Had Argentina Been Anglophone, Would It Have Been More Prosperous & Populous Today? (ctd.)

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by dovibear, Nov 22, 2018.

Loading...
  1. dovibear Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2013
    Location:
    Montreal
    I want to comment on some posts from a thread from almost two years ago, found here: https://www.alternatehistory.com/fo...en-more-prosperous-and-populous-today.409100/. But there's a rule against replying to threads over 1 year old, so I'm starting a new thread here. In this new thread, I'm making a series of posts commenting on some posts from the older thread. The first post is here.

    It's just on the surface that Argentina (along with Uruguay) was as wealthy per capita and as democratic as Western European countries or even the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. It's also just on the surface that it was because of the coups, juntas, etc. from 1930 that made Argentina go on its downward slide. The truth is much more complicated than that. And no, it's not just that Argentina had an unequal land distribution such that the wealthy landowning class controlled much of the land, and it's not just that Argentina had a corrupt political culture less conducive to long-term economic development than in many Western European and Anglo countries. One also has to consider the following factors:

    1) From independence in the 1810s to roughly 1865, there was an interminable series of devastating civil wars. That put the brakes on serious economic development (plus at least a semblance of democracy) until 1865 or so. That period for Argentina was more like from 1930 to the present day than like between 1865 and 1930, in that there was lots of chaos and tension one way or another. Nothing like it existed in the Anglo countries in the 19th/20th centuries, except for the American Civil War (which was only for a few years). Western Europe did experience some devastating wars in the later 19th and 20th centuries, but economic development wasn't impacted on quite as long or continuous a basis.

    2) The apparent prosperity that Argentina enjoyed was mainly limited to Buenos Aires as well as the rest of the Pampas/Littoral. This was where European immigrants flocked to and this was where modern agriculture took hold. Other parts of Argentina (aka the interior) just didn't enjoy that sort of prosperity and it has been more stereotypically Latin American in economic development. Many people from the interior have exerted great influence on Argentine affairs as a whole, whether we're talking about various politicians from there (e.g. the younger Uriburu, who instigated the 1930 coup) or the many poor immigrants from the interior who moved to Buenos Aires and other major cities in the Pampas/Littoral.

    In my opinion, a formal British presence in Argentina would have made a huge difference in butterflying away the 19th century civil wars, the 1930 coup, Peronism, etc. As some posters have already said, the British political culture and approach to economic development (at least for an area like Argentina that's conducive to large-scale European agriculture/development) does a much better job than the Spanish legacy. Also, over time, such a presence would have moderated - if not eliminated - the gap between Buenos Aires and the interior.
     
  2. dovibear Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2013
    Location:
    Montreal
    I see British Argentina (which includes Uruguay) on the whole as resembling Quebec or South Africa with regard to bilingualism/biculturalism of the "white tribes". Patagonia and the southern Pampas, though, become mostly Anglophone, just like Australia/New Zealand, Canada outside Quebec, and the white population of Natal. It should be noted that the Spanish-speaking population of a British Argentina wouldn't only be from old-stock Spaniards, but also from turn-of-the-20th-century Spanish and especially Italian immigrants (Italians assimilating easily due to language and religion), who arrive in numbers almost as big as OTL. Those immigrants would reinforce the Spanish-speaking character of British Argentina as a whole, even as immigrants from many other groups assimilate into English.
     
    Adamant, Ameck16, Krishna123 and 10 others like this.
  3. dovibear Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2013
    Location:
    Montreal
    Not too many British troops would have to be removed from the Peninsular War in order to fight in the River Plate area. IOTL, there were a lot more British troops fighting in the Peninsular War than in the River Plate, and a small number of additional British troops wouldn't make a big difference in the Peninsular War most likely.

