Battle of Pavón
The Battle of Pavón was a key battle of the Argentine civil wars. It was fought in Pavón, Santa Fé Province, Argentina on 17 September 1861, between the Army of the State of Buenos Aires, commanded by Bartolomé Mitre, the Army of Republic of the Argentine Confederation commanded by Justo José de Urquiza; the withdrawal of Urquiza left the field to Mitre. It led to the dissolution of the national government and the reincorporation of Buenos Aires Province into the Argentine Republic as a dominant member of the nation. Governor Bartolomé Mitre would act as interim President, ratified by the National Congress, as the first President of a unified Argentine Republic. During most of the 19th Century, Argentine history was defined by the theoretical and military confrontation between two postures: On one side, the province of Buenos Aires wanted to impose their hegemony over the whole country. On the other, the remaining provinces wanted to decentralize the nation, giving state autonomy to the provinces.
One difference between the porteños from Buenos Aires and people from the provinces was that the former did not align directly with the two political parties of the time. Unitarians and Federalists existed both in the provinces. Though they were against each other politically, when it came to defend their own local interests, they joined to confront their common enemy. Since the secession of Buenos Aires Province on 11 September 1852, on the aftermath of the Battle of Caseros, Argentina was divided between two competing states, the Argentine Confederation and the State of Buenos Aires; the Battle of Cepeda and the subsequent Pact of San José de Flores of 1860 set the conditions for Buenos Aires to rejoin the confederation. However, both sides would clash again soon after. During president Urquiza's government, the provinces had been at peace, with the notable exception of San Juan Province, where a political crime served as the catalyst for the Battle of Cepeda between Buenos Aires Province and the confederation.
This changed. Several local caudillos, generically unitarians, had been at peace with the government of the Argentine Confederation; when Derqui assumed office, they publicly became part of the opposition. Such were the cases of Manuel Taboada, from Santiago del Estero Province, José María del Campo of Tucumán Province. Córdoba's governor Mariano Fragueiro maneuvered poorly in his relations with the opposition; when the situation became violent, President Derqui intervened the provincial government. The most serious situation developed once again in San Juan Province, where governor José Antonio Virasoro was deposed and assassinated with the apparent support of some politicians acting in Buenos Aires, among them the future President Domingo Faustino Sarmiento, born in San Juan. President Derqui again sent the national army to intervene that province, but the new governor, Antonino Aberastain, attempted to resist the intervention with the local militia. Aberastain was defeated and assassinated, which allowed the Buenos Aires government to accuse President Derqui of having committed a crime.
As a part of the process leading to the reincorporation of the State of Buenos Aires into the Argentine Confederation, established in the Pact of San José de Flores, after the 1859 Battle of Cepeda, Buenos Aires elected provincial deputies to the National Congress. However, the elections were carried out following the electoral laws of the State of Buenos Aires instead of those of the confederation; the elected deputies were rejected by the National Congress and the Buenos Aires Senators staged a walkout, in solidarity. President Santiago Derqui issued a decree invalidating the elections in Buenos Aires and established a new date for a rerun, but the Buenos Aires authorities rebelled against the national government and declared the Pact of San José de Flores null. The National Congress considered this as an act of sedition, so President Derqui named Entre Ríos's general and former president Justo José de Urquiza as the commander in chief of the national army with the task of returning the rebel province to the fold.
In Buenos Aires, Governor Bartolomé Mitre took the post of commander in chief of the provincial army. There were several attempts at mediation, from individuals, foreign governments. All of them failed due to Derqui's intransigence. Urquiza tried, until the last moment, to preserve the peace and declined to take the initiative against the porteño army as it was the request of his colonels Ricardo López Jordán and Prudencio Arnold. President Derqui organized an army in Córdoba; these forces were augmented by Urquiza's, with people from Entre Ríos, Corrientes and Santa Fé provinces, plus some porteño defectors. In sum, the federalist army had about 17,000 men, where 8,000 came from the center region and 9,000 from Entre Ríos, Buenos Aires and Santa Fé. Mitre's army was made of 22,000 men and 35 artillery pieces, plus a considerable numeric superiority of arms and artillery and infantry training; the British had supplied the artillery pieces and the trained British artillery crews to operate them.
