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The Argentine Republic : general descriptive data prepared in June, 1909 online

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The Argentine Republic, the third largest of the American Kepub-
lics, is situated between latitude 22° and 56° south and longitude
west of Greenwich 53° and 57°. being bounded by the Republics of
Chile. Bolivia. Paragua}', Brazil, Uruguay, and the Atlantic Ocean.
It has an area of 1,135,84:0 square miles, equal to about one-half the
total area of the United States of America, and a population of
().100.3(>1. or 5.4 per square mile, as against 23.2 in the United States
of America.

Stretching over 34° of latitude, the country presents a variety of
climate and products, ranging from tropical in the north to arctic
in the south, but the larger part of its territory lies within the
temperate zone. The broad, fertile plains extending from the At-
lantic to the foot of the Andes, occasionally broken by a series of low
mountains, afford excellent pasturage for thousands of cattle, and
nearly all cereals, especially wheat, corn, and oats, are successfully
cultivated. Other industrial articles produced in export cjuantities are
hides and skins of all kinds, and the valuable quebracho wood and its
extract. Sugar, cotton, tobacco, and grapes are largely grown, but
mostl}^ for home consumption. The mountains contain rich deposits
of silver, copper, and gold, which are as yet exploited to a limited
extent only.


The Si:)anish navigator, Juax de Solis, in search of a passage to
the Pacific Ocean, was the first European to explore the Rio de la
Plata, in the year 1508 and again in 1515. Sebastian Cabot sub-
sequently explored the country, sailing up the Parana and Paraguay
rivers in 1526.

Pedro de Mendoza was appointed Governor of the countrj' by the
Spanish Crown in 1536. and founded what is now the city of Buenos
Aires. The settlement was, however, destroyed by the Indians, and
it was not until the year 1576, when Juan de Garay became Gov-
ernor, that any serious attempt Avas again made to colonize the coun-
try. The Province of T'ruguay. as the entire territory Avas then
called, was placed under the jurisdiction of the Viceroy of Peru, but
in 1776 the La Plata country had become of sufficient importance to
warrant the establishment of a separate viceroyalty. and Don Pedro
DE Cevallos was appointed Viceroy of the Rio de la Plata Provinces.



In the year 1805 Great Britain, then at war with Spain, attempted
to seize the city of Buenos Aires, which had become an important
trade center, but the British troops were unsuccessful, and in the fol-
lowing year they temporarily abandoned the contest. Within less
than a year, however, the attempt was again made to capture the city,
the British being again and finally defeated on July 6, 1807.

The war for independence from Spanish rule began on Maj^ 25,
1810, Don Manuel Belgrano, General San Martin, and Admiral
GuiLLERMo Brown being among the distinguished patriots engaged
in the struggle. The Spanish troops were defeated both by water and
b}' land on June 22, 1814, and were obliged to abandon the fort of
Montevideo, their last stronghold in the La Plata Provinces.

A constitutional Assembh^, which convened at Tucuman, formalh'
declared the independence of the " Provincias Unidas del Rio de la
Plata" (United Provinces of the La Plata River), on July 9, 1816,
and vested the executive authority in a Supreme Director; Don Juan
Martin de Pueyrredon being elected to that position. The title of
Republic was subsequently changed to that of Argentine Republic
and later to Argentine Confederation and finally, in the year 18(30, to
Argentine Nation, which is now its official designation. In the year
1821 the executive })ower was vested in a President of the Republic,
and Don Bernardo Rivadavia was inaugurated as the first executive
of this office on February 7, 1825.

The incorporation of the territory now constituting the Republic
of Uruguay into the Argentine Confederation resulted in war with
Brazil. This war began on December 10, 1825, and lasted until 1827,
when a treaty of peace was concluded, on Febnuiry 20, whereby the
independence of Uruguay was guaranteed.

Among the great men of the Argentine Nation may be mentioned Don
Bartolome MrpRE, author, statesman, soldier, and patriot, Avho com-
manded the allied forces in the war with
Paraguay; Don Domingo Faustino Sarmi-
KNTO, the great educator, wlio organized (he
school system of the Republic; Don Nicolas
Avellaneda, who stinuilated commerce and
iiichistries; and Don Jcmo Roca, who sub-
dued the troublesome Indians of the (^haco
and successfully averted a war with Chile
which threatened to exentuale as the result of
a boundary disi)ute.

