« Aretius, Benedictus Argentina Arianism »

Argentina

ARGENTINA: A South American republic, bounded on the north by Bolivia and Paraguay, on the east by Paraguay, Brazil, Uruguay, and the Atlantic Ocean, on the south by the Atlantic, and on the west by the Andes, which separate it from Chile. It is divided into fourteen provinces and nine territories (gobernaciones), and has an area of 1,125,100 square miles and a population of about 4,200,000. The capital is Buenos Ayres (permanently founded, 1580). The republic had its origin in a struggle against Spain which broke out in 1810 and was an outcome of the Napoleonic interference in the mother country. The constitutive assembly was replaced in 1818 by a constitution, although the war with Spain did not end until 1824. This constitution, as amended in 1860, provides for a congress of two chambers, the Senate and the Deputies, and each province has also an elected assembly for its own government.

The constitution declares the state religion to be Roman Catholic and requires the president or his substitute to be of that faith, but establishes the right of governmental exequatur for all papal mandates, and grants other creeds the free exercise of their religion. The hierarchic organization of the Roman Catholic Church naturally began soon after the Spanish conquest, but did not receive its present form until 1865. The archbishop of Buenos Ayres, which was an episcopal see as early as 1582, has the capital under his control, which contains nearly 800,000 inhabitants. The suffragan bishopric are those of Paraguay (founded 1547), Cordoba (1570), Salta (1806), San Juan de Cuyo (1834), Parang (1859), La Plata (1897), Santa Fé (1897), and Tucuman (1897). Cordoba, the first city of the country to have a cathedral, is also the richest in religious buildings.

In 1884 a Vicar-Apostolic of Carmen de Patagones was appointed with jurisdiction over southern Argentina and northern Patagonia. He draws his priests from the Salesians, as does also the apostolic prefecture for southern Patagonia, erected in 1883. Throughout Patagonia an active missionary propaganda is carried on among the aborigines, of whom some 30,000 are estimated to be unbaptized.

Although almost half the inhabitants of Argentina are either immigrants or the children of immigrants, and come from the most varied countries of Europe, the great majority of these newcomers belong to the Roman Catholic Church, on account of the predominance of Italians (about 500,000), Spaniards (about 200,000), and Roman Catholic Swiss. For decades the latter have flocked in great numbers to northern Argentina. The relatively small number of Protestants in the republic is estimated at about 33,000. Of these between 23,000 and 24,000 belong to the German Synod of La Plata, 278 which also includes the Evangelicals of Paraguay and Uruguay. To them must be added a group of congregations of the Swiss Reformed, the Anglican Church (with a number of places of worship in Buenos Ayres), and North American Presbyterians, who are most numerous in the capital, as well as in Rosario and Bahia Blanca.

Education is under the control of the State by a law of 1868, and the number of public schools, which has steadily increased, is now 3,400, in addition to parochial schools. The high schools consist of sixteen “lyceums,” and there are likewise two universities, of which that at Cordoba is the more distinguished.

Wilhelm Goetz.

Bibliography: A. Turner, Argentina and the Argentines, New York, 1892; Comte A. de Gubernatis, L’Argentina, Florence, 1898; Annuario de la dirección general de estadistica, Buenos Ayres, 1899; C. Wiener, La République Argentine, Paris, 1899; Encyclopedia Britannica, Supplement, s.v.

« Aretius, Benedictus Argentina Arianism »
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