Derqui advanced up to Rosario, where he left the command of the troops in the hands of general Urquiza, while Mitre advanced to the north of Buenos Aires and advanced into Santa Fé province. The armies clashed by the Pavón creek, (40 km south of the city of Rosario, Santa Fé Province, about 260 km northwest of Buenos Aires. Urquiza formed his tro
Argentine Civil Wars
The Argentine Civil Wars were a series of civil wars that took place in Argentina from 1814 to 1880. These conflicts were separate from the Argentine War of Independence, though they first arose during this period; the main antagonists were, on a geographical level, Buenos Aires Province against the other provinces of modern Argentina, on a political level, the Federal Party versus the Unitarian Party. The central cause of the conflict was the excessive centralism advanced by Buenos Aires leaders and, for a long period, the monopoly on the use of the Port of Buenos Aires as the sole means for international commerce. Other participants at specific times included Uruguay, which became independent from the United Provinces of Río de la Plata in 1828, the British and French empires, notably in the French blockade of the Río de la Plata of 1838 and in the Anglo-French blockade of the Río de la Plata that ended in 1850. Regionalism had long marked the relationship among the numerous provinces of what today is Argentina, the wars of independence did not result in national unity.
The establishment of the League of the Free Peoples by the Banda Oriental Province, Entre Ríos Province, Corrientes Province, Misiones Province, Córdoba Province, in June 1814 marked the first formal rupture in the United Provinces of South America, created by the 1810 May Revolution. The Battle of Cepeda thwarted the goal of Buenos Aires leaders to govern the country under the Argentine Constitution of 1819, following a series of disorders and a short-lived Constitutional Republic led by Buenos Aires centralist Bernardino Rivadavia in 1826 and 1827, the United Provinces established in 1810 again became divided, the Province of Buenos Aires would emerge as the most powerful among the numerous semi-independent states. An understanding was entered into by Buenos Aires Governor Juan Manuel de Rosas and other Federalist leaders out of need and a shared enmity toward the still vigorous Unitarian Party, who advocated differing forms of centralized government; the latter's 1830 establishment of the Unitarian League by Córdoba leader José María Paz from nine western and northern provinces thus forced Buenos Aires and Entre Ríos Provinces into the Federal Pact of 1831, following which the Unitarian League was dismantled.
The Buenos Aires leader deposed by Rosas in 1829, General Juan Lavalle led a series of rebellions with different alliances against Rosas and the Federal Pact until Lavalle's defeat and assassination in 1841. Since the fall of Rivadavia and the lack of a proper head of state there was a dynamic whereby leaders from the hinterland provinces would delegate certain powers, such as foreign debt payment or the management of international relations to the Buenos Aires leader. In addition, Rosas was granted the sum of public power; these powers enabled Rosas to participate in the protracted Uruguayan Civil War in favor of Manuel Oribe, though unsuccessfully. The Argentine Confederation thus functioned, albeit amid ongoing conflicts, until the 1852 Battle of Caseros, when Rosas was deposed and exiled; the central figure in the overthrow of Rosas, Entre Ríos Governor Justo José de Urquiza, failed to secure Buenos Aires' ratification of the 1852 San Nicolás Agreement, following the Revolution of 11 September 1852, the State of Buenos Aires was declared.
The secessionist state rejected the 1853 Constitution of Argentina, promulgated its own the following year. The most contentious issue remained the Buenos Aires Customs, which remained under the control of the city government and was the chief source of public revenue. Nations with which the Confederation maintained foreign relations, kept all embassies in Buenos Aires; the State of Buenos Aires was bolstered by its numerous alliances in the hinterland, including that of Santiago del Estero Province, as well as among powerful Unitarian Party governors in Salta, Tucumán and San Juan. The 1858 assassination of San Juan's Federalist governor, Nazario Benavídez, by Unitarians inflamed tensions between the Confederation and the State of Buenos Aires, as did a free trade agreement between the chief Confederate port and the Port of Montevideo, which undermined Buenos Aires trade; the election of the intransigent Valentín Alsina further exacerbated disputes, which culminated in the Battle of Cepeda.
