views updated


Corrientes, capital city of the province of the same name in Argentina. With 339,067 inhabitants (2005), it is located on the eastern bank of the Paraná River south of the confluence with the Paraguay River. The settlement was founded by Spanish scouts from Asunción, Juan Torres de Vera y Aragón and Alonso de Vera y Aragón, on 3 April 1588 and was given the name San Juan de Vera de las Siete Corrientes, indicating the number of streams that converge into the Paraná River. The purpose of this outpost was to secure the southern edge of the Paraguayan governance from Indian attacks and facilitate communications between Asunción and Santa María del Buen Aire (now Buenos Aires). The development of the settlement was not easy: not only did the city have to fight off the fierce Guaraní Indians, but it was also a favorite raiding post of Brazilian slave hunters (bandeirantes), not to speak of its frictions with the authorities of both Asunción and Buenos Aires. In 1782 Corrientes became an integral part of the Intendancy of Buenos Aires, but during the struggle for independence it was a bone of contention among independents from Uruguay, federalists from Buenos Aires, and annexists from Paraguay. Not until 1852 did Corrientes become a full-fledged Argentine province.

The city of Corrientes is mainly a service hub for the agricultural hinterland, which focuses on the production of beef and the cultivation of cotton, tobacco, rice, and yerba maté. Until recent times Corrientes exported timber products, among them quebracho wood, which was shipped on ocean vessels expressly equipped to reach the fluvial port of Corrientes. The city is the center of a cultural region known as El Litoral (The Riverfront), famed for its indigenous musical folklore (the chamamé), and its inhabitants proudly call themselves correntinos. Decay of the traditional agrarian activities in the province led to massive migration downriver to the industrial cities of Rosario and Buenos Aires.

See alsoArgentina, Geography .


Cristina M. Sonsogni, La población de la ciudad de Corrientes a mediados del siglo XIX (Corrientes, 1980).

James R. Scobie, Secondary Cities of Argentina: The Social History of Corrientes, Salta, and Mendoza, 1850–1910 (1988).

Additional Bibliography

Bolsi, Alfredo S. C.; Foschiatti de dell'Orto, Ana María H. La población de la ciudad de Corrientes entre 1588 y 1980. Publication: Buenos Aires: Academia Nacional de Geografía, 1995.

Covalova, Adriana and Adriano Nalda. La alta burguesía urbana de Corrientes en las primeras décadas del siglo XX: Un exponente, Adriano Nalda. La Plata: Ediciones Al Margen, 2003.

Salinas, María Laura Los indios de encomienda en Corrientes y Santa Fe: La visita del oidor Garabito de León (1650–1653). Resistencia: Instituto de Investigaciones Geohistóricas, Conicet, 1999.

Whigham, Thomas. The Politics of River Trade: Tradition and Development in the Upper Plata, 1780–1870. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1991.

                                       CÉsar N. Caviedes