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Paraguayan Politics, Economics, and Cultural Identity, 1870–1936  

Bridget María Chesterton

In the period 1870–1936, Paraguay began to redevelop economically after its devastating loss in the War of the Triple Alliance (1864–1870). Turning to a liberal economic model popular in the region at the time, government officials began selling off large tracts of land to foreign investors, in particular Argentine investors. The liberal era in Paraguay was notoriously turbulent as political rivals often relied on Civil War to gain power. Nonetheless, this period was pivotal in helping to shape ideas about the nation. The era ends at the Febrerista Revolution (1936) when returning Chaco War (1932–1935) veterans made their mark on Paraguayan politics and identity.

Article

Urbanization in Argentina, 16th to 19th Centuries  

Melisa Pesoa

The urbanization process in Argentina began with the installation of the first permanent settlement in the territory in 1527. During the early colonial period, settlers tried to move inland rather than establish towns on the Atlantic coast. Therefore, the main axis of urbanization strengthened the connection between the central zone with Alto Peru, reinforcing part of the existing indigenous territorial connection. Colonial cities, established by small groups of between twenty and fifty people, such as Santa Fe, Santiago del Estero, Córdoba, and Mendoza, established relations with the territories of Chile, Peru, and Paraguay. Indigenous resistance to colonization was powerful: several cities from the colonial era were not successful and needed to be moved or disappeared. Other experiences such as the Jesuit missions emerged as other models of colonization aside from the traditional one. In this territorial scheme, the coastal region was marginalized from the central nucleus. The ports of the coast and of Buenos Aires fulfilled a defensive military function, although they also served illicit traffic between the Atlantic and Potosí. However, this traffic increased over time, and Buenos Aires progressively gained importance. In 1776, Buenos Aires became the capital of the recently created Viceroyalty of the Rio de La Plata, as a result of the Bourbon reforms. Therefore, during the 18th century, its port was legally opened to overseas traffic, and its hinterland was incorporated into world trade. This initiated a change in the region’s center of gravity, which moved from the interior to the River Plate coast. In this period, the Crown’s interest shifted from the establishment of an imperial structure to securing the marginal areas of the empire through permanent populations with a plan of new settlements in the frontier. This interest remained even after the Independence from the Spanish Crown (1816), in the Republican period. During the 19th century, hundreds of towns were established across the territory, mainly focused on agricultural production or extractive activities. A series of highly important technical advances reached the country. The most relevant was the railway, built at the end of the 1850s and systematically extended from the 1870s. Its installation structured the territory and encouraged the creation of urban centers mainly in the central area of the Pampas. However, further types of colonization emerged related to products such as sugar or yerba mate in other regions of the country. Traditional colonial urban centers, converted into provincial capitals, started several reforms during the 19th century in order to adapt to the changes proposed by this new territorial structure and the new republican spirit. European immigration played a preponderant role in the country’s urban and productive development. The greater availability of workers, in addition to many other economic development actions, contributed to considerably increasing agricultural exports from the 1870s and positioned Argentina among the largest exporters of raw materials worldwide. The resulting system of urbanization had far-reaching consequences for the general functioning of the country in the following centuries.