Buenos Aires forces, led by General Bartolomé Mitre, were defeated by those led by the President of Argentina, Justo José de Urquiza. Ordered to subjugate Buenos Aires separatists by force, Urquiza instead invited the defeated to a round of negotiations, secured the Pact of San José de Flores, which provided for a number of constitutional amendments and led to other concessions, including an extension on the province's customs house concession and measures benefiting the Bank of the Province of Buenos Aires, whose currency was authorized for use as legal tender at the customs house. Mitre abrogated the Pact of San José, leading to renewed civil war; these hostilities culminated in the 1861 Battle of Pavón, to victory on the part of Mitre and Buenos Aires over Urquiza's national forces. President Santiago Derqui, backed by Urquiza, resigned on November 4, 1861. Mitre, who despite victory reaffirmed his commitment to the 1860 constitutional amendments, was elected the republic's first president in 1862.
President Mitre instituted a limited suffrage electoral system known as the voto cantad
The Paraguayan War known as the War of the Triple Alliance and the Great War in Paraguay, was a South American war fought from 1864 to 1870, between Paraguay and the Triple Alliance of Argentina, the Empire of Brazil, Uruguay. It was the bloodiest inter-state war in Latin America's history, it devastated Paraguay, which suffered catastrophic losses in population: 70% of its adult male population died, according to some counts, it was forced to cede territory to Argentina and Brazil. According to some estimates, Paraguay's pre-war population of 525,000 was reduced to 221,000, of which only 28,000 were men; the war began in late 1864, as a result of a conflict between Paraguay and Brazil caused by the Uruguayan War. Argentina and Uruguay entered the war against Paraguay in 1865, it became known as the "War of the Triple Alliance"; the war ended with the total defeat of Paraguay. After it lost in conventional warfare, Paraguay conducted a drawn-out guerrilla resistance, a disastrous strategy that resulted in the further destruction of the Paraguayan military and much of the civilian population through battle casualties and diseases.
The guerrilla war lasted 14 months until President Francisco Solano López was killed in action by Brazilian forces in the Battle of Cerro Corá on 1 March 1870. Argentine and Brazilian troops occupied Paraguay until 1876. Estimates of total Paraguayan losses range from 21,000 to 200,000 people, it took decades for Paraguay to recover from demographic losses. Since their independence from Portugal and Spain in the early 19th century, the Empire of Brazil and the Spanish-American countries of South America were troubled by territorial disputes. All nations in the region had lingering boundary conflicts with multiple neighbors. Most had overlapping claims to the same territories; these issues were questions inherited from their former metropoles, despite several attempts, were never able to resolve them satisfactorily. Signed by Portugal and Spain in 1494, the Treaty of Tordesillas proved ineffective in the following centuries as both colonial powers expanded their frontiers in South America and elsewhere.
The outdated boundary lines did not represent actual occupation of lands by the Portuguese and Spanish. By the early 1700s, the Treaty of Tordesillas was deemed all but useless and it was clear to both parties that a newer one had to be drawn based on realistic and feasible boundaries. In 1750, the Treaty of Madrid separated the Portuguese and Spanish areas of South America in lines that corresponded to present-day boundaries. Neither Portugal nor Spain were satisfied with the results, new treaties were signed in the following decades that either established new territorial lines or repealed them; the final accord signed by both powers, the Treaty of Badajoz, reaffirmed the validity of the previous Treaty of San Ildefonso, which had derived from the older Treaty of Madrid. The territorial disputes became worse when the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata collapsed in the early 1810s, leading to the rise of Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay. Historian Pelham Horton Box writes: "Imperial Spain bequeathed to the emancipated Spanish-American nations not only her own frontier disputes with Portuguese Brazil, but problems which had not disturbed her, relating to the exact boundaries of her own viceroyalties, captaincies general and provinces."
