At what point did ARGENTINA stop being attractive to Europeans?
ARGENTINA From 1870 to 1913, the world was characterized by an increasing volume of international trade made possible by advances in transportation and communication. The international mobility of capital and labor also increased.
In other words, there were large migrations of people, especially from European countries, to countries in the Americas, such as Canada, the united states, and Argentina, and although European migration to the north of the continent is more famous, the number of immigrants as a proportion of the total population was greater in Argentina than in the united states.
It is estimated that by 1914 almost 30 percent of Argentina’s total population was foreign, while in the united states it represented 14.5 percent, which speaks to Argentina’s ability to attract immigrants.
The questions to be covered in this video are three: why did Europeans prefer to emigrate to Argentina over dozens of other options around the world? Why did some Argentinians begin to have a negative image of immigrants and at what point did Argentina cease to be so attractive to Europeans?
Several reasons may explain the massive arrival of European immigrants to Argentina. The first is the great economic expansion that the country experienced at that time, at the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century, economic growth rates reached 6 per year and the country received large amounts of foreign capital, especially from England. Argentina was the world leader in cereal production, and the Argentinian pampas were one of the richest agricultural regions in the world.
In addition, it was an economically free country and open to trade to give an idea of the economic dynamism it had achieved in 1914. Argentina. Had a higher GDP per capita than Germany, Sweden, Italy, Spain, and all Latin American countries, the country was known for its abundance of land, the growth of agricultural production, and the scarcity of workers, and because of this need for labor Argentina implemented a very flexible immigration policy.
Argentinians were divided by opposing interests, those in Buenos aires who agreed with European immigration and those in the interior provinces who preferred the local culture. But in the end, the pro-immigration ideas prevailed with the constitution of 1853, protection was granted to foreigners and they were granted almost the same civil rights as Argentinians.
This was stated in article 25 of the constitution the federal government shall encourage European immigration and may not restrict limit or impose any tax on the entry into the Argentinian territory of foreigners whose purpose is to work, the land, improve industries and introduce and teach science and the arts.
The government had a certain preference for European immigrants, especially from northern Europe, but immigration from this area was not very common, so the government welcomed immigrants from southern Europe. Kindly these preferences were influenced by a part of society that perceived dark-skinned people as culturally inferior to white Europeans.
The government’s policies paid off because, according to the 1895 national census, one out of about four million inhabitants, 25.4 percent were foreigners or about 1 million people. This percentage of the foreign population in Argentina would reach a maximum of almost 30 percent in 1914.
In that same year, 39 of the foreign population in Argentina came from Italy 35 from Spain, 3.9 percent from Russia, followed by Uruguay and other European and Latin American countries. Although most Italians came to work in agriculture, those who settled in the city of Buenos aires worked in factories and railroads.
The Spanish often came from a region of northern Spain called Galicia Russians constituted the third important ethnic group that immigrated to Argentina. They were mainly Jews escaping religious persecution in the Russian empire.
Another significant group of immigrants was protestant germans who were expelled from Russia and formed small agricultural colonies in different provinces. Syrians and Lebanese also arrived in Argentina as a consequence of the repression. These were not dedicated to agriculture, but business. People from the Asian continent also arrived and dedicated themselves to commerce.
The English arrived in smaller numbers, but they influenced a sector of the upper class that tried to imitate their fashion sports and culture. As a result, rugby tennis hockey, polo, and soccer would come from England to Argentina.
So, on the one hand, in Europe there were restrictions on religious freedom and few employment opportunities and, on the other hand, Argentina was booming and there was a shortage of labor. It was the world’s leading agricultural producer and had policies such as religious freedom, the right to private property, and a friendly attitude towards foreigners.
These factors encouraged mass immigration, but there was another fundamental reason for emigration, especially for Italians in Spanish, which was higher wages although Argentina could not compete for labor by offering the wages paid in the united states within Latin America, almost no country could compete with Argentina in that country, along with Uruguay, wages were 200 percent higher than those in Italy, Portugal, and Spain. As a consequence, this higher expected income was another reason that motivated Europeans to migrate.
Some seasonal immigrants were not interested in staying to live in Argentina, but traveled seasonally, taking advantage of the higher wages and also the rise of the steamship that made the trip to America cheaper and faster than before.
Therefore, the rate of return of Italians from Argentina, for example, was high between 1861 and 1914. 47 percent returned to Italy. This wasn’t something strange in the united states, the return of Italians in the same period was 52 percent, that is to say, it can be said that a great number of immigrants sought to progress economically in America and return to their countries.
Now, if the arrival of European immigrants seemed to benefit Argentina, demographically, economically, and culturally, why did they begin to be rejected in the country after 1900, anti-immigration forces began to emerge mainly among the elites who saw how immigrants could threaten the stability of the country according to them, along with foreign workers who contributed to the labor force in the agricultural sector, ambitious savvy and enterprising businessmen were also arriving.
who began to threaten the prestige and profits of the Argentinian elite immigrants began to form banks, insurance companies, and export and import businesses by 1914 Europeans owned about 65 percent of Argentina’s industry.
So this context of rapid upward mobility, the desire for the wealth of many immigrants, and the fact that some were only coming to earn money to return to Europe produced a growing hostile reaction to foreigners and that image of educated and civilized people began to turn negative. In short, they were concerned that immigrants would exclude all Argentines from being entrepreneurs.
Despite this and the world economic crises between 1914 and 1929 immigrants continued to arrive in Argentina, although in smaller proportions than at the beginning of the century, in 1947, the foreign population still represented 15 percent of the total, and this percentage began to decrease progressively after world war ii there were decades of political instability and alternating military and democratic governments, in addition, the rapid European economic recovery after the war discouraged migration to Argentina.
In addition, political persecution and the suppression of civil and academic liberties began in the country which caused Argentinian intellectuals and professionals to flee to other countries by 1959. Italy had surpassed Argentina in terms of GDP per capita. Spain would surpass it in 1976. in 1988, average salaries in Spain and Italy were three and four times higher than in Argentina.
In short, Argentina was no longer so attractive to Europeans, but it was attractive to the inhabitants of neighboring countries. That graph shows, according to the 2010 census, that 30 percent of the total foreign population in Argentina was from Paraguay 19 from bolivia, and already Italians only represent 8.2 percent and Spaniards, 5.2 percent.
And if we look at the foreign population as a proportion of the total by 2019, it was 4.9 percent, which is still above the Latin American average but compared to its rivals at the beginning of the century, such as the united states, Canada and Australia.
It turns out to be a very low figure, will Argentina be able to recover the lost ground and be again that place where Europeans would like to emigrate?