturalisation. After from four to six years naturalisation they 
are eligible for election as national deputies or senators, but 
persons not naturalised may hold administrative positions in the 
executive Government. Article 20 of the National Constitution 
says : " Foreigners may freely exercise their callings or any pro- 
fession for which they are qualified, navigate the rivers and coasts, 
make testamentary dispositions, marry in accordance with the 
laws of the Republic, own and deal in real estate and exempt from 
differentiated taxation, travel, associate for lawful purposes 
petition and do all such things as may be legally done by born 
citizens of the State." 


every attempt is made to attract immigrants.' There 
are few countries to which immigration is more vital, 
and settlers of the Latin race are likely to benefit 
themselves by the change hardly less than they benefit 

' In the Chaco it is said that there are 13,025,450 hectares of State 
land for sale or renting. 




It is not strange that South Americans generally, as well 
as all Argentines, are proud of Buenos Aires ; indeed, as 
the second Latin city of the world with a population of 
twelve hundred thousand, it arouses feelings of satis- 
faction among those who have been watching with 
anxiety signs of sterility or poverty in the Latin race 
elsewhere. The political history of the city has been 
dealt with in former chapters. Its effective foundation 
dates from the year 1580, and within forty years it was 
a prosperous town with three thousand inhabitants, and 
the lower Plate settlements were separated from the 
Paraguayan Governorship, Buenos Aires, of course, 
being made the capital of the new Province. Up to 
the time of the Revolution it continued to make steady 
progress. In about 1762 it was described as follows : ^ 
" The houses of this city, which were formerly of mud 
walls, thatched with straw, and very low, are now much 
improved, some being of chalk, and others of brick, 
having one story besides the ground-floor, and most 
of them tiled. The cathedral is a spacious and elegant 
structure. . . . The principal square is very large, and 
built near a little river ; like most towns situated on 
rivers, its breadth is not proportioned to its length. The 
front answering to the square is the castle where the 

* " An Account," &c., pp. 328-9. 



Governor constantly resides, and with the other forts 
has one thousand regular troops. The number of the 
houses are about four thousand.^ There is a small 
church at the farther end of the city for the Indians. . . . 
The city is surrounded by a spacious and pleasant 
country, free from any obstruction to the right ; and 
from those delightful plains the inhabitants are furnished 
with such plenty of cattle, that there is no place in the 
universe where meat is better or cheaper. It is also 
fertile in all sorts of grain and fruits, and would be still 
more so if duly cultivated ; but the people are excessive, 
indolent, and content themselves with what nature 
produces without labour." 

Another writer (Campbell) 2 of about the same time 
or a little earlier, speaks of the town's great trade in 
wool from Peru, copper from Coquimbo, and silver from 
Potosi. As the trade of Paraguay alone was valued at 
a miUion pieces of eight annually, that of Buenos Aires 
must have been very considerable. As the mines of 
Peru showed signs of exhaustion, more attention was 
paid to the trade and industries of the Plate district, 
and immigrants, attracted by the flourishing cattle trade, 
began to turn thither. In 1776 Buenos Aires was es- 
timated to have twenty thousand inhabitants, but a 
quarter of a century of the new and liberal colonial 
policy doubled that number, and when the English 
attacked it they appear to have been impressed by its 

But in the nineteenth century, up to very recent times, 

^ De Bougainville, who visited it in 1767, says the town had 
twenty thousand inhabitants of all colours. He comments upon 
the lowness of the houses and says that the houses usually had 
spacious gardens — a great contrast to the modern city. (" Voyage 
autour du Monde,'" p. 33.) 

' " History of Spanish America," p. 274. 



it had an evil reputation for dirt and discomfort. A 
young English officer, who paid it a hurried visit shortly 
after the Revolution, remarks : ^ '* The water is ex- 
tremely impure, scarce, and consequently expensive. 
The town is badly paved and dirty, and the houses are 
the most comfortless abodes I ever entered. The walls, 
from the climate, are damp, mouldy, and discoloured. 
The floors are badly paved with bricks, which are 
generally cracked, and often in holes. The roofs have 
no ceiling, and the families have no idea of warming 
themselves except by huddling round a fire of charcoal, 
which is put outside the door until the carbonic acid 
gas has rolled away." He also remarked that provisions 
were very dear and that, in spite of high wages, labourers 
would be worse off than in England. Beef was sold 
in such a mangled state that English immigrants often 
refused to buy it. The lower classes of English and 
Irish at Buenos Aires were, he thought, in a very bad 
state and addicted to drink. Altogether the town 
cannot have been a pleasant place of residence in 
those days, and it was long before there was much 

Darwin, however, who visited Buenos Aires not long 
after Head and estimated the population at sixty 
thousand (Montevideo had then only fifteen thousand 
inhabitants), describes the outskirts as pretty and the 
plan of the city as " one of the most regular in the 
world." 2 Probably the laying out was done during the 
time of prosperity at the end of the eighteenth century, 
but the sanitary condition continued bad, and an 
Englishman 3 who visited it in 1852, says : " Buenos 
Aires ! What a misnomer ! The first thing that greeted 

» Head, " Rough Notes," p. 30. 

» " The Voyage of the Beagle," chap. vi. 

» Mansfield, " Paraguay, Brazil, and the Plate," pp. 128, 136, 138. 



our eyes on landing was the skinless carcase of a horse 
lying on the beach on one side of the landing-place ; 
the second, another ditto on the other side ; and the 
' good air ' of the town was the stench thereof. . . . 
There is something most delicious about the air of 
this place, notwithstanding the horrible stenches from 
the putrid flesh all about the town." He pays a tribute 
to the hospitality of the inhabitants, but the chief 
amenity of the modern town was absent, for he 
remarks : " Urquiza's residence at Palermo is only one 
room high, and is surrounded with a lot of porticoes. 
It was built by the wretch Rosas, and lies on a flat 
close to the river, with a grove of miserable-looking 
trees between it and the water." 

After the Paraguayan war and the commencement 
of a happier era, Buenos Aires began to improve 
rapidly, and building was carried on extensively. In 
1876 the population was estimated at 220,000. But 
it was not till the Presidency of Celman that Buenos 
Aires took upon itself the form worthy of a civilised 
capital. His term of office was undoubtedly demoral- 
ising, and it became necessary to depose him by force, 
but advantage was taken of the abundance of money 
to plan and to build, and though this entailed much 
jobbery and corruption, great substantial good remained 
behind. Splendid public buildings were erected, a 
beginning was made of parks, and many of the worst 
rookeries were cleared out and replaced by good streets. 
Above all, the Avenida de Mayo was made. These 
architectural improvements, as is always the case, were 
most beneficial to public order and safety, for narrow 
streets and decayed houses are nurseries of crime. In 
certain places, now safe and pleasant, murders were 
frequent a generation ago, and respectable citizens never 
passed through them after nightfall. The Madero Port 


was completed, and gradually the miseries of landing, 
upon which matter earlier visitors are right voluble, 
were removed, and Buenos Aires began to rank as one 
of the world's pleasure cities. Haussmann, like Celman, 
does not go down to posterity with an unspotted repu- 
tation, but few men in the nineteenth century have had 
more influence upon the Latin race, for every builder 
in South America, at least, has his head full of the 
Parisian boulevards, and every new plan or renovation 
is on that model. 

The city of Buenos Aires is situated on the right bank 
of the estuary of La Plata in 34° 39' S. lat. and 58° 18' 
W. long. The river is here of great width and the 
opposite bank is never visible, but though La Plata 
and the Parana are a magnificent waterway, the harbour 
has never been very satisfactory, and it is difficult to find 
channels for vessels drawing 25 feet. The vessels of the 
Royal Mail Steam Packet used to land their passengers 
at La Plata, while to this day those of the Pacific Mail 
Steam Navigation Company only touch at Montevides 
and send on their passengers to Buenos Aires by a 
smaller vessel. The splendid docks and basins, which 
were completed in 1900, are said to have accommodation 
for 20,000,000 tons of shipping. In the year 1908 
2,027 ocean-going vessels entered the port with an 
aggregate tonnage of 4,760,316 tons. The approach by 
sea is by no means prepossessing, for the bank of 
La Plata is flat and muddy ; and indeed the natural 
scenery round about, with the exception of the ocean- 
like river, is of the tamest possible description, nor 
does the land rise sufficiently high from the river to 
show off the size and splendour of the city to any 
advantage. Its greatness and magnificence only appear 
to the traveller when he plunges into the network of 
the streets. As is generally the case in South America, 


visitors have little trouble with the customs, for the 
officials, on receiving an assurance that the articles 
are " personal baggage," are satisfied with a hasty 
inspection. But it could be wished that there were 
better arrangements for landing luggage. Obliging 
carriers take it with specious promises. The traveller 
drives to the hotel, the day wears on, but no luggage 
arrives. Next day he drives to the office, where the 
carrier very coolly charges extra for a night's storage, 
^nd orders the traveller to remove the luggage at his 
own expense. An agent who arranged to deliver 
baggage within an hour at a small fixed charge, as is 
done in the ports of the backward East, would do an 
enormous business. All books discuss hotels and the 
other items in the travellers' directory at considerable 
length. As regards hotels, the usual verdict is unfavour- 
able. They certainly are not cheap, and the bedrooms 
are usually small and ill-furnished, but some hotels 
have a very fair cuisine and adequate public rooms. 
Generally speaking, there is the prevailing characteristic 
absence of the small comforts which cost so little except 
trouble, and it may be noted that such tolerable hotels 
as exist are kept by English, French, Italians, Spaniards, 
rarely by the native-born. Compared with the hotels 
of Brazil or Chile, they are very good ; compared with 
those of European provincial towns they are very in- 
different. However, in Buenos Aires the visitor can 
sleep at night without being kept awake by the pangs 
of hunger or the attacks of insects, and this is a happy 
condition not to be encountered in all South American 

It is not easy to make the reader realise foreign scenes, 
even when small towns or glimpses of natural beauty 
are attempted, and it is probably impossible to give any 
satisfactory description of a vast city, for the great towns 



and their crowds have a peculiar spirit and their own 
harmony of noises which render photographs or Hsts 
of streets and buildings inadequate and misleading. 
Probably few cities are more difficult to describe than 
Buenos Aires. Its streets are quite as narrow as those 
of Italian towns, but every one is full of noise and 
bustle. This absence of wide streets, squares, boule- 
vards, and parks greatly detracts from its magnificence ; 
the wood can never be seen for the trees. As is the 
case with practically all Spanish-American towns, the 
streets are perfectly straight and intersect one another 
at right angles, so that it is very easy to find one's way 
about, for if a pedestrian desires a cross street, say to 
the north, he has only to march northwards up any 
given street and he must eventually reach his designa- 
tion. The people regret the cramped proportions of 
the town, and, in the days of the great boom, they cut 
the handsome Avenida de Mayo through the congested 
streets, and its fine effect shows what a sumptuous city 
Buenos Aires would be if the process were extended. 
But that any more avenues of this kind will be made 
is very unlikely, for the expense would be prohibitive. 
Not only is land of immense value, but costly buildings 
have been erected all along the narrow streets, and the 
loss entailed by their demolition would be immense. 
It may be added that during a period of inflation the 
wisest policy is to spend all available money in bricks rv 
and mortar, streets and squares, for when the bubble 
bursts the buildings remain. Bombay is an excellent 
instance, as also is Buenos Aires. 

It is true that Rio de Janeiro has during the last few 
years cleared out many acres of narrow streets and 
rebuilt itself in brave fashion, but the old edifices 
demolished were insignificant in value compared with 
those of the great Argentine capital. The Avenida de 



Mayo is inferior to the Avenida Central of Rio in length 
and splendour of appearance, as Buenos Aires must 
always be inferior to the Brazilian capital in beauty, but 
this disadvantage is far more than counterbalanced by 
the prosperity and enterprise of the inhabitants who in 
these respects leave their neighbours far behind. 

Every one admires the buildings of Buenos Aires. 
The Jockey Club is probably unsurpassed by any Club 
building in the world, and the Bolsa, or Exchange, is 
extremely stately. Unfortunately the Congress Hall is 
built in a poor style and has come in for general con- 
demnation, while the Cathedral is an unimposing brick- 
and-plaster structure. It has, however, a rich portico 
with twelve Corinthian pillars, and the work surpasses 
the material, but South America is not a place for the 
lovers of church architecture. The shops are large and 
full of valuable goods tastefully arranged, but Buenos 
Aires cannot be recommended as a place for making 
purchases, owing to the abnormal dearness of all articles. 
But the streets and shoppers present a fine spectacle ; 
the architecture of the buildings is sumptuous and the 
pavements are full of life ; there are long rows of 
splendid equipages, and beautiful women, daintily attired 
and bejewelled, flit from shop to shop as in all other 
capitals, and the pride of wealth and luxury flaunts itself 
as bravely as in Paris or London. The keen, stimulating 
air gives vivacity to the inhabitants, the streets hum with 
gay chatter, and the unbroken prosperity of many years 
helps to maintain the general good-humour. The only 
drawback to the pleasure-seeker is the narrowness of the 
streets. He is perpetually jostled off the tiny pavements 
and has perpetually to spring back to the kerb-stone to 
save himself from annihilation by the rapid tramcar. 
These cars are cheap and also much faster and better than 
anything of the kind in London. It is thus tolerably 



easy to get about Buenos Aires under ordinary circum- 
stances, although the suburban railway service is not very 
good and the cabs are indifferent. The trams penetrate 
almost everywhere, but probably a system of tubes would 
be convenient. It is true that cabmen and tram-men have 
a disconcerting habit of going on strike ; nor does their 
violence appear to surprise any one, the newspapers 
merely remarking that it is fortunate for tram proprietors 
that the Argentines are a peaceful and orderly people, 
unlike the Brazilians who on such occasions burn the cars. 
The town was planned with narrow streets to afford 
shade and mitigate the great heat of summer, but now 
that its size is so great it may be doubted whether the 
disadvantages arising from closeness and congestion are 
not more serious than any that might be caused by the 
rays of the sun. Indeed, Buenos Aires is, perhaps, too 
completely a town to charm for long together ; it is 
almost destitute even of squares, and though towards 
the outskirts some of the streets are more spacious, the 
general impression is that of being cramped. The 
Avenida de Mayo runs from north to south, and is met 
by the best streets which come from the river and rail- 
way line and which, as they approach the Avenida, 
become gradually more fashionable. Among the best 
are the Calle Maipu, Florida, Cangallo, San Martin, 
and Bartoleme Mitre. At Palermo there are attractive 
gardens and recreation grounds, and attempts are being 
made to establish parks, but as yet they have not borne 
fruit. Belgrano is an extremely untidy suburb. The 
multiplication of the amenities of Buenos Aires can only 
be effected by creating pleasant suburbs, and to effect a 
reasonable plan for surrounding it with garden-like tracts 
and giving them good communications would, however 
expensive, be the greatest benefit that could be conferred 
upon it. 


The people, however, appear well contented with 
Buenos Aires as it is, and it undoubtedly possesses the 
usual attractions of great cities. The opera and theatres 
are said to be very good, and the Argentines are keen 
musical critics. All kinds of variety entertainments are 
very popular, but it cannot be said that the ordinary 
music-halls have much merit, and some of them, if trans- 
lated to London, would probably have trouble with the 
County Council. Cafes and restaurants are extremely 
numerous in Buenos Aires, but, except in the great 
avenue, the open-air cafes, in which the Latin race 
delight, are practically unknown. This is explained by 
the obvious impossibility of finding room for such an 
establishment in the average street of the capital. 
Although the Spaniard is not by any means a gourmand, 
the restaurants are tolerable as a result of the cosmo- 
politan society ; and English, French, Germans, and 
Italians can get their meals in the styles to which they 
are accustomed. Indeed, the traveller can, at a price, 
supply himself with almost everything which he could 
obtain in London, but he will be wise to bring every- 
thing with him. Cigars are not quite as dear as on the 
Pacific coast, but they are not cheap ; the best value is a 
Brazilian weed, called a Santos, which is considered a 
marvel of cheapness. It costs about fourpence, which is 
more than a cigar of similar quality would command in 
England. But it is hardly necessary to go minutely into 
these questions of buying and selling, eating and drink- 
ing. Any one who has visited any large town in a new 
country will have a fairly accurate idea of how Buenos 
Aires treats the traveller. Such towns are bright, inter- 
esting, sociable, and expensive ; they have many luxuries 
but few comforts. 

The most comfortable thing about Buenos Aires is 
its hospitality, for both English and Argentines give a 


cordial welcome to visitors who come in increasing 
numbers, particularly in February and March. Club 
life is, as might be supposed, a distinctive feature, and 
the Jockey Club (entrance ;£3oo) is a triumph of luxury. 
Most of the members are native-born. The two Clubs 
most favoured by our countrymen are close together in 
Calle Bartolome Mitre, and are named the Club de 
Residentes Estranjeros and the English Club respec- 
tively. The English Club has a very agreeable suite of 
rooms and welcomes strangers as temporary members. 
There is also in the Calle Cangallo a very useful associa- 
tion called the English Literary Society, where a great 
variety of newspapers can be seen, and the library con- 
tains over five thousand books. As there are very many 
English residents in Buenos Aires, sport and games are 
prominent in the social life, and to these the Argentines 
have taken kindly, and cricket, football, lawn tennis, and 
polo occupy almost as prominent a place as they do in 
London and its neighbourhood. This is one great 
advantage of sport, that it enables nations of highly varied 
habits to mix pleasantly and profitably. These outdoor 
recreations are valuable on that account, and add greatly 
to the attractions of Buenos Aires. Polo is very popular 
and Buenos Aires has its own Hurlingham, and good 
horseflesh can be obtained more cheaply than at home. 

Perhaps the favourite amusement of the capital is 
racing, for it appeals both to the love of horses and the 
love of gambling, which are two of the strongest predi- 
lections of the Argentines. Some men who have 
acquired large fortunes find a difficulty in disposing of 
them except by play and betting, thus following the 
example of the ancient conquistadores who won gold 
lightly and diced it away as readily. There are two race- 
courses, one at Belgrano and one at Palermo, but the 
impression they produce is disappointing, chiefly owing 



to the Spanish lack of comfort. The actual racing, 
though marred by inferior jockeyship, is extremely good, 
for the horses are of high quality and the runners are 
plentiful. But it would be well if the Jockey Club 
deputed a small committee to visit England and France 
with a view to improving the accommodation. Every- 
thing at Belgrano is of the most uncomfortable descrip- 
tion and the people are cramped in crowded pens. The 
Palermo course, when completed, will be a considerable 
improvement, and it is on an ambitious scale, but it is so 
large that it entails an unnecessary amount of walking 
about, and the arrangements for paying in and drawing 
out money and also for refreshments are most incon- 
venient. Again, there is practically no paddock ; the 
horses are hurried to the post, where they await the time 
fixed for the start, and consequently it is very difficult to 
get a view of them. As regards speculation, the 
Indian plan is the best which allows the bookmakers 
and the totalisator to work side by side, for a 
machine is an inadequate substitute for the human 

Buenos Aires has followed the example of France, 
which has discarded bookmakers, but has not imitated 
the excellence of her machine betting, for the totalisators 
at Palermo are so far from the stands and are so badly 
served that one might imagine them to have been con- 
structed by the Anti-Gambling League. However, the 
racing is the thing, and that is, as said before, very good. 
The rich men of Argentina take great delight in blood- 
stock and many of the racers are by high-class English 
sires. This pursuit is often a source to them of pleasure 
as well as of profit. King Edward's triple crown hero. 
Diamond Jubilee, was bought for Argentina at a cost 
of ;£3o,ooo and the first season's produce of this stallion 
sold for a somewhat larger sum. Flotsam and many 





other well-known animals stood for several years in 

Such a rough sketch of the outward life of Buenos 
Aires as the above necessarily gives a very inadequate 
image of the great and busy city, for what is received on 
hearsay impresses the mind more faintly than what has 
been seen with the eyes. It is a city of an unusual type, 
for it is very Spanish, but it is entirely without Spanish 
sleepiness ; indeed, bustle and stir are perhaps its chief 
characteristics. There is great wealth and the love of 
display is also great, and doubtless, like Paris, it exercises 
a dangerous fascination on the people at large, who are 
apt to think that there is no profit or pleasure anywhere 
except at Buenos Aires. It occupies in Argentina a 
more important position than does Paris in France, and 
probably the development of Rosario and Bahia Blanca 
will have a good effect in modifying its pretensions. It 
is a very magnificent city. 



Difficult as it may have been to describe Buenos 
Aires, it is still more difficult to describe the people. 
Of all the men and women who reside many years in 
foreign parts few gain more than a superficial knowledge 
of those with whom they come in daily contact, for the 
qualities necessary to gain such knowledge are very rare 
and their exercise is difficult and often inconvenient. If, 
then, old residents learn little, the hasty visitor is at a 
much greater disadvantage, and especially in the case 
of a Spanish nation, for Spain has a touch of Orientalism, 
which tends to seclusion in family life. 

In Argentina, as elsewhere, the ladies of the better- 
class families do not appear freely in public, although 
the old-fashioned principles, which did not allow them 
to go shopping without an escort, have been somewhat 
relaxed. But the English or North American com- 
radeship between man and woman is quite absent, nor 
do women attempt to compete with men in business 
or games. As is well known, the family in Spanish or 
French nations fills a much larger space in the life of 
the individual than is the case with England or the 
United States. The family exercises a more watchful 
care over its young members, who on reaching maturity 
do not slip away as easily as is the case with Anglo- 
Saxons ; indeed, they hardly form fresh families, but 




rather seem to supersede the older members and become 
themselves the heads. Under such a system it is natural 
that considerable supervision is exercised over the 
women, but the marriage usage is less rigorous than 
in France, and the unions are rather of affection than 
arrangement ; the practice may, perhaps, be described 
as a mean betv^reen that of England and France. South 
American views as to the ethics of relations between 
men and women differ very widely from ours, and a 
discussion of the subject would be unprofitable. The 
Argentine women have a reputation for beauty and they 
dress very well, but, though graceful and attractive, they 
cannot compare in fairness with their sisters of Peru. 

The kindness of the elders to children is an admirable 
trait, and it is rare to see harshness or ill-treatment of the^ 
little ones, which are such distressingly common sights in 
English streets, but, at the same time, the tendency is 
pushed too far, and the spectacle of tiny children at very 
late hours supping at restaurants must, at the risk of 
incurring the reproach of insular prejudice, be pro- 
nounced unedifying. It can hardly be beneficial to 
the children themselves. The young Argentine would 
certainly be the better for more discipline, and English 
residents are, for that reason, disposed to make any 
sacrifice to send their children home to be educated. 

The Argentines are fond of festivals and religiously 
keep the chief holy days. Not long ago the carnival 
was celebrated with much licence, but it is now be- 
coming insignificant, and it can hardly be regretted that 
an occasion for much horseplay and even crime is 

Dancing, masqued balls, and gaieties of all kinds 
are, of course, extremely popular, and for the ordinary 
evening entertainment the cinematograph seems to hold 
the field almost without a rival. In up-country towns 


the larger cate have fine cinematographs, which are 
viewed free by all who pay for refreshments, and the 
most exciting adventures are portrayed with wonderful 
vividness. In Mendoza the enthusiasm is so great that 
some cafes, which have insufficient accommodation for 
the plant, stretch a sheet across the principal thoroughfare, 
and, arranging chairs and tables in front, invite their 
patrons to see the show. This practice of bringing the 
show to the spectators to be viewed at their leisure and 
in comfort certainly appears more reasonable than ours, 
which is to drive people to uncomfortable music-halls 
and deny to the public-house, the proper place for 
recreation and refreshment, all attractions except such 
as are alcoholic. 

It is probable that the life in country towns is somewhat 
dull. A horse can be bought and kept fairly cheaply 
and, in general, the country affords good riding, but 
there is little shooting or hunting. Every considerable 
town has a nice Club and the English members are 
numerous, coming in every evening to drink a whiskey- 
peg after tennis in Anglo-Indian fashion ; but there must 
be considerable lack of variety. It would be desirable 
for Provincial Governments or private individuals to 
encourage rational diversions, for, as before remarked, 
the tendency to concentrate in Buenos Aires is dangerous. 
Besides physical exercises, such institutions as literary 
societies, debating clubs, lectures, and the like would 
be very salutary, both from the valuable training they 
afford and the opportunity for foreigners and natives 
to mix together for their common advantage. 

It is difficult to avoid feeling that among the English 
who live in Argentina there is a good deal of discontent. 
While admiring the country they do not seem very fond 
of it, and although their relations with the people are 
friendly, they do not appear to live on such terms of 




intimacy with them as is the case in Chile, for example. 
There is probably danger of materialistic views of life 
growing up ; the Argentine is so busy in laying up 
treasure that he has little time for amassing more 
important possessions. An Englishman at Mendoza 
remarked : " These people have nothing to talk about ; 
it's all uva, uva " (grape, which is the staple industry of 
Mendoza). The fact is that in a new country the population 
is too small for the manifold interests that are required 
to make up a rich national life. In some new countries 
they elect to lounge and eschew all hard work and, in 
certain cases, the people, though indolent, are cultivated. 
In Argentina the people are hard workers, but they have 
neglected the spiritual side of life. At Buenos Aires a 
beginning is being made to enlarge the circle of interests, 
and it would be well if humanising efforts were made at 
all provincial centres. 

As happens in all money-making countries, there are 
many examples of the acquisition of wealth to an amount 
out of all proportion to the owner's capacity for using it. 
Some rich Argentines buy palaces and convert them into 
pigstyes, and at pretentious restaurants it is common 
to see persons who in appearance and manners are 
altogether unsuited to their surroundings. On the other 
hand, the class of rich and refined men, with whom 
luxury loses half its evil by losing all its grossness, is 
rapidly increasing, and when time has been found for 
intellectual culture it will, no doubt, make great advances. 
Those who have had the privilege of being admitted into 
Argentine families will bear testimony to their refinement 
and kindliness. 

There is also the life of the Pampa, of which the prin- 
cipal feature is the Gaucho.^ This picturesque person 

* A suggested derivation is from the corruption of an Arabic word, 
i.e., Chaoucho, which in Seville is applied to a cowherd. 


has probably more Indian than Spanish blood in his 
veins, but he is a staunch son of Argentina and supplies 
his country with excellent cavalry. With a complexion 
of a light coffee colour, wearing a soft hat, a blanket slit 
to admit his head, white breeches, and brightly coloured 
shoes, he has been called by a French writer the Gascon 
of South America. He will not work in the cities or cul- 
tivate the land ; he is a horseman and stock-rider. His 
favourite food is carne cum cuero — meat cooked with 
the hide — and his delight is in that life of the open plain 
under the open sky, of which Darwin felt the charm. 
He, indeed, has given an excellent description of the 
Gaucho. The Gaucho has played an important part in 
the building up of Argentina, though he himself cares 
little for politics and constitutions. Before the Revolution 
he created the cattle industry, which has always been a 
main source of wealth to the country, and in the revolu- 
tionary wars he shared in the triumphs of the Creoles. 
Though rather too fond of brawling and gambling, he 
belongs to that singularly attractive type which is being 
rapidly pushed into the background with the growth of 
town industries. He has his own rude poetry and loves 
to sing his Pampa ballads to the accompaniment of the 
guitar. He seems to have absorbed the poetry of his 
surroundings, as was occasionally the case with Australian 
stock-riders, and in the Pampa the payador — a kind of 
troubador — is held in great honour. He figures at the 
fetes as an improviser, and he and his fellows are, in 
approved Sicilian fashion, " cantare pares et respondere 
parati," Many of the ballads are, of course, unwritten, 
but some payadors leave the Pampas and become authors, 
and thus a certain number of the wild songs have been 
translated into print, but it can hardly be said that the 
cultured payadors have been as successful in their work 
as Sir Walter Scott was with Border minstrelsy. Jose 




Hernandez long ago published an interesting little collec- 
tion of this kind—" El Gaucho Martin Fierro." 

The Gaucho is as hospitable as the Arab of the desert, 
and, like him, has the sense of humour and the frank, 
bold courtesy which is generally found in the desert- 
ranger. The modesty of his dwelling — a mud hut with a 
few boards for furniture — contrasts with the bravery of 
his equipment, for besides wearing gay colours he favours 
silver stirrups and as much of the precious metal as he 
can obtain for the adornment of his bridle, and though 
he seldom employs money, he always is able to satisfy his 
simple wants. It is inevitable that as settlements extend 
the Gauchos will dwindle, but it would be sad if they 
disappeared from the Pampas altogether. The greater 
part of Argentina has been won from the Indians by 
their efforts; they have borne the burden and heat of the 
day in making the nation, and they will still be the main- 
stay of their country when she encounters trouble. The 
luxuries of town life are already too attractive to the 
young Argentine, and the Gaucho gives a valuable 
example of the simple and strenuous life. 



Very few writers upon Argentina refer to the subject 
of religion at all, and those who do give very scanty 
information. There are in existence several good-sized 
works which make not the faintest allusion to the 
Church. And yet one would have thought that the 
subject possessed some general importance, or, at any 
rate, that in a daughter State of Spain and one of the 
great fields of Jesuit labour there was room for a few 
remarks upon the relations of the Church to the 
State and people, and also upon the general religious 
and moral conditions of Argentina. 

The Spanish conquerors of South America were zealous 
crusaders, as eager to add subjects to the Kingdom 
of Christ as to add territory to the estates of their earthly 
sovereign. During the process of conquest they displayed 
few Christian virtues, but in the Plate districts, where 
they were not demoralised by lust of gold, their proceed- 
ings were relatively good, and, in general, when Spanish 
America was settled, the masters were anxious to do their 
duty by their servants according to their Hghts and if they 
were negligent in attending to the religious and material 
welfare of the Indians, their negligence was speedily 
rebuked by the home authorities. One of the conditions 
of holding land was an undertaking to educate the 



Indians and teach them Christianity. The wise and good 
Las Casas laid down on the subject of the conversion and 
treatment of the Indians Thirty Propositions,^ two of 
which maybe given in substance : ''The means for estab- 
lishing the Faith in the Indies should be the same as 
those by which Christ introduced His religion into the 
world — mild, peaceable, and charitable ; humility ; good 
examples of a holy and regular way of living, especially 
over such docile and easy subjects ; and presents 
bestowed to win them. Attempts by force of arms are 
impious, like those of Mahometans, Romans, Turks, and 
Moors ; they are tyrannical, and unworthy of Christians, 
calling out blasphemies ; and they have already made 
the Indians believe that our God is the most unmerciful 
and cruel of all gods." 

The rough Spanish soldiers of fortune, as might have 
been expected, recked little of such principles, and some 
of the priests were little better than their flock, for 
Father Valverde is said to have instigated Pizarro to the 
treacherous and cruel arrest of Atahuallpa. But the 
principles adopted both by spiritual and temporal 
powers were those of justice and mercy, as far as the 
circumstances permitted, and thus there was implanted in 
the new settlements something of the crusading spirit 
which was engendered in Spain by the struggle with the 
Moors. The pioneer in forest or plain was not merely 
amassing land and wealth for himself; there was a 
spiritual harvest, and as he received new lands, he had 
new duties in religious administration and protection. 
Thus the Spanish religious fervour was nourished in the 
overseas dominions. 

The religious spirit was handed down unimpaired 
from father to son until the time of the Revolution. 
The question as to whether the power of the Church 
* See Windsor, " History of America," ii. 322, 3. 


was beneficial or not is a matter of controversy, and 
travellers have uttered the most various opinions, but 
few candid men will deny that the Jesuits performed a 
noble task which could have been carried out by no 
other human power, and the disparaging remarks which 
are found in many notebooks are usually due to the 
cant of irreligion that was common among the English- 
men of the time between the French Revolution and 
the Oxford Movement. On a subject which does not 
interest them they say, without having troubled to make 
inquiries, what they would say about any Roman 
Catholic country or what some freethinking acquain- 
tance in Buenos Aires has told them. 