Once separated, Argentina and Bolivia quarreled over lands that were uncharted and unknown. They were either scarcely settled by indigenous tribes that answered to no parties. In the case of Paraguay with her neighbor Brazil, the problem was to define whether the Apa or Branco rivers should represent their actual boundary, a persistent issue that had vexed and confused Spain and Portugal in the late 18th century; the region between both rivers was populated only by some indigenous tribes that roamed the area attacking nearer Brazilian and Paraguayan settlements. There are several theories regarding the origins of the war; the traditional view emphasizes the policies of Paraguayan president Francisco Solano López, who used the Uruguayan War as a pretext to gain control of the Platine basin. This caused a response from the regional hegemons Brazil and Argentina, who exercised influence over the much smaller republics of Uruguay and Paraguay; the war has been attributed to the after-effects of colonialism in South America, with border conflicts between the new states, the struggle for power among neighboring nations over the strategic Río de la Plata region and Argentine meddling in internal Uruguayan politics, Solano López's efforts to help his allies in Uruguay, as well as his presumed expansionist ambitions.
Before the war Paraguay had experienced rapid economic and military growth as a result of its protectionist policies that had boosted the local industry. A strong military was developed because Paraguay's larger neighbors Argentina and Brazil had territorial claims against it and wanted to dominate it politically much like they did in Uruguay. Paraguay had recurring boundary disputes and tariff issues with Argentina and Brazil for many years during the rule of Carlos Antonio López. In the time since Brazil and Argentina had become independent, their struggle for hegemony in the Río de la Plata region had profoundly marked the diplomatic and political relations among the countries of the region. Brazil was the first country to recognize the independence of Paraguay, in 1844. At this time Argentina still considered it a breakaway province. While Argentina was ruled by Juan Manuel Rosas, a common enemy of both Brazil and
Juan Galo Lavalle was an Argentine military and political figure. Lavalle was born in Buenos Aires to María Mercedes González Bordallo and Manuel José Lavalle, general accountant of rents and tobacco for the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata. In 1799, the family moved to Santiago de Chile, but returned to Buenos Aires in 1807. In 1812 Lavalle joined the Regiment of mounted grenadiers as a cadet. By 1813 he reached the grade of lieutenant and moved to the army, which under orders of Carlos María de Alvear besieged Montevideo. Lavalle fought against José Gervasio Artigas in 1815 and in the Battle of Guayabos under the command of Manuel Dorrego. In 1816 Lavalle moved to Mendoza to join the Army of the Andes of the "liberator" José de San Martín and fought in Chacabuco and the Maipú in Chile, he continued along with San Martín on his way to Peru and Ecuador and took part in the battles of Pichincha and the Riobamba, after which he became known as the Hero of Riobamba. Because of disagreements with Simón Bolívar, Lavalle returned to Buenos Aires by the end of 1823.
He would govern Mendoza Province for a short time. He fought in the war against Brazil in command of 1,200 cavalry, with great episodes of valour in the battles of Bacacay and Ituzaingó in February 1827, beating the forces of General Abreu and being himself proclaimed General on the field of battle itself. Like many other nineteenth century Argentines prominent in public life, Lavalle was a freemason. By the time he returned to Buenos Aires, the President of the United Provinces, Unitarian Bernardino Rivadavia, had resigned, Manuel Dorrego was elected the federal governor of Buenos Aires Province. Lavalle, a Unitarian himself, led a coup to take the government and executed governor Dorrego without a trial, his government started a reign of terror, aiming to destroy the Federal Party, but the resistance in the countryside didn't recede. In 1829, the demographic growth was negative. During that time, José de San Martín had returned from Europe. While he was in Montevideo, Lavalle offered him the government of Argentina as he was the only man capable of putting an end to the chaotic situation, because of his authority over leaders on both sides.
But when he learned about the spiraling factionalist violence, San Martín realised that he would have to choose sides as the only actual way to govern, so he refused and returned instead to self-exile in Europe. The other provinces did not recognize Lavalle as the legitimate governor, supported the rosista resistance instead. Lavalle would be defeated a short time at the Battle of Márquez Bridge by the forces of Juan Manuel de Rosas and Santa Fe governor Estanislao López. López returned to his province, menaced by Unitarian José María Paz. Meanwhile, Rosas forced him to resign with the Cañuelas pact. Juan José Viamonte was designated as interim governor, the legislature, removed during Lavalle's coup d'état was restored; this legislature would elect Rosas as the governor. Lavalle retired to the Banda Oriental. During the French blockade to the Río de la Plata, Fructuoso Rivera was reluctant to take military actions against Rosas, aware of his strength. Unitarians, who thought that the whole Argentine Confederation would rise against Rosas at the first chance, urged Lavalle to lead the attack, who requested not to share command with Rivera.
