Argentines and Foreigners

Argentines and Foreigners

From the middle of the century. XIX to date, Argentina is one of the main immigration countries, therefore the number of foreigners in relation to that of nationals is high as is not the case in any European country. The social, political and economic conditions are the most suitable for attracting many foreigners, who find in the institutions the most liberal spirit imaginable. In fact, the constitution, in the preamble, categorically states that it establishes the benefits “for us, for our posterity and for all the men of the world who want to inhabit Argentine soil”. The art. 14 which enumerates the rights, speaks of residents and not citizens. The art. 20 is even more explicit: “Foreigners enjoy all the civil rights of citizens in the territory of the nation; they can exercise their industry, their trade and profession; owning stable assets, buying and selling them; navigate rivers and coasts; freely profess their worship; test and marry in accordance with the law. ”

Here is the number and proportion of the residents according to birth:

The three censuses prove the truly grandiose absolute increase and at the same time the relative one. Now the proportion of foreigners has decreased due to the stopping of the immigration stream for several years; but the change is not substantial. The following table shows the number of the most numerous foreign communities, according to the three censuses:

If any nationality has no indication in the first two censuses it is because these did not make the complete classification, but only indicated the most numerous. These figures are remarkable in many respects; for example, Italians and Spaniards add up to 1,759,564, and since foreigners are 2,357,952, all other nationalities only reach 598,388 individuals. The Swiss had a small decrease in the last census; however, a notable change, in this sense, was given by the French, who also decreased relatively, since, from the third place reached in the first censuses, they dropped to fifth in 1914. Instead, other nationalities have made extraordinary progress, real leaps, such as the Russians and the Ottomans; it should be borne in mind, however, that those who the census qualify as Russians, they are mostly Poles and Jews, who continue to immigrate in large numbers. The ancient structure of the borders made people from the Turkish Empire call Ottomans, but for the most part they were born in Syria. Despite the changes recorded in the last decades, the population of foreign origin continues to be almost all Latin.

Regarding the geographical distribution of foreigners, according to origin, in the attached map it is immediately seen that Americans (Uruguayans, Brazilians, Paraguayans, Bolivians and Chilenians) predominate near the relative border, and this is easily explained; the Chilenis have always been very numerous in the Andean area, particularly in Patagonia, where there has even been talk of the Chilenization of the region, but the Argentine population is making progress and the national character will eventually prevail. It is remarkable the expansion of the Spaniards who predominate in extensive regions, from the north to the extreme south. The Italians seem to be of lesser importance, because they seem confined to the coastal and central zone, but this is only apparent, since they are found numerous a little everywhere, while they predominate in the more densely inhabited regions.

The attached map, drawn on the basis of the calculations made on the figures of the third census, gives a good idea of ​​the percentage ratios between foreigners and nationals in the various provinces. Foreigners are numerous in regions of recent occupation and economic development, such as Chaco and Patagonia, where large areas give more than 50%; however a high percentage and the greatest absolute number of foreigners are found in the most inhabited region, that is, in the Pampean area, which corresponds to the most intense life in the country for agriculture, livestock, industry and trade. The “no. and a part of the center are rather populated by nationals, foreigners are few both in absolute numbers and in percentage. The province of Mendoza is an exception, despite being so far from the ocean this is due to its great economic development. The only region without foreigners is a small department of Formosa, on the far northern border, but, in truth, there is almost nothing even the national population.

The city of Buenos Aires had 49% of foreigners, the province of Buenos Aires 34%, that of Santa Fe had 35%; the department of San Sebastián was the most notable as it surpassed 88% by a fraction in Santa Cruz, the departments of Río Gallegos and San Julián had 68% and 71% of them, and at 67% the percentage of the whole quoted territory increased.

If we consider that foreigners have a higher percentage of adults than Argentines, in certain regions foreigners are practically more numerous also with regard to possible work.

The country is a large field of assimilation; it is undeniable that foreigners have made their influence felt, and this continues to come true, but it is also true that Argentina is rapidly and intensively assimilating the foreign population; it does not take many years to appropriate local customs and ideas and feels affection for the hospitable country grow and grow. The lack of prejudices and privileges and the Latin character of the nation and of almost all the immigrants, mean that strong ties of blood and interests are tightening both between the different lineages of foreigners and between them and the nationals.