    In terms of Argentine opposition, one must bear in mind that in Quebec City in 1759, the British were nearly defeated. Even in the lead-up to the Battle of the Plains of Abraham, French troops did quite well before the tide turned towards the British; in the spring of 1760, a number of months after the Plains of Abraham, French troops were victorious over the British at a skirmish, though by then the British had won the war as a whole. So too, it's not inevitable that Argentine opposition to the British must always lead to British defeat and criollo victory - even IOTL, just look at the British victory at Montevideo in February 1807. ATL, the possibilities in favour of the British could be much more extensive, despite fierce Argentine opposition. Of course, so far as I know, the French in Quebec weren't dreaming of independence from France quite just yet.

    A prime motivation for Britain gaining control over India was precisely trade. If Britain had controlled the River Plate and beyond, a prime motivation would have been trade in kind of a similar way to India. Another motivation would have been for the Royal Navy to acquire some more naval bases in the southwest Atlantic, with Montevideo (with a much better natural harbour than Buenos Aires and already a naval base under the Spanish) being a prime candidate.

    I'm sure that over time, when feelings of alienation by the rest of South America aren't as fresh, Britain would have started and maintained an "informal empire" in South America beyond the River Plate area and what not.

    Not necessarily, as by the early 1800s Spain is too enfeebled to demand territory back.
     
  4. dovibear Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2013
    Location:
    Montreal
    Seems to me that Britain could keep the Banda Oriental/Uruguay as a colony and make Buenos Aires an independent protectorate within 1-2 years at most after 1807. (Not just because Buenos Aires is bigger and even more strongly defended than Montevideo and has less strategic importance, but also because IOTL the British prevaricated between conquering the area and emancipating the area for independence, and this is a good compromise.) Portugal and Britain could agree to a common border at more or less the OTL Uruguayan-Brazilian border without fighting each other, as they're allies. In the Uruguayan countryside in the early 1810s, Artigas and his forces are chased out by the British (as well as perhaps the Portuguese), ending up first in Entre Rios and then in Corrientes/Paraguay (cf. the Boer Trek). Britain soon thereafter annexes Entre Rios and makes that into a British colony.

    Starting in the 1820s-1830s, the British establish a colony in the south of OTL Buenos Aires Province (e.g. around OTL Bahia Blanca), and over the subsequent decades the British consolidate their claims in Patagonia and Fireland (Tierra del Fuego), even taking over most of OTL Chilean Patagonia, and promote settlement. Also, due to changed circumstances of various sorts and because possession of Buenos Aires remains a British ideal for the region, Britain directly takes over Buenos Aires (plus Santa Fe and what not) sometime in the 1840s, and eventually it annexes first the independent republic of Cordoba and then the independent republics of Cuyo (e.g. Mendoza) and Tucuman - along with Corrientes - for various reasons. (The independent republic of Salta remains as such to this day, serving as a buffer state between Argentina and Bolivia; Paraguay - including areas IOTL lost to Brazil after 1870 but excluding the Chaco - also remains independent.) The Chaco gets more or less evenly divided between Argentina and Bolivia, and Missions (Misiones) also gets annexed to Argentina. Argentina as a "white dominion" is federated in the mid- to late-1870s and at least eventually incorporates all the above British colonies/protectorates.

    As for the cotton, I don't necessarily think that the British would have imported indentured labour from India; they probably would have used local labour, of course depending on a lot of factors, economic and otherwise. I don't associate the cotton-growing area of northern Argentina and Paraguay with any specific ethnicity like I associate part of coffee-growing in Sao Paulo state in Brazil with the Japanese (on top of Italians and so forth) or the sugar-growing areas in Guyana, Trinidad, Mauritius, Natal, and Fiji with Asian Indians. It all boils down to whether local labour is available plus willing to work in backbreaking work like that.
     
  5. Lenwe Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2015
    Location:
    Santiago
    No, Next question?
     
  6. Mitchell Hundred Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2010
    I've always been suspicious of the supposed wealth claims of Argentina in the early half of the 20th century.

    I'm not sure the stats or the actuality for the people was that the standards of living (not just nominal national wealth) was equal or even above that of the US, Canada, Australia etc.
     