With the Revolution came a great shock to the faith 
of the people, and the same principles that undermined 
their faith undermined their loyalty. The philosophers 
of France ever urged that the Church must be over- 
thrown before there could be any progress, and the 
priests ever fought against their doctrines as destructive 
to all religion. Consequently the male population of 
Buenos Aires formed habits of mind ^ which they have 
by no means entirely shaken off at the present day. 
Apathy towards religion or even absolute hostility is by 
no means uncommon, and perhaps in well-to-do houses 
it is generally true that the women go to church and the 
men stay away. And yet it would not be true to describe 
the nation as irreligious on the whole. Materialism has, 
no doubt, to some extent corrupted the upper classes ; 

^ " The obligations of religion were undermined, every weapon 
was directed to the extermination of the unshaken foes of the 
revolution. The ignorant and depraved set no bounds to their 
conduct, every thought of religion and morals, of future welfare and 
its effects upon unborn generations, were out of the question. 
Many of the youth of this province have, in consequence, been 
brought up in a neglect of all religion " (Captain Andrews, " Journey " 
&c., i. 190). 



they devote themselves to business and pleasure and 
ignore the things of the spirit. But the churches are 
crowded with men as well as women, and it is certain 
that the poor love the Church and doubtless find the 
priests their best friends. Cordoba and Mendoza are 
looked upon as the cities where the Church is strongest, 
but its general hold upon the masses is possibly almost 
as strong as ever. Intellectually it is weak ; few of the 
better-class Argentines will take priests' orders, and nearly 
all the prelates are foreigners. Beyond a doubt, in 
Spanish America there is an unexampled field for a 
devout missionary ; the foe is merely apathy, and if a 
warmer spirit were breathed into the Church in 
Argentina, and if the clergy paid more attention to the 
intellectual side of their calling, the results would be 
remarkable. But if the religious indifference spreads 
downwards, Argentina, like France, may see her popu- 
lation dwindle, and her army decay, and may be 
prevented from taking a high position among world 

Statistically, there can be no doubt that Argentina 
belongs unreservedly to Rome ; only the merest fraction, 
perhaps forty thousand, of the population is outside that 
Church. In 1895 there were sixty-eight Reformed 
Churches, but of these twenty-five belonged to the 
Welsh colonists at Chubut. There were 1,019 Roman 
Catholic churches, or one to every four thousand 
inhabitants. The prevailing religion is also the State 
religion, but all others are tolerated. There is an arch- 
bishop at Buenos Aires and eight suffragan bishops, 
including one for Paraguay. 

Education has not made remarkable strides in 
Argentina, for exactly half of the people over six years 
of age are illiterate. In 1885 some 25 per cent, of the 
children of school-going age attended school, and in 



1904 the percentage had only risen to 45, and of these 
only a fraction could read or write. The defects of 
primary education ^ are comparatively unimportant, for 
the country needs agriculturists rather than clerks, and 
when the peasants really desire instruction they will 
not be long in obtaining it. But indifferent University 
and secondary education are the curse of Latin America. 
Beyond anything else Argentina requires a real aris- 
tocracy — a large, cultivated, and public-spirited upper 
class — and this class, owing chiefly to defective education, 
is now very small. There are at Cordoba and Buenos 
Aires national Universities, and provincial Universities 
at La Plata, Santa F6, and Parana. But the unfor- 
tunate materialism is not eradicated by these institutions, 
which, in Latin America, are too often merely bread- 
winning concerns, which neglect humane studies because 
they are "useless." If the Holy See would encourage 
the foundation of a religious University, the country 
would benefit in every way. 

Secondary education (it is difficult to obtain up-to- 
date figures) does not appear to have been particularly 
flourishing in 1905. There were 16 lyceums, 450 
professors, and 4,103 pupils. There were also 35 
normal schools with 2,011 pupils. It is, of course, a 
common practice for wealthy parents to send their 
children to Europe to be educated, and perhaps, under 
the circumstances, that is the best course. But with a 
sound and liberal course of studies and good moral 
and religious discipline, the young might be kept in the 
country till they had completed their University career, 
and then sent for a short residence abroad. There is 
a temptation that besets cultivated Argentines, who are 
the most necessary to the welfare of their country, to 

* Primary education is free and compulsory for children between 
the ages of six and fourteen. It is also, unfortunately, secular. 



seek diplomatic posts or some duties that will take them 
abroad. Most of the distinguished authors publish in 
Madrid or Paris, and thus there is an intellectual and 
moral drain which would be checked if the system of 
education were improved. 

As regards primary education, there were in 1905, 
5,250 schools, 14,118 teachers, and 543,881 pupils. The 
average attendance was 408,069. Considering that in 
1899 about one million sterling was spent upon educa- 
tion, and that for a generation Argentina has spent 
probably more per head upon each school-child than 
any other country except Australia, the results are by 
no means satisfactory, and, like all new nations, the 
Argentines require to learn the lesson that learning and 
enlightenment cannot be obtained by money or bricks 
and mortar.^ 

As regards the journalism of Argentina, it would be 
difficult to speak too highly of the two principal daily 
newspapers. La Nacion and La Prensa, La Nacion may 
perhaps claim the front place. It is the oldest daily 
journal in Buenos Aires, dating from 1852, and it was 
long under the influence of General Bartolome Mitre, for, 
as a French writer 2 remarks, no politician can succeed 

* The following table will show that Argentina is more advanced 
than her neighbours : — 

Percentage to Population 
of School-going Children. 

Argentina 10 









Santiago and Jujuy are the most ignorant parts of the Republic, 
Buenos Aires City the least. 
' Emile Daireaux, " La Vie et Les McEurs a La Plata," i. 414. 


without a newspaper, and no newspaper can hope to 
obtain much influence without the support of a poHtician. 
It has a circulation of about ninety thousand. The paper 
is on a very large scale and full of matter ; its tone is 
admirable, the ability of the leading articles is remark- 
able, and the literary pages, which are lavishly provided, 
reach a very high standard indeed. Hardly second to 
La Nacion is La Prensa, which has offices, situated in the 
Avenida de Mayo, said to be more splendid than any- 
thing of the kind in existence. It is not as old as its 
rival, dating from about 1872, and it may be described 
as being of much the same size and scope as the Daily 
Telegraphy but rather more attention is given to literary 
style. Sobriety and moderation, as well as great ability, 
are its characteristics. It is the property of Dr. ]os6 
C. Paz, who is said to have made a large fortune 
by it. 

El Diario is an enterprising evening paper, and has a 
very large circulation. The journal possessed of the 
largest circulation of all (said to approach two hundred 
thousand) is La Argentina, which appeals more to the 
man in the street. Other Spanish dailies are El Pais, 
El Tiempo, La Razon, El Diario de Comercio, and El 
Correo Espanol. 

There is a French daily, Le Courier de la Plata, and 
several German and Italian. At the same office as La 
Argentina is printed the Standard, an old English 
newspaper of high repute. This was founded in 1861 
by the Mulhalls — an honoured name in Buenos Aires — 
and besides being extensively read by English residents, 
it has considerable influence with the authorities. Very 
similar in appearance and scope, but less influential, is 
the Buenos Aires Herald, another English daily paper, 
the property of Mr. Thomas Bell. 

The provincial towns have also meritorious journals, 



but they are, of course, overshadowed by those of the 
capital. The daily press of Argentina is perhaps the 
most elevating influence in the country. It is a really 
useful daily help, containing a splendid assortment of 
foreign telegrams, and news and dissertations to suit 
the most varying tastes. While conducted with unflag- 
ging enterprise and commercially very valuable, as is 
shown by the interminable columns of closely printed 
advertisements, it is honourably free from the sensation- 
mongering and vulgarity which is rampant in the United 
States and which has, to some extent, infected our own 
daily newspapers. 

Among weekly periodicals the Review of London and 
the River Plate, which deals principally with industrial 
and economic subjects, is a high-class publication, and 
the Standard has a weekly edition. There are several 
other weekly and monthly journals, and there are 
numerous comic papers,^ but few periodicals deal ex- 
clusively with literature or special subjects. These 
matters, however, are treated so generously in the 
daily organs that it may be supposed that there is little 
opening for one-subject journals. After all, the circu- 
lation of the dailies is very large when we consider the 
limited population. It is curious to notice how entirely 
cut off each South American Republic is from the 
other. In Buenos Aires it is difficult to procure a 
Brazilian, Uruguayan, or Chilian newspaper, and the 
commercial intercourse is astonishingly small. For 
example, the trade of Argentina with Holland is more 
than twice as large as her trade with Chile. 

As is frequently the case with periodical literature, 
some of its most valuable instances are to be found 
among the defunct publications. Prominent among 

* Caras y Caretas is a sprightly weekly paper of- varied interests, 
which makes a special feature of coloured cartoons. 


these is the Nueva Revista de Buenos AireSy which only 
Hved from 1 881-1885. ^^ was edited by Sefior V. G. 
Quesada and Dr. Ernesto Quesada, and, as a monthly 
review, chiefly literary, but also dealing with politics, 
history, and philosophy, it was a work of the highest 
excellence. Nearly all the articles are signed, and most 
of the eminent Argentine men of letters of those days 
have either written or been reviewed in its pages. 
Another good magazine, which lived from 1871-1874 
was the Revista del Rio de La Plata. This dealt with 
the same subjects, but was more historical than literary. 
In Buenos Aires 189 newspapers are published. Of 
Spanish there are 154, Italian 14, German 8, English 6, 
and the others are Scandinavian, French, Basque, and 

The excellent journalism of Argentina has not, as yet, 
developed into literature of a class correspondingly 
high. Those who deal with the literature of a new 
country usually strike an apologetic note, and their 
main stumbling-block is the absence of originality, for 
it has to be admitted that the poets and romancers of 
the young nations are too often mere craftsmen imitating 
old European models. This admission has to be made 
in the case of Argentina, but in other respects her 
literature may well stand forth on its own merits ; the 
artists are not imported but American-born, and though 
they may not have produced an indigenous literature, 
yet their creations are European with a difference. 
They are Spanish American, not Spanish, and those 
of Argentina are quite distinct in tone from those of 
their kinsmen on the same continent. 

A foreigner has considerable difficulty in dealing with 
the literature of a country whose publications are little 
studied in Europe, and apparently little information 
can be gathered except from the actual writers. It is, 



therefore, necessary to begin with Dr. Ernesto Quesada, 
whose Resenas y Criticas (Buenos Aires, 1893) is a mine 
of information. 

He remarks in the Preface : " In Europe the creations 
of the mind are kept, polished, revised, accomplished, 
and completed for publication very slowly and with 
tender care : in America we look upon writing as a 
mere incident, and though we may as far as possible 
do it with the long study and the great love of which 
the poet spoke, we do not boast ourselves of it, or, 
perhaps, keep a record. Our life draws us to action 
and into such strange vicissitudes that it is not possible 
to see what to-morrow will bring." There is, then, an 
amateurish air about Argentine literature ; it has at 
present more grace than strength. The writer has been 
before the public for more than thirty years. "Un In- 
vierno en Russia," a book of travel, was published in 
1888, and long before that he produced a youthful 
work on Juvenal and Persius — an unusual subject, for 
Latin Americans usually look upon the study of Latin 
and Greek as waste of time. Dr. Quesada has also 
written on political and ecclesiastical subjects. In the 
first-mentioned book of essays he deals with the poetry, 
history, and jurisprudence of his native land, as well 
as the Latin-American Congress, the Argentine Uni- 
versities, the intellectual movement in Argentina, and a 
number of other subjects which are exactly those upon 
which a thoughtful observer of a foreign country desires 

Cultured Argentines have devoted considerable atten- 
tion to history ; their nation has played a great part 
in the revolutionary wars ; they are proud of it and 
demand chroniclers. Mention must first be made of 
Dean Funes, who lived in the days of the Revolution 
and whose " Ensayo de la Historia Civil del Paraguay, 


Buenos Ayres y Tucuman " is, to one who wants a com- 
prehensive view of Argentine history, the most valuable 
work upon the subject. Upon the Revolution itself 
General Bartolome Mitre is the best authority, and D. 
F. Sarmiento has written well upon the troubled times 
of the mid-century, but in general English and French 
works deal with the history of modern Argentina quite 
as satisfactorily as do her own writers. 

Undoubtedly it is in jurisprudence, particularly in Inter- 
national Law, that writers of this country have accom- 
pHshed most original work. Prominent among her 
publicists is Carlos Calvo (i 824-1 893) who lived chiefly 
abroad in pursuit of his diplomatic career. In 1868 
he published in Paris his " Derecho internacional teorico 
y practico de Europa y America," which was at once 
translated into French and took place as one of the 
highest modern authorities on the subject. Calvo 
observes : '^ I have called my work ^ The International 
Law of Europe and America in Theory and Practice,' 
because I am endeavouring in it to make amends for 
the neglect of my predecessors and contemporaries who 
have almost entirely omitted to deal with the vast 
American continent, which nevertheless is growing 
daily in influence and power and marching side by 
side with the civilisation of Europe." The book is a 
minute analysis of the principles and practice of 
International Law and is specially valuable on account 
of its historical treatment and copious instances. Calvo 
also did good service to Argentine history by his col- 
lection of documents, but his eminence is in the field 
of International Law, and he is one of the very few 
Latin-American authors who have won a world-wide 

While Calvo has surpassed all other South Americans 
in the importance of his contribution to the theory of 


International Law, Dr. Luis Maria Drago has done the 
same as regards the practice. Towards the close of 1902 
England, Germany, and Italy had blockaded the coast 
of Venezuela on account of certain grievances. On 
December 29, 1902, Dr. Drago, then Minister for Foreign 
Affairs, despatched a note to the Argentine Minister in 
Washington. He maintained that no European State 
was entitled to intervene by force in the affairs of an 
American nation, still less to occupy its territory, in 
order to recover a debt due from its Government to the 
subjects of the intervening State, such intervention being 
an infringement of the sovereignty of the debtor State 
and of the principle of the equality of the sovereign 
States.^ This doctrine, though never precisely stated, 
had been foreshadowed by Calvo. It has been pointed 
out^ that the blockade of 1902 was not originally in- 
stituted on account of Venezuela's failure to pay debts, 
but to obtain redress for outrages inflicted upon the 
subjects of the blockading Powers, that Venezuela had 
refused the suggestion of arbitration, that Dr. Drago 
misunderstood the Venezuelan question, and that the 
Powers never intended permanently to occupy any part 
of Venezuela. Further, Mr. Hay, in his reply to Dr. 
Drago, said : " The President declared in his Message to 
Congress, December 3, 1901, that by the Munroe 
Doctrine ' we do not guarantee any State against punish- 
ment if it misconducts itself, provided that punishment 
does not take the form of the acquisition of territory 
by any non-American Power.' " Although the practice, 
against which the Drago Doctrine protests is liable to 
be abused, it would hardly be prudent on the part of 
European Powers nor conducive to progress in back- 
ward States, if the right of collecting debts were sur- 

* See the Annual Register of 1907, p. 345. 

» See the North American Review, July 31, 1907. 




rendered altogether ; and this view was taken at the 
Hague Conference of 1907. It adopted the Drago 
Doctrine in a modified form, providing that force must 
not be used for the recovery of ordinary public debts 
originating in contracts, but the prohibition was not to 
apply if the debtor State refused or ignored an offer 
of arbitration, obstructed the process, or repudiated the 
decision. The resolution was adopted by thirty-nine 
votes. There were five abstentions, including Venezuela, 
which had no liking for the modifications. This tangible 
addition to the public law of the world, which was one 
of the few successes of the Conference, was a great 
personal triumph for Dr. Drago, who was then the 
Argentine Delegate to the Conference. There have been 
many other meritorious Argentine writers on legal sub- 
jects of all kinds, as well as commercial and economic, 
but this account of two great names must suffice. 

After the splendid achievements of Argentina in juris- 
prudence, the work of her writers in more purely literary 
fields may appear to be eclipsed. But in the charming 
branch of essay-writing many good authors have ap- 
peared, and these were mostly trained in the excellent 
periodicals of a quarter of a century ago and upwards. 
Prominent among these is Martin Garcia Merou, who 
will also claim notice as a poet. He is an author of 
long standing, having first appeared before the public 
in 1880 with a volume of poems which was published 
at Barcelona. As before remarked, it is a practice of 
many Argentine writers to publish in Paris or Madrid 
in preference to Buenos Aires, and indeed the influence 
of Spain upon Argentine literature is now quite as strong 
as that of England used to be upon the United States. 
It was at Madrid that Garcia published, in 1884, an 
acute critical work, " Estudios Literarios " and also 
" Impresiones," a book of travel, but since then he has 



reverted to Buenos Aires. One of his most spirited 
works appeared there in 1900, "El Brasil Intelectual," 
which is a rich storehouse of information about a 
country which is perhaps somewhat neglected by Argen- 
tines. Garcia has a deservedly high reputation among 
his countrymen, and has been warmly praised by Dr. 
Ernesto Quesada. Among this class of writer J. M. 
Gutierrez has done valuable editorial and critical work, 
and some have held that he is the most eminent man 
of letters, in the ordinary sense of the word, who has 
appeared in Argentina. M. Daireaux ^ remarks caustically : 
" He knew no joys but those of literature ; he had all 
the traditional American curiosity, he made researches 
in the chronicles and caused them to live again, he re- 
discovered all the thoughts of the greatest men of the 
world, and illuminated them with the powerful rays of 
his gigantic intellect. But withal, as he was not a 
politician with influence at his disposal, nor a lawyer 
with a numerous group of clients around him, as he 
had nothing but a great soul, he occupied in society but 
a humble rank. I used to speak of him with men who 
appreciated him, and I never drew from them more than 
a shrug and this word of pity : * What would you have ? 
He is a literary man ! ' They did not even say a 
member of the literary profession ; the profession did 
not exist, was not classed ; he was only a literary man 
— not even, as they say in France, a man of letters." 
The writer adds that the profession is now recognised 
in Buenos Aires. 

Still, in spite of his capacious intellect, Gutierrez can 
hardly be looked upon as occupying the first place 
among the men of letters of Argentina, because he pro- 
duced little original work. 

Prose fiction now fills a very prominent place in the 
' " La Vie et les Moeurs a La Plata," i. 408-9. 


literature of almost every nation, and Argentina is no 
exception to the rule, but it cannot be said that her 
writers possess any great distinction. Dr. Quesada 
considers that Jose Marmol, distinguished in other 
branches of literature, was the best of the early novelists. 
In 1851 he published a spirited romance named " Amalia," 
somewhat after the style of the elder Dumas. It can 
hardly be called historical, for the scene is laid in 1840 
and the subject is the tyranny of Rosas, but the author 
declares that he wishes to describe for the benefit of 
future generations, the Argentine dictatorship, and that 
therefore he has treated in a historical manner actual 
living persons. The book was a success, but Marmol 
does not appear to have followed it up. 

In 1884 Carlos Maria Ocantos published a juvenile 
work, " La Cruz de la Falta," which was recognised as 
showing considerable promise, and in 1888 appeared 
" Leon Saldivar," which was hailed as a national novel. 
This writer, who, like most Argentine authors, is a 
diplomatist by profession and a man of letters by tem- 
perament, does not follow the trend of Argentine fiction, 
which is towards historical romances. He is a realist, 
and " Leon Saldivar " is a powerful study of Argentine 
life, and particularly life at the capital. The more 
spiritual people of the city were beginning to complain 
of it as a noisy, overgrown place, devoted to money- 
grubbing, and indeed its poets and philosophers in 
general made haste to quit it for a more favourable 
atmosphere, and often did not even pay it the compli- 
ment of allowing it to publish their works. Ocantos 
strove to elicit the romance of Buenos Aires as Dickens 
found out the romance of London. He continued this 
vein with a still more powerful and sombre work, 
" Quilito," in 1891. The two writers here briefly 
noticed illustrate the imitative character of the Argen- 


tine novel — the first looks to Dumas, the second to 

Many critics think that the strongest Argentine novel 
which has yet appeared is " La Gloria de Don Ramiro," 
published at Madrid in 1908. The author, Sr. Enrique 
Larreta, lays his plot in the times of Philip II. of Spain, 
and stirring scenes are described v^ith great verve. The 
musings of a boy, when his intellect is expanding and 
his head full of the books he has last read, are always 
a tempting theme for romancers, and the following 
passage, in the spirit of " the days of our youth are the 
days of our glory," reflects the glow of boyish dreams : — 

" Fascinated by his books, Ramirio began to imagine 
himself the hero of the story. He was in turn Julius 
Caesar, the Cid, the Great Captain, Cortes, Don Juan of 
Austria. To take up the Commentaries was to lead the 
legions across Gaul, but, on the Isles of March, more 
sagacious than the Dictator, he discovered the treachery 
of Junius Brutus and, concealing a sword under his toga, 
he entered the Senate House and slew the conspirators 
one by one. He conquered the Moors on countless 
fields, he offered to Spain the kingdom of Naples or the 
empire of Montezuma, and finally, planting his foot 
on the prow of a strange ship, he destroyed for ever 
the whole Turkish fleet, at a new and marvellous 
Lepanto, which his imagination evoked from the prints. 
The result was that he began to deem himself chosen 
by God to carry on the tradition of deathless fame. 
He put away from his mental view the mediocre, the 
commonplace, the humdrum. All that was not impul- 
sive and heroic seemed intolerable, for he felt in him- 
self an absolute confidence of winning at a blow the 
highest honours and becoming, in a short time, one 
of the foremost knights of the Catholic Faith on earth." 

The book is in many ways one of the most remarkable 


works of the imagination that has been created by an 
Argentine and Sr. Larreta writes pure and nervous 

Last comes a branch of literature which is probably 
the most popular, and certainly the most esteemed, in 
Spanish America, which takes mediocre poets far more 
seriously than did Horace, or, indeed, than is the habit 
of the more stolid East. A somewhat sardonic French 
traveller I lately remarked: "Spanish America has only 
one thought — love. And love has given to it the one 
art which it practises, if not in perfection at least in 
abundance inexhaustible — lyric poetry. It appears that 
Peru and Colombia and Guatemala possess great poets. 
.... Being a foreigner, I cannot judge about their 
greatness, but I can see that they are numerous, indeed 
innumerable. Not a newspaper but contains every 
morning poems, and their invariable burden is the 
passion of love. The eyes, the teeth, the lips, the 
hair, the hands and feet of the American misses are 
here, one by one, compared to all the beauties of 
earth and sky. The warmth of sentiment is undoubted, 
but the expression lacks originality." 

There seems, indeed, to be an inexhaustible demand 
for a kind of verse which a foreigner has a great diffi- 
culty in judging, owing to difference in national tem- 
peraments and, perhaps still more, differences in national 
ages. A thousand years makes a great difference in a 
nation's point of view, and much that seems fresh 
and beautiful to the younger people is hackneyed and 
tedious to the older. The poetry of Argentina and, it 
is said, of all Latin America, appears to be erotic 
or spasmodic, or both. It is pretty, but it has not 
sufficient freshness to conquer a hearing in the great 

* M. de Waleffe, " Les Paradis de I'Amerique Centrale," p. 213. 



But the earliest work with which we need deal is 
an anonymous anthology, which forms an exception 
to the general rule. In 1823 some patriot, by a happy 
inspiration, collected the snatches of song which the 
revolutionists had composed and by which they marched 
to victory, and these form a substantial volume — " La 
Lira Argentina." It consists of a great number of 
poems, mostly short — " Marcha patriotica," " Oda" (por 
la victoria de Suipacha), " Cancion patriotica," " Cancion 
Heroica," "A La Excelentisima Junta," "Marcha Patri- 
otica " (" Long live our country free from chains, and 
long live her sons to defend her"), "Marcha Nacional 
Oriental," and the like. They are full of fire and 
simple art ; they are really a noble national memorial 
and worth a wilderness of love lyrics. But this view 
has not been developed, although one would suppose 
that Argentina, with its mountains and Pampas, deserved 
better local poetry of manhood and adventure than 
the rude songs of the Gauchos. 

Marmol (18 18-1873), already referred to as a novelist, 
in some way carries on the patriotic tradition, for in 
1838 he was thrown by Rosas into a dungeon, and 
inscribed with a burnt stick the following quatrain on 
the walls of his prison : — 

"Wretch ! set before me dreadful Death, 
And all my limbs in fetters bind ; 
Thou canst not quench my moral breath, 
Nor place a chain upon my mind." 

He managed to survive and became a busy man of 
letters and subsequently Director of the National Library. 
Marmol wrote a good many love poems, but he is more 
remarkable for having attempted a field which seems 
to have little attraction for his countrymen. He wrote 
at least two poetical dramas, "El Cruzado" and "El 


Poeta/' the first historical, the second a modern comedy. 
He is a sound and conscientious Uterary craftsman, 
and the literary world of Buenos Aires looks back to 
him with profound respect. He seems to have ap- 
proached nearer to the type of the professional man 
of letters than is common in Argentina. 

The other poets are extremely numerous, and it is 
not necessary to particularise them. With them it 
is always the hour of night, and the same question 
always arises : " Why do you come to disturb my 
calm, image of that being whom I adore, image of that 
being, for whom alas I I weep, for whom I consume 
away and die of love ? " The quotation in question 
happens to be from a Colombian poet, but the note is 
always the same ; there is too little distinctiveness 
about the poets of Argentina to require detailed treat- 
ment. The short-lived Adolfo Mitr6, who was highly 
praised for his sincerity and passion, or Sr. Martin 
Garcia Merou may stand as types of the rest. 

Garcia M6rou, besides being a poet, is an elegant 
essayist — already noticed — a good historian, and has 
shown himself highly appreciative of the work of 
brother poets. It is, perhaps, to the amateurish state 
of Argentine literature, which does not engender pro- 
fessional jealousy, that the pleasant comradeship and 
apparent lack of literary squabbles are due. Garcia 
Merou published many volumes of poems of the usual 
type in the eighties. In 1891 appeared a different 
kind of work, "Cuadros Epicos," short poems dealing 
with various scenes in Spanish-American history. "El 
Mar de Balboa" is impressive. 

The things unattempted yet in prose or rhyme are 
still the best part of Argentine literature ; in new coun- 
tries material fruit precedes intellectual blossom. This 
is inevitable in such cases, for it is necessary to live 


before it is possible to write, and literature is at every 
disadvantage owing to the scantiness and preoccupa- 
tion of the people. Prosperity may probably continue 
to blunt the literary sense, for national dangers and 
terrors, such as called forth the Elizabethan literature 
and the Romantic Revival in England, or the modest 
" Lira Argentina," are unlikely, and the education 
system, which despises Latin and Greek — i.e., litera- 
ture — does not foster good writers. The matter must 
be left to time and events. The people of Argentina 
are practical, and their literary wants are well sup- 
plied in the shape of all that the practical man wants. 
There are excellent and useful writings on law, adequate 
histories, lucid essays, a few novels, and, above all, a 
most excellent press, which last probably forms his 
complete substitute for a library. He wants no more. 
Possibly that absence of wants is the most serious 
want of all ; a life that can be satisfied by craftsman, 
cook, or groom, is at least incomplete, and it may be 
that earth has something better to show than fat cattle, 
corn, grapes, or even dollars. These things have not 
been the distinguishing products of nations in the past 
which are now inscribed upon the rolls of fame, and, 
however materialistic men become, such things will not 
even now hand a nation on to all futurity. The litera- 
ture of Argentina, though creditable, is by no means 
on a scale proportionate to her present position among 




Undoubtedly at the present time the main interest of 
Argentina is industrial. The wonderful rapidity of her 
expansion is perhaps the most remarkable phenomenon 
of this generation, and can only be realised by a visit 
to the country. No nation has more thoroughly appre- 
ciated this fact than France, which hails with triumph 
the rapid progress of a Latin race as a counterbalancing 
force to industrial degeneration in Europe. If able 
and eloquent essays and elaborate statistics, written 
with great literary power to call the attention of French 
capital and enterprise to the River Plate, were sufficient 
for the purpose, France would have a very prominent 
industrial part in that region. But, generally speaking, 
France is enough for the French, and that country 
only contributes lo per cent, of the Argentine imports, 
and is thus only slightly ahead of Italy. The rulers of 
the United States have also grasped the importance of 
this new force, and the Bulletin of the International 
Bureau of the American Republics, for fulness and clear- 
ness of information, puts to shame all English efforts 
in the same direction. Yet, in spite of all their exer- 
tions, the United States do not possess a single bank 
in Argentina (possibly not in the whole of South 
America), and England sends to the River Plate two 



and a half times as much merchandise. Germany also 
spares no effort, although Brazil attracts still more 
attention. If gratuitous advertising could command 
success, Germany would be first without a rival. For 
some mysterious reason every Englishman, whether at 
home or abroad, considers it necessary to boom Ger- 
man goods and German enterprise, and a suggestion 
that the Teuton has left a little trade to the Anglo- 
Saxon is received with polite incredulity. In their 
enthusiasm our countrymen are a little forgetful of 
facts and proportion, and they somehow manage to 
persuade themselves that Germany is an absolutely 
irresistible industrial force. In the Argentine her share 
of the import trade is somewhat less than half that of 

It is certainly true that our country has very little 
system in placing information before our traders. 
The Consular Reports are valuable, but each refers to 
a comparatively small district, and, apart from the fact 
that very few steps seem to be taken to bring them 
to the notice of traders, there is great inconvenience 
in collecting information piecemeal, nor is the form, in 
any case, sufficiently stimulating. We ought to take 
a lesson from the handsomely illustrated publications 
of the States, and the scientific and literary ability 
with which the French expound their theme. Our 
work hitherto has been fruit-bearing, but not light- 
giving. One of the commonest exclamations of an 
Englishman when he has spent a few days in Buenos 
Aires is : " Well ! I wish the people at home knew 
about this." Few people read statistics, fewer still 
remember them, and fewest of all understand them ; 
and consequently the signs of industrial prosperity are 
almost stupefying. Still, as railway companies seem -to 
find photographs the most effective advertisements, it 


can hardly be doubted that well-illustrated pamphlets 
setting forth the industrial promise of Argentina would 
make many people in England realise the true state 
of affairs. Certainly, the Argentine Government does 
all in its power by exhibitions and the dissemination 
of intelligence to attract capital and settlers. 

Perhaps, as a prelude to this subject, a word may be 
said about the British capital invested in the country, 
for this is one of the most striking features. 

Englishmen have from the beginning taken the lead 
in developing the resources of the country, and this 
fact is fully appreciated by the people of Argentina, who 
owe no less their pre-eminent position in South America 
to the stream of English capital, which has been pour- 
ing in for generations, than to their fine climate and 
immense natural wealth. In the old Spanish days 
England had a leading share in the contraband trade, 
and during the Napoleonic war her merchants were 
almost as welcome guests as her armies and fleets 
were unwelcome. The English were the pioneers in 
railway construction, and still own the most important 
lines; they have founded banks and freezing establish- 
ments, lighted the streets, laid down tramways, and 
built harbours. 

Up to May 31, 1908, the amount of English capital 
invested in Argentina was as follows : — 

Railways ;£i37,845,ooo 

Banks 8,580,000 

Tramways ... 8,010,986 

Sundry enterprises 20,910,580 

Total :^i75,346,566 

France comes second. Her investments are chiefly 
in railways and harbours, and amount to about 
;£2i,62i,ooo. German capital, principally in banks and 


tramways, stands at ;^i 2,000,000. Belgium has ;^4,ooo,ooo 
of capital invested in the Republic. 

Among the many marvellous industrial features of 
Argentina the railways ^ may claim the first position, 
for they hold in the Plate country the same place as 
in the United States : they are the arteries which bring 
life-blood to the system. The travellers of two or 
three generations ago all remarked upon the wealth 
of the Pampas and lamented the impossibility of utilis- 
ing it owing to the absence of transport, and the same 
lament is made by those who now visit Brazil, Peru, 
Colombia, and Venezuela. But now Argentina has a 
splendid railway system, which is being developed with 
unflagging enterprise. Its mileage is greater than that 
of Mexico.2 

The first line was laid down in 1857, but progress was 
very slow, for Argentina shared the bad reputation of all 
South American Republics, and there seemed reason to 
believe that the next quarter of a century would be as 
barren as the last, for foreign and civil wars appeared 
to be insuperable barriers to progress. But in the 
booming times of the eighties construction went on 
apace, and no temporary checks to the general pros- 
perity availed to circumscribe the growing network of 

' Valuable articles appeared on this subject in the Economist, 
beginning No. 3,457, November 30, 1909. 

=* The following figures show the progress of railway construc- 
tion : — 


... ... ... 

73 miles 

1874 ... 

150 n 

1884 ... 

... 2,290 „ 

1890 ... 


... 5745 *» 

1899 ... 

... ... 

... 10,285 „ 

1908 ... 

... 15,476 » 

In 1909 the 

railways carried 50,810,00c 

passengers. The ' gross 

ceipts were 

about ;^2o,7i5,ooo, the net 

profits about ;^8,20o,ooo. 


railways. Taken as a whole, they are one of the most 
brilliant examples of English enterprise in a foreign 
land. I 

The oldest of the Argentine railways is the Buenos 
Aires Western, which in 1857 made a modest beginning 
with a 6-mile track to Flores. Its early days were full of 
trouble, and before long it fell into the hands of the 
State. It was sold to an English company in 1890, and 
since that time has flourished exceedingly. Although 
the smallest of the broad-gauge lines, it is a very 
wealthy concern, and has 1,305 miles of track. Up to 
Mercedes it competes with the Buenos Aires and Pacific, 
but thence it bears southward, to Banderalo in one 
direction and Toay in another, and finally joins the 
Bahia Blanca and North-Western Railway at Bahia 
Blanca itself. It serves a very fertile district, and 
grain forms 60 per cent, of its goods traffic. The 
lines are well laid, the rolling stock excellent, the 
management of the best, and it has long paid a divi- 
dend of 7 per cent, upon its ordinary stock. Altogether 
it is a highly meritorious concern, and though it has 

^ The following are the principal lines : — 

Argentine Great Western Buenos Aires Western. 

Argentine North-Eastern. Central Argentine. 

Bahia Blanca and North- Cordoba Central. 

Western Cordoba Central Buenos Aires 
Buenos Aires Central. Extension. 

Buenos Aires Great Southern. Cordoba and Rosario. 