Don .Manuel Quintana was iuaiiguralcd
Pivsideiit of tlie Ivepublic on October 12, IDOI.
but di('»| oil March 12. lUOCi. before (he expira-
tion of his lei III o| ollice. lie waS succeeded by I lie (lien Vice-
l*resi(len(. Dr. .losi'; I'^na kiio \ Ai.coiti'.\, \\lio>e (enii of olliic will
expire on Octobei- II. JUIO.

On. DOM JOS^ FlOUf WO* Al COtlTA. Pllt»-

totur Of TMf AiiofNT Nr nrcuniir.



The Argentine Republic is one of the five American Republics
which have adopted the Federal Union of States as its form of
government, the others being the United States of America, the
United States of Brazil, the United Mexican States, and the United
States of Venezuela. All the other American Republics have a unitary
or centralized form of government.

The constitution adopted May 1, 1853. modeled closely after that
of the United States of America, provides for the usual three branches
of government — the legislative, executive, and judicial.

The legislative power is vested in the National Congress, consisting
of the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies, the former with 30 mem-
bers and the latter with 120. Senators are elected by the legislatures
of the States, usually called '• provinces," and in the federal district
by a special body of electors, for a term of nine years, two senators
being named for each province and two for the federal district. The
Senate is. however, renewed by thirds every three years. Deputies
are elected by direct popular vote, for a term of four years, in the
proportion of one for every 33,000 inhabitants. The Chamber of
Deputies is renewed by halves every two years.

The President of the Republic, assisted by a cabinet of eight min-
isters or secretaries of state, exercises the executive authority. The
President and Vice-President are elected indirectly, as in the United
States, by electors chosen by the people for that purpose, and for a
term of six years. Xeither the President nor the Vice-President may
be elected for a second term immediately following their incumbency
of the office. The Vice-President is the President of the Senate.

The jiulieiary is composed of a national supreme court for courts
of appeals and courts of first instance. Each province has its own
judiciarw The supreme court is composed of lixc judges and (he
courts of appeals of three judges each, apjioinled by the Pi-esith^il of
the Republic.

President I ""• •T<»si'; Fua kkoa Ai.couta.

Miiiislei- of tlie Interior Dr. Marco Avkm.ankda.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Victorino ni': i,a Ti.aza.

Minister f>f the Treiisnry Dr. AfANtiFii, hk Iriondo.

.Minister of .Tiist ice and I'nidie Instruction Dr. S. S. Na^n.

Minister of IMiltlie WorlvS 1 'r. Iai cjriKi. Uamos MkxIa.

.Minister of A'^'riciiltnre Sr. I'idko Kzourra.

.Minister- of \\;ir Sr. (Iciieijil l{ \i ai;i. M. Aim'ihrk.

.Ministr-r of M.irinr Re:n- Adniiial Onoiui: I'.i Tninr.R.

The sahiry of the i'resich'iit is PT'J.OOO ($;•,»',.()()()) per anmiiii.

INTI'.Iilol! (;oVERNMKN'r.

'I'h<- Aroeiii inc licpiil.lic i- <li\ ideil into II |>ro\iiices. I (» territories,
iiimI I fclcial (li-lrni. llic |iin\iiHc- lieiiio- aiil noil- in their in-


terior government, while the executive authority in the territories is
vested in a Governor appointed by the President of the Republic.
The federal district is administered by an intendento. or mayor, who
is likewise appointed by the President, and assisted h\ a municipal
council elected by the people.

The following are the political divisions of the Argentine Republic :

Federal district of Buenos Aires, capital of the Republic.
Province of — Capital.

Buenos Aires La Plata.

Catamarca Catamarca.

Cordoba Cordoba.

Corrientes Corrieutes.

Entre Rios Parana.

Jujuy Jujuy.

Mendoza Mendoza.

Rioja La Rioja.

Salta Salta.

San Juan San Juan.

Santa Fe. Santa Fe.

Santiago del Estero Santiago del Estero.

San Luis San Luis.

Tucumau Tucuniau.

Territory of —

Chaco Resistencia.

Chubut Rawson.

Formosa Formosa.

Los Andes San Antonio de los Cob res.

Misiones Posadas.

Neuquen Cbos -Malal.

Pampa Central General Acba.

Rio Negro ^ Yiedma.

Santa Cruz Puerto Gallegos.

Tierra del Fuego Ushuaia.


