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Bernardino de la Trinidad G√≥nzalez Rivadavia y Rivadavia (May 20, 1780 ‚Äď September 2, 1845) was the first president of Argentinamarker, from February 8 1826 to July 7 1827.

Early life

Rivadavia was born in Buenos Airesmarker in 1780. In 1809 he married with Juana del Pino y Vera, daughter of the viceroy of the Río de la Platamarker, Joaquín del Pino.


Rivadavia 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 Spainmarker, and organizing an army.

Rivadavia was later sent to Europe to improve Argentine relations with Britain and Spainmarker. He returned six years later, in May 1821.

In June 1821, 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 Airesmarker 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 Airesmarker, as well as the Theater, Geology, and Medicine Academies and the continent's first museum of natural sciencemarker.

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 Brazilmarker over territory in modern Uruguaymarker 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.

See also

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, 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)


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