Buenos Aires Midland. Entre Rios. 

Buenos Aires and Pacific. Villa Maria and Rufino. 
Buenos Aires and Rosario. 

The above are mainly English. There are several smaller private 
lines and several belonging to Government, while there is an 
important French line — the Province of Santa Fe Railway. As 
will be pointed out, several of the above have been practically 
amalgamated with larger lines. 



less scope for development than some of its rivals 
its future can hardly fail to be one of continuous 

The largest of all the railways is the Buenos Aires 
Great Southern. Formed in 1862 to take over a 
Buenos Aires State line of 71 miles, which was opened 
in 1865, it has gradually extended over the Province 
and beyond, and now has 2,745 miles of line and is 
also the richest railway company in the country. The 
capital is about forty million sterling, and for ten years 
interest at the rate of 7 per cent, has been paid upon 
the ordinary stock. It has the great advantage over 
all competitors in serving nothing but rich country, 
and practically all its points are within 200 miles 
of the ports of Buenos Aires or Bahia Blanca. The 
poHcy of the Great Southern, while financially sound, 
has been one of remarkable enterprise, and the distant 
future has always been kept in view. Money has been 
spent lavishly with the object of obtaining all strategical 
points and access into promising country. At Bahia 
Blanca a large steel mole and grain wharf have been 
constructed, with the best machinery for loading and 
unloading, and accommodation for fourteen ocean 
steamers. Control has also been obtained of a dock 
company at La Plata, as well as an important interest 
in the Buenos Aires Southern Dock Company, where 
accommodation is provided for twenty steamers. 
Nothing has been left undone in the way of pro- 
viding docking facilities, and the rolling stock is in 
excellent condition and great abundance. This is 
necessary for grain-carrying lines, because their goods 
traffic comes with a rush at one time. Congress has 
sanctioned the construction of additional lines of 1,176 
miles, chiefly in the region of the Rios Colorado -and 
Negro. As the irrigation schemes will make this a rich 


grain district, the railway may look for large traffic 
increases. In the future there will be strong competi- 
tion in the Province of Buenos Aires from several 
French and State lines, but the history of Argentine 
railway development has been largely the record of the 
absorption by a great line of its smaller competitors, 
and the position of the Great Southern is now so strong 
and its extensions have been so judiciously planned, that 
its continued prosperity may be confidently predicted. 
It works the Buenos Aires Midland and the Buenos 
Aires, Ensenada, and South Coast. 

The Buenos Aires and Pacific Railway looms more 
largely in the view of the world than its neighbours, 
and its history presents so many features of interest that 
it deserves to be described in somewhat fuller detail. 
Although its present mileage (2,712) is very nearly as 
large as that of the Great Southern, it is not an old 
line. The Company was formed in 1882 to construct 
a broad-gauge line from Mercedes to Villa Mercedes, 
and this was soon extended to the City of Buenos 
Aires, which became the headquarters. This, however, 
was insufficient scope for the enterprising Company, 
and in 1904 control was obtained over the Bahia 
Blanca and North-Western Railway, which now has a 
length of 665 miles, and thus an immense step in 
advance was taken by securing a terminus at a town 
which will probably be the chief grain port in South 
America. Four years earlier a similar, though less 
important, step was taken to compete with another 
rival by taking over the Villa Maria and Rufino Rail- 
way. This was a short section from the town of Villa 
Maria between Cordoba and Rosario to Rufino on its 
own main line, and thus the Buenos Aires Pacific was 
in a position to make terms with its northern rivals. 
But a still more important extension than either of the 




above was to follow. The Argentine Great Western ran 
from Villa Mercedes to Mendoza, and had also branches 
to San Rafael, San Juan, and other small places. Thus 
it had a monopoly of the wine traffic, which is very 
valuable in itself and doubly so because it comes on at a 
season in the year when it does not interfere with other 
traffic. This line has a mileage of 500 miles, and 
gross receipts of about a million sterling. For a long 
time the Argentine Great Western stood out, but was 
in 1907 induced to give way on somewhat extravagant 
terms, and thus the enterprising Company was not far 
from its goal of being a real Pacific Railway. In fact, 
there was included in this deal an arrangement which 
practically assured this result, for the Great Western 
had already taken over the Argentine Transandine, 
which thus became a part of the Buenos Aires Pacific 
system. This is a small line of iii miles of metre 
gauge, which runs from Mendoza to the Chilian 
frontier, where it joins the Chilian lines at Las 
Cuevas. Here a great tunnel has been completed 
under the Andes, and it will be open for traffic by 
the time this book is published. The magnificent 
system is the admiration of the whole world. The 
Buenos Aires and Pacific is the only line in South 
America which has established through communication 
between the Atlantic and Pacific, and up to Mendoza 
the line is well laid, and it carries passengers speedily 
and with all possible comfort. But it has had to pay 
for its footing and the expense of acquiring sections, 
which are valuable rather as rounding off its own 
system and preventing encroachments by other com- 
panies, has been enormous, and it has been obliged 
to make repeated applications for capital in the London 
market. The traffic with Valparaiso, although the ex- 
tension is a showy scheme, is not likely to pay for 


many years, and the difficulty of running trains 
through winter blizzards and snowdrifts will be con- 
siderable. The heavy expenditure has had a temporary 
effect, and the stock has experienced a heavy fall during 
the last few months. But the Company has placed itself 
in a position where it has little to fear from competition 
and where it can secure the full advantages from the 
future development of Argentina. This railway may be 
considered one of the most magnificent commercial 
enterprises in South America. 

The Central Argentine is one of the most prosperous 
of railways. It has the largest gross receipts and makes 
the most profit per mile and it is also of very long stand- 
ing. It began in 1864 with a line from Rosario to 
Cordoba and for a long time met with severe competi- 
tion from the Buenos Aires and Rosario line, which 
worked practically the same districts, but in 1902 an 
amalgamation was effected. But the Mitre Law has 
been unfavourable to it, and for some years the Govern- 
ment insisted that the two lines should continue to be 
worked separately, and it was only last year that their 
complete union was sanctioned. Rosario is the centre 
of the system, and here the Company owns extensive 
dockyards, and lines run both to Tucuman and Cordoba. 
A port. Villa Constitucion, within 32 miles of Rosario, 
is also being developed, but competition is feared from 
Santa F6, where very large extensions are being made, 
and although the Central Argentine has access to that 
port, a French company is in a better position for taking 
advantage of the facilities. In fact, the line is exposed 
to very severe competition from two French companies, 
the Cordoba Central, the Buenos Aires Central, and the 
Rosario and Western, a light railway, but it is large and 
wealthy and should have little to fear. It has an enor- 
mous grain traffic, but it serves the older and more 



settled districts, and therefore cannot hope to increase 
its traffic in the immediate future as rapidly as some of 
the pioneer railways. However, it has been pointed out 
in another chapter that the development of the Gran 
Chaco and extensions into Paraguay and Brazil must 
ultimately vastly add to the wealth and importance of 
Rosario and hence to that of the Central Argentine. 
But this is a matter of the distant future. The Central 
Argentine pursues a conservative policy in finance and 
has for many years paid 6 per cent, on the ordinary 
stock. It is in a very sound position, a most comfort- 
able line, and the management is highly efficient. The 
length of line is 2,392 miles. 

There are two competing lines which serve the eastern 
river district adjacent to Uruguay, namely, the Entre Rios 
and the Argentine North-Eastern. Both have a gauge 
of 4 feet 8J inches. The Entre Rios is a short line of 
only 656 miles, but it is of some importance on account 
of its ferry service which connects Zarate with Ibicuy on 
the left bank of the Parana. The railway then runs 
north to the important town of Parana, which is the 
headquarters. No dividend has yet been paid on the 
ordinary stock, and the cumulative preference is some- 
what in arrears, for the district is mainly pastoral and 
that part of the line which was taken over from the 
Provincial Government in 1891 is badly laid, but when 
Entre Rios becomes a large grain-producing region the 
prospects of the Company will improve, and already it 
does a good trade in supplying Buenos Aires with fruit 
and vegetables, while the management is economical. 
Of its traffic some 17 per cent, is live stock, 15 wheat, 
and II linseed. 

The North-Eastern, which has 510 miles of railway, 
should be assured of a prosperous future, for Posadas, 
the northern headquarters, is now connected with 


Asuncion by the Paraguay Central Railway and will get 
much benefit from the development of that hitherto 
secluded country. It is still a pioneer line running 
through swamps and forests and country which is to a 
great extent unpopulated, and the goods which it carries 
consist chiefly of cattle and their products. The swampy 
nature of the country entails considerable expense in 
construction, but the Company pays a strict regard to 
economy, and the capitalisation per mile is only ;£8,68o. 
Since June 30, 1907, the working expenses have been 
cut down from 65-10 to 57*17 per cent. Although the 
prospects of this line are fair they would undoubtedly be 
better if an amalgamation could be effected with the 
Entre Rios, for the district does not yet possess suffi- 
cient traffic for two competing lines. The scheme has 
long been under consideration, and as the policy 
of amalgamation has been carried on so extensively 
in recent years it may be that it will eventually be 

A small railway of 167 miles, under Argentine manage- 
ment, should here be mentioned. It runs westward 
from the capital to Rojas, and there is also a very 
important branch of 27 miles which runs to Zarate and 
connects with the Entre Rios system by a train ferry. 
In 1906 this Company took over the Tramway Rural a 
Vapor from Messrs. Lacroze Bros. The line has a gauge 
of 4 feet 8 J inches. The Company owns valuable property 
in Buenos Aires and has a terminal station at the suburb 
of Chacarita, and it serves a profitable district and is also a 
link with the Argentine Mesopotamia, but it has been 
obliged to make heavy outlays upon the permanent way. 
The line was originally a light railway and therefore in 
indifferent condition for heavy traffic. The ordinary 
share capital of the Company, which is exclusively held 
in Argentina, has been increased to over a million 



sterling. There were issued also in 1907 ^£600,000 
4 J per cent. First Mortgage Debentures to extend the 
line from Salto to Rojas. This was subscribed in 
London. It is a good property. 

Of the remaining lines the most important are a group 
of northern railways. The Cordoba Central Railway is 
metre gauge and is divided into two sections. The 
"Original Line" is 128 J miles long and was formed in 
1887 to connect Cordoba with San Francisco. The 
latter is an important town half-way between Cordoba 
and Santa F6. Shortly afterwards the Company bought 
the Central Northern Railway from the Argentine Govern- 
ment at a cost of ;^3, 174,603, and also spent about a 
million sterling on improving the line which runs from 
Cordoba to Tucuman and has a length of 550 miles. 
In 1899 the purchase was effected of the North- Western 
Argentine Railway, a loop-line from Tucuman to La 
Madrid, length 87 miles. The "Original Line," after 
leaving Cordoba, passes through a poor and sparsely 
inhabited country, and this section could be of little 
value but for the terminus at San Francisco. However, 
it is economically managed and shows a profit of ;f 800 
per mile. The longer section also, between Cordoba and 
Tucuman, runs through a poor country, but in compen- 
sation it has the valuable sugar traffic of the latter city. 
Sugar forms a quarter and timber nearly two-fifths of its 
goods traffic. Closely connected with it is the Cordoba 
and Rosario Railway, which is also metre gauge and 
connects Rosario with Frontera on the " Original Line." 
There is also a branch line to Rafaela, which links up 
[with the Central Argentine and the French lines. In 
[1895 the capital had to be reorganised, and there can 
)e no doubt that it has not yet seen its best days, for 
4t will have to wait for the development of the auxiliary 
lines which form the connecting links between Tucuman 


and the capital. But in any case they have to face very 
severe competition from the Argentine Central and the 
French lines. It is open to doubt whether the connec- 
tion with Buenos Aires itself is necessary, for there 
are already a bewildering number of lines serving the 
district between Buenos Aires and Rosario, and at 
harvest-time there is immense congestion at the former 
place. In fact, the trend of commerce seems to be 
rather towards the diversion of bulky exports from the 
capital and the directing of them to Rosario and Bahia 
Blanca. This criticism receives point from the position 
of the newly opened Cordoba Central Buenos Aires 
Extension Railway, upon which the up-country allied 
lines largely depend for their success. This cumbrously 
named Company was formed in 1905 to acquire a con- 
cession granted by Government to the Cordoba Central 
Railway to build a metre-gauge line of 187 miles. It 
runs parallel with the Central Argentine system between 
Buenos Aires and Rosario, and it was only recently 
opened. Its district is, of course, one of the very richest 
in the country, consisting of fine agricultural and grazing 
land in the zone of black soil. But, as already stated, 
there is strong competition, and this not only from the 
other lines, but also from the river, which follows it from 
end to end. Now the dock of this Company at the 
capital will not be finished till the end of 1910, and the 
Company is at present renting accommodation and there- 
fore suffering considerable inconvenience. The work of 
reclaiming land and dock building is being done by the 
Buenos Aires and Pacific, and the cost will be about a 
million sterling. The office of the Company also is to 
cost ;^225,ooo, but a large part of this will be let off. 
Every large company naturally wishes to have its head- 
quarters in Buenos Aires, but in this case the question 
arises as to whether the game is worth the candle. Few 


lines have had to pay more heavily for obtaining their 
extension privileges ; the ordinary stock has been 
watered to a considerable degree and bonds of the 
value of three and a half million sterUng have been 
issued. To meet the interest upon these bonds alone 
its profits will have to be ^175,000, and thus a profit 
of ;£935 per mile is postulated. To obtain such a profit 
under economical management the gross receipts will 
have to be ;^389,ooo, or nearly ;£2,ioo per mile, and no 
broad-gauge line in Argentina has yet reached this figure. 
In 1909 its gross receipts were only ;^i,6i3, its net 
£6^^ per mile, but as the line is only in its infancy these 
figures must not be taken as a criterion. However, the 
payment of a large dividend on the ordinary stock 
appears to be a remote eventuality. 

Numerous small lines, chiefly Government or French, 
have been incidentally mentioned, but they do not 
require detailed description. ^ 

' The following is a directory of 

Buenos Aires Great Southern 

Jason Rigby (Chairman), Sir 
Henry Bell, Bart., A. E. Bowen, 
Col. Sir C. Euan Smith, K.C.B., 
Woodbine Parish, D. A. Shennan, 
D. Simson. 

Local Committee. 

G. White (Chairman), J. P. 

Clarke, Dr. N. R. Fresco, F. D. 


Consulting Engineers. 
Livesey, Son, and Henderson. 

General Manager. 
J. P. Clarke. 

the four broad-gauge railways : — 

London Manager and Secretary. 

H. C. Allen. 


River Plate House, Finsbury 

Circus, E.C. 

Buenos Aires Western 

Sir Henry Bell, Bart. (Chairman), 
A. E. Bowen, D. Simson, Wood- 
bine Parish, J. W. Todd. 

Consulting Engineers. 
Livesey, Son, and Henderson. 

Legal Representative in Buenos 
Santiago Brian. 



No account of the railways would be complete without 
a reference to the important Mitre Law, which was 
introduced some two years ago. Some of the railway 
concessions were expiring, and several provincial 
Governments (which are not always as enlightened as 
the Federal) were believed to be planning increased 
taxation. Legislation was accordingly introduced to 
put matters upon a proper footing. Such companies 
as accept the Law are granted exception from all kinds 
of taxation and allowed free importation of all materials 
till 1947. In return the companies must pay a tax of 
3 per cent, upon net receipts, which, however, will be 


General Manager. 

A. F. Lertora. 


E. Eustace Faithfull. 


Plate House, Finsbury 

Circus, E.G. 

Buenos Aires and Pacific 

Rt. Hon. Lord St. Davids (Chair- 
man), T. P. Gaskell, C. E. 
Giinther, E. Norman, Hon. A. 
Stanley, M.P., F. O. Smithers 
(Managing Director). 

Local Board. 

Dr. Don E. Lamarca (Chairman), 

J. A. Goudge, R. S. Zavalia. 

General Manager, 
J. A. Goudge. 

W. R. Cronan. 


Dashwood House. 9, New 

Broad Street, E.C. 

Central Argentine Railway. 


J. W. Todd (Chairman), C. 

Darbyshire, P. Riddock, W. 

Morrison, Jason Rigby, Col. 

F. J. G. Murray, J. W. Theobald, 

C. P. Ogilvie. 

Local Committee. 

Dr. J. A. Frias (President), H. H. 

Loveday, S. H. Pearson, Carlos 


Consulting Engineers. 

Sir Douglas Fox and Partners. 

Livesey, Son, and Henderson. 

General Manager. 

H. H. Loveday. 


F. Fighiera. 


3A, Coleman Street, E.C. 


applied by the Government in constructing and main- 
taining bridges and roads which give access to the 
Hnes. Certain rights of tariff revision are given to the 
Government, and no watered capital is recognised. The 
Law is most valuable to the railways, and the expenditure 
on roads and bridges will be highly beneficial. The 
effect will be to limit working expenses, for when 
the gross earnings for three consecutive years exceed 
17 per cent, of the recognised share and debenture 
capital, the Government has a right to revise the tariffs. 
The Law has been accepted by all the English companies 
except the Entre Rios and the Argentine North-Eastern. 

The above account will show that competition is very 
severe. This tends to bring down profits, and the cost 
of labour and coal and materials also makes the working 
expenses high. The extensions of the broad-gauge 
companies are, it is estimated, to cost ;£9,ooo per mile 
for track and stations alone. Another fact which adds 
to the expenses is the necessity of keeping a very large 
rolling stock for use during harvest-times. This must, in 
part, stand idle for the rest of the year, and as a corollary 
to this the great bulk of the traffic is to the sea, and thus 
many wagons have to return inland empty. Passenger 
traffic, again, is light, owing to the sparse population. 
The Government naturally encourages competition ; but 
its attitude has also a very favourable side, for it puts 
no obstacles in the way of construction, and does not 
attempt to bleed the companies. Of this the Mitre Law 
is an example. On the whole, it may be said that the 
great ability which has hitherto been shown in railway 
policy will have to be maintained at the highest point if 
profits and dividends are to be kept up. 

On the other hand, it must be remembered that the 
volume of traffic steadily increases, and that wheat alone 
will be exported on a scale greater than anything which 




has yet been seen in any country in the world. The area 
of cultivation expands yearly, and when a more intensive 
scheme of tillage is adopted the yield will increase and 
with it the goods traffic. Pasturage is being driven 
further afield by the husbandmen, and as more farmers 
settle within the railway area the import trade will expand 
in sympathy with their growing wants and purchasing 
power. There is no reason to doubt that the railways 
will continue to share in the increasing prosperity of the 
country, and will be enabled to take advantage of the 
vast scope for development both north and south. 

Manufacturers in Argentina are heavily protected, 
but they have as yet made no great progress. Writers 
who deal with the business side of Argentine life 
usually treat them in a very cursory manner and 
devote themselves to the vast pastoral and agricultural 
production and other characteristic industries, but the 
question of manufactures is worth consideration, for 
it is a sign of the times that every nation is anxious 
to supply itself with home-made goods and is straining 
every nerve to encourage home production. A large 
proportion, indeed, of the Argentine factories are merely 
auxiliary to the production of raw material, being cream- 
eries, butter factories, freezing establishments, cheese- 
making factories, and the like. 

Brewing and distilling are both important, and there 
are said to be 130 distilleries and 32 breweries in 
Argentina. The sugar factories of Tucuman turn out 
a great quantity of rum. As sugar-planting is being 
successfully pursued in the Territories of Misiones, 
Chaco, and Formosa, the manufacture of that article 
is naturally increasing. The cost of planting one 
hectare with cane is about ;^io. It was estimated that 
the Republic produced about 120,000 tons of sugar 
annually, and this amount is not quite sufficient for 


domestic needs, but when the Gran Chaco is opened 
up there can be no doubt that not only will enough 
be produced to supply the increasing population but 
that there will also be a large export. 

In 1907 there were 303 flour-mills turning out 699,000 
tons of flour. There are also 77 tobacco factories 
producing an output valued at about 2J millions sterling. 
All kinds of textiles are produced, but there are only 
two cotton-spinning mills and 62 weaving factories. 
There are also numbers of miscellaneous industries, 
the most important of which perhaps are paper, matches, 
glass-ware, tanning, clothing, and building material. 
In general the factories are fitted up with the very 
best English machinery, and there is a determination to 
leave nothing undone to secure success. That they will 
continue to prosper cannot be doubted, for they have 
still a much larger home market than they are capable 
of supplying. A considerable number of the manufac- 
turing industries, notably the sugar factories of Tucuman, 
are in English hands, and an enterprising Scotch firm 
has forsaken the United Kingdom and is engaged in 
manufacturing cheap shoes of imported hemp, which 
are exported largely to Japan. The high tariff wall 
is a luxury much appreciated by manufacturers, but 
not to-day or to-morrow will Argentina compete with 
Manchester or Bradford in the world's markets. Want 
of coal is a capital hindrance, and that very protection 
which confers local prosperity helps to make the 
establishment and upkeep of factories very costly. 
In this respect Argentina is but a beginner, and no 
one can say what her manufacturing future will be. 



This is, on the whole, the most striking of the many 
very remarkable industrial features of Argentina. To 
begin with, some figures should be given. No doubt 
they are dry bones, but a body cannot be made without 
bones, and for the understanding of industrial pheno- 
mena it is necessary to have a skeleton map in the 
form of figures to guide us. If we keep a few round 
figures before us, we can form an idea of the progress 
of a country in industrial matters and its position in 
regard to other nations. It is impossible indeed to 

N carry long tables of statistics in the head, but a few 
essential figures can be remembered, and along with 
them the increases and decreases (though of decreases 
we seldom hear in Argentina) as compared with a 
period of ten years ago and also the relative production 
or export of Argentine staples as compared with the 
figures of other countries in those articles. 

Allusion has already been made to the benefit which 
the Spaniards conferred upon South America by setting 
down horses and cattle, and how abundantly they 
increased and multiplied in an astonishingly short time. 
It has been seen also that in the seventeenth and 
eighteenth centuries the exportation of hides was a 

^ most progressive industry. Later, when the tyranny 
of Rosas was overpast, the production of cattle made 



giant strides and has by no means approached its 

The following figures represent the number of animals 
in the Argentine Republic : — 














Their total value is 645,000,000 dollars gold.^ The 
United States has more cattle (71,267,000), but con- 
siderably fewer sheep and goats. Australia has more 
sheep (87,780,819), but far fewer horses and cattle. 
Chile, although looked upon as a wool-growing country, 
is insignificant in comparison with Argentina, possess- 
ing probably hardly more than two million sheep. 
Argentina has fewer hogs, mules, and donkeys than 
Spain, but, on the whole, it may be said that she equals, 
if she does not surpass, any other nation in the number 
and variety of her live stock. 

It is of course, to the Camp that the country owes 
all its wealth. People in Buenos Aires use the term 
just as people in Calcutta speak of the Mofussil. With- 
out the Camp, or plain, the great Buenos Aires would 
have no existence. The Camp is covered with estancias 
which are held by estancieros, or squatters. Immense 
fortunes have been made by those who have been 
skilled in the art of getting together the best stock and 
managing their estates, and probably there are still 
excellent chances of making a fortune for the com- 
petent. The life of the estanciero is free and healthy ; 

' When the term dollar is used, it invariably means the gold 
dollar at five to the English £i. 




it approaches to that of the receding Gaucho, it is a 
Hfe of boot and saddle, of early rising and long days 
in the crisp, sunny air. It is also much more comfort- 
able than the ranching life in most countries; good 
houses, billiard-tables, plenty of company, and a number 
of the amenities of civilised life are not unusual, and 
the splendid railways will swiftly transport the estanciero 
to Buenos Aires when he desires a change.^ Still, it is 
obvious that these luxuries are the result and not the 
cause of success ; and it must not be supposed that an 
estanciero grows rich by living in fine houses and amusing 
himself ; as is the case everywhere else, the desirable things 
of wealth are won by hard work and business ability. 

In 1864 cattle amounted to 10,215,000, in 1884 to 
14,171,000, in 1895 ^^ 21,701,526. It will be seen that 
the rate of advance has been tolerably rapid. As the 
country became more settled after the middle of the 
last century, the increase of pastoral industries was 
somewhat checked by the realisation of the enormous 
possibilities of agriculture. In 1857 cattle formed 
25 per cent, of the wealth of the country, but in 1884 
only 18 per cent.^ But with the fall in the value 

* " Stables and stalls are replacing the old-fashioned ' corral.' 
The wealthy proprietor arrives at his estancia from the railway 
station in a carriage ; the old rustic homestead is converted into 
a veritable country-house, sometimes into a mansion, with park 
and garden. There are estancias a hundred leagues from Buenos 
Aires which we once knew as plains deserted and in the hands 
of the Indians, and where now carriages, equipped in English 
fashion, pass over the plain and people dine in the evening in 
sumptuous establishments. The European stock-raisers have made 
the gaucho retreat to the vast tracts situated on the confines 
of the desert " (Martinez et Lewandowski, " L' Argentine," p. 132). 

=" The statement of the " Encyclopedia Britannica," that Argentina 
had a hundred million sheep in 1866 is quite incredible. Mulhall 
estimates, no doubt accurately, the number in 1870 at forty-one 


of wheat and the increasing demand for meat and wool, 
and the wonderful ingenuity of the methods of freezing 
and preserving, the pastoral industry has held its own. 

Cattle and sheep are raised all over the Pampas and 
far to the north and south ; but, generally speaking, cattle 
keep to the eastern side and sheep to the west, while 
Patagonia is almost exclusively devoted to sheep. The 
cattle industry is very different from what it was in 
the memory of men still living. In the old days animals 
were killed for their hides and the carcase was left to 
rot on the ground ; their flesh was eaten only by 
those who tended them. In 1873 the export of meat 
was under 1,500,000 dollars, and little of this found its 
way to Europe. In 1907 the exports of beef and mutton 
amounted to 222,273 tons. The prosperity of the meat 
industry, however, is due not only to improved methods 
of transport, packing, and preserving, but also to the 
wisdom of the estancieros in importing valuable bulls. 
It is said that even the smallest among them are con- 
vinced of the value of good blood and insist upon 
having it. Between 1899 and 1903 Argentina imported 
3,005 bulls, principally from England, and in 1907 the 
value of live animals imported was over 2,000,000 
dollars. We have seen the huge prices that rich 
Argentines give for the best stallions, but, relatively, 
breeders are quite as eager for the best bovine sires. 
Uruguay is better known to the world than Argentina 
as a seat of the meat industry, but, as a matter of fact, 
the latter has infinitely more stock of every description. 
However, in 1908, the Uruguayan beef-salting factories 
slaughtered three times as many cattle as the Argentine. 
A great many estancias are in English hands ; all 
over the Pampas are great numbers of young English- 
men managing the estates. A warning note has. lately 
been sounded to the effect that Beef Trusts and other 


United States Trusts are attempting to acquire land and 
meat factories and to control the supply of meat. It 
is needless to say that if these organisations make 
headway, neither the estancieros, nor our traders, nor 
the meat consumer, will have any reason to congratulate 
themselves, and it is to be hoped that the Argentine 
Government will take energetic measures to keep the 
country out of the grip of the octopus. 

The sheep industry has not maintained its old 
relative importance. In 1830 Argentina had 2,500,000 
sheep and exported 6,000,000 lbs. of wool ; in 1883 
the figures were 69,000,000 sheep (somewhat more 
than now) and 261,000,000 lbs. of wool. In 1908 the 
shipments were 175,538 tons, and Argentina is of great 
importance in the world's markets, but the conditions 
of the industry have changed considerably within recent 
years. In the old days Spain prohibited the export 
of her valuable merino sheep to foreign countries, 
but the colonies were fortunate enough not to be 
included in the prohibition, and in 1550 the first 
merinos appeared in Tucuman from Peru.^ Professor 
Clapham, in his valuable work, " The Woollen and 
Worsted Industries," says : '^ There, together with an 
inferior, long-wooled breed, also of Spanish extraction, 
they ran wild and deteriorated for over two hundred 
years ; so that eventually the Argentine flocks were as 
sorely in need of new blood as were those of France, 
Germany, or Russia, which, until the middle of the 
eighteenth century, had never had the benefit of a 
cross with the old Spanish strain. Between 1760 and 

* In 1569 Don Juan Ortiz de Zarate arranged for the importation 

of four thousand merinos to the River Plate. In 1660 Buenos Aires 

shipped its first cargo of wool — about a ton. When we condemn 

-a Spanish restrictiveness we must remember the enlightened efforts of 

* various Viceroys to improve the industry of wool and hides. 





1840, thanks to a change in the commercial policy of 
Spain, such crossing took place in almost every country 
of Europe and in many European colonies." About 
the beginning of the nineteenth century pure-bred 
Spanish rams were brought to Argentina, and others 
from France and Saxony. By 1846 the wool had so 
greatly improved that it was exported to England. 
Forty years ago the exports consisted almost entirely 
of merino wool, but now seven-eighths is cross-bred. 
For this change there are two reasons — firstly, the rich, 
loamy soil does not suit merinos, which are apt to 
deteriorate in rank pastures, and, secondly, the trade 
in frozen meat has made such enormous strides that 
estancieros are anxious to obtain mutton breeds, 
especially Lincolns. The Lincolnshire breeders drive 
a flourishing trade with Buenos Aires, and as much 
as 1,000 guineas is often given for a ram. There 
used to be a prejudice in Bradford against Argentine 
wool,i but it is disappearing, although the Australian 
product still fetches a somewhat higher price. 

The improvements which of late years have been 
introduced into sheep-breeding and sheep-farming are 
very remarkable, and they are partly due to the efforts 
of immigrants from New Zealand who have introduced 
effective cures for foot-rot and other diseases. During 
the last ten years of the nineteenth century breeders 
pinned their faith almost entirely to Lincolns, and the 
importations were very large. Up to 1890 the majority 
of Argentine sheep were weak cross-breds, and such 

* " In some respects we are so backward that our wool cannot 
compete in the great markets of the world, so far as regards the 
quahty, with any other country which is a great producer. The bad 
habit of our breeders to separate their sheep into large flocks — 
sometimes above five thousand heads — is the principal obstacle to 
the improvement of our wool, because large flocks do not admit of 
the necessary attentions" (Napp, " The Argentine Republic," p. 303). 


good blood as remained had been weakened by over- 
crossing. The hardy Lincoln brought health and 
energy to the enfeebled mass, and breeders made it 
their business to rear hardy sheep and obtain a good 
average without going to extremes in their preference 
for any particular stock. The breeding of sheep has 
been greatly benefited by the fact that the estancias 
have been largely in English hands ^ and the proprietors 
have thus introduced hardy English breeds and good 

All over Argentina the intelligent selection of breeds 
is receiving great attention. It is now recognised that 
in an alfafa district a stock-master should keep cattle 
rather than flocks, and that such sheep as he has should 
be producers of mutton rather than wool. Again, in 
the southern districts where the grass is rich and tender, 
the Lincoln breed is unsuitable and crossings are 
favoured with the Romney Marsh, which counteracts 
the tendency towards coarseness, and gives silkiness, 
closeness, and, to some extent, fineness to the wool. 
Thus in Tierra del Fuego the hardy Romney Marsh, 
imported from the Falkland Islands, is being bred, and 
in this inhospitable climate the sheep keep fat all the 
year round, even when the snow lies a foot deep on the 
ground, for the sheep have learned to scrape the snow 
away with their hoofs and find the grass. 

M. Hernandez, to whose valuable work this chapter is 
indebted, concludes this subject with the following 
words : " Thus the moral to be learned from all this 
would be, that there is no reason why either the coarse 
or fine wools now produced should be abandoned to 
any great extent. The coarse can afford to give over 
a large proportion of its flock to the evolution, because 

* " Of every twenty estancias in the South fifteen belong to 
Englishmen " (Bernandez, " The Argentine Estancia," p. 45). 




they are in an immense majority ; but it would not be 
prudent to go to the other extreme in this reaction, as 
the coarse long wool will always have its use, not only 
in rough goods but also in the warp of fine cloths, 
which in the great mechanical looms has to be 
extremely strong — a reason that has prevented the 
decadence of French wools. The merino, on its side, 
has its strongest defence in the singular fact that our 
woollen factories import their fine wools in the form 
of yarn. As soon as spinning-mills are established in 
the country, and the customs tariff combines the 
interests of the wool-grower with that of the manu- 
facturer, there will be, in this country alone, more than 
half a million sterling at hand for the purchase of the 
wool produced by our Rambouillet flocks. It can thus 
be seen that there is a field for stock-breeding and 
industrial art that will cause the development on a 
colossal scale of all the breeds comprised in our flocks, 
and that the times are singularly propitious for it, as 
we have at hand in enormous quantity all the elements 
tending to good results that can be offered to capital 
and to the vigorous enterprise of mankind, with greater 
certainty and more favourable auspices than can be 
obtained in any other class of business, or in any other 
part of the world." ^ 

The life of the estancia has been described by many 
pens, and the free, open conditions have always had an 
attraction for Englishmen. The management is every- 
where upon the same principles. The property is 
divided by wire fences into paddocks varying from 
200 to 3,000 acres. Some paddocks are used for 
breeding, some for fattening, and the head station is 
situated as nearly in the middle of the Camp as 
possible. It consists of the houses of the owners 
* " The Argentine Estancia," p. 52. 



and managers, the labourers' quarters, tool- and store- 
houses, shearing-sheds, dipping-troughs, and the like. 
The owner's house is often very large and handsome, 
and the grounds beautifully laid out. There is generally 
considerable variety of stock, but where the fattening of 
steers is the main object few or no sheep are kept. 
Some estancias have dairies attached. Land was taken 
up very rapidly by ranchers in the early days of 
Argentina's prosperity. Now, with the increase of the 
area of cultivation, the land in the Pampas which is 
available for grazing is greatly curtailed. It is estimated 
that nearly a hundred million hectares are still to be 
disposed of by the State, but this is all far to the north 
or south, and Chubut and Santa Cruz make up nearly 
half the total. 

