A Brief Introduction

One of the most important cities in South America, Buenos Aires has a long and interesting history. The city was founded for the first time in 1536 by an journey led by the Spaniard Pedro de Mendoza, who called it Nuestra Señora Santa María del Buen Aire (“Our Lady St. Mary of the Good Air”). Mendoza became the first governor-general of the Río de la Plata region. That settlement suffered from attacks by local Indians and to insufficient supplies. Those that survived soon retreated up the river to the fortified settlement of Asunción. Nearly fifty years later in 1580, Juan de Garay headed a second and larger expedition back to the site, and there, at the beginning of the Riachuelo River, he reestablished the city, which he called “Santísima Trinidad” and its port became “Puerto de Santa María de los Buenos Aires.” In 1580. Large tracts of land in the vicinities of the city were given to the members of the journey, and they immediately begin to collect the pastoral animals that had grown in numbers since being left by the original settlement.

For almost two hundred years, Buenos Aires grew at a slow pace. It was a relatively good port, but it suffered from the rigid organization of the Spanish empire in America, under which only certain ports could be used for trade. The whole Río de la Plata region was part of the Viceroyalty of Peru, which was governed from Lima. Within this viceroyalty, the port of Callao, a port close to Lima, was able to engage in trade with merchants from Spain. This greatly effected Buenos Aires in that it basically reduced Buenos Aires to a backwater. By the beginning of the 18th century though, the fertile and well-irrigated land around Buenos Aires was yielding significant amounts of dried beef, cereal, and cattle hides. Financed mainly by British money, smugglers exported these goods through Buenos Aires to markets in Brazil and the Caribbean Islands, much to the dismay of Spain, which could not find a way to stop the illegal trade. This contraband trade and growing agriculture helped to make the city one of the most important economic centers in the entire region. This success and the opportunity to increase its control and tax revenue in the colonies lead to the Spanish King naming Buenos Aires the capital of the new Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata in 1776 as part of his Bourbon Reforms.

     British troops attempted to invade the city in 1806 and 1807 but were thoroughly repelled by local forces. Already imbued with a strong self-identity, the victories over the British increased Argentine nationalism among Porteños. By 1808, when Napoleon Bonaparte’s forces invaded Spain, the people of Buenos Aires began to question their commitment to Spain. The repressive laws upon them, the lack of support the city received during the British invasions, and the influence of revolutions around the globe caused the people of Buenos Aires to declare their independence two years later, in May of 1810.






Michael Arata & William Maas


  1. Sloane Nilsen says:

    Your webpage is very elegant, thoughtful, and concise. Immediately upon seeing the cover image, as well as the site’s general layout, I was visually hooked. You incorporated a wide-range of visual sources, effectively balancing their consistency with text. Overall very clean and comprehensive, your webpage is a high success.

  2. Hailey Sabol says:

    I love the brief history of Buenos Aires…. personally, I always like to have background information on whatever topic I’m studying, and I think it really helps to put the other information you discuss into context. The “Afro-Argentine” section is particularly informative and I enjoyed learning about an issue I had never heard about before!

  3. Josiah Depaoli says:

    Really good coverage of topics and like the inclusion of the timeline and maps of city growth. Would like to see who the quote in the Afro-Argentine section towards the bottom is by though.

  4. Timmy Kopczynski says:

    This intro page really helps to ground the webpage. It gives a brief (yet thorough) overview of Buenos Aires that is helpful when reading through the other pages. Each of the individual pages is great as well, with both breaking up the blocks of text with pictures, charts, etc. It is cool how the “Afro-Argentine” page incorporates tables from the Slave Trade Database that we used earlier this semester. I also like how this page posed questions that were answered through the text and with the visuals. I like the use of maps on the “Economy” page. Looking at the maps really shows the growth of the city. The timeline was also really useful.

  5. I really enjoy the painting at the top of the page, it really serves to capture my attention well, and I also find that the information in the text sets the stage up for an excellent site. The page on demographics and population is excellent in presenting a lot of information in charts and pictures rather than in the form of an essay. Well done, indeed.

  6. skjaldin says:

    The introduction page is really helpful in providing an overview of Buenos Aires, which really helps with the more specific pages. It allows the audience to put your topics into context.

  7. mpmcfarland says:

    I feel like you made the website that met the requirement the best. It relies heavily on the visualizations of the data rather than blocks of text. That, combined with the clean and easy to read accessibility of the website make it a pleasure to peruse. The painting at the top of your main page is gorgeous and is highlighted in that respect by the subdued theme. I cant state strongly enough how important it is to draw the reader in and the painting, while a simple addition, does that very effectively here. I like how this website is understated but provides all the detailed information in a compact form.

  8. This intro page is great! It really sets the tone for the entire website, and gives readers a thorough yet specific overview of the history of Buenos Aires. Great foundation for the other pages on the site!

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