As a result, they led both their own armies. His imminent attack was backed up by conspiracies in Buenos Aires, which were discovered and aborted by the Mazorca. Manuel Vicente Maza and his son were among the perpetrators, were executed as a result. Pedro Castelli organized an ill-fated uprising against Rosas, was executed as well. Rosas did not wait to be attacked and ordered Pascual Echagüe to cross the Paraná river and take the fight to Uruguay; the Uruguayan armies split: Rivera returned to defend Montevideo, Lavalle moved to Entre Ríos Province. He expected that the local populations would join him against Rosas and increase his forces, but he found severe resistance, so he moved instead to Corrientes Province. Governor Pedro Ferré defeated López, Rivera defeated Pascual Echagüe, clearing for Lavalle the way to Buenos Aires. However, by that point France had given up its trust on the effectiveness of the blockade, as what was thought it would be an easy and short conflict was turning into a long war, without clear security of a final victory.
France cut its financial support to Lavalle. He didn't find help at local towns either, there was widespread desertion among his ranks. Buenos Aires was ready to resist his military attack, but the lack of support forced him to give up and retire from the battlefield, without starting any battle. Persecuted, his troops suffered constant attacks and Lavalle was forced to move further north, being defeated by Manuel Oribe in La Rioja and Tucumán. Escaping with a small group of 200 men, he was accidentally shot by a Montonera detachment which spread-shot a reputed Unitarian's house, not realizing that Juan Lavalle, the chief of the Unitarians, was staying there; this occurred in 1841 in San Salvador de Jujuy. Afraid that his body would be desecrated by the Federales, his followers fled to Bolivia carrying Lavalle's decomposing remains with them. Hurrying over the Humahuaca pass, they decided to strip the skeleton by boiling it and, after burying the flesh in an unmarked grave, carry the bones, which are today buried at the La Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires.
A statue of the general standing on top of a long, slender column, commemorates the figure of Lavalle at Plaza Lavalle in Buenos Aires. The classic source on Lavalle is "History of Arg
Domingo Crespo was an Argentine politician, governor of the province of Santa Fe from 1851 to 1854. Crespo was a landowner born in Santa Fe City. In 1851 he supported the movement of the Federales led by the caudillo Justo José de Urquiza against the supremacy of Buenos Aires governor Juan Manuel de Rosas, he was appointed governor of Santa Fe by the Junta of Representatives of the province on 29 February 1852. Governor Crespo faced a critical economic situation, his administration paid off debt, bringing order to the provincial budget. Crespo sponsored laws favouring the rent of public lands and encouraging immigration and colonization, organized a more independent judicial branch. Crespo was Santa Fe's representative at the meeting summoned in April 1852 by Urquiza in San Nicolás de los Arroyos in order to agree on the preliminary steps towards the creation of the National Constitution; the San Nicolás Agreement designed the city of Santa Fe as the seat of the General Constitutional Congress, held there in 1853
Santa Fe Province
The Province of Santa Fe is a province of Argentina, located in the center-east of the country. Neighboring provinces are from the north clockwise Chaco, Entre Ríos, Buenos Aires, Córdoba, Santiago del Estero. Together with Córdoba and Entre Ríos, the province is part of the economico-political association known as the Center Region. Santa Fe's most important cities are Rosario, the capital Santa Fe, Villa Gobernador Gálvez, Venado Tuerto and Santo Tomé; the adult literacy rate in the province is 96.3% The aboriginal tribes who inhabited this region were the Tobas, Timbúes, Mocovíes, Pilagás, Guaycurúes, Guaraníes. They were nomadic, lived from hunting and fruit recollection; the first European settlement was established in 1527, at the confluence of the Paraná and Carcarañá rivers, when Sebastián Gaboto, on his way to the north, founded a fort named Sancti Spiritus, destroyed two years by the natives. In 1573 Juan de Garay founded the city of Santa Fe in the surroundings of present town Cayastá, but the city was moved in 1651 and 1660 to its present location.