The dairy industry is now on a gigantic scale. All 
arrangements were till very lately most primitive and 
the traveller, did he not know to the contrary, would 
still believe them to be so ; but it is a peculiarity about 
Argentina that the people hurry to institute a great 
export trade long before they think of supplying them- 
selves adequately with an article. As late as 1891 the 
first butter — a few hundred pounds — was exported. 
Now the exports amount to 8,000 tons. The dairies 
are provided with the most up-to-date machinery, 
and the export trade of butter will, no doubt, rapidly 
increase. The industry is, however, looked upon with 
some distrust by estancieros, for it is important not to 
allow the winning of milk to diminish the young 
animals, either in quantity or quality, upon which the 
prosperity of Argentina depends. 

Inseparably connected with the pastoral industry 
are two great English businesses concerned in the 
extract of meat. It was in 1884 that the Kemmerich 
Company purchased some estancias and built a factory 


at Santa Elena in Entre Rios. The Bovril Company 
had for some years been obtaining material for its 
meat extract from Santa Elena, and eventually bought 
the factory and that of San Javier, together with a block 
of 438,000 acres, and additional land was leased. These 
were formed into the Argentine Estates of Bovril, 
Limited, and hence is obtained a large proportion of 
the raw material of that well-known beverage. The -^ 
final stages of manufacture take place in the London 
factory. The estancias support from 130,000 to 160,000 
head of cattle, but even this large number does not 
supply the whole demand, and every year many cattle 
continue to be sent by the Kemmerich Company to the 
Bovril factories. The favourite breed is the hardy 
Durham. Several thousand head of this fine breed are 
kept by the Company to level up the remainder of the 
stock. The Durham, or Shorthorn, has been a brilliant 
success in the Pampa, both as a pure breed and as a 
means of raising, by crossing the standard of the criollo, 
or native animal, and no breed equals it for beef-pro- 
duction in districts where the pasture is rich and the 
climate temperate. The Bovril Company also keeps Polled 
Angus, but finds the Durhams unequalled for its purpose. 

All the best parts of the beef are used to make Bovril, 
and the preliminary process takes place in the Argentine 
factories, where 80,000 to 100,000 cattle are slaughtered 
annually. The hides and tallow are also prepared at 
Santa Elena, sold at Buenos Aires, and shipped to 
Europe and the United States. The rapid growth of 
this business and the skill and enterprise of the Company 
in importing good stock are very characteristic of English 
methods in Argentina. 

The other Company is considerably older. The Lemco 
and 0x0 Company ^ illustrates the history of an idea 

* For some of my information I am indebted to an article in the 
Lancet of October 24, 1908. 


which occurred in 1850 to Baron Justus von Liebig, who 
suggested that, instead of kilHng cattle for their hides 
and tallow and leaving the carcases to rot on the ground, 
ranchers might do well to devise an economical process 
of obtaining an extract of meat from the neglected beef. 
In 1865 the idea was at last put into practice. Baron 
Liebig says : " In 1862 I received a visit from Herr 
Giebert, an engineer of Hamburg, who had spent many 
years in South America and Uruguay, where hundreds 
of thousands of sheep and oxen are killed solely for 
the hides and fat. He told me that directly he saw my 
account of the preparation of this extract he came to 
Munich with the intention of learning the process and 
then returning to South America in order to undertake 
its manufacture on a large scale. I therefore recom- 
mended Herr Giebert to Professor Pettenkofer, who 
willingly made him familiar with every detail of the 
process. He then returned to Uruguay in the summer 
of 1863, but, owing to many difficulties which generally 
hinder the introduction and management of a new 
business, it was almost a year before he could actually 
commence the manufacture." It was arranged that the 
extract should be called Liebig, and in due course the 
first sample of about 80 lbs. of beef extract arrived at 
Munich, and was pronounced highly satisfactory, con- 
sidering that it was " a product from the flesh of half- wild 

These pioneer attempts were quickly absorbed by 
Lemco and Oxo. The beginning was made in Uruguay, 
but now the Company owns ten estancias in Argentina, 
nine in Paraguay, and seven in Uruguay.^ The chief 

' The following table shows the progress of the Company: — 

Acreage of Farms. Stock of Cattle. 

1868 28,494 12,000 

1878 37,961 19,036 


(I '}^*^^''-^\ 


Argentine estancia is at Colon in Entre Rios, about 
1 80 miles north of Argentina, but there are many others, 
both in that Province and Corrientes, including La 
Luisa, Jubileo, Chacra, and Curuzu Laurel, as well as 
numerous hired farms. The total area of the estates very 
nearly equals that of Kent and Surrey put together. 
Some of the estancias are larger than the Isle of Wight. 
The soil is fertile, the climate genial, there is an 
inexhaustible water supply, and an ample rainfall. All 
products can be shipped direct from Colon. The great 
feature of Camp conditions and the main element of 
success in the meat industry is the splendid open-air 
and free life which, with abundance of sweet grass, 
is the deadly enemy of the tubercle bacillus. In the 
whole of Argentina the cattle that come to the freezing 
and preserving establishments show usually an average 
of under i per cent, afflicted with tuberculosis. These 
results are not surprising, seeing that the one known 
remedy for consumption is the open-air life. 

As was seen, the Bovril cattle are Durhams, and this 
may be attributed to the fact that they are largely fed on 
lucerne. The stock on the Lemco and Oxo estancias is 
grass-fed, and therefore a different breed finds favour. 
In place of the "half-wild animals" of forty-five years 
ago, the estates are grazed by beautiful herds of almost 
pure-bred Herefords.^ Many well-known breeders of 





* There are also some fine specimens of Aberdeen Angus. This 
is a useful breed, for it " nicks " well with Herefords and Durhams, 
and is a better milker than the Hereford. Its colour, usually black, 
is unpopular, and Argentines are fastidious in that respect. But 
they stand the cold well and their beef is of high quality, and some 
breeders pin their faith to them. 

Acreage of Farms. 

Stock of CatUe. 










that county, and also H.M. King Edward, have con- 
tributed to the Company's stock. The noble, white-faced 
beasts, standing deep in the rich grass, are a glorious 

The Hereford is the second favourite in Argentina, but 
breeders only pay about half as much for them as for 
good Durham bulls. Where the surroundings do not 
conduce to early maturity and where lucerne cannot be 
had, the Hereford is excellent. It is slow in maturing, 
and at three years of age is said to be 15 per cent, lighter 
than its rival, but the popularity of the Hereford is 
steadily increasing. 

The factory at Colon is only seven years old and is 
splendidly equipped. Every process follows the other in 
geographical order, Jand each departmental factory duly 
delivers its produce into the vast shipping wharf. Behind 
stand the houses of the Company's servants, stores, 
schools for the children, and a club. Standing by a 
mighty river, in a green country, the industry presents 
none of the dingy conditions and ugliness which are 
associated with European wealth-production. It is 
rather a palace of health. 

The killing season opens in January and ends in June, 
and usually about a quarter of a million beasts are slain 
— hecatombs as much exceeding the etymological sense of 
the word as the Homeric phrase doubtless fell below it. 
They are a stupendous yearly sacrifice to -^sculapius. 
It should be added that the factory at Colon is constantly 
inspected by a representative of the Cattle Inspection 
Department of the Ministry of the Argentine Republic, 
and he is required to certify each month that he has not 
allowed any animal to be killed that was not sound and 
free from disease. Nothing that the bounty of Nature 
or the skill of man can achieve is left undone to secure 
the perfect condition of all the products. 


That statesman is proverbially the wisest who can 
make two blades of corn grow where one grew before. 
In like manner, the men who can transmute scrubby 
sheep and big-boned, lean cattle into well-proportioned 
animals with heavy fleeces and fat stock is a benefactor 
to the human race. In Argentina, at least, to say nothing 
of other lands, this work has been most effectually 
accomplished by private effort, and in reviewing the 
pastoral industries of Argentina we must admire the 
enterprise which has scattered plenty over the land. The 
old poets associated wealth and peace with great herds 
of cattle and flocks of sheep. 

"One way a band select from forage drives 
A herd of beeves, fair oxen and fair kine, 
From a fat meadow ground ; or fleecy flock, 
Ewes and their bleating lambs over the plain." 

It is these, created by skill and enterprise and drawing 
the vigour and virtue from our Enghsh counties, that 
have made Argentina a great country. 




In dealing with this subject it will be necessary to make 
use of a considerable number of statistics, for there is 

\ no other way by which to express the unprecedented 
development of this great Republic. Her genial climate, 
her fertile soil, her vast waterways, potent alike to fertilise 
the country and bring produce to the sea, and now her 
unequalled railways and excellent docks, have caused the 
trade of Argentina to be surprisingly large in proportion 
to her population, and, unfortunately, wealth seems likely 
to multiply more rapidly than men. As has been said 
before, the importance of Argentina as a world State is 
purely industrial and commercial ; her politics, literature, 
and people are interesting, but they still belong to the 

^ day of small things. Her exports of wheat and pastoral 
products, her railway share list and her bonds are 
scrutinised eagerly at every commercial centre, and 
Buenos Aires is an increasingly important member of 

V the delicate system of international commerce. 
In 1908 ^ the imports were ;£54,594,547. 
„ exports „ 73,201,068.2 

* For 1909 the figures were — 

Imports ;^6o,55i,2i9 

Exports 79,470,102. 

** I have divided the figures, which are given by all authorities in 
American gold dollars, by five. It is greatly to be regretted that 





The principal items of import were as follows : — 

Textiles ;^9,98o,267 

Railway carriages and vehicles ... 6,140,067 

Iron (including manufactures) ... 6,015,096 

Pottery 4,979,580 

Foodstuffs 4,709,819 

Building materials 4,276,485 

Agricultural implements 3,167,967 

Wine, &c 2,655,956 

Oils 2,610,344 

It is clear from this table that Argentina still relies on 
the foreigner for most of her manufactures. Her policy 
of high Protection has not yet enabled her to produce 
high-class goods, but it would be rash to say that success 
will never come, when we consider the position of the 
United States and the enormous advantage which an 
industrial start of some fifty years gives a country. 
The imports show a decline from the previous year of 
some two and a half million sterling, doubtless in 
sympathy with the prevailing depression, and the 
principal importing countries all sent slightly smaller 
quantities. Of the imports England has 34*2 per cent., 
Germany 13*9, the United States 13*2. The figures 
are : — 

the splendid private enterprise of Englishmen in Argentina receives 
so little help from English statisticians or the English Government. 
The statistics are best set forth by an excellent publication, the 
Bulletin of the International Bureau of the American Republics^ 
published at Washington. Even the Statesman's Year Book (Mac- 
millan) gives totals in American dollars. We have far more trade 
in South America than the United States, but we cannot, in view of 
the approaching completion of the Panama Canal and the intelligent 
efforts of American statesmen, hope to retain our position indefinitely 
if our own Government continues to trust to the policy of " muddling 







United States 









A remarkable feature in the history of Argentine trade 
returns is the enormous advance of Germany. In 1874 
she sent to Argentine ;£ 160,000, in 1882, ;^920,ooo. 
England's figures for those two years are ;£ 1,040,000 and 
;^i,48o,ooo. Those of the United States are ;£38o,ooo 
and ;£5 80,000. But it should also be remarked that the 
advance of our own country has been even more rapid, 
and here, as elsewhere, the absurdity is demonstrated of 
those who declare that English trade is vanishing. 
Everything has been done to write down England and 
to write up Germany, and at the end of it all John Bull 
can beat Germany with one hand, the United States with 
the other, and has still an ample margin of strength to 
beat Belgium as well. We are handsomely above the 
Two Power standard in the Plate district. France 
makes steady progress, and Italy shows a large increase, 
as is only to be expected, because the emigration from 
Italy has long been very large. It may be added that 
French goods make their way by sheer merit, for France 
has in her own land ample scope for her scanty popula- 
tion. Some advantage may be obtained by her as the 
head of the Latin race, but wherever there are women 
and luxury there will French trade flourish, and further, 
in machinery of many kinds France, if equalled by any 
other nation for excellence, is equalled by England 

It is very interesting to see how Argentina has passed 
from small to great things in matters of trade. 

The following table shows in round figures her pro- 



gress during a space of more than a hundred years. 
They refer to her total foreign trade. 


;^ I, 400,000 









Thus, in eight years, the foreign trade has far more than 
doubled. In former days the results of feverish de- 
velopment were by no means an unmixed benefit. 
Immense sums had been invested in railways and other 
enterprises, and the Mortgage Bank of the Province of 
Buenos Aires recklessly lent money upon land and 
credit was inflated. Everybody thought that unbounded 
riches were either in their possession or within reach, 
and the inevitable collapse followed. The difficulties 
were aggravated by the fluctuating state of the currency. 
At present the paper dollar circulates with a tolerably 
steady value of about is. gd. There is a scheme for 
establishing a gold currency, and the gold held by the 
Conversion Office amounts to 132,769,134 dollars gold. 
The note circulation is over 500,000,000 dollars paper. 
In December, 1891, the Banco de La Nacion Argentina 
was opened with a capital of 50,000,000 dollars, now 
increased to 90,000,000. The Bank may lend money to 
the National Government, but the total amount is not 
to exceed 6,000,000 dollars, and it has no authority to 
place loans in other quarters. 

The exports now demand our consideration. In .1908 
the main items were : — 



Agricultural products 
Pastoral products 
Forest products ... 
Fish and Game ... 





A more detailed investigation of the figures shows 
that of wheat 3,636,294 tons were exported, of maize 
1,711,804, of linseed 1,055,650, of oats 440,041. The 
shipments of wool were 175,538 tons, of frozen beef 
180,915, of jerked beef 6,650. Quebracho wood stood 
at 254,571 tons, quebracho at 48,162, and hay at 32,078. 
Hides were largely exported. 

For 1908 the following is the percentage of imports 
received by various countries : England, 21*4 ; Belgium, 
9'8 ; Germany 9*5 ; France, 7-9 ; Brazil, 4-1 ; United 
States, 3*6. 

The following table shows our reciprocal trade with 
Argentina in 1907 ' : — 

Imports into England. 

Wheat ... 

.. ;^8,044,636 







Fresh Mutton 


Iron and Manu- 

Fresh Beef 





•• 1,977,466 




.. 1,689,639 

Railway Carriages 




Exports from England. 

The various industries of this Republic, which supply 
the materials for the rapidly increasing commerce, are 
dealt with in other chapters. Buenos Aires from very 
early times has had a brisk trade. Even in the seven- 
teenth century the traffic in hides excited the admiration 
of travellers, and at the end of the eighteenth century 
the new and liberal commercial policy pursued by the 

* According to the Statesman's Year Book, the figures appear to 
be too high. 



Home Government resulted in a promising development 
which was roughly checked by the Revolution. From 
1825 to 1842 the foreign trade per inhabitant positively 
diminished, and by 1850 it was only £^ 8s. per head 
as against £2> 12s. in 1795. Now it is some ;^2o. 
Obviously the slow progress after the Revolution was 
due to the sinister tyranny of Rosas, which stifled the 
development of communications and all other progress. 
A traveller,! who visited the Pampas in 1848, says : 
"The soil is good for agriculture, yet flour is either 
imported from the United States, or obtained from the 
northern provinces ; and its price is enhanced by the 
cost of land-carriage several hundred miles." He con- 
cludes his interesting work with these words 2 : ^* But 
while our own colonies of Australia and New Zealand 
offer such rich and boundless fields for the profitable 
employment of capital among our own countrymen, 
there is less inducement than ever for merchants to risk 
their capital and energies amongst a race of people 
where the wealth of nature is wasted by the combined 
operation of ignorance, unstable government, and inter- 
minable warfare." 

Very different has been Argentina's commercial history 
for the last sixty years, and the only check was afforded 
by the Celman crash. Now 3 " the producing capacity 
of the country is steadily increasing, and in cereal pro- 
duction its status is evidenced by the fact that as a corn 
[i.e.y maize] exporter the Argentine Republic took first 
rank in 1908, occupying the place formerly held by the 
United States. In the production 4 of this foodstuff the 
country ranks third, and as a wheat-grower fifth. It is 

' MacCann, " Two Thousand Miles' Ride," i. i6o. 
^ Ibid. ii. 304. 

3 Bulletin of the American Republics (July, 1909), p. 14. - 
* As opposed to exportation. 



first as an exporter of frozen meat, and second as a 
shipper of wool. In the number of its cattle the 
Republic holds third place among the nations, being 
ranked by India and the United States. Russia and 
the United States exceed it in number of horses, and 
Australia alone has a greater number of sheep." 

As a complement to this description of the com- 
merce, a few words should be said about the indus- 
tries which directly nourish it. Elsewhere will be 
found an account of the foreign steamship lines which 
connect Argentina with the outer world.^ Here it is 
necessary to give the figures of her modest mercantile 
marine as far as they can be ascertained ; — 

Sailing ships 



Total 292 



^ The table given below shows the tonnage of the chief ports 
in 1908 : — 





Rio Gallegos 



Bahia Blanca 

., ... 



Puerto Madryn 




C. de Uruguay 



646,41 1 

La Plata 








Santa Fe 













.. ... 



Bella Vista .. 




Empedrado .. 











Buenos Aires 






It has already been said that the Argentines are not 
a seafaring nation, but no doubt, in course of time, 
the exigencies of national defence and the growth of 
her trade will turn the energies of her people to the 

There are in Argentina four banks with their offices 
in London. First comes the London and River Plate 
Bank, which was the only one of the four doing business 
in the country at the time of the Celman catastrophes, 
and this British Bank was the only banking firm of any 
description that weathered the storm. It has branches 
in Buenos Aires, Rosario, Mendoza, Concordia, Bahia 
Blanca, and Barracas. The other three, though younger, 
are sound and prosperous. The Anglo-South American 
Bank (formerly Tarapaca) has branches in Buenos Aires, 
Mendoza, and Bahia Blanca. The British Bank of South 
America has branches in Buenos Aires and Rosario, and 
the same is the case with the London and Brazilian 
Bank. There are, of course, many foreign and Argentine 
banks, and of these the Spanish River Plate Bank is said 
to be the best. It was recently stated that the United 
States does not possess a single bank in the whole of 
South America. 

The financial position of the Republic may be briefly 
stated. It is generally believed that the fiscal manage- 
ment is somewhat wasteful, and the competence of 
Congress to produce a satisfactory budget is questioned. 
Men of eminent business ability are, of course, found 
in the pursuits that make wealth rather than in Congress. 
But the finances are flourishing, as the following figures ^ 
will show : — 

* The various authorities almost always differ slightly, sometimes 
considerably, in their figures. Thus the Statesman's Year Book 
gives the tonnage of Buenos Aires in 1908 as 4,760,316, while the 
Bulletin states it at 4,888,741. 






Dollars Gold. 


Dollars Paper. 

Import duties 


Public works (in 

Additional duties ... 




Port dues, &c. 


Spirits and beer ... 


Consular dues, fines, 





Sanitary works ... 


Buenos Aires Pro- 



vincial Debt 


Posts and tele- 

National Bank Service 










Below are given the figures since 1903 :- 














In conclusion, the important subject of tariffs demands 
notice. The Republic has long adopted a highly pro- 
tective fiscal policy. The object is to create as many 
industries as possible, and therefore to discourage foreign 
competition by the imposition of heavy duties. The 
high cost of living is usually attributed to this system, 
and undoubtedly many articles would be cheaper if the 
tariff was lower ; but its effect is probably exaggerated, 
and even under complete Free Trade Argentina would 
still be a dear country. It is the comparative lack of 



development and enterprise, and also the unwillingness 
to take trouble over small things, which are the main 
causes of dearness ; and this is the characteristic of all 
new countries. That Protection is unpopular it would 
be rash to affirm. It is the direct imposts, and above 
all the municipal, that give rise to complaining in the 
streets. The immigrants come from highly protected 
countries, and are accustomed to heavy indirect taxes ; 
they would, in all probabihty, angrily resent direct 
taxation, even if it were much lower than the present 
scale of imposts. As the table above shows, the customs 
are the sheet-anchor of the Exchequer, and Ministers 
could not possibly dispense with them, nor would 
manufacturers hear of such a thing. " Every one," says 
an experienced resident in Buenos Aires, "as soon as 
he starts a business, looks about for higher tariffs in 
his line." 

A good many among the intellectual classes have 
academic leanings towards Free Trade, and the opinion 
is sometimes expressed that in the end the Government 
would raise more revenue by a general duty of about 
20 per cent. But the manufacturing interest, which 
already complains that it cannot compete with English 
and French goods, is an insuperable obstacle. 

The accomplished Dr. Martin Garcia Merou remarks : 
"The situation of the United States is unique in the 
world. The amazing prosperity of this country is based 
upon the producing and consuming power of her forty- 
five independent States, which stretch over an immense 
continent, and of which some differ in climate and 
conditions as widely as Spain differs from Norway, but 
they all have a single system of land and river com- 
munication which is without rival and without precedent. 
The absence of fiscal barriers between those different 
States is the permanent and fruitful cause of their 



greatness and prosperity. In this manner a country, 
which is apparently the most Protectionist in the world, 
is the very one which demonstrates in the most practical 
and visible fashion the incalculable benefits of free 

This conviction is gaining ground, and there are many 
persons, intimately conversant with trade and industry, 
who wish for changes in a liberal direction. Senor 
Ricardo Pillado, the able chief of the Agricultural 
Department, has penned many minutes urging a reduc- 
tion of tariffs, but it is doubtful whether the opinions 
of a few men, however accomplished, will ever penetrate 
among an ill-informed population ; and even if their 
views were understood it is most unlikely that they 
would have power to eradicate the ingrained protective 
opinions of the masses and to create a feeling among 
them powerful enough to overcome the resistance of 
vast interests whose policy is now in complete accord 
with the feelings of the masses. 

Senor Pillado says^ : *' For a considerable number of 
years Protection has been a heavy obstacle to the 
progress and expansion of our country. Most sincerely 
do I declare that we all ought to use our utmost efforts 
\ to reform a financial system which is grounded in such 
fundamental errors as protective tariffs." 

It was in 1883 that the Republic first decided upon 
Protection. By the tariff of 1884 a duty of 50 per cent, 
was imposed upon arms, powder, alcohol, cards, per- 
fumery, tobacco, snuff, and wax matches. A duty of 
40 per cent, was imposed upon clothing, hats, shoes, 
harness, carriages, furniture, rockets, and wooden matches. 
Many articles necessary to production, such as coal, 
thread, ploughs, wire, agricultural machinery, printing 
presses, books, sacking, steam engines, iron, lumber, 
' " Politica Comercial Argentina," p. 42. 


rock-salt, and paper, were taxed only 5 or lo per cent. 
Similar articles, which were even less likely to be pro- 
duced at home or were still more urgently needed as the 
raw material of industry, were admitted free. Among 
these were machinery for factories or shipping, live cattle 
or fish, plants, seeds, railway material, metal pipes of at 
least 30 inches diameter, blasting powder, and sheep- 
wash. It will be seen, therefore, that an attempt at 
a scientific tariff was made, and it has proved so 
acceptable to the Argentines that it has been greatly 
elaborated and extended. Nor does the nominal figure 
of the duty represent the whole of the increased cost, 
for the customs officials are required to add to the 
declared value of the articles the freight and other 
expenses, and to raise the duty in proportion. Conse- 
quently the imposts are subject to large and arbitrary 
enhancements. The following summary will give a 
rough notion of the present fiscal system : — 

Free. — Most industrial materials, such as railway, mining, or electrical 
plant and most kinds of machinery ; also herbs and seeds. 
Books and magazines are free. 

Five per cent, ad valorem. — Other forms of industrial material, as 
mercury, crude sulphur, china clay, jute, lead, &c. Several 
kinds of machinery. Jewellery comes under this section. 

Ten per cent, ad valorem. — Various chemicals for industrial use. 

Fifteen per cent, ad valorem. — Certain kinds of timber. 

Twenty per cent, ad valorem. — Steel in bars, plates and sheets ; 
tissues of unbleached cotton or coarse linen cloth. 

Twenty 'five per cent, ad valorem. — All articles not elsewhere specified 
or exempted. 

Thirty per cent, ad valorem, — Tissues of wool of any kind, pure or 

Thirty-five per cent, ad valorem, — Blankets, jewel cases, iron screws, 
bolts and nuts. 

Forty per cent, ad valorem, — Most fancy articles as trunks, per- 
fumery, furniture, boots, and many kinds of clothes. ' 

Fifty per cent, ad valorem.— Aims and saddlery. 


Comestibles are specially dealt with, usually by a duty 
per kilo. The intention and effect, it is needless to say, 
are protective — e,g,y the duty on fruits in syrup is over 
5d., that on bacon over 4d. per kilo, that on refined 
sugar, polarising over 96 degrees, is a little less than 
2d., that on sugar below that grade is nearly a half- 
penny less. A little more than 5d. is the duty on 
wines per bottle, that on soda-water is the same per 
dozen bottles, while that on beer is over 2d. per 
bottle. But it must not be inferred from these 
figures that the kindly State does not take good care 
of vintners, brewers, and the like, for the system of 
enhancements aforesaid adds handsomely to these and 
all duties. The case of tobacco will illustrate this. The 
preliminary duties are as follows : — 

s. d. 

Havana cigars in cardboard boxes, about 3 1 1^ per kilo 
„ „ in wooden boxes „ 2 7^ „ 

Cigarettes ,,19 

Tobacco leaf ... from about 2^d. to i 2 „ 

But all tobacco that enters Argentina is " evaluated " 
at a certain sum, and then 20 per cent, ad valorem duty 
is charged in addition. 

There is also a miscellaneous "per kilo" section, 
which includes matches, paper, and hats, all heavily 

Export duties are insignificant. 

It may be observed that the 40 per cent, section 
and the miscellaneous section between them include 
almost all the articles likely to be purchased by the 
ordinary shopper, and they are extremely dear. But 
English and French goods appear to monopolise the 
best shops. The following clause embodies the principle 
which we know as " the most favoured nation clause " : 



" The import duties established by the present Law shall 
be deemed to be the minimum tariffy and shall be 
applicable to products and goods of all countries which 
apply their minimum tariif to exports from the Argentine 
Republic, which do not increase the previous duties, 
which do not establish a duty on exempted articles, 
which do not exceptionally reduce their present tariff 
for similar goods of any other origin, and which do 
not impede by restrictive measures the importation of 
Argentine products." ^ 

As an example of Protection both rigorous and effec- 
tive the case of sugar may be given. Not long after 
the first tariff of 1883 the sugar duties were enormously 
increased with the following effect : — 

Import of Sugar. 



The product 

24,000 tons 
35,000 „ 
34,400 „ 
29.500 „ 
5,600 „ 
458 „ 

ion of sugar, which was also 24,000 tons 
in 1884, leaped to 75,000 in 1894. Senor Pillado remarks 
that this legislation converted Tucuman into an El 
Dorado. He concludes an able work by quoting the 
appeal which he made in his minute to the Minister 
of Agriculture 2 : — 

"The trade of the Republic is at present in a 
condition thus favourable, the wealth hidden in 
her soil is thus great. She owes this situation to 
the maintenance of exterior peace, the elimination of 
fluctuations in paper money, and the establishment of 

* Art 74 of the Custom Law of 1905. 

' " Politica Comercial Argentina," p. 367. 


those institutions by which she advances with gigantic 
strides. We watch her progress, and see her offering 
to the rest of the world the products of her fertile 
territories, without restrictions and without preferences 
that take their rise in grasping tariff laws. Our country 
thus wins a reputation which corresponds to her 
pastoral and agricultural wealth and the excellence of 
her products. 

*' What, sir, would be our rate of progress if the law 
of our custom-house, which sets up a prohibitive tariff 
wall against the goods which our people demand and 
which act as a stimulus to our great industries, were 
more lenient, more just, and more in accordance with 
the principles of liberty which we have inherited with 
our charter of independence ! " 

But, in fact, all influences of to-day seem to be on 
the side of further restrictions in trade as they have 
long been on the side of further restrictions in social 
matters. The principles of liberty are considered by 
most people as very excellent for themselves but hardly 
suitable to the rest of the world ; but from Manchester 
to Shanghai the ideal of every trader is Free Trade for 
the whole world and Protection for himself. As all 
pull one way, the result is almost everywhere the same, 
and no country seems less likely to abandon Protection 
than Argentina. 





Argentina is now one of the leading agricultural 
countries of the world, and her importance is likely to 
be enhanced in the near future, because the United 
States and other sources of food supply are rapidly 
diminishing their exportable surplus, while in South 
America population is unable to keep pace with natural 
production. Wheat, as is well known, is the most 
important crop. Unlike the pastoral industry, arable 
cultivation is comparatively modern. In 1854 there 
were only 375,000 acres under tillage of all kinds, and 
the area increased very slowly until the beginning of 
the present generation. The promise of the country 
was always recognised, but it was long before foreign 
capital ventured to trust itself to a land possessing the 
political reputation of Argentina ; and thus, without 
railway development, the export of agricultural produce , 
was impossible. "All the cereals," says a pamphlet 
published in the sixties, " do remarkably well, and such 
is the fertility of the soil that double crops are often 
taken from the same land. In Santiago del Estero the 
wheat produced is of the most excellent quality, and 
although but little care is bestowed in cultivation, it 
generally yields eightyfold." The encouragement of 
emigration and the introduction of capital, and thus of ^1 
improved methods of communication, caused progress 

16 ^^5 



to be very rapid ; and whereas in 1874 the wheat area 
was only 271,000 acres, in 1884 it was 1,717,000. By 
1899 this had expanded to 5,500,000 acres, and now it 
is about 14,000,000. The following figures will show the 
progress of recent years : — 

Production in Tons, 


1902 ... 



1903 ... 



1904 ... 



1905 ... 



1906 ... 



1907 ... 






It is anticipated that before long the wheat export 
will amount to 5,000,000, and that Argentina will 
thus lead the world.^ This cannot be called a rash 
estimate, for when we examine the figures we shall find 
that population is not keeping pace with production. 
The exportation figures of 1908 were 55 per cent, 
better than those of 1906, while the figures of produc- 
tion showed a rise of only 42 per cent. This is a 
satisfactory condition of things for the trader, but less 
so from a national standpoint. In general, the farmer 
is not rooted to the soil ; he merely pays a percentage 
of his crops to the landlord as rent, and after a bad 
season is apt to move elsewhere. It is desirable that 
a scheme of intensive cultivation should be introduced, 

' In 1907-8 the world's export of wheat was as follows : — 

United States 4,400,000 tons 

Argentina 3.540>ooo » 

Russia 1,651,000 „ 

Canada 1,530,000 „ 

Balkan States 623,000 „ 

India 533>ooo » 

These figures are reckoned from July 31, 1907. 



which promises much greater national benefit in the 
future in every way than can be obtained by hasty and 
slovenly methods. A Government publication, apolo- 
gising for the present system and remarking that in old 
countries intensive agriculture is no virtue, while in 
new countries extensive agriculture is no vice, adds : 
"Wherever there is much ground with few inhabitants 
it is impossible that the number of proprietors be very 
large ; and if the comparative figure demonstrates that 
the number of renters is relatively very large, the in- 
vestigation of the facts will show that it is here that 
the qualitative influence of the divisor intervenes. In 
general, he who seeks his fortune in agricultural work 
lacks the necessary capital for purchasing land, and it 
is notorious that the immigrants we can count on to 
colonise our lands arrive completely destitute of means. 
At the very best they can hope to rent the land, counting 
on the shrewd liberality of the landholder who requires 
of them only a certain share of the crop in pay for the 
rent, and in this manner by the results of their labour 
they may finally become proprietors. There are, there- 
fore, two consecutive subdivisions : that of the working 
of the land by leasing, and that of ownership by the 
eventual purchase." 

It is said that the best lands have been snapped up 
by speculators, otherwise it might be better for the 
Government to present capable immigrants with small 
farms, and if necessary lend them capital. The need 
of Argentina is men rather than extra tons avoirdupois 
of exports. 

