Bernardino Rivadavia

Bernardino Rivadavia

Infobox_President | name=Bernardino Rivadavia

order=1st President of Argentina
term_start=February 8 1826
term_end=July 6 1827
predecessor=Juan Gregorio de Las Heras(Governor of Buenos Aires)
successor=Vicente López
birth_date=May 20, 1780
birth_place=Buenos Aires
death_date=September 2 1845
death_place=Cádiz, Spain
spouse=Juana del Pino y Vera

Bernardino de la Trinidad Gónzalez Rivadavia y Rivadavia (May 20, 1780 – September 2, 1845) was the first president of Argentina, from February 8 1826 to July 7 1827.

Rivadavia was born in Buenos Aires in 1780. He was active in both the Argentine resistance to the British invasion of 1806 and in the May Revolution movement for Argentine Independence in 1810. In 1811, Rivadavia became the dominating member of the governing triumvirate as Secretary of the Treasury and Secretary of War. Until its fall in October 1812, this government focused on creating a strong central government, moderating relations with Spain, and organizing an army.

Rivadavia married in Buenos Aires, August 14, 1809, with Juana del Pino y Vera, daughter of the viceroy of the Río de la Plata, Joaquín del Pino, by his second wife, Rafaela de Vera y Mujica. Juana del Pino was born in Montevideo, Uruguay, December 28, 1786, and died in Santa Catalina, Brazil, September 16, 1841.

Rivadavia and his wife had four children: José Joaquín Benito Egidio Rivadavia (1810), Constancia Rivadavia (1812-1816), Bernardino Donato Rivadavia (1814), and Martín Rivadavia (1823-1885).

Rivadavia was later sent to Europe to improve Argentine relations with Britain and Spain. He returned six years later, in May 1821. In June of that year, he was named minister of government to Buenos Aires governor Martín Rodríguez. Over the next five years, he exerted a strong influence, and focused heavily on improving Buenos Aires city, often at the expense of greater Argentina. To make the former look more European, Rivadavia constructed large avenues, schools, paved and lighted streets. He founded the University of Buenos Aires, as well as the Theater, Geology, and Medicine Academies. He persuaded the legislature to authorize a one-million pound loan for public works that were never undertaken. The provincial bonds were sold in London through the Baring Brothers Bank, local and Buenos Aires-based British traders also acting as financial intermediaries. The borrowed money was in turn lent to these businessmen, who never repaid it. Of the original million pounds the Buenos Aires government received only £552,700. The province's foreign debt was transferred to the nation in 1825, its final repayment being made in 1904.

A strong supporter of a powerful, centralized government in Argentina, Rivadavia often faced violent resistance from the opposition federalists. In 1826, Rivadavia was elected the first President of Argentina. During his term he founded many museums, and expanded the national library.

His government had many problems, primarily an ongoing war with Brazil over territory in modern Uruguay and resistance from provincial authorities. Faced with the rising power of the Federalist Party and with several provinces in open revolt, Rivadavia submitted his resignation on June 29, 1827. He was succeeded by Vicente López y Planes. At first he returned to private life, but fled to exile in Europe in 1829.

Rivadavia returned to Argentina in 1834 to confront his political enemies, but was immediately sentenced again to exile. He went first to Brazil and then to Spain, where he died September 2, 1845. He asked that his body would never be brought back to Buenos Aires.

Further reading

*David Bushnell, "Reform and Reaction in the Platine Provinces 1810-1852" (Gainesville, Florida, 1983)
*Miron Burgin, "The Economic Aspects of Argentine Federalism, 1820-1852" (Cambridge MA, 1946)
*H.S. Ferns, "Britain and Argentina in the Nineteenth Century" (Oxford, 1960)
*Jonathan Harris, 'Bernardino Rivadavia and Benthamite "discipleship"', "Latin American Research Review" 33 (1998), 129-49
*John Lynch, "Argentine Dictator. Juan Manuel de Rosas 1829-1852" (Oxford, 1981)
*Ricardo Piccirilli, "Rivadavia y su tiempo", 2 vols. (Buenos Aires, 1943)

ee also

List of heads of state of Argentina

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