In 1812 the lawyer and general Manuel Belgrano created and displayed for the first time the Argentine flag on the banks of the Paraná River, at Rosario, 160 km south of Santa Fe. In 1815, while Alvear's central government felt due to Ignacio Álvarez Thomas' rebellion, Francisco Candioti, the local militia chief, took over, peacefully, of government, thus starting the era of Santa Fe as an autonomous province; this period was short lived, since that same year Candioti died and central government reestablished the dependent government. However, in 1816, the caudillos Mariano Vera and Estanislao López deposed the governor delegate and proclaimed the sovereignty of the province and its membership into Artigas's Free Peoples League. López drew, in 1818, a provincial constitution of a conservative flavour, after rejecting a project proposed by a provincial assembly. During the civil strifes of 1820, Santa Fe troops were decisive in the defeat of Buenos Aires' centralist army. So, in time, López became the Federation's Patriarch, establishing himself as the central figure of the Federal Party until his death in 1838.
After López's death it was José María Cullen the one elected governor. However, being Cullen a potential rival of Buenos Aires governor and Confederation's Foreign Affairs Representative, Juan Manuel de Rosas, he sought and got Cullen's capture and execution, naming pro-Rosas Juan Pablo López as governor; the new governor maintained in power, alterning with Pascual Echagüe, until the province invasion by Justo José de Urquiza's Great Army in 1851, during his term the province adopted a new constitution in 1841. After the organization of the nation, the province entered an era of prosperity; the political hegemony of the conservative groups was challenged by the new ideas brought by the European immigrants gave birth to the Radical Civic Union and the Progressive Democratic Party, the creation of the Argentine Agrarian Federation. These two parties had many strong electoral contests with the province's conservative parties. After the Electoral Reform of Roque Sáenz Peña in 1912, the UCR reached the government and stayed until the coup of 1930.
During this time, more in 1919, the National University of the Littoral was founded. In 1932 it was the PDP; the contentious 1958 elections brought an ally of President-elect Arturo Frondizi to power in Santa Fe, Dr. Carlos Sylvestre Begnis. Gov. Begnis steered budgets into sorely needed public works, most notably the construction of the Hernandarias Tunnel, a 10-mile -long connection between the city of Santa Fe and neighboring Paraná; the tunnel, most of which runs under the massive Paraná River, is the longest in Argentina. Forced to resign after conservative pressure drove Pres. Frondizi from office in 1962, Begnis had the satisfaction of seeing Hernandarias open in 1969 and voters overwhelmingly return him to office in 1973. Santa Fe suffered the violence of the late'70s and the depression of the 1980s more than most other provinces, it continued to languish economically during the prosperous 1990s, as the revalued Argentine peso put pressure on its productive sectors. Touching bottom around 2002, its economy has grown by 7% a year since then.
The heart of Argentina's lucrative soy harvest, the province's importance has continued to grow, now rivaling Buenos Aires Province as the nation's leading agricultural producer, with Rosario as one of the most important ports in Argentina. Most of the province consists of green flatlands, part of the humid Pampas, bordering to the north with the Gran Chaco region. There are low sierras to the west; the north has higher temperatures, with an annual average of 19 °C and precipitations of up to 1,100 millimetres in the east, decreasing towards the west, where there is a distinctive dry season during the winter. The south presents lower temperatures, averaging 14 °C, less precipitations. Summers are hot and humid throughout the province, with average highs ranging from 30 °C in the south to 34 °C
La Rioja Province, Argentina
La Rioja is one of the provinces of Argentina and is located in the west of the country. Neighboring provinces are from the north clockwise Córdoba, San Luis and San Juan; the dinosaur Riojasaurus is named after the province. Petroglyphs created by early indigenous peoples at the Talampaya National Park is dated around 10,000 years BC. Succeeding cultures of indigenous peoples developed here; the Diaguita and the Olongasta peoples inhabited the territory of present-day La Rioja Province at the time of encounter with the Spanish colonists in the 16th century. Juan Ramírez de Velazco founded Todos Los Santos de la Nueva Rioja in 1591 under the government of Tucumán of the Viceroyalty of Peru. In 1630 the Calchaquí people revolted against the Spanish, but the governor Albornoz suppressed them. In 1783, after the creation of the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata, the control of the province of 10,000 inhabitants passed to the Córdoba independency; the province acquired independence from Córdoba in 1820.