The production of maize has made enormous increases 
in sympathy with the general vast development which 
strains the rolling stock of every railway and with which 
the men and machinery in Argentina are insufficient to 
cope. In 1902 the production was 2,134,200 tons, now 




it is 3,456,000. This crop is peculiarly susceptible to 
the ravages of locusts, which, however, have a catholic 
taste for every kind of vegetable and are said to have 
destroyed half the crops in 1880. One of the most 
miserable sights in the world is cornfields ravaged by 
these pests ; nothing is left but slender stumps and the 
sickening odour of rotting locusts. For the locust is 
itself subject to a parasite which consumes its inside, 
and it has been suggested that the parasite might be 
introduced into the winter-breeding grounds of the 
locusts. But these lie in the most remote part of the 
Gran Chaco, and it does not appear that the inhabitants 
of any land have succeeded in tracking the eggs on any 
large scale ; it is therefore probable that the farmers will 
have to be satisfied with attempts at cure rather than 
prevention. As in India, trenches are used for the 
destruction of locusts, and the noxious creatures having 
been driven into the receptacle are rapidly covered with 
layers of earth. ^ They are to Argentina what rabbits 
are to Australia. 

Of linseed Argentina is by far the largest exporter in 
the world. Last year the exports went up with an 
astonishing leap, but for many years they have been 
greater than those of India, Russia, and North America 
combined. In 1902 the production was 1,982,000 tons ; 
in 1908 it was 2,625,000. 

It is only about thirty years since alfafa (lucerne) was 
introduced into Argentina, but there is no more useful 
crop, and it has been of the utmost benefit to the 
pastoral industries. During the South African War large 

^ "All the inhabitants of the Republic, be they citizens or 
foreigners, between fifteen and fifty years of age are obliged to 
give personal help for the destruction of the locusts and the use of 
animals or their property fitted for the work, excepting fine animals 
which are destined for breeding " (Art. 7 of Locust Law of 1903). 



fortunes were made by exporting alfafa to South Africa, 
and, given proper soil, it yields many crops in the year. 
The Province of Buenos Aires is admirably adapted to 
its cultivation. 

Oats are still a comparatively small crop, but they are 
making considerable progress. The export of 15,000 
tons in 1905 had risen to 440,041 in 1908. 

Sugar is an old industry, and, as is pointed out 
elsewhere, it has become of importance owing to the 
protective policy of the Argentine Government. In 
1884 the production was 55,000 tons. For the last 
three years it has been — 

1906 ... 116,287 tons 

1907 109,445 „ 

1908 161,662 „ 

Tobacco is a prominent manufacture, but it is probable 
that a great part of the raw material comes from abroad. 
It is cultivated extensively in the northern region, but 
owing to its coarseness it is not likely that the native 
product will ever satisfy the home demand. 

Last, but not least, in Argentine agriculture comes the 
vine. The culture of the vine and wine manufacture 
have gone forward at a great pace in the Provinces of 
Mendoza and San Juan. In 1884 there were 63,000 
acres under vines, and the production of wine was 
5,810,080 gallons. Now it is about 41,580,000. Mendoza 
is an excellent wine country, and some of its bodegas 
are among the largest in the world. The vineyards, 
the mountains, and the rural appearance of the towns 
give to the wine country an old-world air which is 
refreshing in a new country. The most popular wines 
are red and white clarets, the better qualities of which 
are excellent, but many other kinds are made.' The 
country wine is by no means as cheap as it ought to 


be owing to the high protection. Although this excel- 
lent industry is rapidly increasing, it does not go near 
to supplying home consumption ; indeed, the value of 
the imports of wines and spirits is slightly in excess 
of the total national production. The export of wine 
is of course practically nil, for neighbouring countries 
follow the example of Argentina in protecting their 
own vineyards by high tariffs and every kind of 
fomento. In fact, the wines of Chile are generally con- 
sidered to be superior to those raised on the eastern 
slopes of the Andes, but it is not easy to discover 
any difference. Nearly all the produce of Mendoza 
goes to Buenos Aires and forms a very valuable 
article of freight for the Buenos Aires and Pacific 

The crops of Argentina are well distributed, and some 
regions produce great varieties. Buenos Aires, of course, 
leads in wheat, and produces more than Santa Fe and 
Cordoba, which occupy the second and third position, 
combined, while Entre Rios, which comes fourth, 
nearly equals the total of all the other minor sources 
of supply. It may be, however, that some day Pata- 
gonia will be a serious rival to Buenos Aires, but now, 
being unirrigated, her chief product is wool. The 
Province of the capital also supplies most of the 
maize and practically all the oats, but in linseed is 
far out-distanced by Santa Fe. Apart from Buenos 
Aires, Santa Fe, Cordoba, and Entre Rios, the grain 
production, except wheat, is insignificant. 

Tucuman is the great sugar district, and tobacco 
is largely grown there and in several of the other 
northern Provinces. Mendoza accounts for more than 
nine-tenths of the wine raised in the country, but San 
Juan, Salta, Cordoba, and La Rioja are of some impor- 
tance. La Rioja in Spain, it may be added, has given 


its name to a special kind of red wine, and we have 
Peruvian Rioja just as we have Australian Burgundy. 
Agriculture in Argentina is carried out on an enor- 
mous scale, and the hopes of travellers who visited 
the country a century ago have been realised. But 
the country is too new, there is too much virgin soil 
for settled agricultural conditions, and farmers prefer 
pushing further afield and taking larger holdings to 
tilling a farm with care for his son to hold after him. i 

Consequently there is little of that petite culture which f 
beautifies European countries and adds to the comfort 
of life ; and, further, in most parts of Argentina, good 
as are the means of transporting staples, they are not 
of the kind which would make minute farming indus- 
tries profitable. It is not probable that these conditions 
will change until there has been a large increase of 
population. As long as the increase is due to immi- 
gration — and many of the settlers look forward to 
returning to their native land when they have obtained 
a competence — farming methods will be hasty and 

The forest industries of Argentina, though not fully 
developed, are very valuable. There are said to be 
60,000 square miles of timber in the Gran Chaco, and 
parts of Patagonia are well wooded. Much of the 
wood is of great value, and the following are among 
the most useful for commercial purposes. The fian- 
dubay, a kind of acacia, reaches a height of about 
25 feet and is used for making fences and rafters. 
The wood is extremely hard and durable. The al- 
garroba also yields good timber, and its fruit and 
leaves are used for fattening cattle, while the Indians 
brew a kind of beer from the pods. The lapacho, 
of the bignonia species, rises to a height of .100 feet, 
and its wood is used for cabinet work. The urunday 


is a tree of similar appearance but larger, and its 
building wood is said to last two hundred years. The 
palo amarillo is a mimosa and used for making furniture. 
There are in the north cedars of excellent quality, 
both red and white, which attain a height of i6o 
feet. The Jesuits introduced into the country several 
varieties of palms, and there are many of the trees 
known in Europe, such as poplars, willows, and 
walnuts. But by far the most valuable tree in Argen- 
tina is the quebracho,^ which grows in two varieties, 
red and white ; its full height is 80 feet, and it takes 
a hundred years to come to maturity ; the trunk is about 
30 inches in diameter. It is the commercial staple 
in Argentine timber, and the railways have given a great 
impetus to the trade, in which the Province of San- 
tiago del Estero seems to have been the pioneer. In 
1884 it had five thousand men engaged in cutting railway 
sleepers, but it was not till 1889 that the export trade 
began, when 14,000 tons of round logs were shipped 
from Santa F6, 

In the past few years many companies have been 
formed for cutting wood in the Gran Chaco and also 
for extracting tannin. The district of Resistencia is 
extremely rich in quebracho, and Santiago del Estero 
continues to produce it in increasing quantities, as well 
as firewood, which is extensively used by the sugar-mills 
of Tucuman. Firewood and posts are also largely pro- 
duced in Cordoba, and Tucuman and Salta provide 
woods for building and cabinet-making. The timber 
industry has now been extended to Tierra del Fuego, 
where saw-mills have also been established; and when 
internal communications have been improved it will 

* Quebracho means break-axe. Of the red variety Falkner says 
that "in redness and colour it bears so strong a resemblance to 
red marble, that it is a difficult matter to distinguish them." 


doubtless be developed on a large scale, for the wood is 
used for sleepers, building, and furniture-making. It has 
been suggested that the abundant poplars might be 
employed in making paper pulp ; and, indeed, the timber 
resources of Argentina, although less vast than those of 
most of her neighbours, are certain to be a source of 
increasing profit. The export of quebracho logs, which 
now amounts to 254,571 tons, has been almost stationary 
for some years ; but the figures for the extract, which in 
1902 were only 9,099, are now 48,161.^ 

The oldest and most celebrated of the forest products 
is yerha mate. Pedro Lozano declared that the tree 
which produced that vegetable surpassed all other trees 
in utility. "The tree," 2 he says, "is very high, leafy, and 
bulky. The leaf is also somewhat bulky, very green, and 
in shape like a tongue. The yerha is obtained by cutting 
the branches, and placing them upon brushwood, and 
roasting them slowly; by hand labour they grind the 
leaves thus roasted in holes sunk in the ground and 
lined with skins. In all this process the labour of the 
Indians is so severe that they sweat profusely, because 
they work the whole day without intermission and with 
very little food. They eat nothing all day but such 
forest fruits as chance gives them, and when they have 
had their supper at night their repose is brief, for within 
four hours they are obliged to rise and carry on their 
shoulders the ground leaves to other places, where they 
make leather packages to take them to other provinces." 
Lozano speaks with indignation of this cruelty to the 
Indians, which had depopulated all that part of the world 
except the Misiones. He gives an elaborate account of 
the history and uses of yerba mate. Its popularity has 

* The total value of quebracho exported during the year 1905 
amounted to over 7,000,000 dollars gold. 
' " Coleccion," i. 199. 


never waned, among the country people at least, for its 
bitter taste and stimulating properties are invaluable to 
the tired rider, and it fills the place that tea does to the 
Australian Bushman or coffee to the South African Boer. 
The tea is drunk through a homhillay or tube, which is 
placed in the mate, or gourd containing the infusion, 
and it is passed round among the company. Yerha mate 
is raised more extensively in Paraguay and Brazil than in 
Argentina ; but the value of the crop is well recognised, 
and recently the Government distributed fifty thousand 
plants among settlers. 

The mineral wealth of Argentina is very much less 
than that of most South American countries. In every 
part of the Continent the difficulty of extracting the ore 
and bringing it to the coast is considerable, and tends to 
impair the value of even rich mines ; but in Argentina, 
where the mineral veins are usually not very abundant, 
the difficulties have seemed almost insuperable, and con- 
sequently the capital employed in mining is small. As 
might have been expected, the Andine and sub-Andine 
regions almost monopolise the mining interest. 

The most famous mine is that at Famatina in La Rioja. 
The fields cover an area of 720 miles, but they are not 
ancient workings like most of those in Peru and Bolivia. 
As was said in the earlier chapters, Argentina was 
fortunate enough to dispel the suspicion of possessing 
the precious metals, and, as she is the poorest of South 
American lands in minerals, so she is richest in all 
else. But unquestionably she would be still richer, and 
possibly an important manufacturing community, if 
petroleum or coal could be discovered in great quan- 
tities. To return to Famatina, it is said that some 
Mexican miners passing by in the eighteenth century 
were struck by the colour of the river and followed it 
upward to the mountains, where they discovered great 



To face p. 234. 


treasure. This mine is called the Mexicana, and is 
situated at an elevation of 16,500 feet, where the men 
work in the fashion described by Darwin in Chile. Of 
late the Government has been at pains to improve the 
communications, but hitherto the ore (gold, silver, and 
copper) has not been sufficiently rich to yield much 
profit. In the neighbourhood silver and copper mines 
have been worked fitfully, and occasionally fortunes have 
been made; but the unsettled state of the country and 
the death or disappearance of those who knew the secrets 
of the hidden ore were unfavourable to enterprise. All 
over the two continents it is believed that discoveries of 
fabulous wealth would be made if the Indians told all 
they knew ; but they keep their secrets tenaciously, and 
make prospecting unsafe. 

During the Spanish dominion little was done in the 
way of mining. Shortly after the Revolution, when it 
was believed that the South American countries, enjoying 
the advantage of ** freedom," would go ahead, consider- 
able interest was taken in Argentine mines, and Sir 
Francis Head made an adventurous journey across the 
Pampas and visited the gold-mines of San Lttis and 
the silver-mines of Uspallata in the interests of the 
Rio Plata Mining Association, which had been formed 
in 1824. The Argentine Government did not deal 
honestly with the company in the matter of concessions, 
and Head came to the conclusion that there was no 
probability of obtaining satisfactory results by the im- 
portation of Cornish miners. The sum of ;£6o,ooo had 
been spent without any return, and Head's relations 
with his employers became strained. ^ The unfortunate 

' •* I feel it a duty which I owe to the Association shortly to state 
that, having ridden 6,000 miles in South America — having thrown 
myself on the feeble resources of the country — having been' to the 
bottom of every mine which has been inspected — having made all 



company collapsed, and this was also the fate of the 
Famatina Mines, another English company formed at 
the same time, whose German manager was shot by the 
ferocious Quiroga and its capital of 1,000,000 dollars lost. 

Under Rosas, of course, mining and all other enter- 
prise languished, but the belief in Argentina's mineral 
wealth continued, and from time to time attempts were 
made to develop it. A report published in the sixties 
states : " Extensive tracts of country are also highly 
auriferous, and gold-dust makes a considerable figure 
in the exports of Jujuy. The sierra of Cordova possesses 
silver, copper, lead, tin, zinc, and iron mines, besides a 
number of quarries of splendid marbles ; and the same 
may be said of several of the provinces we have named. 
Petroleum, equal in quality to that of Pennsylvania, has 
been lately discovered, and, if our information be not 
altogether inaccurate, there is every reason to believe it 
will soon become valuable as a source of revenue and 
national wealth. Little has as yet been done to develop 
the mineral affluence of the Republic; but it is hoped 
effective efforts will shortly be made to work some of its 
already celebrated mines, as well as many more which 
diligent 'prospecting' would certainly reveal to the 
knowledge of mankind." 

In 1873 the export of metals of gold and copper 
amounted to 320,000 dollars gold. Progress was prob- 
ably slow, but it has made considerable positive advance, 

the observations I was capable of making — having lived in deserts, 
and almost in solitude, nearly a year, with no other subject on my 
mind than the interests of the Association — I deliberately declare 
upon my honour and upon my character, that it is my humble, but 
decided opinion — 

" ist. That the working of the mines in the provinces of Rio de la 
Plate, by an English Association, is politically unsafe ; and — 

"2nd. That if there were no such risk, the expense would far 
exceed the returns." (Head, " Reports," pp. 51-2.) 


for the recent average of gold exports alone has been 
about 382,000 dollars gold. Copper has, of late, remained 
stationary. Salt is produced in considerable quantities, 
chiefly in the south of the Province of Buenos Aires, 
and for a time petroleum borings in several parts of the 
Andes excited great hopes. Some trains were run by 
petroleum; but, unfortunately, the yield dwindled, and no 
fresh discoveries in satisfactory quantities have been made. 

The principal mining Provinces are Jujuy, San Juan, 
La Rioja, Mendoza, Salta, San Luis, and Catarnarca, as 
well as several parts of Patagonia. Gold, in paying 
quantities, is almost confined to the Famatina mines in 
La Rioja; but there are also workings in Jujuy, Salta, 
and Patagonia. Lead is found in La Rioja, Cordoba, 
Mendoza, and San Luis. Copper occurs chiefly in La 
Rioja. Iron has been discovered in Mendoza, Cordoba, 
La Rioja, and San Juan, but the quality is poor. Coal 
has been found in small quantities in Mendoza, San 
Juan, and Neuquen. Petroleum occurs in Salta and 
Mendoza ; while valuable borax deposits have been 
worked in Salta, Jujuy, and the Territory of Andes. 

It is not probable that as long as Argentina offers so 
many more tempting opportunities to capital any very 
great attention will be paid to mining ; but it may be 
that when the outlying Provinces, which are the mining 
districts, become settled and interlaced with roads and 
railways, it will be possible to apply more economical 
mining methods, and the task of discovery will be easy. 
But unless coal and petroleum are discovered it is im- 
probable that the mines of Argentina will be of a value 
in any way comparable to her agricultural and pastoral 



Bahia Blanca is one of the youngest of sea-ports. 
It only obtained railway communication in 1885, and 
it was not considered of sufficient importance for a 
separate article in the tenth edition of the " Encyclopedia 
Britannica." It has now a population of about forty 

Buenos Aires and Rosario have long been the great 
wheat ports, but they have now a formidable rival in 
the new southern city. Much of the best wheat land 
is in the south of the Province of Buenos Aires and 
Bahia Blanca is the natural outlet for it. There is 
hardly a limit to the amount of grain that will be sent 
to this port for shipment when the southern regions 
are systematically irrigated, and the railways, always 
alive to the importance of developing the country they 
serve, are preparing large schemes. Bahia Blanca is 
indeed one of the most important objectives of railway 
enterprise in South America. The Great Southern was 
the first in the field and for many years had a monopoly, 
but the most enterprising of all the lines, the Buenos 
Aires and Pacific, has lately been tempted by the 
splendid prospects of the south and has acquired the 
management of the Bahia Blanca and North-Western 
system. It has built moles and warehouses and in 
every way improved and enlarged the port. 



The journey from the capital to Bahia Blanca is 
not interesting, for the greater part is over a dead level 
and the country is unrelieved by hedgerows or any of 
the picturesque landscapes which we in the Old World 
associate with the countryside. The journey is also 
rendered disagreeable by the dust which is the invariable 
concomitant of Argentine railway travelling. In the 
latter half the monotony is relieved by a low range of 
green mountains, the Sierra Tandil, which are practically 
the only break in the plain between Brazil and the 
extreme south. The town itself is not attractive on 
first view, for it is white and bare. The shore is low 
and fringed with lagoons and the glaring white roads 
are not restful to the eye. This feature is due to tosca, 
a kind of limestone with which all the roads in the 
neighbourhood are made. But much has been done 
by art to improve the tameness of nature. 

There are two towns. Eastward is the Puerto 
Militar, the great naval harbour, and some miles to 
the west lies the Civil Port, Bahia Blanca proper, 
which will soon be as familiar a name as Liverpool or 
Rotterdam. The naval town is the work of the accom- 
plished Italian engineer, Chevalier Luis Luiggi, who 
has constructed magnificent naval works. The graving 
dock is very fine and will receive battleships of the 
largest size, nor was the Italian neglectful of the artistic 
side of town planning, for he has transformed a desert 
into a garden, and Puerto Belgrano, as it is called, is 
likely to be in the future a fashionable watering-place, 
as well as a naval base. Gums, acacias, and tamarisks 
have been planted, and numerous gardens have been laid 
out. On the Civil Port immense sums have been spent, 
and it has been made thoroughly fit to deal with the 
portentous grain traffic, large already and which must 
very soon attain marvellous proportions. The com- 


petition of two powerful railways assures Bahia Blanca 
of being well served both in the matter of docks and 

Patagonia, which a generation ago was hardly known 
except by the reports of sailors, who had occasionally 
explored its coasts, and which was fabled as a land of 
giants, is now beginning to raise its veil of mystery 
and to be known as an important seat of the wool 
trade. But it is still imperfectly explored, and not long 
ago an expedition was despatched to search for the 
grypotherium, a strange beast which was rumoured to 
live in the inaccessible forests. It may be doubted 
whether it has more reality than the sea serpent. 

As we saw in a previous chapter, Patagonia possesses 
extreme interest for the geologist. It is a recent forma- 
tion, for at one period, not very far distant from a 
geological point of view, it formed the vast Pampean 
sea. The late Colonel Church ^ has treated the subject in 
an interesting paper of which the opening remarks are 
a summary : " I shall try to show that the Plata 
drainage area was, in a recent geological period, much 
more extensive than it is to-day ; that its most northern 
limit was in 10° 44' S. lat., and that nearly the entire 
waters which now unite to form the Madeira River, the 
main affluent of the Amazon, once flowed southward 
into a Pampean sea, which penetrated north over the 
plains of the present Argentine Republic, to about 
190 S. lat." It was probably 1,400 miles in length with 
an average breadth of 400 miles, and perhaps two-thirds 
the size of the Mediterranean. The Pampean forma- 
tion is estimated to have an age of seventy thousand years. 
Between the history of its geological formation and our 
own time the record of Patagonia, though picturesque, 
is not important. It was a no-man's land, abandoned 
* Geog. Journ,, October, 1898. 





i f-" 

' >^H 





i X 








as worthless to savages and only visited by the curious 
or by those who were making their way to more profit- 
able regions. As is well known, the explorer Magellan 
was the first to set foot in this country, which he called 
Tierra de Pantagones from the large footprints which 
he found in the sand, and many of the places at which 
he touched still bear the names he gave them. Several 
Spanish navigators and also Drake visited it during 
the sixteenth century, but Sarmiento de Gamboa, who 
made useful surveys, was the only one to add much 
to our knowledge of Patagonia. He also attempted 
to settle the country, but without success, for Thomas 
Cavendish (who named Port Desire after his own ship) 
saw in 1586, twenty- three famished Spaniards, the only 
survivors of the city of King Philip, founded by Gamboa 
on the Straits. These poor creatures were trying to 
return to the Plate district. Cavendish, therefore, 
named the deserted settlement the Town of Famine, 
and it retains the name of Port Famine to this day. » 
In 1590 John Davys found a solitary straggler here, 
and the bold navigator thus describes his barren ex- 
periences 2 : " Here we made a boat of the boards of 
our chests, which, being finished, we sent seven armed 
men in the same on land on the north shore, being 
wafted on land by the savages with certain white skins ; 
who, as soon as they came on shore, were presently 
killed by an hundred of the wild people in the sight 
of two of our men, which rowed them on shore, which 
two only escaped back again to us with the boat. After 

* Darwin remarks of the remains of the Spanish settlement, 
that " the style in which they were commenced shows the strong 
and liberal hand of Spain in the old time. . . . Port Famine 
expresses by its name the lingering and extreme sufferings of 
several hundred wretched people, of whom one alone survived 
to relate their misfortunes" ("Voyage of the Beagle," chap. viii.). 

' Hakluyt, Extra Series, xi. 383. 



this traitorous slaughter of our men, we fell back again 
with our ship to the north-eastward of Port Famine 
to a certain road, where we refreshed ourselves with 
mussels, and took in water and wood." The country 
was long neglected, but in 1670 Sir John Narborough 
appeared off the coast with several men-of-war, when, 
after coasting round as far as Valdivia, he found 
that the Spaniards were too strong and returned to 

Reference has already been made to the famous 
voyage of Anson. In his adventurous circumnavigation 
he spent but a comparatively short time on the Pata- 
gonian coast, and he gives little information about the 
natives, but his account of the country exactly tallies 
with that of other explorers. It was described as being 
entirely treeless. "But though this country be so 
destitute of wood, it abounds with pasture. For the 
land appears in general to me, made up of downs of 
a light dry gravelly soil, and produces great quantities 
of long coarse grass, which grows in tufts interspersed 
with large barren spots of gravel between them. This 
grass, in many places, feeds immense herds of cattle ; 
for the Spaniards at Buenos Ayres, having brought over 
a few black cattle from Europe at their first settlement, 
they have thriven prodigiously by the plenty of herb- 
age which they have found here, and now increased 
to that degree, and are extended so far into the country, 
that they are not considered as private property ; but 
many thousands at a time are slaughtered every year 
by the hunters, only for their hides and tallow." ^ 

In 1764 Byron visited the coast of Patagonia and 

made friends with the inhabitants, whose vast size 

greatly impressed him. His scribe calls the chief a 

"frightful Colossus," and thus describes the surprise 

» Walter, « A Voyage Round the World," p. 55. 


which the giants created ^ : " Mr. Gumming came up 
with the tobacco, and I could not but smile at the 
astonishment which I saw expressed in his countenance 
upon perceiving himself, though six feet two inches 
high, become at once a pigmy among giants ; for 
these people may indeed more properly be called giants 
than tall men ; of the few among us who are six feet 
high, scarcely any are broad and muscular in pro- 
portion to their stature, but look rather like men of 
the common bulk, run up accidentally to an unusual 
height ; and a man who should measure only six 
feet two inches, and equally exceed a stout well-set 
man of the common stature in breadth and muscle, 
would strike us rather as being of gigantic race, than 
as an individual accidentally anomalous ; our sensations 
therefore, upon seeing five hundred people, the shortest 
of whom were at least four inches taller, and bulky in 
proportion, may be easily imagined." This is a point 
upon which testimony varies. Sir John Narborough's 
mate, Mr. Wood, declared that he saw no native who 
was taller than himself. 

In the eighteenth century the Spaniards made several 
attempts to settle Patagonia, and the English Jesuit, 
Thomas Falkner, wrote a most valuable account of 
the country and people. He mentions a voyage of 
discovery made in 1746, in which, however, the captain 
neglected to explore the river Deseado. His reasons 
were "that his orders were only to discover if there 
was any port fit to make a settlement, near or 
not very far from the mouth of the Straits, that might 
afford supplies for ships in their passage to the South 
Seas ; that he had surveyed all from Port Gallegos, 
without finding one place fit for forming a settlement 
upon, on account of the barrenness of the soil, - and 
* Hawkesworth, "An Account of the Voyages," i. 26. 


the want of the common necessaries of wood and 
water ; that he had done what was sufficient to quiet 
the King of Spain, with respect to any jealousies he 
might have of a certain northern nation's being so 
fooHsh as to attempt a settlement in such a country, 
where as many as were left must perish ; that the Bay 
Sans Fond was at too great a distance from Cape 
Horn, to come within the circle of his instructions ; 
that his stock of fresh water was scarce sufficient to 
reach the river of Plata, and he was not certain whether 
he should be able to get any more at the mouth of 
the River of Sauces." ^ 

Falkner gave a very full account of the Tehuelches, 
and his work was read with great interest by the 
Spanish authorities, who began to fear that other nations 
might make settlements in Patagonia. They accordingly 
despatched two brothers, named Viedma, with ex- 
peditions, and Francisco Viedma founded Carmen at 
the mouth of the Rio Negro, while Antonio established 
another colony at Port St. Julian. He also explored the 
interior and made his way as far as the great inland lake 
from which flows the Rio Santa Cruz. 

In 1827 and for several years after Captain Fitzroy, 
in command of the Adventure and Beagle explored 
Patagonia, and wrote a long account of his experiences, 
but, for information about the interior, he relies 
chiefly upon Falkner. This valuable expedition added 
immensely to our geographical and zoological know- 
ledge, and Captain Fitzroy carefully observed such 
natives as he met and endeavoured to civilise several 
of them. He remarks 2 : " The moral restraints of these 
people seem to be very slight. Each man is at liberty 
to do as much as he feels inclined ; and if he does not 

* " A Description of Patagonia," pp. 84-5. 

' " Narrative of the Surveying Voyages,'' ii. 167-8. 


injure or offend his neighbour, is not interfered with 
by others. Their social habits are those handed down 
by their ancestors, and adapted to the Hfe they are 
compelled to lead. Ideas of improvement do not 
trouble them. Contented with their fine climate — 
plenty of wholesome food, and an extensive range of 
country — they rather pity white people, who seem to 
them always in want of provisions, and tossed about at 
sea. These natives have a great dislike to the motion 
of a ship ; yet, for novelty, they will go afloat when 
opportunity offers." The Patagonians have an inveterate 
belief in witchcraft ; it seems to be their strongest 
quasi-religious sentiment. They are generally well- 
behaved and good-tempered, but are liable to gusts of 
passion, which make them uncertain, and there is a 
Spanish proverb to the effect that one should never 
trust an Indian. 

The name of Darwin is inseparably associated with 
that of Fitzroy and his ships. In 1834 the latter in 
company with the great naturalist made a long voyage 
up the Rio Santa Cruz. A party of twenty-five started 
on April i8th, in three whale-boats with provisions for 
three weeks. The river was several hundred yards 
broad, and in the middle about 17 feet deep, the 
water of a fine blue colour, and the current had 
a velocity of from four to six miles an hour. The 
boats were towed by relays of the crews. The country 
was not uninhabited, for the explorers discovered 
traces of Indians, but Darwin describes it as singularly 
uninteresting ; it was shingle desert dotted with stunted 
plants. Mice, foxes, guanacos, condors, and pumas were 
abundant. On May 4th, they were in full view of the 
Andes. Darwin ^ says : " Everywhere we met with the 
same productions, and the same dreary landscape. . We 
* " Voyage of the Beagle" chap. iv. 


were now one hundred and forty miles distant from 
the Atlantic, and about sixty from the nearest arm of 
the Pacific. The valley in this upper part expanded 
into a wide basin, bounded on the north and south 
by the basaltic platforms, and fronted by the long range 
of the snow-clad Cordillera. But we viewed these 
grand mountains with regret, for we were obliged to 
imagine their nature and productions, instead of standing, 
as we had hoped, on their summits." Fitzroy was be- 
coming anxious about the supplies, and the party rapidly 
descended the river, reaching the Beagle by May 8th. 
In spite of his disappointment, Darwin was well 
pleased with his excursion, which had given him 
useful knowledge of the geological formation of Pata- 
gonia. In fact, the Darwin-Fitzroy expedition yielded, 
on the whole, more valuable results than any that has 
ever been made to that country. 

As Chile and Argentina advanced in wealth and 
became more settled, the unexplored plains of Pata- 
gonia were coveted by both, and, as has been seen, a 
long dispute was at last terminated in a satisfactory 
manner. As was natural, the lion's share was obtained 
by Argentina, but the most important parts of Tierra del 
Fuego are in possession of Chile, and the flourishing 
harbour of Punta Arenas, which is becoming a great 
wool depot, is also Chilian. With prospects of industrial 
development and greater security of attacks from the 
Indians, explorers began to show activity. Some forty 
years ago an adventurous Englishman joined himself to 
a company of wandering Indians and went all over 
the interior. He describes the country about the Rio 
Chico as a barren desert of rocks and all intersected with 
deep ravines which seemed to have been torn out of the 
surface by some tremendous explosive force. Near the 
coast is an inhospitable tract called the Devil's Country, 


which even the Indians never enter, and they declare 
that the country near the sea is so rough that an Indian 
would take two years to march from Santa Cruz to the 
Rio Negro. This circumstance, he thinks, has caused 
sailors to describe Patagonia as an entirely arid country. 
In fact, after the coast barrier has been passed, the coun- 
try abounds in lagoons, springs, and frequent streams. 

It is probable that within a generation Patagonia, 
which has long been synonymous for an unknown 
desert, and is still less than half explored, may be a 
land of much industrial importance. A word may be 
said on the interesting subject of the alleged gigantic 
stature of the Patagonians, or Tehuelches, for these are 
the only race to whom the term Patagonian properly 
applies. Authorities are practically unanimous as to the 
fact that they are tall, but as to how tall there is 
considerable discrepancy.^ Musters^ says : " The average 

' The following is the testimony of travellers : — 

1520. Pigafetta. The least, taller than the tallest man in Castile. 

1578. Drake. Not taller than some Englishmen. 

1591. Knyvet. Fifteen or sixteen spans high. 

1598. Van Noort. Natives of tall stature. 

16 1 5. Schouten. Human skeletons ten or eleven feet long. 

1669. Narborough. Mr. Wood was taller than any of them. 

1750. Falkner. A cacique seven feet and some inches high. 

1765. Byron. A chief about seven feet high, and few of the 

others shorter. 

1766. Wallis. Measured some of the tallest : one was six feet 

seven inches, several six feet five inches ; the average 

height was between five feet ten inches and six feet. 
1783. Viedma. Generally six feet high. 
1829. D'Orbigny. Never found any exceeding five feet eleven 

inches ; average height, five feet four inches. 
1833. Fitzroy and Darwin. Tallest of any people : average 

height, six feet, some taller and a few shorter. 
1867-8. Cunningham. Rarely less than five feet eleven inches in 

height, and often exceeding six feet by a few inches 

One measured six feet ten inches. 
» "At Home with the Patagonians," pp. 165--6. 


height of the Tehuelche male members of the party with 
which I travelled was rather over than under five feet ten 
inches. Of course, no other means of measurement 
besides comparing my own height were available ; but 
this result, noted at the time, coincides with that inde- 
pendently arrived at by Mr. Cunningham. Two others, 
who were measured carefully by Mr. Clarke, stood six 
feet four inches each. After joining the Northern Tehu- 
elches, although the Southerners proved generally to be 
the tallest, I found no reason to alter this average, as any 
smaller men that were met with in their company were 
not pure Tehuelches, but half-bred Pampas. The extra- 
ordinary muscular development of the arms and chest is 
in all particularly striking, and as a rule they are well 
proportioned throughout. This fact calls for especial 
mention, as others have stated that the development and 
strength of the legs is inferior to that of the arms. Even 
Mr. Cunningham alleges this to be the case, but I cannot 
at all agree with him." Mr. Campbell suggests ^ that as 
the men have very long bodies they appear much taller 
than they really are when seated upon horseback, but 
there is ample evidence to prove that they are the largest 
race of people in the world. 

