Bernardino Rivadavia

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Buenos Aires,
Birth Sign
Buenos Aires,

Bernardino Rivadavia served as Argentina’s first President from February 1826 to July 1827. Despite the fact that he is recognized as Argentina’s first president, when the country was known as the United Provinces of Rio de la Plata, his rule was only accepted in Buenos Aires. For more than half of his reign, there was no constitution, and he did not complete his mandate. As a leader, liberal historians lauded him for being a great historical figure. Additionally, he was convicted of Anglophillia. He attended the Royal College of San Carlos for a time but left before completing his studies. He was a member of the Argentine resistance to the British invasion and the May Revolution movement as a young man. As a staunch supporter of the movement for independence from Spain, he was instrumental in organizing the militia, disbanding the Spanish courts, and decensoring the press. He then spent several years in Europe. Upon his return, he became even more involved in Argentina’s politics, eventually becoming President. He implemented several reforms to improve education and culture while in this position, though his rule was marred by political chaos.

Childhood & Adolescence

Bernardino de la Trinidad González Rivadavia was born in Buenos Aires on May 20, 1780. He was the fourth son of wealthy Spanish lawyer Benito Bernardino González de Rivadavia and his wife Mara Josefa de Jess Rodrguez de Rivadeneyra. At the time of his birth, Buenos Aires was a colonial outpost of Spain.
He developed into a self-sufficient young man and was an early advocate for independence from Spanish rule. He studied for a time at the Royal College of San Carlos but left before completing his studies.

He was a prominent figure in the resistance to the British invasion of 1806 and in the 1810 May Revolution movement.

Later Decades of Bernardino Rivadavia

Bernardino Rivadavia quickly rose to prominence as a leader of Argentina’s independence movement. In 1811, as a member of the governing triumvirate, he was appointed Secretary of the Treasury and Secretary of War.

He was instrumental in bringing about several reforms during his tenure in this position. He was instrumental in organizing the militia, disbanding the Spanish courts, decensoring the press, and putting an end to the slave trade.

However, the triumvirate did not last long. By 1814, Spain’s King Ferdinand VII had reclaimed the throne and initiated the Absolutist Restoration. In response to this political development, Supreme Director Gervasio Posadas dispatched Rivadavia and Manuel Belgrano to Europe to solicit support from Spain and Britain for the United Provinces of La Plata, Argentina’s original provinces.

He also visited Spain, the United Kingdom, and France while in Europe. He stayed in Europe for six years, during which time he witnessed the Industrial Revolution’s growth and the rise of Romanticism. Additionally, he was exposed to the views of thinkers such as Bentham, Adam Smith, Jovellanos, and Campomanes during this sojourn.

In 1820, Rivadavia returned to Buenos Aires. Governor Martn Rodrguez appointed Rivadavia a minister in his government in 1821. He toiled for five years in this position, promoting a constitutional government consistent with European liberal ideologies.

He placed a premium on education and infrastructure development in the city of Buenos Aires. He established numerous educational institutions, including the University of Buenos Aires, and established the continent’s first natural science museum.

Rivadavia was elected Argentina’s first President in 1826. He continued his efforts to advance the city’s cultural development by establishing numerous museums and expanding the national library.

He instituted numerous reforms that were influenced by his travels throughout Europe. He established a Parliament and a court system, guaranteed the right to vote to all males over the age of 20, ensured press freedom, and protected individual and property rights.

However, his efforts to promote immigration were unsuccessful, as was his land reform program. Additionally, he incurred the church’s wrath by abolishing ecclesiastical courts.

He became president during a particularly turbulent period in Argentina’s political history. The ongoing conflict with Brazil over territory in modern Uruguay depleted the government’s resources, engendering widespread resentment among the populace.

After being forced to resign in June 1827, he fled to Europe in 1829. In 1834, he returned to Argentina but was immediately sentenced to exile once more. He then traveled to Spain following his time in Brazil.

Significant Works of Bernardino Rivadavia

Bernardino Rivadavia has received widespread praise for his cultural initiatives and efforts to improve Buenos Aires’ education system. He founded the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina’s largest university, as well as several other educational and cultural institutions. Additionally, he is credited with the construction of the Bernardino Rivadavia Natural Sciences Museum.

Personal History and Legacies

In 1809, he married Juana del Pino y Vera Mujica, the daughter of Joaqun del Pino, viceroy of the Ro de la Plata. The couple was blessed with four children.

He died in exile in Spain on September 2, 1845. He was 65 years old.

Estimated Net Worth

The Estimated Net Worth of Bernardino Rivadavia is unknown.