Under a law enacted in 1901, military service in the Argentine
Republic is conijiulsory. All able-bodied citizens nnist serve from
their twentieth to their forty-fifth year, nominally for a period of
twenty-five years, although the actual service larcly extends beyond
one year. There are two reserve corps — the National (iuard, com-
prising all citizens between the ages of 28 and 10 years, and the
Territorial (Jiiaid. composed of citizens over 1() years of age. Those
nrxler "28 and oNcr 'JO serve foi- one year with the colors. Naturalized
citizens are (-xempt fi-om military duty for a term of ten years aftei-
their naluralizal ion.

The i;e|)iililic iv divided into live military districts, each with a
disti'ici commaiidei'. In ca<e of mol)ilizal ion each disti'ict must pro-
vide two divisions, making a total (d" ten divisions (d" I'J.OOO men
each. This does not iurlnde (he N;iii(iii:il (ir Tcnit<iri;il (iiiards.

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On a peace footing the Argentine army consists of 1,560 officers
and 16,000 men.

Education of army officers is provided for at the Militar}' College
at San Martin, a short distance from Buenos Aires, where ample
opportunities for a thorough training are afforded, while the Naval


The fiivnirv l.riiiicli i.i Arir<iitiiiii'>- ^ijiinliiit; army consists (if eleven reKitiients. The men are
expert linr-eineii, ami llii- liniiieli uf Ilie national service ap|M-al- to lliem. The nionnls are of
small •.lalnre, virunt'. har'ly. ami liit'li ~|.irite<l, hut very traclahle.

Academv. lociitcd in ;i Im-miii i fiil |):iil<. in the .sul)iii'l) of I^'lorcs, pro-
vides ediicalion for officers of the naval service.

The Argentine navy consists of 4 armored cruisers of (he first
class, of 6,840 tons each, the San Martin, General Bchjrano, Vucyi^e-


don, and Garibaldi ; 3 ironclads, the Almirante Brown, of 4,200 tons,
the Lihertad, and hidependencda, of 2,300 tons each ; 2 monitors,
El Plata and Los Andes, of 1,535 tons each; 4 cruisers of the second
class, the Buenos Aires, 9 de Julio, 25 de Mayo, and Patagonia, of
4,700, 3,560, 3,200, and 1,530 tons, respectively; also 3 destroyers, 2
torpedo cruisers, 24 torpedo boats, 1 school-ship, 5 transports, and a
number of auxiliaiy vessels.

The officers of the navy number 493, including engineers, while
the number of enlisted men varies from 5.000 to 6,000, according to
the number of conscripts recruited aniuially.


The year 1908 was one of steady progress and prosperity in the
history of the Argentine Republic. Agriculture, which forms the
basis of the nation's wealth, made signally prosperous returns; the
wheat crop was the largest ever harvested; linseed exports made a
new record ; and though maize suffered somewhat from the effects of
drought, large shipments were reported, and in the status of oats on
the export returns, a gain of 150 per cent was reported. The pastoral
industries also made satisfactory returns, exports of frozen meats
showing considerable advance over the preceding year, though ship-
ments of live cattle still remain in an unsatisfactory condition.

The producing capacity of the country is steadily increasing, and
in cereal production its status is evidenced by the fact that as a corn
exporter the Argentine Republic took first rank in 1908, occupying
the place formerly held by the United States. In the production of
this foodstuff the country ranks third, and as a wheat grower fifth.
It is first as an exporter of frozen meat and second as a shipper of

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.

The large trade balance of the country is ample indication of the
year's prosperity, exports showing a great advance over the preceding
year and an excess, as compared with imports, of nearly $100,000,000.
The decline in imports, as compared with 1907, is due largely to
decreased receipts of railway material, of which the companies laid
in large quantities prior to the operations of the Mitre law, which
unified the privileges accorded to the corporations.

Industrial advancement is indicated by the increased number of
mills and factories in operation ; immigration figures surpassed all
previous records; railroad connections were extended; and financial
conditions generally were satisfactory.

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Anioiiii' the atrairs of iinijortaiicc in tlic admiiii^ti'atioii of tlic for-
eign policies of the (foveriiineiit no event of the year takes rank over
the general arbitration treaty with Brazil, whieli was promulgated in
Xovemher. The Kepiil)lic also participate(l in the Kefrigeration
Congress held in Paris in October, and the reconniiendations and
reports of the Argentine delegates on i)asteurization, shij)nient, and
distribution of milk were well received. The dairy industry is at-
tracting attention throughout the country, and Argentine butter is
taking its place on the export lists of the country.

