In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Buenos Aires in the Atlantic World

  • Introduction
  • Research Resources
  • Rural World
  • Justice and Law
  • Population and Immigration
  • Religious Practices

Atlantic History Buenos Aires in the Atlantic World
Claudia Contente, Fernando Alberto Jumar
  • LAST REVIEWED: 27 September 2017
  • LAST MODIFIED: 27 September 2017
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199730414-0275


Buenos Aires, which was founded a second and definitive time in 1580, was until 1617 part of the Gobernación del Rio de la Plata y Paraguay, administered by the viceroyalty of Peru. In 1617 Buenos Aires became the capital of the Gobernación de Buenos Aires, also called the Gobernación del Rio de la Plata, and its jurisdiction occupied an extensive territory whose frontiers varied during its existence. From an early stage, the regional economy was centered around two characteristic features of long duration. First, it became the pivot between the Atlantic and the American interior through legal and illegal trade, and second, it dumped leather and other bovine products in the overseas markets. From 1776 onward, in the context of the Bourbon Reforms, Buenos Aires became the capital of the viceroyalty of the Rio de la Plata, which was separated from the viceroyalty of Peru. Although it was a marginal and peripheral area within the Spanish Empire, the new vice-royal capital and its sphere of influence grew at a vertiginous pace, both demographically and economically. Indeed, the British attempted to invade it in 1806 and again in 1807: these two events marked the beginning of the crisis of the Spanish monarchy at the local level and imprinted a particular character to the region’s response once the crisis reached its turning points in 1808 and 1810. The crisis of the Spanish monarchy of the early 19th century was felt in different ways in the viceroyalty of the Rio de la Plata, and the long warfare between 1810 and 1820 finally led to its disarticulation. When in 1853 Buenos Aires failed to impose its hegemonic role vis-à-vis the diverse entities that had formerly constituted the viceroyalty, it constituted itself as the State of Buenos Aires (1854–1862). In 1862, after a decade of conflicts, the State of Buenos Aires finally joined the Argentine Confederation, and the first stable structure of what would from then on be known as the Republic of Argentina was born. Between 1862 and 1880, Buenos Aires was both capital of the homonymous province, as well as seat of the federal government. This generated conflicts that ended with the federalization of the city of Buenos Aires in 1880, and the creation of a new capital for the province in 1882, La Plata.

Research Resources

Many institutions have begun making primary and secondary sources related to the history of Buenos Aires available online (Archivo General de la Nación; Sistema Nacional de Repositorios Digitales; Educar. Archivo Histórico; Biblioteca Nacional Mariano Moreno; Instituto Ravignani: Proyecto Patrimonio Histórico). There are also many sites that house or provide access to monographic texts, theses, discussion forums, and documentary sources (Centro Argentino de Información Científica y Tecnológica—Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CAICYT–CONICET); Sistema Nacional de Repositorios Digitales; Programa Interuniversitario de Historia Política). The online availability of online resources is relatively recent, but it is growing exponentially, so that without a doubt, their presence in these and other sites will continue to increase.

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