Argentine Confederation (1831 – 1861) | Argentina History

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Argentine Confederation (1831 – 1861)

Argentine Confederation: Union of Argentina provinces based on adherence to the Federal Pact, which was in force between 1831 and 1861.

What was the Argentine Confederation?

The Argentine Confederation was a union of Argentine provinces based on adherence to the Federal Pact. This alliance was in force from 1831 to 1861.

The Confederacy was a weak union, in which there were no national laws or authorities, and in which each province maintained its sovereignty and governed itself.

The foreign relations of the Confederation were delegated to the governor of Buenos Aires, who received foreign consuls and ambassadors.

The stage between 1831 and 1852 is known as the Rosista Confederation, since the governor of Buenos Aires, Juan Manuel de Rosas, was, in fact, the most powerful of this alliance.

After the Battle of Caseros and the overthrow of RosasJusto José de Urquiza invited all the governors to meet in San Nicolás de los Arroyos. There, Urquiza was appointed as provisional director of the Confederation and the Constituent Congress of Santa Fe was convened , which in 1853 sanctioned the National Constitution and created national authorities.

What was agreed in San Nicolás was rejected by the province of Buenos Aires, which separated and formed a separate State.

Buenos Aires faced the government of the Confederation in the battle of Pavón, in 1861. The triumph of Buenos Aires meant the end of the Confederation.

Argentine Confederation (1831 – 1861) | Argentina History

Flag used during the time of the Argentine Confederation.

How was the Argentine Confederation Formed?

The Argentine Confederation began to take shape on January 4, 1831, when the provinces of Buenos Aires, Entre Ríos, Santa Fe and Corrientes signed the Federal Pact.

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The signatory provinces united to affirm their preference for the federal form of government and to fight against the Unitary League or League of the Interior, led by Cordovan General José María Paz.

After the capture of Paz and the end of the war between Unitarians and Federals, another 9 provinces signed the Federal Pact and joined the Confederation: Catamarca, Córdoba, La Rioja, Mendoza, San Juan, San Luis, Salta, Santiago del Estero and Tucumán.

In 1834, Jujuy separated from Salta, proclaimed its autonomy and also adhered to the Federal Pact.

The Confederation thus formed was in force until September 1852, when Buenos Aires separated and formed a separate State.

Map of the Argentine Confederation

Map of the Argentine Confederation in 1833. In light brown the territories under the dominion of the original peoples are shown.

Economic Situation of the Argentine Confederation

Until 1852, economic progress was uneven and had different regional nuances:

  • Buenos Aires and the Litoral provinces (Entre Ríos, Santa Fe and Corrientes) specialized in the breeding of equine and beef cattle and in the production of jerky, hides, fat and tallow.
  • The provinces of Cuyo (Mendoza, San Juan and San Luis) produced sweets, wines, olives and spirits.
  • The Northwest provinces (Salta, Tucumán, Santiago del Estero, Catamarca, La Rioja) specialized in the artisan production of textiles, such as ponchos and blankets. Also, in the breeding of mules and in the construction of carts.
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The protectionist policy promoted by the enactment of the Customs Law of 1835 made it possible to protect many local productions from the competition of European industrial products, which had to pay taxes of the order of 35 to 50%.

After the overthrow of Rosas, the first foundations of agricultural colonies were registered, both in the province of Santa Fe and in that of Entre Ríos.

Argentine Confederation and Buenos Aires

The relationship between Buenos Aires and the Argentine Confederation was always problematic, and based on this various armed conflicts arose, such as the Battle of Cepeda in 1859 and the Battle of Pavón.

Their problems were mainly due to the differences between Unitarians, who defended the idea of ​​Buenos Aires as the political center of the territory, and Federals, who wanted each province to have its own autonomy.

Despite the battles, the two parties benefited each other: Buenos Aires, being an independent province, maintained international trade due to the existence of its port, considered one of the most important; on the other hand, the Argentine Confederation was the main cattle producer that Buenos Aires exported through the port.

End of the Argentine Confederation

After the separation of Buenos Aires, in 1852, the Confederation was integrated by the thirteen provinces that swore the National Constitution. It had its capital in Paraná, Entre Ríos, where the National Congress and the Executive Power resided. The first president of the Confederation was Urquiza, elected for the period 1854-1860.

In 1859, Urquiza attacked Buenos Aires and defeated the Buenos Aires troops at the Battle of Cepeda. After the defeat, Buenos Aires signed the Pact of San José de Flores, in which it agreed that it would join the rest of the provinces after reviewing the constitutional text.

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After this review, the porteños made two demands: that the city of Buenos Aires not be declared the capital of the country and receive financial compensation for the nationalization of its customs. These proposals were accepted by the new president of the Confederation, Santiago Derqui, from Cordoba, who succeeded Urquiza in March 1860.

On October 21, Buenos Aires, with Bartolomé Miter as governor, swore in the reformed national Constitution and called for elections to elect the national deputies for Buenos Aires.

But during 1861 the National Congress rejected the incorporation of the Buenos Aires deputies, since they had been elected following the electoral rules of the province and not those established by the National Constitution.

This conflict led to a new armed confrontation between Buenos Aires and the Confederation. The clash between the two armies took place in Pavón, south of Rosario. When the outcome of the battle was not yet defined, Urquiza withdrew from the battlefield, leaving victory in the hands of the locals.

With no allies willing to defend him, Derqui resigned and the national government was dissolved. Miter temporarily assumed the presidency of the Nation, a position for which he was confirmed in the national elections of 1862.

Thus, the Confederation ceased to exist and national reunification took place, but under the leadership of the Buenos Aires liberal project. Then a new stage began, that of the Argentine Republic.


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