  7. Fernando III Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2017
    Argentina´s economy just like the economy of Canada, Australia and New Zeland is based on commodities. The difference is that the commodities that Australia and Canada have are on the rise (coal,oil,uranium,lithium,aluminum,bauxite and iron) while the commodities that fueled the Argentinian economy were depreciated a lot (beef and grain). This situation might change in the near future when Argentinian lithium (they have the biggest reservoirs on the planet) starts to get extracted and the caloric deficit of overpopulated countries like Egypt or east asian countries starts to get bigger and the demand for food increases.
    Now New Zeland is an interesting example to compare to Argentina. It is the poorest WASP country due their lack of commodities but they are still much more developed and wealthier than Argentina and their cousin Uruguay. On the 80s when the price of agricultural commodities plummeted and New Zeland was on the brick of bankruptcy everyone thought that the country was going to collapse but some sharp fiscal reforms that made the country more attractive to foreign investment managed to change this and New Zeland avoided is process of "Argentinatation". The New Zeland/ Argentina (Uruguay) dichotomy shows that bad policies can harm a country much more than whih country colonized which.
    I still firmly believe that if Argentina and Uruguay manage to have some stability they are going to be very prosperous countries due the shift on demands of resources that they posses (agricultural commodities) as the countries that grow the most tend to have the least arable land on the planet while Argentina has the capacity to currently feed 400 million people
     
  8. interpoltomo please don't do coke in the bathroom Kicked

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2007
    No.
     
  9. King of the Uzbeks Charles Curtis is my Baby Daddy

    Joined:
    May 28, 2013
    Location:
    Not-Tashkent (sadly)
    No
     
  10. BlondieBC Kaiser of Ozarks

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2011
    Location:
    Arkansas
    Argentina was in Great Shape coming out of WW1. Seems like great shape out of WW2. Then the government squander the wealth. Hard to show that somehow Anglo politicians will fix this pattern.
     
  11. interpoltomo please don't do coke in the bathroom Kicked

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2007
    "In 1946, Platte's labor party won it's first ministry. John Peterson, the firebrand populist and leader of the party's equivelant to the wing of Labor in Britain proper led by Tony Benn ushered in an era of incoherent "Populist" aka "Just" economics that turned the nation from being a clearly developed in 1945 to having a similar stand of living to it's neighbors Chile and Uruguay by the 1990s..."
     
    John I of Brazil and rfmcdonald like this.
  12. dovibear Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2013
    Location:
    Montreal
    (Also in reaction to the following thread: https://www.alternatehistory.com/fo...c-g7-member-argentina-with-a-1928-pod.409097/)

    Had Argentina not gone through a 1930 coup, let alone Peron a decade or two later (with his incredibly stupid policies), or alternatively did go through a 1930 coup but not Peron, it would be moderately better off politically and economically, on the level of Uruguay, Chile, or Costa Rica, or perhaps Greece or Portugal, or (if lucky) Spain or Italy. But the broader political and social conditions would have been more or less the same. One thing to understand, also, is that Spain, Italy, etc. got to where they are today due to outside intervention - e.g. the WWII Allies, NATO, the European Community/Union - which Argentina didn't have so much of. And compared to Uruguay, Costa Rica, or even Chile, Argentina has been bigger and thus more resistant to outside pressure to improve its political conditions.

    In my opinion, the policies that different countries make are at least partially a reflection of their cultural/colonial heritage, but of course that's not the complete story.

    I still think that a British Argentina would have been even better off than an Argentina with its OTL cultural heritage but smarter policies, which in turn would have been better off than OTL Argentina.
     
    John I of Brazil likes this.
  13. Lenwe Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2015
    Location:
    Santiago
    The principal problem I have with these type of Threads, is assuming that the English Colonial period in Argentinian Will not be Exploitative and resource extraction drives as was in other parts of the World, and then to think that Argentinian will more clearly reflect the USA/Canada/Australia/New Zealand colonial pattern, and not the more exploitative and resource extraction driven that was the case in Ireland/Jamaica/South Africa/Nigeria/Egypt/Kenya/British Raj/Iraq Pattern.