Buenos Aires has been selected as the phice of meeting for the next
Congress of Americanists, adjourned in Vienna in September, 11)08.
The conference Avill be held in 1910, the year of the centennial cele-
bration of the country's independence.

The exposition of national industries, scheduled in connection with
the centennial festivities, is to make a feature of transportation
methods, all nations being invited to participate in a display of rail-
Avay equipment and land transport generally.

The same year and place has been selected for the Fourth Interna-
tional Conference of the American Eepnblics, for which active prep-
arations are going forward throughout the republics interested.

The work of the Carnegie Institute is to be continued in the Argen-
tine Republic under the direction of I*rof. Lewis Boss. The assist-
ance rendered by the Argentine (Tovernnient has greatly aided in
the advancement of this work.

I'rogress in matters of pul)lic utility during the year was very
satisfactory. Numerous concessions granted were to increase existing
railway lines, to sui)ply new harbor accommodations at Buenos Aires,
and for water and drainage works.


The financial situation remains satisfactory, the national revenues
being ample for the ordinary refiuirements, and the public debt
service was promptly met without recourse to the credit available at
the Argentine Xatioiial Bank. At the close of the year the total lia-
bilities of the (xovernment were $878,500,000. The Province of
Buenos Aires successfidly lloated a loan for the completion of a
rechunation i:)ro]ect by wliidi a large area of arable land will become

The rei)ort of the Minister of Finance showed treasuiT receipts for
the year amounting to $112,000,000 derived from customs receipts and
internal-revenue taxes. Import duties figured in the receipts to the
extent of nearly $.">T,()00,0()(). (li\ ided among Buenos Aires, Rosario.
La I'lata. and P)ahia T'lanca in the order named. .Ml of these ports,


with the exception of Rosario, showed an increase in imports over
1907. The expenditures reached a total of $103,000,000, leaving a
surplus of $9,000,000.

The budget for 1909 as approved by the National Congress pro-
vides for expenditures of $25,907,777 gold and ?=1 98,344,400, with
estimated revenues of $67,820,433 and ^=100,639,516. Bank deposits
in the Republic on January 31, 1908, aggregated $23,538,215 and
^'Sll, 026,530, while the cash on hand on the same date amounted to
$47,570,137 and ^230,161,400. The Government gold reserve for the
conversion of national currency amounted to $126,482,515.76, an in-
crease of $21,368,644.26 over 1907.

The capital of the Bank of the Argentine Nation was increased
by a law authorizing the issue of bonds to the amount of $17,177,000
gold, secured by the general revenues of the Republic.

British capital continued to figure prominently in various enter-
prises to the extent of £243,000,000, railways proving the principal
attraction for investors, with government bonds in second place.


The Argentine Republic was one of the few countries of the world
reporting advanced trade values for the year 1908, a gain of over
$56,000,000 being reported. The immense grain crops of the year,
which swelled the exports of the country, accounted for this gratify-
ing result. The total valuation of the foreign commerce of the Re-
public for 1908 was $638,978,077, as compared with $582,065,052 in
1907. This increase is to be credited entirely to the side of exports,
amounting to $366,005,341, as compared with $296,204,469 in 1907,
a gain of $69,800,972; while imports worth $272,972,736 declined
by $12,887,947, the figures for the previous year having been
$285,860,683. Only for one year has the reported trade balance of
$93,022,605 been exceeded, when in 1905 the exports were greater
than imports by over $117,000,000.

The countries of origin for imports during the year under review,
with the respective valuations furnished by each in comparison with
the preceding year, were as follows: Great Britain, $93,371,396, a
decline of $4,564,347 ; Germany, $37,847,076, a decline of $7,964,094 ;
United States, $35,597,004. a decline of $3,245,273; France, $26.-
476,917, an advance of $1,008,891 ; Italy $24,913,248, an advance of
$910,007 ; and Belgium, $12,753,373, a loss of $3,143,477. From the
above figures it will be noted that the three ranking countries de-
creased their sales, while the two next in order increased their ship-
ments. Great Britain holds first place, with 34.2 per cent, while
Germany and the Ignited States follow, with 13.9 and 13.2 per cent,















