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Italian settlement in Argentina

Italian Argentine is an Argentinian citizen of full or partial Italian ancestry. It is estimated that between 20 to 25 million [*] Argentines are of Italian descent (over 70% of the total population). The settlement of Italians to Argentina, began during the late nineteenth century, helped to change Argentina culturally, socially and politically. [*]


Italian immigration to Argentina began in the nineteenth century, just after Argentina won its independence from Spain. [*] There are many reasons why Italians immigrated to Argentina. For the Italians, Italy was suffering from economic problems caused mainly by the unification of the Italian states into one Italian nation. Italy was suffering from poverty, unemployment, overpopulation, and political turmoil. To many Italians, they saw Argentina (as well as the entire Americas) as their only way to escape the problems. To the Argentinian government, they welcomed the Italian immigrants.

The Argentinian government wanted to populate the country with the new lands they acquired from wars, like the Conquest of the Desert and War of the Triple Alliance, and to legitimize Argentine claims of those lands from its neighbors. Argentina needed labor for it growing industrial economy, and it needed farm labor. The Argentinian government also welcomed the immigrants for racial reasons, to many Argentinian politicians, they view the Indigenous and the Mestizo to be inferior and could not be trusted..La discriminacion en la discursividad social, por Mario Margulis, en Margulis (1998):17-37 This ideology forwards the idea that Argentina is a country populated by European immigrants "bajados de los barcos" (straight off the boat), frequently referred to as "our grandfathers", who founded a special type of "white" and European society that is not Latin-American. These politicians believed Argentina should be a White nation, and through their powers, opened the door for European Immigrants. To the Argentinian government and the Italian Immigrants, this was a situation that both groups benefited.

Italian Inmigration

The italian immigration was the most numerous and together with Spanish, formed the Argentine society of nowadays. Between 20 and 25 million Argentinians are Italian immigrants descendents [*], As a result of this the Argentine culture has an enormous connection with the Italian culture. The language, the customs, the tastes, the traditions, [*]. The arrival of Italians spreads even 1970, and is in 1870 when the immigrants' great flow begins.

Even though the Italians were coming from different parts of Italy, the emigrants of the south of this country - because of the deficient economic development - were those who massively came to the Argentina, though also there was very big the afflux of peasants proceeding from the north, principally of Piedmont, Lombardy and Friul. Many of the immigrants from the north of Italy established towns in the pampean region of the provinces of Santa Fe and Cordoba, as well as in the province of Mendoza being established like [[Economy of Argentina*La exploitation(development) of the land: stay vs. Chacra|chacareros]]. They also constituted the principal population quota in the foundation of Resistencia, that then would be the capital of Chaco.

Up to 1894 most of the Italian immigrants was coming from the north of Italy, principally of Liguria (then they one was in the habit of calling "bachichas" the Italians since between(among) them frequent age the name "Baciccia", that is to say: "Baptizer" in language zeneize), Piedmont and Lombardy, though after 1894 the afflux of Italians was fully from Mezzogiorno.
So by this way the Italians principally established in the Province of Buenos Aires and the City of Buenos Aires, and also in the Province of Santa Fe, Province of Entre Rios, Province of Cordoba, Province of Tucuman and the Province of La Pampa. Is it necessary to emphasize also that in Argentina, the italians are the second biggest collectivity of the world, after Germany

Censal Results

Causes of Emigration

The cause of Italian people emigration towards the Argentina were diverse:

The main cause was the first world war and the second world war, and the economic consequences in which the countries of Europe stayed after the same ones.

The weak capacity of adjustment of the Italian economy to the industrial revolution. The modernization did not manage to overcome structural problems of organization.

The crises of subsistence between 1816 and 1817.

The epidemics of cholera in the following periods: 1835-37; 1854-55; 1865-67; 1884-85.

The downswing of the welfare organs. The appearance of the middle class dismantles the same ones, reducing(pressing hard) the state budget. Due to this criminality increases, being expelled from the territory the Italians who "were not" "adapting" to the industrial system.