    There is little that make me believe Argentina will reflect the first pattern and not the Second Pattern. The Country it´s ideal to maintain the more exploitative resource driven pattern, than the other countries.

    The people tend toe think the English colonial system as the Best examples where their colonial policy was successful, and not, the majority of case were their colonial policy was a disasters that still plague the current independent born from the Empire
     
  14. funnyhat Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 27, 2013
    Nitpicking but the battle of Sainte-Foy was more than a skirmish : it was actually a larger battle than the Plains of Abraham the previous year. The war was not yet decided at that point ; the French beseiged the British at Québec afterwards. But lacking naval support they had to withdraw. The British then attacked Montréal from three directions and forced a surrender which effectively ended the war.
     
    Dan1988 likes this.
  15. Indicus Raganus Indicum

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2014
    Location:
    Torontum, Ontarium Minor, Imperium Romanum
    The British Empire has a very bad record when it comes to "uplifting" the natives. Look at Pakistan, look at Kenya, etc.. Make no doubt about it, Argentina would not be a settler colony but a resource colony. I imagine it actually would go worse than OTL, though note that IOTL, until the 1930s, it was about as successful as, and had a similar economy to, Australia.
     
  16. Soverihn Proud Tribalist

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2012
    Location:
    Cibao Wilayet, Caliphate of Quisqueya
    No but now I want to see a timeline where Australia, Canada, and New Zealand enter a bust cycle that leads to a cycle of coups and economic chaos.
     
  17. dovibear Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2013
    Location:
    Montreal
    Most probably, British Argentina would be a cross between the US/Canada/Australia/New Zealand colonial pattern and the South African colonial pattern, which in turn is a cross between the North America/Australasia pattern and that of British Africa (e.g. Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya), India, etc. In other words, British Argentina - at most - might be a quarter of the way between North America/Australasia and British Africa or India.

    One thing that posters like Lenwe and Indicus and many others seem to forget is that Argentina is, just like North America or Australasia, mostly in the temperate and not tropical zone, and hence much more suitable for European-style rather than tropical plantation-style agriculture. (At the very least, the Pampas/Littoral and Patagonia.) On top of that, again just like North America and Australasia, Argentina was empty before modern times except thinly populated and scattered native tribes. Whereas Ireland as well as India and much of Africa already had larger and more settled native populations. The only reason why I'm saying that Argentina is just off the North American/Australasian pattern is because it already has a large European but non-British population (much larger than in Quebec or the Cape), and in the case of the northwest, also kind of large concentrations of mestizos/Indians. (Whereas South Africa not only has a large Afrikaner/Boer population but an even larger native black population on top of it all throughout, which is why British Argentina's just off the South African pattern also.)

    In sum, I see British Argentina as much more settler-driven than exploitative on the whole, more than South Africa - let alone elsewhere in the British Empire - but perhaps a tad less than the US, Canada, Australia, or New Zealand.
     
  18. rfmcdonald Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2012
    Location:
    Toronto
    I would point out that the introduction of foreign colonial rule in Argentina at the same time that the rest of Spanish America is free, and the introduction of a presumably notable Anglophones/Protestant minority that might be a majority in some parts of the country, will add a destabilizing factor absent OTL.

    Consider the history of Quebec, if you would, where language strife was a major complicating factor.
     
  19. rfmcdonald Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2012
    Location:
    Toronto
    The idea of a piecemeal conquest if Argentina/Uruguay, province by province over decades, seems likely to contribute to very unsettled internal relationships in the area to say nothing of the UK. If ties with the UK were, are, controversial OTL, what will they he like in this setting?
     
  20. Diego Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2014
    Location:
    Califórnia, Paraná, Brazil
    The answer is a big MAYBE. But the chances of it not working like we would want are bigger each time that I take a new look at it.
     
Loading...