Most modern travellers give these natives a good 
character ; they are tolerably honest, good-natured, and 
treat their women well. They have no idols, but 
worship a good and great spirit ; however, as said 
before, witchcraft seems to be the strongest element in 
their religion. One writer tells of a Patagonian setting 
his daughter on a horse naked and galloping after the 
animal lashing and shouting at it. The explanation 
was that the girl had a severe attack of measles, and as 
the devil was known greatly to dislike noise and cold, 
it was thought that these vigorous measures would 
^ " Through Patagonia," p. 6. 


induce him to forsake the girl's body. Within recent 
times they have not been ill-treated, but unfortunately, 
like most savages, they cannot resist the mysterious, 
wasting effect of civilisation. A recent traveller ^ says : 
" Those surviving are all civilised, and there is not the 
slightest danger for the traveller in associating with 
them. They often possess fine troops of horses ; some 
of them also own cattle. Many speak Spanish, and 
once or twice a year they go down to Punta Arenas or 
to Gallegos to exchange their guanaco mantles and 
ostrich feathers for different kinds of provisions and 
implements. But the number of guanacos is diminish- 
ing day by day, the land is becoming absorbed, and 
the Indians impoverished by the white traders ; they are 
getting mixed with the whites, and so the day cannot 
be far off when the last Patagonian in the old sense 
shall have ceased to exist." 

The most northerly part of Patagonia is the Gober- 
nacion of Rio Negro. The only town of any importance 
is Patagones, which was founded by Viedema in 1780 
under the name of Carmen. That part which is 
on the north bank of the Rio Negro is still called 
Carmen de Patagones, and the southern town preserves 
the name of Viedma. It has a good harbour, some miles 
from the sea, and has steamboat connection with Buenos 
Aires, while a coach runs to Bahia Blanca three times a 
week. There is a large trade in salt and also in fruit. 
The latter grows in abundance on the small islands of 
the river,2 and the peaches and cherries are excellent, 

* Otto Nordenskjold, Geog. Journ., October, 1897. 

*" Never river seemed fairer to look upon, extending away on 
either hand until it melted and was lost in the blue horizon, its low 
shores clothed in all the glory of groves and fruit orchards, and 
vineyards and fields of ripening maize" (Hudson, "Idle Days in 
Patagonia," p. 17). 


while irrigation is creating orchards on the mainland. 
Far inland, also on the Rio Negro, is Roca, a small 
military post. This Gobernacion is the most populous 
part of Patagonia, and when railways and irrigation are 
seriously applied to it, there will be no limit to its 
development. On the west it is bounded by the Andean 
territory of Nequen. 

Next comes the Gobernacion of Chubut to the south. 
Its interest and importance is due to the settlement of 
plucky Welsh settlers, who now form a most valuable 
body of colonists. Nearly fifty years ago a philanthropic 
Welsh gentleman visited the United States and was dis- 
tressed to find that his countrymen there had begun to 
lose their nationality. He determined to found a Welsh 
settlement in Argentina ; a grant of land was obtained 
from the Government, and in 1865 the Welshmen arrived 
at Port Madryn, and, after undergoing unexampled hard- 
ships in the inhospitable valley of Chubut, developed 
into a flourishing community of pastoralists and agri- 
culturists. There are now four hundred Welsh farms in 
the district. There is also a colony in the Andes of 
about five hundred souls. It is nearly 400 miles from 
Port Madryn. Rawson is the official capital of the colony 
and lies about 5 miles up the Chubut River. Trelew, 
the largest town, is 10 miles higher up. Gaiman is 9 
miles further inland, and 13 miles from Gaiman 
is the Anglican Church of St. David. Port Madryn 
is 42 miles by rail from Trelew.^ In many of the 
churches and chapels services are conducted in Welsh. 
The South American Missionary Society has done noble 

^ This little railway escaped notice in the chapter on railways. 
It is an English company, the Central Railway of Chubut, which 
was registered in 1886. Besides the original 42 miles an extension 
of 10 miles to Gaiman will soon be open. In 1907-8 the net profits 
on working were £6,()2(). 


work in supplying buildings and chaplains, and the 
courage and enterprise of the hardy colonists is a 
striking episode in the history of colonisation. 

More than loo miles to the south is Camerones Bay, 
near which are some fine estancias. There is great 
promise for sheep-farming in this district, but the coast 
has a waterless strip about 25 miles broad. Further 
inland there is excellent water and pasture. 

The most desolate Gobernacion of all this desolate 
country is undoubtedly Santa Cruz itself. It takes its name 
from that river, the second largest in Patagonia, which 
Darwin found such difficulty in ascending. It is said 
that it will be navigable by steamers when its channel is 
ascertained, and Dr. Moreno has advanced as far as the 
Lago Argentino. The town of Santa Cruz has only a 
few hundred inhabitants, but it possesses a fine natural 
harbour, and may some day be a place of importance. 
Far to the North the Rio Deseado abounds in wild fowl, 
and at its mouth is the once famous Port Desire. 
Almost as far to the south and at no great distance 
from the Straits of Magellan is the considerable town 
of Port Gallegos, possessing a bank and a good trade. 
More than ten years ago a traveller ^ said : " The coasts 
of the Straits of Magellan and of the Atlantic have long 
been occupied, but just lately many settlers have taken 
up their quarters in the Gallegos valley and in the 
region between Last Hope inlet, and the lakes right 
away towards the dry Patagonian pampa. Until recently 
land could be got very cheaply, and there is still a lot 
of good * camp ' unoccupied, but that state of things 
will not last long. Most of the settlers are Enghsh- 
speaking people, hailing from England, Scotland, the 
Falkland Islands, or Australia." 

Something should now be said of the lake system 
* O. Nordenskjold, Geog. Journ., October, 1897. 


of Patagonia. The northernmost sheet of water of any 
size is Buenos Aires. Its length is 75 miles, and 
though it is close to the Andes, it is only 985 feet 
above the level of the sea. It is the largest of the 
lakes. Next in position and next in size is Lake Viedma. 
Its elevation is 828 feet, and it lies in a savage region. 
Somewhat less in area but consisting of three arms is 
Lake Argentino at the head of the Rio Santa Cruz. 
It is connected with Viedma by the Leona. This lake 
was only discovered in 1868 by Gardiner. In some 
cases the scenery is very fine ; Buenos Aires is a lake 
of special beauty, and possibly in the future the district 
will be one of the world's pleasure-grounds. The 
development of Argentina has been so rapid that there 
has been no leisure to spare for inaccessible spots, but 
it may be that at some distant date the wealthy Argen- 
tines will be glad to take advantage of their splendid 
mountains and no longer be content with commonplace 
seaside resorts. 

The fauna of Patagonia are not specially varied. 
Those who desire the results of keen observation on the 
subject should turn to Darwin's " Voyage of the Beagle." 
The guanaco and the ostrich are the most notable, 
and the latter creature is in great favour in Northern 
Argentina as a destroyer of locusts. Darwin ^ says : 
'^The guanaco, or wild llama, is the characteristic 
quadruped of the plains of Patagonia ; it is the South 
American representative of the camel of the East. It 
is an elegant animal in a state of nature, with a long 
slender neck and fine legs. It is very common over 
the whole of the temperate parts of the continent, as 
far south as the islands near Cape Horn. It generally 
lives in small herds of from half a dozen to thirty in 
each ; but on the banks of the St. Cruz we saw one 
* " Voyage of the Beagle^* chap, viii. 


herd which must have contained at least five hundred." 
It is a gentle animal and easily domesticated, but, of 
course, in the plains it is not nearly as useful as the 
invaluable llama of the Chilian and Peruvian Andes. 

Patagonia is almost virgin land, a spacious adjunct 
to a country whose wealth and scanty population has 
hitherto prevented the inhabitants from seeking pastures 
new when the new are less luxuriant than the old. For 
long years it was considered almost worthless and was 
abandoned to wandering tribes of Indians. Now it is 
recognised as having a great future before it, and, 
promising as have been the settlements already, it can 
hardly be said that a beginning has yet been made, for 
Patagonia has hardly any railways, and the abundant 
rivers have scarcely been tapped for the purposes of 
irrigation. When iron rails have opened up the fine 
pasture-lands and when the waters of the great 
streams shall have been utilised for agriculture, it is 
safe to predict that the expansion of Argentina will 
exceed beyond comparison the progress hitherto 
made — a progress which even now fills the world with 



The Buenos Aires and Pacific line across the continent 
from the Argentine capital to Valparaiso is a magnificent 
achievement in railway enterprise. Perhaps at no great 
distance of time the Pan-American railway will be 
completed and the traveller will be able to take the train 
at New York for Valparaiso and so to Buenos Aires, but 
as yet that line consists chiefly of missing links, and 
the Buenos Aires and Pacific Railway Company (which, 
curiously enough, happens to be English, not German), 
is the first in South America to join the oceans. To 
Mendoza the journey is easy and pleasant. The train 
leaves the Retiro station at Buenos Aires at 8 a.m. and 
reaches Mendoza early the next morning at about 5 a.m. 
The trains are extremely comfortable ; the carriages are 
on the American plan and restaurant cars are attached ; 
a reasonable amount of luggage is allowed. Only first 
and second (we should less logically say first and third) 
carriages are in use and the fares are high. They will 
doubtless be lowered when traffic increases ; at present 
only three through trains are run a week. Compared 
with English trains they are not fast, but they are faster 
than the average of those of Continental Europe. Alto- 
gether the Buenos Aires and Pacific is a very fine line 
and under extremely efficient management. 



The journey affords no feature of natural interest, for 
the country, covered with maize or grass, is extremely 
flat, but it is pleasant to see the evidences of virealth — noble 
cattle grazing in the fields, great flocks of sheep, and 
the heavy crops of grain. The general air of prosperity 
is the more pleasing to one who has recently passed 
through Brazil and seen there every sign of wretched- 
ness. There are few towns of importance on the route ; 
indeed, such as there are owe their consequence chiefly 
to the railway. This is the case with Mercedes, which 
was founded in 1856 as an outpost against the Indians, 
and their depredations were for a long time a bar to 
its prosperity. It is now a great railway junction. San 
Luis was a small village in 1788, and although it is 
now the capital of the Province, it has had an unfor- 
tunate history. Its sons fought valiantly for the inde- 
pendence of Chile and Peru, but during the civil wars, 
which were the result of the Rosas tyranny, its sufferings 
were far greater. Up till recently the female population 
far exceeded the male, and it was one of the poorest 
cities in Argentina. The situation is excellent ; the 
town stands high with views of the snow-peaks of the 
Andes, and the country round about is well wooded. 
It may one day be a place of remarkable prosperity. 

The train reaches Mendoza at an unconscionably early 
hour, and the cold and gloom prevent the formation 
of any impression about the beauties of the garden city. 
For South America, the Province and city of Mendoza 
are extremely ancient. It was in 1559 that Garcia de 
Mendoza, the Governor of Chile, sent Pedro Castillo 
with a small force to annex the district of Cuyo. This 
included not only Mendoza, but also the Provinces 
of San Juan and San Luis, and for more than two 
centuries it formed part of Chile, but the 
Decree of 1776 transferred it to the Viceroyalty of 


Buenos Aires. During the Revolution it was divided 
into three provinces. Mendoza, the town, which is as 
old as the Province, was in the early part of the nine- 
teenth century a beautiful place, extremely prosperous, 
and its dolce far niente won the hearts of all who visited 
it.^ But it was destroyed by one of the most terrible 
and devastating catastrophes that ever visited a com- 
munity. It was the evening of Ash Wednesday, 
March 20, 1861, and the whole of Mendoza was at 
church. Suddenly a rumbling noise was heard, and 
in a moment the city was razed to the ground 
and thirteen thousand people destroyed. Barely two 
thousand escaped. One of the survivors was a gentle- 
man named Don Jaime Albarracin, who has given a 
vivid account of the affair .2 He tells how the weather 
had been sultry for some days. His family had gone 
to church and he was sitting at the window of his 
house talking to M. Bravard, the well-known French 
geologist, whose researches had led him to predict the 
destruction of Mendoza by earthquake. Don Jaime 
heard a crash and immediately found himself buried 
under the ruins of his house with a broken leg. Fires 
had broken out and raged all night within a short 
distance of him. All day long he remained there and 
for another night. " The horror of my situation was 
increased by a dreadful thirst ; the very air I breathed 
was thick with dust and smoke. If seemed an inter- 

* " If a man could but bear an indolent life, there can be no spot 
upon earth where he might be more indolent and more independent 
than at Mendoza, for he might sleep all day, and eat ices in the 
evening, until his hour-glass was out. Provisions are cheap, and the 
people who bring them quiet and civil ; the climate is exhausting, 
and the whole population indolent " (Head, " Rough Notes," 
pp. 70, 71). 

' See Mrs. Mulhall's "Between the Amazon and Andes," 
pp. 127-31. 


minable night. The second day I heard voices, and 
summoning all my strength, called out loudly for 
assistance. All was again silent for a couple of hours, 
till the afternoon, when I woke from a short sleep to 
hear footsteps quite close to me. The first man who 
approached me replied with a coarse insult when 
I begged him to lift the beam under which I lay. His 
comrades were no less inhuman, for they were one of 
the numerous gangs of banditti attracted like birds of 
prey to the scene of disaster. They had seen the flames 
afar off on the pampas, and came in scent of booty." 
Yet another night was passed, but on the following 
day he bribed a robber with his gold watch to Hft him 
out of the debris, and finally he was taken to a hut. 
The fires continued to rage and they were followed by 
an unbearable smell from the decomposing carcases, 
and the survivors had to be carried away to farm- 
houses. The Governor perished, as also did the French 
scientist who made the all too accurate prediction. ** So 
complete was the destruction, that when a new Governor 
was appointed a year later, and the site marked out for 
reconstruction, the Government could find no heirs or 
claimants on behalf of three-fourths of the families of 
the old city." The only vestige of old Mendoza that 
remains is the pillars of the Cathedral, to which is 
affixed the following tablet : "Ruinas del templo de 
San Augustin destruido por el terremoto del 20 de 
Marzo de 1861." 

The people of Mendoza are still very nervous about 
earthquake shocks, which occur frequently, but there 
has been nothing serious since 1861. 

It is for this reason that the new Mendoza was laid 
out with very wide streets and roomy squares and 
almost all the houses were built of wood. This 
spaciousness adds greatly to the attractiveness of the 



town and is a great relief after Buenos Aires. The 
town, thus covering a large area, appears to be more 
considerable than it in reality is, but it is rapidly 
growing, and its forty thousand population will 
probably soon be doubled. Land in the outskirts is 
rapidly rising in value, and great credit is due to the 
State of Mendoza, which is planning the extensions on 
a very handsome scale. At the west end a large park 
and zoological gardens are being made, and at sunset 
there is a beautiful prospect from their pleasant walks, 
which seem to be under the very shadow of the Andes. 
Their grim and jagged forms appear to be within an 
easy walk. But Mendoza itself is like a large park ; 
conduits of clear water run on each side of the streets 
and their banks are lined with trees. The principal 
street, the Calle San Martin, is quite as rustic as the 
others, and it contains nearly all the shops which are 
large and good for a provincial town. There is an 
excellent English Club with a large membership, and 
as the climate of Mendoza is genial, the town is by 
no means a bad place of residence. The chief 
peculiarity of the climate is the almost complete 
absence of rain. Mendoza stands at an elevation of 
nearly 3,000 feet above the level of the sea, and is 
thus, as might have been expected, temperate. The 
thermometer rarely touches freezing-point, and seldom 
or never 100° F., but the rainfall is only a few 
inches yearly, and this rich district is entirely depen- 
dent for its fertility on irrigation. In the industrial 
chapters something is said about the wine-growing at 
Mendoza. Here it will be sufficient merely to mention 
the system which covers the uplands with vine and 
grain — an ancient system which was bequeathed to 
the present inhabitants by the Guarpes, the peaceful 
and industrious people who lived here before the 


Spaniards came. The Zanjon Canal passes from the 
river Mendoza, near Luxan, traverses through the city 
and joins the Tunuyan River, which in turn is united 
by another canal to the Desaguadero River, far away 
to the east. The canals and their branches are i,ioo 
miles in length, and they are said to irrigate a quarter 
of the Province. Much fruit is raised, also tobacco, 
and in 1835 the mulberry was introduced, so the silk 
industry flourishes. As far as its fruit and streams are 
concerned, Mendoza may compare with Damascus, and 
in every respect is the only Argentine city, except 
Cordoba, which possesses any old-world charm. It 
is an old Spanish city, and the people have the 
leisurely ways and open-air habits of their forefathers. 
From the nature of the case it cannot possess fine 
buildings, because, in case of another earthquake, the 
inhabitants desire light houses that will either resist 
the shock, or, if they fall, do the minimum of damage. 
But the Cathedral, though plain, is an imposing edifice, 
and it attracts very large congregations of men as well 
as women. The people of Mendoza are intensely 
religious. In Spanish towns the charms of the streets 
are quadrupled on Sundays and Holy Days, for they 
are full of pretty women in mantillas hurrying to church. 
Why the ladies do not always give this beautiful head- 
dress preference over ugly imported hats is a mystery 
to the masculine mind. 

Adjacent is the Province of San Juan, and the Httle 
capital of the same name is at no great distance and 
is reached by a railway. Founded by the same Pedro 
Castillo in 1561, it has few features of interest, but it 
has a considerable trade and very good wine is manu- 
factured at or near it. A considerable part of the 
Province is a desert, but fortunately it possesses- a 
useful river, the San Juan, by which parts are irrigated, 


and this work will doubtless be extended. According 
to trustworthy figures, the population of this Province 
decreased from 91,000 in 1883 to 84,251 in 1895. This 
was doubtless due to the commercial catastrophes of 
the early nineties. 

More interesting is the quiet little town of San Rafael 
to the south. It is the capital of a department of that 
name and is connected by rail with Mendoza. In the 
early days of Rosas it was an important frontier post. 
Population, owing to Indian wars and the undeveloped 
nature of the country, increased but slowly, the figures 
for the whole department being 1,000 in 1857 and 2,000 
in 1883. San Rafael is now a flourishing little town, 
and its prosperity is assisted by industrious French 
settlers. The French language is to be heard almost 
as often as Spanish in its streets. 

When the traveller has exhausted the attractions of 
Mendoza and the neighbourhood he will probably wish 
to pursue his way along the Transandine Railway into 
Chile. As the start is made very early in the morning 
his first near view of the Andes will be made under 
favourable circumstances, for the rising sun will flush 
them with a glorious crimson. 

"Full many a glorious morning have I seen 
Flatter the mountain-tops with sovereign eye." 

But the general scenery of the Mendoza Andes is 
most disappointing. In autumn, at least, even the 
mighty Aconcagua shows very little snow, and in 
general the mountains are perfectly bare with the 
straightest of contours. Their size is their only attrac- 
tion. In the Province of Mendoza alone the following 
huge mountains are to be found : — 

Aconcagua 22,450 feet 

Tupungato 22,140 „ 



To face p. 261. 


San Jose 20,130 feet 

Iglesia 18,000 „ 

Cruz de Piedra 17*230 „ 

San Francisco 17,100 „ 

Nothing can be more desolate than the appearance 
of these unlovely monsters. In some places there is 
enough coarse herbage to afford scanty grazing for 
ponies, but there is literally nothing else, not a tree, 
not a blade of real grass, and all forage and supplies 
of every kind have to be brought up by rail. The 
valley up which the railway goes is redeemed to some 
extent by the river Mendoza, which rushes down 
crystal or foaming, but those who are accustomed to 
the green forests and boundless snows and rugged 
precipices of old-world mountains, will say, " The 
old is better." 

At Mendoza it was necessary to change carriages 
and enter the narrow-gauge train. The locomotive is 
a modest affair compared with the great trains which 
climb to much greater heights in the Peruvian Andes, 
but the gradients are very steep and sometimes the 
rack and pinion have to be used. After a run of eight 
or ten hours the famous Puente del Inca is reached. 

This, standing at an elevation of 9,100 feet, is one 
of the dreariest of places, being situated in a desert, 
and consisting merely of the station and a hotel. 
Beyond the Bridge there is no object of interest and 
it is not necessary, perhaps, to speak of the hotel. 
The Bridge ^ itself has a commonplace appearance, 

* " When one hears of a natural bridge, one pictures to oneself 
some deep and narrow ravine, across which a bold mass of rock 
has fallen ; or a great arch hollowed out like the vault of a cavern. 
Instead of this, the Inca's Bridge consists of a crust of stratified 
shingle, cemented together by the deposits of the neighbouring 
hot-springs. It appears as if the stream had scooped out a channel 


but it is an extraordinary natural phenomenon. It 
appears to be a natural dam of earth and rock lying 
athwart the Cuevas River, which has managed to bore 
a passage through the barrier. The stones, earth, and 
shingle which compose the arch have been cemented 
together by deposits from the hot-springs, and the 
Bridge is 66 feet high, 120 feet wide, and 20 or 30 feet 
thick. Underneath the vaulted arch there bubble up 
springs of very high temperature, and the most striking 
feature here is the glittering and jagged masses of 
stalactite which adorn the grotto. The baths are con- 
sidered to have great medicinal value, and there is a 
variety called the champagne bath which all arrivals 
are urged to take. In course of time Puente del Inca 
will no doubt be a much-frequented health resort, and 
there would not be the slightest difficulty in obtaining 
from the perennial river sufficient water to make a 
pretty town with trees and flowers, but it could never 
be a place of any natural attractiveness owing to the 
poverty of the scenery. Nobody seems to know why 
it should be called the Inca's Bridge; probably the 
name merely illustrates the tendency of simple people 
to attribute strange natural phenomena to the most 
powerful active force with which they are acquainted. 
Our rustics invariably attribute such things to the 

However, the climate is cold and bracing, and the 
walk — some 10 miles — to Las Cuevas, up the valley 
and over the pass, is worth taking. There is, of course, 

on one side, leaving an overhanging ledge, which was met by 
earth and stones falling down from the opposite cliff. Certainly 
an oblique junction, as would happen in such a case, was very 
distinct on one side. The Bridge of the Incas is by no means 
worthy of the great monarchs whose name it bears " (Darwin, 
" Voyage of the Beagle^" chap. xv.). 


nothing to see on arrival but some tin huts, and there 
is nothing to do but return on foot or by train to 
Puente del Inca and long for the train to Valparaiso. 

This calls only on alternate days. The journey up 
the valley is renewed and the train slowly makes its 
way to Las Cuevas. Here the traveller has the oppor- 
tunity, which he will soon lose, of riding over the 
Andes. The line comes to an end at Las Cuevas, 
until it is linked up with that of Chile by the com- 
pletion of the permanent way. Here it may be well 
to advise the traveller to provide himself at Mendoza 
with a supply of Chilian money, for, though the rail- 
way officials are ready and anxious to change English 
sovereigns into the grimy notes of Chile, their esti- 
mate of the Chilian dollar is apt to be of a highly 
optimistic character, which is rarely borne out by the 
rate of exchange. 

Some people amuse themselves with telling travellers 
exciting stories of the dizzy precipices to be passed, 
and advising them to go by carriage, as the slightest 
false step on the part of the mule would result in 
certain death. But, in fact, the journey over the pass 
is perfectly safe and easy ; there is no precipice up 
which a boy of twelve could not easily scramble, and 
the mule, frequently disdaining the path, shuffles down 
these dangerous heights at a great pace. This pleasant 
break in the monotony of the journey is now to be 
a thing of the past. The enterprise (English) of the 
Buenos Aires and Pacific Railway knows no obstacle, 
and succeeded in linking the Atlantic and Pacific with 
hoops of iron. A few months ago the tunnel, nearly 
2 miles long, was completed, the rails are now laid down, 
and it is expected that the line will be open for traffic 
by the time these lines are printed. Some people, how- 
ever, doubt whether it will be possible to keep it open all 


the year round. At present all passenger traffic is at 
an end from about May to October, for the blizzards 
and snow-drifts make it dangerous if not impossible, 
and there is great difficulty in getting even the mail- 
bags through by hand. It remains to be seen whether 
snow-ploughs and other implements can be employed 
which will be sufficient to clear the line and the 
tunnel. But at least the tunnel will be a great con- 
venience in summer, although some may regret the 
short ride, breasting the keen air. 

The mountain-peaks are, of course, as barren as ever, 
though a few glittering glaciers can be seen on dis- 
tant heights, but the bright sun, the lumbering carts, 
the whistling wind, and the shouts of the mule-drivers 
are pleasant sights and sounds. 

The pleasant open-air conditions keep off the dreaded 
soroche, or mountain sickness, which will probably 
attack many of the future passengers through the 
tunnel, but riding over the pass has merely an exhila- 
rating effect. At the summit there is a board' with 
Argentina on one side and Chile on the other. Here 
also is a colossal statue of Christ. This boundary line 
had long been a source of dispute between the two 
nations. Several times their jealousies had appeared 
to make the task of delimitation impossible, and the 
two countries had been on the brink of war. At last, 
aided by the good offices of King Edward VII., the 
statesmen on either side composed their differences and 
averted a fratricidal war by tracing a satisfactory boun- 
dary line, and on that line, as a pledge that war and 
discords from their lands should cease, the people 
decided to place a visible sign of concord to show to 
every traveller that the neighbours should wage no 
more wars one with another. They placed on the 
summit of the Andes a statue of the Prince of Peace. 



The Parana is one of the most magnificent rivers in 
the world. It was in the earliest times the most valu- 
able route for the Spaniards into the interior, as is 
shown by the fact that while they were struggling for 
a foothold at Buenos Aires, and several times aban- 
doned the settlement altogether, they were in possession 
of a flourishing colony in Asuncion. Up to recent 
times few immigrants thought of going to Entre Rios 
or Corrientes because of the difficulties of the journey, 
but now there is a train-ferry across the Parana, and 
there will soon be railway connection with the capital 
of Paraguay. The territory, highly favoured by nature, 
will in course of time be one of the richest parts of 

It is impossible accurately to estimate the total course 
of the river, but its length is between 2,100 and 2,800 
miles. In its upper part it receives many large tribu- 
taries — the Pardo, Paranahyba, Tiete, Paranapanema, 
Ivahy, and Iguazu. In the north the falls impede 
navigation, but it is practicable for vessels of 300 tons 
as far as the Island of Apipe, which is 150 miles above 
its junction with the river Parana. Lower down its 
only important tributary is the Rio Salado. At Rosario 
its breadth is 20 miles, and it would present the appear- 
ance of the sea but for a group of islands which stand 



in the mid-channel and limit the view. The railways 
of Argentina are greatly indebted to the Parana, which 
brought down enormous quantities of quebracho lumber 
to be used as railway sleepers, and the various lines 
now take 2,000,000 hard-wood sleepers from the Chaco 
yearly. At Posadas 8,000 or 10,000 hands are needed 
to handle the yerba and lumber trade of the Alto 
Parana, and these are difficult to obtain, for the 
southern regions have not sufficient labourers to supply 
their own wants. Since 1902 more than 9,000 Rus- 
sians and Poles have settled at Apostoles, near Posadas, 
and arrangements have been made to settle 3,000 Finns 
in the same neighbourhood. But at present the south 
attracts most of the European immigrants, and it is 
difficult to get the native, who inhabits the upper 
basins, to work, on account of his low standard of 
living and the exuberant fertility of the soil. Mr. Bar- 
clay thinks that this fine country will for an indefinite 
period be exploited only by traders, and does not 
expect to see them properly colonised within the 
limits of the present century. He suggests Chinese or 
Japanese colonists ; but these people are already greatly 
disliked in Chile, nor is it likely that they would be 
more welcome in Argentina. It would be infinitely 
better that the vast forests should continue to be in- 
habited by savage Indians than that one of the noblest 
of European races should be tainted with yellow blood. 
It would be far preferable to imitate the excellent 
example of the Jesuits, and teach the Indians habits 
of industry, in which case they would multiply and 
rapidly become civilised. 

Possibly the hasty traveller of to-day loses something 
by the development of the railways, for he naturally 
takes the quick train in preference to the slow steamboat. 
Rosario is only 186 miles from Buenos Aires, and the 



journey occupies some seven hours on the Central 
Argentine Railway, which for comfort is all that can 
be desired. The officials (English) are most obliging ; 
there is good sleeping and dining accommodation, and 
the managers are most anxious to show the traveller all 
that is to be seen ; nor is this surprising, for everything is 
of the best. It could only be wished that the railway 
companies would start terminus hotels in the large towns 
in order that the passengers might not abandon comfort 
when they quit the railway carriage ; but probably the 
local caterers would object. 

Rosario is the second city in the Republic, and is 
certainly one of the most remarkable. Founded in 
1725 by Don Francisco Godoy as a settlement for the 
subjugated Calchaqui Indians, it was in 1854 but an 
insignificant town. It was then made a port of entry by 
General Urquiza, and has prospered exceedingly. In 
1870 it had a population of 21,000, in 1883 of 45,000, 
while in 1900 it stood at 112,000. At the present time it 
must contain considerably more than 180,000 inhabitants. 
In 1900 the imports were valued at ;^i,9i 3,803 and the 
exports at ;^5, 85 1,239, while in 1907 the figures were 
;£6,397,579 and ;f7,30i,398 respectively. It is the chief 
port for wheat, maize, and linseed,^ but possibly, as the 
south is developed, it may be surpassed as a grain port 
by Bahia Blanca. On the other hand, as the north is 
colonised Rosario will receive the principal share of the 
increased trade. The great project now is to bring the 
noble waterways of the Plate into railway communication 
with the still more gigantic system of the Amazon. Then 
Rosario will undoubtedly rival the huge cities in the 

Rosario exported in 1907— 



2,850,000 tons 



580,000 „ 



1,400,000 „ 


northern continent, which have thriven by the trade 
brought down the Mississippi and the Missouri. Great 
sums have been spent on the harbour of Rosario and a 
fine electric hft has been erected, but the navigation of 
the Parana and its affluents suffers from floods and 
erosion, and it has been questioned whether elaborate 
and expensive appliances are necessary. ^ However, 
Rosario remains a favourite port, and large vessels load 
and unload there. 

In one respect Rosario produces a much more pleasant 
impression than Buenos Aires, for its streets are wide 
and it has large parks. The Calle Cordoba is an extremely 
handsome thoroughfare with good shops. There is a 
busy Bolsa, many fine public buildings, and much- 
frequented cafes. Large hotels have sprung up, and, it 
may be hoped, will in course of time become comfort- 
able. The people of Rosario have taken great pains in 

* " The new port at Rosario is admittedly no improvement on the 
old system of delivering wheat by shoots from the barrancas down 
to vessels moored to wooden stages in deep channel. In a word, 
the means of access from shore to river are most permanently 
effective when capable of adaptation to the shifting character of the 
stream " (W. S. Barclay, Geog. Journ., Jan., 1909). 

"The works at the present time are sufficiently advanced to 
provide berths for some 15 vessels. A channel of sufficient breadth 
all along the frontage has been dredged so that large vessels drawing 
24 feet or more can now manoeuvre without stranding on sand or 
mud banks, as was formerly the case. The entire port can provide 
loading berths for about 40 vessels and for 20 to 25 vessels to dis- 
charge. The change that has been effected along the river frontage 
in the short space of four years is remarkable, and when the works 
are completed Rosario will possess one of the best ports in the 
country, with excellent storage accommodation attached. The con- 
tract price for constructing the port was fixed at 60,000,000 fr., but 
a much larger sum will have been expended before completion, 
exclusive of grain elevators and other works which the Company 
is undertaking estimated at i7,ooo;ooo fr." (Consular Report, July, 



the laying out of their town and have provided for plenty 
of open spaces and boulevards. The new park is very 
beautiful, and handsome private dwellings are being 
erected in the vicinity, but although there appears to 
be no scarcity of sites, rents are said to be ruinously high. 
Rosario has suffered more than any other town from 
municipal imposts, and at the beginning of 1909 the 
traders went on strike, with beneficial results. Com- 
plaints are also made that this great provincial town has 
its interests subordinated to the small provincial capital 
of Santa Fe. 

However, these affairs are mere inconveniences which 
cannot impair the town's prosperity. Here, as is cus- 
tomary in the Argentine, the English are greatly in 
evidence and occupy an important place in the business 
life. They have a pleasant Club and are very hospitable. 
Rosario has also an advantage over Buenos Aires in 
being naturally more open and picturesque. It is built 
on the bank of the Parana, some 300 feet high, and a 
fine view is obtained of the great waterway and the 
far-off, poplar-clad islands. The climate is said to be 
more relaxing than that of the capital, but the difference 
is not great. When Rosario has got rid of its new and 
unfinished appearance it will be an extremely pleasant 
place of residence. 

Perhaps the most interesting sight in Rosario and one 
that best marks its progress on the stage to greatness is 
the workshop of the Central Argentine Railway. When 
it is considered that as yet only a beginning has been 
made with railway communications in South America, 
and yet here is a great industry engaged in repairing 
numberless engines and building vast numbers of 
carriages, imagination can hardly place a limit to the 
greatness of Rosario as a railway centre when Brazil, 
Paraguay, and Bolivia shall have through communica- 


tion with Buenos Aires and Rosario. These countries, 
with the greater part of the Argentine Gran Chaco, 
represent to the Province of Buenos Aires what the 
West represented to the Eastern States of North America 
seventy years ago, but instead of being chiefly wheat 
and cattle countries (all of which Buenos Aires already 
has in abundance) they contain the priceless tropical 
products which from time immemorial have been the 
main objects of trade. And, again, the mines of Bolivia 
and Brazil, the best of which are unworked, probably 
unknown, will pour their wealth down the basin of the 
Parana.! It is said that Brazil has coal equal in quality 
to that of Yorkshire, and if this could be brought cheaply 
into Argentina one main impediment to her manufactur- 
ing efficiency would be removed. 