A classiHcMtidii of the imijort^ for the \\'-dv <rivi's textiles and in-iuu-
factured <yo(n\s the first place witli a total of $-1:1), 1)11,338, followed
by transport appliances and vehicles, $30,700,337; iron and manu-
factures of. $30.07r).4S4 : pottery, ceramics, etc., $2-l:,81)7,435 ; food-
stuti's, $23,r)41).0!)T : huildin.i!- materials, $21,182,420; agricultui'al im-
plements, $lo,83S>.S3cS; wines and liquors, $13,270,781; and mineral
and ve<ietable oils, $11,051,723. A comparison of these figures with
those for the previous year shows the following gains: Pottery and
ceramics. $4,204,045; oils. $2,900,1)52; foodstuff's, $2,015,1)08; textiles,
$2.503.S30; metals (other than iron). $1,004,41)5; chemical and phar-
maceutical products, $1,000,058; and wines and li(|uors. $()40,042.
On the other hand, a decline was noted in the following: Vehicles,
$21,020.413 : iron, etc., $3.085.055 ; agricultural implements. $2.701,731 ;
and building materials. $1.S37.!»(')7.

A review of the export \alues. as compared with li)07, shows
Great Britain to have received $78,324,723, a decline of $24,(;0s.571 ;
Belgium, $35,778,188, an advance of $0,180,055; Germany,
$34,751,91)4, a decline of $1.(')71.()('.2 ; France, $28,913,730, a decline of
$8,848,310; Brazil, $15,095,578. an advance of $1,077,147; United
States, $13,023,238, an advance of $2,082,802. While Great Britain
is credited with 21.4 })er cent of the export values, it nuist also be
borne in mind that 37 per cent of these figures represent grain ship-
ments subject to distribution in accordance with subsequent orders,
most of which finds a sale in British markets. Belgium follows
with 9.8 per cent; Germany, 9.5; France, 7.9; Brazil, 4.1, and the
United States, 3.0.

A classification of the exports into six general divisions show agri-
cultural products worth $241,077.1(»4. a gain of $77,585,543 over 1907;
live-stock products $115,118,457, a decline of $8,701,748; forest prod-
ucts $().347.234. an increase of $1,004,877; fish and game $498,012. an
increase of $330,947.

Exports of cereals showed a gain over 1907. wheat taking the lead
with 3.030.294 tons, an increase of 955.492 tons: corn coming second
Avith 1,711,804 tons, an advance of 455.492 tons; linseed third with
1,055,050 tons, or 291.914 tons more than the previous year, while
eats, although fourth with 440.041 tons, showed a gain of 29C).475
tons over 1907. This is accounted for by the fact that the United
States, owing to a slKu-t crop, was a large importer of Argentine oats,
receipts being reported of 4.000.000 bushels in twelve months. Ar-
gentine corn also figured in the country's trade lists for 200.000 bush-
els. Wool exports showed an increase of 20.728 tons over 1907. the
total shipments for the year amounting to 175.538 tons; frozen l)eef
reached a total of 180.915 tons, an increase of 42.593 tons; while
in jerked beef there was a decline of 3.999 tons, amouiuing to only


6,650 tons in 1908. Hay showed a decrease of 11,799 tons, the ex-
ports of this article reaching only 32,078 tons, while quebracho wood
and quebracho extract amounted to 254,571 tons and 18.162 tons, re-
spectively, an advance over the previous year of 8,057 and 19,967 tons.
In shipments of hides there was a healthy increase, and of those ex-
ported in 1908, the United States took 1.466.113, Germany 1.200,696,
and Italy 654,716. Exports of sheepskins showed a gratifying in-
crease, 76,371 bales being exported as against 59,260 in 1907. France
was the principal consumer, taking 55.262 bales, and the United
States 7,669.

In pastoral products the following articles showed the increased
valuations recorded : Frozen and chilled meats. $5,275,000 ; tanned
sheepskins, $281,600; butter, $206,000; tallow and melted fat,
$1,224,000; margarine, $205,000; goatskins, $300,000; bones, $296,000;
while the following articles decreased in the amounts stated : Live ani-
mals, $314,000; hair, $136,500; hides, $900,000; sheepskins, $2,600,-
000; wool, $12,000,000; jerked beef, $405,000; meat extract, $411,000.

The increased valuations noted for agricultural products were:
Oats, $6,101,000; barley, $436,000; linseed, $12,923,483; maize, $11,-
902,886; wheat, $46,114,863; flour, $436,400; bran, $146,500; and

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Online LibraryInternational Bureau of the American RepublicsThe Argentine Republic : general descriptive data prepared in June, 1909 → online text (page 1 of 3)