The monetary penuries arisen from the high tax rates and the usury. It was necessary that departs from the family was emigrating to obtain external earnings that were allowing to overcome the above mentioned penuries. It is because of it that many immigrants were sending part of their income to the family that had stayed in Italy to be able to raise the mortgages that were weighing on their lands.

The complex adjustment of the craftsmen to the industrial process. Before the inability to compete with the industry, they emigrate to support the form of production in still not developed countries that were valuing the "art". Many people were cobblers, tailors, workers of the leather, who were overcome by the industrial production.

Italian Influence

Argentina has more than 1,500,000 Italian speakers; this tongue is the second most spoken language in the nation. Italian immigration from the second half of the 19th century to the beginning of the 20th century made a lasting and significant impact on the pronunciation and vernacular of the nation's spoken Spanish, giving it an Italian flare. In fact, Italian has contributed so much to Rioplatense that many foreigners mistake it for Italian.


Preliminary research has shown that Rioplatense Spanish, and particularly the speech of the city of Buenos Aires, has intonation patterns that resemble those of Italian dialects, and differ markedly from the patterns of other Argentine forms of Spanish. [*] This correlates well with immigration patterns. Argentina, and particularly Buenos Aires, had huge numbers of Italian settlers since the 19th century.

According to a study conducted by National Scientific and Technical Research Council of Argentina, and published in Bilingualism: Language and Cognition (ISSN 1366-7289) [*] Buenos Aires residents speak with an intonation most closely resembling Neapolitan. The researchers note that this is relatively recent phenomenon, starting in the beginning of the 20th century with the main wave of Southern Italian immigration. Before that, the porteno accent was more similar to that of Spain, especially Andalusia. [*]


Much of Lunfardo arrived with European immigrants, such as Italians, Spanish, Greek, Portuguese, and Poles. It should be noted that most Italian and Spanish immigrants spoke their regional languages and dialects and not standard Italian or Spanish; other words arrived from the pampa by means of the gauchos; a small number originated in Argentina's native population.

Most sources believe that Lunfardo originated in jails, as a prisoner-only argot. Circa 1900, the word lunfardo itself (originally a deformation of lombardo in several Italian dialects) was used to mean "outlaw".

Lunfardo words are inserted in the normal flow of Rioplatense Spanish sentences. Thus, a Mexican reading tango lyrics will need, at most, the translation of a discrete set of words, and not a grammar guide.

Tango lyrics use lunfardo sparsely, but some songs employ lunfardo heavily. "Milonga Lunfarda" by Edmundo Rivero is an instructive and entertaining primer on lunfardo usage. [*]


Manyar - To know / to eat (from the Italian mangiare -to eat-)

Morfar - To eat (from French argot morfer -to eat-)

Laburar - To work (from Italian lavorare - to work-)

Algo voy a cerebrar - I'll think something up (cerebrar from cerebro -brains-)

Chochamu - Young man (vesre for muchacho)

Guri - Boy (from Guarani -boy-) Feminine: gurisa - girl. Plural: gurises - kids

Garpar - to pay with money (vesre for "pagar" which means to pay)

Gomias - Friends (vesre for amigos)

Trucho - False/Fake/Not Real

Fiaca - laziness (from the Italian fiacco -weak-)

Engrupir - To fool someone .

Junar - To look to / to know (from Calo junar -to hear-)

Pescar - To know (from the italian capire) -to know-).

Percanta - a woman


Between 1880 and 1900, Argentina received a large number of Italian immigrants, mostly poor country folk who arrived with little or no schooling in the Spanish language. As those immigrants strove to communicate with the local criollos, they produced a variable mixture of Spanish with Italian and Italian dialects, which was given the derogatory name cocoliche by the locals.

Italian proper never took hold in Argentina, especially because most immigrants used their local dialects. This prevented the development of an Italian-language culture. Since the children of the immigrants grew up speaking Spanish at school, work, and military service, Cocoliche remained confined mostly to the first generation immigrants, and slowly fell out of use. The pidgin was depicted humorously in literary works and in the Argentine sainete theater, e.g. by Dario Vittori.

See also


Demographics of Argentina

Spanish settlement in Argentina

German settlement in Argentina

Immigration in Argentina

Italian People


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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Italian settlement in Argentina

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