An ancient map of the United Provinces of the Rio de la Plata, published in 1826 in the United States, shows an interesting overview of the main features of the young nation. With reference to its history, makes an interesting and detailed account referred to the two British invasions, highlighting the courage of the citizens of a defenseless Buenos Aires against the huge invasion force. An authentic and high testimonial value!
…“Nothing of moment appears in the history of Buenos Ayres, until July, 1806, when the capital was taken by surprise by British Army under general Beresford which suddenly invaded the country. These troops proceeding from the Cape of Good Hope, found the country entirely defenseless, there been only handful of regular troops, and the militia being unarmed and undisciplined. The British enjoyed their triumph only a few weeks, when a small body of the militia under de command of General Liniers, a French officer, invested the city, and force them to surrender at discretion, on the 12th of August. Soon after the surrender of general Beresford’s army, another body of troops, in number about 5.000, arrived from the Cape of Good Hope, under sir Home Popham; who, after taking the Fort Maldonado and the mouth of La Plata, laid siege of Monte Video. The Spanish garrison made a resolute and glorious defense, and finally compelled the besiegers to withdraw disgracefully from the contest. Other troops arrived some time afterwards, under Sir Samuel Auchmuty, and the number of the British bearing a vast superiority over that of the garrison, another attempt was made, and the town was finally carried by storm, after a defense which reflects the highest honor upon its little garrison. It was now determined by the British commanders to proceed against Buenos Ayres, as soon as certain expected reinforcement arrived.
But what is important today is the attitude and determination of the inhabitants of the small urban settlement that served as the nascent Buenos Aires port facing a colossal invading force.
Almost 200 years after that unequal feat that seemed impossible, the Argentinians seem to be far from taking a more active and effective participation in the life of the country, leaving aside the lethargy, that hypnosis for the everyday life, by a society devoid of goals and aspirations for their future, and that of their children and grandchildren. The request of Ortega y Gasset of 1939, during his third visit to Argentina, Argentinians! Take actions!” should be resonating in the subconscious of locals. And he added “leave aside previous personal issues, those of suspicion, of narcissism. You cannot imagine the huge bounce that that action would give this country. That should happen the day that its men resolve once and for ever to, bravely face issues personally, deal with and worry about them directly instead of living on the defensive and having locked and paralyzed their spiritual powers, which are egregious, their curiosity, acumen, their mental clarity abducted by intimate complexes. A.
(Marta Bentolila, thanks for your help!)
Buenos Aires, Argentina. November 2013.