Colonial Argentina

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Colonial Argentina is designated as the period of the History of Argentina when it was an overseas colony of the Spanish Empire. It begins in the precolumbian age of the indigenous peoples of Argentina, with the arrival of the first Spanish conquerors in the 16th century, and ends in the 19th century with the resolution of the Argentine War of Independence.

The first navigators, aware that the Americas were unknown territories, navigated into the wide Río de la Plata expecting to find a passage to the west and reach Asia, new navigations were fostered by the rumors of silver sources (such rumors are one of the early reasons of the name of Argentina). There were land expeditions coming from the north as well, from Lima. However, the lack of precious metals in the area, and the absence of local empires like the Aztects in Mexico or the Incas in Peru, did not allow a notable growth of the Spanish populations in the area. The area was a Southern section of the Viceroyalty of Peru, until the king Charles III rearranged it as the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata.

The new ideas of the Age of Enlightenment and the events of the Peninsular War started the Argentine Wars of Independence, a theater of the greater Spanish American wars of independence.

European exploration[edit]

Discovery of the Río de la Plata by Juan Díaz de Solís. He would be attacked and killed by charrúas after it.

When Spain and Portugal noticed that the Americas were not the Indies but a new and unknown continent, they settled the portions with the Treaty of Tordesillas, dividing a section for Portugal and another for Spain. However, most of the geography of the Americas was still unknown, and many navigators sought a passage to the Indies rather than exploring the Americas.

The voyage of Ferdinand Magellan continued towards the south, passed the Strait of Magellan and eventually completed the first circumnavigation of the world.

Juan Díaz de Solís[edit]

The first European to disembark in what is now present day Argentina was Juan Díaz de Solís, who discovered the Río de la Plata. Solís was killed by Charrúas, along with other sailors, and his fleet returned to Spain.

The sailor Francisco del Puerto, part of Solís' voyage, was spared by the Charruas because of his young age, and stayed on the Americas for some years.

Sebastian Cabot[edit]

Francisco del Puerto was rescued by the Venetian Sebastian Cabot, and told him about myths of sources of silver in the area. This promoted further explorations in the area. There was no silver, nor any other precious metal, but those initial myths influenced the modern name of Argentina.

The voyage of Cabot, expecting to conquer the lands of the inexistent "White King", established the fortification of Sancti Spiritu, next to the Paraná River. The voyage was a complete failure: they did not get any metals, Sancti Spiritu was destroyed by the native people, and the remaining Europeans returned to Europe.

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