Argentina War of Independence | History, Causes & Effects

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Independence of Argentina (History, Causes & Consequences)

Independence of Argentina: Political and military process that allowed the emancipation of the current Argentine territory from Spanish rule.

What was the Independence of Argentina?

The Independence of Argentina was produced from the political and military process that allowed the United Provinces of South America to emancipate themselves from Spanish rule at the beginning of the 19th century.

The current territory of the Argentine State was part, since 1776, of the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata, whose capital was Buenos Aires, along with current Chile, Bolivia, Uruguay and Paraguay.

The independence process began, although not explicitly, with the May Revolution of 1810. In 1812 a General Constituent Assembly was called with the objective of declaring Independence and issuing a Constitution. Although it did not meet these objectives, it adopted some measures that reflected the spirit of independence, such as the adoption of some national symbols, the prohibition of the slave trade and freedom of the bellies, among others.

In 1816, a Congress meeting in the city of San Miguel de Tucumán declared the independence of the United Provinces. However, this independence could only be definitively consolidated in 1824 when, thanks to the triumph of Antonio José de Sucre in the Battle of Ayacucho, the royalist armies were definitively expelled from Upper Peru (now Bolivia).

The Argentine Republic would only adopt that name and the republican form of government with the sanction of the Constitution of the Argentine Nation in 1853. Starting with the Declaration of Independence, a series of internal conflicts began over the organization of the State that continued for decades until the definitive unification of the territory in 1862.

Date of the Independence of Argentina

It can be established as the beginning of the Independence of Argentina on July 9, 1816 with the Declaration of the Independence of the United Provinces of South America made in the Congress of Tucumán.

Congress of Tucuman, end of Argentine independence

Congress of Tucumán (1816), declaration of the Independence of Argentina. Francisco Fortuny, 1910.

Causes of the Independence of Argentina

The causes of the Independence of Argentina can be divided into external and internal.

External Causes of Argentine War of Independence

The external causes of the Independence of Argentina are:

  • The Independence of the United States, proclaimed in 1776, which set the precedent for the emancipation of the American colonies.
  • The ideas freedom, equality before the law and division of powers of the Enlightenment and the French Revolution that spread among the Creole elite.
  • The crisis of the Spanish monarchy caused by Napoleon Bonaparte’s invasion of the Iberian Peninsula in the framework of the Napoleonic wars.
  • The will of King Ferdinand VII, once freed from French rule, to recover the American territories. This situation forced the revolutionaries to accept their submission to the king or to declare independence definitively.

Internal Causes of the Independence of Argentina

The internal causes of the Independence of Argentina are:

  • The limitation of the privileges of the Creoles, deepened by the Bourbon reforms that generated an atmosphere of conflict between Americans and the peninsular.
  • The economic difficulties suffered by the colonies due to the commercial restrictions imposed by the Spanish crown.
  • The need to legitimize the fight against the royalists in the face of the recovery of the throne of Fernando VII. The principles of fidelity to the king raised in the first stage of the May Revolution had lost their meaning after the return of the king to the Spanish throne.
  • The need to give the territory of the United Provinces a consensual institutional form that would allow diplomatic negotiations with other countries.
  1. Consequences of the Independence of Argentina

The process of Independence of the United Provinces brought various consequences:

  • A territorial and independent unit of the Spanish domain was created called United Provinces of South America.
  • Blood prerogatives and titles  of nobility were eliminated and equality before the law was established.
  • A long process of internal struggles began to define the type of state that should be constituted and the form of government that this new state would assume. The conflicts lasted for decades and ended with the division of the territory into several independent countries, including the Argentine Republic.
  • Heavy tax burdens were imposed on the population to finance the costs of the wars of independence and the formation of the new state.
  • Is the liberalized trade and economic imbalances emerged between Buenos Aires, which had the port that exports out monopolizing control and customs, and the rest of the provinces.

Key Personnel of the Independence of Argentina

Some of the protagonists of the Argentine Independence were the following:

  • Manuel Belgrano (1770-1820): He actively participated in the May Revolution and in the wars for independence and, between 1814 and 1815, carried out diplomatic efforts in Europe for the recognition of the independence of the United Provinces.
  • Martín Miguel de Güemes (1785-1821): Politician and military man. He was governor of Salta and contained the advance of the royalist troops from the north under the command of his army of gauchos.
  • Francisco Laprida (1786-1829): Politician and lawyer, presided over the Congress of Tucumán that declared the Independence of the United Provinces of South America.
  • Juan Martín de Pueyrredón(1777-1850): Was appointed Supreme Director by the Congress of Tucumán. From that position he supported the liberation campaign of General San Martín.
  • Bernardino Rivadavia (1780-1845): Participated with Manuel Belgrano and Manuel de Sarratea in diplomatic missions to Europe as a representative of the United Provinces.
  • Manuel de Sarratea (1774-1849): Participated in the May Revolution, was a member of the First Triumvirate and traveled to Europe on a diplomatic mission together with Belgrano and Rivadavia.
  • José de San Martín(1778-1850): His plan to attack the royalist power in Peru, which he carried out through the Crossing of the Andes, allowed the consolidation of Independence.
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