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A French Argentine (French: Franco-Argentin, Spanish: franco-argentino) is an Argentinemarker citizen of full or partial French ancestry. French Argentines form the third largest ancestry group after Italian Argentines and Spanish Argentines. Between 1857 and 1946, 261,020 French people immigrated to Argentina.Today around 6.8 million Argentines have some degree of French descent (up to 17% of the total population).

While Argentines of French descent make up a substantial percent of the Argentine population, they are less visible than other similarly-sized ethnic groups. This is due to the high degree of assimilation and the lack of substantial French colonies throughout the country.

French immigration to Argentina

Between 1857 and 1946 Argentina received 239,503 French immigrants - out of which 105,537 permanently settled in the country. Until 1976, 116,032 settled in Argentina. France was the third source of immigration to Argentina before 1890, constituting over 10% of immigrants, only surpassed by Italians and Spaniards. From 1890 to 1914, immigration from France, also reduced, still was significative.

Half of French immigrants came from southwestern France, especially from the Basque Country, Béarn (Basses-Pyrénéesmarker accounted for more than 20% of immigrants), Bigorre and Rouergue. Other important groups came from Savoy and the Parismarker region.

In 1810, Buenos Aires had a population of 28,528 inhabitants, including 13 French citizens. In 1839, it was estimated that 4,000 Frenchmen were living in the province of Buenos Aires, this figure increased to 12,000 in 1842 and to 25,000 in 1859. In 1861, 29,196 Frenchmen were registered in Argentina, including 14,180 living in the city of Buenos Aires where they represented the third largest foreign community and made up 7.5% of the population. In 1869, 32,383 Frenchmen lived in the country, or about 1.7% of the total population. In 1887, there were 20,031 Frenchmen living in Buenos Aires, 4.6% of the 433,421 inhabitants. In 1895, after the largest wave of French immigrants had settled in Argentina, they were 94,098, i.e. 2.3% of the total population (33,185 of them were living in the city of Buenos Aires where they represented the third largest foreign community and made up 4.9% of the population). Only the United States had a higher number of French expatriates, with over one hundred Frenchmen having immigrated there. At the turn of the century figures started to decrease as immigration from France declined and previously established immigrants merged within the population. It was estimated that 100,000 Frenchmen were living in Argentina in 1912, 67% of the 149,400 Frenchmen living in Latin America and the second largest community worldwide after the United States (125,000). In 1914, 79,491 Frenchmen were registered, accounting for 1% of the Argentine population.

In the 1960s, around 4,000 Pieds-Noirs immigrated to Argentina from the newly-independent Algeria.

Today it is estimated that up to 17% of Argentineans have partial French ancestry.

French Argentines formed a large portion of the elite of the country. In 1959 it was estimated that 7% of the upper-class of Buenos Aires was of French background, their ancestors having settled in the country between 1840 and 1880.

While found throughout the country, they are most numerous in Buenos Airesmarker, Santa Fe, Entre Ríos, Córdoba, Mendoza and Tucumánmarker provinces. According to the national census of 1895, 37.3% of Frenchmen settled in Argentina lived in the province of Buenos Airesmarker, 35.2% in the city of Buenos Airesmarker, 10.9% in Santa Fe and 5.1% in Entre Ríos.

French colonies in Argentina

In 1857, an immigrant from Béarn, Alejo Peyret, founded the first farming colony in Entre Ríos, San José. In 1864, out of 380 families living in San José, 125 were from Savoy.

The town of Pigüémarker, founded by 165 Occitan-speaking French immigrants from Rouergue in 1884, is considered a focal center of French culture in Argentina. It is estimated that 30% to 40% of Pigüé's modern inhabitants can trace their roots to Aveyronmarker and they still speak Occitan.

According to the 1869 census, a quarter of immigrants to the province of Mendoza were from France. In 1895, they made up 15% of immigrants of the province, right after Italians and Spaniards (26.1% and 17.3% respectively). Frenchmen were particularly numerous in the wine-producing departments of Maipú, Luján and in the French colony of San Rafael, founded by engineer Julio Gerónimo Balloffet.

In 1904, the governor of Tucumánmarker founded a town carrying his name, Villa Nougués, as a replica of Boutxmarker in Haute-Garonnemarker, a French village where his family traces its roots back to.

