Esperanza Colony is a frontier settlement in Santa Fe Province, Argentina. Its population is about 36,000 (2001), and it covers approximately 289 square kilometers. Santa Fe was among the first Argentine provinces to attract European settlers to cultivate marginal public lands in frontier areas during the early national period. In 1856 Aarón Castellanos brought 840 colonists to establish a colony at Esperanza, 20 miles from the city of Sante Fe, capital of the province. During the first four years, very little was produced due to the lack of agricultural experience of the Swiss and Northern Italian colonists, whose hardships were exacerbated by drought, the visitation of locusts, Indian attacks, and intermittent warfare between political factions over national unification. Esperanza, San Carlos, and other early colonies settled by European immigrants grew wheat, for the most part, which helped satisfy the demand for flour by the burgeoning number of immigrants arriving in Rosario and Buenos Aires. After 1862 Esperanza thrived, expanded, and became a prototype for many successful agricultural colonies which played an important role in the economic development of Argentina. The area of Santa Fe settled by agricultural colonists became known as the pampa gringa because of the large number of northern Italian settlers. It remained noted for its agricultural innovation, and in 1979 it was named a permanent part of the National Festival of Agriculture and National Agricultural Worker Day.
William Perkins, Las colonias de Santa Fe: Su orígen, progreso, y actual situación (1964).
James R. Scobie, Revolution on the Pampas: A Social History of Argentine Wheat, 1860–1910 (1964).
Canas Bottos, Lorenzo. Christenvolk: Historia y etnografía de una colonia menonita. Buenos Aires: Antropofagia, 2005.
Gori, Gastón. Familias fundadoras de la colonia Esperanza. Santa Fe, Argentina: Librería y Editorial Colmegna, 1974.
Georgette Magassy Dorn