In 1833, Great Britain occupied the Malvinas Islands (Falkland
The dictatorial regime of Rosas was overthrown in 1852 by a revolutionary
group led by General Justo Urquiza, a former governor of Entre Ríos
Province, who received assistance from Uruguay and Brazil. In 1853 a federal
constitution was adopted, and Urquiza became first president of the Argentine
Republic. Buenos Aires Province, refusing to adhere to the new constitution,
proclaimed independence in 1854. The mutual hostility of the two states
flared into war in 1859. The Argentine Republic won a quick victory in
this conflict, and in October 1859, Buenos Aires agreed to join the federation.
The province was, however, the center of another rebellion against the
central government in 1861. Headed by General Bartolome Mitre, the rebels
defeated the national army in September of that year. The president of
the republic resigned on November 5. In May of the next year a national
convention elected Mitre to the presidency and designated the city of Buenos
Aires as the national capital. With these events, Buenos Aires Province,
the wealthiest and most populous in the union, achieved temporary control
over the remainder of the nation.
Turmoil in Uruguay brought on a Paraguayan invasion of Argentine territory
in 1865, beginning the bloody War of the Triple Alliance, which ended in
complete victory for Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay in 1870. During the
next decade the conquest of the Pampas as far as the Río Negro was
completed, and the threat of hostile Native Americans from that direction
was eliminated. This so-called War of the Desert (1879-1880), directed
by General Julio A. Roca, opened up vast new areas for grazing and farming.
In 1880 Roca, who opposed the ascendency of Buenos Aires in national affairs,
was elected to the presidency. In the aftermath of his victory, the city
of Buenos Aires was separated from the province and established as a federal
district and national capital. A long-standing boundary dispute with Chile
was settled in 1881; through this agreement Argentina acquired the title
to the eastern half of Tierra del Fuego. In 1895 a boundary dispute with
Brazil was submitted to arbitration by the United States, which awarded
about 65,000 sq km (about 25,000 sq mi) of territory to Argentina. The
country became involved in a serious controversy with Chile regarding the
Patagonian frontier in 1899. This dispute was finally settled in 1902,
with Great Britain acting as arbitrator.
In the half century following 1880, Argentina made remarkable economic
and social progress. During the first decade of the 20th century the country
emerged as one of the leading nations of South America.