Nevin O. Winter - Argentina and Her People of To-day
Argentina and Her People of To-day
An account of the customs, characteristics, amusements, history and advancement of the Argentinians, and the development and resources of their country
The Spaniards who first visited the coast of Argentina, and sailed up the broad and imposing river that empties into the Atlantic Ocean, were so impressed with the outlook and prospects, that they named the country Argentina, which means silvery or silver-like, and bestowed upon the majestic stream the name Rio de La Plata, which means river of silver. When their prospectors failed to find the great deposits of gold and silver, which had been described to them by the natives, this province lost much of its importance, and soon dwindled into comparative insignificance. The city, which was founded near the mouth of that river, continued for more than two centuries a comparatively unimportant place.
It remained for a later age to develop the real wealth of Argentina, a treasure far greater than mines of gold or silver. The growth of population, and the increase in manufacturing, to which were devoted the energies of many European countries, made imperative the development of new sources of food supplies. The rich pampas of Argentina, which had heretofore been of comparatively little worth, and of which square leagues were almost given away by the government to any one who would pay the taxes, began to attract attention. Experiments showed that the soil was well adapted to the cultivation of all the cereals grown in temperate regions. The construction of refrigerator vessels, by means of which frozen meat could be carried across the equator to Europe, and delivered there in as good condition as when it was started, stimulated the live-stock industry to gigantic proportions. The result has been that Argentina is to-day one of the greatest food-producing countries on the face of the globe.
At the present time Argentina stands at the head of all the republics south of the United States in commercial importance. Its imports and its exports greatly exceed those of any of the other countries, and its population is rapidly growing. The people are energetic, resourceful and ambitious. Its capital is one of the great cities of the world. It has been the aim of the writer in the preparation of this work to present a complete treatise upon that country, which shall cover not only its resources, their present development and the possibilities of the future, and a brief but comprehensive history of the republic, but a study of the people and their characteristics, and the new race which is growing up as a result of the amalgamation of the different elements that are now pouring into it. In the preparation of the work there has been not only an extensive first-hand study, but the works of the leading writers upon that country have been consulted, so that the author’s view-point might be broadened and a more accurate survey result.