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Declaration of Independence of the United Provinces of South America, in Spanish and Quechua

What today is commonly referred as the Independence of Argentina was declared on July 9, 1816 by the Congress of Tucumán. Actually, Argentina was not a country yet; the congressmen joined in Tucuman declared the independence of the United Provinces of South America (still today one of the legal names of the Argentine Republic). The three Litoral provinces (Santa Fé, Entre Ríos and Corrientes) were expelled from the Congress, along with Banda Oriental, present-day Uruguay. At the same time, several provinces from the Alto Perú were represented that would later become part of present-day Bolivia.

Contents

Causes

The May Revolution of 1810 followed the deposition of the Spanish king Fernando VII by Napoleon. The revolution terminated the authority of the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata and replaced it with the Primera Junta.

When the king returned in 1814, Spain was determined to recover control over its colonies in the Americas. The royalists were victorious at the battles of Sipe-Sipe, Huaqui, Vilcapugio and Ayohuma, in what had been the Viceroyalty of Peru. From there they planned to attack the bases of José de San Martín, and to make their way to Buenos Aires.

On April 15, 1815, a revolution ended the mandate of Carlos María de Alvear and demanded that a General Congress be summoned. Delegate deputies, each representing 15,000 inhabitants, were sent from all the provinces to the sessions, which started on March 24, 1816. However, several territories that had until then belonged to the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata did not send delegates: the Banda Oriental ("Eastern Bank", today Uruguay), which was faithful to José Gervasio Artigas; Paraguay, which had already proclaimed its independence; and the Gran Chaco, still fighting against Native resistance.

Development

The Congress was inaugurated in the city of Tucumán, with 33 deputies. The presidency of the Congress would be rotated monthly. Because the Congress had the freedom to choose topics to debate, endless discussions ensued.

The voting finally ended on July 9 with a declaration of independence. The Declaration pointed to the circumstances in Europe of the past six years—the the removal of the King of Spain by the Napoleon and the subsequent refusal of Ferdinand VII to accept constitutional rule both in the Peninsula and overseas. The Document claimed that Spanish America recovered its sovereignty from the Crown of Castile in 1808, when Ferdinand VII had been deposed, and therefore, any union between the overseas dominions of Spain and the Peninsula had been dissolved. This was a legal concept that was also invoked by the other Spanish American declarations of independence, such as Venezuela's (1811) and Mexico's (1813), which were responding to the same events. The president of the Congress at the time was Francisco Narciso de Laprida, delegate from San Juan Province. Subsequent discussions centered on what form of government the emerging state should adopt.

The congress continued its work in Buenos Aires in 1817, but it dissolved in 1820 after the Battle of Cepeda, which deepened the differences between the Unitarian Party, who favored a strong central government, and the Federales Argentina, who favored a weak central government.

The house where the declaration was adopted has been rebuilt and is now a museum and monument: the House of Tucumán.

Signatories of the declaration

See also

References

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