The children of foreigners are Argentines by law and by sentiment, and there is no lack of immigrants who have an affection for Argentina no less lively than that of nationals. Liberality in social relations is combined with that of laws and thus explains the fact that strong closed nuclei of foreigners have not formed which retain in Argentina the almost intact character of their country of origin: language, customs, interests, everything tends to conform.

The second part of art. 20 of the constitution says that “foreigners are not obliged to apply for citizenship, nor to pay extraordinary forced contributions. They obtain citizenship by residing for two continuous years in the nation; but the authority can decrease this term in favor of those who ask for it, invoking and proving to have rendered some service to the republic “. The art. 21, after speaking of the duty of citizens to arm themselves to defend their homeland, says that “citizens by naturalization are free to provide this service or not for ten years, counted from the day they obtain citizenship”.

The second census recorded only 1,638 foreigners who had obtained Argentine citizenship, or 2.3 per thousand males; the 1914 census marks progress; in fact there were then 33,219 naturalized persons, that is 22.5 for every 1000 foreigners.

Immigration is more male than female and this fact means that in Argentina there are more men than women. The three censuses cited illustrate the trend of this fact.

The first census, with such a small proportion of men, is an eloquent index of the influence that the long period of wars and riots had on the population; from 1869 onwards the bloody fights are gradually decreasing, until they disappear completely, so that Argentine males increase in proportion until they almost reach the number of women. Alongside this increase we have the corresponding and symptomatic decrease in foreign males, although their proportion is always much higher than that of women, for very explainable reasons. Why are foreign males decreasing, from the 1st to the 3rd census? Because at the date of 1869, the country had not yet reached a political and social order that would facilitate female immigration; that was the first period of the great immigration which, you know, it is predominantly male. The explanation of the third arises from the comparison of the first two columns. For Argentina 1997, please check

The following table gives the proportion per 1000 of the male and female population, divided by provinces, according to the three latest censuses:

The coastal area clearly presents the phenomenon of male prevalence; inland provinces, such as Córdoba and Mendoza, which have numerous foreigners, are found in the same case, particularly since the influence of immigration was noted. On the other hand, La Rioja and Catamarca, which have a strong emigration, have a higher proportion of women.

The third census presents these absolute figures: Argentine males 2,753,214, females 2,774,071; male foreigners 1,473,809, females 884,143; total males 4,227,023, females 3,658,214. In some national territories, the difference is very considerable, particularly in the less safe areas and where the social and economic structure is more favorable to the life of males. For example, La Pampa, out of 58,120 males, counts 43,318 females; Río Negro against 25,244 males has 16,998 females; Chubut 14,522 males and 8,543 females; Santa Cruz 7,111 males and 2,837 females; Tierra del Fuego 2,130 males and only 374 females.

A clear demonstration of the influence of certain foreign currents can be found in the case of the Ottomans who, in 1914, out of a total of 64,369 people gave 52,194 men and only 12,175 women.

The majority of the population, national and foreign, is Catholic. The preamble of the constitution ends by invoking “the protection of God, the source of all reason and justice”. Article 2 is explicit: “The federal government supports the Roman Catholic apostolic cult”. To be elected president or vice-president of the republic it is necessary “to belong to the Roman Catholic apostolic communion” (art. 76), and one must swear in the name of God and on the Gospel (art. 80).

For the constitution and in practice, the most complete freedom of worship exists; several sects or institutions make public propaganda. Thousands of Protestants have existed for many years, particularly among the English and their descendants. In recent times, numerous Jews have appeared, mostly from Poland and Russia, who have settled especially in the city of Buenos Aires, in La Pampa and in the provinces of Entre Ríos and Buenos Aires.

The official language is Spanish which is spoken well or badly even by foreigners; they almost all retain their language or their dialect, and literary or dialectal Italian is heard frequently and is easily understood by the residents of the immigration area (in a district of the capital, in Boca, Genoese was for a long time time the current language). But the foreign language is hardly transmitted until the second or third generation

Furthermore, the indigenous remains speak this or that language precisely of imminent disappearance; however, Quechúa has deep roots in Santiago del Estero and Guarani is very common in northern Mesopotamia.

Argentines and Foreigners

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