The Central Argentine is an English company, and 
thus our traders have a great advantage in Argentina, 
as the English railways naturally buy engines and stores 
from home. The Rosario workshop turns out carriages 
and effects every kind of repair, but the locomotives are 
imported. An engine made at Hunslet in 1875 is still 
doing good work, whereas American engines go to the 
scrap-heap in three years. Those of Kitson, of Leeds, 
are of everlasting wear, and much of the work of Byer, 

* "Now at last in our day progress is being made in the great 
neglected central zone watered by the Parana, and here, as has been 
shown, the main line of advance will still be south and north. For 
if we accept the statement that mountains are the true frontiers of 
nations then the reverse also holds true, and the valleys that con- 
nect them are their best and natural highways. So when the rail- 
roads which already link Patagonia to Paraguay extend further 
along the great * llanos ' overshadowed by the Andes, right up to a 
navigable port on the Amazon, they will strengthen, better than any 
words or treaties, the ties of rational trade and intercourse between 
the republics whose hinterlands meet in the Parana watershed" 
(W. S. Barclay, Ibid.). 


SANTA Ft 271 

Peacock, Manchester, and of George Stephenson, Dar- 
lington, is to be seen at Rosario. Some of the engines 
and machinery at the forge are American, but Butler 
and Co., of Halifax, are prominent. Of the carriages 
some come from Milwaukee, some from Birmingham, 
but now a very large proportion is made in the work- 
shops. Most of the workmen appear to be Spaniards or 
Italians, but in better positions Irishmen are numerous ; 
in fact, on St. Patrick's Day hotel accommodation can 
hardly be obtained at Rosario, and the Irish and Scotch 
language is spoken with perfect purity by men who have 
never been outside the boundaries of the Republic. 

In another place an account will be given -of the 
Central Argentine Railway, and the other lines by which 
the town is well served, but it may here be mentioned 
that the English company, like its rival lines in the 
country, has been doing its utmost to develop the district 
with which it is concerned, and a considerable part of the 
port accommodation is due to its enterprise. It has con- 
structed a wharf which can contain five large steamers 
in single line, and owns more than a mile and a half of 
river-front in a convenient position for shipping grain. 
Besides this the Company possesses the port of Villa 
Constitucion, 32 miles from Rosario, and it is being 
rapidly developed. In 1907 this port was entered by 
British ships with a tonnage of 80,457, and German with a 
tonnage of 15,838. Much of the prosperity of Rosario 
— and its advance is very rapid — is due to its excellent 
railways. The town has every natural advantage and 
possesses an industrious and enterprising community 
which would be one of the most favoured in the world 
if its government were better. 

Santa Fe, the capital of the Province, is a comparatively 
insignificant town with about thirty thousand inhabitants. 
It is an old place, dating from 1573, and thus is really 


more ancient than Buenos Aires. Padre Pedro Lozano ^ 
states : ^^ Garay founded the city of Santa Fe upon a 
delightful plain and by the same river, ^ three leagues 
from the Parana. This port afforded admirable shelter 
to vessels of all kinds and the soil was extremely 
fertile, rendering with bounteous increase all the seeds 
entrusted to it. There was abundance of game and 
fish and there was a large population round about 
consisting of many nationalities and of widely different 
languages, but these tribes are now quite extinct, and a 
genuine Indian of the country is hardly ever to be seen 
in these days. The latitude of this city was originally 
31°, but owing to inconveniences for land trade which 
afterwards manifested themselves, and to the unfriendly 
attitude of the heathen, the site was shifted in the year 
1660 to a more convenient position on the river Salado, 
and three leagues distant from the great river Parana. The 
latitude of the new site was 31° 58' and its longitude 47°. 
Santa F6 is the seat of a Bishop and possesses a Jesuit 
Church and College, which dates back to 1654. Sixty 
years ago a traveller described it as a pleasant town with 
fifteen thousand inhabitants, and the population seems to 
have increased very little until quite recent years, for it has 
never had any prominent industries 3 and must always 
be greatly inferior to Rosario, although the older city is 
the capital. Like Head at Mendoza, the observer was 
struck by the practice of promiscuous river-bathing. 
He thus describes the town 4 : " The city occupies a large 

* " Coleccion de Obras," iii. 121. " The Rio Salado. 

3 " The future of Santa Fe is rather in agriculture, the raising of 
hogs, and the production of butter and cheese, than in the old- 
fashioned system of stock-raising, which has already become an 
employment for which the land gives a scant return, and which, 
moreover, will become absolutely impossible at no distant date, when 
the price of land rises still further " (Latzina, " Geographie," p. 239). 

4 MacCann, " Two Thousand Miles' Ride," ii. 32. 


space of ground ; for, like all the towns in this country, 
a considerable portion is planted as fruit gardens. The 
houses are either flat-roofed, or covered with tiles, and 
only one storey in height. A majority of them were 
built without any provision for glass windows ; the light 
and air being admitted only through apertures fitted with 
an open framework of wood, having strong shutters 
inside ; neither are there fireplaces in the houses. 
There are four large churches, one of which, built in 
1834, is remarkable for its solidity and fine proportions. 
It consists of a nave and aisles, separated by square 
pillars supporting arches ; light is admitted from the 
windows of a clerestory. It contains a beautiful bap- 
tismal font of silver, with four richly carved holy-water 
fonts. The high altar is in the Gothic style, and enriched 
with gilding." 

As remarked before, Santa F6 is not a city of remark- 
able prosperity. The building of small river craft is an 
industry of some importance, but the main occupation 
of its inhabitants is the export of quebracho wood. 
In 1907 the shipments were 174,126 tons. The river 
here gives considerable trouble and requires constant 
dredging, but a new port is rapidly approaching com- 
pletion, when it will be possible for vessels with a draught 
of 20 feet to enter. 

The great river country to the north is full of interest, 
but reference can only be made to one subject — the 
famous Falls of Iguazu. These Falls were known and 
described by Padre Lozano, but political troubles and the 
general backwardness of the north after the expulsion of 
the Jesuits caused them to be forgotten. Now the 
Government is alive to the possibilities of using them as 
a great national " lion," and a commission some years ago 
was appointed to survey the route and make it more 
accessible. As yet not much has been done in that 



direction, but the journey to and from Buenos Aires can 
be made in less than a fortnight, and a rest-house has 
been provided. The traveller starts from Buenos Aires 
in a steamboat and proceeds up the Plate and Uruguay 
Rivers to Concordia. There he leaves the river and takes 
train to Corrientes, where he re-embarks in a steamer, 
and, passing up the Rio Alta Parano to Posadas, makes 
his way far north to the confines of Argentina, Brazil, 
and Paraguay, where the Falls are. The Rio Iguazu joins 
the Parana at the place of disembarkation, and there is a 
long ride through the forest to the Falls. Twelve miles 
from the junction with the Parana there is a sudden 
bend, and the river makes its mighty leap of 210 feet. 
These are the Brazilian Falls, but lower down there are 
two other magnificent cascades, each of 100 feet, which 
fall into a narrow gorge. These are the Argentine Falls 
and are about 10,000 feet distant from the Brazilian. 
At the highest point the width of the river is 3,000 feet, 
but the gorge into which the magnificent columns of 
water finally discharge themselves is no more than 400 
feet wide, and the volume of the discharge is greatly 
increased in the rainy season. The spectacle is no less 
magnificent than that of Niagara. As a mere discharge 
of water in a single sheet the North American fall is more 
impressive, but the beauty of the Argentine scene is 
enhanced by the luxuriant forests, and the long-drawn- 
out course of the foaming stream amid its sylvan 
scenery is unmatched. 

Some day, no doubt, there will be a fashionable water- 
ing-place within the sound of the roaring waters, with 
great hotels and a casino, but now the Falls are, like 
all the rest of the vast region, an almost unknown place. 
The great rivers offer the finest waterway, and nothing is 
required but men and energy to make this borderland a 
country of fabulous wealth. 





The Gran Chaco is the least-known part of Argentina 
which has the reputation of being a land of Pampas, 
although these grassy plains cover but one-fourth of the 
total area of the Republic. In the Chaco are to be found 
the great majority of the flora and fauna which occur in 
Argentina, for except in its semi-tropical forests there is 
no considerable variety of either vegetable or animal life. 
Concerning the origin of the name, the worthy Padre 
Lozano says ^ : " The Etymology of the name Chaco 
indicates the great multitude of tribes which people this 
region. When the Indians go out hunting and drive 
together from different quarters the vicunas and 
guanacos, that vast mob of animals is called Chacu in 
the Quichoa language which is the common tongue of 
Peru. Thus, because the land in question contained a 
number of different tribes, they received by analogy the 
name ChacUj which the Spaniards have corrupted into 

Since the early wars of the Spaniards with the various 
tribes this magnificent territory has not figured much in 
the history of the country, but in natural interest it sur- 
passes every other part of the Republic, and its potential 
wealth is enormous. The climate, though tropical, is not 

* " Descripcion Chorographica," p. i. 



oppressive, and although the country is subject to 
periodical floods, these greatly increase the natural wealth 
of the soil, and almost every kind of vegetable product 
can be grown. 

The principal tribes which inhabit this undeveloped 
region are the Matacos, the Tobas, the Macovies, the 
Vilelas, the Chinipies, and the Payaguas. Of these the 
Matacos and the Tobas are the most numerous. The 
Matacos are tall and bony with strong frames. They 
have prominent cheek-bones and black, hairy skins. 
Their teeth are white and far apart, their noses are flat. 
They cultivate the ground and raise crops of maize. The 
Tobas, who used to be a warlike race, are more pre- 
possessing in appearance and are slightly more civilised. 

In the Chaco there is a considerable variety of fauna. 
The most savage beast of South America, the jaguar, is 
found in Riacho Ancho and on the islands of Cerrito. 
Its ferocity and cunning are well known, and it is very 
destructive both to men and cattle. The puma also 
belongs to the feline race, and is also destructive.^ The 
wild cat {felis Geoffroyi) is common. A less familiar 
animal is a large fox {cants jubatus), red in skin and not 
unlike a hyena in both appearance and habits, for it feeds 
on carrion. The tapir is one of the ugliest of living 
creatures. It belongs to the hog family and somewhat 
resembles the wild boar, but its long snout and ugly dark 
skin give it an insignificant appearance. It is not savage. 
There are numerous species of deer and a great variety 
of small animals. The alligator is very common. The 
fish of the rivers is good and plentiful, and the chief 
varieties are the pacu, armado, raya, suruvi, bagre, and 

The natural history of the Gran Chaco has been well 

" South Americans say that it will not harm man under any 


cA.Ui' IKA'vivi.. 

To face p. 276. 


described by Felix de Azara. The fauna, though 
abundant, are not particularly remarkable, and differ in 
few particulars from those of other South American 
forest tracts. Vegetation grows in boundless profusion, 
and the most valuable product is timber, of which a brief 
description is given in one of the industrial chapters. 
An Argentine writer ^ remarks : " The forest land or 
woody portion of the Chaco can be said to occupy a 
third part of the total area of the territory. The woods 
of the Chaco are met with on the banks of rivers to 
which they make a broad fringe ; also in clumps or 
masses of trees more or less extensive ; or as brows of 
brush, as they are called in the neighbourhood — that is 
to say, narrow strips of trees stretching from one clump 
to the other — or else scattered in the form that is called 
thin bush. These varied formations are not capricious. 
They obey geological laws with that regularity which 
Nature demands from her handiwork, seeing that the 
Chaco has no artificially planted trees whatever." 

The Gobernacion of the Chaco itself is a comparatively 
small region, not very much larger than England and 
Wales, and the population is only 13,937. It is bounded 
on the north by the Vermejo, on the east by the Parana 
and Paraguay, and on the west by the Provinces of 
Santiago del Estero and Salta. The north is marshy, 
the south is covered with dense forests. The capital is 
Resistencia, but the only place in the Territory which 
has any railway communication with the outer world is 
La Sabana, which is on a narrow-gauge railway to Santa 
F6. A line, however, is projected to run through Chaco 
into Bolivia. 

In this work the term Gran Chaco is used, as it was by 
the old Spaniards, to embrace all the tropical and semi- 
tropical north, and this opportunity is taken of giving a 
' M. Gonzalez, " El Gran Chaco Argentins," pp. 89, 90. 


brief account of a few of the more interesting places, 
most of which are, thanks to the railways, now within 
easy reach of Buenos Aires. 

This is the case with the pleasant town of Cordoba, to 
which the Central Argentine Railway provides a swift 
and comfortable service. It was founded in 1573 by 
Don Geronimo de Cabrera, and it soon became the 
religious and educational headquarters of the La Plata 
settlements. In the Spanish days it was famed as a seat 
of intellectual culture, but its importance seemed to have 
waned during the revolutionary wars. Some eighty years 
ago a traveller I described it as situated in a shallow 
valley. " The hills around are insignificant in size ; but 
partially wooded, and kept in a state of excellent irriga- 
tion. The population, from the best source of informa- 
tion I could obtain, in the absence of correct data, may 
be from eight to nine thousand, or perhaps ten. . . . The 
granite hills in its vicinity afford abundant ores, and they 
possess the necessaries of wood, water, mules, and 
pasturage for cattle in abundance. The only impedi- 
ment is the want of practical miners to teach the unem- 
ployed peasants of the country the rudiments of the art." 
Andrews observed that even at that time, when the people 
were enraged with priests and bishops on account of 
their loyal attitude, the ecclesiastical influence was prob- 
ably more powerful than in any other place in South 
America. Trade and all prosperous activity was then in 
a state of stagnation owing to the wars and the traffic in 
mules with Peru, Cordoba's staple industry, had been 
completely destroyed. Andrews admired the " fine eyes " 
and the " symmetry " of the ladies of Cordoba, and 
describes an excursion to the country house of "the 
celebrated Dean Funes," the historian, but unfortunately 
says nothing about his host. He seems to have enjoyed 
' Captain Andrews, "Journey from Buenos Aires," i. pp. 59, 60. 


his visit to Cordoba. About twenty years later another 
traveller ^ estimates the population at fifteen thousand and 
says : " The city presents an extremely clean and orderly 
appearance ; the streets, which intersect at right angles, 
are well kept and well lighted. The only manufacture 
in the place is that of leather. There is no newspaper, 
although formerly there were two weekly journals pub- 
lished. . . . The climate is very salubrious, though the 
rain does not fall in sufficient quantity. There are no 
foreigners in the town, nor even in the province, except 
a few French and two or three English : the government 
architect is a Frenchman, who possesses both wealth and 
influence." Cordoba must at that time have been a much 
pleasanter place of residence than Buenos Aires, and 
possibly is so still. With peace, renewed prosperity has 
visited the town, and it now has a population of about 
sixty thousand. It is distant 435 miles from Buenos Aires, 
and is an important railway centre. In old times it stood 
on the high road to Peru, and it is now on what will be 
the trunk line to the central Pacific coast. It is already 
connected with Bolivia by a line running northwards 
through Jujuy. Twelve miles from Cordoba are the 
reservoir and dam (Dique San Roque), on the river 
Prisnero, which supply the city with water and are the 
largest works of the kind in South America. The city is 
lighted by the electric light and has electric trams. 

Cordoba with Mendoza has the reputation of being the 
town in Argentina where the religious spirit is strongest. 
The number of churches is remarkably large and some of 
them are handsome. 

The University is the oldest in South America with 
the exception of that at Lima. It was founded in 1613 
by the Jesuits, who were always foremost in the encour- 

» W. MacCann, " Two Thousand Miles* Ride through the Argen- 
tine Provinces," ii. 52, 3. 


agement of learning and piety, and in 162 1 it was con- 
firmed by the Bull of Pope Gregory XV. In Spanish 
times it had a high reputation, but it greatly decayed 
under the tyranny of Rosas, and in 1861 possessed only 
two faculties — Law and Theology. It was much improved 
in 1880. Cordoba also is reputed to be a place where 
culture is highly valued, but provincial seats of learning 
tend to be overshadowed by Buenos Aires. Dr. Ernesto 
Quesada remarked ; *' In Cordoba there is an active 
literary life, and a band of young men who in society 
and magazines work with ardour, but their names are 
hardly known in the capital." However, Cordoba has 
better than any other town maintained its humanistic 
position, as Rosario has its commercial, against this 
overpowering preponderance, and it may be hoped that 
healthy non-political rivalries will be kept up and 
strengthened all over the country. 

Another large and flourishing city is Tucuman, a town 
of forty-nine thousand inhabitants, situated on the right 
bank of the Tala, a sub-tributary of the Salado. It was 
founded in 1565 ^ by Diego de Villaruel, and has always 
played a prominent part in history. The old house in 
which the declaration of independence was signed is 
still preserved. In revolutionary days the communicative 
Andrews 2 thus describes it : " The city of Tucuman is 
like most others in South America, of rectangular form. 
The public edifices and works are in a wretched state. 
The arts and sciences are almost unknown, literature, of 
course, included. Music alone seems to be a little 

* " The land was rich in wheat, barley, and maize, and had fine 
pastures to fatten fine cattle. Game was abundant, the trees were 
of hard wood and of great size, and there was much cotton and 
flax which was woven into fine linen. There were traces of gold, 
and above all the cHmate was the best in the whole governorship " 
(Pedro de Lozano, "Coleccion," iv. 228). 

* " Journey from Buenos Aires," i. 241, 2. 


cultivated, but a general spirit of liberality, a wish to 
improve, and a thirst for knowledge, is very observedly 
diffusing itself, and will not allow this state of things to 
last. Unfortunately, the channels of information are 
few and narrow, and I fear the people are without 
instructors, or have very ill-chosen ones, though perhaps 
the best they can obtain." He estimates the population 
at ten or twelve thousand. 

Another traveller,^ who was at Tucuman at the time 
the overthrow of Rosas was announced, remarks : " If 
the tide of immigration could only be diverted for a time 
towards this quarter, it appears to me that this province 
is capable, in an agricultural point of view, of largely 
supplying an export commerce. The sugar-cane, coffee, 
cocoa, cotton, fruits of the most delicious kinds, and an 
abundance of superior cattle, offer to the enterprising 
and industrious a certain field of ultimate success. The 
united provinces of Cordova, Tucuman, and Salta, have 
already gained a well-merited reputation for their tanned 
leather, saddlery, and boots, superior to that of other 
parts of South America." He declares that he left 
Tucuman with the conviction that it stood unrivalled 
as the garden of the Argentine Republic. 

Like all other up-country towns, it long remained 
depressed by the political troubles, and in 1875 the 
population was no more than seventeen thousand. It 
had increased to twenty-seven thousand by 1884, and has 
since been making steady progress. The Matriz Church 
is a fine Doric building, erected in 1856, and there is a 
large National College. In the suburbs stands the 
Plaza Belgrano on the site of the village formerly called 
Cuidadela, where Belgrano gained a great victory over 
the Spaniards. Like Cordoba, the city is on the trunk 
line to Bolivia. The Province of Tucuman is famous 
* Bonelli, " Travels in Bolivia," &c., ii. 247. 


for the sugar industry, and many of the plantations and 
factories are near the town. 

The Province of Salta one day can hardly fail to be 
of great importance. It was first settled by one Lerma 
in 1852, and until 1776 was in the charge of a Lieutenant- 
Governor under the Governor of Tucuman. During the 
first half of the nineteenth century it suffered less than 
its neighbours owing to its remote situation. The forests, 
hills, and rich pasture make the scenery charming, and 
the soil is remarkably fertile, maize, wheat, lucerne, and 
sugar being extensively cultivated. The mineral wealth, 
though insufficiently exploited, is very great. The town 
of Salta, which is 935 miles from Buenos Aires, has a 
population of about twenty thousand. It is well built, 
but not particularly healthy, owing to malaria and bad 

The fertile northern region of Argentina has hitherto 
been somewhat neglected, in spite of the fact that it is 
the oldest settled part of the country. When communi- 
cations between Tucuman and Peru were interrupted 
the country declined, and the easily earned wealth of the 
Pampas diverted the attention of capital from less acces- 
sible parts. On the western side communications are 
excellent, and on the east they are fast improving. The 
towns and provinces are gradually increasing in wealth 
and population and, besides their great fertility in soil 
and every kind of produce, they will also be important 
as recipients of trade from places over the frontier. This 
importance, of course, will depend upon the develop- 
ment of the places in question. Those countries that lie 
about the upper waters of the Parana will not be trade 
centres for many years. As regards Bolivia, the case is 
doubtful. That country has a large mining industry, but 
her population is scanty and backward, and it is probable 
that it will still be more economical to despatch the 




greater part of its products by sea. In fact, the Argentine 
Government has raised objections to the prolongation of 
the railway into Bolivia, on the ground that it will not 
be a commercial success. However that may be, Tucu- 
man, Salta, Cordoba, Parana, and many other towns 
with their adjacent districts will always have sufficient 
wealth to be of considerable importance in themselves, 
and when more immigrants have been attracted thither 
they will be regarded, in many respects, as the best part 
of the Republic. 



The first information which the traveller seeks is, natu- 
rally, how to get to Buenos Aires, and though such 
information is very accessible, it seldom seems to come 
his way, for not uncommonly persons are found who 
appear to have no idea that there is any route except 
that which they hit on by chance, and if in the course of 
the journey any change becomes necessary, they usually 
have considerable difficulty in discovering the means of 
making the change. Of course any agent will furnish a 
number of particulars, and any given line will give the 
fullest information about itself. The ocean voyage is 
not made as quickly as it might be, for the liners proceed 
first to Brazil and call at one or two ports, and there are 
also several stops made in Europe and the islands. The 
best thing to do is to take one of the fine vessels of the 
Pacific Steam Navigation Company from Liverpool. 
The boats call at La Pallice — La Rochelle, Corunna, 
Vigo, Leixoes (Oporto), Lisbon, St. Vincent, Rio de 
Janeiro. The only drawback is that the vessels do not 
go to Buenos Aires, but stop at Montevideo ; however, the 
passengers are speedily transhipped, and the whole voyage 
lasts about twenty-four days. In comfort and safety the 
service reaches the highest possible standards, and the 
traveller can, if he wishes, continue his voyage south- 
ward and proceed up the Pacific Coast as far as Panama ; 


„ x 


this is a charming trip, for the Pacific is usually smooth, 
and some of the very best boats engage in the coasting 
service. There are many other English lines — the Royal 
Mail Steam Packet, Southampton to Buenos Aires, the 
Lamport and Holt from Liverpool, the Harrison Line, 
Houlder Bros., the Houston Line, the Allan, the Nelson, 
the David Maclver, all from Liverpool, the Prince Line 
from London. The New Zealand Shipping Company's 
boats, on the homeward voyage only, call at Montevideo. 

There are many foreign lines. France is represented 
by the famous Messageries from Bordeaux, and also 
by the Soc. Gen^rale de Transports from Genoa, 
Marseilles, and Barcelona, and the Chargeurs R^unis 
from Havre. The Italian boats from Genoa and 
Barcelona are very numerous. A Spanish line, the 
Cia Transatlantica de Barcelona, plies between the 
latter port and Buenos Aires. Germany has the Ham- 
burg-American, the Norddeutscher Lloyd, and the 
Kosmos. There is also a Dutch line. The Italian boats 
are large, well-fitted, and fast. If time were an important 
object, probably the quickest way would be to take an 
Italian boat to Barcelona, whence London is rapidly 
reached by rail, but though there is a good accom- 
modation, both British and foreign, it is safe to say 
that the P.S.N. Co. will be found the most satis- 

The traveller ought to carry with him everything he 
needs, and his needs should be few, because luggage is a 
great trouble. Unlike some South American lines, the 
railway companies in Argentina are responsible in that 
respect, but porters and others are exorbitant, and a 
piece of luggage rapidly devours its own value in trans- 
port charges. Exactly the same clothing should be 
taken as in England, and ordinary riding kit should be 
added, also a soft hat, as affording a better protection 


against the sun than a hard felt or cap. Revolvers or 
other weapons are unnecessary ; indeed nothing is 
required but what is constantly used at home. 

Banks are to be found everywhere, so there is no 
difficulty about money. The Argentine dollar, which 
is in universal use, is worth about is. Qd. 

The hotels at Buenos Aires, as has been said, are not 
remarkably good, and they are certainly expensive. All 
are noisy, for the trams run early and late, and a very 
high price has to be paid for good rooms. But any one 
who is prepared to pay handsomely can make himself 
very comfortable. As regards up-country hotels, it 
is not possible to give a favourable account. At 
Rosario there are several good-sized houses of enter- 
tainment, but they have no particular merit, except 
that they are cheaper than in the capital. In this 
rapidly expanding city a very large hotel is being 
built, which will certainly supply a long-felt want, and 
doubtless it will be much superior to anything at 
present to be found at Rosario. At Mendoza there is 
a large hotel of very handsome appearance, but 
probably the best accommodation there is to be 
afforded by a hotel kept by a genial old Frenchman, 
who has almost abandoned the Parisian in favour of 
the tongue of Castile. The courtyard, dotted with 
fruit-trees, and the low buildings with their screened 
doors, are strongly reminiscent of an Indian up-country 
hotel. Hotels in other provincial towns are by no 
means good. It is from the cooking that the traveller 
will chiefly suffer, for there is usually little to complain 
of on the score of cleanliness, and the rooms are large, 
though bare. The Argentine has a good appetite, but 
he appears to be content to satisfy it chiefly with meat, 
and this is more often tough than not. The menu con- 
tains an imposing array of dishes, which are served 



without stint, but they are almost all beef, mutton, or 
veal in some form or other, and this diet, moderate in 
quality and cooked without art, is extremely monotonous. 
The light wines of the country are a valuable help in 
getting through these indigestible meals, and the white 
wine is particularly good. The peaches, grapes, and other 
fruits are of excellent quality, but they are not always 
easy to obtain. 

As regards travelling in Argentina, the traveller will 
find no difficulty as long as he keeps to the rail- 
way lines, which give a splendid service to almost 
every part of the country except Patagonia. When 
the railway fails, he will of course have to make his 
own arrangements for horses and mules and the like. 
An extremely useful work is the fifth edition of the 
Mulhalls' " Handbook of the River Plate." A new 
edition of this book is urgently needed,^ for the last 
appeared in 1885, and the extremely full statistical 
information is quite out of date, and travelling in the 
country, which the handbook well describes, is much 
easier than it was in those days. But the writers draw up 
with great care a number of interesting routes, and the 
traveller, using them as a foundation, can easily bring 
the information up to date, and will find an interesting 
study in noting the wonderful changes which have come 
over Argentina in exactly a quarter of a century. In the 
bibliography an attempt has been made to enumerate the 
important books on the whole subject, and that of 
Captain Musters on Patagonia may be recommended. 
A great many wanderers in the early part of the nine- 
teenth century have left highly interesting accounts of 
their adventurous travels. In those days ferocious 
Indians, who massacred every small party of white 

* The Argentine Year Book supplies useful up-to-date information 
in small compass. 


men at sight, revolutionary soldiers, and cruel bandits 
added greatly to the dangers of such excursions, and a 
journey across the Pampas was looked upon as almost 
equivalent to taking leave of the world. A young gentle- 
man in the first edition of his book remarks with gentle 
melancholy that, being disappointed in his hopes of 
happiness by a "beloved female," he had decided to 
travel in the Plate district. His editorial friend appends 
a note that the gentleman had been last heard of in a 
remote part of Chile many years ago, and was believed to 
have perished. However, the traveller happily returned 
and published a second edition or work in which he ac- 
counted for his long silence by a series of hardships, 
among which a lengthy term of imprisonment was only 
one item. Among these books that of Head is one of 
the most entertaining, but Darwin's " Voyage of the 
BeagUy' must be held to be probably the best work ever 
published on Argentina, and he observed the country at 
a most interesting period. Adventures would be hard to 
find nowadays in the Pampas, but the greater part of 
Patagonia is as wild and inaccessible as ever, and in many 
regions of the Gran Chaco the explorer carries his life 
in his hands owing to the fierce disposition of the 

Indeed, about Argentina as usually visited by Euro- 
peans everything is so simple in the matter of getting 
there and travelling north, south, or west, that there is 
very little to say, and no more special information is 
required than in a journey to the United States. But 
the pioneer still has ample scope in Argentina without 
crossing the frontier. The impenetrable forests of the 
north have formed a rich field of exploration for Mr. 
W. S. Barclay, of the Royal Geographical Society, and 
there and in the neighbouring wilds of Paraguay the 
primitive ravage still wanders. " In 1893," says Mr. 


Barclay,! '* a party of 700 native-born Australians took 
up land in the forests of northern Paraguay. In these 
new surroundings they deteriorated to such an extent 
that in 1905 the remnants of the original settlers, with 
their few descendants, attracted the serious attention of 
the South American Mission, whose ordinary field of 
work lies among the Indian aborigines of the Chaco. 
In the tropic forest a man's moral and mental horizon 
appears to shrink in direct proportion to the range of 
his physical vision. No aborigines yet discovered, not 
even the canoe-dwellers round Cape Horn or the black- 
fellows of Australia, have sunk to the brutish degradation 
of the Bootcudo club Indians, who smash their trails 
through the bamboo-smothered forests at the back of 
Panana and Sao Paulo states." In fact, from Colombia 
to Entre Rios there lies a tract which will hardly be fully 
explored, certainly not settled, by the end of the century. 
Again there are vast fields in the Andes and Patagonia of 
which many explorers have taken advantage, but con- 
sidering their importance, due to their being the actual 
territory or borderland of two great and flourishing 
Republics, the mountains and plains of the south may 
be considered to have been neglected. 

In the matter of information for travellers to South 
America, mention must be made of the South American 
edition of the Times, published December 28, 1909. 
This colossal number of 56 pages contains an invaluable 
store of accurate articles by the best authorities on South 
America, and Argentina has its full share. It is char- 
acteristic of our history in Argentina that this fine piece 
of work is due to private enterprise. 

To celebrate the Centenary of the Revolution of the 

25th of May, 1 8 10, there will be held this year a 

group of exhibitions in Buenos Aires. They will ' be 

' The Geographical journal, January, 1909. 



as follows : The International Exhibition of Railways 
and Land Transport ; the International Exhibition of 
Agricultural and Pastoral Products ; the International 
Exhibition of Hygiene ; the National Exhibition of 
Industry ; the International Exhibition of Art. There 
will also be held the International Congress of America, 
and the International Congress of South American 

The Railway Exhibition will have its site in the city 
itself. English exhibitors have applied for a far larger 
space than any of their foreign rivals. The Agricultural 
Exhibition will be held in the suburb of Palermo, and 
is sure to present splendid stock. Of cattle (excluding 
dairy cattle) there will be the following classes — Short- 
horns (Durhams), Polled Durhams, Herefords, Polled 
Angus, Red Polled, Red Lincoln, Devon. The classes 
of sheep will be — Merinos, Lincolns, Leicesters, Romney 
Marsh, Southdowns, Shropshires, Oxford and Suffolk, 

The increased number of English people visiting 
Buenos Aires this year will add to the interest which 
the average newspaper reader takes in this country. Our 
stake in the country is already so large that, well known 
as Argentina now is compared to most parts of South 
America, it is surprising that the country does not fill a 
larger space in the public mind. The English railways 
are being fast extended by English capital. English 
farmers and ranchers are busily at work, and English 
blood is improving the breeds of sheep and cattle. It 
is certain, therefore, that our relation with Argentina will 
become yearly closer and still more mutually advan- 
tageous, and the more we learn about the country the 
better. We have to depend almost entirely upon private 
enterprise, for, as has been shown in an earlier part of 
this book, our Government does little in the way of 


collecting information and putting it in an accessible and 
attractive form. There are many ways in which the 
Foreign Office could help traders and others without 
extravagant expense or incurring the suspicion of grand- 
motherly legislation. However, these defects are balanced 
by the splendid enterprise and liberal attitude of private 
companies which have for years been instructing our 
countrymen in South American affairs. The railway 
offices, whether in London or Buenos Aires, are ever 
ready to give facilities to those who wish to study the 
industries of Argentina and the same is the case with 
other commercial organisations. The building up and 
consolidating of our position in Argentina is one of the 
proudest exploits of English industry. 

Argentina is a nation of which the historical con- 
tinuity was very roughly broken, and within the last 
half-century she had to begin her life over again with 
less help from the past than is afforded to most peoples 
by tradition and historical associations. Kept in sub- 
jection by the Spaniards as one of the less important 
corners of their dominions, and regarded with a certain 
measure of indifference and even suspicion as being a 
discordant factor in the Colonial system and its great 
industry of exporting gold and silver, Argentina owed 
her spiritual and intellectual progress chiefly to the Jesuits 
and her material progress chiefly to benevolent Governors 
and spirited Creoles. The first rude shock was the ex- 
pulsion of the Jesuits, and this was followed by a much 
ruder breach of historical continuity in the Revolution. 
Misfortune and incompetence long paralysed her, and in 
fifty years she lost most of what was good in the old 
system and gained little good from the new. Then the 
revival came. It was a revival in material prosperity, 
and also in courage and self-reliance, strenuously fostered 
by one or two great men. She has prospered beyond 


the utmost expectations of the world, but hitherto has 
experienced the usual fate of new countries in failing 
to grow in wealth of ideas in proportion to her increase 
in material riches. 