Legacy

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French immigration has left a significant mark on Argentina, with a notable influence on the arts, culture, science and society of the country. In particular, many emblematic buildings in cities like Buenos Airesmarker, Rosariomarker, and Córdobamarker were built following French Beaux Arts and neoclassical styles, such as the Argentine National Congress, the Metropolitan Cathedralmarker, or the Central Bank building. In particular, landscape architect Carlos Thays, in his position as 1891 Director of Parks and Walkways, is largely responsible for planting thousands of trees, creating the Buenos Aires Botanical Gardenmarker and giving the city much of its parks and plazas that are sometimes compared to similar designs in Parismarker.

Important contributions to the arts include the works of Eugène Py, considered the founding pioneer of Argentine cinema, as well as the development of new literary genres by writers like Paul Groussac or Julio Cortázar. In the field of science, two Argentine Nobel Prize laurates were of French descent, Bernardo Houssay, 1947 laurate in Medicine, and Luis Federico Leloir, 1970 laurate in Chemistry.

Argentine localities with French names

Buenos Aires Province



Córdoba Province



Corrientes Province



Entre Ríos Province



La Pampa Province



Misiones Province



Santa Cruz Province



Santa Fe Province



Tucumán Province



Figures

Yearly French immigration to Argentina from 1857 to 1897
Year French immigrants Total immigrants % French immigrants
1857 276 4,951 5.6%
1858 193 4,658 4.1%
1859 251 4,735 5.3%
1860 385 5,656 6.8%
1861 148 6,301 2.3%
1862 203 6,716 3%
1863 397 10,408 3.8%
1864 426 11,682 3.6%
1865 513 11,797 4.3%
1866 609 13,696 4.4%
1867 991 13,225 7.5%
1868 1,223 25,919 4.7%
1869 1,465 28,958 5%
1870 2,396 30,898 7.7%
1871 1,988 14,621 13.6%
1872 4,602 26,208 17.6%
1873 7,431 48,382 15.4%
1874 5,654 40,674 13.9%
1875 2,633 18,532 14.2%
1876 2,064 14,532 14.2%
1877 1,996 14,675 13.6%
1878 2,025 23,624 8.6%
1879 2,149 32,717 6.6%
1880 2,175 26,643 8.2%
1881 3,612 31,431 11.5%
1882 3,382 41,041 8.3%
1883 4,286 52,472 8.2%
1884 4,731 49,623 9.5%
1885 4,752 80,618 5.9%
1886 4,662 65,655 7.1%
1887 7,036 98,898 7.1%
1888 17,105 130,271 13.1%
1889 27,173 218,744 12.4%
1890 17,104 77,815 22%
1891 2,915 28,266 10.3%
1892 2,115 39,973 5.3%
1893 2,612 52,067 5%
1894 7,107 54,720 13%
1895 2,448 61,226 4%
1896 3,486 102,673 3.4%
1897 2,835 72,978 3.9%
Total 154,554 1,698,654 9.1%


French immigrants to Argentina from 1857 to 1909
Year period French immigrants Total immigrants % French immigrants
1857-1870 2,789 178,883 1.6%
1871-1890 126,560 1,107,201 11.4%
1891-1909 56,400 2,086,339 2.7%
Total 185,749 3,372,423 5.5%


French immigration to Argentina from 1857 to 1924
Entrances Departures Balance
226,894 120,258 106,623


French immigrants to Argentina from 1915 to 1953
Year period French immigrants
1915-1920 9,800
1921-1930 13,000
1931-1935 5,200
1936-1939 7,800
1944-1948 2,700
1949-1953 3,300


French immigration to Argentina from 1857 to 1946
Entrances Departures Balance
239,503 133,966 105,537


French net migration to Argentina from 1857 to 1976
Year period French immigrants
1857-1860 578
1861-1870 4,292
1871-1880 10,706
1881-1890 69,363
1891-1900 11,395
1901-1910 11,862
1911-1920 -1,352
1921-1930 739
1931-1940 626
1941-1950 5,538
1951-1960 934
1961-1970 1,266
1971-1976 85
Total 116,032


See also



References

  1. La République Argentine by Charles Beck-Bernard, page 205. "Au 31 décembre 1863, la colonie de San-José comptait 2211 habitants, formant 380 familles, dont 190 sont suisses, 125 savoisiennes, 54 piémontaises et 11 allemandes."
  2. El mes de Francia en la ciudad de Pigüé



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