The next stage in Argentina’s history can be seen as the founding of the modern state. The new Unitarist government implemented a liberal constitution which opened up the country to foreign investment, trade and immigration. Cattle and crops were exported while Europeans immigrated to Argentina to fill roles in commerce and craft. Argentina began to become one of the wealthiest nations on earth.
The wealth however was in the hands of a minority. Poverty grew and mass migration from the rural areas to the cities began which intensified the wealth gap. This was not tackled until a colonel by the name of Juan Domingo Peron came into power in 1946. He introduced new social welfare and economic plans to try and ease the pressure on the working classes. Although popular, Peron is known to have abused his power by using force to squash the free press and political debate.
In 1955 a coup against Peron brought his reign to an end. He left to Spain and amazingly returned to power in 1973 when the then President, Hector Cámpora, resigned. However, Peron died soon after in 1974 and the country fell into a turbulent period of history that ended in 1976 when the military again took power.
The new regime began a process called the Process of National Reorganization. In reality the process was a bloody and violent organized silencing of all forms of opposition from left-wing guerrillas to intellectuals to writers to doctors. The “Dirty War” (Guerra Sucia) is estimated to have taken 30,000 lives.
In 1981, as a means of diverting attention from economic problems and general discontent, General Roberto Viola decided to invade the British island of The Falklands (Islas Malvinas). The brief occupation brought brief nationalistic zeal but soon ended once British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher sent in her troops which took only 74 days to regain the island.
In 1983 Argentina elected Raul Alfonsín. He succeeded in many ways; solving territorial disputes with Chile, curbing inflation and even trying military officers for violating people’s human rights.
The successive Presidents from Carlos Menem (1989) to Fernando de la Rúa (1999) all had to face severe economic troubles. Nestor Kirchner was voted into office in 2003 and he was superseded by Cristina Fernández (his wife) after his passing.
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