Following attempts by Bernardino Rivadavia, the first elected President of Argentina, to impose a centralist constitution, the caudillo Juan Facundo Quiroga emerged as a popular leader. He represented their preference for more autonomy, for which they continued to press following Quiroga's 1835 assassination. After a period of internal instability in Argentina, the province joined the Argentine Confederation in 1853. La Rioja attracted fewer immigrants from Europe than did other Argentine provinces from 1890 to the 1930s; some Syrian and Lebanese immigrants did settle in the province, among whom the most well-known is the Menem family. Coming from what had been the Ottoman Empire, Saul Menem and his wife were of Armenian and Alawi ancestry, he sent his eldest son, Carlos Menem, to Spain for college. After the younger Menem was elected governor of La Rioja Province in March 1973, he implemented a number of reforms advocated by activists for the poor, rural majority those recommended by Bishop Enrique Angelelli.
Removed and imprisoned following the military ouster of President Isabel Perón in March 1976, Menem was kept in illegal confinement until the end of 1980. He was tortured during this time; the dictatorship repressed people in the province and was responsible for the brutal murder in August 1976 of Bishop Angelelli. After democracy was restored in 1983, Menem was overwhelmingly re-elected to office, he pursued conservative policies, leveraging La Rioja's dry, agreeable climate, its modest wage scale, skilled work-force, to attract La Rioja's first significant light industries bottling and food-processing. Having presided over a growing La Rioja economy as the nation's languished during the 1980s, Menem secured the Peronist Justicialist Party nomination for president in May 1988. Elected president of Argentina in 1988, Menem served until 1999. During those years, he steered billions in federal public works spending into La Rioja. Although the province remains less developed than the average in the nation, its economy today compares favorably with those of its neighbors.
Located in the Argentine Northwest area, its landscape is arid to semi-arid, the dry climate receives annually 200 mm of precipitations, has short winters and hot summers. From the Andes at the west, with peaks of up to 6,795 meters, the relief's height descents towards the sierras of the neighbouring dry Pampas zone. Most ranges in La Rioja are oriented in a north-south fashion; the province's two largest cities, La Rioja and Chilecito are separated by Sierra de Velasco and west of Chilecito and Famatina rises the Sierra de Famatina with heights of up to 6.250 m.a.sl.. The Talampaya National Park is a dry red-soil canyon of the ancient extinguished Talampaya river, which contains many walls and rock formations that make it an interesting tourist destination. La Rioja's economy, estimated at US$1.822 billion in 2006, is the second-smallest among Argentina's provinces. Its per capita output of US$6,283, though about 30% below the national average, makes it the most well-developed in northern Argentina.
Its economy is very well-diversified. Agriculture adds less than 5% to its output. La Rioja's agriculture lies on the banks of the few permanent rivers and oases that allow irrigation, with only 190 square kilometres of cultivated land. Vineyards and olive plantations are the most common, followed by cotton; the province's main crop is the grape, its associated wine production around the Chilecito area, with a production of 8 million litres per year. Cattle and goats are secondary activities for skin and leather. Clay represents the main mining activity, uranium is extracted near El Colorado. Manufacturing in La Rioja has expanded since Gov. Menem began attracting investment into the province, after 1983. Limited to light industry like bottling and food processing, it adds about 20% to La Rioja's output. Tourism is an expanding activity. Besides the Talampaya National Park, tourists visiting La Rioja go to the Chilecito town, Cerro de La Cruz, Termas de Santa Teresita hot springs and the village of Villa Sanagasta.
La Rioja's development plan is being designed by Proyectos Innovadores to encourage further economic growth in the province. The province experienced a wave of immigration from Eastern Europe, East or South Asian and Middle Eastern countries; the province is divided in 18 departments (Spanish departam