20th Century

2oth century



By the beginning of the 20th century Argentina had become one of the richest countries in the world, and its population had been boosted by the arrival of millions of Europeans. Civilian rule was generally peaceful and stable until a military coup in 1930.Another coup occurred in 1943, after which Juan Domingo Perón, a key figure in the coup, emerged as the country’s leader. He encouraged the growth of labour unions and raised wages, and in 1946 he was elected president. Perón and his wife, Eva ( Evita ), who was a champion of social welfare programmes, were immensely popular among the masses, but as the economy deteriorated Perón became increasingly autocratic. His efforts to secularize the nation brought him into conflict with the Roman Catholic Church and alienated his military officers; he was overthrown in 1955.


After a series of military governments , Perón was allowed to return to power in 1973, but he died in 1974, leaving his second wife, Isabel, who had no political experience, as the first woman to head a national government in the western hemisphere. During her time in office, Marxist revolutionaries called Montonero, engaged in a violent guerrilla campaign, which led the military to take power in 1976. The army then embarked upon its own “dirty war” against those it considered subversive; thousands were murdered or disappeared.In 1981 General Videla, who had ousted Isabel Perón, was succeeded as president by General Roberto Viola. Before the year ended Viola had been replaced by General Leopoldo Galtieri.In 1982, faced with the economic crisis Galtieri ordered Argentine forces to invade the Malvinas Island (Falkland Island), an Argentine territory occupied by the United Kingdon in 1833. To the junta´s surprise, the United Kingdom dispatched a military task force to the South Atlantic, and within three months the Argentine forces had been defeated and the islands recaptured. Humiliated, Galtieri resigned, and in 1983 democratic elections brought Raúl Alfonsín of the Radical Civic Union party to power.

Under Alfonsin the economy deteriorated further, and in May 1989 he became the first leader in nearly half a century to be replaced via the ballot box, when the leader of the Partido Justicialista (the Peronist party); Carlos Saúl Menem, the son of Syrian immigrants, was elected president.

Menen´s first 18 months in office were difficult. Since 1991, aided by his finance minister, Domingo Cavallo promoted free-market policies and a radical liberalization programme, Menem presided over a remarkable transformation of the Argentine economy and the country enjoyed increasing political stability. Menem was re-elected to the presidency in 1995 marking the third consecutive planned and peaceful election. Menem´s Perónist party also won a majority of the seats in the Chamber of Deputies in the election giving them control of both houses of Congress. With the dark days of dictatorship behind them, Argentines have regained their pride in their country and are enjoying the freedom of democracy, as well as their improving economic circumstances.

In 1999 the candidate of the oposition (Frepaso Aliance), Mr. Fernando de la Rua, was elected as president. This being a important moment in the country´s history, Mr. Fernando de la Rua became the third president elected under the Argentinean Democracy after Raul Alfonsian (1983-1989) and Carlos Saul Menem (1989-1985 & 1985-1999).


article url: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argentina

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