One good legacy she had from old days — the Spanish 
love of liberty. This became perverted as years of 
anarchy and tyranny ran their demoralising course, 
and now it is somewhat overgrown by abuses which 
have been described in the earlier chapters. 

But it is not extinct, and political theory is certainly better 
than political practice, and the people themselves are keen 
and shrewd critics of their system of government. As they 
gain more political experience and better assimilate their 
immigrants, they will force reform after reform upon the 
office-holders. In one respect they have followed Spain 
too closely. Madrid usurped the rights of the local 
governments in Spain, Buenos Aires has done the same. 
As far as political power goes, the preponderance of the 
Argentine capital is inevitable and probably beneficent, 
for the various Provinces are small, weak, and thinly 
populated ; they need a strong and intelligent head. But 
it is unfortunate that the various provincial centres 
should be neglected, and that Buenos Aires should be 
the Mecca of every Argentine. The course of trade is 
tending somewhat towards decentralisation, and Rosario 
and Bahia Blanca are growing perhaps as rapidly as 
Buenos Aires. But it would be well if the many 
picturesque old Spanish towns in remote districts 
became, instead of seats of somewhat unimportant 
governments, real centres of light and leading. There 
is somewhat of a tendency to regard them as mere 
places of business at which a man must work until he 
has time or money to spend in the capital. 

Another Spanish tradition which Argentina has re- 
ceived is that of religion. This, it may be feared, has 


been dulled among the intellectual classes, but the 
numerous, large, and well-kept churches, well attended 
by reverent worshippers, show that the tradition is not 
forgotten. In course of time, when the glamour of 
new wealth is less powerful, the people of Argentina 
will turn in increasing numbers for teaching from the 
few who are now keeping alive the intellectual and 
spiritual life. 

It is certain that Argentines are essentially teachable. 
They welcome foreigners and travel to seats of civilisa- 
tion to educate their children and to learn new ideas. 
They are extremely sensitive to foreign opinion, and 
newspapers constantly argue against this or that course 
by urging that it would give other nations an unfavour- 
able impression of Argentina. In this they are aided 
by their Government. It has been necessary to say 
some hard things about it, but this may be said as a 
set-off — that the Government, on its bureaucratic side 
at least, represents the considered intellect of the nation 
and is intelligent and indefatigable in encouraging the 
best methods in commerce and industry, in beautifying 
the cities and raising splendid edifices to serve as homes 
for useful institutions. It has many methods and many 
enterprises which England might imitate with advan- 
tage. Working in a new country, while lacking in 
traditions to guide it, the Government has, on the 
other hand, the less rubbish to impede its progress 
and can make spacious plans. 

England has had a long and close connection with 
Argentina, and each is deeply interested in the other's 
prosperity. The country may become as great a political 
force in the world as she is now an industrial, and 
England, the peace-preserving nation, will then have 
a redoubled interest, for Argentina has showed herself 
above all Latin-American nations ever resolute to main- 


tain peace and submit all reasonable claims to arbitration, 
and while not abusing her superior strength, she sets 
an example to other nations of firmness, dignity, and 
good faith in foreign politics. Her increase, then, in 
power and population, will be for the good of South 
America and for the good of the world. 

Although within the limits of a single volume it is 
impossible to make an adequate presentation of a 
country so vast and varied as Argentina, an attempt 
has been made to view this wonderful land and people 
as a whole, and it is hoped that this sketch, though 
inadequate, may be judged not untrustworthy. 


Much information is to be found in small publications 
too numerous to be specified. Many are issued by the 
Oficina Meterologica Argentina at Buenos Aires and by 
other Government Departments, and a large number of 
pamphlets, newspapers, and periodicals, both current and 
extinct, may be consulted with advantage. This list aims 
at giving a catalogue of useful books dealing with the 
history of Argentina and the country in general. 


Akers, C. E. A History of South America (1854-1904). London, 

Angelis, Pedro de. Coleccion de Obras y Documentos. 3 vols. 

Buenos Aires, 1900. 
Anonymous — 
An account of the Spanish Settlements in South America. 

London, 1904. 
The Argentine Republic, by a Friend of Free Government. 

London, 1865. 
An Authentic Narrative of the . . . Expedition . . . of . . , Gen. 

Craufurd. London, 1808. 
Les Dissensions des Republiques de La Plata. Paris, 1865. 
La Doctrina Drago. London, 1908. 
Emancipation of South America. Edinburgh Review, January, 

The History of Don Francisco Miranda's Attempt, &c. Boston, 

The Missiones Award. Washington, 1895. 

Report . . . upon the Differences . . . with regard to the Frontier 
between the Argentine and Chilian Republics. 2, vols. 
London, 1900. 
Arcos, S. La Plata. Etude Historique. Paris, 1865. 


Blanchard and Ramsay. The Trial at Large of Lieut.-Gen. White- 

locke. London, 1808. 
Blanco White, J. El Espanol. 8 vols. London, 18 10-14. 
Bonny castle, R. H. Spanish America. London, 1818. 
Brackenridge, H. M. Voyage to South America. 2 vols. Baltimore, 

Brossard, Alfred de. Considerations sur les Republiques de la 

Plata. Paris, 1850. 

Calvo, C. Coleccion Completa de los Tratados de la America 

Latina. 16 vols. Paris, 1862-7. 
Cole. J. W. Memoirs of British Generals. 2 vols. London, 1856. 

Dawson, T. C. The South American Republics. 2 vols. London, 

Deberle, Alfred. Histoire de I'Amerique du Sud. Paris, 1897. 
Dominguez, Luis, L. Historia Argentina. Buenos Aires, 1870. 

Echeverria, Estevan. Insurreccion del Sud. Buenos Aires, 

Estrado, J. M. La PoUtica Liberal bajo la Tirannia de Rosas. 

Buenos Aires, 1873. 

Funes, G. Ensayo de la Historia Civil del Paraguay, Buenos Aires, 
y Tucuman. 3 vols. Buenos Aires, 1816-17. 

Hernandez, Jose. El Gaucho Martin Fierro. Buenos Aires, 

Herrera, Antonio de. History of America, Vol. VL Translated 

by Captain John Stevens. London, 1726. 
Herrera, Antonio de. M. Purchas, His Pilgrimage by Samuel 

Purchas, B.D., Vol. XIV. Glasgow, 1906. 

Kennedy, C. The Drago Doctrine. North American Review, New 

York, July 31, 1907. 
King, Colonel J. A. Twenty-four Years in the Argentine Republic. 

London, 1846. 
Kirkpatrick, F. A. The Spanish Dominions in America. The 

Establishment of Independence in Spanish America. The 

Cambridge Modern History, Vol. X., Chaps. VIII. and 



Lopez, V. F. Manual de la Historia Argentina. Buenos Aires, 

Mitre, Bartolome. Historia de Belgrano. 2 vols. Buenos Aires, 

Mitre, Bartolome. Historia de San Martin. 3 vols. Buenos Aires, 

Moses, Benjamin. The Establishment of Spanish Rule in America. 

New York, 1898. 
Mulhall, M. G. The English in South America. Buenos Aires, 


Parish, Sir Woodbine. Buenos Ayres and the Provinces of the Rio 

de la Plata. London, 1852. 
Payne, E. J. History of the New World called America. Oxford, 

Pradt, Archbishop M. de. The Colonies and the Present American 

Revolution. Translated from the French. London, 1817. 

Robertson, W. The History of South America. 4 vols. 12th ed. 

London, 1812. 
Rodney and Graham. The Reports ... of South America. 

London, 1819. 
Root, J. W. Spain and its Colonies. London, 1898. 

Sarmiento, D. F. Life in the Argentine Republic in the Days of the 
Tyrants. Translated from the Spanish by Mrs. Horace Mann. 
New York, 1868. 

Sarmiento, D. F. Vida de Facundo Quiroga. Santiago, 1851. 

Southey, Robert. History of Brazil. 3 vols. London, 18 10-19. 

Torrente, D. M. Historia de la Revolucion Hispano-Americana. 
3 vols. Madrid, 1829-30. 

Watson, R. G. Spanish and Portuguese South America. 2 vols. 

London, 1884. 
Wilcocke, S. H. History of the Viceroyalty of Buenos Ayres. 

London, 1807. 
Winsor, J. History of America. 8 vols. London, 1886-9. 

Zinny, A. Biografia Historica. Buenos Aires. 1875. 
Zinny, A. Historia de las Provincias Argentinas. 4 vols. Buenos 
Aires, 1879-82. 



Akers, C. E. Argentine, Patagonia, &c. London, 1893. 

Akers, C. E. Article in Enc, Brit., Vol. XXV., loth ed. London, 

Alberdi, J. B. Confederacion Argentina. Valparaiso, 1854. 
Alcock, F. Trade and Travel in South America. London, 1903. 
Alsina, J. A. La Immigracion Europea en la Republica Argentina. 

Buenos Aires, 1903. 
Ameghino, Florentino. La Antiguedad del H ombre en La Plata. 

2 vols. Paris. 1880. 
Andrevi^s, Captain. A Journey from Buenos Ayres, &c. 2 vols. 

London, 1827. 
Anonymous — 

The River Plate as a Field for Immigration. London. 
Azara, Felix de. Essais sur I'Histoire Naturelle. 2 vols. Paris, 


Barclay, W. S. To the Falls of Iguazu. Buenos Aires, 1903. 
Barclay, W. S. The Land of Magellanes. Geog. Journ., January, 

Barclay, W. S. The River Parana. Geog. Journ., January, 1909. 
Bernandez, M. The Argentine Estancia. Buenos Aires, 1903. 
Bonelli, L. Hugh de. Travels in Bolivia, with a Tour across the 

Pampas to Buenos Aires. London, 1854. 
Bougainville, Louis de. Voyage autour du Monde. Paris, 1771. 
Bresson, Andre. Sept Annees dans I'Amerique Australe. 
Burmeister, H. Description Physique de la Republique Argentine. 

Paris, 1876-8. 

Campbell, W. D. Through Patagonia. London, 1901. 
Caldcleugh, Alexander. Travels in South America. 2 vols. London, 

Carpenter, F. G. South America. New York, 1900. 
Child, Theodore. The South American Republics. New York, 

Church, Colonel G. E. South America : An Outline of its Physical 

Geography. Geog. Journ., April, 1901. 
Church, Colonel G. E. Argentine Geography and the Ancient 

Pampean Sea. Geog. Journ., October, 1898. 
Conway, Sir Martin. Aconcagua and Tierra del Fuego. London, 

Cunninghame-Graham, R. B. A Vanished Arcadia. London, 1901. 


Daireaux, Emile. La Vie et les Moeurs a la Plata. 2 vols. Paris, 

Darwin, Charles. Journal of Researches during the Voyage of 
H.M.S. Beagle. London, 1843. 

Davie, J. C. Letters from Paraguay, &c. London, 1805. 

Davie, J. C. Letters from Buenos Ayres and Chile. 2 vols. 
London, 18 19. 

Dixie, Lady Florence (Julius Beerbohm). Across Patagonia. 
London, 1880. 

Dixie, Lady Florence (Julius Beerbohm). Wanderings in Pata- 
gonia. London, 1879. 

D'Orbigny, Alcide. L' Homme Americaine. Paris, 1839. 

D'Orbigny, Alcide. Voyage dans I'Amerique Meridionale. 4 vols. 
Paris, 1835-39. 

D'Ursel, Charles. Sud Amerique. Paris, 1879. 

Evans, Patrick F. From Peru to the Plate Overland. London, 

Falkner, Thomas. A Description of Patagonia. Hereford, 1774. 
Farrell, H. W. The Argentine Year Book. London, 1909. 
Ford, L N. Tropical America. London, 1893. 
Fitzroy, Admiral R. The Surveying Voyages of H.M.'s ships 
Adventure and Beagle. London, 1839. 

Gallois, Eugene. En Amerique du Sud. Paris, 1906. 

Gibson, Herbert. Sheep Breeding Industry in the Argentine 

Republic. Buenos Aires, 1893. 
Gonnard, Rene. L'lmmigration Europeenne au XIX® Siecle. Paris, 

Gonzalez, Meliton. El Gran Chaco, Argentine. Buenos Aires, 

Granillo, A. Tucuman. Buenos Aires, 1872. 
Guilaine, Louis. La Republique Argentine. Paris, 1889. 

Haigh, S. Sketches of Buenos Aires and Chile. London, 1829. 
Harrisse, Henry. John Cabot. London, 1896. 
Hawkesworth,John. An Account of the Voyages. 2 vols. Dublin, 

Head, Captain F. B. Reports relating to the Failure of the Rio 

Plata Mining Association. London, 1827. 
Head, Captain F. B. Royal Notes taken during some Rapid 

Journeys across the Pampas. London, 1826. 


Helps, Sir Arthur. The Spanish Conquests in America. London, 

Holdich, Sir T. H. The Countries of the King's Award. London, 

Holdich, Sir T. H. The Patagonian Andes. Geog. Journ., February, 

Hudson, W. H. The Naturalist in La Plata. London, 1903. 

Jordan, W. Leighton. Article in Enc. Brit, Vol. H., 9th ed. 
London, 1875. 

Keane, A. H., and Markham, C. R. Central and South America. 

London, 2nd ed., 1909. 
Keltic, J. Scott. The Statesman's Year Book. London, 1909. 
Killik, S. H. M. Manual of Argentine Railways. London, 1910, 
Koebel, W. H. Modern Argentina. London, 1907. 

Latzina, F. L' Agriculture et L'^levage dans la Republique Argen- 
tine. Buenos Aires, 1891. 

Latzina, F. Diccionario Geografico Argentine. Buenos Aires, 

Latzina, F. Geographic de la Republique Argentine. Paris, 

Leach, Walter. Exploration of the Bermejo River. Geog. Journ., 
June, 1890. 

Le Bon, Gustave. Les Lois Psychologiques de I'Evolutions des 
Peuples. Paris, 1894. 

MacCann, William. Two Thousand Miles' Ride through the 
Argentine Provinces. London, 1853. 

Mangel du Mesnil, E. Notoriedades del Plata, Buenos Aires, 

Mansfield, C. B. Paraguay, Brazil, and the Plate. Cambridge, 

Markwich, W. F., and Smith, W. A. The South American Re- 
publics. New York, 1901. 

Martin, Percy F. Through Five Republics. London, 1905. 

Martinez, A. B., and Lewandowski, M. L' Argentine au XX^ Siecle. 
3rd. ed. Paris, 1909. 

Moncousin, M. P. Notes sur les Tehuelches. Paris, 1900. 

Moreno, F. P. Neuquen, Rio Negro, Chubut, y Santa Cruz. La 
Plata, 1897. 


Moreno, F. P. Explorations in Patagonia. Geog. Journ., September 

and October, 1899. 
Moreno, F. P. Patagonia. Article in Enc. Brit., loth ed. London, 

Mulhall, M. G. and E. T. Handbook of the River Plate. Buenos 

Aires, 1885. 
Mulhall, Mrs. M. G. Between the Amazon and Andes. London, 

Musters, G. C. At Home with the Patagonians. London, 1873. 

Napp, Richard. The Argentine Republic. Buenos Aires, 1876. 
Nordenskjold, Otto. A Journey in South Western Patagonia. 
Geog. Journ., October, 1897. 

O'Driscoll, Florence. A Journey to the North of the Argentine 
Republic. Geog. Journ., October, 1904. 

Pearce-Edgcumbe, Sir E. R. Zephyrus. London, 1887. 
Pelleschi, Juan. Los Indies Matacos. Buenos Aires. 1897. 
Pillado, Ricardo. Politica Comercial Argentina. Buenos Aires, 1906. 
Prichard, H. H. Through the Heart of Patagonia. London, 1902. 

Quesada, Ernesto. La Iglesia Catolica y la Cuestion Social. 
Buenos Aires, 1895. 

Rumbold, Sir H. The Great Silver River. London, 1888. 

Scarlett, Hon. P. Campbell. South America and the Pacific. 2 vols. 

London, 1838. 
Sclater, P. L., and Hudson, W. H. Argentine Ornithology. 2 vols. 

London, 1888-9. 
Seeber, Francisco. Great Argentina, &c. Buenos Aires, 1903. 

Turner, T. A. Argentina and the Argentines. London, 1892. 

UUoa, Antonio de and G. Juan. A Voyage to South America, trans- 
lated by John Adams. 2 vols. London, 1807. 

Vaulx, M. Henry de. A Travers la Patagonia. Paris, 1898. 

Wallace, Professor Robert. Argentine Shows and Live Stock. 
Edinburgh, 1904. 


Walter, Richard. A Voyage round the World. Dublin, 1748. 
Webster, H. A. Patagonia. Article in Enc. Brit. London, 1885. 
Wiener, Charles. La Republique Argentine. Paris, 1899. 

Zeballos, E. S. Descripcion Amena de la Republica Argentina. 
3 vols. Buenos Aires, 188 1-8. 




[For plants and animals, see Flora and Fauna ; and for names of 
firms and railways, see English Engineers, and Railways.] 

Aconcagua, 260 

Adams, 77 

Aguirre, 94 

Akers, 109 

Albarracin, 256 

Alberoni, 39 

Alcorta, 109, no, 113 

Alem, 103 

Alfafa, see Lucerne 

Alfaro, 55 

Almargo, 28 

Alvear, 81 

Alzaga, 88 

Amusements, 183, 184 

Anchorena, 90 

Andes, 3, 4, 28, 106-108, 258, 260- 

Andrewes, Capt., 160, 278, 280 
Anson, 43, 242 
Apipe, 265 
Apostoles, 266 

Arbitration, 109, no, 121, 122 
Arcos, 78 
Army, 116-119 
Asiento de Negros, 38, 39, 40 
Asuncion, 26, 27, 28, 97, 188 
Atahualpa, 159 
Auchmuty, 69-71 
Avellanada, 100 
Azara, 276 
Azolas, 26 

Bahia Blanca, I, 9, 13, 121, 151, 

216, 238-240, 292 
Baird, 66, 74 

Balcarce, 90 
Banks, 180, 286 
Barclay, 266, 268, 270, 288 
Battle of Acari, 28 

Angostura, 97 

Campo Grande, 97 

Casseros, 92 

Chacabuco, 82 

Curupaiti, 97 

India Muerta, 92 

Ituzaingo, 88 

Maipu, 82 

Riachuelo, 96 

Tucuman, 80 
Belgium, i8i, 212 
Belgrano (port) , 121, 239 

(soldier), 79-81, 83 

(suburb), 147, 149, 150 
Bell, 164 
Beresford, 66-68 
Bernandez, 202 
Bohorquez, 34, 35 
Bolivar, 84 
Bolivia, 2, 10, 90, 121, 163, 269, 

277, 279, 282 
Bonelli, 281 
Bovril, 204, 205 
Bradford, 201 
Bravard, 8, 256 
Brazil, 10, 37, 48, 87, 95-98, 105, 

116, 163, 187, 269, 274 
Brewing, 194 
Brossard, 90, 93 
Brown, 83 
Buchanan, 109 




Budget, 104 

Buenos Aires, 139-151, and passim 

Burke, 40 

Byron, 242, 247 

Cabot, 24, 25 

Calchaquies, 34 35 

Calvo, 168, 169 

Camerones Bay, 251 

Campbell, 3, 248 

Canning, 85 

Capital, British, 180 

Carlyle, 40, 53, 125 

Carmen, 244, 249 

Casas, La, 159 

Catamarca, 15, 33, 113, 146, 257 

Cathedral, 67, 146, 257, 259 

Cattle, 140, 156, 196-209 

Cavendish, 241 

Caxias, 97 

Cedulas, 60 

Celman, loi, 105, 129, 142, 215 

Cerrito, 276 

Chaco, El, 114, 138, 187 

Charles III., 61 

Charles IV., 76 

Charles V., 25 

Chatham, Lord, 53 

Child, 132 

Children, Argentine, 153 

Chile, 2, 63, 68, 82, 106, 107-110, 

n6, 118, 163, 165, 230, 246, 255, 

263, 264 
Chinipies, 276 

Chubut, 114, 136, 161, 204,249 
Church, see Religion 
Church, Col., 240 
Cigars, 148, 222 
Cisneros, 77-79 
Clarke, 248 
Clapham, Prof., 200 
Clement XIV., 47 
Cleveland, 105 
CHmate, 13-15 
Clubs, 146, 149, 208 258, 269 
Coal, 214, 237 

Cole, 69 

Colombia, 174 

Colonial System, Spanish, 49-64 

Commerce, 210-214, and passim 

Conchas, 81 

Concordia, 274 

Congress, 108, 112, 123, 146 

Consuls, 179, 268 

Cordillera, 6, 7, 12, 106, 107 

Cordoba, 4, 13, 14, 28, 33, 66, 79, 


277-280, 283 
Corrientes, 10, 11, 29, 30, 95, 96, 

113, 207, 265 
Costa, 103, 104 
Cotton, 281 
Cotton-spinning, 195 
Crawford, 68, 70-72 
Credit, loi 
Crossbreeds, 201 
Cunningham, 247, 248 
Currency, 196 
Cuzo, 265 

Daireaux, 163, 171 

Darwin, 5-9, 12, 13, 15, 19, 89, 

141, 156, 235, 241, 245, 246, 

247, 250, 252, 262 
Davis, 241 
Dawson, 99 

Deputies, House of, 112, 113 
Desire, Port, 241 
Diamond Jubilee, 150 
Distilleries, 194 
D'Orbigny, 8, 9, 12, 20-22, 247 
Dorrego, 87-89 
Drago, 169, 170 
Drake, 38, 241, 247 
Duff, 72 

Durhams, 205, 208, 290 
Durqui, 94 

Education, 161-163 
Edward VII., no, 150 208, 264 
Ehrenberg, 5 
Elio, 80 



England, 65-75, and passim 
English Engineers, 270, 271 

Trade, 211, 212, and passim 
Ensenado, 70 
Entre Rios, 11, 30, 47, 92, 99, 113, 

187, 215, 230 
Estancias, 196-209, and passim 
Ethnology, 20-23 
Exports, 213, 214 

Falkner, 243, 244, 247 
Falkland Islands, 202 
Famatina, 234, 235 
Famine, Port, 241 
Fauna, 251-253, 276 
Federalists, 87, 93, 100 
Ferdinand, 50, 76, 79 
Finns, 266 
Flora, 276 
Flores, 95 
Flotsam, 150 
Flour, 195 

Formosa, 95, 114, 194 
France, 63, 78, 212, and passim 
Francia, 92 

Free Trade, 218, 219, 224 
French Railways, 191 
Funes, 34, 167, 278 

Gallegos, Port, 241, 243 

Gamboa, 241 

Garay, 28-31, 272 

Gardiner, 252 

Gaucho, 117, 155-157, 198 

Germany, 179, 180, 211, 212 

Giants, 243 

Giebert, 206 

Goats, 197 

Gobernaciones, 113, 114 

Godoy, 267 

Gold, 56, 289 

Gonnard, 131, 135 

Gonzalez, 277 

Gran Chaco, 2, 4, ii, 195, 270, 

Gregory XV., 279 
Guaranies, 20, 21, 28 

Guarpes, 258 
Guatemala, 174 
Guilaine, 132 

Hague Congress, 169, 170 

Hawkes worth, 243 

Hay, 169 

Head, 141, 235, 236, 256, 272, 288 

Herefords, 207, 208, 290 

Hernan Darias, 31 

Hernandez, Jose, 157 

Hides, 46, 56, 206 

Hogs, 197 

Holditch, Sir T., 109, no, 117, 1 18 

Holland, Lord, 69 

Horn, Cape, 2, 38, 252 

Horses, 117, 150, 197, 249 

Hotels, 144, 286 

Howorth, Sir H. H., 8, 19 

Hudson, 249 

Humaita, 96, 97 

Ibicuy, 187 

Iguazu Falls, 273, 274 

Immigration, 131-138, 266 

Imports, 211, 212 

Incas, 22, 60 

Industries, 178, and passim 

Indians, 2, loo, 159, 253, 275 

Irala, 28 

Italy, 133-135 

Jenkins' Ear, War of, 40-44 
Jesuits, 22, 29, 33, 35, 44-47, 61, 

91, 160, 266, 279, 289 
Jordan, 99 
Journalism, 163-166 
Jubileo, 207 
Justice, 105, 114 
Jujuy, H4, 163, 279 


La Luis, 207 
La Madrid, 189 
La Plata, 143, 162 
La Quevas, 185 
La Rioja, 14, 113 




La Sabana, 227 
Lakes, 251, 252 
Larreta, 173, 174 
Lavalle, 88, 89 
Laughton, 41 
Lebon, 132 
Lemco, 205 
Lerma, 281 
Leveson-Gower, 71 
Lewandowski, 198 
Lewis, 69 
Licences, 130 
Liebig, 206 
Lincolns, 201 
Liniers, 67, 72, 73, 79 
Linseed, 228 
Literature, 166-177 
Locusts, 288 
Londonderry, Lord, 82 
Lopez, 88, 90, 91, 95-98 

Dr., 104 
Los Andes, 114 
Lozano, 223, 274, 280 
Lucerne, 228, 229 
Luiggi, 239 
Luscan, 259 
Lumley, 70 
Lynch, 97 

MacCann, 215 
Macovies, 276 
Magellan, 26, 37, 106, 107 

Explorer, 241 
Mahon, 70 
Maize, 214, 227, 228 
Mammoth, 19 
Mansfield, 141 
Marmol, 172, 175 
Martinez, 198 
Manufacturers, 53 
Marriage, 153 
Matacos, 276 
Maza, 91 
Meat, 204-207 
Mendoza, 4, 13, 15, 129, 130, 154, 

161, 254-261 

Mercado, 34 

Merou, M. G., 170, 171, 176, 219 

Miranda, 77 

Misiones, 14, 67, 96, 105, 114, I94 

Mitre, A, 176 

General, 94, 95, 97. I03. 167 
Moore, 38 
Moreno, 79 
Mules, 197 

Mulhalls, The, 164, 198, 256, 287 
Munroe Doctrine, 83, 169 
Musters, 247 
Mutton, 201 

" Nacion, La," and other journals, 

see Journalism 
Napp, 201 
Navy, I19-121 
Nequen, 114 
Nordenskjold, 249, 251 
Nova Colonia, 37, 38, 44, 67 

Oats, 229 

Ocantos, 172 
Officers, Army, 117 

Pacific Steam Navigation Com- 
pany, 143, 284, 285 

Palermo, 142, 147, 149 

Pampa, 114 

Pampas, 2, 4, 5, 11, 15, 90, 155, 
199, 204, 205, 275 

Pampean mud, 7-9 
Sea, 240 

Paper, 195 

Paraguay, 10, 28, 31, 38, 45, 80, 92, 
94-98, 139, 140, 161, 163, 187 
River, see Rivers 

Parana, river, see Rivers 
town, 162 

Parish, 39, 83 

Patagonia, 2, 3, 5, 8, 10, 12, 13, 15, 
31, 107, 108, 136, 199, 240, 
242, 244-253 

Patagonians, size of, 2, 3, 100, 247, 



Paulistas, 21, 35, 36, 61 
Pa von, 94 
Payaguas, 276 
Payne, 18 
Paz, General, 89, 90 

Jose C, 164 
Pellegrini, loi, 105, 133 
Pena, 103, 104 
Pcribebuy, 97 
Peru, 31, 38, 43, 63, 119, 140, 163, 

174, 200, 255, 275, 278 
Petroleum, 236, 237 
Pettenkofer, 206 
Philip II., 143 
Pigafetta, 247 
Pillado, 220, 223 
Pitt, 77 
Poles, 266 
Politics, 122-124 
Polled Angus, 205, 290 
Polo, 149 
Pombal, 44 
Popham, 66, 68, 74 
Population, 99, 113, 114 
Port Madryn, 250 
Port St. Julian, 5, 6 
Ports and Docks, 180, 183, 216, 239 
Porteiios, 94, 100, loi, 103 
Portuguese, 18, 61 
Posadas, 8i, 187, 266, 274 
President, 112 

Vice, 113 
Provinces, 113, 114 
Puente del Inca, 261-263 
Puirredon, 67, 81, 82 
Puna de Atacama, 108, 109 
Punta Arenas, 249 
Purchas, 25 

QuESADA, Ernesto, 166, 167, 171, 
V. G., 166 

Quilmes, 66 
Quiroga, 88-91 

Racing, 149, 150 
Rafaela, 189 

Railways, 178-194 

Rain, 5, 14 

Rams, 201 

Religion, 158-161 

ReseHas y Criticas, and other 

works, see Literature 
Resistencia, 277 
Rio Negro, see Rivers 

Gobernacion, 114, 249, 250 
Rivadavia, 82, 88, 90, no 
Rivers, Chico, 12 

Chubut, 3, 12 

Colorado, 2, 4, 6, il 

Coyly, 3 

Desaguerdo, 259 

Deseado, 243, 251 

Gallegos, 3, 12, 251 

Ivahi, 265 

Iguazu, 265 

Limaz, 12 

Mendoza, n 

Nequen, 12 

Negro, 4, 9, 90, 100, 244, 249, 

Paraguay, 25, 28, 29 

Parana, 10, 12, 28, 45, 93, 96, 143, 
184, 265-272 

Paranahybo, 265 

Paranapaneraa, 265 

Pardo, 265 

Pepiri, 105 

Pilcomayo, 11 

Salado, 11, 265 

San Antonio, 105 

Santa Cruz, 3, 6, 12, 244, 252 

Saranai, 11 

Sauces, 244 

Tiete, 245 

Tunuyan, 259 

Uruguay, passim 

Vermejo, 11 
Robles, 96 

Roca, 100-103, io5f no, 112, 250 
Rojas, 188, 189 
Romney Marsh, 201 
Rondeau, 82 



Rosario, lo, 13, 94, 103, 129, 130, 
151, 185, 190, 238, 290 

Rosas, 89-93, 100, 112, 122, 132, 
142, 175, 255, 279, 281 

Rum, 194 

Russia, 200, 216, 266 

Saavedra, 79, 80 

Salta, 14, 91, 114, 189, 232, 277, 

281, 282 
San Javier, 205 

Juan, 13, 14, 113, 185, 230, 255 

Luis, 13, 114, 255 

Martin, 81, 82, 83, 118 

Rafael, 135, 185, 260 
Santa Cruz, 114, 204, 249, 251, 252 

Elena, 205 

Fe, 13, 80, 92, 103, 113, 162, 189, 
230, 268, 272 
Santiago del Ertero, 114, 163, 277 
Schouten, 38 
Seeber, 117 
Seeley, 52 
Senate, 112 
Seneca, 17 
Sheep, 196-209 
Shoes, 195 
Smith, Adam, 54, 56 
Smollett, 43 
Solis, de, 34 

South American Missionary So- 
ciety, 250 
Southey, 29, 36 
Spain, passim 
StaUions, 150, 199 
Statesmen's Yearbook, 211, 217 
Steamship Lines, 284, 285 
Sterling, 65 
Stuart, 83: 
Sugar, 4, 194, 223, 229 

Tallow, 205 

Tanning, 195 

Tariff, 218-224 

Tehuelches, 244, 247 

Thucydides, 23 

Tierra del Fuego, 106, 114, 202 

Timber, 214, 231-233 

Tobas, 276 

Tobacco, 56, 229 

Tosca, 7 

Tramways, 180, 188 

Tucuman, i, 11, 14, 31, 35. 38, 55, 

80, 83, 90, 91, 189, 194, 195, 

200, 223, 232 

United States, 109, no, 116, 211, 

212, 215, 216, 219 
Universities, 33, 162, 279, 280 
Urquiza, 91, 92-94, 95, 96 
Uruguay, 36, 37, 47, 81, 84, 88, 94, 

95, 142, 187, 199, 206 
river, see Rivers 
Ushwiya, 13 

Vaca, Cabeza de, 27 

Valparaiso, 185, 254 

Valverde, 159 

Van Noort, 247 

Venezuela, 169 

Vernon, 42 

Viamont, 89 

Viedmas, 244, 245, 247, 249 

Vilelas, 276 

Villa Corta, 38 

Mercedes, 196 
Villaruel, 280 

Wages, 126-129 

Waleffe, 174 

Wallis, 247 

Walpole, 40 

Wentworth, 42 

Wheat, 225-227, and passim 

Whitelocke, 68, 70 

Whittingham, 73 

Windham, 83 

Windsor, 159 

Wine, 56 

Witchcraft, 248, 249 

Women, Argentine, 152, 153, 259 

Wool, 214 

Yerba Mate, 233, 234 
Zarate, 188, 200 



Acme Library Card Pocket 

Under Pat. " Ref. Index File."