United Provinces of the Río de la Plata

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United Provinces of the Río de la Plata

United Provinces of the Río de la Plata, an early designation (from 1811 at the latest) for what later became the Argentine Confederation and later still the Argentine Republic. The terminology was suggestive of the United States model and thus of a federative relationship among the provinces that had comprised the Spanish viceroyalty of the same name. In practice, tension between Federalist and Unitarist tendencies thwarted all attempts at formal constitutional organization until 1853, when an enduring Argentine constitution was adopted.

A congress of the United Provinces, meeting at Tucumán, issued Argentina's declaration of independence on 9 July 1816. It did so in the name of the United Provinces of South America, suggesting some doubt as to the precise geographic scope of the union. There were deputies at Tucumán from what is now Bolivia, which had been part of the viceroyalty, though none from Paraguay and Uruguay, which had also belonged to the viceroyalty and whose de facto separation was not yet recognized by Argentine authorities. For most purposes the United Provinces amounted to the territory of present-day Argentina, which alone came under the more or less effective control of the governments that ruled in succession from Buenos Aires following the original May Revolution of 1810.

See alsoArgentina, Movements: Federalists; Argentina, Movements: Unitarists.


Tulio Halperín-Donghi, Politics, Economics, and Society in Argentina in the Revolutionary Period (1975), translated by Richard Southern (1975).

John Lynch, The Spanish American Revolutions, 1808–1826, 2d ed. (1986), chap. 2.

Additional Bibliography

Chiaramonte, José Carlos. Ciudades, provincias, estados: Orígenes de la Nación Argentina, 1800–1846. Buenos Aires: Compañía Editora Espasa Calpe Argentina/Ariel, 1997.

De la Fuente, Ariel. Children of Facundo: Caudillo and Gaucho Insurgency during the Argentine State-Formation Process (La Rioja, 1853–1870). Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2000.

                                      David Bushnell

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United Provinces of the Río de la Plata