Friday, August 12, 2011

Cultural Background for Studying Spanish in Buenos Aires: Argentine History Part II of IV

People first settled in the region that is now Argentina back about 13,000 years ago. However, written history can be traced back to about 1516 when Juan Diaz de Solis explored the Rio de la Plata River. The second period of time in Argentina is considered to be the colonial period, which lasted from about 1516 to 1810. When you study Spanish in Argentina, this is another important period of time that you should be aware of.

In 1502, the Europeans arrived in the area that is now Argentina. Different explorers set up different small settlements. Pedro de Mendoza set up a settlement in the area that is now Buenos Aires in about 1536. However, this region was abandoned by 1541. Other settlements were set up in 1573 and 1580 respectively. It is interesting to note that since were no precious metals in the area, the colonization of the Argentine area was not influenced by a gold rush as it was in many other regions.

During this colonial time period, the ships and ports were to go through the port of Callao, which was near Lima. Therefore, they were not permitted to go through the Rio de la Plata estuary. As a result, the commerce in the areas that is now Buenos Aires consisted largely of contraband.

In 1776, the Viceroyalty of the Rio de la Plata was established. This move raised the status of this area, which not only was made up of Argentina, but also Uruguay, Bolivia and Paraguay. Once this Viceroyalty was set up, the port began to get very popular for shipping goods and became a major commercial area. Plus, cattle were raised to produce items like leather to export from the Rio de la Plata area. Of course, when you attend Spanish school in Buenos Aires, you will notice that leather goods are still quite popular.

Although this port was thriving for some time, after the Spanish were defeated at the battle of Trafalgar, the British took over power. Although they sought to invade Buenos Aires in 1806, Jaques de Liniers, a Frenchman who was in the service of the Spanish military, defeated them. At the time, 1700 men tried to invade this region that the Viceroy had abandoned. A neighborhood in Buenos Aires is now named after Jaques de Liniers today due to his defeat of various British invasions. You can see this area during your time as you study Spanish in Argentina. Due to the fact that this region was lacking a King, the idea took hold that the people should rule themselves.

This article describes only a small part of the colonial period of history in Argentina. When you attend Spanish school in Buenos Aires, you will have the opportunity to learn more about the region's history. In the meantime, it only makes sense to get an overview of the period of time that ran from the 1500's to the 1800's.

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